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"Father of Aerial Wargaming?" Topic

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1,368 hits since 27 Jun 2016
©1994-2018 Bill Armintrout
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Personal logo Editor in Chief Bill The Editor of TMP Fezian27 Jun 2016 5:33 p.m. PST

H.G. Wells is the father of wargaming.

Fletcher Pratt is the father of naval wargaming.

Who is the father of aerial (aviation) wargaming?

Personal logo 20thmaine Supporting Member of TMP27 Jun 2016 5:40 p.m. PST

That is a really good question and my answer would be that I don't believe there is one. The difficulties of gaming in three dimensions made air wargames a real niche in the hobby there's a Donald Featherstone book (of course) but he borrowed a lot of ideas in it. There's Mick Spick's book and articles in Airfix magazine but I wouldn't say his rather unique solutions ever really caught on either. So although I may have a lot of rules and books from the seventies onwards, there isn't really a dominant set in them. I think boardgames did better but the move plotting, personally, I found tedious.

Maybe it really is the people behind Wings of War it's the only mass appeal game I can think of.

Personal logo Editor in Chief Bill The Editor of TMP Fezian27 Jun 2016 5:46 p.m. PST

Andrea Angiolino and Pier Giorgio Paglia?

Joes Shop Supporting Member of TMP27 Jun 2016 6:18 p.m. PST

A good case can be made for Mick Spick.

DontFearDareaper Fezian Inactive Member27 Jun 2016 7:43 p.m. PST

Who came up with Richtofen's War or maybe the creator of Dauntless/Air Force. The first aerial wargame I personally remember was Avalon Hill's Luftwaffe game. The one with the huge stacks of circular counters evil grin

Sundance27 Jun 2016 7:47 p.m. PST

My first thought on this post was Air Force/Dauntless as well. Richthofen's War, though now seemingly simplistic, kept me occupied for hours as a kid.

Major Mike27 Jun 2016 7:48 p.m. PST

Then there was Lou Zocci and his Battle of Britain game. I would tend towards the developers of Richtoffens War and Dauntless/Airforce as I remember getting a large number of people to play those games.

Personal logo Editor in Chief Bill The Editor of TMP Fezian27 Jun 2016 7:59 p.m. PST

I would tend towards the developers of Richtoffens War and Dauntless/Airforce as I remember getting a large number of people to play those games.

Perhaps I should have specified miniature wargaming.

Hafen von Schlockenberg Inactive Member27 Jun 2016 8:28 p.m. PST

How about Dogfight? Does that count? I had that one in the 60's. And it did have "miniatures". . .

rmaker27 Jun 2016 8:30 p.m. PST

Fred Jane predates Fletcher Pratt for naval rules. But Pratt's naval rules have an air component.

Lou Zocchi's Basic/Advanced Fighter Combat rules date to the mid '70's.

Mike Carr's Fight in the Skies (later retitled Dawn Patrol) dates to the late '60's and was intended to be played with 1/72 scale plastic models.

Sailor Steve27 Jun 2016 9:07 p.m. PST

I'm still part of the Salt Lake City Mustangs & Messerschmitts/Canvas Falcons/Triplane series, which dates back to 1974, founded by Rocky Russo and Doug Larsen. While not the first aerial wargame nor the first to use miniatures, it is still the only system in which the planes are actually maneuvered in three dimensions. I've tried some of the others, and watched still more being played, and they all seem to me to be more boardgame with models than actual aerial dogfighting.

I know I'm biased, but for me none of the others come close.

David Manley27 Jun 2016 9:38 p.m. PST

"Fletcher Pratt is the father of naval wargaming."

No, that would be Fred Jane

Dave Gamer27 Jun 2016 9:55 p.m. PST

I "second" TSR's "Fight in the Skies" (FITS) by Mike Carr…

Personal logo Doctor X Supporting Member of TMP27 Jun 2016 11:11 p.m. PST

FITS doesn't seems to be more regional than national. In the Midwest it is/was a bigger deal but outside that it was fairly unknown. Don't agree? Look at the current FITS membership. I bet 80% is Midwest or guys that lived in the Midwest and moved away.

Mute Bystander Inactive Member28 Jun 2016 3:40 a.m. PST

It was not until there were non-board game 2D rules that reflected the aerial combat without freaking trigonometry skills needed in essence. I have most of the boardgames and other than dogfight for the family I will probably sell them cheaply in the near future.

