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Subject: Choosing jets/pilots rss

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Dan Conley
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Hey, All! Gearing up for my first run at the game. Any of you wily PL vets out there care to share your tips on picking which jets/pilots to use? I considered the random option, but I want to give it a go with choosing my own first. Just not sure what to look for...

THANKS!
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Malte Menger
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there is not too much decision making / strategy in this game. do you want others to spoil even that tiny bit for you?
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Steve E.
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If you're playing the earliest campaign - War in the South - there are no bandits involved. Thus, pick pilots with good AtG modifiers and don't worry at all about AtA.

Enjoy! It's a great game.
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Dan Conley
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malteh wrote:
there is not too much decision making / strategy in this game. do you want others to spoil even that tiny bit for you?


Apparently, I do. Thanks for the help. (Having not played the game yet, I clearly didn't pick up on the lack of decision making/strategy.)
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Don't let negativism get you down. To me that is a huge part of the campaigns. Picking a good mix to carry you through. You have one or two pilots who carry the load you will find them too stressed out to continue on, and your missions get a lot scarier! That is the great part of the game when you get into it. Well that and realizing you don't have enought SO points for the ordinance you need to make a mission a milk run. You will enjoy it very much, I guarantee after the first campaign, you will learn real quick what you need in a squadron.

Good Hunting
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Dan Conley
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craig104 wrote:
Don't let negativism get you down. To me that is a huge part of the campaigns. Picking a good mix to carry you through. You have one or two pilots who carry the load you will find them too stressed out to continue on, and your missions get a lot scarier! That is the great part of the game when you get into it. Well that and realizing you don't have enought SO points for the ordinance you need to make a mission a milk run. You will enjoy it very much, I guarantee after the first campaign, you will learn real quick what you need in a squadron.

Good Hunting


Craig...thanks for your thoughts and the encouragement. It's easy for me to feel that my question was totally stupid...and perhaps it WAS. Tough for me to deal with some of the bile folks like to spew online.

Thanks again!
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Ronster Zero
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This is a great game. I enjoy it a lot. Here is what I look for in pilots.

Fast/Slow - Remember that fast pilots attack BEFORE the enemy does. These units can be armed to take out the threats from a long distance.

ATG/ATA Modifier - look for pilots with a good positive modifier. The better they are, the better your chance to hit.

Shaken status - Some pilots can take a lot more stress than others. In a long or medium campaign this can be a critical factor.

Don't forget cool also. This is the amount of stress that comes off in addition to the normal amount.

Good luck and good hunting.
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Malte Menger
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yosemite wrote:
craig104 wrote:
Don't let negativism get you down. To me that is a huge part of the campaigns. Picking a good mix to carry you through. You have one or two pilots who carry the load you will find them too stressed out to continue on, and your missions get a lot scarier! That is the great part of the game when you get into it. Well that and realizing you don't have enought SO points for the ordinance you need to make a mission a milk run. You will enjoy it very much, I guarantee after the first campaign, you will learn real quick what you need in a squadron.

Good Hunting


Craig...thanks for your thoughts and the encouragement. It's easy for me to feel that my question was totally stupid...and perhaps it WAS. Tough for me to deal with some of the bile folks like to spew online.

Thanks again!


lol, sorry, but if you feel offended by an advice that might not fit your point of view I feel like you have some major problems and these are not "bile folks on the internet".

In my point of view, choosing the planes and load is the meat of the game. i wanted to raise the question if you want to take away your own learning process. as i discovered how obvious most of the choices in this game are i left it behind and i haven't looked back yet.
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Dan Conley
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Well, sir, glad you're laughing. I did NOT consider your original post "advice". I personally found it rather insulting. Informing me that the game has few real choices to make, then asking if I want THOSE taken away from me just doesn't strike me as "advice".

Re. the "bile" comment...I feel that the internet really promotes people making statements that they would NEVER make in a face to face conversation. That's all. "Bile" may well have been an overstatement in this case. Sorry.

Look...we'll agree to disagree as far as that goes. I'll get over it and I really don't have any ill will toward you. I AM curious, though. With the limited decision making, do you ENJOY the game? *EDIT*...just re-read your post. Do I understand that you no longer play the game due to the limited decisions?

Ronster...thanks so much for your post. I haven't played an air combat game since B-17: Queen of the Skies years ago. So I REALLY feel like a novice in this genre.

Guess I SHOULD have stated this at the outset. I DO feel a bit clueless coming into the game...
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Malte Menger
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Yes you got it right. I don't play this game anymore. Choosing the planes and the load is all there is that I would consider as an interesting choice. And it will become quite fast pretty obvious which mix of planes one should field. As I discovered this I experienced a rapid loss of interest. There is no game other than rolling dives after that. Whatsoever. You may like the experiencenevertheless. I don't. Just wanted to warn you that it may spoil your game such as looking up the answer of a riddle before you try to solve it.
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Dan Conley
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Malte...thanks for the response! I REALLY like your comparison of "looking up the answer of a riddle before you try to solve it". That certainly was NOT my intent in posting the thread. In hindsight, I should have actually PLAYED a few sessions! Likely would have answered my own question.

