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Hornet Leader: Carrier Air Operations» Forums » Strategy

Subject: Tactics? rss

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António Vale
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I've now played a full Lybia 84 medium campaign and am most of the way through a long Taiwan 2008 campaign, and I'm starting to question whether I'm playing everything right or not. My problem right now is that the mission flying tends to be a bit monotonous because I end up always using the same tactics, and never use most of the special, cool weapons. I'd be interested to hear what other people think and how they approach this.

Going back to Phantom leader, I usually tended to approach mission planning in one of two ways, depending on the make up of the target defences:

1) Go in low, ignore SAMs (SA-2s can only hit high flying targets) and use rockets and CBUs for suppression and iron bombs to hit the target; often I'd take tanker support to be able to carry more ordnance and use ECMs to spoof some of the return fire;

2) Fly high, use Shrikes to take out any SA-2s, and bomb with smart bombs.

Fast pilots were important to reduce the amount of suppression needed (and thus increase the target bombing payload) because there'd usually be plenty of defences able to attack at range and no good option to take them out before they could fire. I'd spend the SO's either on tanker support or smart bombs, depending on the mission profile, and the big question would be when I managed to skip the former.

I find that Hornet Leader, because of the increased weapon range, plays very differently. I find myself never using special weapons (with one absolutely vital exception, long range air to air missiles), first because they're way too expensive, second because I find they're not really necessary. Typical mission planning usually goes like this:

- load up as many long range AtA missiles as I can afford;
- and as many HARMs as I think are necessary to take out the dangerous SAMs: any that hit high altitude targets, and anything that can hit low altitude targets in the centre region; this usually works out to some 4-8 targets, but crucially this is know when arming your aircraft;
- every other weight point available is assigned to iron bombs; if I feel this isn't enough to take out the target, I'll get tanker support.

The mission then consists of coming in high and using fast pilots and whichever SA is needed to take out all dangerous targets in the very first turn (the fact that all long range AtA missiles can be independently targeted is a great help). Often after the fast pilots phase there won't be anything left on the board that can hurt my planes, or it'll be killed in the slow phase before it can fire back. Then it's just a question of flying to the target at high altitude, switch to low and see if you brought enough bombs to destroy it... with the added advantage that you usually get an extra turn to try strafing if you're a hit or two short.

I find that this usually works very well. The only major hiccups come from possible nasty events that force you to spend munitions, and from too much bad luck with your rolls that overcomes whatever reserve weapons you brought (and these are often situations where you only miss on a 1).

There's two major points about such mission profiles:

1) There is no need for suppression or ECMs, because the whole objective is to destroy anything that can be even remotely threatening before it can fire back; this frees up weight for more bombs;

2) You can bomb the target at ease with iron bombs, and you can even strafe it if necessary;

3) All SO points can be spent on AtA missiles (and tankers and R&R, as necessary), which are absolutely crucial because there's several bandits that can hit you at a range of 3 or 4, while the Sparrow's maximum range is 2; you don't really need any of the other cool toys you can spend SOs on, and in any case they're far too expensive (take the Harpoon, for example: a typical target requiring 10 hits to destroy would need at least 4 of them, costing 8 SOs, which is far too much once you realize that you really need to spend some 4 or 6 on AtA missiles if you want your planes to come back alive).

So far, this approach is proving to be highly effective. But... it also makes missions a bit monotonous, as you're always doing the same thing, and you don't get to use all the other cool stuff you have.

What are people's thoughts on this? How do you usually plan your missions out?

My apologies if this came out a bit too long and a bit too ranty
I do enjoy the game, no matter any issues that I may have touched upon here.
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Ryan
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I don't have time for an in depth reply, but I don't feel the same way as you, at least not yet. I'm two thirds of the way through the Iraq 1991 campaign. I've been using the F-14, A-7, EA-6B, and E-2C. I find with the smaller weapon payload of the A-7 compared with the A-6, I have to really think about my weapons. It has been necessary on several missions that I equip expensive SO weapons, up to 3 WP each, to be successful. Needing to do this is usually a combination of a few different factors (in my limited experience):

d10-1 Limited payload of A-7
d10-2 Limited AtG payload of F-14, and poor AtG modifiers for most F-14 pilots.
d10-3 Stress accumulation forcing me to rest one or two of my A-7 pilots (I'm playing a long campaign.)
d10-4 Need to take advantage of easy secondary target with A-7 forcing me to split my heavy AtG hitters between two missions.
d10-5 Targets deep in enemy territory that force me to spend SO on refueling, SO weapons, or both.
d10-6 Those targets that take a lot of hits to destroy, plus those with the overkill trait that tempts me to bring heavier AtG ordinance to inflict more damage.
d10-7 Tough targets with lots of sites and bandits that cut down on the amount of ordinance I can dedicate to target hitting ordinance.
d10-8 Occasional lack of availability of pilots with fast attack or adequate SA among my flight to handle all the dangerous bandits and sites due to resting pilots with good SA for stress accumulation.

