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Subject: Extended Air Superiority Combat Example rss

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Mitchell Land
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For the purposes of clarity in this example, we’re going to use a very few units to detail this entire process.Let’s say it is turn 3 of a given scenario. The US AWACS Advantage is “2.” The North Korean allocates four air units (3 NK and 1 Chinese) to the Air Superiority Box. The US/ROK player allocates five units to the Air Superiority Box. The units are pictured below:



Since the US AWACS Advantage is “2,” the US/ROK player chooses the first two engagements. He engages the Chinese J-11B with his F-22 and the enemy MiG-29 with his F-15.

Now the North Korean gets to choose one engagement. He engages the ROK F-5 with the MiG-23.

The US/ROK player would normally choose two more engagements, but the enemy has only one unit left to engage. So, he engages the remaining MiG-21 with the South Korean F-16.

The US/ROK player decides to allocate the excess F-4E to the combat by placing it against the enemy MiG-23 along with the ROK F-5.



The combat is resolved as follows:
The US F-22, the only unit with Long-range capability, fires at the J-11B. The die roll is a “5.” There are no die roll modifiers for Long-range combat so the result is consulted under the “+1” column (F-22 ACR of 6 minus J-11B ACR of 5 equals +1). The outcome is “Ad/D.” Since only the “Ad” applies during Long-range and Stand-off combat, the F-22 will be Advantaged over the J-11B. The North Korean player rotates the J-11B to indicate this.



Now both players attack with their air units capable of Stand-off combat. All Stand-off combat is simultaneous, except for the F-22 against J-11B engagement. Since the F-22 is Advantaged, it will fire and extract losses BEFORE the J-11B fires (if it gets to).

The Stand-off die rolls and DRMs are as follows:
F-22 vs. J-11B: The die roll for the Advantaged F-22 is a “5.” The DRM is “-2” for the F-22 Pilot Skill. The modified roll of “3,” under the “+1” column, results in an “A.” The J-11B is immediately (since the F-22 is Advantaged) Aborted and placed back in the Chinese “Abort” box.
F-15 vs. MiG-29: The F-15 die roll is “9.” The MiG-29 roll is a “1.” The F-15 roll is modified by “-2” (Pilot Skill) for a final of”7” on the “+1” column. This results in “No effect” on the MiG-29. The MiG’s roll is modified by “-1” (Pilot Skill) and “+2” (North Korean Stand-off attack) for a final “2.” Under the “-1” column, this results in an “A.” The F-15 is immediately Aborted and placed in the Japan “Abort” box.
F-5 and F-4E vs. MiG-23: The F-5 cannot fire as it has no Stand-off rating. The die roll for the F-4E is a “7” with a “-1” DRM for Pilot Skill and a “+1” DRM for South Korean Stand-off combat which results in a final roll of “7.” Reading under the “0” column results in a “No effect” on the MiG-23. The MiG-23 fires at the F-5 (he could choose either opponent, but not both). His roll is “4” modified by “+2” (NK Stand-off) and “+0” (Pilot Skill) to a final of “6.” Under the “+1” column, this results in “Ad/D.” The US/ROK player rotates the F-5 to indicate the “Advantaged” situation for the MiG-23.
F-16 vs. MiG-21: The MiG-21 does not fire as it has no stand-off capability. The die roll for the F-16 is a “9” with a “-1” DRM for Pilot Skill and a “+1” DRM for South Korean Stand-off combat which results in a final roll of “9.” Reading under the “+2” column results in a “No effect” on the MiG-21.



Dogfight combat is now resolved for all units, sequentially, from highest to lowest ACR and allocating losses after each set of air units with the same ACR has fired.
The F-16, with a rating of “4,” fires first at the MiG-21. The roll is a “1” modified by “-1” (Pilot Skill) for a final of “0” on the “+2” column. The result of “X” eliminates the MiG-21. Since the F-16 was the only unit with a “4” rating, losses are now allocated. The MiG-21 is removed from play (and the US/ROK player scores VP).

