TAL puts you down in the weeds in 8 campaigns spanning the globe. The game system creates immense replayability by pairing a Tactical Situation card with the Campaign card to create a unique environment for the campaign. This means that your campaign in North Korea might be part of a Holding Action, Show of Force, Rapid Deployment, or General War.
The game places you in command of the pilots and aircraft of a squadron of U.S. Close Air Support (CAS) aircraft in hostile campaigns around the world. The aircraft and weapons available for each campaign are historically accurate.
A major part of the game is mission planning. You decide how to arm your aircraft and which pilots are best for the mission. Pilots are rated for skill level. Deciding which pilots to fly each mission is a major consideration. Your pilots will become fatigued with every mission. If you fly a pilot too often, his skills will degrade. Your pilots also gain experience with every mission flown. This makes for some great decision-making. Should you keep flying the top pilots and further fatigue them to get the job done, or fly the new guys to prep them for the tough missions ahead?
Missions are quickly resolved using an area movement system to display tactical combat over the target. Speed and realism take top priority in this game. Terrain cards randomly generate each battlefield. The cards include mountain ranges that block lines of sight from both you and the enemy forces. If you plan it right, you get to fly nap of the earth through the canyons and come screaming over the ridgeline to rain fire down on the enemy before they can react. Beware! During each battle enemy air defenses will pop-up on the map to ruin your day, so watch were you're flying!
You get to resolve every missile launched at enemy bandits, and every air to ground attack against the enemy targets. Each enemy tank, S.P. Artillery, APC, Infantry, etc is represented by its own counter on the battlefield. You also get to resolve the enemy SAM, AAA, and Bandit attacks against your aircraft.
TAL features an operation combat sheet that tracks the progress of enemy formations attempting to overrun your sector. You get to select the formation you want to engage each day and assign the air assets you think are best suited to the task.
If you've played Hornet Leader or Phantom Leader, you'll make an easy transition into TAL.
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