I'm confused by some posts...
I know that you get a bonus depending on where you put your base (example- Africa gives you a 30% credit bonus each month). Do you get those same bonuses when you have a satelite in each country of a continent? I though you only earned extra scientists/engineers when you did that. Any clarification would be appreciated.
Your assumption is correct. Having full satellite coverage in an area grants you their "starting base" bonus. So you should really pick your starting area based on what you need ASAP. Since everything else will eventually become available as well.
Also, while I didn't start with it myself. It's kind of obvious that the Asia bonus loses sparkle and interest as the game goes on.
Oh dang! Did not know this. Must put satellites over Africa PRONTO!
I went with South America just so I could spend more time on other research. It did end up costing me the chance to fully cover Africa, but everywhere but India and Australia have a satellite now. I've only lost Nigeria and Egypt.
"Why don't we play peace, instead of war?"
"No role models" - Calvin and Hobbes.
I think Africa is the best starting choice as money is scarce in the beginning, European bonus is useless and Asian bonus doesnt come into play until later (and by then you'll earn enough money for one time upgrades). South America isnt really useful as you can save a lot of research time by capturing aliens.
And I lost Egypt too, damn you greedy aliens!
The only real headache is that once you lose a country to the aliens, that country's continent bonus is now impossible to unlock. So, while starting as Africa is probably the best choice for the early-game money, it's pretty important not to lose any countries in Europe, and maybe China because you'll want those bonuses in the mid-game. North and South America's bonuses just feel worthless, so feel free to give Canada to the aliens...
I'd go asia or europe, as they have the most countries and thus the hardest to cover for the bonus, south america's bonus isnt great, as autopsies and interrogation usually only take less then a week each.
There is no overkill, there is "Open Fire" And "I have to reload".
Fallout10mm is spot on about using Europe or Asia as your starting location to be able to acquire all five of the continent bonuses with the smallest investment of satellites. This is why I picked Europe for the start of my first game instead of North America.
However, upon further study, I came back to an old realization: the 'launch' phase of any base-building game (be it real-time strategy, turn-base strategy, Sim City, whatever), is all about exponential growth of resources. So while you can acquire all 5 bonuses in 1 less satellite deployment (13 satellites instead of 14 on your network, and 12 deployed by you instead of 13), there is little reason to consider Europe and Asia, as their starting base locations provide little income, and their starting bonuses suck early on in the game.
If you start in, say, Europe, and drop your first satellite in the USA to get the $180/month funding, you are looking at $280 in revenue from your first two satellites. Same with Asia. The game seems to also grant you $175/month base income before adding in national funding - all your marines are apparently taking night jobs. Back to our comparison, if you start in the USA, you can drop your first satellite in Russia for $150 revenue, for $330 from your first two satellites - and you're probably not going to have a second uplink and satellites launched before your first council meeting. Since you also get your monthly income upon startup, by the time the first month has passed, Europe (or Asia) is down $130 in optimal income.
Furthermore, after that first council meeting, you have to pay your bills. In the first month, unless you really want to spend scant resources on a lab and or workshop instead of basic gear for your soldiers (nano vests, scope, medkits, Arc Thrower) and getting your satellite network rolling, you probably won't take advantage of the very weak Europe bonus. The Asia bonus, you'll probably save $25 on your first squad size upgrade in the first month. Conversely, the USA bonus nets you $60 in savings automatically in the first 2 paychecks ($10 savings per aircraft, you start with 2 interceptors and the Skyranger). If you build an interceptor to defend your first additional satellite (you should), that's another $20 off the build cost and $10 off the first month's rent. Net savings: $90. It would take a total of 3 lab/workshops to eclipse your extra USA income + savings, which would cripple your initial economy.
I looked at the Africa proponents too. Africa's bonus makes it a very strong initial earner in the same neighborhood as the USA. Starting in Africa makes for a burgeoning gross income, and has one other sublime benefit - whether you start in North America or Africa you'll probably grab the whole other continent early on to reap the bonus. Because of the weak total income of the 3 African nations and their weak contribution in terms of engineers/scientists (5/month with continent vs 8/month for USA), if you start in Africa and grab North America, you have $100 for your home base plus $330 for the American bases. These 4 satellites will contribute in total (before All In bonus): $430 + 4 scientists + 5 engineers. Conversely, having USA plus the 3 African bases ($100, $80, $70), your same 4 satellites contribute: $430 + 3 scientists + 4 engineers.
Conclusion: The early wealth gained by selecting Africa or North America means the $50 and 0 days you'll save in building 1 less satellite (you'll need the same number of facilities) by starting in Europe/Asia is meaningless. Furthermore, this small benefit is lost if you have to drop a satellite in one of the other 3 countries on your starting continent to prevent losing their support. If you don't mind skipping the Tutorial, Africa is the best startup continent by a whisker, otherwise, start in North America.
And one other thing with Fallout10mm's comment (I'm -really- not trying to pick on you), to his other point:
"south america's bonus isnt great, as autopsies and interrogation usually only take less then a week each."
South America's bonus actually IS great, though Fallout is correct in saying you shouldn't pick it as a starting location. Crappy income combined with good monthly specialists for 2 satellites and only saving you 1 satellite on getting a very easy to get bonus makes this the one continent you should for sure stay away from off the rip - by the time you've got the facilities and gear to interrogate aliens you should be able to get this bonus anyway. Just save your autopsies until you get the "We Have Ways" bonus.
As for my point of contention, even if you say each autopsy/interrogation only costs 3.5 days on average, that's a week of research time per species for most alien species. The result is that the saved time racks up very quickly in the early going and can be very important to a rapid expansion of the satellite network - making sure you've done ALL the necessary research to build Satellite Nexuses instead of Uplinks before you're building your 3rd satellite facility will guarantee you'll be able to get 16 satellites skyborn with only 4 facilities total - 2 uplinks and 2 nexuses in a box pattern (4+4+2+2+4 adjacency=16).
So really, grab this bonus early to take advantage of the time savings in these innumerable little researches. It will help you rapidly expand your satellite infrastructure around the globe.