Sunday, January 09, 2011

Play test: Airwar C 21

Today Dave Schueler and I got together at a deserted Game Matrix and pulled out our Airwar: C21 rules and ran through them using my Chinese and Taiwan jets that have laid dormant so many years.

Dave and I have lamented our lack of air games a number times over the past year, and because we already have a lot invested in mats, planes and flight stands for something like Mustangs, we're reluctant to plunge into Check Your Six.  While I'm sure it's a fine system, I'm not wild about sinking another hundred bucks into rules, flight stands, another size hex mat, etc. David Manley is a game designer I truly trust and when I ran across them and discussed them with Dave, it seemed the right thing to do to at least try them out.

Arrived at Game Matrix at 11:00 and found nobody there.  The shop stayed empty most of the time we hung out, about three and a half hours.  Hopefully everyone was just watching the Seahawks game.  It being an air game, things set up quickly.  The scenario was simple: A group of Chinese attack planes (Q-5 Fantans) escorted by J-8 fighters were attacking a Taiwanese frigate and encountered their air defense, a pair of Mirage 2000's that were later joined by a pair of Chin-Kuo indigenous fighters that are rated much like F-16 block 30 export fighters.

 While I was really more interested in walking through the rules than the outcome of the game, the Chinese always have it tough in these games.  They don't have the advanced missile capabilities the Taiwanese do.  Armed with all-aspect infrared missiles they just don't hit very well.  When trading fire with radar guided missiles, the IR 's are always at a disadvantage.  Even so, I had six planes with missiles and Dave's Taiwanese only had four.  Of course they had the ship too, another story.

The game turned out much as expected.  The J-8's couldn't effectively fight off the RoC fighters.  We actually did get into a bit of a dogfight and managed to damage a Chin-Kuo with gunfire.  Missiles got all of my planes.  Sort of.  One of the Fantans actually got through the missile screen, including those fired by the frigate and was about to drop its smart bombs when the ol' radar guided three incher blasted me out of the sky.  Such is life. I think we're set with a scenario for Drumbeat on the 29th.

I found the rules pretty easy.  Scale is variable.  Planes are rated for a maximum speed with maximum allowable turning rated by plane.  Trickier turns are done as maneuvers.  There are seven maneuver choices you can do, and each must be diced for to complete.  All the maneuvers are tricky and require a better than average roll.  Failed maneuvers leave you out of position and a vulnerable target.

 I liked everything about Airwar C21.  If you have a hankering to try some jet combat it's worth your while.

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