Hi Don, in Dogfight! there is an extra pilot check to attempt to gain a +1 to damage, which I have simplified / removed from the system for Lacquered Coffins. In this game the pilot check represents the fine maneuvering to actually get your guns on target, either in the vertical or horizontal, and also fine throttle and flaps management. The better quality pilots get a universal +1 or +2 to damage against aircraft so don’t need to roll an extra pilot check for this.
As for turning an aircraft to line up with a target, this is no more complex than making a normal turn, so there’s no good reason to leave it out, or to abstract the facing of the aircraft. Unless you would prefer a game when all aircraft move directly forward and never turn, or where facing doesn’t matter at all – imagine chess with aircraft… (on a side note that would be pretty hilarious to replace chess pieces with specific aircraft – I wonder if anyone has done this. You could to a WW1, WW2 and modern version…)
There is also something satisfying about turning your aircraft in behind another, or speeding in from an unanticipated angle on an attack run. It makes the game exciting and means that after the merge the table becomes a mess of aircraft at all different altitudes and facings – which is exactly how many pilots describe large scale encounters. It makes the players really play like a pilot: choose 1 single aircraft and try to take it out, even if there are 5 to 10 other aircraft all around you.
Tom Jensen - http://ostfrontpublishing.com/