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"Portable Air Wargame in the Pacific - Recce Over Palembang" Topic

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Whirlwind13 Sep 2019 2:29 a.m. PST

For the latest in my series of air combats using develoments of the rules in Bob Cordery's Developing the Portable Wargame, please see link as Wildcats and Zeros tangle over the Dutch East Indies…


Just Jack Supporting Member of TMP14 Sep 2019 1:58 p.m. PST


Well, Sir, you flatter me, I don't know what to say. Other than, I'm happy to see you back in the swing of things, cranking out batreps, I love it. Funny to see you pick up the mantle of my fake war with fake troops ;)

The fight looked fun and plausible, probably more than mine (no, definitely more so than mine). I still think I've gone too far in the Zeros' favor, and not sure how to fix it…

I received my copy of the rules, but haven't had time yet to sit down, read, and digest. After reading all your batreps, I'm very much getting a hankering to play them, and I'll have to bust my hexboards out so I can do it just as you are. I'll probably have some questions for you, so stand by ;)

That 'Achtung Spitfire' game must be pretty damn versatile, with you being able to bring out several different maps, and counters for Europe and Pacific. Pretty cool; but you have to stop 'adapting' my scenarios, and play the rest of the scenarios from the game out, I'm looking to do some 'adapting' myself! ;)

And I know you recently moved, but I didn't ask you the destination. You were playing during breaks in the Cardinals and Rockies game? Are you in the States now?

Anyway, super happy to see the Jarheads pull out the victory, with no losses to themselves!


Whirlwind15 Sep 2019 12:07 p.m. PST

Thanks very much Jack. Sometime this week, I will summarize the mods I have made to the rules in Developing the Portable Wargame that make it a more focused air combat game.

I have also pinched a couple more of your scenarios (AARs coming up), but I will be going back to Europe 1940 quite soon for more historical scenarios. I wanted to cross-check the stats with the fighters in the Pacific for comparison purposes.

And I know you recently moved, but I didn't ask you the destination. You were playing during breaks in the Cardinals and Rockies game? Are you in the States now?

I am back in the UK. I just like baseball! So I watch it on MLB.

Just Jack Supporting Member of TMP15 Sep 2019 2:48 p.m. PST


My pleasure, and yes, please do. I'm not particularly bright, but I'm having to piece together what I'm seeing in your batreps with what I'm seeing in "Developing the Portable Wargame," even went and re-read the section on aerial combat to make sure I hadn't missed something ;)

No problem on the scenarios, as I've said before, I put them out to share and it's really cool you're playing some of them, I like to see your interpretations of the fight(s), and how the results shake out. I was thinking of going to 1940 over Europe myself, for a couple/few of those fights you've been knocking out so quickly, but I didn't get the 'Developing' rules sorted out…

A Britisher that likes baseball!!!??? Well, you must be alright then! ;)


Just Jack Supporting Member of TMP15 Sep 2019 4:53 p.m. PST


Alright man, I got it. Mostly. I just went back and re-read every single one of your Portable Air Wargame fights, taking notes.

-You halved the movement rates, then tailored them (as well as firepower and strength points) to the various aircraft you've used (but, as an example, Hurricanes are 6 MP and Me-109s are 7 MP).

-You give 'energy chits' to aircraft, which are essentially movement point 'credits' to be cashed in at some point in the future, based on scenario advantage (such as superior speed, superior altitude, bouncing the enemy).

-You changed firepower to a red dice per cannon, a white dice per MG, and a white dice* for single gunners (such as bomber tail/waist/nose gunners). Red dice inflict 2 damage if the hit on '6,' while white dice* only ever hit on '6' (red and 'regular' white dice can hit on 5+ on tailing shots).

-You added an Immelman maneuver that allows an aircraft (presumably only fighters or dive bombers?) to reverse course by spending half their MPs going straight ahead, then flip 180 degrees, no shooting that turn.

-You messed with allowing an aircraft to 'climb' (at MP penalty) and thus gain an 'energy chip,' which is essentially 'banking' MPs to use next turn, though I'm not clear on the cost, or how many you can bank). I must say, I like this idea as an option, though I'm not sure how often it could be used once you're in the thick of it and need every MP each turn.

-You don't roll for initiative each turn (unlike the ground rules).

What I'm not clear on is, what are the engagement ranges? It looks like the longest I've seen in one of your games is four hexes, though I don't know if this is universal, or differs based on the various weapons.

I agree with you regarding the swirling, WWI-dogfighting, and I think I have an answer (not THE answer). In WWI the aircraft turned like that because they could literally turn on a dime. Why weren't WWII fights like that? It's a function of speed and wing load. The WWII aircraft dropped from biplanes to monoplanes in order to pick up speed, sacrificing turn radius. So a possible solution is to make an aircraft move TWO hexes before turning, not one. I think that would (could) make more slashing attacks, rather than the big 'follow the leader'-type swirl.