I always use the ECM because I found there's no way I can carry enough ordinance with my current squadron composition to negate enough attacks with munitions.

Some missions are pretty easy, especially if the target is weakly defended, stress is low among my pilots, and few hits are required. I find, however, that I am balancing many of those factors listed above on each turn, and that has made for some interesting choices. On my most recent mission, I accepted a secondary mission against enemy troops and flew only 2 F-14s and and EA-6B because I needed my A-7s to fly against a tough primary target. I wanted the extra VP the secondary allowed. I was able to destroy the target with Mk. 20 Rockeye bombs from my F-14's. Even though the target was weakly defended, it was very tense due to the pilots involved and the limited ordinance they were allowed to carry.

So those are my thoughts in a nutshell. I hope and believe at this point that the game will continue to offer tough choices and tense missions as I play through additional campaigns.

Thanks for sharing your experiences. I hope you're able to continue enjoying the game.
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António Vale
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Ryanmobile wrote:
I'm two thirds of the way through the Iraq 1991 campaign. I've been using the F-14, A-7, EA-6B, and E-2C. I find with the smaller weapon payload of the A-7 compared with the A-6, I have to really think about my weapons.

Thanks for your reply. You hit on a good point here: obviously, this is going to be highly dependent on your squadron make up, and the campaign you're playing. I found Libya to be easier in that respect, as the air threat is much diminished (no MiG-29s, no Su-27s), so you don't need as strong air cover. I'm sure the north Atlantic campaign must be really tough.

So far I find the older planes to be pretty good, apart from the A-7. The A-6 is probably the best ground attack plane in the game (those extra weight points make a huge difference, and I usually specialize my planes, so not having an air attack capability is no big deal), and the F-14 is great because of the Phoenix missile (which makes the pilot being slow or fast mostly irrelevant). But I can fully understand you, having all your ground pounders be A-7s must be really tough; in my Taiwan campaign, even with F-18Cs I often find it's not enough and need a couple of -Es to help out with some missions.

But what I'd be curious about hearing is what situations do you use those special weapons in? I find that HARMs are usually very good and all you need to take out defences, and then to attack the target it's all or nothing: either you can do it completely with special weapons (which I think is too expensive), or if you're going to need regular bombs anyway you might as well do it with those alone.

Mind you, as I mentioned, air to air is a completely different story. In that case, I think the special long range missiles are completely vital, and I can't see a good way to succeed without them.
 
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ben saylor
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I find that--if the year of the campaign allows--I take a veteran F-14. The long range first strike Phoenix Missiles can clear out almost all the fighters. This clears one or two of my F-18C's with HARM's to take out most sites. I load up the rest of the planes with ECM's and have them come in over the target. I tend to take out JDAM's against fixed targets but normally reserve my SO points for the F-14.I use my SA to try and clear out serious threats on the first turn.Then I use my two skilled F-18E's or F's to take out the target (normally have them in the center on turn 4 and have them unload all ordinance at once).

About 80% of the time this works great. However, if a few of the HARM's miss things can get hairy; however, the ECM's help out. So far in my 3 campaigns I've only lost one pilot using this basic strategy.
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Ryan
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avale wrote:
But what I'd be curious about hearing is what situations do you use those special weapons in? I find that HARMs are usually very good and all you need to take out defences, and then to attack the target it's all or nothing: either you can do it completely with special weapons (which I think is too expensive), or if you're going to need regular bombs anyway you might as well do it with those alone.

