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Air Combat Games → Cactus Air Force

Cactus Air Force

Banner designs by Rodger B. MacGowan


Note: All samples below are from playtest graphics, not final game art. GMT Games claims no copyright on these images. Coyright remains with the original creator.

  • Consimworld's Cactus Air Force Discussion Topic

  • Regular Price: $65.00
     P500 Price: $42.00 

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    Product Rating: (5.00)   # of Ratings: 5   (Only registered customers can rate)

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    Showing comments 1-3 of 3
    1. David on 1/11/2013, said:

    A mounted map and I am in.
    Was this comment helpful? yes no   (17 people found this comment helpful, 13 did not)
    2. Jeff G. on 8/11/2012, said:

    Mount the map. Please mount the map!! There is soooo much pre-print interest in this game there is compelling reason to put total quality into it. Looking forward to a great experience in the Pacific!! Thanks!
    Was this comment helpful? yes no   (36 people found this comment helpful, 10 did not)
    3. Steven K. on 6/8/2012, said:

    Looking forward to this. Elements of the forerunner of my Marine squadron, VMO-251, served as part of the Cactus Air Force and received the Presidential Unit Citation. Squadron serves today as VMFA-251.
    Was this comment helpful? yes no   (15 people found this comment helpful, 11 did not)
    Showing comments 1-3 of 3

    Cactus Air Force
    is an exciting new Solitaire Air Combat game from Terry Simo.  It has its roots in Downtown/Elusive Victory Raid style air combat but provides that experience at a whole new level for the Solitaire Gamer.  You will be placed in charge of the “Cactus Air Force” defending Henderson Field from furious Japanese attacks by Air, Land and Sea.

    Cactus Air Force covers the period from 7 Aug -15 Nov 1942 and has a card-driven mission system based on two decks of 55 cards which will drive the weather, reinforcement schedule, events and Japanese attacks.  Two campaigns each covering 45 days of real-time action will be provided.  Player can follow the historical schedule of events to see how they fare or play a random sequence of cards that will test your mettle in defending Guadalcanal. You can also game out a sequence of missions over a smaller number of days if desired.

    Player will have to manage their resources and pilot rosters to get the maximum effort under difficult circumstances.  Pilots will have different ratings for combat and navigation skill and diseases and fatigue will have a major effect on their capabilities.  Aircraft maintenance will be a key factor on how many serviceable aircraft you have available.  While flight maneuvering and air combat will be very similar to Downtown/Elusive Victory, the player will now have some tactical decisions such as High Side Pass and other tactics to choose from when attacking enemy formations.  Coastwatchers and Radar are your means of detection and you will rely on them to allow you to get in position in time to meet the enemy raids.

    A note from Designer Terry Simo: I know people have been asking for a pure solitaire game for the Downtown/Elusive Victory/Bloody April style of game for a long time. I love role playing elements so you can definitely be sure you will be managing your pilots and aircraft at a detail level not seen in those other games. Cactus Air Force is all about resource management and making those tough decisions. Do I send up a flight of pilots who are heavily fatigued or fighting illness? Do I send up four damaged aircraft or do I salvage one for spare parts and send up three good aircraft? With the card-driven aspect of the game, you will never know (unless playing the historical timeline that is) if that next squadron of 12 aircraft are coming in the next day or the next event is a night bombardment of Henderson field. One of the trademarks of my games is the effort put forth on doing the historical research so I want to make as historically rich an environment as possible in a board game. - Terry Simo, via Consimworld, June 7, 2012


    The Map: The 34”x22” Map encompasses a major portion of Guadalcanal, Savo Island, Florida Island, parts of Santa Isabel Island, Russel Island and New Georgia Island. (An area roughly 98nmx135nm)

    Order of Battle: The American OoB will include the rosters of the following units - USN VF-5/VF-6 F4F-4; VS-71,E-300,VS-3,VB-6 SBD-3;  VT-8 TBF; USMC VMF-223/224/121 F4F-4;  VMSB-232,231,141 SBD-3; USAAF 67th FS P400 and 339FS P39.   A What-if Variant will have P38s available earlier than they were historically.  Japanese forces include: Zero 21/32s, Rufes, Bettys, Petes, Mavis, Vals and Kates.

    Missions and Targets: As leader of the Cactus Air Force, you will assign your pilots and aircraft to missions. Many will be Air Combat Missions to defend Henderson Field and the Marines on Guadalcanal from Japanese bombers, but those will not be the only taskings.  Like your historical counterpart, you will also be tasking your aircraft and aircrews to stop the infamous Tokyo Express coming down the “Slot” to bring reinforcements and shell your forces.  You will also target enemy ground forces as they close in on the hard pressed Marines on the ground.

    Ship Targets include DD, CL, CA, TR, AVL, BB, Barges.

    Ground Targets include Supply Dumps, Troops, Seaplane Bases. 


    • 22x34 Map
    • 3-4 Sheets of Aircraft and Misc Counters
    • Two 55 card decks
    • Rulebook
    • Playbook
    • Roster Sheets
    • Player Aid Cards
    • Aircraft Data Cards
    • Dice

    The Stars and Stripes have been hoisted over Henderson Field, Guadalcanal.  Your job is to keep it there!

    Game Designer: Terry Simo