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"Fixing CY6-JA for the Korean War" Topic


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797 hits since 13 Dec 2016
©1994-2017 Bill Armintrout
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Yellow Admiral Supporting Member of TMP13 Dec 2016 4:52 a.m. PST

Two years ago I launched a project to get a collaborative Korean War dogfight campaign going, using Check Your 6 Jet Age. The campaign fizzled after a few months of play, but in a way I was kinda okay with that, because by then I had decided CY6-JA didn't really work right. Some observations:

  • The jets can change speed and altitude so quickly, nearly any jet can get away from any other plane (as long as not too low or too slow). Even the "slow" jets are hard to catch (P-80s, F-84s, Meteors, etc.).
  • Firepower is exaggerated. First, the "ignore top rolls" rule is dropped in Jet Age; second, jets just have a lot of firepower (cannons and HMGs). There are very, very few wounded birds around a shot is usually a miss or a kill. Head-on passes are slaughter.
  • Games look more like brownian motion than a dogfight. The extra hexes and TALs of movement make jets too hard to predict, so there are far fewer instances of a jet fighter getting cornered against its own performance envelope and outmaneuvered. Mostly, they just bounce up and down and zip around until a shot accidentally lines up and somebody gets shot down.
So, the question for the peanut gallery is: has anyone else found and fixed these same issues? Or any others?

I like tweaking games, but I never made any progress on the Korean War era CY6 jet combat. The Check Your Six system is pretty heavily interwoven, so it's hard to change anything without accidentally unbalancing other things. Also, it's still a somewhat unfamiliar period for me, so I don't feel safe re-evaluating the performance characteristics of the planes involved.

- Ix

Note: I'm not talking about Korean War prop planes. The prop rules and plane characteristics don't look all that different from their WWII counterparts, so I expect a Lagg vs. Mustang/Corsair battle to be very similar in Jet Age or standard CY6. My campaign fell apart before I ever got those painted, so I never tested this hypothesis.

Note 2: Anyone looking to play CY6 Jet Age just for the Korean War might want to download the simplified Korean War QRS I made. It fits on one side of a sheet of paper and does away with most of the irrelevant charts for anachronistic technologies.

Vigilant13 Dec 2016 5:49 a.m. PST

Can't say that I agree with your issues with the JA rules. I've played the game many times and found that getting away is not any easier than for WW2 aircraft. The Korean era jets are not that fast and the speed gains are not that great. In a dive the increases apply to both sides and in a climb speed drop off is rapid for jets without reheat.
Firepower isn't exaggerated, getting hit by multiple heavy mgs or cannon would not leave much left, and it still takes 2 hits to destroy an aircraft.
Predicting the location of the enemy is a major part of air combat, but again the speed limits on climbs will cause an aircraft to become a target very quickly.
Are you sure you are playing the rules correctly regarding height and speed changes?

TGerritsen Supporting Member of TMP13 Dec 2016 6:55 a.m. PST

You state a litany of issues with the rules but then state this-

"Also, it's still a somewhat unfamiliar period for me, so I don't feel safe re-evaluating the performance characteristics of the planes involved."

That seems like a major clue to your issues, at least to me. It sounds like you have preconceived notions on how it should play and feel. Do your notions on how it should be match any reading you've done on Korean Air Battles?

CY6 is by no means perfect, but it's very good within the confines of a game you can play within an evening. If you are looking for greater realism, I recommend Birds of Prey, which is meticulously crafted to recreate the science of flying combat aircraft. Personally if I want that level of realism, I'd rather play a computer simulation, but many people really like Birds of Prey for capturing the real issues of flying air combat missions.

Personal logo Martian Root Canal Supporting Member of TMP13 Dec 2016 9:15 a.m. PST

I am an avid CY6 player, both WW2 and Jet Age. In my opinion, weapons WERE more lethal – you need to evade, not absorb damage. The climbing/diving limits as mentioned above and the aircraft involved for Korea make evasion difficult for both sides, once someone has targeted you. In the end, its a game, and will take liberties with perceived realities, but it's still one of the best games out there.

