Friday night Bill hosted an Aerodrome game at his house. Bill has acquired over 20 World War I aircraft and enough of the Aerodrome game panels and flight stands to entertain about 16 players. Friday though, we had 9 players and a fantastic time. All the players with the exception of myself were from Mid-America Wargamers. A great bunch of guys who have allowed me to participate in many of their games over the years. As a note, Bill's planes are each works of art. He has spent many hours assembling and painting these 1/72nd scale beauties. All planes have pilots and where appropriate the observer or rear gunner. Beautiful models to play with. He has mounted rare earth magnets on each plane to allow for easy removal from the flight stands for storage.
Our first game was a general melee with the following players.
Central Powers - Tom (DrI), Rob (an Albatross looking plane) and Greg (DrVII)
Allies - Bill (Se5a), Larry (Nieuport 17), Jack (Spad XIII) and myself (Se5a)
Tom and I paired off and manoeuvred to get a good firing position. We both achieved this at the same time and blazed away at each other. Tom inflicted over 50% damage to my plane and also inflicted a critical hit, engine damage. This restricted the amount of actions I could chose in a turn. My blast caused Tom to take over 50% damage and also inflicted a critical hit on him. He suffered a leaking fuel tank and needed to roll each turn to see if his plane caught fire. Fortunately for Tom, he was able to fly out of the battle zone and head for home without catching fire. I on the other hand decided to head into the general melee that was raging in the center of the board. Even though I was damaged, there was still a chance to nail someone and still survive the fight. All I had to do was get into a good firing position while not getting shot at myself. While I manoeuvred my damaged craft, we lost one of our flier's. Larry in the Neiport was shot to ribbons.
Well I managed to get int a great position to inflict major damage to an opponent but he also did the same to me. We were heading at each other for the famous head on pass! The Aerodrome rules make combat devastating if you are in the right spot at the right time and each of us had achieved this. The amount of damage inflicted to each plane was sufficient to destroy each plane. So Greg and Greg (myself) shot each other down. Shortly after this the last Central Power player (Rob) decided that it was time he escaped the Allied wrath.
All in all I have to give the Central Powers the edge in this battle as the Allies lost two planes and two pilots while the Central Powers lost one plane and only one pilot but did not retain the field of battle.
The second game brought a new element into the game, rear gunners. Up to this point none of us had ever played with two seater planes and Bill had built and painted 3 of these just for that night.
The side changed slightly and we were as follows.
Central Powers - Bill (DrVII), Jack(DrVII, Larry(DrI) and Greg(DrVII)
Allies - Tom(Bristol F2b), Rob(Bristol F2b) and myself (Bristol F2b)
The Allies had a plan to fly in formation to take advantage of the combined firepower of their planes but for some unexplained reason I thought that I could do better if I could get into a position that would allow my rear gunner to have a wide range of targets to choose from. I actually flew out of the fight for a short time and when I got back into the fray Bill had suffered damage and a critical hit, a severed fuel line. This like the punctured fuel tank required that Bill roll each turn to see of he caught fire, and he did.
As I got lined up to try to assist the rest of my flight I was able to take a shot at Bills flaming plane as he tried to land the plane and at least save his pilot from being killed. I added to the damage he had suffered but it made little difference in the long run as Bills pilot was killed on landing.
Back to the main fight and I again manoeuvred into a great firing position, along with two of the Central Powers planes. I was again in that nasty head on pass position with my enemies at different altitudes but each still able to fire at me. I took my best shot between Greg and Larry and inflicted a fair amount of damage but I took an incredible amount of damage form each of my attackers and was left barely holding on. While trying to get out of the line of fire of my previous attackers I managed to get into the line of fire of Jacks DrI and am shot to pieces! Dead again. I should have followed orders and held our formation.
The rest of our flight circled around from each side again trying for a good firing position.
Larry who had suffered fuel tank damage escapes from the battle but does not catch fire. So at this point the sides are even as to planes in the sky but the Allies have the advantage in the number of guns. Greg gets double teamed by Tom and Rob and is shot down while Jack also decides that discretion is the better part of valor and heads for home.
This game was a definite Allied victory as we only lost one plane to the Central Powers three and we retained control of the sky.
Everyone had a good time playing the game and as always the gathering of like minded gamers itself lends to an enjoyable evening.
Thanks again to Bill for hosting the game and many apologies for not bringing my camera to show off his fine work. Perhaps I can include pictures soon.
Good gaming to all.