ALGY FLIES AGAIN – TWICE!!

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Last Friday Dave was round to continue our WW1 air campaign using TooFatLardies’ excellent Algy rules. In fact, we are using the version 2 Playtest rules, which dispense with hexes

It was a very different evening as we have missed a couple of game dates for a variety of reasons and wanted to move things along, so we played 2 games in the evening. We adjusted the firing rules to make things more brutal to help things along and we weren’t wrong about that!

The 2 games were set in October 1917 and January 1918, so the war is marching towards a conclusion. For the first game, I had 3 Camels and 3 SE5a s against a Rumpler, a Fokker DR1 and 2 Albatross DVa s. In each of my Flights I had a Junior Ace backed by a Veteran in the Camels and the rest were Experienced. Dave’s Top Ace took the Fokker, he had a Veteran and an Experienced pilot for the DVa s and a Sprog Pilot with a Veteran Rear Gunner for the Rumpler.

I won’t go into too much detail – to be honest, it was very focused gaming and I had no chance to make notes and the 2 games, being over quite quickly, have merged into one a little. Anyway, the first game went to the Germans, although we both lost a plane. In my case my SE5a Junior Ace was downed but I did get the Rumpler in exchange. The difference was, however, Pilot quality – a Junior Ace being more of a loss than a Sprog.

The second game was even more brutal. Dave and my Camels went head to head whilst my SE5a s came in from my right to try and get onto the scouts. Some nifty moves and a well judged break of formation saw Dave’s Ace and Veteran get on the tail of my Camel Junior Ace and a Veteran respectively (this Veteran had replaced the Experienced Pilot from Game 1, the Experienced Pilot having had engine trouble on take off). Dave’s Veteran duly nailed my Veteran and the Ace jammed my Junior Ace’s rudder. My other Camel Veteran then pulled an amazing move – he managed to get in between his Flight Leader and the Top Ace, going nose to nose with the latter and damaging his engine. The SE5s were coming into the fight as well, all except the Sprog, who just couldn’t get his turns right! The Experienced Albatross Pilot duly got on to him and down he went. However, one of the SE5s then got behind him and they headed for British Lines. The Albatross broke the tail and turned for home, he would be safe!

The other Albatross was trying to run interference for his Top Ace leader, the latter was limping for home, diving as he went to gain some speed and escape pursuit. Two British aircraft were in the hunt – the same Camel, damaged but still able to match the crippled Fokker, and one of the SE5s. The latter latched onto the Albatross and sent him down in flames, leaving the Camel to pursue the Top Ace. Try as he might, he just couldn’t land the killer blow as the Ace played every trick he knew to keep his aircraft in the air, ducking and weaving but, at the last gasp and as safety beckoned, the Camel fired a sustained burst and the aircraft exploded.

Looking at the value of the Pilots lost in the second game, it was a draw. However, across the 2 games, the Germans were in front. Looking at it another way, however, it was 4 British planes lost to 3 Germans, or 50% versus 75%, a loss rate the Germans just cannot sustain. The British have 4 aircraft and pilots left for the next game, the Germans only one, albeit with the Pilot upgraded to Veteran and with a Kill under his belt. If only additional resources could be released from somewhere else, like the Russian Front!!!!!

And here are the pics of the games:

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Monty the Desert Rat

A BLACK DAY FOR THE ROYAL FLYING CORPS

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It was a black day for the RFC!

Last Friday good chum Dave was back to continue our Algy campaign. We are jumping forward in 3 month bounds because we want to move through to the end of the War in a reasonable number of games so we can see the development of the planes and the changes in balance as time progresses.

Anyway, so it was April 1917. A ‘Big Push’ was on the cards and the Germans had located a British Divisional HQ close to the front. With the Push probably only days away, the Germans decided to complicate British planning and bomb the HQ! They sent 2 Rolands with bombs and an escort of 2 Albatross DIIIs. All German crews were experienced except for the leader of the Scouts, a Junior Ace.

On the British side, we had elements of 2 squadrons again. The Nieuport 17s were back, but this time with a Veteran Flight Leader and an Experienced wingman – both having progressed as a result of the last game. We also had the same 2 Pups with a Junior Ace and an Experienced wingman.