Oberlindes Sol LIC Supporting Member of TMP13 Dec 2016 10:47 a.m. PST

I haven't played Check Your Six, but I have read about Korean War jet combat, and as I recall there were, in fact, "very, very few wounded birds around" because "a shot [was] usually a miss or a kill".

BattlerBritain13 Dec 2016 11:48 a.m. PST

I agree with the bit on CY6 movement: I hate it. It doesn't flow, is distorted and just doesn't feel right.

Hence I use a simplified version of Air Superiority that uses turning arcs based on G pulled. Seems to give a better flow to the flight. No more 'jerky' pick+guess moves.

I use a version of CY6 combat, if only because I love rolling lots of dice. I have changed it so that it gives more damage results as I like the 'Critical Hits' that Fighting Wings gives.

I also disagree that HMGs and Cannon always blew stuff up. Korea showed that Sabres would blast away all day and leave MiGs smoking but flying home. The US claimed kill ratios of 12:1 but actually it was far lower as the MiGs just weren't downed.

Hope this helps, B

Lion in the Stars13 Dec 2016 12:03 p.m. PST

IIRC, the US planes of the Korean War were the most lightly armed, they "only" packed ~6x .50cals. The same as a Mustang, except they're all on the fuselage for a denser cone of fire.

A MiG15 packs a pair of 23mm cannon and a 37mm. You get hit by that and you're done.

The MiG15 is also quite light and climbs like a fiend, 4000ft/min at altitude and over 10,000ft/min at low level.

Yellow Admiral Supporting Member of TMP13 Dec 2016 1:12 p.m. PST

It sounds like you have preconceived notions on how it should play and feel.
I'm only talking about the way the game works as a game, not the way it represents history. I've always been interested in the Korean Air War because it was the last tech level at which dogfighting was still a major aerial style of combat, but as a dogfight game, CY6-JA is way less entertaining than the WWII version, and makes a somewhat dull KAW campaign game.

Now, it's entirely possible that dogfighting in the KAW just isn't a good gaming experience if it's realistic, and I'm okay with that as a historical gamer, just disappointed. However, I'm not convinced that CY6-JA is any proof of that. The CY6 system has plenty of flaws, and while it happens to make a fun game for WWII dogfights with 2-4 planes per player, I haven't found it a very good game for too many other WWII mission types.

My feeling is that CY6 would be a better KAW jet dogfighting game if the time/distance scale were adjusted to reduce the absolute movement limits. That is, max speeds of 4-5, comfortable climb/dive of 1 TAL, hard climb/dive of 2 TALs, extreme dive of 3 TALs, etc. This is the envelope that the WWII version operates in and I it has a lot to do with why CY6 is a fun nail-biter game. What really matters is the relative performance characteristics of the planes and pilots, and CY6 keeps just enough of that to be a delightfully elegant dogfight game. The extra few hexes and TALs given to the early jets may maintain their relative performance characteristics at the existing game scale, but in game terms it gives them abilities that I think sap the fun out of the dogfight.

As for weapon lethality, my reading has given me the same impression as BattlerBritain:

I also disagree that HMGs and Cannon always blew stuff up. Korea showed that Sabres would blast away all day and leave MiGs smoking but flying home. The US claimed kill ratios of 12:1 but actually it was far lower as the MiGs just weren't downed.
The typical weapons of the KAW were more destructive, but the airframes were bigger and more durable than typical of the WWII period. There are certainly plenty of anecdotes of airplanes makin' it home shot up. I just didn't see that happening in my CY6-JA games; in about a half a year of games, I got to use my neat-o smoke trails 3-4 times total. Damage in the KAW CY6 game tends to be a binary all-or-nothing result.

- Ix

Personal logo svsavory Supporting Member of TMP13 Dec 2016 1:25 p.m. PST

When a hit is scored but the defender makes his robustness roll, I've always viewed that as the target getting hit but not severely enough in game terms to inflict airframe or engine damage. So in those cases I see it as the target aircraft "makin' it home shot up," even though there is no adverse effect in the game (i.e., no critical systems were seriously damaged).

