Sunday, January 9, 2011

Junior Birdmen

I have always liked air gaming and enjoy playing various air games. However, for the past several years most of my time has been spent on naval projects. Mainly because there haven't been a lot of other people doing naval games, so I felt I needed to wave the naval flag for a while. Now I'm looking at getting back to a little air gaming, while still playing

Over the past couple months Kevin and I have been talking about trying to get back into some air games. One of the things that was holding us up was deciding what set of rules to use for some jet games. We both have lots of different sets of rules for jets, including my own adaptation of the Mustangs game called Phantoms, but most of them are hex based and we have been thinking about moving away from having to play on hex-mats (mainly because we don't have the hex-mats). When looking through the various rules out there, we decided to give the AirWar C21 rules a try.

Kevin's late November blog post about his jets, got us moving forward again. We have talked about putting on a game for Drumbeat, the upcoming local one-day miniatures gaming event, and since Drumbeat was pushed from the beginning of January to the end of the month, we decided to get to work on a game.

Because we wanted to use the planes we have on hand, we are planning on recycling an older scenario; The Taiwan Straits. This scenario covers an attack on a Taiwanese frigate, supported by some land-based fighters, by a bunch of Chinese Navy (PLAN) jets. The Taiwanese players start with a pair of fighters (either Mirage 2000s or the indigenous Ching Kuo) and the frigate on the board and will be reinforced by additional fighters during the game. The PLAN players choose their fighter escorts: either six J-7s (MiG-21s), or six J-8IIs, or two Su-27s, then they pick the attacking aircraft: either six J-7s armed with rocket pods or six Q-5 armed with four dumb bombs or two laser-guided bombs.
Target for Today: a Taiwanese Kuang Hua I (essentially an O.H. Perry) class frigate  
Kevin and I got together yesterday to run through the scenario with the AirWar C21 rules (the first time either of us had played the rules). I was sort of hoping we would have a couple other people show up, but most people were probably watching the Seahawks - New Orleans Saints football playoff game. The planned scenario is really too big for just two players, so we reduced total number of aircraft to a more manageable number, with Kevin running six planes (three J-8 fighters and three Q-5 bombers) and me running the frigate, two Mirage 2000s, and two reinforcing Ching Kuo fighters. 
Taiwanese Mirage 2000
Chinese attacking planes
Even with this being our first time with the rules, the game moved along at a good speed, with only a few minor questions along the way. Early in the game we both tried out a lot of different maneuvers, fired missiles, and tried to figure out the best way to fly the planes. Neither of us had much success with our initial missile attacks, the PLAN plans swept by the Mirage 2000s, and it looked like the Q-5s were going to easily make it to attack the frigate.
A Q-5 and J-8  zip past one of the Mirages
But then the attacking planes moved into range of the frigate's missiles. The frigate started firing off missiles and quickly knocked down two of the incoming Q-5s. The remaining attacker was able to avoid the SAMs when the ship failed its lock-on attempt, but the frigate's 76mm gun was able to knock it down before it could drop its bombs.
The Q-5s close with the frigate while missiles go after them
The Taiwanese fighters were only able to knock down one PLAN fighter; while the PLAN was unable to shoot down any Taiwanese fighters, but did damage one with a gun attack and almost got lucky with a 'Golden BB' roll on the damage table. 
A J-8II tails a Ching Kuo
Overall we thought it went pretty well and that we are in a good position for the game for Drumbeat, which is on January 29. I'll let you know how it turns out.
The frigate sails off to prepare for the next battle


  1. Great pics Dave. The video failed--it was just too long to upload either to blogger or YouTube. Guess I'm not going to make it as a Hollywood director.

  2. Nice scenario! Who makes your Perry?

  3. Kevin,

    Too bad about the video. I guess you just need to get a new video editing tool. Maybe we just need to move faster.


  4. Jim,

    The Perry frigate is one of the 1/700 scale models from Dragon. I put it together several years ago for the scenario when we were using a different set of rules. I didn't modify it by adding the 40mm gun mounts that the Taiwanese frigate has, but I figured no one would really notice.