So, the Germans came on in the centre of their short edge, the Rolands flanked by the Scouts, who were also higher. The Nieuports were clearly on their game again and came on first move from the British left corner of their short edge and quite high too. The Pups? Once again, breakfast was clearly too good and there was no sign of them. Here are the Germans coming on and the Nieuports diving to meet them:

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As the Nieuports swooped in on the bombers, the Pups arrived on the opposite (right) corner and used their speed to good effect to drive towards the Rolands, who proceeded to advance towards their target, dropping to low level and positioning themselves for bombing runs in sequence.

The Pups arrive with the German Junior Ace heading straight for them:

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And now it all turned into a real melee!! The Experienced German Albatross Pilot stayed high and pretty much out of the action, but the Pups swept past the Rolands and pulled round to get behind them. The Nieuports were closing on them from their front right and things were looking good for the RFC. The German Junior Ace was coming past with a view to coming round and back towards the Rolands and the British fighters.

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First off, the Nieuport wingman got off a burst and forced the left hand (grey) Roland to side slip – would it be enough to compromise his bombing run? Sadly not and both Rolands successfully bombed the target scoring a whopping 5 points of damage. Next up was the British Junior Ace in his Pup he closed and got a chance to get on the tail of the left hand (grey) Roland – “anything but a 1” was the cry and he duly threw a 1!

As the lead Pup moved and overshot the left hand (grey) Roland, the Nieuports moved in behind him and again, a chance for the Flight Leader to get on the tail – “anything but a 1” and he managed it!

The Pup overshoots but the Nieuports come in and get on the tail:

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But the Roland got the first shot and the gunner did enough to cause the British pilot to lose control and go into a spin. Now the problem was that we were so low because of the German bombing run, that the pilot had no chance to recover and crashed into the ground. One down.

The German Junior Ace then tried his luck against the Pup Junior Ace, it was a hard shot but, once again, just enough to cause the Pup pilot to go into a spin and yes, still too low and into the ground he went! Two down.

The Nieuport wingman had his go next, we ruled that we would give him a chance to take over on the tail having seen his leader crash – “anything but a 1” and, guess what, ANOTHER 1! He overshot and could only watch over his shoulder as the Rolands both turned for home and safety, the grey giving him a parting shot! But it wasn’t over yet! The German Junior Ace manoeuvred hard to come in behind the fleeing Nieuport and duly got on the tail. With his superior firepower and having got up close the Nieuport really stood no chance at all – a long burst and the Nieuport burst into flames and headed into the deck. Three down.

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So, a REALLY bad day for the RFC. In campaign terms, the German Junior Ace chalked up his third kill and is now a Top Ace! The Grey Roland crew both did enough to become Veterans and the Pilot has been transferred to the Scouts with his replacement being a Sprog – good job he has a veteran in the back seat. The other Germans remained unchanged as experienced crews. As a Top Ace, the German commander has much more choice in terms of planes and will return in a brand new Albatross DVa! His Scout comrades will retain their DIIIs, at least for the next game, and the Roland will also soldier on.

As for the British. Only the Pup wingman was left and he stayed as Experienced. We rolled up 5 more Pilots to give us a total of 6 – British numbers are starting to tell as we move to July 1917. The Nieuport Squadron has been withdrawn as a result of the losses and has been replaced with a Squadron fresh from conversion to the new SE5a! They come with a Junior Ace and 2 Experienced pilots. The Pup Squadron got another Experienced Pilot and a Sprog and remain equipped with Pups for the time being – although there is talk of a new Sopwith super weapon due towards the end of the year and they have been warned for conversion!

And what’s up next – Balloon Busting!!

As for the rules, we have made a few changes to the playtest version and these have worked well. We have also come up with a few more to test in the next game but we are really finding that these games now flow well, give realistic results and play well and quickly for a club evening.

Monty the Desert Rat

ALGY FLIES AGAIN!!

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In the midst of all this Cold War playtesting, Dave and I managed a game purely for fun last Friday as Algy took to the skies yet again. We have decided to run a mini campaign and this was the first game, set in Jan 1917. We’ll leap forward in 3 month bounds aiming to get to the end of the war in about 7 games. This will allow us to see new types of aircraft come and go as both sides seek supremacy in the sky.

So, the game! The Brits had set out to photograph the German reserve trenches – there were 3 sections and they would get 2 victory points per section photographed (assuming the photos got home safe!!) This was to be done by the newly introduced RE8 with a veteran crew. To escort them, we had elements of 2 other squadrons – a pair of Nieuport 17s with an experienced and a sprog pilot and then a pair of Pups with a Junior Ace and an experienced wingman. The Germans were 3 Albatross DIIs, with a Junior Ace, Veteran and an experienced pilot.

