Sorry for the delayed response, haven’t had much time for internetting [sic] recently.
This is the key: Is the audience players, or players wanting to be pilots?
The player in this game functions almost like an airbase commander. They decide what kind of aircraft to send, which pilots to send in, and the ordnance required – all depending on the mission.
Once the game starts, the player exhibits far more control in the micro/tactical area than a real commander on the ground would, but in the end this is a game and I want to be able to push aircraft around the table and have them go where I want them to go, so overlooking realism in the command/control area is ok by me in favor of gameplay. The player acts as the commander and also as a referee or gamemaster for their own side – moving the aircraft where they think the pilots would move them.
You’ve taken the manipulation of the aircraft (to achieve a firing position on another aircraft) and made it into both a player-dependant physical skill and a dice roll. Why? Really: Why?
So that players can still move aircraft where they want them on the table, while pilot skill still plays a part in the success of the maneuver/s. Its important that different quality pilots behave differently. Poor quality pilots don’t even know what an immelmann is, let alone how to perform one. Average pilots know the basics of an immelmann and other such maneuvers, and exactly what to do when they hear the “hail stones” of enemy fire striking their aircraft – they go evasive like their life depends on it.
Meanwhile good quality pilots are very consistent with their maneuvers, almost every immelman and steep dive is done accurately, the right amount of flaps, the right recover from the roll, etc.
Ace pilots do these maneuvers in their sleep and it would probably be down to exhaustion or wounds if they end up failing a pilot check for a split-S or suchlike.
First off: Kudos to Tom (I hope I got that correct?) for engaging in a polite manner, even when the others (umm…that’s me) don’t do so well in that regard.
My pleasure, I’m happy to discuss the design choices I made in this game, part of the reason I included “notes from the designer” in the rule set and complete transparency in how I arrived at the stats and points values for all the aircraft (basing the stats on real life specifications). Game design should be a conversation, and especially for new games like Lacquered Coffins, its important to address any questions or suggestions people might have. I do take on board all the suggestions and ideas, and often implement them. Lacquered Coffins has already benefited greatly from the input of people outside the design team (me – and yes, it is Tom 🙂 ).
While visiting my family recently I devised a truly “fast play” air combat game I called Position which can be explained verbally in a few minutes and involves players drawing a flight path on a small square piece of paper (an office memo cube of small paper squares being essential for the game). The game plays very similarly to Wings of War, with moves being drawn in secret and revealed/executed simultaneously, but with complete freedom of move choice, and with much simpler damage rules if your aircraft ends up pointing at an enemy and within range (roll a D6: On a 5+ you cause damage. Aircraft damaged a second time are destroyed).
I will likely type up these simple rules for people to play, as Position proved good fun for a family of 2-4 to play over 10-20 minutes.
Tom Jensen - http://ostfrontpublishing.com/