Wherein we begin to look at more variations on the Operation Starlite theme.
My starting point is the second entry in the Vietnam 1965 Combat Operations series of games continuing, obviously, where the previous one left off. Again, I am impressed with just how different of an experience this is from any other TOAW scenario I’ve played. It goes beyond the detailed, tutorial-like guide to which operations are historically appropriate. The events are also there to fix issues that I’ve complained about in other Vietnam treatments.
To give an example, I’m told to commence Operation STARLITE with the probable location of the 1st Viet Cong supplied to me. Remember, turns are a half-a-week so the mission is expected to take something like two turns. I’ve complained about short operations getting drawn out over weeks and weeks as the algorithms of TOAW create ahistoric outcomes. In this series, however, the event engine is used to make sure that the operation completes within the correct timeframe. Two turns after it begins, Operation STARLITE comes to an end. The enemy units that remain on the map disappear.
My execution of the operation was a little off. The real planners pulled off quite a feat, planning and executing the operation in a few short days to capitalize on the captured intelligence. My own planning was sloppy. I wasn’t sure what the “SLF 3/7 Marines” were in the instructions (see the first screenshot) and saved them until last to deploy. Having done so and, as I always do, getting confused about how amphibious landings are modeled in TOAW, I left the VC an escape route to the north. The way the scenario scores it, my operation was a success, but I probably lost some points because I let the headquarters fade into the jungle rather than destroying it.
Having now the option to play in TOAW IV, I am missing some of those new features. These battles could really use the updated calculation of partial turns. My battles seem to always consume an entire turn, rather than giving me a couple of phases, except when I really don’t need the extra time for anything.
I checked up on the Matrix forums to see if there is some progress being made in getting these scenarios ported to the newer version. The answer is, yes, there is progress but no, nothing is ready (and probably won’t be in the immediate future). While scrolling around there I came across a comment that this series of scenarios, ported to TOAW IV, might in-and-of-themselves be worth the price of the new version. I think that might just be the case.
To be continued (or back to the Master Vietnam post, if you prefer). But before I do, a comment about the spelling of “Starlite,” with which I’m having fun with in the titles. The operation was originally to be called “Satellite,” but a insufficient lighting and an old typewriter resulting in a misspelling that then became, for posterity, the name of the operation.