Here's an example from a recent mission:

Squadron Composition:
2 F-14
3 A-7
1 EA-6B
1 E-2C

Target 29 (can't remember the name), worth 3 VP.
d10-1 Requires 10 hits to destroy (-1 to 9 hits with my Infra level) but it has the "overkill" trait, which awards 1 VP for 13+ hits.
d10-2 The WP level for the zone it's located in is -2, so my 3 A-7s will definitely use the refuel option, otherwise they'd only have 5 WP.
d10-3 If I remember correctly, there are 6 sites in the center and 2 in each approach. Several have a long range of 3 (SA-6 and SA-10, I believe). There are also some other sites that hit at range 0-1 at High or Low altitude, so I need AGM-88s for each.
d10-4I know 10 bandit chits will be drawn, so my F-14's will carry AtA munitions only.
d10-5 It's Day 6 of a 9 day Iraq 1991 campaign, and I have 16 VP. I need 29 VP for a great evaluation, but since I lost an aircraft earlier, but recovered the pilot, I'll need to earn 30 VP for a great evaluation. With only 4 days left to earn 14 VP, I need to average more than 3 VP per day to earn my great evaluation, so going for the overkill is a must.
d10-6 21 WP between 3 A-7s. I outfit them with the following:

Hoss
1 x GBU 10
1 x GBU 16
1 x AGM-88
1 ECM

Wash
1 x GBU 10
1 x GBU 16
1 x AGM-88
1 ECM

Psycho
2 x GBU 12
2 x AGM-88
2 x Rockets
1 ECM

EA-6B
4 x AGM-88

With the GBU 10s and GBU 16s, I feel that I'll easily succeed in destroying the target (if all my bombers make it over target) and a pretty decent chance of getting the overkill (my main goal). But just to be safe I add a couple GBU 12s to Psycho's arsenal. There's also a nasty M1939 (can't hit with AGM-88) on the target zone, and since I don't want to fly low with an iron bomb or rocket to knock it out with about 6 sites with Low attack capability nearby, I figure a GBU 12 would be great to suppress that should the ECM fail. As far as my munitions to knock out and suppress the rest of the sites, I think I'm in good shape, especially with the ECM pods.

The sites around the target were dominated by systems with Low attack capability. I didn't have enough WP allowance to knock those out, so I decided to attack at High elevation and the only weapons suited to that strategy, in the quantity and effectiveness I desired (in the Iraq campaign), required SO points.

That was a really long explanation. Hopefully it was entertaining and answered your question.

By the way, my star A-7 pilot whiffed both of his attacks with the GBU-10 and GBU-16 bombs, scoring only three hits. I ended up needing one GBU-12 from Psycho to get the overkill, so I'm glad I planned for that contingency. I can't believe my best AtG pilot whiffed the attack with the GBU bombs. Ironically, on the secondary mission I flew that same day against "Enemy Troops", my best AtG F-14 pilot dropped 4 Mk. 20 cluster bombs on the troops and scores the maximum damage possible with 8 hits! I love how the die rolls can turn a primarily air to air pilot and aircraft into a ground target killing machine while the air to ground specialist scores minimal damage with high tech weapons.

I love the stories this game creates.
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Ryan
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happyloaf wrote:
About 80% of the time this works great. However, if a few of the HARM's miss things can get hairy; however, the ECM's help out. So far in my 3 campaigns I've only lost one pilot using this basic strategy.


Copy that!

I had one of my EA-6B pilots miss with all four AGM-88s one mission. He rolled a d10-1 three or four times. I was so frustrated! shake
 
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António Vale
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Ryanmobile wrote:
That was a really long explanation. Hopefully it was entertaining and answered your question.

Thanks, that was an interesting read. Flying against such a heavily defended target having only A-7s for ground attack is certainly a complicated proposition. But between the GBUs, Phoenixes for the F-14s and the refuelling that must have been a horribly expensive mission.

After taking another look at the weapons counters, I actually thought of a situation where you might want to bring the odd GBU along with iron bombs: simply, GBUs on average do an extra hit, for the same weight, compared to iron bombs. So if you're not sure you have enough bombs to take out the target you might want to replace one of the regular bombs with a GBU. That's not so expensive that it might not be feasible most missions.

By the way, don't underestimate one of the less straightforward advantages of bombing low: strafing. That has saved my skin on a couple of occasions. Once, I was 2 hits short of destroying a target with one turn to go, but still had a good AtG pilot with a Mk 84 left, so I was confident of making it. Unfortunately, that plane got damaged by a pesky MiG-23 I hadn't managed to shoot down after several attempts, so I lost the bomb. I then had two remaining pilots strafe the target, the +2 AtG guy missed, but the +0 green pilot hit. Still, I was one hit short... until I realized, when I was already recording the mission results, that my infra was at -1 hits! I had destroyed the target after all...
 
