Here’s the introductory paragraph and first rule for something I’ve been working on in my “spare” time between playtesting Next War: Taiwan and proofing the components.
The Advanced Game air rules in the Next War system, while allowing players to achieve some satisfaction through the thrill of moving A-10s and F-22s across the sky, doesn’t really capture the operational aspects of aerial warfare. Generally speaking, Strike and Combat Support missions, as represented in the game, would be composed of packages of mixed or even single aircraft rather than entire counters of the same type. That is, a particular strike package on an Airbase might actually be composed of an F-22 and two F-15s flying top cover/escort, while an F-16 Wild Weasel provides electronic warfare support for the four Strike Eagles tasked with dropping bombs. The next day’s mission, against the same target, might be composed of two F-16s flying escort, no Wild Weasel, and three F-35s dropping Rockeyes. The point is that the current air system, while it models the effects through the mechanism of allocating a counter to conduct a Strike, doesn’t really capture the essence of the operational air war. In addition, the player tends to know, or at least have a pretty good feel for, how much force is going to be applied for whatever purpose he envisions, whether it’s a Strike against a Port or a Combat Support Mission. These rules are an alternate method of modeling that operational air war as well as streamlining the entire concept.
1.1 Package Markers
Each side in the game has a set of Package Markers (PM). These markers represent different packages or combinations of aircraft. Each counter contains a generic back side intended to facilitate random drawing and allocation. The other side of the counter contains the information required for determining Air Superiority or conducting Strike or Combat Support missions. In addition, each set of markers is divided into A & B types of packages. The A markers generally have better values than the B markers. Each side may receive a number of both types of markers per turn.