Vigilant13 Dec 2016 3:01 p.m. PST

Am I right in thinking that you usually play with aircraft at max speed all the time? That would severely limit manouevres which may explain some of your issues. We've mostly played slightly later conflicts such as Indo-Pakistan or Middle East, but we find that we rarely operate at max speed. For 1 thing aircraft in formation can't, also loading such as drop tanks effect speed. If you are using the Korea scenario book several of those limit start speed to 5 or less depending on mission. svsavory is correct in his view on saved robustness checks, those are the damaged birds. Passing robustness just means that the hit did not do significant damage. As for airframes being more durable than WW2, a cannon shell will go through pretty much anything available at the time, as would a stream of .50 cal bullets.

emckinney13 Dec 2016 6:10 p.m. PST

The MiG-15's cannons had quite different ballistics, which made it very unlikely to hit with both types at longer range and sometimes the 37mm round passed over the target while the 23mm rounds passed under. The N-37 also had a rate of fire of only 400 rpm, which was adequate against bombers, but insufficient against fighters, particularly with any sort of deflection. If you fired at a pure crossing target doing 250 m/s (560 mph), the target crosses 37.5 m between shots. The F-86 was about 10.4 m long. Even at 150 m/s, the target crosses 22.5 m, which means that it has excellent odds of avoiding those 37mm shells entirely.

With other geometries, the math is better, but you still need to be able to pull the pipper on the target accurately.

In any case, pilots noted that the high speeds of the aircraft made shooting much more difficult than it had been in the Second World War.

Yellow Admiral Supporting Member of TMP13 Dec 2016 6:35 p.m. PST

Vigilant said:

Am I right in thinking that you usually play with aircraft at max speed all the time?
Not at all. The MiG 15 at speed 7 is a runaway freight train, not a fighter plane. :-) I try to operate MiG 15s in the sweet spot at speed 4-5, but they're almost unnaturally nimble at speeds 2-3, so I'm not afraid of extreme maneuvers. The American jets feel a bit more plodding but have serviceable and predictable flight characteristics (except the F-86A OOC penalty) so I just operate them at whatever speed is appropriate to try to line up a shot, or escape one.
If you are using the Korea scenario book several of those limit start speed to 5 or less depending on mission.
I think I only ever played one of those book scenarios. I never got all the planes for most of them, and neither did the guys I was trying to get stoked up to play, so we used my own run-whatcha-brung campaign mission generator rules most of the time, which worked pretty well.
svsavory is correct in his view on saved robustness checks, those are the damaged birds.
I totally disagree. That rationalization is counter to the definition of "damage" in the rules, ignores all the interesting and unique damage events built into the game, and doesn't assuage my complaint that it's vanishingly rare to see CY6 KAW jets actually smoking and limping around under any of those damage states.

- Ix

Personal logo svsavory Supporting Member of TMP13 Dec 2016 8:13 p.m. PST

svsavory is correct in his view on saved robustness checks, those are the damaged birds.

I totally disagree. That rationalization is counter to the definition of "damage" in the rules, ignores all the interesting and unique damage events built into the game, and doesn't assuage my complaint that it's vanishingly rare to see CY6 KAW jets actually smoking and limping around under any of those damage states.

We'll have to agree to disagree on this one. Per section 6.2 of the rules, when the defender makes his robustness roll, "the aircraft receives no effective damage." So the implication is the aircraft was indeed hit but not damaged significantly enough to warrant airframe or engine damage.

Also, it's been my experience that aircraft that do receive airframe or engine damage (smoking and limping around), are easy meat and generally don't survive very long.

Yellow Admiral Supporting Member of TMP13 Dec 2016 9:59 p.m. PST

So the implication is the aircraft was indeed hit but not damaged significantly enough to warrant airframe or engine damage
Precisely. We don't disagree about anything.

