Tuesday, July 20, 2010

LTL Dad's EZ Wings of War Campaign Rules

LTL Dad’s EZ Wings of War Campaign Rules

The first time I played Wings of War with my friend Jil I was immediately hooked beyond return. It is a simple game system but I was very impressed with the content. The game designer definitely knows his stuff and the capabilities of the aircraft are very well represented in a way that keeps the game easy, fast paced, and fun to play. Wings of War provides a brilliant mix of reasonable authenticity within a playable game. Imagine that! Aircraft, and old military aircraft in particular is something that I do know quite a bit about. I’ve been keeping these babies flying for most of my adult life. As an added bonus the miniatures come pre-painted and are a pure pleasure to look at.

That being said, as I became more familiar with the game I was just itching for a little bit more. I noticed that players would push their little airplanes and pilots to the limit with reckless abandon. To its credit, the vanilla game does have scenarios to play, and the WW2 set puts the thought of campaigning in the players head, but there was no hard and fast way to bring unusual and unpredictable situations to the game. Time for some imagination!

So we started tracking the exploits of our pilots and their victims in a sort of pseudo campaign. Right away I noticed that the players started thinking much more carefully when one of their beloved pilots with a couple of kills was on the line. It was a good start but then the cheesy stuff started to emerge. Things like when a good pilot was in trouble the player would just blast off the edge of the table to save his skin. While this might be what the pilot would do, it would not normally be so easy to disengage so we had to set up some conditions to make it trickier. The idea for a full blown campaign system was born. In short order we started to test play a campaign system that could be relied upon to provide a consistent method to simulate the administrative side of the air campaign. There were three main things I wanted to achieve.

First, I wanted to have a system for monitoring squadron assets. In real life it was always about the machines. Pilots were relatively plentiful most of the time, but the planes were hard to come by, especially for the Germans. I finally decided on a ‘reputation’ system to use as a currency for acquiring replacement machines. During the war the best squadrons and pilots always got the best machines. Simple!

Second, it was essential to make the players commit their assets without knowing what they would be up against. This would create fog of war and force the players to deal with all kinds of situations, be they fair or unfair, mundane or unusual. This would make it exciting and force the player to make a lot of tough decisions.

Last of all, it had to be EZ and fun! This is what makes me love Wings of War so much and whatever we did to enhance the game with a campaign system could not be allowed to break the game.

Here is our attempt at a simple means to bring a little more strategy to our Wings of War games.

Preparation and Notes:

For a full flavored campaign it is very helpful to have a fair number of planes, of varied type, available for each side. We currently have all three sets from the WoW WWI series at our disposal. If you have less or more than this you can simply decrease or increase the number of possible assigned missions for each day to your own taste. These campaign rules are scaled to around 15 or more planes in the squadron.

Random generation is a big part of this campaign. I have outlined some methods here, but of course you can simply use your own methods as you see fit. I frequently just stack my airplane boxes in groups, and roll a die to select a group, then roll again to see which planes from that group etc.. Remember, it is all about quick and easy!

You will quickly notice that there is nothing “fair” about these campaign rules as far as numbers go. There will be times that you are hopelessly matched against overwhelming odds in really bad situations. Sometimes you will have enough opportunity to extract yourself from a bad situation but other times you may be forced to fight. This is not an oversight, it is by design. The successful pilots were patient hunters and guys with a lot of luck.

Up to this point we have been playing these campaigns against an “NPC” player. The campaign belongs to one player and the other player (NPC Player) makes the secret random generations and provides the brain behind the enemy planes on the table top. We have been considering how to wage these campaigns with more than one “active” player but there are some obvious issues with it. If I have any future thoughts as to how this may be done I’ll post it on my blog. http://tacticalminiaturesgaming.blogspot.com/
If anyone else out there figures out something please by all means share it with us!

All you need is the WoW game, know how to play it, some minis (optional), some D6 and your ready to roll.

Campaign Turn Sequence:

1. Receive number of assignments from HQ (Roll 1D6, divide by 2 and round up)
These missions are mandatory!
First roll 1D6. Divide by 2 and round up to get number of assigned missions for the day.

Example: So for instance, if you roll a 5, divided by two, would be 2.5. Then round up to 3. So there would be 3 planned missions this day.