Now, all units with a “3” ACR fire. The North Korean MiG-23’s roll is a “0,” which, on the “+1” column, eliminates the South Korean F-5. The South Korean F-4E also rolls a “0” modified by “-1” (Pilot Skill) to a “-1.” Under the “0” column, that results in an “X,” thus eliminating the MiG-23 and avenging the loss of the F-5 squadron. All “3” rated units are finished firing, so losses are allocated. The F-5 and MiG-23 are removed from play (and VPs are scored).



As there are no engaged units remaining, the Air Superiority combat is complete.
Since the US/ROK player has a 3:1 Advantage of air units remaining in the Air Superiority box, the US/ROK side has “Air Superiority” this turn. Because of this, the “US AWACS Advantage” is increased by one to “3.”
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Volko Ruhnke
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Interesting. Reminds me a little bit of the air superiority routine in GDW's THIRD WORLD WAR series, but adding some distinctions like stand-off engagement and advantaged position.

Seems the US/ROK side in this example had by far the worse dice, so typically they would not take the losses they did here??

vfr
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Mitchell Land
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Volko,

The dice were certainly not kind to the US/ROK side. Especially when I changed the rolls on them to highlight certain parts of the system. whistle

Note that this, obviously, is a contrived example intended to show how it works. The actual Air Superiority battle is quite a bit much larger with many more planes on both sides (although the US/ROK takes a bit longer to ramp up their numbers as reinforcements pour in).

In general, as the days march forward after hostilities start, quality will begin to tell over quantity. The sheer number of North Korean planes will frustrate the US/ROK player in the beginning. They key is to see how long the North Koreans can prevent complete Air Superiority for the US/ROK while their ground forces grind down the peninsula. The more airfields/airbases knocked out, the more difficult it is for the US/ROK player to maintain that supremacy.

The air war is so fascinating, in and of itself, that it's provided as a stand-alone scenario in which player's use only the Air Superiority chart and a Scenario card. No map!
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Abe Delnore
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What is the justification for the F-22 having longer-range weapons than the F-15C? They would both be firing AIM-120D AMRAAM, wouldn't they?
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Volko Ruhnke
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The ability to out-range enemy detection and tracking?
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Mitchell Land
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Volko wrote:
The ability to out-range enemy detection and tracking?


More or less exactly. Advanced avionics, stealth, and overall performance provide an advantage. "Long-range" is, perhaps, a bit of a misnomer, but it captures the overall feel of closing into knife range.
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Bry Barnes
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Thanks for providing the example - it's pretty good.

Question though: Are the Air counters face up showing the unit type and stats at the start of the Long Range engagement?

I'm thinking that at Long Range each side wouldn't know the type of aircraft they're up against (even with AWACS support) so pairing the formations up could well be on a random basis?

Just a thought.
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Mitchell Land
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Battlerbritain wrote:
Thanks for providing the example - it's pretty good.

Question though: Are the Air counters face up showing the unit type and stats at the start of the Long Range engagement?

I'm thinking that at Long Range each side wouldn't know the type of aircraft they're up against (even with AWACS support) so pairing the formations up could well be on a random basis?

Just a thought.


That's an interesting idea. Aircraft are paired by player choice (whose choice depends on current AWACs level). Partially at least, later generation aircraft are more likely to find each other first anyway, simply because of speed, range, altitude capability considerations. On the other hand, you never really know what you're engaging until you're in the dogfight.

Anyone else have any thoughts on the matter?
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Bry Barnes
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Toadkillerdog wrote:
Partially at least, later generation aircraft are more likely to find each other first anyway, simply because of speed, range, altitude capability considerations. On the other hand, you never really know what you're engaging until you're in the dogfight.

Anyone else have any thoughts on the matter?


Hmmm - I was thinking that later aircraft would be more likely to not use any of their inherent active radar capabilities until the last moment, especially if they had AWACS support.

They'd use the radar on the AWACS to pick up the targets, vector in the interceptors via Tactical Datalinks (Link16 etc) and only when the interceptors were within weapons parameters would they go 'Active'. They may not even need to do so then if they were using Fire-and-forget type weapons, eg IRM or Active Homing RHM.

So hence the only time you'd get to ID the target is if:
a. you were in visual range or
b. he went active in some way and your RWR or ECCM could tell what he was.

The AWACS could ID the target as hostile from the fact that the target gave no friendly IFF, came from somewhere bad and the AWACS had tabs on all other friendlies (doesn't always work - Patriot+Tornado example in DS), ie battlespace management.