You could even mess with various stats (don't worry, like you, I want to keep things as simple as possible, as little book-keeping as possible): for example, in your Wildcats vs Zeros fight, you could have Wildcats making a turn every two straights, while Zeros could make a turn every one straight. Same for Me-109 vs Hurricane, and then Spitfire vs Me-109 (though the issue would become, what do you do if you have Me-109s, Spitfires and Hurricanes on the table?).

I really like the morale concept (losing 1/3 of strength points makes formation withdraw), but are you doing that for individual aircraft adhere to that as well? It didn't look like it, I only saw formations withdraw. I think I will probably have aircraft do it as well.

Regarding 'to hit,' I could see making head on attacks '6,' get rid of full deflection shots (and maybe frontal aspect, or have them hit on '6,' too), make rear aspect shots hit on 5+, and tail shots hit on 4+. I like the idea of making it harder to get on someone's tail, but when you do, he should be going down most of the time, or at least taking substantial damage.

I've been thinking about this, too: when a plane breaks off in real life, pretty much they're either dodging into some clouds to 'lose' their assailant, or diving to the deck in order to pick up speed in an effort to outrun him/get lost in the terrain. Though we don't directly simulate altitude in our games, I think you could do this by giving a +3 MP to the 'break-off' move.

Now, the only thing I don't like about these rules is that there's no randomness in it; part of what I really like about the rules I've been using is that you roll for MPs (for each plane) each turn, which makes their movement variable. Now, the swings are too wild, without much rhyme or reason, but it is simple. What I'd like is something a bit random (not totally random), that's quick and doesn't require book-keeping.

The only thing I've been able to think of (so far) is something along the lines of "Spitfires move 4 + D6," or "Spitfires move 4 + a D6 roll, where 1/2=0 MPs, 3/4=1 MP, and 5/6=2 MPs).

But then we get to my last dilemma, which is a simple way of working in pilot quality!


Whirlwind16 Sep 2019 10:22 p.m. PST

Hi Jack,

Yes pretty much. Other bits:

Firepower is currently:
1 red die per cannon
1 red die per two HMG (typically US 0.50 cals)
1 red die* (only ever hits on a 6) for a single HMG.
1 white die per two LMG
1 white die* (only ever hits on a 6) for single LMGs.
Currently everything has a range of 4 hexes. This is going to be changed to 5-Cannons, 4-HMG, 3-LMG at some point.

I am still playing round with this. HMGs may end up being a white die per single HMG, for example.

I think I started by playing that all firing had to be done at the end of each aircraft's move. Defensive guns fire first. Now I have been playing that an aircraft can fire once (costing 1 SPEED) but at any point in the move.

I started with all guns hitting on 5 or 6 (excpet those single LMGs). Then I changed it so that shots in the frontal arc hit on 6 only, which it is where it is now. I have experimented with re-rolls for shots on the 6 o'clock line, are-rolls for shots at 1 hex range, re-rolls for star pilots, and hitting on 4-6 on the 6 o'clock line. The latter was just too destructive.

Energy chits can only be cashed in at a maximum of 3 per round. I am considering reducing this to 2.

The "gain energy" experiment was basically that half of SPEED could be expended at a rate of 2 unused SPEED could be cashed in for 1 energy chip.

I am up for having a go with the change that you suggest for turning. I don't want to differentiate between relatively similar aircraft (say Zero and Wildcat or 109 and Spitfire) because one of my design goals is to basically say that high energy fighters will use high or low yo-yos or similar to achieve roughly the same effect as the horizontal banking turn. I know this isn't quite true, especially of inexperienced pilots, but I think it is true enough that it works. Currently bombers turn on the 'third' move of a turn, fighters turn on the 'second'. What I have been been experimenting with is only having certain aircraft able to turn without moving in the hex, whilst most aircraft turn and move a hex at the same time. More of this in future reports (i.e. I have played games using this but haven't finished the AARs yet).

Yes, the morale rules have only affected formations as yet. Incidentally even if bombers reach their morale loss level, they can still continue the way I have been playing it, beacuse the only affect is to forbid the use of fixed-forward guns (i.e. on fighters). Whether bombers continue or turn back at that point is therefore a tactical decision…to me, this seemed more true to life than not.

I want to think more about the extra randomness and break-off suggestions before I say anything about them. I am inclined to adopt the individual aircraft morale suggestion, seems sensible.

Whirlwind17 Sep 2019 2:16 a.m. PST

A Britisher that likes baseball!!!??? Well, you must be alright then! ;)

Thanks! Although that very night in the ninth, Ryan Braun was making me question my preferences…

Just Jack Supporting Member of TMP17 Sep 2019 3:13 p.m. PST


Very cool, thank you for filling in the holes and expanding on some items I'd missed. I'm working my way up to giving these a try, still have my BKC/Peiper stuff on the table that I've got to take care of first. But if these can go as fast as you're saying, game on! Like you said, just have to make sure we don't make them too complex.

I definitely want to try out the different turning radius for fighters, and I'll be using the individual aircraft morale, just have to work out how it affects the overall formation's morale.

Yeah, I saw the highlight of Braun's grand slam, woof.


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