Some thoughts after playing a few campaigns:
You never have enough SO points.
Even so, be sure to keep a few in reserve at all times. Why? Besides critical repairs and R&R, there are card effects where you’ll want to (sometimes, HAVE to) spend SO points. And be very careful: if you have to spend SO points and have none left, you lose the game, period.
More aircraft is better. At first I wanted to play with Predators, Spectres, and the upgraded A-10Cs and AH-64Ds. Yes, they have incredible capabilities. But every extra SO point is a painful loss. All things equal, the same number of weapons is better on more aircraft rather than fewer, as they can attack more targets, wiping those nasty threats off the board faster, and spreading what fire they do take over more friendly targets.
In my last campaign, I took: 3 AH-1s, 1 AH-64A, 1 A-10A, 1 F-16, 1 AV-8B. Cheap as can be, lots of pilots to spread the stress around and bring various specialties (high attack skills, fast, evasive, as the situation dictates). No linked fire, no all-pilots-fast, no fly-high-and-kill-everything. But they get the job done.
Especially near the beginning of a long campaign, it’s not at all a bad idea to aim to reduce a battalion to half rather than destroying it outright. This is a whole lot easier than full destruction, so you can send fewer planes, and thus attack more targets. Benefits of reducing to half:
-- You get half the VPs
-- Those nasty Battalion special effects are neutralized
-- Move rolls at -3 (this is huge!)
-- Next time around, it’s a much milder threat (half the units).
So, next time a pile of battalions are poised to enter your rear areas, think about hitting more of them lightly, rather than focusing like a laser on one or two. Of course, there’s a downside, which is that you can be too successful driving them back, and have only targets in enemy transit and rear sectors. But I’ll take that over an unstoppable wave of enemies getting too close.
It takes a few games to get a good feel for movement, especially for helicopters (which have a tendency to get stuck on the board and have to take bingo fuel checks) and the AC-130, where it takes some practice to get the hang of how and where to move it to attack most effectively. The F-16 needs room to run, which also takes getting used to.
So far, I’m finding the difficulty level of this game just right. It’s a serious challenge; in HL:CAO and UBL, I feel like I’ve got the tactics down, and I’m disappointed if I get a “good” result rather than the usual “great”. Not so here, not yet. Almost every mission is a nail-biter.
Great game, Dan, I’m loving this one!
Thank you Dave!