But even to the AWACS it's just a blip in the wrong piece of sky that needs to be removed.

So hence I'm thinking that for the game keep all counters face down until you get into Dogfight range.

Then it becomes a credible tactic to throw all your worst fighters at the AWACS first, drawing fire, so you can find out what he's got and strip his missiles away before hitting him with your best fighters.

Red vs Blue AWACS also then becomes real interesting
 
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Mitchell Land
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Unfortunately, most of the air unit counters are double-sided.

I'm thinking of placing the following in as an optional rule to handle this (optional because it would add time to a process already pushing the limit):

29.2 Airpower Fog of War

The following rules are intended to further obscure the air battle picture by forcing players to allocate units blindly against enemy strikes and air superiority missions.

29.2.1 Strike Missions
When allocating a Strike mission, the allocating player does not reveal the number or type of aircraft in the Strike until after the detection roll has been made. If the Detection roll results in an “ED”, then the allocating player indicates the number of attacking aircraft but not the type (exception, if a Wild Weasel aircraft is present, that fact must be revealed). The intercepting player must then indicate which aircraft, if any, will intercept the unknown aircraft. Once the interceptors are allocated (or not), play proceeds normally.

29.3 Air Superiority Hidden Assignment
During the Air Superiority Allocation step, each player chooses an aircraft unit without revealing it to the opposing player. Both units are placed simultaneously into the Air Superiority Box engaging each other.

When all units for one player have been placed, but the opposing player has more units to assign, those additional units may be placed in any engagement so long as no more than two units are engaging a single enemy unit.

Once all units have been placed, the US/ROK player may change a number of engagements equal to the current AWACs level in one of two ways:

1. Switch any two aircraft unit’s places. Simply pick them up and switch their places in the Air Superiority Box.

2. Avoid an engagement entirely. Place the aircraft unit in the appropriate Flown Box.
 
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Geoffrey Wilson
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I find the advanced game air system very interesting, though my knowledge of modern military aircraft is very limited.

How many planes does each of these counters represent?

Also, regarding the entry of more countries into the scenario, could you talk a little bit about how likely it is for China to be in on NK's side this early in the game, or for them to join the allies?
 
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Mitchell Land
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Geoff,

Each counter is roughly equivalent to a squadron of aircraft.

As far as other nationalities:

The U.S. and Commonwealth enter automatically. Their reinforcements trickle in over time. Some units may start on the map depending on the scenario chosen.

The Chinese can only enter on the North Korean side. Basically, it's just not much of a game otherwise. The main supposition is that the Chinese use the Korean War as an excuse to either indirectly confront the U.S. or make an all-out bid for Taiwan as modeled by the International Posture rules. These rules allow the players to make die rolls to determine the posture that the Chinese and Japanese will take with respect to a conflict on the peninsula. Alternatively, of course, players could simply choose the level of involvement to explore various options.

If the Chinese are classified as Aggressive (either by die roll or mutual player choice), the U.S. and Commonwealth reinforcements have a chance to be diverted to Taiwan since it's posited that, if the Chinese enter the war on the North Korean side, they'll not do so without also making a bid for Taiwan.

This option will, of course, have greater significance and further nuance when/if Next War: Taiwan gets published.
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Geoffrey Wilson
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Ah ok.

I believe I read in game-specific rules too that Japan will fully enter automatically if the North nukes Pusan; very cool interesting choices with WMD's in this game.

And ah ok about the Chinese; that's reasonable and definitely makes for better gameplay. I also don't think China would want a united, pro-western Korea right on it's border like that, or even the North collapsing and refugees flooding in.

Would it be possible for players to do a combined, multi-session mega-game combined with Next War: Taiwan? :D
Like the Allied troops getting actually transferred to the Taiwan map, and becoming reinforcements in that game?
That'd be so friggin' cool!
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Mitchell Land
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Geoff,

Regarding a combined game, that's certainly the plan. Right now, in NW:K, that's governed by die roll since the operational commander doesn't have control over that kind of detail. Once Next War: Taiwan is released, players will "graduate" to the roll of theater commander also, and, so, have the additional burden of assigning reinforcements to either Korea or Taiwan.
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