Military Intelligence (UFO2000)
There are several ways to gather information about your opponent's squad and his plan of attack:
- Pay attention to his soldiers' names. Players tend to give names or add abbreviations to make it easier to know the function of that precise soldier and/or his race/armor. While you are at the mission planner take a few seconds to go through the list of his soldiers to get an idea of what type of units he can bring along.
- Look at the number of units he's bringing and the total points of the game. If a player brings 15 units for a 15k game, he will have to choose between armor and expensive weapons. If he only brings 10 units for 15k then he most likely will be heavily armored and with a lot of firepower.
- During the game pay close attention to what he is doing. Look for thrown/dropped objects, holes in walls, the incoming direction of shots, etc.
- The initial turns are crucial to determine his strategy: is he advancing or waiting for you to come? If he's advancing are his attacks spread around the entire frontline or is he concentrating his attack into one side and leaving the other apparently quiet? If you can figure out what he's doing while keeping him on the dark about your intentions you have an advantage over him.
- If you have scouts remember that they are meant to be your eyes, not your muscle. NEVER reveal a hidden scout's position by firing (unless you are desperate), especially if your scout can see the enemy and not be noticed. You will have a good chance that your opponent will think that no one is there ("no one has fired from that house so it must be empty"), allowing you to reacquire the enemy on the next turn and kill it with your other units.
- Always use smoke and cover to move your units. If an enemy unit can see your troops while you are moving it is better to step away from his vision (if your unit can't see it, he can't as well) or to create smoke to obscure your movement, denying him information about where you moved your units.
- Distract his attention. If you are going to blast a hole in a wall or throw something that you don't want him to see it is better to either do it at the beginning of the turn or to make some noise in another part of the battlefield.
- Hide any dropped/thrown objects behind walls or bodies. This particularly applies to proximity mines or booby trap grenades with a delayed timer (if he's close to the grenade when it goes off, well bad luck). This also applies to empty weapons: if he sees a rocket launcher on the ground he will know that you won't use that weapon anymore.
- Proximity and timed, conventional, grenades used to block your enemy's movements don't have to be actually armed. If you're in a hurry, you can just throw (or drop!) them. Sometimes it's enough if it looks dangerous.
- Don't be totally obvious when naming your troops. Try to use unique names for each unit that only you know the significance of its name.
- Don't assume anything about the enemy's position or intentions. Just because one side of the battlefield has been left untouched with no enemy fire coming from there that doesn't mean that there aren't enemy units there.
How to mind control your opponent without psi-amps
- As you may have noticed by now, intelligence and counter-intelligence are both sides of the same coin but their logic can be self-defeating. If you know that the opponent can do X and your opponent knows that you know that he can do X, then he might do Y. The best way to avoid this logical trap ("I know that you know that I know...") is to be creative and use your imagination to do unexpected things.
- Deception and diversions can really pay off. Example: if you are planning to attack but he attacks first, you can pretend to be using a defensive strategy for a couple of turns and then launch a massive counterattack into an undefended position of his.
- When players start thinking that they are winning (i.e. killing more enemy units than they are losing) they tend to become careless and make more mistakes. Use this tendency for your advantage.
- If you want to increase tension postpone your attack a couple of turns. There are few things more disconcerting than an enemy that can't be seen and whose intentions are unclear.
- Suicidal units can be quite unnerving. Pack a low cost unit with primed explosives and use cover to get really close to the adversary before it explodes, causing a lot of injuries/deaths and smoke. Unless you are fighting on open ground it can be difficult to prevent that kind of attacks.
- Suppressive fire can also break your opponent's spirit. If you have a lot of firepower available (several rockets, cannons, automatic weapons) concentrate it all on a known or suspected enemy position. Even if it fails to kill anyone he most likely will start worrying about where you will fire on your next turn instead of paying attention to his own plan.
- Hide the number of attackers. If you've spotted an enemy and you're shooting from long distance, don't waste all the TUs of a soldier before switching to the next; alternate shots between snipers. Not only most of them will still be able to move after killing your target, but your adversary will think he's been attacked by more soldiers. The same soldier shooting from different positions also helps.