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  German fighter Aircraft in World War I Design, Construction, & Innovation by Mark C. Wilkins  I have to admit to a fascination with Wo...

German Fighter Aircraft in World War I: Design, Construction, & Innovation by Mark C. Wilkins German Fighter Aircraft in World War I: Design, Construction, & Innovation by Mark C. Wilkins

For your Wargamer, Toy soldier collector, MiniFig collector, military history nut. Reviews, interviews, Model Making, AARs and books!

Air War




 German fighter Aircraft in World War I


Design, Construction, & Innovation


by


Mark C. Wilkins






 I have to admit to a fascination with World War I. From its weapons to the military history of the war on all fronts. In this book from Casemate Publishers, we have a gold mine for the World War I enthusiasts and aviation history lovers alike. This is a one volume history of the German fighter program from its inception at the beginning of the war to the final days of the fighting.


 The book starts off with a short introduction, and then jumps into the history of the 'Taube' (dove) aircraft, which was the only aircraft in Service with the German Army at the start of the war. After that, the book follows with chapters about all of the German fighter manufacturers in the war. Some of these are:


Aviatik

Halberstadt Flugzeugzelte

Fokker Flugzeugwerke

Albatross Flugzeugwerke


 The book then has a chapter on the various armaments and engines that were used with the aforementioned fighters.


 The author has liberally spiced the book with extremely rare pictures of not only the aircraft, but also the manufacturing of the aircraft and the various factories where the different companies were headquartered.


 For the aviation lovers, there are a good many pictures with explanations that show reproduction aircraft in various stages of  assembly. To be able to see a Fokker D.VII with the structure complete and the engine and everything in working order, sans the fabric skin of the aircraft, is amazing. You will also see pictures showing the reproduction of a DR.I from single pieces of wood to the completed bird. The book goes into the engineers of each company and their different designs. One of the best things about the book is that you are able to see the huge leap forward in the German aviation from 1914-1918, from the simple wing-warping of the early birds to the mechanical efficiency of the later designs.


 I can easily recommend this volume to aviation enthusiasts, World War I history lovers, and especially model makers. The pictures included are a trove for anyone interested in modeling World War I planes. Thank you Casemate Publishers for this incredible book. It must have taken the author years to assemble the information and especially the pictures.


Robert

Book: German Fighter Aircraft in World War I: Design, Construction, and Innovation

Author: Mark C. Wilkins

Publisher: Casemate Publishers 


  Wings of the Motherland The Air War Over Russia 1941-1945 by Clash of Arms Games  I knew of Clash of Arms...

Wings of the Motherland The Air War Over Russia 1941-1945 by Clash of Arms Games Wings of the Motherland The Air War Over Russia 1941-1945 by Clash of Arms Games

For your Wargamer, Toy soldier collector, MiniFig collector, military history nut. Reviews, interviews, Model Making, AARs and books!

Air War





 Wings of the Motherland

The Air War Over Russia 1941-1945

by

Clash of Arms Games




 I knew of Clash of Arms Games because of their exquisite Napoleonic games. I have ones from the Napoleonic Operational series, namely Jena and 1807: The Eagles Turn East. I also own a copy of la Bataille de Ligny from their Tactical Napoleonic series. They are also famous for their 'Battles From the Age of Reason' series. From the latter, I'm extremely fortunate to have gotten  a hold of The Battle of Fontenoy (one of my Holy Grail games). So, I was a little surprised at how little I knew about the rest of their stable of wargames. This is my first foray into a top down two-dimensional flight game since I played Dogfight in the 1960s. This review is about the fourth game from their 'Fighting Wings' series.  The other three would be:  

Over the Reich - 1994
Achtung Spitfire - 1995
Whistling Death - 2003





 There were also a few add-ons made. I had played the computer versions of Over the Reich and Achtung Spitfire (these were released by Avalon Hill), but never have I seen the boardgames. 





