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Subject: Proposed Variant: Corsair Leader - Carrier Air Operations rss

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Steve Willows
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I believe that a PTO game such as this should have the option of feeling like you are a carrier commander. This variant puts you in the shoes of a carrier commander.

Keep in mind that none of this is play tested. That’s why it is a proposed variant. Feel free to add your own suggestions.

First, we rob and simplify a rule from Hornet CAO. In each tactical scenario, the highest-ranking fighter pilot will be the flight leader. The player chooses in case of a tie. Once per mission the flight leader may make one slow pilot a fast one for one phase. Different pilots do NOT have different levels of Situational Awareness (SA).

Secondly, as a commander of a large WWII flattop, you have the following squadrons available to you; two SBD and one Corsair.

This will affect your choice of pilots. Not only that, but while you may still choose USAF planes and pilots for your roster, you may not control them (mwuhahahaha!).

Your roster may not exceed 5 fighters. In addition, if you choose to swap a Navy SBD for a USAF B-17 or B-25, you do so on a one-for-one basis. However, the following special rules apply;

You may not exceed two USAF planes on your roster. Two B-17’s or two B-25’s or one of each.

You may not tactically control a USAF bomber (you may level them or remove stress). It may not wait in a zone. It must move towards the target each turn and drop its bombs and exit ASAP. In addition, a USAF bomber may not receive a SA bonus under any circumstance. However, if you have no USAF Pilots on your roster you may fly one additional plane per mission than a scenario/campaign would normally allow.

That’s it so far.

Keep in mind that I have not yet even played the game! I ordered the Vassal version at about noon today but I suspect they are going to need 24 hours to confirm payment or some crap like that. *sigh*

So I wrote this and posted it. Shoot me. I’m chomping at the bit to play.
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Interesting, I own the pdf print n play version, and just might give this a go this weekend. Thanks
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Steve Willows
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Cool! Let me know what you think.

Unfortunately there appears to be a problem with my module so I can't play until that is resolved, Dan seems to keep a pretty good eye on things though so hopefully it won't be too long.

At first blush I wonder if adding one plane per mission is enough to make up for not having any level bombers with their huge WP capacity. It might need to be tweaked further; perhaps with additional ordinance points.

Another thing is that I thought about limiting fighters to four to get the proper carrier ratio. In order for that to work properly you'd need to select 8 SBDs which obviously leaves no room for level bombers. Perhaps, then, USAF bombers do not take roster spots though you'd still be limited to two, and they can only be used against large targets.

Of course, not having seen the cards I'm not sure if any targets are designated as such. If not, we'd need to modify some logical high hit point targets as such.

I also wouldn't mind some scramble missions but the difficulty there is that I am assuming that a squadron of Corsairs is on constant (and therefore for game purposes, inherent) CAP, and not normally available to the player.

The actual issue is that if we want to bring the CAP fighters in to play, that means squadron size would be reduced to three, and you'd be forced to take six Corsairs and six SBDs. That would give you the option of leaving your carrier unprotected during a strike. But, how would we simulate the possible consequence of that decision? Event cards? On a die roll you're sunk and game over? Seems a bit extreme and I think you'd not have enough bombers and would affect game balance.
 
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John Seaman
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Interesting idea, Steve!

Does this variant use the Marine pilots from the original version, or is there a whole new set of Navy pilots? Marine pilots did occationally fly from the Navy's carriers, especially late in the war. Perhaps you could include a system for a player to create his/her own pilots.

I'm guessing that, from my knowledge of the original game and your description of your variant, the player takes the role of an aircraft carrier's air group commander, or CAG (today that particular job is known as the air wing commander). The CAG is responsible for all aircraft operations aboard the aircraft carrier. The aircraft carrier's captain/commanding officer would have a different job to do.

As F4Us did not fly off of US carriers until late in the war (late fall of 1944 at earliest, I believe - the US Navy did not initially think that the Corsair was suitable for aircraft carrier operations, which also accounts for all of the Marine aviators in the original game), the SBD Dauntlesses should probably be replaced by SB2C Helldivers (which began replacing the SBD in US Navy squadrons beginning in 1943). In addition, TBF/TBM Avenger torpedo bombers should probably be included in the carrier air group's mix of aircraft, as well.

One thing I really like about your idea, if nothing else (and there are a lot of things I like about it), is that it would introduce new campaigns to the Corsair Leader game - something that I feel the game really needs.

I look forward to seeing how your idea comes out.
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Steve Willows
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Well, I think there’s a lot of places that we could take the game as modders. Unfortunately, I still can’t get the vassal version to work and Dan has yet to reply here or to my email, so in desperation I went out tonight and bought a few things to make up a physical copy of the game. Would be nice to play test my own ideas.

For now the campaigns will use existing pilots and components only because it would be useless to work up a bunch of new stuff for a variant that is unbalanced or not fun. Once I play with it a bit and hopefully get some feedback, then we can start to add things like components (rockets and napalm!) and new pilots and historically accurate planes for the scenarios. So, for now, we pretend a little and see if the idea works.

One thing that you mentioned got the wheels turning; the ability to create new pilots on your own. Perhaps some type of random generator system would be in order here. I’ll give it more thought. Nice idea.

I did mention torpedoes in another topic and I think it’s the biggest thing missing in the game.

Of course, adding things like torpedoes or rockets would take some doing unless Dan wants to surrender his algorithms. Doable though.

Unfortunately I’m no artist. A typical physical addition I might make to a game like this would generally consist of blank counters with things like BB, CA and DD and a few stats scribbled in pen on them.

Anyway, yeah. The player as CAG is exactly what I’m trying to do here, although the commander would of course be choosing the targets,

Let us know what you think if you decide to try it out. If nothing else, stay tuned because I will be seeing how this whole thing goes, reporting in, perhaps even posting a session with some of the new ideas incorporated.
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Steve Willows
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Your roster may not exceed 5 fighters. In addition, if you choose to swap a Navy SBD for a USAF B-17 or B-25, you do so on a one-for-one basis. However, the following special rules apply;

You may not exceed two USAF planes on your roster. Two B-17’s or two B-25’s or one of each.


Ok, I'm an idiot. This is actually not possible using only the standard components. I did look at them but for some reason even knowing that pilots level I somehow assumed there were 6 SBDs. There are not. There are only 3 (I realized while assembling them *forehead smack*). And they stink (newbie, green and average to start)

That's ok though, I still intend to construct a plug and play carrier campaign it is simply that the USAF must be involved.

I have some ideas about that too, but I'm done theorizing. Hehe. I will start play testing some new stuff on Saturday.
 
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