2. Mission Assignment
Now for each mission generated above, Roll 2D6 and determine results on chart below.
2 - 3 Strafing Mission
4 - 6 Reconnaissance
7 - 10 Patrol
11 - 12 Balloon Busting

At this time you may now assign as many additional patrol missions as you like, and that you have pilots and machines for.  These are "hunting missions" without orders from HQ on your own initiative.

3. Pilot Assignment
Now the player must assign his pilots to the assigned missions and any additional "hunting missions". I recommend limiting each flight to a maximum of 6 planes for both the player and the NPC player to keep the games manageable.  Once you are comfortable with everything it is entirely possible to remove the minimum or maximum requirement of how many pilots that can be assigned to each of these missions.  Once these assignments are made, they cannot be altered until the next day. Also at this time reserve pilots may be assigned to your home airfield in case a scramble mission comes up this turn. If there are no pilots left at the airfield then scramble missions cannot be performed and will automatically fail.

Example: I have 12 pilots and planes available this day. I received 3 assignments from HQ and rolled 2 patrols and 1 recon mission. I decide to send three planes on each mission and I leave 3 planes at the airfield in case of a scramble mission.

4. Play first assigned mission. (Important! The following items must be performed in this sequence!)

a.  First roll 1D6 and on a 1 – 3 no target is found and it is a dry run, on a 4 - 6 continue to next step.

b. Choose which edge of the table will be your “home” edge. This is the edge where your planes will start. This will also be where you will have to run to if you decide you need to quit the fight!  Place your planes with their stands at the edge of the table now.

c. If this is a strafing, recon, or balloon busting mission then place the target objective approximately 12” from the opposite table edge. If your table is big enough then you might place it a bit further from the edge to improve maneuvering room.

d. Generate the enemy forces. First roll 1D6 and on a 1 – 3 no target is found and it is a dry run. If the enemy is encountered, then use some random method to generate their force. As I mentioned earlier, I usually just stack planes into groups of around six planes. Then I roll to see which group, then which plane in that group. You get the drift. The only thing that is important is that you don’t know what is coming until all the mission parameters and assignments are made.

e. Roll a die or some other random method to determine which table edge the enemy enters from. If it is a long edge, then roll again to see what section of that edge they come in at. Please note that no matter which edge the “NPC” enemy starts at, his “home” edge for fleeing purposes will always be the edge opposite of the players “home” edge.

f. If the enemy enters from the same edge as you do then both players roll 1D6 and the highest roll wins. The winner “gets the drop” on the enemy and gets to reposition his planes starting position on the edge of the table after the “surprised” player places his. He can also point them as desired. In case of a tied die roll, re-roll until someone wins. “Getting the drop” simulates one side achieving surprise by flying out of the sun or clouds etc.. Or possibly even that the enemy had been drinking heavily the night before!

g. Play the mission! Play as you normally do with or without any advanced rules as desired. If at any time a player wants to flee the combat, he must leave at the “home” edge selected at the start of the mission. The “NPC” enemy always leaves at the opposite side. Any planes that leave a non-home table edge are lost and considered KIA.

5. Record Mission Results (Points are cumulative)

Mission Success or Failure (+1 or -1 Rep Pt.) Did you destroy your target? (strafing or balloon) Perform successful reconnaissance? (recon) Did you control the table? (patrol or scramble)

Mission Success or Failure vs. one side with superior numbers (+1 or -1 Rep Pt. per difference in aircraft quantity) They don’t scare you!

Confirmed Kill or Loss (+1 or -1 Rep Pt. per machine Lost) One more enemy bought the farm!

Celebrated Kill (+1 or -1 Rep Pt. for each kill that the pilot had to his record) This can be the BIG payday or a really bad day for your squadron!

Fleeing the Mission (-1 Rep Pt. if you flee from equal or smaller enemy otherwise no penalty) Run away and fight another day!

I like to keep detailed records on swoofy leader boards. Some of these items are necessary to run this campaign, and some details are just window dressing. Here are some sample records.

Here is the squadron summary board. Here I record the number of each type of mission flown. The number of times the mission objective (Obj.) was successful. The number of kills the entire squadron has. The number of losses the squadron has. Finally, the current tally of Rep points the squadron has. The current number of rep points is derived from successful objectives (same as missions) + kills – losses. In the example below this player has only flown patrols but all other missions would tally across otherwise. Also, if a pilot with kills goes KIA his kills stay in the squadron records.
I also record what day of the campaign and machine status on this record.