 This review has to be both an unboxing and a regular review, simply because of all that comes with the game. I usually do a list from the manufacturer of what comes with the game, and then do a write up about the different contents, but in this game there is so much that comes with it. I will do the list, but I will go through the items in greater depth than normal. This is what the box says you get:

280 Aircraft Counters (1/2" square)
280 Ground Unit Counters (1/2" square)
70 Ship and Play Aid counters (1/2"x 1")
2 Game Maps (34"x22", front and back printed (4 maps total)
1 Game Rules Book (80 pages)
1 Game Rules Supplement Booklet (16 pages with play examples)
1 Game Scenarios Book (120 pages)
1 Aircraft and Ship Data Card Book (60 pages)
1 Play Aids Booklet (32 pages)

 So if you have been keeping track, that is 308 pages of different books and booklets to peruse. That is simply mind boggling even for a deep wargame/simulation. The massive scenario book is much more than that. It starts out with a brief history of the War. Then it goes into the different aircraft the Soviets and Germans used during the war. There are no 'exotics' or planes that could have been listed here, The ones you are given are going to be the run of the mill planes that carried the air war on their backs. There are:

Soviet Fighters - 11
Soviet Bombers - 9
German Fighters - 5
German Bombers - 6
German Auxiliary Types  - 5

 There are no ME-262s or anything like that. You do not get to fly 190 Doras or ME 109 Kurfursts either. The amount of scenarios is pretty mind boggling. Here they are:

Training - 2
Introductory - 9
Standard level - 150!
Ground Attack Introductory - 10
Ground Attack Standard Level - 40
Ship Attack Introductory - 3
Ship Attack Standard Level - 20
Mission scale Scenarios - 6

 Once again, for those keeping track, that is 240 scenarios to play through. The Scenario Booklet itself is in black and white with a few pictures of planes throughout. The book is so large it actually has a normal book spine to it. At the back of the book is a few pages of designer notes and play tips. The information in it is incredible, and that is over and above the actual amount of scenarios in it. 





 The Rules Book, as they call it, is so large that it has a three page index. These are a few sentences from the beginning of the Rules Book, and they are worth printing:

"Read the basic Rules of each chapter first. Skip any advanced Rules and continue reading until instructed to play a solitaire 'Training Scenario'. When finished, return to where you left off and continue until you complete all Training Scenarios."
"Be Patient, Have Fun! Do not expect to learn everything in a single sitting. Take your time. This is a game, so enjoy yourself as you strive to master the techniques and tactics of World War II aerial combat. Good Luck and good hunting!"





 Even before you take to the skies in Training Scenario I you will learn about the following:

Counter Positions
Counter stacking Limits
Aircraft Collisions
Aircraft Movement
Fractional Value Table
Stalled Flight Procedure
Spin Procedure
Slatted Wings Effects
Wing Flap Effects





 Along with more than just a few more rules and information needed to take to the skies, the first Training Scenario has you flying both a MIG-3 and a Bf 109E-7U1. The Bf 109's moves are written out in the book, and your aim is to try to get and keep the MIG-3's gun arc trained on the Bf 109. The Rules Book is in black and white, but it does have a good number of play examples in it. By the end of the Rules Book you will be level bombing, firing rockets, and also taking on enemy Naval assets. It seems like the size of the Rules Book would overwhelm you, but just take the designer's advice and "Be Patient, Have Fun!' to heart. You will be going back to the book a lot to make sure you have everything right the first time you fly or try something new. After that, I promise it should become second nature to you. This game comes with the 3rd Edition Rules Set, by the way.





 The Play Aids Booklet is filled with table upon table, and also play examples to help you fight your way in the clouds. The two Rules Supplement Booklets are even more helpful for a fledgling pilot. Their play examples are also in 3D so that you can more easily visualize your aircraft and the enemies in a 3D world. 

 The Aircraft and Ship Data Card Book is exactly as it sounds. It is filled with the data the player needs to be able to fly his aircraft in a historical manner. Each plane, or different plane type, is given its own full page write up of its performance, firepower, and power/speed charts etc. The booklet also has the various ships', from battleship to sub chaser, information.





