Tracy, Jacob, John O, and I decided to test out the FIGHTING WINGS "Quick Start Rules" (QSR) with a home brewed scenario, pitting two Bf109Es against two Spitfire Mk IIAs. All aircraft began at 10.0, wings level, level attitude, and heading straight for each other "nose to nose" at eight hexes away. There was an eight hex separation from wingtip to wingtip between the two ships in each element as well. We did this so we'd have to start learning turning and transitioning right off the bat.

We won't claim we did everything right as this was our first time out with the system. But I'm sure that we'll compare what we did in the game with the QSR and learn a little bit from that.

The two Messerschmitts worked to get a bit more lateral separation between them--the northern most 109 heading west banked left but pulled into a shallow climb in the first turn while the southernmost 109 heading west banked left and began to turn left. The northernmost Spitfire heading east did a right bank and went into a shallow climb, so a vertical scissors was in the making there. The southernmost Spitfire immediately pulled up into a vertical climb, hoping to gain an altitude and positional advantage over his enemy bearing down on him, but there was quite a price paid in airspeed. The first reactions of all the fliers involved pretty much set the stage for subsequent action.

The two southernmost aircraft had a few seconds of proximity as the Spitfire reversed out of the half-loop and into a shallow dive, looking down on top of his quarry below him who was turning to the south. The Messerschmitt driver pulled out all the stops with his trottle and dived to get away. There was a short burst from the Spitfire but no damage scored on the German. Then the Messerschmitt zipped far to the south as the Spitfire had little airspeed to catch up and exploit his all-too temporary positional advantage.

Meanwhile, it got very interesting with the northern pair of aircraft. The Messerschmitt overshot in the climbing vertical scissors and the Spitfire let loose a burst, inflicting two hits on the 109E. Both aircraft pitched over and it looked like--for a couple of seconds--that the northernmost 109 could zoom down onto the tail of the southernmost Spitfire that was "hanging in the sky" after having come out of his half loop and ineffectively spraying the southernmost 109 dashing to the south. But the northernmost 109E has the initiative over the northernmost Spitfire, who maneuvered to pepper his target from his six o'clock should he try such a maneuver. The German cleverly turned his altitude advantage but now much slower airspeed into account (nearly stalling into a hammerhead) and it was the Spitfire's turn to overshoot. But the deflection, distance, and speed advantages of the Spitfire were too much so no shot was possible--the Englishman was just a flash passing over the Messerschmitt canopy view and bore off.

At this point, the southernmost 109 was breaking off, the southernmost Spitfire was in hot pursuit but had no chance to catch his quarry and began to loop back to help his comrade against the very hornet-like 109 that was beginning to bear down on both of them from the north.

We'd gotten through six turns with four players in roughly four and half hours. We're pretty sure we'd go faster next time, now that we understand how transitions and turns work and can fill out our log sheets and do the math the way it's supposed to be done.

Eric W.

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Which has to be an all time State of Virginia attendance record for this game, seven TANGSters showed for our initial playing of the Fighting Wings series. This was our group's playing to see if we want to shift from playing Air Force to the more accurate but more complex Fighting Wings series of air warfare games.

As befitting our first attempt, we had an excellent quick start rules orientation session given by Joe C. followed by the playing of two small fighter actions. The first game with two players and Joe C. as coach, had a single Zero tangle with a lone Wildcat over Guadalcanal in 1942 at high altitude. The Zero is given an advantage in position and altitude putting immediate pressure on the Wildcat to try and turn the tables.

In our game the Zero got in an initial long range shot for no damage and near mid-game a second ineffective shot as the Wildcat dove underneath. After 11 turns, almost a complete play through of the 15 turn scenario, a draw resulted with no damage to either plane.

The second game had four players with a two v two early war ETO action of ME 109E-4s vs Spitfire MIIA's. I did not play in this game but the action looked very intense as there were some opening head on shots traded followed by a four plane tail chase. I think this game got less turns in but had more players and more planes in action.

All in all a *very* successful day of playing Fighting Wings. I am eager to try more and have the urge to dig into the rule book to look up some of the tougher game concepts and mechanics we encountered (tailing, over speed, idle throttle setting, field of fire come to immediate mind as needing a slow read through to ensure I get it right next time. This urge reminds me of my early days of learning ASL - small actions followed by a slow reading of the rules to see if and where we erred.

1. Playing at Eric W beautiful house with a super supportive spouse, unmatched book and unmatched wargame collection. I consider my book and game collection to be quite good but Eric's is spectacular. The lunch was excellent as well. Many, many thanks to Eric and his spouse for allowing us in and to camp out for an afternoon of gaming!
2. Using the beautiful Fighting Wing counters.
3. The individual aircraft log sheets are clever, well thought out and make the complex manageable. Not sure I could play the game without it.
4. Joe C's pre-game tutorial - Joe has missed his calling and really needs to be a teacher!
5. Playing anything associated with Guadalcanal - simply my favorite period and theater of WWII land, sea or air.
6. Watching Dan K. and Joe C. use their hands in "pilot talk" fashion to show and explain maneuvers.
7. One of Fighting Wings strengths is the use of the vertical air space to move the planes around. A second strength is that of energy management, trying to effectively conserve or lose speed during the dogfight. Air Force was much more about end positions from the si-move plots.

For others that attended yesterday - please send out your AAR to the group!

Question to the group: do we switch to Fighting Wings (more complexity inhibits new members, more detail makes the game fun and challenging) or do we continue to play Air Force (easiest intro to new players, game most members have already played)? Let me know your thoughts and our air game session on 25 Mar will support the selected game system.

Next up is play of Close Action next Saturday at my house in Virginia Beach. If you can make I need to hear from you now please.

TANG Events
Saturday, 12 April 1000: Close Action
Saturday, 26 Apr 1000: Submarine (multi-player sub attack of a convoy with a GM for limited intelligence on both sides)
Saturday, 10 May 1000: Close Action
Sunday, 18 May 1300: IRONCLADS (Dave Cross visit game day)

Posed the new FW QSR v3.1 rules over in the FIGHTING WINGS Group!


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