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Uwe Heilmann
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Hi, Antonio

reading all this I don't know if I should either simply sit down and wonder what stupid mistakes I do in my mission preps and play or wonder about the two different games we seem to play.

Just a few remarks:
(1) You stated you played a LONG Taiwan campaign. That provides you 77 SO points for 11 days, i.e. an average of 7 SO points per day. Without AAR you would have about 7+6 SO points for special ordnance per day.
But as all targets reduce the attackers' WP by at least 1, AAR seems to be necessary. That reduces the amount of SO points considerably. Now think about the option to conduct two missions per day ... I think it's hard to get above an ADEQUATE campaign result without performing a couple of secondary missions.

(2) NO ECM Pods? Those gizmos provide your pilots and crews a very effective 50% chance to survive each time they get into trouble.

(3) I wonder how to carry all this ordnance if your number of a/c is to be 4 or less.

(4) MAVERICKS are great against vehicle type targets. And they have a range greater 1. The ROCKEYEs are most effective against dispersed targets. And so on.

(5) Do you manage to cover all those nasty target "improvements" so easily? For example, there are those extra bandits popping up at start of each TURN OVER TARGET in the center area if your set of revealed Target cards contains "Airfields". Try to annihilate a MAJOR AIRFIELD; you have only 7 aircraft available (unless, of course, you spend some extra SO points for your campaign). This target alone could produce 10 bandits for turn 1, and three more pop up at start of the turns 2 to 5. Of course, lucky guys draw a lot of "NO BANDIT" counters ...
What about target 47? As long as it is in play, it eats away some improvement on the recon/intel/infra tracks. Or the scuds? They eat your VPs.


Cheers
U.L.H.

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António Vale
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Hey Uwe,

Let me give you a rough outline of the thinking behind my campaign, maybe it'll be easier to understand that way.

First, squadron selection is very important and can make a huge difference. In the future I'll probably play with random selection, as that should make things more varied, but for now I'll look mostly to pilots with good attack bonuses (+1, preferably +2). Good stress range and/or cool are also good to have in a long campaign, but for the most part I ignore slow/fast and SA: in most cases, I'll rather have a slow +2 pilot than a fast +1. The only exception is that I'll look for a veteran pilot with lots of SA to be squadron leader (Talon seems to be a good choice here).

As you mention, a long Taiwan campaign gives you 77 SOs to start. In my case, I picked 3 F-18Es, so that's -18 points. I figure you'll probably need to use R&R twice, so that's another 18 points, leaving 41. Over the 11 days, there's probably going to be a few really tough missions where tankers are a must, so let's say another points 15 for tankers (I'd guess probably more), leaving 26. As you mention, you need to fly a few secondary missions, and you're going to need AIM-120s in those; I'm assuming the 6 free daily points already go towards AIM-120s for the primary mission, so the secondary has to be paid from your budget, let's say 2 missiles each for 4 missions, another 8 points leaving you 18. Which means all the special bombs you're going to use over some 15 missions have to come out of those 18 SO points, plus whatever you get from events. Now consider using JDAMs one time costs 12 points... In older campaigns with fewer free SOs, things are going to be even tighter.

Now, let's look at mission planning. I don't have the game with me, so I can't give an actual example, but let's think about a 4 aircraft mission. Typical weight allowance is 8, if you have a penalty of -2 that gives you 6 per plane (in deeper missions you can compensate by taking heavier planes like the -Es, or using tankers). I'll usually break this down into 1 plane for air cover, 1 for defence suppression and 2 attack planes (actually these will be a bit mixed, to maximize the number of targets you can hit in the first turn). Some further thoughts:

1) The combination of AIM-120s, a good +2 AtA pilot and an E-2C giving +1 on the rolls is lethal: anything less than a MiG-29 or Su-27 is an auto-kill, and even those will get hit 90% of the time. So unless you're particularly unlucky, 6 AtA missiles will probably give you a good 5 kills; considering half the counters are no bandit, I'd feel safe going against anything with 8 potential bandits or less.

2) The distribution gives you 6 HARMs, which usually means a good 4 kills, normally enough for a typical small target. For me this is the biggest difference from Phantom Leader, as here almost all the defences can be killed with a HARM, which is a fantastic weapon. First priority goes to SAMs with 3 range which can usually hit you straight away; with some fancy deployment you may be able to avoid fire from one of them in the first turn, just be careful with high firing AAA like the KS-19 (meaning avoid the areas with it, as you can't hit it with a HARM).

3) 12 WPs of bombs means 4 Mk 84 bombs. I usually assume 1.5 hits for each, which gives 6 total hits, usually enough to take out the smaller targets (and you usually get more than 4 planes against the bigger ones, anyway).

4) Mavericks are awesome, but unfortunately of limited use. I use them against vehicle targets, and it actually tends to make missions easier as I can ignore a larger part of the defences.

5) Cluster bombs (the Mk 20) are nice, but again of very limited use. I use them either against appropriate targets, or I give them to fast pilots to kill sites in the centre area that I can't hit with HARMs.

6) Other special weapons are nice, but as you can see from the calculation above they'll be a luxury you won't be able to afford very often. I'd use them in the toughest missions, or when the weight budget is tight to ensure an extra hit or two.

7) ECM... This is a tough one. It's sure very nice to have, but an ECM in each plane, even in a 4 plane mission means 4 WPs not used for weapons; that could be another 4 HARMs... I think the whole point of this approach is to kill anything before it can even fire at you. From that viewpoint, ECMs are just taking up weight that could be taken with more weapons (and I'm starting to think the same thing applies to EA-6s as well, actually). But if you think you won't be able to destroy all threatning sites, then they can definitely be a lifesaver.

8) About improvements: remember you can turn target cards one at a time. I'll usually stop and attack any improvement that I get.

So there you go. I've found that this approach can take you through most missions. The major problem is that the margin can be pretty thin: a few unlucky rolls, or more often, a couple of nasty events can really ruin your day. Given that, I'd certainly recommend taking an E-2C whenever you can.

I think I've probably written too much on this subject already But I hope some people find this useful.

PS: I'm starting a north Atlantic campaign this weekend. From what I've seen so far, I think things are going to work out very different there...
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Ryanmobile wrote:
happyloaf wrote:
About 80% of the time this works great. However, if a few of the HARM's miss things can get hairy; however, the ECM's help out. So far in my 3 campaigns I've only lost one pilot using this basic strategy.


Copy that!

I had one of my EA-6B pilots miss with all four AGM-88s one mission. He rolled a d10-1 three or four times. I was so frustrated! shake


a roll of 1 for 3 or 4 times ?? isnt that an illegal roll ?
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dprijadi wrote:
Ryanmobile wrote:
happyloaf wrote:
About 80% of the time this works great. However, if a few of the HARM's miss things can get hairy; however, the ECM's help out. So far in my 3 campaigns I've only lost one pilot using this basic strategy.


Copy that!

I had one of my EA-6B pilots miss with all four AGM-88s one mission. He rolled a d10-1 three or four times. I was so frustrated! shake


a roll of 1 for 3 or 4 times ?? isnt that an illegal roll ?


I rolled a d10-1 for 3 or all 4 of the AGM-88s over the course of the mission. I didn't roll multiple times for the same munition. thumbsdown No cheating here.
 
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Ryanmobile wrote:
dprijadi wrote:
Ryanmobile wrote:
happyloaf wrote:
About 80% of the time this works great. However, if a few of the HARM's miss things can get hairy; however, the ECM's help out. So far in my 3 campaigns I've only lost one pilot using this basic strategy.


Copy that!

I had one of my EA-6B pilots miss with all four AGM-88s one mission. He rolled a d10-1 three or four times. I was so frustrated! shake


a roll of 1 for 3 or 4 times ?? isnt that an illegal roll ?


I rolled a d10-1 for 3 or all 4 of the AGM-88s over the course of the mission. I didn't roll multiple times for the same munition. thumbsdown No cheating here.


sorry i dont mean that you cheat , its just a roll of one 4 times in a row ? is it because you dont shake the dice enough ?
 
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dprijadi wrote:
Ryanmobile wrote:
dprijadi wrote:
Ryanmobile wrote:
happyloaf wrote:
About 80% of the time this works great. However, if a few of the HARM's miss things can get hairy; however, the ECM's help out. So far in my 3 campaigns I've only lost one pilot using this basic strategy.


Copy that!

I had one of my EA-6B pilots miss with all four AGM-88s one mission. He rolled a d10-1 three or four times. I was so frustrated! shake


a roll of 1 for 3 or 4 times ?? isnt that an illegal roll ?


I rolled a d10-1 for 3 or all 4 of the AGM-88s over the course of the mission. I didn't roll multiple times for the same munition. thumbsdown No cheating here.


sorry i dont mean that you cheat , its just a roll of one 4 times in a row ? is it because you dont shake the dice enough ?