My CY6 group has decided to treat only airframe and engine damage as "damage" for VP purposes because that seems to be what the rules mean, but the entire "lucky hit" system is clearly a way of adjudicating special types of damage, even if the planes suffering most of them aren't considered "damaged" for VP tallies. The distinction is murky, and should have been solved with more careful attention to the VP rules, but it's not really important to anything besides VPs.

In any case, the real problem with your rationalization is that it doesn't in any way resolve the problem I was really alluding to in the OP: the "damage" states (airframe/engine) and lucky hits are hardly used at all in KAW jet dofights with CY6-JA.

Also, it's been my experience that aircraft that do receive airframe or engine damage (smoking and limping around), are easy meat and generally don't survive very long.
True enough, but wounded birds make an interesting tactical problem, and in campaigns, sometimes a critical strategic problem – if it's your favorite pilot whose career you've been tracking, you'll work hard to limp him home despite the smoke pouring from his plane.

- Ix

Personal logo Buckeye AKA Darryl Supporting Member of TMP14 Dec 2016 4:27 a.m. PST

Seemingly CY6 has captured the difficulty of jet dog-fighting rather well. It wasn't easy to line up a shot with such high speed aircraft, which is reflected nicely in the rules. The ability to maneuver using climbs and dives is the crux of jet age combat. When one doesn't keep the speed up, then one is more susceptible to being shot down.

CY6 is really a crew quality game, and those pilots with better skills become more difficult to hit. The air-frames of most comparable aircraft are really fairly similar, with maybe a difference in speed there, or a different maneuver here. It is the skill of the gamer to anticipate what his opponent might do, much like a pilot would, that makes selecting a "correct" maneuver important.

One thing I think might need tweaking is the .50 cal. I have read extensively and the .50 was a beast, numerous accounts of how it would shred the MiG to pieces (I would go as far as giving the .50 cal a d8 instead of a d6). American pilots seemingly would obtain more hits, and there are several examples of Sabers being hit with those massive MiG cannons and coming home as the damage might have been a hole in the rudder or something similar, which makes sv's point…robustness rolls reflect the seriousness of the hit. If a plane passes its roll, it simply did not take damage that would warrant a change in performance.

As for the kill ratio, much like everything else, the pendulum has swung way too far in the other direction in light of revisionist history. Just because we have access to Soviet records now doesn't mean what they include is 100% accurate. One has to, much like what Norman Franks has done with WWI kills, match records from both sides to check dates and losses to obtain a more accurate statement. The kill ratio is still something like 5 or 6 to 1, Sabers over MiGs. When facing Soviets, the ratio is 2 or 3 to 1, and when facing Chinese and North Koreans, it jumps dramatically higher, giving an average of that 5 or 6 to 1 I mentioned. The glaring difference? Pilot quality.

And this would have been a perfect topic on the Gaming the Forgotten War forum!

foxcompany.freeforums.org

I have added the Dogfight Club to to forum, and hope that the forum can be linked on the DFC website as well.

Mako11 Inactive Member14 Dec 2016 9:39 a.m. PST

I've also read reports of .50 cals hitting, and doing little to no damage as well, as if, or actually, just bouncing off the Mig's skin, if hitting at acute angles.

Migs' cannons, when they do hit, can be devastating, but, as mentioned, due to their slow firing rates relative to the .50 cal MGs, could totally miss more frequently than them.

At high speeds, the Mig was a pig, and their pilots had a tough time reefing them in on the target in tight turns, to get shots off. Also, due to the high tail-plane on the rudder, it was less stable as a gun platform as well, than the Sabre.

emckinney14 Dec 2016 10:26 a.m. PST

"there are several examples of Sabers being hit with those massive MiG cannons and coming home as the damage might have been a hole in the rudder or something similar"

I'm sure there are plenty if similar stories about MiGs perforated like a colander. We just don't know about then because Soviet pilots didn't publish memoirs the way Americans did.

