This Saturday was a great day, our first wargaming day since Christmas. We all discussed what we had been given before settling down to play Blue Max from Stratelibri.
I have to admit that as we sat down, I nor any of the others, Nathan, Luke or Brian had played the game before and sadly in my case even looked at the rules until an hour before.
So what do you get? –
Double sided hex game board (1 side plain blue, 1 side historical landscape) –
6 View protection screens (3 per faction), brown/grey outside, rule summery inside –
18 Manoeuvre sheets (9 per faction) –
18 Airplane cards (9 per faction), 1 side airplane info, 1 side airplane details –
144 Small game cards (136 damage cards, 8 trace cards) –
18 Airplane tiles, hex (9 per faction), 1 side top view, 1 side flank view –
6 Ready marker tiles / direction tiles –
12 Special damage marker tiles (6 fire/smoke, 6 observer killed) –
15 Ammunition marker tiles –
30 Altitude marker tiles (1/2/3/4/5 each 6) –
24 Altitude manoeuvre tiles (up/down/constant/landing each 6) –
60 Fuel marker tiles –
1 Block with 60 record sheets –
6 Special dice – marked 1-6 with additional blue or red markings on some faces for damage.
Allies – Bristol F.2B – Nieuport 24 – Sopwith Triplane
Central: – Halberstadt CL.II – Fokker Dr.I – Albatross D.III
We started to read the rules and set up the game as described.
Brian and I were flying Halberstadt CL.IIs while Nathan and Luke were flying Nieuport 24s. We set up at each end of the board. We had agreed that for our first game fuel and altitude would not be a worry. These would be added in to the next game if we agreed to play it again!
Both sides dived in and tried to get to grips with the enemy as soon as possible. First blood went to the allies hitting Brian. Each side continued to trade shots on each other. The turning point came when in one turn Nathan was hit with 7 fuselage hits and machine gun destroyed. This was due to a long machine gun burst from me, but this caused my gun to jam. No problems just fly level and roll a 4-6. Seven, yes seven turns later having rolled a 1, 6 times, I am still trying to un-jam my gun. While all this was going on I( (Snake Eyes Graham) should have been a sitting duck, albeit a flying one. Luckily, Nathan’s gun was out of action and Luke had his own problems. In one turn he jammed his guns and had smoke appear from his engine. Considering I was trying after 7 attempts to un-jam my guns, Luke managed it first attempt. Cool hand Luke as he was now known then did a slip manoeuvre to help remove the smoke. Needing a 4-6 he rolled a 1. This had the unfortunate effect of turning the smoke into a fire! And changing Cool Hands Luke in to Hot Hands Luke! 4 turns later Hot Hands Luke finally puts the fire out and with little un-burnt framework to his plane left, headed home.
Outcome: A small victory to the Central powers. All pilots lived to fly another day.
Will we play it again?
In short YES. We all loved it. Simple, fast and fun.
Great art work
Hex board can be multi usage. Plain blue on one side and terrained on other. The blue side will be ideal for may other uses.
Simple clear rule processes once understood. By turn 2 we all knew the procedures and processes
Hex movement ideal and less cumbersome than the template system used in Wings of War.
Scalable up to 1/72, just need a large hex mat. or just use the 144 scale planes from wings of war.
Minimal book keeping
Rule book not too clearly laid out but OK once read thoroughly. Had to jump around the book it felt at times to get the full understanding of some processes.
Limited planes. I think the original game version had about 20 plane types to choose from, not the 6 in the current version. I am not sure if additional plane are available as an add-on but check out the Canvas Eagles’ website. Canvas eagles is a printable version of this game and has every plane from an Eindecker EIII to a Handley Page 0/400 bomber.
We have already started discussing which 1/72 planes to get. I have just ordered a Handley Page 0/400 bomber. I intend to start this at one of the table with a small escort and have a Junta of DR1s attempt to shoot it down.
After a break for lunch we played Armada from Zvezda.
Not a great deal to mention. great game as always. Nathan and myself played the role of coach/umpire to Luke and Brian as neither had played before.
A great afternoons gaming was had by all and all agreed that these two games will form part of our wargaming more often.
Here are a few pictures of Zvezda’s latest release to support the Armada game – the Golden Hind. She is small compared to the ships included in the game. Here she is waiting for her masts and sails.
This is a beautiful kit. I have to admit that she is fiddly, though this is due more to the size of my hands. She will be needed to be based as she will not be sturdy enough I think to stand up to the regular rigours of wargaming. I am panicking about doing the rigging!
The only thing I think disappointing is that she never came with a dedicated character card. It doesn’t even appear to be downloadable from the website. Of all the Zvezda’s ” Art of Tactics” websites “The Ships” version is the weakest. When compared to the Samurai or WW2 versions there are no additional scenarios or rule amendment/clarifications.
I do hope that Zvezda release a few additional Spanish ships to increase the variation soon. How about an oared galley?
The format for this game is brilliant and could also be rolled out to other eras.
How about a medieval version with English Cogs battling it out against the French in the Hundred Years War version or against each other in a War of the Roses version.
Does anyone know of a manufacturer of cogs etc in 1/144 – 1/300 scale. I would have a go at writing the rules and creating art work.