Phantom leader for the PC by  Dan Verssen Games  This is a PC port of a boardgame from the same developer. In it you ...

Phantom leader for the PC by Dan Verssen Games Phantom leader for the PC by Dan Verssen Games

Phantom leader for the PC by Dan Verssen Games

Phantom leader for the PC by Dan Verssen Games


 This is a PC port of a boardgame from the same developer. In it you get the chance to play the United States Navy or Air Force in three different campaigns. They are:

1965 - This campaign takes place mostly in South Vietnam, and the gist of the campaign is to choke off munitions etc. coming down the Ho Chi Minh Trail.

1967 - This campaign takes place in North Vietnam. As the U.S. player, you are allowed to attack only some targets. This was because of a strategy called 'gradualism'. In a nutshell, you are allowed to attack some targets while others are 'held hostage'. This was an attempt to bring the North Vietnamese to a peace conference.

1972 - This is Operation Linebacker. It also takes place in North Vietnam. In this scenario, you as the U.S. player can go for broke. You are attempting to punish North Vietnam so severely that they have no other recourse than to discuss a peaceful settlement to the Vietnam war.

 The game looks pretty simple for a PC game, and as usual looks can be deceiving. The graphics and play are not going to task anyone's computer. As mentioned it is a boardgame port, and unlike most of them is very true to the original boardgame.

 First you choose what campaign you will play, and then you pick which U.S. service you will command. The length of your game can be short, medium, or long. the shortest scenario is only two days, and the longest one is twelve days. The campaigns are listed on the left of the above pic. You can see that you will be evaluated during the scenario on a points system. The grades are as follows: Great, Good, Adequate, Poor, and Dismal.

  You are given a wide array of planes to use during your missions. They are:

Phantom II
F-105 Thunderchief
F-100 Super Sabre
F-104 Starfighter
A-4 Skyhawk
F-8 Crusader
A-6 Intruder
EB-66 Destroyer
A-7 Corsair II 

 You have only a certain amount of pilots of each rating that you can use. The ratings are:


 You might also get the chance to promote some pilots at the beginning of a scenario.

 This is the first screen of where you will choose your targets.

 This screen shows the targets from the deck that you are able to attack. 

 This screen is the actual one where your mission will take place. Notice the North Vietnamese assets set up in the middle of the page.

 You also have an event card deck that you can use.

 The rule book is accessible on every page. it is well written, and easy to follow.

 Here is a page from the rule book showing the North Vietnamese defenses you will meet, and the counters from the U.S. side.

 This is a shot of my planes during the setup of the mission.

  The great thing about the game is it is a very well done PC conversion of a boardgame. The only problem that I can see will be with straight PC users who have not played boardgames. What I mean by that is the game does not spoon feed you. A lot of PC boardgames do everything but play the game for you. With this game you will have to read the rules to understand better about what is happening game wise.

 The game has fairly short campaigns; as mentioned, some are only two days long. So pre-planning is a must, and sometimes a little luck with die rolls is also good.

 This game is more like a hardcore RPG or a management simulation than other wargames. In this game you do feel like you are in charge of these pilots. You have to manage and juggle the different pilots' stress, status, and their overall well being. Whereas in most games where you can just go for broke and attempt to win that hex before turn 10 (no matter what the cost in cardboard or computer lives), this time around your actual leadership skills are taken into account. The immersion factor is high because you have a name and  few individualized stats. You are not just ordering the 3rd battalion to take that town or whatever. Strangely, I like the game even though I do not seem to be good at it at all. Playing it does not make you throw your hands up in disgust though. You just fire it up one more time to see if this time you can actually get it  right. For you solitary players out there, this game is an easy one to give a recommendation to.


1 comment :

  1. Having reviewed the boardgame version of Phantom leader, reading this makes it a must for me to get this PC version. Sounds like they've done a great job of taking this to a computer model that retains everything and is still as tough too. As you say, coming back for more even though things aren't going well is exactly what it's like and says how good the experience is.