 The counters are small, but because there is nothing that needs to be read on them (all the information is on the data cards) their size is not a handicap to the player. On them are top down illustrations of each plane in question. For someone who has read a lot or played flight simulations the aircraft are easily discernable from each other. The various ground assets that you will try and destroy are also well represented on the counters. The tanks and some other counters do have information printed on them along with the top down view. They are a little small, but even I can read them, so that counts for something.





 The maps are extremely well done. They represent city, field, and also water on their four sides. The color is a bit muted and is mostly of a green and brown mixture. The size of them allows the players to have more than enough room to fight in any style. You can 'Boom and Zoom'; you are not forced to fight turning battles.

 This is the Sequence of Play, Combat scale:

Initiative Phase - Initiative Rolls
Tailing Friendly of Enemy Aircraft
Sighting & Blind Arcs
Movement Phase
Combat Phase Action Steps
Breaking Off From Combat

 This is a rule heavy game so to help you with different aspects there are a number of Logs in the Game Rules Book that can be copied. These are:

FW OP-Scale Mission Logs
Simple Movement A/C Flight Log
Ship Damage and Move Log
FW A/C Flight Log Sheet

 For anyone who questions the price tag put on the game, I believe the above statements should clear that up. Yes, it is worth it, and we haven't even discussed the gameplay itself. As with any Clash of Arms Games that I have purchased, the proof is in the detail and artwork of the components. You will find that here, along with a massive amount of  player information etc. No wonder the game took so long to actually get to the printer. 





 As I mentioned in another review, I was a late comer to the various 2D games that covered air war. I never really understood how a designer could give you the feeling of 3D flight in a 2D world. I am now totally convinced that I have cheated myself out of a lot of excellent game time by thinking that way. The designer of this series not only portrays it, but he takes you by the hand and only spoon feeds you what you will need at that moment to start to understand the system. I will say one thing, and that is that this system will only be worth it to someone who wants to take the time to learn it. You cannot, as a newbie, just set up the game and take to the skies to start shooting things down. Actually, I take that back. You could learn about just that part of the system in a short period, but you would be cheating yourself out of the whole ensemble of flight that COA has given you. So how is the game? C'est magnifique!. For an aviation junkie like myself it is an excellent experience in gaming. As far as its depth, if you can learn the intricacies of some Napoleonic games and tactical ground games of the Eastern Front you can learn this system. I am actively looking to get my hands on a copy of 'Whistling Death' to start enlarging my library of the Fighting Wings games.

 Thank you Clash of Arms Games for letting me review, once again, another excellent product. I have had a blast taking it through its paces. Please keep up the excellent work. For those of us Grognards who only know you by your Napoleonic games, take some time and peruse the rest of their games.

Clash of Arms Games:
https://www.clashofarms.com/
Clash of Arms Games Wings of the Motherland:
https://www.clashofarms.com/WingoftheMotherland.html
I couldn't resist adding this one:
https://www.clashofarms.com/LaBatLigny.html
Robert







Night Fighter Ace Air Defense Over Germany 1943-44 by Compass Games    This is an unboxing and review of Nigh...

Nightfighter Ace: Air Defense Over Germany 1943-44 by Compass Games Nightfighter Ace: Air Defense Over Germany 1943-44 by Compass Games

For your Wargamer, Toy soldier collector, MiniFig collector, military history nut. Reviews, interviews, Model Making, AARs and books!

Air War

Night Fighter Ace

Air Defense Over Germany 1943-44

by

Compass Games
 







 This is an unboxing and review of Nightfighter Ace from Compass games.  From the moment you open the box you will be astounded by both the amount and quality of the components that come with the game. BGG has a rating of 8.38 for the game right now, and I believe that is right on the money. This is a solitaire game with you playing the German aviator side.This is the product information:


  • Complexity: 6 out of 10
  • Solitaire Suitability: 10 out of 10
  • Time Scale: 3-4 days per Turn
  • Map Scale: Abstract
  • Unit Scale: individual aircraft, individual weapon systems, individual electronic systems, specific crew members, and ammo rounds
  • Players: one (with option for two or more)
  • Playing Time: two to three hours








This is what you get with the game:

