Friday, 14 September 2012

Thud Ridge - DRV Tactics

Keep it simple - Don't get bombed and don't get shot down.

The beauty of Thud ridge is that you choose how much "stuff" to have on the table. The more you have the more you need to score. For the US this is a nightmare.

The DRV player has three allies. SAMs, MiGs and AA. The last one is abstract; The US have to make a roll when bombing any target, a roll of 1 means that the local AA gets them. Watch the panic as the SAR effort comes in. The other two need some work. The DRV historically (until they sorted out the C2) had MiG days and SAM days either or. This doesn't translate to Thud Ridge as a SAM base is a target in the same vein as anything else is.

With a maximum of 6 SAMs available (12 VPS) you have to score 4 VPs or 4 Fighter size aircraft shot down. The beauty of the SAM is that you can keep some in reserve and deploy them when you want to (or if you are unlucky the US Recce aircraft force you to deploy one). Popping a SAM battery up in the middle of the bomber stream always causes a reaction.

The US player will have placed his high ground pieces before the forces are selected. So you will know roughly what you are up against very early on. If half the table is water it is a US Navy strike forces in which case the high ground can't be within 40cm of the coast line. With a table that is 120cm wide to start with this means that there is only a thin line of table at the back to screen. A bonus for you as the US have to get behind this to be screened from SAMs. You just don't put any targets behind it. Against a mixed force or USAF only terrain screening is something else you have to watch. Targets and SAMs need to be in the open with a good field of fire both to and from

SAM Ranges are based on the altitude of the target. 10cm per height level (with a bonus at the higher altitudes) You can't screen the whole table with 6 batteries (4 batteries can put an screen against level 2 aircraft though) but you can channel the US by using pockets of 2-3 weapons. Most US players tend to keep high (I have no idea why) so you will have a load of targets. If the US try and thread the needle (keeping at level 1) between SAMs (probably a F-111 player so watch out they're shifty) you need to keep a MiG reserve to counter or another SAM Battery to mess him up. You have a couple of options with the SAMs put them forward and hope to attrit the attacking forces bombing aircraft but the canny US player will just go for your "easy" SAMs and gain a couple of 1 VPs. Or, keep them back, force the US to manouvre into the space and then pop up your reserve; or (after you've done option 2 once or twice) don't have a reserve and keep him worried about where you are going to pop up, and replace the SAM reserve with the same points worth of MiGs - Sneaky!!!.

MiGs are cheap. The MiG-17 is only 2 points and a gun and missile armed MiG-21 is 4 points. But, remember the line at the beginning "Don't get shot down". Use the MiG-17 to draw off the CAP but keep low, the -1 for being at level 1 means over half his shots will be wasted and if you are up against the F-4 (early models without guns) all the better, you have a cannon to use when he has wasted his last missile shot. This doesn't work against the 'fates though, they have kept the faith and kept a gun on the crusader.

Once the MiG-17s have drawn the teeth of the F-4s then its time to bring out your reserve MiG-21s why ?, because he will be so keen on dog fighting he will be out of energy and you can now go for the strikers unless you want the poetic justice in shooting down the vaunted US fighter. Just watch out for a reserve CAP and watch the VPs. If you have cleared the strikers (unless he has kept a strike reserve) get out the way and don't give away easy VPs.

There is so much going on with Thud Ridge it is what makes it a cracking game. Bit like chess (which I lose at as well)

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