Home Forums Air and Sea Air Ramrod — a solitaire card game on ground strafing

Viewing 6 posts - 1 through 6 (of 6 total)
  • Author
  • #92746
    John D Salt

    As a result of watching the gun camera shots in the video posted by Etranger in Ochoin’s “How effective was AA?” thread in the WW2 forum, and looking briefly at my notes on WO 291/1345, “Film Assessment of Ground Strafing”, I devised the following trivial entertainment, when I should have been doing something more useful. I then wasted more of my valuable time playing more games of it than I intended, and crashing into the scenery more times than you’d think a rational game designer should. All you need to play is a Picquet deck of 32 playing cards and a flat surface. If you don’t have a Picquet deck, you will have to go to the frightful fag of taking all the 2s, 3s, 4s, 5s and 6s out of a Poker deck. For all I know the game might work just as well with a Poker deck (or for that matter a Jass, Pinochle, or Italian deck).

    Let me know what you think if you give it a go. It shouldn’t take long. If you could play it as fast as the real-time action it represents, it should take six seconds.

    The game may be freely distributed, on sole condition of drinking to the health of Tony Routley, my old metalwork master, who joined the RAF in 1942 and flew Typhoons.

    All the best,


    – – – – – – – – – – – – – – cut here – – – – – – – – – – – –

    RAMROD — a solitaire card-game of ground strafing.
    by John D Salt, 07 Jun 2018.

    Game scale: each card represents 250 feet of airspace, and each turn represents half a second of real time.

    The player represents the pilot of a single-engined fighter, making a strafing attack on a ground target at low level and a speed of 340 miles an hour. The game starts as you come within a thousand yards of your target.

    Take a Picquet deck of 32 cards, shuffle it, and deal out a row of 12 cards in 3 blocks of 4 face-down. This is the strafing run, and the rows are called “long range”, “medium range”, and “short range” respectively.

    +---+  +---+  +---+  +---+      +---+  +---+  +---+  +---+      +---+  +---+  +---+  +---+
    |   |  |   |  |   |  |   |      |   |  |   |  |   |  |   |      |   |  |   |  |   |  |   |
    |   |  |   |  |   |  |   |      |   |  |   |  |   |  |   |      |   |  |   |  |   |  |   |
    +---+  +---+  +---+  +---+      +---+  +---+  +---+  +---+      +---+  +---+  +---+  +---+
    ________Long range________      _______Medium range_______      _______Short range________ 

    The player then deals themself a hand of 12 more cards, which can be inspected and played as desired.

    Each turn, expose the leftmost card on the strafing run. Start with the first card of the long range row. This is the “target card”.

    The player must choose a card from their hand to play on it. This is the “strafing card”.

    In order for the aircraft to be lined up on the target, the strafing card must beat the rank of the target card.

    If the aircraft was lined up the previous turn, shooting may be attempted. In order to count as a good shot, the strafing card must match the colour of the target card. To count as an excellent shot, it must match the suit. The aircraft must also still be lined up, so the strafing card must beat the rank of the target card.

    The player may elect to break off and end the game before any card in the strafing run is turned over. Once a target card is exposed, however, a strafing card must be played on it.

    If the aircraft is not lined up during any turn in the close range row, the aircraft crashes and the player is killed.

    At the end of the game, score the strafing run as follows:

    1 point for each excellent shot at long range
    1 point for each good shot and 2 points for each excellent shot at medium range
    2 points for each good shot and 4 points for each excellent shot at close range

    A score of 10 points or more is necessary to destroy the target.

    Continuation game:

    If you failed to destroy the target on the first run, and have not crashed, you may go round again for another pass. Shuffle the cards again and start from the beginning, except that, on the second and subsequent passes, the flak gunners have been alerted, and you are subject to ground fire.

    Instead of discarding the eight remaining cards, treat them as a Flak deck. At the end of each turn, play a card from the Flak deck. If it is a black ace, and the aircraft is lined up, the aircraft has been shot down and the player killed. If it is a red ace, any shooting that turn does not count towards the final score. If the aircraft was not lined up, evasive action is considered to have thrown the Flak gunners off their aim. Once the flak deck is exhausted, no more ground fire is resolved for that pass.

    Optional rule:

    The Ace Factor: An Ace pilot may treat strafing aces as high, target aces as low. Normally aces are counted as high, as usual with a Picquet deck.

    Campaign game:

    See if you can survive 25 consecutive missions. Count yourself as an ace after destroying five targets.


    Brilliant. Thanks. I’ve pulled a copy, I’m going to try it out.

    You'll shoot your eye out, kid!

    Levi the Ox

    Sounds interesting!  Gonna have to dig out my aircraft recognition deck and give it a try.


    The tension and elegant simplicity of this game have just chewed up my entire Saturday.  Get thee behind me oh Salty Satan!

    • This reply was modified 3 years, 4 months ago by grizzlymc.
    NKL Aerotom

    This looks awesome!

    I was fooling around making up a solo card game today for a regular playing card deck, so its great to see other people are still making games for it!

    Hope you are well John, I’ll have a go at this some time.


    That sounds like excellent fun. I think I’ll give it a go tonight. Thank you!

Viewing 6 posts - 1 through 6 (of 6 total)
  • You must be logged in to reply to this topic.