I don’t know about the rest of you, but to me this topic is another example of “overcomplicating” a “simple” A&A game piece. (Notice the emphasis on “A&A game piece”.) How to represent what boils down to a “technological advantage” such as the “jet fighter” in A&A is an exasperating endeavor, especially when you look at just some of the “historical facts” about “jet fighters” as a whole, not to mention all of the individual details of each prototype of the individual aircraft such as armament, speed, weight, maneuverability, reliability, flight range etc, etc, etc…
Here are just SOME examples of the “details” (for those that are interested):
So it seems to me, once again (as with most topics revolving around the “historical accuracy” of the A&A game pieces) that we are forgetting what kind of game A&A is. Don’t get me wrong, a lot of the “detailed and historical” points that have been mentioned are great and really interesting to me, and they have gotten me to look up and learn more about the topic of jets in WW2, but as far as applying all of those details to the game of A&A, I think its all way too much detail. A&A is not, nor has it ever been, nor do I ever think that it will be a game that is that detailed. Thank god…can you imagine how dang long it would take to play one game if it was THAT detailed?
Any way, I also think it is real important to keep the basics of gaming in mind when talking about the “historical accuracy” of A&A. Any game, other than the most basic ones such as go fish or shoots and ladders are trying to take real world “things” and convert them into “game pieces”. Game pieces in their simplest form are just an interpretative “mathematical representation” of some real “thing”. There interpretive because everyone has their own opinion/idea/view/understanding about how something should be reduced to a number when compared to some other game piece. There is NO definitive answer to how a real “thing” converts into a mathematical representation of it, in any game.
The type, amount, depth, breadth and width of the mathematics used in a game all combine to make up what is referred to as a games “mechanics”. Generally speaking the more types of dice, types of charts, types of bonuses, types of pieces, etc, etc, etc, that are in a game the more complicated (oops… “Detailed”) the mathematics are and theoretically the more convoluted (oops…“(historically) accurate”) the game will be. Also, generally speaking, the fewer there is of all that, the simpler the mathematics and the more “streamlined” the game is. The more streamlined a game is, generally speaking, usually determines how long it will take to play that game and to some degree determines how “simple” of a game it is.
Unless I’m over looking something, since A&A only uses one d6 and no charts or bonuses to represent the “capabilities” of each piece and since there is only so much “detail” that can be put into a single six sided die, A&A is not THAT detailed of a game. If we only looked at the mechanics of the game, I’d say it’s a pretty… “simple” game. But as all of us who play it know, it is NOT a simple or EASY game to play. In fact it’s pretty dang hard even as streamlined as it is. So anyway…keeping all that junk in mind…
I think most players would agree that “historically” speaking no nation started the war with “functioning” jet aircraft. I think we also would all agree that every nation involved in WW2 thought of or would have thought of a “jet fighter” as a national advantage over any Power that did not have “jet fighter technology”. So I think we all agree that the ability to developed jet fighters is a good logical idea of a national advantage to have in the game. No argument there?
But since there is only so much detail one can squeeze from a d6, how much of a mathematical “advantage” should the national advantage of “jet fighters” be when compared to other units of its type is the real question.
Notice I said of its type? When looking at “technological advantages” which is what a “jet fig” would be, I think its very important to keep that in mind, otherwise we run the risk of thinking that an advantage to one type of unit is nothing more than a less expensive or under glorified version of another type of unit. Some might even argue that Hitler made that mistake when he thought “jet technology” would serve him better if it was on a bomber/fighter instead of just a fighter. For instance, if a fighter was to have its attack increased to a 4 as a jet fig, the same as a bombers standard attack, one might jump to the conclusion that it is just a cheap bomber. But when one keeps in mind the subtle differences of the figs capabilities when compared to the capabilities of the bomber, you would see that such a mathematical comparison of different types of units is not an accurate understanding of the intended use of each unit.
We all know that one bomber costs 15 IPC and one jet fig would only cost 10 IPC. And when you take into account that for 30 IPC, 2 bombers would be able to attack with 2 4s, but for 30 IPC, 3 jet figs would get you 3 attacks of 4, we all know when you compare those items 3 jet figs on the attack is a bigger “bang for the buck” to have than 2 bombers on the attack. (Jet Figs sure look like a “cheap bomber” to me).
But figs can’t bomb ICs for IPC loss! This “small” difference is important to keep in mind, but I think this difference is hard to see with only using a single six sided die for each piece, but, that’s the kind of game A&A is. It’s streamlined to the point that you can only adjust the mathematics of a unit by 1/6th increments, or 17% at a time.
So for me an increase of 1 to a figs attack or defense is a reasonable amount for the kind of game A&A is. But the question of if it should increase both attack and defense or just attack or just defense, that’s up for debate.
Some might argue that the “first jets” which is what the “national advantage” of “jet figs” would be in the game, might have been faster, but they could not maneuver the same as the other figs, some would argue they could not carry as much, some would argue they could not go as far, or they had more or better weaponry or etc, etc, etc. And I’m sure everyone could find their own “proof” to support what ever it was they gleaned from a certain prototype of a certain jet to support their “idea” of how that should be portrayed in the game. But for me, the advantage of “jet figs” boils down to one fact and one fact only…generally speaking, they are faster than the “planes of the day” no matter if they are used in offence or defense, that is what the advantage of jet figs in my opinion is representing…SPEED, nothing more.
So I think an increased attack or defense of 1 sounds…fair…and a good way to represent jet power on a six sided die. After all, they would only be 17% better on the attack or the defense and they would only be 34% better “as a whole” over the standard figs if they had an increase of one to both attack and defense but should they be “immune” to AA guns? No way. They might be harder to “hit” because they are faster but they can still be hit.
I personally believe the question of “immunity to AA guns” is not so much a question of a jet figs ability affecting the way AA guns work, it’s more of a question of if the way AA guns “work” are “represented” with good gaming mechanics when compared to what they are trying to represent in the real world.
AA guns are one of the few pieces in the game that need to be rethought in my opinion because they do a…poor job…at best…of representing what a nations “air defense” really was (is).
AA guns are the one piece in the game that is trying to represent two things, “detection” of an “air threat” and “elimination” of an “air threat”. Calling them AA guns is the first problem, just the name alone is a bad explanation of what they are, but to define them as “gun batteries that shoot down invading air units” is a real bad definition of what they are trying to represent. Its no wonder most players think they are a joke, with this definition they are nothing more than a “glorified” piece of artillery that some one pointed in the air and called an AA gun….come to think of it that’s all some AA guns were. But “air dense” is much more than some dudes on the ground shooting at low flying air craft as they zip over head with an 88.