Can you bring your same squad into different campaigns?
–Not yet, but that is on the list of future free updates.–
How involved is the pre-planning… do you actually make waypoints for ingress/egress? Once the sortie is underway, what level of orders/control do you have over the flight group?
–You get to select the pilots for the mission, and then arm their aircraft on a weapon by weapon basis. There is a chance of both target-bound and home-bound events popping-up (some good, some bad), but you don’t need to plot your course. Once over-target, you get to move your aircraft, select specific sites, the target, or bandits to attack, and the weapons to fire at each. When attacked, you can choose to try and suppress the attack (by expending weapons), and/or evade the attack (which builds up pilot stress), or simply resolve the attack (which costs you nothing, but is the most risky.)–
Is the campaign random or scripted? Persistent as well, such as you take out some SAM sites, and they are gone the next mission? Or is it a “smoke and mirrors” faked campaign, where it just branches to another mission? Basically, if I replay the campaign, am I getting the exact pre-designed “mission tree” every time?
–Each campaign has 18 targets. You can choose from 3 durations of campaigns ranging from 2 missions to 15 missions. If a target is destroyed it does not re-appear in the campaign. When a target is destroyed it has a lasting affect on the campaign by decreasing the enemy’s bandits, sites, target hits, or giving you more targets to choose from each mission.–
When you select a target for the day, you’ll need to weigh between your pilot stress levels, the victory point value of the target (used for winning the campaign), and how the target’s destruction will affect the remained of the campaign.
For example, let’s say that when you selected your pilots at the start of the campaign, you went light on guys with air combat skills. During the first mission of the campaign you get 3 targets to choose from:
1 - Airfield - Destroy it, and you really hurt their Bandit presence for the remainder of the campaign. This would be good to destroy, because your squadron doesn’t have many air combat skilled guys.
2- Carrier Defense - Destroy the enemy strike aircraft and score big VPs. This directly moves you toward winning the campaign.
3 - Supply Depot - Its only worth a few VP and campaign adjustments, but it’s a short-range mission and pretty easy. Just right to give some of your inexperienced guys some experience toward boosting their skills.
Hmm… What do you do?
This is the kind of decision-making you get to do throughout the game.
When selecting weapons to pound a target, do you can go with iron bombs which hit hard, but are short-ranged, or stand-off weapons that don’t have as much hitting power? With iron bombs you need to suppress, jam, or brave their defenses, with stand-off weapons you can launch from afar. Or, do you dip into your limited Special Option points to use a few cutting edge weapons?
During that mission, how many planes do you equip for air combat, ground pounding, multi-role?
Should you take your good pilot on one more mission before giving him a rest and risk losing him for several missions as his stress goes down, or take a less skilled, but rested newbie?
I’ve written 2 AARs that are posted on www.wargamer.com that go through the missions in detail and provide a bit of story for feel and flavor.
Hope this helps,