Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Air Battle

While visiting family in Chicago, I had a jet fighter game using Wessex Games’ AirWar: C21, second edition.

It was my friend Karl vs. my nephew Kyle and me. The night before, Kyle and I had a practice game so that he could have some understanding of the rules. Karl and I had a game but about two years ago using the first edition rules.

The scenario had Karl escorting two, heavily loaded Super Etendard strike fighters with two Saab Gripens. He had to get his Super Etendards to the other side of the table. Our mission was to prevent that. One of his pilots was rated a veteran, the other regular. Kyle and I flew Kfir C7 jets. The jets were armed with the missile listed in the AW: C21 Data Annex. Kyle and I had four heat-seeking missiles apiece, whereas Karl had two heat seekers, plus four radar-guided missiles.

I didn’t take pictures of the game because many of the planes were not painted. It was a complete victory for Karl. He managed to shoot down both of our Kfirs and get his two Super Etendards off the table. A few times we lost opportunities to do some harm to Karl’s planes. For example, early in the game, I could have lined up a good shot at one of Karl’s Super Etendards, but I forgot to slow my speed and over shot the plane. Karl managed to stall one of his planes twice, but we failed to take advantage of that. Kyle managed to hit one of the Super Etendards, but scored only a single hit off of a D10 die roll! Also, I overlooked some things in the rules that might have made a difference. First, I failed to notice the a statement in the rules that says that jets that launch radar-guided missiles need to keep their target in sight once launched. Karl’s became fire-and-forget missiles. Second, we didn’t use the critical hits table, which might have made Kyle’s hit more of a success. Third, we didn’t take advantage of the tailing rule. That might have also made a difference.

It is hard to critique the rules since these are the only other air warfare rules I have played with (I won’t count the old AH Richthofen’s War board game). They are pretty well written, and fairly clear. Things that I missed were more my own fault than anything else. My only criticism is with the turning, and it’s not a biggie. In the first edition, you turned your plane in 60 degree increments (or is it 30? I can’t remember). The more maneuverable your plane, the more 60 degree increments you could turn in a phase. In the second edition, there is a compass-like template with the turn radii labeled. It was a little trickier to make the turns exact. For example, when you are making a 30-degree turn, is your model really turned 30 degrees, or is it 35 degrees, or is it 27 degrees? In other words, there was a little more “slop” to our turns. But, as I said, it was not a big deal...I am not a rules lawyer.

Despite our loss, it was a fun time all around. Next time, I will make up some rules crib sheets for the players that will highlight some of the critical aspects of some of the rules.