Founder of the The Wargame Bootcamp (https://www.boardgamegeek.com/guild/962)
My hero Grumpy Bonaparte
We played two scenarios this last Saturday and I am thinking we did something wrong.
In both Scenarios (1&4) the US had no ground units really in range for LACM strikes but had task forces full of ships that fired their LACM strikes the 1st turn and devastated China.
For example in scenario 4 there are two American Task Forces full of frigates, destroyers at carriers. All of them each get a strike? each strike automatically hits, and if it is a two step unit initiating the strike that two hits unless you have AMD unit in or adjacent to the land hex, in which case it is one hit instead of two?
By the time they were done I lost all my land based aircraft in all of mainland China, and all my SAM and SSM units in China and the island chains. The US scored 8-9 points and I gave up.
Is that how this is supposed to go or are we doing something wrong?
Mostly correct, with a few fixes...
For the US, only CG and DDG can make LACM strikes. No LACM strikes from carriers. Anyone who conducts a LACM strike is marked "spent" for the current turn which means they cannot attack later during regular naval combat, nor can they evade if targeted.
Yes, each step of a unit launching a LACM strike inflicts one step of damage on the target, unless said target is on or adjacent to an AMD unit - that's the trick.
Set up your land based units on or adjacent to SAM, or in a coastal hex next to a ship with AMD, to reduce the damage caused by LACM.
LACM also has range limits, I think it's 24 for the US.
But yes, LACM are very deadly and dangerous. A destroyer can easily carry eight LACM missiles, and possibly 16 or even 32, each capable of accurately hitting a target the size of a manhole cover. If just one hits an unhardened hanger or stretch of runway then all the aircraft within about 100 yards are devastated. If the hanger is hardened then the first missile could damage said hanger so a 2nd or 3rd could get through. Likewise, one hit will demolish a mobile radar station and/or missile launcher. Indeed, the fact that the game allows you to automatically shoot down 50% of incoming LACM with any AMD unit may be too generous.
The trick is to place land units under the protection of AMD - ships or SAM - and as far inland as possible to avoid LACM range.