Thunderbolt Apache Leader AAR

Started by JudgeDredd, July 26, 2012, 01:22:28 AM

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I'm going to do a TAL AAR. I'll do it in the "style" of the game rather than a personal style - meaning it'll be more about the mechanics than making it sound like a real scenario.

So it's more about showing the contents, how they work and the gameplay.

Please remember I just got this game, so I'll be learning as I write - so I will correct any errors I spot/are pointed out as I go by editing the relevant post.

The first thing I have to do is choose my campaign - and for this I go with the manual suggestion - Iraq 1991 which is specified as Introductory level. There are 4 campaign cards all double sided giving 8 possible campaigns to play.

The campaigns are
Iraq 1991
Libya 1984
WWIII North Atlantic
Libya 2011
North Korea 2011
Pakistan 2013
Israel Defence 2001
Iran 2014

On the card you will see :

1. the Country
2. the Year - limits the aircraft you can select from
3. the Campaign Level
4. the Evaluation - your score will fall into one of these categories
5. the Battalion points - you randomly pick Battalions (which have a number of points associated to them) up to this value
6. the Terrain - these numbers coincide with the terrain hexes
7. the Special Notes section - informing you of any special instructions related to the campaign

The next thing to select is the Situation card. There are 3 double sided cards giving 6 possible selections. Again, I go with the manual and select Surge.

The Situation cards are:
Show of Force
Holding Action
Rapid Deployment
General War

The Situation card specifies the following information:

1. Name
2. SO Points - these are you special option points at the start of the campaign. You use SO points to buy your aircraft, special weapons, promote pilots or other optional items
3. Days - the number of days the campaign will last for
4. Daily SO Points - the number of SO points replenished to your unit at the end of each day
5. Tactical Situation - special instructions you need to adhere to regarding the campaign
6. Description - a general description of the overall situation

Next will be determining Battalions present on the battlefield, selecting aircraft and pilots and some other setup stuff and then onto the campaign...more to follow
Alba gu' brath


Hey JD,

Thanks for doing this. I'm very interested in this game.

Question: for the "Situation" card, you said you went with the manuals suggestion, is this normally a random draw or is it always player choice? Does it last for the entire campaign?


np Barthheart

It's your choice. It's a different method to selecting your campaign parameters. For example, in Phantom/Hornet Leader you choose the campaign length and that determined your campaign makeup - this is similar but you have it in card form.

And yes - it is your campaign status and lasts the entire campaign. It basically tells you how the campaign will play - length, initial SO points, gained SO points per day
Alba gu' brath


Thanks Judge...

Oh by the way.... you should really refinish yer table top....  ;D


Yeah - 2nd hand tables for my modelling...I doubt they're condition will ever get any better!
Alba gu' brath


Thanks for doing this, Judge 8)

...can you please put a well known item that not distract from the cool game stuff (like a common match) as a ruler for the size next to the object when you take a picture. 


Alba gu' brath


Being smart - I thought I'd use a dice because it's in the game theme - but then I thought some people not know what the size of that dice is.

So after the few photos I've taken, I'll find something else (like a match!)
Alba gu' brath


The next stage of the setup is selecting the battalions you will face on the battlefield.

This is a Battalion card

1. Battalion Type
2. Enemy Units - the units you place for this battalion
3. Battalion Designation - this relates to a small counter used on the tactical board
4. VP - Victory Points gained for destroying the battalion
5. Half/Destroyed Values - each unit in a battalion has a value and those values determine it's strength. If the value of the units on the tactical display falls below the first number, then the battalion is flipped to it's half strength side and if it falls equal to or below the second value, then the battalion is destroyed and you get the VPs for the destruction
6. Special Notes - notes relating to (but sometimes not solely to) the battalion

There are 3 types:
Assault Battalions
Support Battalions
Command Battalions

You pick battalions based on their value (as seen above no.4) and you pick them like so...
Pick 2 Assault Battalions
Pick 1 Support Battalion
Pick 1 Command Battalion
...and continue to do this until the sum of the Battalion values you have picked equals or exceeds the Battalion Points (5) on the Campaign card.

As you can see, on the Iraq 91 Campaign, I had to pick battalions to the sum of 26...and these are the battalions I ended up with - they total 26 VPs
Alba gu' brath


The next stage is to place the battalion counters on the Tactical Map along with your various decks of cards.

This is my Tactical Map as it will be at the start of my campaign. As you can see, I used 2 SO points to purchase 2 scouts and I've placed them on my airfields on right of the Tactical Map. Scouts increase your loiter time on the battlefield (and possibly reducing stress of the pilot)

I've placed my hexes that I selected, but you are meant to place them on the Target Bound part of the setup. When placing hexes you suffle them first and place them one at a time from top left to bottom right with their arrows facing up.

Assault battalions go in the Front Line section at te top right of the map, Support battalions go in the Enemy Transit and Command battalions go in the Enemy Rear section at the beginning of the campaign. These positions can be changed depending on the Special Instructions on the battalion card (as you can see on my battalion cards 11A was ordered to start in the Friendly Transit area and 7A was ordered to move back into the Enemy Transit area).

