I’ve been playing around with War of the Chosen a bit and have been enjoying it. Here are a few anecdotes:
In a mission with Lost, I had one soldier perched on a balcony, blocking the ladder so that Lost can’t climb up (I think?). Except the Assassin Chosen jumps up, dazes her, then repositions in the elevated train car opposite. That soldier is also blocking my soldiers from climbing up to the balcony to revive her, and if she stays dazed, the Assassin may capture her next turn. Luckily, I brought my Skirmisher hero on this mission and his grapple isn’t on cooldown. He grapples up and revives her. Except the Skirmisher doesn’t have cover. The revived soldier moves out of the way, unblocking the ladder so another soldier can climb up, toss a grenade into the train car, giving the Skirmisher a flank shot. The Skirimisher fires twice (which they can also do) and it’s scratch one Chosen.
While on a covert mission, tracking down the Assassin’s base, my trio of soldiers get ambushed. The extraction point is a long way away, with who knows how many Advent and Lost are between here and there (and maybe the Assassin would appear?), so I really wish I had assigned a Ranger with Phantom (or a Reaper hero). The thing about Lost is that, in addition to never wanting to yellow move (because you might trigger a pod), you also want your ammo topped up. Dealing with Lost consumes many actions, due to missed shots, Lost that can’t be headshot with a single attack, and reloading your weapon because you’re making so many attacks (I think my single-turn record is 7 headshots and 2 reloads with a single solider). The mission wasn’t hard, just arduous because I was playing it safe. It was a long mission, and my soldiers were really tired by the end. Because of how the Lost appear from any direction and come in swarms, they evoke some of the tension of horror games.
On a supply raid mission, the SitRep was Brutal: this early in the game, it meant most of the enemies will be faceless. I generally find supply raids easy since there’s no timer, so you can pick off Advent using a Squadsight Sharpshooter and Phantom Ranger. However, on the first turn, the Assassin announced her arrival. Not wanting to deal with a Chosen and faceless at the same time, I opened fire to eliminate as many aliens as possible before the Assassin arrived. A similar situation happened the first time the Hunter Chosen appeared, who I think is effectively a super-squadsight sniper. Out came the grenades and aggressive moves into bad or no cover to eliminate Advent so they couldn’t act as spotters for the Hunter.
Bottom line, the tactical game has a lot more variety thanks new mission types, SitRep changing up the scenario, and Chosen changing your priorities when they appear.
I’m still trying to decide if the strategic game has one best strategy or not. For one thing, research probably won’t be a well-worn grove. It seems more than half the time, finishing one research project triggers a breakthrough that may cut time off another research project or improve your weapons (+1 damage, extra attachment slot) or something, but only if you do it immediately. I’m starting to get a sense of when to do the breakthrough and when to continue with other research, but for now I do often ponder it.
Avenger build order has been shaken up a bit. The Advanced Warfare Center is gone, but now there’s a Training Center, Resistance Ring, and Infirmary to figure out when to build and where. My current build order is, I think: Guerrilla Tactics School (for squad size), Resistance Ring (so you can continually run covert missions), Workshop, Power Relay, then I’m not sure what: Infirmary if a soldier has a negative trait, Proving Ground, Resistance Comms, and Training Center are all useful.
Who to send on each mission is also complicated. With Alien Hunters, you pretty much always sent your best soldiers available since, if an alien ruler shows up, you want to dish out as much damage as quickly as possible to send it packing. But with the new fatigue system, you can always send out your best soldiers. People get tired or wounded, and there’s the added wrinkle of you want bonded soldiers to go on missions and covert ops with their friend whenever possible. Anyway, there’s a balancing act of always wanting your best troops on missions when a Chosen can appear and spreading fatigue so you don’t have to send a bunch of rookies out just because the A-team is down when you need them.