The Brits decided to approach from the North, dicing for each formation needing a 4+ to come on. The RE8 and Nieuports duly arrived, the former at level 6 and preparing to dive to 4 (the height for photography) whilst the Nieuports were at 10 providing top cover. The Pups, due to come from the south, failed to arrive – something to become a bit of a repetitive event! The Germans needed to throw a 6 to come on first move and then a 5, 4 etc representing their reaction. They threw well and all came on together towards the middle of their baseline.

On the left, the Brits arrive with the Germans coming on on the right.

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Now to simplify the action! The Sprog failed to do pretty much anything he tried, including diving to join the other British aircraft. He duly flew off towards Germany in his own merry way, failing to complete manoeuvre after manoeuvre. He started to turn gently to try to reverse his course before heading off the table – with some success. But he still needed to turn harder and duly put his aircraft into a spin!! That said, this must have focused him somewhat – he recovered first time, ending pointing for home and duly flew back safely. In short, no contribution to the fight at all!! Here he is all on his jolly todd:

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The breakfast in the Pups’ Mess was also clearly top notch – they were VERY late, so we’ll ignore them for the moment.

So, back to the RE8. He duly dived and began his run but the Hun was soon on his tail, specifically the Veteran pilot. A first burst at some range and his rudder jammed. The Albatross closed despite some fire from the rear gunner and a second burst caused a fuel leak. The RE8 pilot finally freed the rudder and turned for home, diving again to try and outrun the Hun. The Albatross stuck like glue and closed for the killer burst. Knowing it was now or never, the rear gunner focused, took careful aim and let rip – KABOOM, the Hun exploded in mid air (double 6s are great!!).

Here we see the Germans closing, the RE8 starting his run, and the Nieuport Flight Leader diving in to mix it.

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All the time the Nieuport Flight Leader was trying to clear the RE8’s tail all on his lonesome. He got off a burst at the German Junior Ace, hitting but causing no real damage. The Hun replied and the Nieuport also sprang a fuel leak. With no other real option, he cut and ran for home, paralleling the RE8.

The German Veteran on the tail of the RE8, leaking fuel and struggling to free its rudder before breaking for home.

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Oh, and what’s this on the horizon – not a pair of Pups, surely not? Yes, they finally made it and their speed allowed them to close rapidly on the Hun. Now let’s deal with the wingman first – he failed even to dive, and then turn and then everything else and just flew off the far end of the table – useless!

The Junior Ace less so, he dived straight for the 2 remaining Huns and caused the Germans pause for thought, but their Junior Ace was a man of determination and he decided to risk facing the Pup to finish the RE8. He closed, got on the tail and let rip – the RE8 burst into flames and headed for the deck. The Pup Junior Ace had rounded on the German experienced Pilot, getting right on his tail at point blank range – he’d have to be quick or he would overfly (the Pup is much faster than the Albatross DII). The Hun was desperate and tried to pull a hard manoeuvre to shake off the Pup and went into a spin! The ground rushed up, he had one chance and he pulled it off, hugging the deck and running for home. The German Junior Ace, job done, did the same and the British Pup also headed for home, knowing he wouldn’t catch the retreating Germans.

The British Junior Ace mixing it. On the left you can see the crashed RE8 and the Nieuport Flight Leader diving for home.

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So, both sides had lost an aircraft and a veteran crew, so we ruled that equal. But the Germans had foiled the attempt to photography their lines and so took the victory. We considered the pilots and their progression. We decided the Junior Aces would need 3 kills to upgrade to Top Ace, so the German is on the way! We decided that, for Sprogs to upgrade, they had to prove their ability to fly. We defined this as successfully completing 2 hard manoeuvres with recovery from a spin counting as a hard manoeuvre and doing so first time as 2 hard manoeuvres. So the Sprog becomes experienced. For the Experienced to become Veteran, we decided he had to have mixed it – firing his guns and hitting the target. The Nieuport Flight Leader qualified so is now veteran, the German didn’t, nor did the Pup wingman.

The Germans diced and got an experienced replacement.

So, next time it will be April 1917 and I feel a German bombing raid in the offing!!

 

Monty the Desert Rat

ALGY TAKES TO THE SKIES!!!

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Last week regular opponent and good chum, Dave, came over for a game of Algy (Version 2 Playtest) – and here goes with all the action!!

