Friday, October 21, 2016

Wings At War: Thud Ridge Play Test and Evaluation

I managed to squeeze in another quick air combat game to test out another set of rules. This time it's Thud Ridge, part of the Wings at War series produced by Tumbling Dice.

Thud Ridge takes place during the Vietnam War. In addition to the rule book, you also get a bunch of Tumbling Dice 1/600 scale jets. A while back, I purchased their air rules covering the Falklands War. I hadn't read that set in a while, but they are identical in mechanics with some particulars to each game setting.

I did say in my previous AAR post that these games were going to pit the MIG 21 against the F5/F5A. When I first read through the rules, I didn't notice that F5 stats were included, so I instead decided to have a match between two opposing MIG 21 forces. Hey, it could happen! Two minor nations both equipped with MIG 21s, or the General tries to depose the Sultan of Northern Chalupistan resulting in a civil war. My friend Karl (a.k.a The General) threatened to do just that several times, but I've managed to hold him off.

Thud ridge has some MIG 21 models, so I painted them up, sort of:

One of these days, I'm going to figure out how to make roundels for 1/600 planes
I couldn't decide how I wanted to paint them, so I made a wash of Future Floor Wax with some India ink and slathered it on. It gave the planes a natural metal look and got into the cracks and panel lines. The photo doesn't do them justice. I was pleased with the result. They faced off against my MIGs that are painted in the official camouflage colors of Northern Chalupistan. For this game, there will be few pictures done in ComicLife. While entertaining, they take too long to make, and the learning curve seems a bit high.

The Battle
The game required aircraft to be on square bases of 30mm a side. All I had were 25mm steel bases, but I figured close enough. This time, I used cylindrical rare-earth magnets to attach the aircraft and to indicate altitude differences. These would prove to be something of a major inconvenience later in the game.

The opposing sides started off at different altitudes. A roll of the die determined that the silver MIGs were an altitude of 4 whereas the camouflage MIGs were at an altitude of 3. The die behind each plane represents its current power level. Different maneuvers cost different amounts of power, so the more power you have, the more you can do things. The die color also indicates which plane is which.

Turn 1
The rules have the Americans always go first, so again, I randomly chose the camo MIGs to go first. Not much happens on the first turn. Both camo MIGs move straight. The silver MIGs break to slow their speed. Both plan to dive the next turn. If they dived under full power, they run the risk of breaking up and crashing.

Turn 2
The camo MIG decide to climb. And climb they did, using up a good chunk of power to do so:

Camo MIGs climbing to meet their enemy. Big drop in power: from 5 to 2.

Seeing how the camo MIGs climbed to meet them, the Green MIG of the silver side flies straight at the black MIG of the camo side. Unfortunately, he stops just short of cannon range, and can't launch his IR missiles because he must be behind his target:

Yellow MIG does go ahead and dives thinking he can get behind white MIG:

Yellow MIG-21 just after his dive. One altitude level lower and back to full power.
With these rules, you don't get to move further on just a dive, but you do pick up power.

Turn 3
The camo MIGs really needed to get their power back up and you get more when you dive as oppose to using a Power action. Both executed a dive with the black MIG diving underneath the green MIG and then making a slight turn after the dive:

Now this is the start of my magnetic stand issues. The planes were getting close enough to each other to where they were pulling together! And these are pretty strong rare-earth magnets that make it even more of a pain.

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