No offense taken.

No I don't roll 4 times in a row. The aircraft has 4 AGM-88s. They are not "independent" rated, so I can only one or more of them at one target per turn. Over the course of the mission, I fired all 4 AGM-88s (over 4 turns), missed with all four, rolling d10-1 on at least 3 of the four rolls. I only roll once per munition used, as per the rules. 3 or 4 rolls of d10-1 over the course of the mission for that pilot equals really bad luck.
 
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Ryanmobile wrote:
dprijadi wrote:
Ryanmobile wrote:
dprijadi wrote:
Ryanmobile wrote:
happyloaf wrote:
About 80% of the time this works great. However, if a few of the HARM's miss things can get hairy; however, the ECM's help out. So far in my 3 campaigns I've only lost one pilot using this basic strategy.


Copy that!

I had one of my EA-6B pilots miss with all four AGM-88s one mission. He rolled a d10-1 three or four times. I was so frustrated! shake


a roll of 1 for 3 or 4 times ?? isnt that an illegal roll ?


I rolled a d10-1 for 3 or all 4 of the AGM-88s over the course of the mission. I didn't roll multiple times for the same munition. thumbsdown No cheating here.


sorry i dont mean that you cheat , its just a roll of one 4 times in a row ? is it because you dont shake the dice enough ?


No offense taken.

No I don't roll 4 times in a row. The aircraft has 4 AGM-88s. They are not "independent" rated, so I can only one or more of them at one target per turn. Over the course of the mission, I fired all 4 AGM-88s (over 4 turns), missed with all four, rolling d10-1 on at least 3 of the four rolls. I only roll once per munition used, as per the rules. 3 or 4 rolls of d10-1 over the course of the mission for that pilot equals really bad luck.


i need to reread the rulebook for the 100th time.. a pilot can fire multiple weapon to a single target in 1 attack ? dang i always fire 1 weapon to 1 target everytime i attack except when it is an independent weapon where i shoot at multiple enemy but still using 1 weapon for each target...
 
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dprijadi wrote:


i need to reread the rulebook for the 100th time.. a pilot can fire multiple weapon to a single target in 1 attack ? dang i always fire 1 weapon to 1 target everytime i attack except when it is an independent weapon where i shoot at multiple enemy but still using 1 weapon for each target...


I did that the first time I played, too.
 
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Richard Dewsbery
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You can fire lots of weapons from one plane at a single target; but each plane can only attack ONE target when making an attack, unless firing Independent weapons. Me, I like dropping between eight and ten iron bombs all at once onto the target

dprijadi wrote:
a roll of 1 for 3 or 4 times ?? isnt that an illegal roll ?


I wish it was. I flew a mission last night where two out of eight HARMs hit their targets. And a couple of the rolls were at +2! Thankfully the only pilot that got too stressed by enemy fire was Moon, and I can happily finish off the campaign without him. Pretty much all he has managed to do in the first seven days of a nine-day campaign is reinforce my already negative views on the abilities of EA-8b Prowlers. The A-6 drivers have steadily accumulated kills and experience to the point where they are much more reliable site-suppressors and still have 8 more WPs to play with.
 
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avale wrote:
My problem right now is that the mission flying tends to be a bit monotonous because I end up always using the same tactics, and never use most of the special, cool weapons. I'd be interested to hear what other people think and how they approach this. njoy the game, no matter any issues that I may have touched upon here.


Dear avale

after trying out HL: CAO campaigns , i also found out the same tactic as you did. Load up on AIM120 to clear bandits 1st and AGM88 to clear long-range SAM sites , all at TURN#1 using E2C Situational Awareness.. after the initial turn, the rest is easy meat.. sometimes too easy..

BUT

once i tried to do US MARINE campaign using Harrier (cannot load AGM88) and JSF (cannot load AGM88 either), then the mission become a nightmare for me since all my previous tactics is now useless (clearing SAM sites with HARM) and no E2C allowed . Thankfully the Harrier's NoE flight style and JSF's stealth saved the day.. (the campaign is documented here : http://boardgamegeek.com/thread/693468/hornet-leader-short-c...)

When i go back using hornets , i resumed my old tactics.. using dumb bombs to hit targets or even using mavericks if im too lazy to fly closer.. Saving SO for Air Refueling is a must as i loath the -WP penalty..

I guess phantom leader is more like old-school bombing run instead of hornet's modern weapons..
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