Lt Bobby Baxter scanned the skies around him – the sun was rising in the East and he and his flight were the dawn patrol. He had 3 Camels as well as his own – to his right rear Charlie Wright, an experienced pilot, and to his left rear, Trevor Halfpenny, another experienced man. To Trevor’s left rear was, however, Ralph Hornby, brand new to the Squadron and clearly struggling to keep his place in the formation. At least he was on the safer side.

Bobby, a veteran himself, scanned the skies again and caught a flash off to their right flank and above – Boche!! He waggled his wings in warning and turned to his right, Charlie following suite. They might get a head on shot but, if not, they could come round and get on the Hun’s tail. Trevor pressed ahead, seemingly oblivious but waggling his wings in warning, sp clearly aware of the threat. And Ralph….he was enjoying himself, he had settled, seemed to be flying along fine and it promised to be a lovely day……..a brightly coloured plane cut across his nose, seeming inches away, and his Camel bucked in response. Ralph fought to regain control and, finally, the Camel settled into steady flight. He looked to his left and saw the brightly coloured plane heading straight and level over the British lines – what on earth?

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The British formation with the 2 Albatross coming in on their flank. My photograhy is, as usual, poor and I had not managed to sort everything in time for the game, so we have some SE5as proxying as Camels, I couldn’t find my altitude dials etc etc – I’ll be better prepared next time!

DAKKA DAKKA DAKKA DAKKA, canvas ripped and Ralph’s plane bucked again – a quick glance behind revealed another brightly coloured Albatross on his tail and pouring fire into his aircraft. DAKKA DAKKA DAKKA….what to do…DAKKA DAKKA DAKKA, that’s it! Bobby had said, if the Boche appear, dive for the British trenches and head for home – rudder, flaps, stick…..DAKKA DAKKA DAKKA – the engine in front of Ralph burst into flames, sweeping around the cockpit, he could feel the burning heat and his aircraft pointed its nose down, down, down……

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Lt Hornby’s final moments. Werner Bahnsteiger is firmly on his tail and, despite Charlie Wright being on the Hun’s flank, he wasn’t able to do anything to help. At top and leftish (so precise!!), you can see Bobby Baxter coming in as well, but too far away to do anything helpful.

Werner Bahnsteiger allowed himself a slight grin – one more kill to his tally, but this was too easy. Already a Junior Ace, he had spotted the sprog in the formation and had burst through the British aircraft, onto its tail and then, well, enough said. Where was Rudi?

The talk in the Mess later was that, in that initial dive, Rudi Kopfloser had dropped his Schnapps and had instantly ducked to try and recover it – thereby missing the British aircraft completely as he flew, oblivious to all, through the formation and across British lines. Rudi returned to the airfield later in good health and rattled on about sticky controls or such, but the ground crew found no evidence of any such problem (amazing what a case of beer can achieve) and his plane flew perfectly on the afternoon test flight!

But back to Werner Bahnsteiger. One down, no sign of Rudi and 3 to go. Aware of the 2 coming round on his tail, he turned hard and brought his Albatross directly at the flank of the first Camel – he reckoned he’d get a passing shot and then round onto the tail of the other one. As it was, he managed to get into a great flanking position and pressed down on the fire button  DAKKA DAKKA DAKKA. Bobby felt the rounds ripping through his aircraft and bucked and dodged as best he could. DAKKA DAKKA DAKKA – this man knows how to fly though Werner as, again, he poured fire into the Camel but with no apparent signs of success. He could see the further Camel pushing to his right  and seeming to try to come round sharply, but not managing it and ending up heading away from the fight. Good. DAKKA DAKKA DAKKA, but still no obvious damage. DAKKA DAKKA DAKKA – Werner felt the rounds rip through his aircraft and heard the canvas tearing – Trevor Halfpenny had pressed ahead, completed an impressive wing over and come back – not quite on the Hun’s tail, but close enough for a good burst and he could see his rounds hitting – got you now!!

But no, Werner pulled back on the stick, climbed over the Camel in front, now very close, and turned for home. The Camels reformed and continued their patrol uneventfully. It was a mixed mood in the mess, sadness at the loss of another young flyer, but elation at driving off that Boche – little did they know that Werner was down to his last couple of seconds of ammo and had decided one kill was enough before breakfast.

A great game, we’re still learning, but much fun and very realisitic. Werner, as a Junior Ace, really did dominate, but that’s as it should be, and poor Ralph was just out of his depth. It was also good to see an experienced pilot able to get into a fire position against the Junior Ace.

Monty the Desert Rat