BattlerBritain14 Dec 2016 12:56 p.m. PST

I like the CY6 combat system in that I like the different dice representing the different calibres, but like others I found that there wasn't enough 'detail' on the damage inflicted.

I'd been playing WW2 and 'Over The Reich' and I just didn't like the B-17s just either dying or carrying on with no effect. I'd played the Avalon Hill B-17 where there were masses of tables of damage lists for hits etc and wanted a bit of that.

I'd also played Fighting Wings that gave a 'Critical Hit' for every so many hit points of damage, depending on calibre of weapon doing the damage, so had a look at CY6 and saw that the 'Lucky Hits' there were similar. Problem was that they very rarely happened in the game, as others have alluded to as well.

So I had a look at the stats for the CY6 Combat and came up with a CY6 version of Critical Hits.

I've put it in a single page pdf and uploaded it to OneDrive so lets see if this works:
link

Mako11 Inactive Member14 Dec 2016 3:15 p.m. PST

Actually, now, there are several books on the subject, about the Soviet, and other communist countries, and their pilots flying over North Korea.

I have several of them.

Red Wings over the Yalu.

Crimson Sky.

Yellow Admiral Supporting Member of TMP17 Dec 2016 3:47 p.m. PST

Well, clearly the answer to my first OP question is "no" – nobody has found these same problems or tried to fix them. :-)

Out of curiousity – how does anyone else represent multiple CABs on the table?

I use telescoping antennae topped with magnets to elevate the planes physically and visually demonstrate altitude. The most obvious use case is to use each antenna section as a single TAL, which works great for WW2. However, using CY6 Jet Age, the Korean War campaign book called for two neighboring CABs in most (all?) of the scenarios, and after playing a few dozen games, I see why – the jets climb and dive far and fast. Since there was little hope of finding 12-section telescoping antennae, I instead opted to just use the standard 6-section rods from Corsec and call each half-section a TAL.

In practice, this turned out to be hard to eyeball, so over time I marked the top and just-below-middle point of each section with a permanent marker. This helped, but the permanent marker isn't really permanent on chrome, so it tends to stain the fingers and rub off with use. It's not a perfect solution.

A word of warning – if you do this yourself, you can erase a permanent marker mistake with acetone, but only once or twice. The acetone actually etches the chrome coating. The first time you scrub off permanent marker ink with acetone will work great, but leave the chrome a bit less shiny. The second time will be harder to remove (the metal is etched and the ink is in the micro-cracks) and leave the metal notably cloudy. Too many acetone treatments will give the antenna noticable resistance to telescoping at the cloudy point, and long antennae are susceptible to sudden, catastrophic bending if the friction is too great. I recommend using plain-old wiping with fingers or chamois or something, to leave the chrome surface intact and rub the permanent marker with friction.

- Ix

Personal logo svsavory Supporting Member of TMP17 Dec 2016 8:24 p.m. PST

Out of curiousity how does anyone else represent multiple CABs on the table?

For CY6 Jet Age, my group uses 1/285 models and short, non-telescoping stands (the ones with dials to indicate speed and TAL). We place a poker chip under the stand to indicate the upper CAB and remove the poker chip for the lower CAB.

scouts19508a18 Dec 2016 6:23 p.m. PST

I use some blue tack and a 12 sided die.

Jim

Lion in the Stars19 Dec 2016 10:41 a.m. PST

After doing a bit of reading on Wiki, apparently the MiG15s should be trying to accelerate and climb away from the Sabers (or out-turn them), while the Sabers should be trying to dive away from the MiGs.

Ghecko30 Dec 2016 3:01 p.m. PST

There is a set of jet dogfight rules at runtus.org

Windward21 Jul 2017 10:34 a.m. PST

Without AB, multiple CAB are not really necessary. You just lose too much speed with any sort of a zoom climb.

Once you get into aircraft with AB, then you can zoom climb 4 TAL (your nearly dead in the water) but its possible.

So for Korea not worth the effort IMHO, but Arab/Israeli or Vietnam I think you need it. I play with it all the time using a d12 for TAL and I don't allow escape between CABs

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