  • One Countersheet of 9/16" unit-counters
  • Sixteen Aircraft Display Mats 8.5" x 11" (double-sided, 32 total)
  • Four Player Aid Cards 8.5" x 11"
  • One Combat Display Mat 8.5" x 11"
  • One Bomber Target Mat 8.5" x 11"
  • One Pilot Awards Display Mat 8.5" x 11"
  • One Air Operations Display Mat 11” x 17”
  • Forty Ace Pilot Cards
  • Sixty Combat Cards
  • Rules Booklet featuring extensive Historical Background
  • One Logsheet 8.5” x 11”
  • Two 6-sided and one 10-sided die

  The addition of a real logbook instead of just one page to copy is a great one.







 One of the game's greatest assets is the amount of different airplanes and variants of them that the player can use.
This is a list of them done by their availability:

Bf 110 F-4 - Start of Game
Bf 110 F-4a
Bf 110 F-4/U1
Bf 110 G-4/U1
Bf 110 G-4/U5
Bf 110 G-4/U6
Do-215 B-5
Do-217 J-2
Do-217 N-1/U1
Do-217 N-2/R22
He 219 A-0
Ju-88 C-6b
Ju-88 R-1
He 219 A-2
Bf 110 G-4a/R3
Bf 110 G-4b/R3
Bf 110 G-4c/R3
Bf 110 G-4d/R3
Ju-88 C-6c
He 219 A-5/R1
He 219 A-5/R2
He 219 A-5/R3
He 219 A-5/R4
He 219 A-7/R1
He 219 A-7/R2
He 219 A-7/R3
He 219 A-7/R4
Ta 154A-1
Ju-88 G-1
Ju-88 G-6b
Do335A-6
Do 335B-2 - July 1944

  That is one long list.








 The game is really a very good simulation of this part of World War II, or at least it feels it. To me that is one of the biggest challenges to a game designer, to try and make the player feel that he is in that moment of time. The game is one of those that really draws the player in. You develop a interest in your made up or cardboard aviator. It helps that you can actually win medals etc. The component sheet below actually comes with a uniform where you can put the various medals your ace accumulates. This is a very nice touch. 








  The rulebook is up to the high standards of the other components. It is full color and is easy to read with many examples of how to play. Strangely for such an immersive game, the rules themselves are only sixteen pages long with another page for optional rules. A nice touch is that the back of the rulebook has an index of all the rules for finding them quickly if needed. The last part of the rulebook is an entire eight pages of:
Designer Notes
Historical Notes
Aircraft
The Top Five German Nightfighter Aces









 The optional rules allow you to play the game cooperatively or in competition. You can also play with 'Ace Pilot Cards' albeit starting earlier in their careers. One optional rule adds pilot fatigue to the game. There is also an 'Extremely Optional Rule'. I think this is the first game I have ever seen this in. You get the chance to kill Adolf Hitler when receiving one of the higher Knights Cross medals. 









 Theses are some of the skills your pilot and crew can increase during the game:

Aim
Gunnery
Landing
Navigation 
Radar Operation
Situational Awareness
Schräge Musik Gunnery
Situational Awareness

 Your pilot can win medals all the way through to the Knights Cross with Diamonds. 


Schräge Musik installed in a Bf110


 This next part I call: what the **** is Schräge Musik? Well, it's literal translation is 'Slanted Music'. This was the German phrase for Jazz Music. What does this have to do with the game? Well, Schräge Musik was the name of the cannons that we're usually slanted 70 degrees out of the top of the cockpit behind the pilot. You would fly below and slightly behind a bomber above you and aim for the wigs of the the Allied bomber. You did not aim at the fuselage due to the chance of setting off the bomb load.  Most if not all of the planes have at least one other crew member. He is especially useful once radar becomes a large part of the game. 







