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Subject: How close? rss

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Paul S
United Kingdom
Leeds
West Yorks
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DARK IN HERE, ISN'T IT?
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I love how the DVG games can tell stories, notwithstanding the lack of flavour text and character background and so on.

Today I finished my first successful TAL campaign; the stories are almost beyond belief. Two anecdotes, then:

I am on day 4 of Iraq/Rapid Deployment. 13 VP in the bag. I decide I need to make the effort and go for 20 and a "Great" rating. I choose a 5VP mission and a 2VP mission.

I assign my A-10 solo on the 2VP job. It won't be enough to half-destroy this battalion; 1VP means I max out at 19, only Good. So I tool up the A-10 and spend a SO to keep weight penalties at bay. With its fantastic cannon ability, I'm hoping that longer = better.

On the last turn of the mission - on Bingo 6+ fuel - I have one target in my sights. I need a roll of 3 to take it out and guarantee destruction. Roll die. 2. Scream loudly. Then realise that my destroy target isn't the 2 points I had in mind; I win full VP with 5 left. Result. I can win on my last mission.

Final mission has 2 Apaches and my F16. Only one Apache is fast. Stress is hurting me on day 4.

The map's a nightmare. Thank goodness that my Event card obliterates the helis before Loiter Turn 1 even begins, or I might've just given up.

The terrain is bizarre, and cruel. The range 3 SAMs are spread unhelpfully across the map, with AAA in between. There is nowhere safe. Some ridges provide limited protection, but with range 3 I cannot afford to be at High altitude for a moment, and there are crossfire areas that look just deadly.

I start with a bold move: my Fast AH64 is in with a SAM, but will launch a missile and then take a low alt ridge route to put himself beyond revenge attacks. First roll of the mission then: 2. Fail. Much swearing.

To my amazement my slow birds are able to knock out some of the big guns. But early attempts to hide in a valley (and 3 consecutive LUA misses...) leave my Slow AH64 with limited options - go High, and take SAM fire, or follow the river bed into a 3-tank-hex; with missiles spent, that means cannon only - and the tanks are -2 to hit thanks to their armour. Still - sometimes you gotta do...

Cougar moves into the tank-infested hex. 7 to hit with cannon, +1 for his ability is 6. Less 2 for the tanks; but at least in a hover I can have a go at all 3.

3 rolls: 9, 8, and 10. Really? Shouts of triumph. Just as well I'm home alone.

Gradually the Apaches are worn down. Bingo fuel approaches. I decide both need to quit the map. Flash takes one final tank out with a natural 10 as he departs his NW hex.

This leaves Dart in the F16, with one missile and a 7+ cannon. 9+ given the tanks.

There are 3 tanks left on the map. I need to take out just one, to destroy the battalion. 2 left = 4, which is less than the 5 I need for destruction.

I have 1 loiter turn left. I enter the hex containing 2 tanks, pot shot with the cannon - fail. But it's too close just to bug out. I'll risk Bingo fuel. The speed of this bird means I can pull a fantastically quick turn to line up for another cannon run. I decide I'm not going to push for a second Bingo risk. So it's all or nothing. I am 7 on the cannon. The tanks mean -2. I have + 1 for cannon. I need an 8.

I line up my F16 to depart the map. No second chance here - I'm outta here, whatever, since I've not lost a man nor a bird in this campaign and won't start now.

Die roll: 8, 9 or 10 and I get my destroyed battalion, and a "Great" victory at 20vp.

Result: 7.

Argh. Somehow 1 or 2 would've been less painful. So near...

Disappointing, of course, but perhaps all the more memorable as a result.

And I learned a lot. Especially, that you need to think twice about taking on 10 tanks with crappy cannon if you're desperate to trounce the opposition in the closing stages of a campaign...

Atmospheric, tense, with a wonderful narrative. I could probably have pushed my luck a little harder (and maybe made the 20vp) but I cared enough about my pilots that I allowed them to leave the arena before things got out of hand. I was really pleased that, stressed out thought they might have been, I lost neither pilot nor plane/heli in the 4 days.

Love it.

Edit: Just found out that I played the whole campaign wrong in one respect: turns out each enemy can only attack ONE of your birds per turn. I had them attack everything in range.

I am almost going to call this a "Great" win, on that basis. But will leave it for another time. Makes the "Good" victory seem very nice indeed, though.
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