How ever you liked last week's mission, I have a new, fresh and steamy serving for your palate to experience today; Forward Air Base!
Forward Air Base mixes the long serving focal points, which traditionally score at the end of a game to Vehicles and Infantry, with the missions Ground Control and Domination, in which Aircraft can score as well as Vehicles and Infantry. Although I enjoy these two missions, they tend to pull a mixed reaction when fielded at a tournament, and I know exactly why; all the bloody number crunching. Allowing every model fielded to score on every inch of board space can create analysis paralysis for some gamers, especially in Domination where you score on turns three and six, and adding to that Infantry counting as double in buildings - cue calculators and nose bleeds. I'm hoping that Flight Zones go some way to easing this strain whilst still allowing for an underused unit type to contribute - the Aircraft.
I'm a fan of the idea of aircraft scoring, and we simply don't see enough of it. By tweaking focal points to score on the third and sixth turns and to score only for Vehicles and Aircraft, it should help add a new dimension to game play. For a start it gives your dropships something important to do once they drop their cargo! Deployment of your AA will also be key to unlocking the door to all the VPs possible.
Importantly Infantry cannot contribute and score in a Flight Zone. Infantry are and should be an important part of the game, but I have removed them from scoring in order to emphasise the aircraft angle. This will also allow all the boys, girls, cyborgs and hedgehogs to concentrate on the objectives on the table.
Now, I'm fully aware that I've not reinvented the wheel, just rather added some spokey-dokeys to it to make it colourful and exciting. It's actually a little surprising that Hawk haven't made something similar yet, but there you go.
Lastly I will point out the slightly alternative board set up, with players deploying from readiness from the corners, rather than the long board edges as you would normally see in this kind of mission. This should make the 'opponents' Flight Zone a little more available and less dangerous to enter, as their force will be split diagonally across the table, rather than all coming on from behind the zone.
Let me know what you think, your feedback is golden and always welcome!