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Thunderbolt Apache Leader» Forums » General

Subject: Looking for advice after Iraq/Surge failure rss

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Jim Cote
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Maine
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I just started playing this excellent game. After reading the rules twice and watching many videos (callasmar and FushigiTV), I'm pretty sure I have the rules down.

I selected 2 Apaches and 2 Thunderbolts. I destroyed the 2 easiest battalions on day 1. On day 2, mission 1, I sent in 1 Apache and 1 Thunderbolt against Infantry Force 1A. I armed them with Mk 20's, AGM-65's, LAU-61's, and an ECM. I splurged because I had extra SO's from the Special Condition card. The 28 enemy units were fairly well distributed on the terrain--only 2 hexes empty. Loiter was at 9 from a Scout.

By the end, the Apache had accumulated 13 chits of permanent damage and an Unfit pilot. The Thunderbolt had 7 chits of permanent damage and a Shaken pilot. I felt like I got lucky with many ECM rolls. But with 9 single-point units, just the Thunderbolt, no ordnance (only cannons), and 3 turns left over the enemy (including Bingo-10), there was no way to fully destroy the battalion in time. This meant campaign failure.

Very satisfying loss; I would have been disappointed to win easily--if at all--my first time. But now I'm thinking about what to try next. More, cheaper aircraft so I can bring more ordnance to attack (and get more pilots)? A different combination of ordnance? It seems like Mk 20's are the only way to clean up large battalions with any efficiency, but Apache's can't carry them. Do I need to make sure I have 2 aircraft that can carry them per mission?

Any suggestions?
 
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StevenE Smooth Sailing...
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Einmal ist keinmal
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Wow, 28 units in that battalion? That's crazy. No wonder you took so much damage. I wonder if it's better to just knock it down to half and get the hell outta dodge. Then come back another day to finish it off.
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Jim Cote
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Desiderata wrote:
Wow, 28 units in that battalion? That's crazy. No wonder you took so much damage. I wonder if it's better to just knock it down to half and get the hell outta dodge. Then come back another day to finish it off.

You basically have to destroy 2 battalions in each of the first 2 days when using Surge.
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Tom Builder
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I believe surge is considered a poor choice for first time play due to the insta-fail condition. No one knows why it was suggested in the rulebook. Maybe try an easier scenario.
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Barry Miller
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First off, welcome to a great game!

OK, Battalion 1A is a nasty battalion to attack. I ranked all the battalions in regards to the threat they pose to a US air attack (i.e., which battalions are the hardest to kill)? Battalion 1A ranks #2! See here:Each Battalion's Threat Score - A Ranked List. (And yes, I still owe this community a finished product).

Anyway, here are some tips:

1) For situation: "Surge", your primary goal is to destroy two battalions per day for the first two days. Your secondary goal is points. It sounds like you tried to go for the secondary goal at the expense of the primary! For "Surge", pick the two battalions each day, that you're most confident you can destroy. Then once you've accomplished your primary goal, you can go hell-bent for your secondary goal on day 3.

2) Why didn't you use any GBUs? Yes, they can be pricy, but for some "bang for the buck", I ALWAYS load my A-10s with as many GBUs as I can afford. Mind you that that's a "standard" rule for me. Of course each mission will have different requirements that will cause you to deviate from the "standard". For instance, 1A has four AAA units. Nasty. If I CAN, I always use a GBU-16 on AAA. One more thing about using GBUs - they force you to go high. Depending on the other threat in the area, or the terrain, going high can be very dangerous. Calculating the risk of going high vs your position vs your loiter turn vs the threat vs the weapons you have on board = PURE FUN!

Working out that puzzle during each mission is what makes this game great.

But still, do NOT ignore your GBUs.

3) Your aircraft mix was good, but in MY opinion, could be better if you swap out one of the Apaches with an F-16. The F-16 costs the same but is more capable. Though it does lack the hover capability. To have that hover capability is why you want one Apache (at least).
Edit: What I'm suggesting here is to have one Apache in your squadron - not necessarily for the mission. I.e., If it was me, my squadron for this mission would be 2x A-10, 1x F-16, 1-AH-64. This is what I mean by wanting one Apache. The challenge is in deciding which mission needs the hover capability the most, then assign the Apache to that mission. The additional capability that the F-16 offers for the same price is much more useful in more situations. But not all - which is why you need (at least) that one Apache in your squadron.

4) Good idea to bring along the ECM for going against 1A. By looking at the ranking I made in the other thread, you can see those Battalions where it's not worth it for you to load an ECM pod.

5) And finally, don't forget that the A-10 Cannon is a very effective weapon for its price (free). In your post, you put in parenthesis, "(only cannons)". Get that "only" attitude out of your mind. You WILL find yourself in a situation sometime when those cannons are all you've got, and they'll get you a victory!

I know others will offer additional advice, so I'll end here. Also, some will advise that "Surge" is not a good idea for your first play of this game. It's true that it's not a good idea. But it's not a wrong choice, either. "Surge" is VERY beatable for your first play. I did so, without knowing better. Not to brag, so have many others. But it gets a bad wrap due to the automatic failure condition it puts on you, and thusly the added stress. I'm guessing that DVG recommended "Surge" as a first-time situation because it's short. I don't know. But it is winnable! Just choose your battalions wisely.

Good luck!

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Vasilis
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Why clear large battalions in a situation that requires you to fully destroy any battalions? When playing Surge you need to choose the easiest ones to destroy not the hardest. That's the reason it is considered a bad choice for the first game actually. It forces new players to think about things that should be introduced much later in the game. Anyway, it is what it is.

Large battalions are easier to manage when trying to halve them first and then return in a later mission to clean up or with a perfectly planned mission that throws a lot of hardware in to get the job done.

As for the multiple-targets scenario, apart from the MK20 cluster bomb you can also use a good pilot with a nice Cannon rating, some extra Loiter turns via Scouting and using Hover. When Apaches hover, their cannon can make multiple attacks and if the pilot is any good he can wreck many units without spending any ammo! The D variant of the Apache comes with a nice +1 bonus modifier to all attacks.

In general I tend to avoid Infantry battalions because they provide many targets. It's easier to plan when your targets are few and you do have many more viable weapon choices.
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Jim Cote
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bgm1961 wrote:
OK, Battalion 1A is a nasty battalion to attack. I ranked all the battalions in regards to the threat they pose to a US air attack (i.e., which battalions are the hardest to kill)? Battalion 1A ranks #2! See here:Each Battalion's Threat Score - A Ranked List. (And yes, I still owe this community a finished product).

I picked the smallest 2 battalions for the first day. I think I was so scared by the previous SAM's that I avoided those battalions on day 2. Unfortunately, AAA is scary too.

bgm1961 wrote:
2) Why didn't you use any GBUs?

I guess the Mavericks seems just about as good. But I see now that the GBU's are Independent. That's pretty important. So many things to consider.

bgm1961 wrote:
3) Your aircraft mix was good, but in MY opinion, could be better if you swap out one of the Apaches with an F-16. The F-16 costs the same but is more capable. Though it does lack the hover capability. To have that hover capability is why you want one Apache (at least).

Something I did miss was the ability to attack ALL enemies in your current hex with cannons if you are hovering. That's huge too.
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mike belliveau
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Those popups scare the hell out of me. TAL is officially my favorite game. I guess i will include those GBUs in mynext campain.
cry
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Steve N
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I will almost always put a fuel pod on an A-10. I use the two extra turns to do mopping up with the cannon. You don't need any fancy bombs when you've got a gun that big.
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