 Are you interested in the night fighting over Germany in World War II? If so, then buy the game. If you are interested in the aerial war, pick it up. If you just want to have an enjoyable solitaire experience, then the game is also for you. Compass games has become a powerhouse gaming company that has begun turning out excellent games at a fast rate. They also sponsor a gaming convention in Ct. in the fall. I went to it last year and was able to get some great deals on their games. Here is the link:

https://www.compassgames.com/expo2019-overview

Compass Games Link:
https://www.compassgames.com/

Nightfighter Aces Link:
https://www.compassgames.com/nightfighter-ace.html 

I also did an unboxing of another excellent game from the Compass Games Red Poppies Campaigns: The Battle For Ypres:
https://www.awargamersneedfulthings.co.uk/2018/01/red-poppies-campaigns-volume-i-battles.html
 

 Robert

Tally Ho by Minden Games   Tally Ho by Gary Graber of Minden Games is another study in minimalism  by  Minden Gam...

Tally Ho by Minden Games Tally Ho by Minden Games

For your Wargamer, Toy soldier collector, MiniFig collector, military history nut. Reviews, interviews, Model Making, AARs and books!

Air War



by







 Tally Ho by Gary Graber of Minden Games is another study in minimalism  by  Minden Games. It is either a solo or two player game of air battles in WW II during the early years of 1939-1942. Tally Ho is actually a compilation of four other earlier games by Minden. The game comes with 119 different planes, fighters, bombers, and also transport aircraft. Tally Ho gives you the following:

Flying Tigers - Far East
Faith, Hope, and Charity - Malta and North Africa
Battle over the Pacific - Pacific
Battle over Britain  - Blitz and into 1942
+ more added planes




 You can buy just the game rule book, which contains all of the items needed for play, and then print them off. Your other choice is to buy the 'dogfight display' and combat results table along with the plane counters from Minden. You will have to supply a regular deck of cards, and a six-sided die. Did I mention minimalism? The game rules take up just sixteen pages, and this includes scenario information for the various campaigns you can fight through. Just like the other Minden games I have played, there are advanced and optional rules to make the game closer to a simulation. There are also rules for playing a campaign. This is like many other game campaigns where the player or players play X amount of scenarios and add up the points from each scenario to determine the winner.


Dogfight Display

 At heart, the game is meant to to be a quick playing game with relatively simple rules for the players' quick foray into air combat. The advanced and optional rules enhance the game for a bit more  immersion. This is my third Minden game that I have played, and just as with the other two, I am impressed. Not only for what gaming you get for such a small price, but just the games themselves. Of course it is not a detailed simulation, and it was not meant to be. However, the game mechanics seem to represent the differences between aircraft quite well. In this fast paced world of ours the inclusion of solo rules is a great free add on.


CRT

 The following will be a play through of a scenario that occurred many times over Malta. It will feature an Italian MC (Macchi) 200 against a Hurricane. I will be using the normal rules, and playing solo against the Hurricane. I am a sucker for Italian planes.




 On the first card draw no one has the advantage.



 On the second card draw the Hurricane does, but fire is not allowed from the Spades to the Diamonds hex row. If the  Hurricane were in the Hearts or Clubs hexes he could try for a hit.



  On the next draw the Hurricane has pulled off a three and the MC200 a jack of Clubs. To check to if you can open a fire, an ace   is equal to1 and and all numbered cards up to and including 10 are their stated number. A Jack, Queen, or King are all 0. So long as one number minus the other is more than 0 the plane with the advantage can open fire. The Hurricane rolls on the 3 column of the CRT, and rolls a 1 for no hit.



  
 The MC200 now has the advantage, but cannot fire because the difference of the cards is -1. 




 The Hurricane now has the advantage, and can open fire because the difference of the cards is a +5. The Hurricane drew a 10 of Hearts, and the MC200 drew a 5 of Clubs. Rolling a 5 on the CRT the Hurricane gets 5 hits on the MC200, but also gets to roll on the critical hit table. The Hurricane rolls a 5 again for engine damage. 




 This reduces the hand/speed of the MC200 by 1. We could continue, but just as in real life over Malta the MC200 really stands no chance. It is destroyed two rounds later. The game is quick, fun, and easy to learn. As mentioned, you can add the optional and advanced rules to put more of a kick into the game. 


Robert
PixelPLaybox.co.uk