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278th Squadron "The Same 4 Cats" by Quarterdeck International I do not know why, but I absol...

278th Squadron by Quarterdeck International 278th Squadron by Quarterdeck International

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278th Squadron

"The Same 4 Cats"


Quarterdeck International

I do not know why, but I absolutely love Italian planes from right before and during World War II. I have flown them in every combat flight simulator that has been made, from the biplanes to the 2005 series of fighters and most of the bombers, including this one the Savoia Marchetti 79. This was usually shortened to just SM.79, or as the English called it "Damned Hunchback". The Italian nickname was Sparviero (Sparrowhawk). In this game you will be flying it in the 278th Squadron, nicknamed "The Same 4 Cats (I soliti 4 gatti). The plane, although of prewar design, was a very good torpedo bomber. It scored many hits against the Royal Navy in World War II.

 The game is composed of a Game Mat and several decks of small cards. These decks are:


 The game retails for $16, so understand these are small decks of cards made of thin cardboard. They all work fine except for one small snag, and it has nothing to do with gameplay. The Ship Cards are done in yellow and the small write up about the ship, not needed for play, is in a red that for me is very hard to read against the yellow background. Even with that slight blip it doesn't change or hurt the game one iota. 

 The rules are very simple. The player will play out ten missions with your SM.79 to try and torpedo a ship(s). So the Mission Card is pulled first. The Mission Card will show you if you have to add any cards to the Event Card deck for that mission. It might be more AA Cards or a Sun Card etc. Your plane will start out with seven Event Cards away from the ship. Now this is the tricky part, you can choose to release your torpedo between cards four through one. Of course, the closer you get the more you have a chance for a torpedo hit, or for you to turn into a fiery ball. On your way to the ship you have to deal with Event Cards that can help or hurt you ie. Sun Cards or AA Cards. Then when your nerves have had enough you let go of your torpedo and check to see if you have hit or missed the ship. You will have to make up 'Decks' of cards to figure out damage, hits, or what have you. The instructions will tell you exactly what cards will make up these Decks. So for example, the game will say to see if your torpedo hits, "make a deck of three Hit Cards and one Miss card". As I said, the rules are pretty easy. Your goal is to first, survive your ten missions and second, to torpedo ships and win medals.

 I am the worst pilot that the Regia Aeronautica has ever had. My abilities to miss a ship with a torpedo is only bested by my ability to attract AA fire. One problem that I have is that to increase my chances of getting a torpedo hit, I continually try to get as close as possible to my target. I should weigh the odds more and try from further away. My nickname in the Italian Air Force is 'Smoky'. I think it comes from my inner thought while playing 21 to always say 'hit me'. Either that or I believe that the ship will be damaged by the pieces of my flaming plane hitting it. 

 The game is simple to play, but it does have some thought behind it. The game is not just a time waster or card turner. You do have some control over the life of your plane. Thank you Quarterdeck International for letting me kick the tires in this fun, exasperating little game.

Link to the game: