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Subject: First campaign: Ouch. rss

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Paul S
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DARK IN HERE, ISN'T IT?
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First session today, having watched Lonesomegamer's excellent video series (so thorough I was able to start with barely a glance at the rules - though I had read them some months back - nice work LG).

Not easy, is it?

Still, I am encouraged, not despondent, as a result of failing my first campaign.

Sometimes luck will just do you in. So in mission 1 (day 1) I have an A-10, an AH-64 and an AH-1 all set for a perfectly-planned attack. The terrain is not good. 4 SAMs are lined up across the board to cover just about every hiding place. There's one hex, I calculate, that will let me start off with limited exposure. But how bad can it be? Only one enemy, 2 yellow damage; I reckon that's a price worth paying for the advantage of avoiding the otherwise inevitable SAM hits.

Roll for defender. Damn, it's the AH-1. 2 yellows. Should be ok. Structure. Ouch! Oh well, the second will be alright. Structure. What?! You're kidding, right? First attack, first game, and I have my AH-1 dropping out of the sky in a plume of embarrassment?

Which also puts paid to my cast-iron plans for destroying 3 SAMS in my first Loiter Turn, given that I'm down to 2 birds.

Surprisingly, I manage to beat this battalion, and the 2nd, too, so day 1 is not all lost.

Day 2, mission 1. 4 AAA enemies to deal with. They need to be taken out right sharp, so I can mop up the rest at my leisure. AGM 65s are the order of the day (he thought).

Damn. Again. The terrain is not entirely helpful but, worse, the AAA are all in 4 separate hexes giving them pretty much complete cover across the map. But I have a cunning plan. I'll enter in a "hidden valley" of sorts, with only one hex side open - at low altitude none of the AAA has LOS on me. Out we'll fly, 2 Apaches and an A10, and rain serious you're-dead-on-a-1+ pain on the AAA.

Roll for enemy cover. 8. Hmmm. What's that do? One unit per hex into cover. Ok let's see... EVERY AAA unit into cover?! What?! All 4 hexes with AAA in have ridges? And I even manage to randomly roll for the AAA when I have a choice of units to go into cover? Oh I hate you. And my AGM 65s are now worth precisely Sweet FA. Can't use 'em from afar; minimum range means I can't use 'em up close. And soon I am shot to ribbons, trying valiantly to use cannons whilst in range of 3 x 3 yellow counter blasts (count 'em - 9 damage a go).

Amazingly, the battalion ends at half strength. But not destroying 1 of 2 on day 2 is enough to fail me (I did wonder about concentrating on the smaller Battalions for Surge - but that seemed kind of wussy). I did tackle - with space to spare - the last mission for completeness and ended up with a not-too-awful 11 VP but of course a failure given the Surge condition.

Really unlucky, I think. But I felt that - bad luck aside - I was able to mitigate danger with careful use of terrain and altitude. I really felt like my decisions made a difference. Yes, the die will sometimes wipe you out, but there are lots of rolls to be made here, so it is going to average over time so that, with luck (hah!), my next campaign might not be quite as messy.

I can see, now, too, why the introductory stuff is not recommended by BGGers - makes perfect sense to me. I'm going to try something different next time, just to mix it up (any suggestions for a campaign/situ combo for a newbie?) Seems to me something longer where you might have chance to develop pilots (with no sudden-death conditions) would be good for learning.

Overall: I liked it. A lot.
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Moe45673
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Fantastic game and welcome to the club

I think Iraq and Rapid Deployment are a good combo for a longer-ish campaign that's not too tough. 4 Days, some good SO's coming in (9 on day 2, 12 on day 3!). To be fair, I have yet to try another location!
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Paul S
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Thanks Moe - that makes sense, I'll try it.
 
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Hal Martin
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Nice write up. Welcome aboard, and be sure to ask away.
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Andrew Walters
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I'm always disappointed if my first run through a solitaire game is successful. If you can beat it out of the box, what's the point? A self-esteem exercise? Nope, it's much more fun if it cleans your clock and or fixes your wagon the first couple of times. Then when you start pasting it you know you've earned it.

There are solitaire games that are too easy: the methods needed to win are immediately apparent. Then there are those that are tough to beat because they're all luck. Then there are those that are just too tough to beat because the designer didn't know how to make it interesting other than making it too hard. It's a rare game that's hard the first time but with some slowly learned lesson becomes barely beatable.

So congrats on weathering the first day of school as well as you did. A few more go 'rounds and then you can start systematically showing the little paper squares who's boss.
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Zeddy
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andreww wrote:

I'm always disappointed if my first run through a solitaire game is successful. If you can beat it out of the box, what's the point? A self-esteem exercise? Nope, it's much more fun if it cleans your clock and or fixes your wagon the first couple of times. Then when you start pasting it you know you've earned it.

There are solitaire games that are too easy: the methods needed to win are immediately apparent. Then there are those that are tough to beat because they're all luck. Then there are those that are just too tough to beat because the designer didn't know how to make it interesting other than making it too hard. It's a rare game that's hard the first time but with some slowly learned lesson becomes barely beatable.


Eloquently put!
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Charlie Theel
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Moe45673 wrote:
Fantastic game and welcome to the club

I think Iraq and Rapid Deployment are a good combo for a longer-ish campaign that's not too tough. 4 Days, some good SO's coming in (9 on day 2, 12 on day 3!). To be fair, I have yet to try another location!


This is great advice.

Good writeup Paul.
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