I believe I may have become overly dependent on the help of the folks on BGG!!!

Thanks again!
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Brad Smith
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Hi Dan,

My general strategy for picking pilots depends on the era and the length of the campaign. If I'm playing a medium or long campaign, for example, I try to pick one good experienced AtA and one good AtG pilot and then grab a couple of less experienced guys who need a lot of experience points to get their promotion and then just promote them using SOs.

For the rest of the pilots, I usually try to grab guys who are close to "leveling up" even if they are a bit weaker than pilots at their same level. I send these guys on missions with the more experienced pilots to give them a couple of experience points and that much needed "level up" early on in the campaign.

If I'm playing a shorter campaign, I avoid this strategy as it's generally not worth spending any time trying to level up your less experienced guys as the campaign ends before they can have any impact. My priorities for picking pilots in the short campaigns are to pick very good experienced pilots and then choose some weaker guys with inferior planes in order to gain SOs, which you can spend to level up your Average pilots.

Enjoy the game, Dan! I find that it forces you to constantly make really tough decisions and its rewarding in a way that few solitaire games can match.
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Dan Conley
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Brad...thanks a lot for your thoughts! I DID run the first mission in a short (2 mission) campaign. I really like the game so far, but I decided to read the rulebook again, then replay the mission as I managed to goof a few things up. yuk Managed to deal 5 damage to a target that took 6 hits, but I THINK that was due in part to my errors. (That IS my story and I'm sticking with it!)

Ironically, after my concern with choosing pilots, I've found it a real challenge to choose how to best ARM the aircraft! I'm sure it'll come easier with more plays!

Thanks again for your help!
 
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Dan Verssen
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Great advice!

Thank you everyone for being so helpful.

When selecting pilots, I'd say, also be careful about which weapons can be loaded on each type of aircraft. Being able to carry AGM-45s and GBUs on a couple aircraft is very handy.
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Dan Conley
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Thanks, Dan! I DID learn that in that first mission!!!
 
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Harold Buchanan
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I fold a handful of factors in to my pilot selection. Here they are in order of importance:

FAST – If you are FAST you will fire before the Bandits/Sites fire. This is a critical advantage and can dramatically reduce the attacks/damage done to the package on a given strike. Punch first, punch hard, punch often.

Special Option (SO) Points – SO Points are critical to success in each campaign. They are the most important currency as you need them to utilize critical range weapons like Bullpup and Walleye. Extra SO Points are awarded for choosing certain aircraft. As an example an F101 adds 15 SO points to a Long Campaign – that’s a lot of long range munitions. I actually use SO Points and FAST mentioned above as my primary sort criteria. You can then use the extra SO points to:
- Promote certain pilots (to get to FAST!),
- Selecting advanced standoff weapons (like the Bullpup and Walleye),
- Tanker Priority – Reducing the mission’s Weight Point penalty to 0 (and thus significantly increasing loads),
- Recon Priority - increasing available targets (2 more targets for 2 SO Points), and
- Priority R&R – Trade SOs to reduce stress for each pilot in the squadron.

Stress Level – Shaken Pilots effectiveness is reduced dramatically – select pilots with a larger “Okay“ range and Smaller penalties for being shaken. Some pilots are Okay at 5 Stress Points and others are Shaken at 4 Stress Points.

Cool Factor – Removes that number of Stress Points from the aircraft after a mission – can be critical in a long campaign.

Diversity of planes – You need to be able to mount a variety of weapons on a variety planes. Some missions require a lot of AtA missiles while others will require targeting for Soft targets or standoff ATGM. Another complexity to plan for is if you assemble a package and only bring along one fighter for air to air you can hang a lot of missiles on that one plane. But when it comes time to fire that lone CAP can only attack one plane at a time. You are better off with AtA missiles spread across several planes (and AtG missiles spread across several planes) to facilitate multiple attacks as needed.

Experience – Once you select all the FAST pilots you can look for Pilots who are SLOW but can advance to FAST with a promotion. You can promote some pilots before you start a campaign. If it moves the pilot from SLOW to FAST it is often worth the trade in SO points – do it for a few. After that, select for pilots with lower deficits of experience for promotion (but only if the campaign is long enough to make a difference.)

Weight Points – This is the maximum number of munitions weight points – not as important as type of munitions but important. If you have enough SO Points available you can use a Tanker Priority and dramatically increase the number of Weight Points.

Get an E-66, E-6A, E-1, E-2 to improve everyone’s survivability.
I hope that helps. Phantom Leader is a great game and a great solitaire. Also a fresh new look at an interesting point in history.
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