Game Mechanics, Cards, and other stuff at Rich Baker's Blog
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Scroll down to December Update and click on the link.
Anybody preordered this yet?
Here’s a link to the Forumini Newsletter where WotC discusses A20 game mechanics and pilot skill. It looks pretty good.
I am so excited about this coming out. The wing spans range from 3 1/2 to 4 inches. I plan on buying a case of booster packs and the starter kit.
Ive got a starter and 4 boosters coming to get acquainted. I’m really curious about it. WotC usually does a good job of rule and game mechanics for their other games so it will be interesting to see how smoothly it plays.
Have you seen any of the pics yet?
No, I haven’t seen any pics yet of the planes. I did read that the game was going to use altitudes and speed and that the airplanes lean and swivel on their base in order to show banking and climbing.
Here’s a quote from an article published today on the Forumini on the game mechanics. http://aaminis.myfastforum.org/about31390.html
Seriously, the game is actually (surpringly) really good.
Disclaimer: No I dont work for WotC. My gaming group was lucky enough to be asked to demo A20 at CANCON as we run the WaS touney at the Con. We got starters a week ago and have been playing since.
A WW2 dogfight game needs to give you the feel of planes zooming around, manouvering and firing - A20 does this really well. The system is easy to learn but quite complex to enact, the random comes in with dice and skill based manouver rolls. The three dimensions make it remarkably challenging to fly to the piece of sky you want to be in. The stats on the cards work well and the combat system is intuitive and realistic (within the scope of such a game). Yes, the figures are big - but solid plastic molds with a reasonable paint job. They are well mounted with a ball joint and the base doubles as an altitude indicator. The beauty is that you get the feel of a dogfight game, in three dimensions, that rewards good flying tactics and use of your plane’s abilities.
Good: Great dogfight feel, clever rules, good enough figures.
Bad: Figure scale makes bombers unlikely, balance and playtesting not as good as it should be.
Now on to more specific comments and thoughts…
Work really well and are similar to WaS etc. Initiative determines moving and firing. A number of mods come into play, both special abilities and if you are trailing your enemy. The winner of inititative gets to choose to move first or second. Movement alternates (though abilites can change what moves when) - so moving first is generally bad as your opponent can get on your six. The ‘balance’ comes in the firing phase, shooting alternates, with effects applied immeadiately and if you moved first you shoot first. The rules also deal with mis-matched numbers of planes as well.
Movement is based on declared aircraft speed and mediated via hexes. You can turn 60 degrees for free. If you want to do something special, like a split S or barrel roll, then you need to roll two dice, add you aircraft ability and beat a number depending on your speed. This is a really clever mechanic and adds lots of uncertainty to the game. We have found that failing a speical manouver usually means you can’t fire (as you end up in the wrong spot or pointing the wrong way) and/or the enemy then gets to jump on you more easily - don’t stuff the roll! The plane and pilot quality all help/hinder this.
Shooting is check the range, work out the angle of attack, apply some basic modifers (pilot quality, cripple, diving/climbing) and roll (preferably ‘6s’!). Damange is straight away. Simple, quick but reflects ‘reality’ well.
There are six altitude bands marked on the base (but no reason you couldn’t play 10 if you wanted). The maps can ‘float’ or you can play on map only. We found that two starter set maps together worked really well to fly around.
Some basic typos in the rules are disapointing, also there are some abilites that will need errata/clarification.
I expected the paint job to be better, especially given how big they are. In particular the canopies are a bit ugly. I don’t mind the no-prop decision - and you could easily mod them on if you wanted (and having played a bit, props would just further entagle the figures). The 109 Ace is the best paint job. The plastic is hard so no risk of bendy planes like we got/get with the ship version. The ball joint base is really clever as it allows you to angle how the plane is flying and affects combat and moving. The fundamental problem with the scaling is that the 110 is about as big as you can get on the maps they have. As a WW2 air combat game, I want bombers in the game. I’d really like to have a dozen Lancasters under attack from the Luftwaffe - but that would require a huge amount of space. The Lancaster has twice the wingspan of the 110… In short, the scale decision is a wierd one - I hope they give us an explanation.
Yes, you do get them all in the starter - another odd decision and the only explanation we can come up with is that it is cheaper for them to do it that way. Everything you need is on the card, the layout works fine. One thing pointed out by one of our group is that the pilots should be separate. This is really an obvious idea that we wish they had done. Planes should have been just an airframe then you add a pilot on with another card - more cards, more choice, better mix of points. Sadly you are now locked with the pilot quality on the card with the points costed in. The costings are … well … interesting. I had better not give away the stats for the other planes, but rest assured the US v Japan quality/stat argument will continue… Simply, I suspect there was not enough playtesting of some planes and abilites to balance things out well (sound familiar?!?).
Will the game succeed?
I hope so. Two starters is good for anyone who wants to play the game as you get plenty then. I expect that the starters will sell well. However, I am less convinced of the value of the boosters, especially as you already have the cards. The singles market will probably be really big for the planes in the boosters, with people wanting a few specific planes and not wanting to buy boxes to get them.
These look great!
Sorry DFA I forgot you can’t post photos here. I can’t wait or the forum upgrade thats coming so we can have more freedom.
Thanks for posting that, an interesting read. I think the paint job looks good and the canopy does not look bad. We will have to post photos of what planes we get. Do we know how many planes are going to be in the set yet? Are they going to be all fighters? It seemed like from the article that the heavy bombers, B-17, B-29, and Halifax will not be in the set. I wonder if they will have the fighter/bombers like the Avenger, Hellcat, Stukas, Zekes, etc.
They have said it is a air combat game and will not include bombers. So its up to us to proxy their use I guess. It mostly fighters with some fighter/bombers mixed in seems to be the direction they are moving in. The scale they choose pretty much limited the use of bombers from the beginning.
This is roughly what we know so far:
- Air-to-Air combat game
- 1:100 or 15mm scale
- will be compatible with ground game but will have it’s own unique ruleset (ground game stats will be in starter rulebook)
- Starter set is “fixed” (each starter has same aircraft)
- Starter is “Battle of Britain” themed: Six miniatures: 2 Hurricanes, 1 Spitfire, 2 Bf 109s and 1 Me 110C.
- boosters: 3 miniatures each
- 30 Miniatures
- 20 Unique sculpts
- fighters only, no bombers (though some fighter-bombers like Me 110)
- Set “leans toward” early war period '39-'42
- a full set of the stat cards will be included in the starter
Unique sculpt breakdown:
Other nationalities represented (with repaints):
American Volunteer Group Flying Tiger P-40
USAAF P-40B Rookie
Looks like a pretty good list so far. I guess I will have to wait for the Corsair, one of my favorites.
Hopefully a set 2 does come out, but with Rich Baker gone, who knows
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