Air War C21/1918 and Wings At War in 1/600th are my faves but I never miss a friends "fur ball" games (with replacement planes if you die) of Wings Of War. Just refuse to pay the prices for the planes – well, until I see P-38s, P-39s, P-40s, and P-47s all available at the same time.

Ney Ney28 Jun 2016 3:54 a.m. PST

Mike Spick is the name that springs to mind for raising the profile of air games. Not sure his ideas get used much though?

Richard Humm28 Jun 2016 4:11 a.m. PST

Hugh Walters had his Paragon rules for WWI air games with 1/72 scale aircraft out in the early 1970s.

DontFearDareaper Fezian Inactive Member28 Jun 2016 6:20 a.m. PST

If we have to stick with miniatures rules, I'll go for Fight in the Skies. I played it at a Gencon many years ago. My favorite is Canvas Eagles, but I think FitS pre-dates it.

Ceterman Supporting Member of TMP28 Jun 2016 6:23 a.m. PST

HvonS- I'm with you. DOGFIGHT Milton Bradley, 1963. My Parents bought it for me in about 65 or so. I replaced it about 5 years ago from ebay. It still holds up & has minis! After that… Richthofen's War. After that FITS. Period.

BuckeyeBob28 Jun 2016 7:49 a.m. PST

I played Air Power by TSR 1976 (author Tony Adams). It was 2D miniatures rules and came with various sized curved turning rulers. Each type of plane had its designated turning ruler from size 9 to 15 IIRC.
(Prior to that, Dogfight by MB and also played a lot of Richtofen's War)

Hafen von Schlockenberg Inactive Member28 Jun 2016 9:26 a.m. PST

Ceterman-- do you still blow on the propellers to make 'em spin?

Gozerius Inactive Member28 Jun 2016 4:14 p.m. PST

Unless you are flying RC aircraft, all aerial miniatures wargames are boardgames.

Sundance28 Jun 2016 5:38 p.m. PST

Buckeye Bob, I had Air Power also – sold it to a friend a couple of years ago.

bbriarcliffe Inactive Member28 Jun 2016 6:37 p.m. PST


Ceterman Supporting Member of TMP29 Jun 2016 7:16 a.m. PST

"Ceterman-- do you still blow on the propellers to make 'em spin?"
You betcha I do! I got a copy off ebay & my sister got me another at a yard sale a few years back! I replaced the old "Broadsides" & "Battle Cry" games that I once owned also! So I got great "new" versions of all 3 classics! So damn cool!

zoneofcontrol Inactive Member29 Jun 2016 11:39 a.m. PST

I too played Dogfight back in the 60s/70s with a friend. We lost one of the German planes and replaced it with a mini model of the Red Barron plane that came with a Red Baron Hot Rod model.


kevanG02 Jul 2016 7:53 a.m. PST

It has to be Mike Spick.

Humourous guy in his book which was an expansion of his airfix magazine rules.

illustrated HOW to write rules….

Great War Ace Inactive Member03 Jul 2016 5:41 p.m. PST

@zone: that DR1's cowling is on upside down….

zoneofcontrol Inactive Member04 Jul 2016 6:21 a.m. PST

Great War-
LOL! I'll have to dig (and dig, and dig) out my game. My model plane is still in there. The car model is long gone.

I wonder if it was just a one time wrong assembly for the article in my attached link or if the model was actually designed wrong.

Great War Ace Inactive Member04 Jul 2016 8:02 a.m. PST

I'm sure the pic takers got it wrong….

Retiarius905 Feb 2017 6:03 p.m. PST

Bill Kopf Red Baron 3d flying

HistoryWargaming Inactive Member07 Feb 2017 2:10 p.m. PST

Fletcher Pratt did have some rules for airpower. I like the mechanism of the planes silhoutte on a piece of paper (with the number written next to it). The planes were on sticks and were moved up and down attached to clothes peg. When the came into bomb, the AA had to estimate the range to hit. Surviving aricraft them bomb. Of course, the close the planes get, the easier to estimate the range to bomb, but the easier it is for the AA to hit. Many times I have seen the ships steering all over the floor to avoid being hit and the planes attacking from much to far away to avoid being shot down. So my vote is for Fletcher Pratt(1933-45. An alternative is the airpower support rules by Lionel Tarr (1947-).

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