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"Chuck Staedler Sky's The Limit at DunDraCon" Topic

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Andrew Walters21 Feb 2018 11:49 a.m. PST

I got to play in a game of Chuck Staedler's unpublished "Sky's the Limit" air-to-air game at DunDraCon. I had been able to watch parts of it previously, but this time I, my son, and a friend of hours got to fly German jets and rocket planes against a formation of eight B-24Js protected by Meteors, Yak-9s, and P-51s.

tl;dr – these are great rules and you should try them when they come out, and Chuck Staedler puts on a great convention game and you should try to get in when you have the chance.

First, Mr. Staedler puts on a great game. If you have a hankering for money-is-no-object wargaming, this would be it. The models were all about 1/200 scale, not sure exactly, and mounted on telescoping antenna with swivels and magnets at the top (banking is a game mechanic). The hex map had 4" hexes over a photo of rural landscape; it was about eight by sixteen feet and reportedly came from Lithuania. Our GM had modified the decals on the aircraft so they were not all identical – different nose art and numbers, and all the dice, plastic markers, etc, were great. I don't want to guess at what that table cost, but it was nice. The game was well-run as well, it moved along, we learned the rules very rapidly, and got to explore all kinds of interesting situations in the one scenario.

The rules are great. I know he's worked on them for years because I've asked him a few questions at other conventions. He said he's nearly happy with them and may actually release them this year. I would say they are a little easier than Check Your Six, but without losing any flavor. You need to watch your energy even more carefully, but you can do a little more maneuvering with a little less effort. The differences in weaponry are fairly pronounced, down to a small bonus for centerline cannon.

The scenario was all-or-nothing, Eisenhower is traveling on one of the eight B-24s so we needed to shoot as many down as possible in the hope of getting him. No points for fighters, so we let the allied fighters chase us and get a shot when they could. We were two each of Me-262, Me-163, and Go-229, so there were lots of M108 30mm cannon at 650 rounds/sec, and the urgency of the mission and speed of the jets encouraged and allowed us to get very close to the bombers before expending our precious ammunition. The result was shredded B-24s. In the end we destroyed six of the eight, but only the Me-262s escaped. The other four fighters got shots off, braving defensive fire, but because we ignored the defending fighters they were able to set up some good ambushes and some excellent shooting made us pay for ignoring them. We did get the aircraft with Eisenhower on it, so that was nice.

Personal logo Yellow Admiral Supporting Member of TMP01 Mar 2018 10:32 a.m. PST

StL is exactly what I set out to write myself in the 1990s, but I gave up, so I'm really happy Chuck has done all my work for me. grin

I keep telling Chuck that StL is my favorite dogfight game, but he keeps fiddling with the mechanics instead of publishing. It may be a completely different game by the time I can play with other people…

The rules do plane-on-plane dogfighting better than CY6, but the one-player-at-a-time turn sequence puts a lower effective cap on the number of players. CY6 games can't get very big without bogging; StL games are going to tend to be even smaller.

FWIW, he says his favorite plane scale is 1/200, but his collection is all 1/144, mostly pre-painted Gashopon models. He's not much of a modeler, so any scale that requires painting (or paying A LOT of money to have someone else do it) is a non-starter for him. Chuck is 1/3 of the reason our local dogfight group plays in 1/144 scale, and probably 1/2 the reason I own any 1/144 models at all. :-)

I agree Chuck puts on great games.

- Ix

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