Battleshed Diaries

Friday 26 June 2015

Wings Over Cambrai

With two shiny new aeroplanes finding a home in my Wings of Glory hanger, my second game of WWI aerial action took place yesterday using the 'sky boards' mentioned in my earlier post. This time I controlled the Alabtros D.Va and the Fokker DR.1, whilst my opponent controlled the Spad XIII and the formidable, two-seater Bristol F.28b Fighter.

This time we started out using the Standard Rules and consoles. As this was only our second game and we were having to multi-task with two new planes, we decided to forgo the optional rules such as Tailing and Aim and also left the Altitude Advanced rules for another time. This was all about familiarisation with the Standard rules and getting to grips with the aircraft.

The first game was a straightforward two-on-two, where it soon became apparent that the two-seater Bristol F.28 with its rear gunner would be dominating the combat. Not to be deterred, I valiantly ordered both my aircraft to intercept the Bristol as soon as possible, hoping to take out the threat before the two Allied pilots could coordinate. That was the plan.

Bristol F.2b Fighter

Having never played the Albatros or Fokker DR.1, I soon learnt their differing flight characteristics, with the Fokker being a nimble wee plane. However, it was the Albatros that first intercepted the Bristol, being strafed by both its forwarded and rear guns for its effort,  luckily escaping with relatively little damage, unbeknownst to my opponent! The  Fokker followed up with less effect.

By this time my opponent's Spad was bearing down on my planes and he was already taking great delight in the firepower of the Bristol. Inevitably it all went wrong for my Central Powers aircraft, both being destroyed  - but not without a fight - and a lot of chance manoeuvring on both sides!

For the next couple of games we decided to try out one of the scenarios in the Duel pack rulebook, Wings Over Cambrai, where a fighter is equipped with bombs to attack ground positions indicated by a Target Card and protected by two Trench cards on either side.

This brought into play the Trench card rules, where for this scenario the Trenches represent infantry with light weapons entrenched in defensive weapons. There is no firing arc from the trenches so they can hit planes within a ruler length. Aircraft hit by trench fire ignore damage points but they do take any special damage . Which can be very unfortunate! The trenches themselves can be attacked and destroyed by aircraft.

Top: Trench cards and Target card in centre
For this scenario we took a single plane each; my opponent went first using the Spad. He only had a single bomb and he had to get the base of this plane over the little red target marker on the Target card to destroy it. Not as easy as it sounds! Points are awarded for damage to the target, destroyed targets etc.

I took the Fokker DR.1 as the intercept. Unfortunately for the nimble Fokker (sorry!), the pilot got himself killed in a vicious first strafing from the Spad, picking up two Pilot Wounded special damages!

The Spad then made a number of abortive attempts to line up on the target, whilst attempting to minimise incoming fire from the two trench positions. Eventually the plucky Spad pilot dropped his bomb bang on target and throttled away back to base. Thoroughly enjoying this scenario, we tried a couple more games, both attempting the bombing runs and adding in the extra planes, so we ended up dog-fighting over the trenches!
Flicking through the Advanced rules we noted sections including pilot Aces, cloud cover AA guns, Balloons , Rockets, Incendiary bullets, multi-engined aircraft, climb rates, photo recon and so on! There are also a host of scenarios and free downloads on the Ares games site.

This is a very scalable game, from the easy out-of- the box basic rules to adding ever more complexity and realism as you want. Wings of Glory is definitely a hit for me.

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