Having played a few games of this title, I've settled in to exploring all its corners, aiming to try each of the campaigns, and each of the scenarios (I'll leave trying all combinations to future research...).
For this game, I got to pick both a new campaign, and the last untried scenario: Israel Defense 2001, Rapid Deployment.
I'd shied away from Rapid Deployment, as 25 SOs is as low as it goes. Coming to the game from Hornet Leader: Carrier Air Operations, I've gotten used to having largish numbers of aircraft on each mission. Time to leave the comfort zone and experience more of this great game!
I chose 2 A-10As, 1 AH-64A, and 1 Ah-1, for a total of 22 SO points. No scouts, either; they're a great force multiplier, but you have to have the force to multiply in the first place (the same goes for the drones). My general plan was to send 1 'hog and 1 helo on each mission, hoping that I could stop the enemy from advancing into the air base range band (an automatic loss of the campaign) while attacking just two battalions a day.
I was facing the following enemy formations: 2A Tank Force [5 VPs], 3A Mechanized [3 VPs], 4A Mixed Force [3 VPs], 7A Dismounted [2 VPs], 9A Fast Assault [3 VPs, +2 Move], and the nasty 12A Air Defense Unit [+1 range AA units];
1S Artillery Unit [6 VPs, -2 SOs at day end], 3S Bombardment [4 VPs -1 SO at day start], and 7S Reserves [1 VP];
1C Command Unit [5 VPs, +2 all move rolls], 5C Headquarters [4 VPs].
Day 1: I attacked 1C and 1S, the targets with the highest VP values and the nastiest special effects. I had 3 SOs at the start of the game, minus 1 for the effect from bn 3S, and spent 1 SO on munitions for the first mission (I often run a very slim margin of error with SOs, which has lost me a campaign before). I destroyed it, but drew the dreaded enemy air Mission Event Card; with no scouts to destroy, I lost my single remaining SO point, and had to run the second mission of the day, against the Artillery Unit, with second-tier munitions (LAU-68s and iron bombs). That didn't go so well; I only reduced the battalion to half strength, and racked up 8 stress on my star A-10 pilot (Thor). But I had at least knocked out the -2 SO special effect.
End of Day 1: 4 SO points (first day's allowance of 6, minus 2 SOs for critical repairs), 8 VPs earned.
On day 2, I attacked 3A and 9A, which were getting uncomfortably close. I happened to draw the Resupply Special Condition, so I had plenty of SOs to spend; even so, I kept to 1 SO on munitions per mission. I destroyed both, though I got an AH-64 pilot to 7 stress, for 6 more VPs. With the generous 9 SO points at the end of the day, I decided to send my pilots on well-earned R&R, and spent 5 SOs on repairs.
On Day 3, I attacked and destroyed 12A and 2A, this time spending 2 SOs on munitions for each mission. I drew Reduced Enemy Air Cover, removing the helicopters from 2A. Against the frightening field of red in 12A, I sent my two fast pilots: Grandpa in the AH-1, Pirate in an A-10 (he had leveled up to Skilled after flying two missions in which all units were destroyed; this was my only promotion in the whole campaign). I loaded mavericks and GBUs on the A-10 as well as a handful of Rockeyes; they cleared all the AA in line of sight the first turn. My pilots had a harder time with all the tanks in 12A, but I destroyed that battalion too (barely). Even with lavish expenditures on weapons, with the generous 3rd day allowance from the scenario (12 SOs!) I had enough to give them another R&R, and make another 5 repairs.
Day 4: 3S had pushed into the Friendly Transit range band, threatening to lose me the campaign at the very end if I didn't destroy it; I also attacked 1S (mopping up the reduced Artillery Unit battalion for an easy 3 VPs). I spent 2 SOs on munitions for the first, critical attack, and only 1 SO point on the second mission (fearing a campaign loss from unpayable SO expenditures in the reshuffled Mission Event cards). In the first mission, I took 12 Mk 20s on the A-10; the last turn of the game had me dropping my last 6 Rockeyes on a hex with 5 units in it (it was a cul-de-sac blocked from low-altitude LOS from every other hex).
Final tally: 30 VPs earned: my first Great result playing this game (I've come within a point before). I also learned that even a handful of aircraft can succeed (especially with generous quantities of SOs to keep my pilots relaxed and my aircraft in good repair). And I deepened my appreciation for how well balanced and designed this game is. Having played all the different scenarios now, I can certify that they all seem to be about the same difficulty level: competence and reasonable luck can get you a Good rating; you've got to push it and be a bit lucky to get to Great. That sounds right.
- Last edited Sun Aug 12, 2012 6:06 am (Total Number of Edits: 1)
- Posted Sun Aug 12, 2012 2:44 am
Well done AAR and congrats on the Great!