Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Dakka! Dakka! Dakka!

Wings of War
Sunday's session was quiet - just Andy and Donald. Andy had been wanting to play with his Wings of War toys again, so that's where we began. We decided on a scenario to test if 1 player with 3 planes might fight on equal terms against 2 players with 4 planes. The result was that Andy - with von Richthofen's legendary Fokker DRI triplane, Goering's Fokker DVII, and (IIRC) Kurt Jentsch's Albatross DVa, faced off against me and Donald. I had Eddie Rickenbacker's Spad XIII and the US AIRCO D.H. 4, while Donald took a Sopwith Camel - Aubrey Beauclerk Ellwood I think it was, and Atkey's D.H. 4.

The game started off badly for the Allies - in a bravura display of crap flying, famous US ace Eddie Rickenbacker promptly turned tail and flew away (yes, I still can't tell my left from my right when I'm playing Wings of War!). So much for testing whether communications difficulties between 2 players might be worth as much as a plane. I made up for Rickenbacker almost immediately, when I shot down Andy's Albatross DVa with a single burst!

At this point the game devolved into the familiar swirling dogfight punctuated by curses as players realised that they'd misplotted their manoeuvres. The Red Baron was Donald's and my next victim. We both put bursts into his plane, but it was my DH4 that finally finished him off. Soon after, Goring wisely fled, limping homeward in a plane reduced to 2 damage points.

With a total of 7 planes at the start this was the biggest game of Wings of War I've played. I was pleased to see that the effect of increasing numbers was the hoped for increased entertainment. Also pleasing was the discovery that rear MG's are really useful, even if the planes carrying them are real clunkers (the DH4 can't Immelmann!). In fact, with hindsight, I think we underestimated how useful the rear MG's would be. We'd thought that the big DH4's would be sufficiently unmanoeuvrable to balance the numbers. A single game isn't enough to offer proof, but I think this idea is looking a bit threadbare already.

And, of course, getting 2 kills was just fine and dandy!

Andy 0
Donald 1
Me 1

Crimson Skies
Entranced once again by the lovely WoW toys I was keen to have another go. Andy had other ideas, suggesting instead a game of Crimson Skies, another game we both like and which I remember him suggesting more than once in recent weeks. So off to the peculiar world of 1930's pulp America that is Crimson Skies it was then.

Miniatures geek that he is, Andy has the full set of the FASA Corporation aircraft miniatures, fully painted and all. They really are very nice and add another dimension to the game. So, we sorted out some pairs of planes, decided that we would use a plain sky map since it was Donald's first ever game (and I'm sure Andy was pleased since he'd lost more than 1 plane in collisions with ground obstacles in our games last year!), and allocated sides at random. I ended up with an interesting pair: small and fast with 4 MG's; and bigger and slower with heavier MG's plus a pair in a rear turret - not the 2 planes with which I'd enjoyed such success against Andy in our series of games last year, but nothing to complain about.

The familiar closing for combat and early positional manoeuvring done, first blood went to Andy, at my expense - my Devestator (top picture) took a heavy burst of fire which cut its wing off at the root. My pilot didn't even manage to bail out. Ah well, he'll be remembered for that 7G's manoeuvre he'd pulled, the most audacious manoeuvre yet seen in our Crimson Skies history.

I wasn't taking notes on Sunday, and my memories are getting vague 3 days' hence, so I'll just have to cut to the chase. Donald was forced to flee with his 2 planes, and Andy had to cut and run with one of his own [Erm, not quite - see below]. That left my Brigand in a vicious dogfight with Andy. This just went on and on, as bits flew off each plane leaving it increasingly unmanoeuvrable but still flying. The clock was getting on and tummies were starting to rumble, so we agreed that we'd stop after turn 24. And so it turned out, in what was the longest Crimson Skies dogfight we've ever seen.

Andy ½
Donald 1

Andy and I enjoyed getting back to this entertaining game, and Donald was well pleased with his first taste. So it looks like we'll be starting a Crimson Skies campaign game in 2009. Before we get there though, we're going to have to sort out quick reference sheets to save us from leafing through the rulebook in search of those damage results and so on. There's one here at the BGG, which unfortunately doesn't have the details I thought was most needed. I also found a handy liitle sheet which shows all the damage grids. This should be doubly useful since the printing on my own plastic damage grid is off-centre, which is just too annoying for words. So, Andy? Take a look at those and let me know what you think. ;)

PS. Andy's first comment adds some of the forgotten vital details from the Crimson Skies game. I'm sure Donald will appreciate this. Cheers matey!


Andrew Paul said...

Ah, you missed out the most dramatic kill; Donald's Kestrel shot down my Raven by putting a .60 calibre round through the engine block and the pilot's skull.

Plus, I think there were at least 3 near-misses, with plenty of hand gestures and colourful idioms exchanged.

Andrew Paul said...

Looking at those downloads, the reference sheet is far too crowded - there's no reason to incorporate the movement template when it's already available.

I'm also not sure of the point of putting the bombing and bailout tables on; it's not like you need thse very often. Junking that lot and adding the damage effects would be better.

The Random pilots chart looks useful - saves time at setup, especially for new players.

I also note it's got the rules for avoiding collisions - target number of 10- object's base to-hit value - without giving the base to hit values. Seems a bit pointless.

"A bit political on yer ass!" said...

Yes, I did forget all that Andy. Thanks for adding those vital details. ;)

"A bit political on yer ass!" said...

I pretty much agree. A lot of what's on that reference sheet I pointed out is indeed redundant. What we want is a 2nd sheet to complement the existing manoeuvre sheet, and it was the damage effects that I thought would be most useful. I rather like that German sheet showing the damage - that'd save time and bother I reckon. ;)