Here is a leader board for fighter pilots.  Name, kills, their status and aircraft is all recorded here.  Once a new machine becomes available I simply reset the pilot to ready unless it is a crash or wound survivor.  Then I would put what day he will return.  While waiting for him to return, his machine (if it has been replaced) can be flown by a replacement pilot until he returns.

 A similar board for the two-seater guys:

And finally, I like to make individual tracking boards for pilots who have scored kills and are hopefully on their way to becoming an ace:

6. Repeat Steps 4 and 5 until all assigned missions are completed then move on to step 7.

7. Check for Possible Scramble Mission.   (Roll 2D6 and check for any doubles)

If the die comes up doubles then there is an unplanned scramble mission.  The scramble mission is played as in steps 4 and 5 in all respects.  This includes the possibility of a “dry run” and setting up the objectives that the enemy must achieve for success. 

(If doubles, then roll 1D6 and check for mission type.)

Die Roll    Mission Type
1          Protect the airfield!
2 – 3    Bombers/strafers have been spotted crossing the front, go get them!
4 – 5    Enemy reconnaissance spotted crossing the front.
6          Defend your balloon!

8. Record and Check for new machine acquisitions and status of injured or downed pilots/crew.
When you have lost a machine you can replace it if you have a positive number of rep points, up to that number of rep points.  So if you lose two machines and have only one rep point available you can only request one new machine until you gain more rep.  It takes two full days of down time before you can get a new machine.  It takes one day to beg, borrow and steal it.  Then it is brought in at night and it takes the next full day to prep it for squadron use.  The new machine will be ready to go on the third day.
If a crew member is wounded or a pilot goes down in a crash, there is still a small chance they might survive.  Roll a 1D6 for each applicable case and on a 6 he survives.  Roll 1D6 again and if it is a 1 -3 they are ready to go back in the line on the third day.  If it is a 4 – 6 then they will be back on the tenth day.  The only time you should bother with this is if it happens to be a valuable member with kills to his credit.  If their machine is replaced before they return a generic “green” pilot can fly until they return and take over.
That’s it, time for the next day!

Optional:  I record which enemy pilots score kills so that they can represent superior pilots during the campaign.

If you would like a .pdf version of these rules, or have comments, suggestions, or found some obvious error, email me at:  ltlgamedad@gmail.com

1. Receive number of assignments from HQ (Roll 1D6, divide by 2 and round up)
2. Mission Assignment  (Roll 2d6 to get result)
2 - 3 Strafing Mission
4 - 6 Reconnaissance
7 - 10 Patrol
11 - 12 Balloon Busting
Assign any additional freelance "hunting missions".
3. Pilot Assignment - Assign pilots, these may not be changed until the next day. Assign pilots to "hunting missions" at this time also.
4. Play one of your missions.
a.  Roll 1D6, on a 1 - 3 it is a dry run, on a 4 - 6 then continue to next step.
b.  Player chooses "home" edge.
c.  Place objectives if any.
d.  Generate "NPC" forces.  Generate the NPC force by your favorite random method up to a maximum of six planes.  Both quantity and type should be random.
e.  Randomly decide which edge the NPC enters from.
f.  If NPC enters same edge as player then both roll 1D6 and high die wins and gets to reposition and change facing of planes.
g.  Play mission.  NPC home edge is opposite of player.  Both players must flee to home edge.

5. Record Mission Results - See text.
6. Repeat Steps 4 and 5 until all assigned missions are completed then move on to step 7.
7. Check for Possible Scramble Mission.   (Roll 2D6 and check for any doubles)
If doubles, Roll 1D6 and check for mission type below and play as steps 4 and 5.
Die Roll    Mission Type
1          Protect the airfield!
2 – 3    Bombers/strafers have been spotted crossing the front, go get them!
4 – 5    Enemy reconnaissance spotted crossing the front.
6          Defend your balloon!
8. Record and Check for new machine acquisitions and status of injured or downed pilots/crew.

© 2010 LTL Dad – You may print, copy, fold, tear, use, not use, curse, mutilate, enjoy or gripe about this work in any way you like.  You may NOT use it for commercial purposes as it is a free works for the gaming community.

1 comment:

  1. Merci d'avoir mis cela en ligne !