Thursday 10 May 2012

Luftwaffe 1946 - Rules Review

The second book I have tried for my Weird War II needs - or more specifically, my urge to recreate the world of Crimson Skies in an air pirate campaign.

 WW2 what-if planes are amazingly cool. Check out Luft 46 models for model kits like this one and the Luft 46 website for overall details and info on some amazing and unusual warbirds. 

The first Luft Krieg - was reviewed here and whilst it had some good points, I felt it was an unremarkable ruleset which unecessarily complicated a simple smooth damage system. Lightning Strike (another game by DP9) showed how the Silhouette system could be a success.  Luft Krieg could have been a good squadron-scale ruleset if it had been a bit faster to  play (by simplifying altitude and damage).

Aircraft are moved by flights in order set by d10 rolls. This is reasonable but I may simply draw cards instead. 

They use 1.5" hexes and have a worrying precise time and ground scale.  11 hexes/move is the speed of sound so we don't have to worry about aircraft shooting off the table. I like aircraft speeds to be manageable.

Dive moves carry over from turn to turn.  There are 60 altitude levels. Planes must move in a straight line until they have enough 'manuever points' to perform a specific maneuver. I'm not keen on this level of tracking.  There are 7 maneuvers from Split Ss and Immelmans to barrel rolls.  Maneuvers are carried over from previous turns i.e. you moved 3" straight at the end of last turn; if you move 3" straight at the start of this turn you can make a 'level 6' maneuver. How you are supposed to track or remember this I do not know.

The altitude could, I suppose, be split into 4 bands of 6 with different coloured microdice showing bands and the pips showing exact height within the band but this is fiddly and I am not impressed with the 'carry over' movemement

Firing and modifiers are a d10 roll to exceed the range.  Doubles can do special damage.  Rifle calibre MGs use d6. Arcs of fire are forward, rear or all-round.  If you can't miss due to modifiers you get an extra die roll to hit. 

There are special rockets and wire guided missiles, and ramming rules.  It also has surface to air missiles and other what-if WW2 science that would suit Crimson Skies.  There are plenty of rules for bombing and strafing ground targets, although the bombing rules have a page of modifiers which didn't excite me too much.

Planes have half a dozen to a dozen hitpoints to be destroyed, besides the criticals. 

This is unusual for most flying game and a test is taken when a plane takes 50% damage.  I do like the skills and traits which pilots can develop over time. Annoyingly I think pilot quality though has been merged with plane performance stats which otherwise don't make sense (to me, anyway).

There are 10 scenarios but I am not particularily interested in Weird War 2 so much as the ability to adapt the rules for Crimson Skies so I only skimmed them.

Sensible combat, morale and damage rules, but a ridiculous 60 altitude levels as well as tracking speed (and maneuvers) from turn to turn make this clunkier than Luft Krieg without offering any particular advantages.

Luft Krieg also has the advantage of allowing sky fortresses and flying aircraft carriers within the scope of its mechanics, and with a bit of tweaking could have simpler damage tracking. Not a bad ruleset, and a decent alternate if you want to avoid 'guessing game' rules (Wings of War, Check Your Six) but I'll pass.

1 comment:

  1. There is no extra die for a 'can't miss' shot and a '1' always misses. So there are no automatic hits.

    Use of Flight Stands or a number of other aircraft bases easily handles the altitude level tracking. Most games/scenarios will have no more than 10 altitude levels in play.

    One can record Maneuver Point carryover from turn to turn with dice, annotation on the aircraft status sheet (along with damage and ammunition use), or by not allowing points to carryover.

    Should note that the intent is for one player to handle 8-12 aircraft easily, vice the 1-2 that are possible in CY6!.