Saturday, May 6, 2017

Dirk Downs a Bomber

It's been a couple of weeks since my experiment with Spandau and Lewis. Kaptain Kobold kindly sent me an updated version of the rules but I have not had time to peruse them so I am still using the version on his blog.

As I mentioned previously, I wanted to try a larger game with some bombers in the mix. I don't have any WW1 bombers so I substituted with some generic WW2 miniatures from Irregular. I set the scenario in my imaginary world of Aetheria so the aircraft are fictional. However, I used WW1 plane stats provided in the rules.
  • The Lucranians (gray) feature advanced Peregrine fighters (use Sopwith Camel stats)
  • The Empire (green) sends 2 Condor bombers (Gothas) with a single Raptor escort (an Albatross)
One Lucranian pilot (Dirk Daring) is a Veteran while all other pilots are Experienced.

During the Lucranian War, the dashing hero Dirk Daring takes to the skies as a volunteer for the Lucranian Air Corps. In this account of his adventures, the Empire launches an air raid against Lucranian cities. Dirk and his wingman Pip Paddington scramble to intercept the raid.

Game Note: The Imperials are trying to fly from one corner to the other of the battle board. If they fly off the board at the far corner, then they can commence their bombing run.

Spotting the raiding force, Dirk and Pip throttle up and engage the enemy escort. Shots are fired but there are no hits.

Our heroes swoop by the escort. Dirk flies between two of the Condors while Pip gets behind the enemy. Their shots lash one of the bombers, although Dirk takes some damage.

The escort has difficulty getting into the fray, allowing the defenders to rake a bomber and send it down in flames (Dirk will get credit for the kill).

Game Note: The Raptor kept rolling horrendously for maneuvering so it had trouble turning back into the dogfight.

As Pip circles around, he engages the enemy Raptor but takes some damage. Meanwhile, Dirk is on the other bomber's tail, wreaking more havoc.

The Raptor zooms by Pip and takes a long shot at Dirk. Pip takes advantage, swings behind the Raptor's tail and hits. Dirk remains on the bomber's tail.

The bomber makes it to the bombing zone. The fighters break off as flak begins bursting in the sky. Dirk gets on the retreating Raptor's tail.

Game Note: The remaining bomber made it off the table. It was heavily damage so it might not survive AA gunnery!

Due to damage to his craft, Pip heads for home but Dirk chases the Raptor. He loses it in the clouds.

Game Note: Even though the Raptor was only partially in the clouds, I allowed him to have cover.

And then Dirk realizes he missed him.

Game Note: Dirk rolled poorly on his maneuver roll.

Dirk re-acquires his target and tries a long-range shot, alas to no avail. The Raptor escapes, albeit heavily damaged.

Overall, it was a successful outing for Dirk and Pip. They shot down one of the big bombers and heavily damaged a bomber and a fighter. Dirk only suffered minor damage. Pip took heavy damage but was able to limp back home.

Game Note: Because the bombers could take a lot of hits, I did not expect Dirk and Pip to destroy them both. I even considered changing the scenario to have only one bomber. I decided to go big and see how the defenders could do. Given the challenge, I'd say they did quite well.

  • For my second run-through of Spandau and Lewis, I played it pretty vanilla - no spotting, no power, etc. My main focus was to test the scale-ability of the rules. How well would they work playing solo when there were more planes on the board?
    • Overall, I was pleased. Even with 5 planes, I was able to play the game fairly rapidly (I did not keep track of time but I did not get bored or grow tired. If I didn't have a write-up to do I probably would have played another scenario!).
    • The biggest issue was rolling and tracking initiative. Part of the problem was that I only had 2 dice so I could not roll everyone at once and I could not use dice for tracking. My alternative, having cards for each plane and ordering them anew every turn, was a bit clunky. Lesson learned - get more dice!
    • I'm also thinking of 1 die for initiative per formation (or at least bomber formation). Thus, bombers in formation would all move at the same time. This would also speed up play.
  • After rolling three 6s in one attack, I began checking for critical hits. I never succeeded in getting one. Which brings me to another idea. Currently, as I read it, a plane's maximum speed will only drop due to a critical. As the bombers took damage during the scenario, I thought they should move slower. I'm wondering if there should be a rule decreasing maximum speed for damaged aircraft.
  • Scenario note: Each side began near opposite corners. This meant that they did not come into contact until the middle of the board. It made it easier for the bombers to get across. Lesson learned - start the defenders near the middle of the board to get into action quicker and to make life more interesting for the bombers!
Overall it was another successful experiment. S&L gives a fast-paced, exciting game! I am looking forward to more air battles (I think the next game will be a furball with 3-4 fighters per side).

6 x 6 Challenge - Game 3.1 complete!


  1. "Even though the Raptor was only partially in the clouds, I allowed him to have cover."

    I do all measurements from pilot to pilot. It follows that if that point on the plane is in a cloud, the cloud blocks line of sight.

    Aircraft don't lose speed due to criticals, it's true, unless they have more than one engine. They do lose manueverability which, I confess, id pretty irrelevant for big bombers. But really the only thing likely to reduce speed is hits to the engine, and in S&L terms the granularity of the game is very much that either an engine is working or it isn't.

    There will be a post linking the proper, finished, version of S&L later today. Look out for it.

  2. I was measuring pilot to pilot to determine range but did not think about it for determining cover. Looks like I did it "right."