You can see the track of numbers above the hex area...that is the day/SO track. As you can see I have 4 SOs left, having spent 26 on aircraft and scouts.

Next to aircraft and pilot selection.
Alba gu' brath


So - to aircraft selection.

This is a typical aircraft card

The info on the card is as follows:
1. Aircraft Number
2. Aircraft Type
3. Cannon Rating - a welcome change from the standard 10 in Phantom/Hornet Leader which made using guns in those games all but useless
4. Special Option Points - how much it costs you in SOs to have this aircraft in your inventory
5. Year of Service - determines weather you can use this aircraft in your campaign
6. Structure Hits - the number of structural hits your aircraft can take before it crashes
7. Weapons - the type of weapons your aircraft can carry
8. Weight Points - each weapon has a weight value and this number determines how many weapon weight points you may carry

As specified by my Campaign card - I can only select aircraft with a Year of Service prior to I choose 2xA-10A and 2xApache AH-64A
Alba gu' brath


And pilot selection.

Having selected your aircraft, you can now select your pilots. You are allowed one pilot for each aircraft and 1 extra pilot for each type of aircraft. So I get to choose 3 A-10 pilots and 3 AH-64 pilots.

This is a typical pilot card

and the values on the card relate to:
1. Pilot Callsign
2. Pilots Experience (Newbie, Green, Average, Skilled, Veteran and Ace)
3. Experience Points - the number of XPs required to promote the pilot
4. The type of aircraft the pilot can fly
5. The aircraft name
6. The pilots speed - I haven't read too much into this, but I guess it's the same as Phantom/Hornet Leader where Fast pilots get to act before enemies
7. Cannon/Strike - this is a modifier when attacking enemies in the same hex
8. Stand Off - this is the modifier when attacking enemies not in the same hex
9. Cool - the number of points you can reduce your pilots stress by at the end of each turn
10. Stress - the number of stress points the pilot can handle before going into Shaken and Unfit status
There is also another value that is not on this pilot - Evasive. It comes with a value and you use that value to adjust the effectiveness of attacks adjust ridge evasion rolls

And these are my pilots for the campaign

When you choose pilots, they all start as Average. You can then promote and demote as you see fit. So if you promote one pilot from Average to Skilled, then you demote a pilot from Average to Green. If you promote one pilot from Average to Veteran, then you would have to demote another pilot to Newbie.

You can also use Pilot Promotion Priority and pay SOs to promote your pilots.

That's all for tonight because the light is bad and the light in the room is unsuitable to take decent pictures with.
Alba gu' brath


These are the weapons available in game. To be honest, I'm not sure there's enough. I found out in Phantom Leader that the game was limited on the counters available and you ended up not being able to equip a plane with the weapons you wanted. This could be the same.

Notes on weapons....
1. Weight Cost - all weapons have a weight cost - and this is the number in the top left. It's the sum of these weight points that determine how many weapons your aircraft can carry. For example an A-10 has 14 weight points and can carry 7xAGM-65s or 14xAGM-114s
2. SO Cost - the number to the right of the Weight Point Cost is the SO cost. For every 10 SOs (or part thereof) in weapons carried, you would pay 1 SO. So if the A-10 was carrying 14xAGM-114s, then that would be 2 SOs you would have to pay
3. Attack Value - the number to the far right on the AGM-65 is the attack value. Roll a dice equal to or higher than this to hit the target
4. Retain Value - The number to the far right in brackets on the LAU-61 is the retain value. If you fire one of these and the roll is above the figure in brackets, then the target is destroyed AND you retain the weapon to use again.
5. Max Range - the number below the Attack/Retain Value in the black circle is maximum range of the weapon
6. Min Range - the number to the right of the Max Range in a red circle is the minimum range - you cannot use the weapon if the hex is within this number
7. Altitude - the H and L inform you of whether a weapon can be fired from high altitude only, Low altitude only or both
8. VB - if VB is present on the weapon, it can only be fired against vehicles or buildings (AGM-65 and AGM-114)
9. Anti-Air - weapons with a yellow stripe on the corners indicates they can only be used against aircraft
10. ECM - ECM pods are used to abort enemy attacks. Roll a 7 or higher if being attacked and the attack is aborted. ECM pods stay on your aircraft.
Alba gu' brath


So to the start of my campaign - and the first day.

First thing is to select a Special Condition card - and it's not great. I am only allowed to pay 1 SO for each mission - which means (given the information in the previous post) that I can only equip my aircraft in each mission on the first day with 10 weapons with an SO value of 1.

Alba gu' brath


I then select the missions I'm going to fly that day. The only limit to this is the number of battalions you have available to attack and the number of pilots/aircraft.

I opt to attack 2 battalions - 12A and 11A. As 12A is in the Enemy Front Line section and 11A was in the Friendly Transit, there are no weight point penalties - so I can use all available weight points on my aircraft.

I decide to attack 12A with an A-10A flown by Viper and an AH64A flown by Montana and I'm going to attack 11A with an A-10A flown by Gumby and an AH-64A flown by Daddy-O.

These are my targets, aircraft and pilots for the day
Alba gu' brath