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Share Your XCOM War Stories

XCOM: Enemy Unknown has been out for a few days now, which means you've probably already trained and lost a handful of beloved soldiers. Come swap your favorite anecdotes with your fellow alien ass-kicking gamers.

One of the main draws of XCOM is the personal stories that emerge out of the gameplay. The ability to customize your soldiers, combined with the implementation of permadeath, transform missions into a continual barrage of nerve-racking, life-or-death experiences. Sharing these experiences is part of the fun.

Below is a rundown of my stable of grizzled commandos. Unlike a lot of the editors in the office, I don't name my soldiers after friends, co-workers, or famous people. Instead, I keep their randomly generated names and grant them nicknames based on their performance on the battlefield. Check out their exploits, and then join in the conversation below.

Shigeru "Softball" Takahashi:
My primary Assault soldier and highest ranking officer, Takahashi proved himself invaluable in the first open mission of the game. Two sectoids were holed up in a shack, taking potshots at half of my squad. My men were behind cover, but the aliens had the high ground, and had already killed one rookie and injured Takahashi.

The scenario was designed to teach me how to use my Heavy's rocket launcher, but Marquez' shot somehow hit a piece of rubble before it reached the sectoids' hideout, leaving the rest of the squad exposed. Takahashi was my last soldier to move, and he had no shot. He did, however, have a grenade. Thanks to a masterful underhand throw, Takahashi dropped the ticking time bomb right between the two aliens, killing them both and ending the round without any more XCOM casualties. Since then, Takahashi has racked up 10 kills in just four missions, reaching the rank of Sergeant.

Ricardo "Cheese" Marquez:
My aforementioned Heavy, Marquez was left standing alone as the sole survivor of the opening tutorial mission. While it took him awhile to get acclimated to his new weapon, Marquez demonstrated some superior rocket launcher skills in a subsequent VIP mission, taking out two sectoids who again had the high ground on the entire squad, this time on a collapsed highway. Marquez is now a Corporal, having racked up six kills in four missions. He's currently wounded, with nine days of recovery ahead.

Chidubem "Meat Shield" Hangana:
During my first VIP mission, Hangana saved his fellow rookie Elliot from certain death. Elliot had already been shot by an unseen sectoid, and missed his return fire. With no shot of his own, Hangana saved the day by dashing into the open to provide the sectoid with a better target. The sectoid took the bait.

An injured Hangana botched his follow-up shot at point blank range, but Elliot repaid his debt by blasting the alien with a grenade. Fittingly, Hangana ended up being a Support soldier. He racked up four kills over three missions. On a second VIP mission (on the aforementioned highway), Hangana was injured again, this time for 16 days.

Rob "Hattrick" Elliot:
Despite being injured in the opening moments of his first mission, Elliot managed to accrue three kills, saving Hangana from a point-blank death, and killing two more invading Thin Men during the escape. Elliot has been designated as a Support soldier.

Kari "Dozer" Hagen:
My one and only Sniper thus far, Hagen accrued just one kill in her first two missions. Thus her nickname is "Dozer" like "falling asleep" not something cool, like a bulldozer. Tragically, she died on the third mission in a hail of plasma fire while climbing on top of a cargo container.

Zarina "Casper" Ondede:
As one of two rookies on her first mission, Ondede was the point woman on during a UFO recovery. On no less than three turns, she was flanked and shot at by enemies, but every shot missed. She survived the mission unscathed, but didn't get any kills either, meaning she'd have to serve another mission as a rookie.

On her second outing, the VIP highway mission, Ondede was put on Arc Thrower duty – a death sentence for incompetent soldiers. Another sectoid got the jump on her, missing its shot once again. While she failed to capture an enemy, she got her first kill, getting promoted to Squaddie.

On her third mission, Ondede was once again a ghost on the battlefield, taking no damage. She racked up her second kill, saving Takahashi from a point-blank plasma shot, and then successfully stunned a second sectoid, bringing it back to base for interrogation.

Irina "Meltdown" Chepurnova:
Serving as a rookie alongside Ondede, Chepurnova wasn't as fortuitous as her fellow sister in arms. She was ambushed by two sectoids right out of the gate during the UFO recovery mission. She almost died from her wound, and immediately panicked – but in doing so, she returned fire and killed her attacker (Marquez took out the second sectoid). Chepurnova was wounded for five days, and so far has one kill to her name.

Natsuki "Mother" Yamaguchi:
After the VIP highway mission set in Japan, XCOM was rewarded with Yamaguchi, a Sergeant-ranked Support soldier. Yamaguchi strolled into her first mission with three med packs and a smoke grenade. She needed them.

Yamaguchi ran across the battlefield twice to patch up rookie Brown, and used her smoke grenade to save him and Ondede from encroaching sectoids. Naturally, her only kill was a distant shot on a sectoid that had the squad's premier Assault soldier Takahashi in its sights. Someone's gotta take care of this squad.

Brian "Downtown" Brown:
One of the squad's few rookies from USA, Brown was shot and healed twice on his first mission. He panicked when Hagen was fatally shot, but after he recuperated, he continued to run out ahead of everyone else. Brown is out for seven days with wounds, and will still be a rookie when he returns to duty.

Now it's your turn: Share your favorite squad members and war stories in the comments section below!

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