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Subject: First game shame and ensuing thoughts rss

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Walter Hearne
United States
Ashburn
Virginia
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I finished up my first game of PF over the weekend and I failed miserably. I failed to take anything above the 33-41 line and lost six squads in the process (three on my futile final turn), along with two IIF squads. Captain theduke34 has been relieved of his company command and will likely spend the rest of his "career" inspecting latrines at Camp Pendleton, using his downtime to write letters to widows explaining how his gross incompetence got a few dozen good marines killed.

PF is a very good game. It's a tough slog. It gave me greater appreciation for what our troops faced in Fallujah. I've been turning over in my mind what I did wrong. One thing I identified was that I was far too stingy with my CAATs in the first 6 or so turns. I was afraid of expending them for fear that I would find myself empty of ammo and explosives in critical situation. Well, the critical situation came and went before I could catch up mentally.

Another thing I singled out was my misuse of the UAVs. It seems to me that the only worthwhile use of the Dragon Eye mission is to activate suspect markers for fire combat purposes, since firing on activated insurgents doesn't draw sniper fire. Using them as a prelude to an assault is a waste of time, since you're going to be activating these markers with Defensive Fire anyway. If you're going to take Zone 23, take (bleeping) Zone 23.

I didn't feel much incentive to detach my Security Element, for two reasons. First, I was loathe to give up any of a squad's combat power for an assault, especially after the squad had taken a step loss. Second, the primary reason for detaching the SE is to prevent guerrillas from retreating. From a strictly gameplay point of view, preventing guerrillas from retreating allows you destroy them and gain 1VP while keeping them from reinforcing another zone, but since the ultimate objective is to clear the map of insurgents, it doesn't make that much of a difference whether the guerrillas are killed or leave the battlefield. From a thematic point of view, the 1VP reward would seem to promote a "body count" mentality that is questionable given what I take to be the operational goals of Phantom Fury.

Some of the things I read/watched before playing indicated that players would fare best with an unbroken line of advance. The problem is that so many damn things go wrong. Some of my squads would get pinned for one or more turns, or get stuck trying to root out a particularly nasty martyr unit, or suffer a step loss that would make me fearful of pushing them too hard. Then I would get frustrated with having my more advanced squads wasting turns just sitting there or taking silly pot shots at suspect markers and drawing sniper fire. I think part of the solution lies in bringing in the company reinforcements early and using them to plug gaps, allowing for more creative lines of advance (such as moving units laterally through adjacent zones whenever possible to minimize street crossings) without exposing the rear to infiltration.


These are just some preliminary thoughts and I would like to hear others' views, especially if I am wrong about something.
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laurent Closier
France
SAINT-BRIEUC
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Thank you very much for your comments Walter.

About CAAT and Support Missions, you have to use them from turn 1. You should not end the game with Ammo/Explosives markers still on the map and Support Missions not commited. Do not be shy, use them ;-)
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Kev.
United States
Austin
Texas
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I did not see u use comments re tank? It is also key
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Walter Hearne
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I didn't use my tank very well. I kept it in the lower right area for most of the time since that's where most of my early problems developed (squads pinned, IEDs, fanaticism, etc.). I began the game not understanding that I could use USMC units for fire combat against insurgents in the mosque. Eventually I got my tank over there, but it was probably too late and some bad die rolls didn't help.
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Brad Heath
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On turn three of this game and still learning the rules as I go but yes use all of the support you can get including those CAATs!
 
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