Author Topic: Table Air Combat  (Read 4103 times)

Gabbi

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Table Air Combat
« on: April 29, 2016, 07:38:18 AM »
This game kinda of shares something with Battleground as it is a miniature-game-without-miniatures, too. So maybe it could be of interest for BG players (that have some interest in airplanes, ofcourse).



Table Air Combat is a air combat game set during WW2. It's sold as print'n'play on WargameVault: individual aircrafts are sold at the price of $2 each (but there are a few on offer, and a "pay what you want" one). Each plane contains the rules of the game, any additional rules specific for the plane (bombing, strafing, turrets, etc.) and the game material consisting of: double-face aircraft tokens, tokens for energy, the movement ruler which also contains the aircraft's data/stats. Each plane PDF also contains some scenarios, all look quite different and interesting, the first of which is the training and allows you to play with only the plane purchased. Others require additional aircrafts and are different from aircraft to aircraft. In addition to this, some planes contain additional material, like surface targets for bombers, for example.

Game is fast, not as deadly as it seemed at first, and plays quick and on very small surfaces (it is true the author's claim that the game can be played on a coffee table: I did). Also, the game takes near zero space for transport and storage: I have printed and assembled 4 planes (two in 2 copies, two in 4 copies),  with their rulers and counters for energy and everything stays, along with dice, in a box the approx size of a VHS case, with plenty of space for more.

I'm no way associated with the author or WV, just love the game and hope it will get some success that keep additional planes coming :)

WargameVault: http://www.wargamevault.com/browse/pub/4613/Paper-Forge
Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/paperforge/

RushAss

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Re: Table Air Combat
« Reply #1 on: April 29, 2016, 09:38:26 AM »
Huh.  I like WWII aerial combat.  This looks pretty interesting.  I always wondered how an ME 109 would handle a Zero.

And Kevin will be over the moon for this.

Thanks!

Edit:  Here's another link: http://www.wargamevault.com/product/178663/Table-Air-Combat-Ki43-Oscar
« Last Edit: April 29, 2016, 09:42:08 AM by RushAss »
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Gabbi

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Re: Table Air Combat
« Reply #2 on: April 29, 2016, 04:19:06 PM »
Glad there's some interest :)

Game is fairly simple, and some aspects are managed in a quite abstract way. For example altitude is here represented by "energy". Planes can trade 1 point of energy per 1 extra "tick" of horizontal movement, and sacrifice 1 tick of movement to regain 1 point of energy. Different planes can "store" different amount of energy (between 1-4, afaik).

But the game works very well. It's fast, fun and playable almost everywhere. I'm really enjoying it. Looking forward to try bombers and bombing missions :)

Kevin

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Re: Table Air Combat
« Reply #3 on: April 29, 2016, 09:38:31 PM »
Looks intriguing.  How long does a typical game take?
However beautiful the strategy, you should occasionally look at the results. - Winston Churchill

Gabbi

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Re: Table Air Combat
« Reply #4 on: April 30, 2016, 03:23:00 AM »
We played a simple scenario with four* P-38 against four Zero in about an hour. And dice rolls were a bit low on both sides (I failed to damage P-38 three times in a row, and I needed 3s). So game could be even shorter, I think. Maybe more complex scenarios will need some more time, but the game plays very fast.
*four elements (tokens, not planes).

Anyway, my sugeestion is: get the pay what you want plane (Spitfire II), you can even enter 0 value, read the rules, play the first scenario that need only that plane, and check by yourself if you like the game.
As unexpensive as the planes are, my real concern is the pokemon syndrome ^^

One crafty note: the author makes the token in a way that they can be wrapped around a coin (for weight), but I find a better solution to glue them on thick cardboard (I use 2mm thick) to make them like "standard" tokens, and currently thinking on getting 2mm MDF bases to glue them on, for added weight and sturdiness. YMMV, though.
« Last Edit: April 30, 2016, 03:52:29 AM by Gabbi »

Kevin

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Re: Table Air Combat
« Reply #5 on: April 30, 2016, 07:02:40 PM »
It looks like a very elegant system, and the use of the wing-shaped data sheet to do movement is ingenious.

I have one general issue with airplane combat games, though:  as a rule of thumb, whenever two aircraft meet, one of them can turn tighter than the other.

Historically, if you were in the slower-turning plane, and you two flew past each other and the other one started turning at you, your choice was to try to turn too and inevitably get shot down as it gets on your tail, or "I'm outta here!"  "I'm outta here!"= dive away if the other plane was slower in a dive and/or couldn't afford to follow you; climb if you could out-climb it, go straight if you were a lot faster on the level; etc.  If possible, once you evade you swing around for another pass, though often that wasn't possible.

This was a reason why in real life casualties from a single air engagement were usually very light when measured as a % (Under 10% shot down being pretty typical.).  One side took its one shot, then  "outta here!"  Problem is, that makes for a really boring game.  If you'd like to explain how this game handles that issue beyond "The less maneuverable plane gets shot down." I'm all ears, or eyes as the case may be.

  
« Last Edit: April 30, 2016, 08:49:00 PM by Kevin »
However beautiful the strategy, you should occasionally look at the results. - Winston Churchill

Gabbi

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Re: Table Air Combat
« Reply #6 on: May 01, 2016, 04:40:50 AM »
Well, I don't have so much experience with the game to tell if the problem is avoided and how. I suppose the problem is avoided by scenarios requiring different tasks (bombing a target, fleeing a certain number of planes off the opposite side of the table, etc), it's not just a simple dogfight.

Anyway, the scenario we played was a dogfight - 4 vs 4 - and it didn't feel boring at all. But the first plane (well, two planes, as each element contains two) shot down determined the end of game as victory conditions were:

VICTORY POINTS
2 points: Each full element that survives the battle.
1 point: Each half-element that survives the battle.

DECISIVE USAAF VICTORY: 6 points or more at least one element destroyed.
USAAF VICTORY: 4 points or more, at least one A6M5 element destroyed.
IJN VICTORY: 4 points or more, at least one P-38L element destroyed.
DECISIVE IJN VICTORY: 6 points or more at least one P-38L element destroyed.


Also, the alternate activation is pretty clever: first player activate one element, then play proceeds activating two elements until every element activated once.
This prevents anyone getting big advantage. If our planes are matched in trying to reciprocally shot down each other (it's not always so, often your plane A will try to shot down my plane B that's trying to shot down your plane C, but for the sake of simplicity let me go on with this example), and if I have to move one, I'll give you the advantage of seeing my move and reacting to it. But then you'll move two, so you'll give me back that advantage on one of your planes, but again I'll move two, and so on...

Also -but this could just be true in specific matchups- we played Zero vs P-38 and while the Zero can perform tighter turns, the P-38 has a special manouvre (called wingover) that allows the player to move the plane 1 tick and then re-orient it in any direction. Very strong but also cannot be abused: it requires 3 energy points that's P-38 full allowance (energy is represented by green lights on the ruler). You can regain one point per turn, but to do so you're forced to move straight no more of one-less of your maximim speed.

Then there are dice: one plane could have better chance to shot down the other. So maybe a less manouverable plane with better guns could get less shots at the opponents than the ones it's suffering, but its shots, albeit fewer, could have better chance to hit and deal damage.
« Last Edit: May 01, 2016, 04:51:04 AM by Gabbi »

Gabbi

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Re: Table Air Combat
« Reply #7 on: May 07, 2016, 11:48:21 AM »
A couple more planes I've recently crafted: Hurricane Mk.I and He-111.




Gabbi

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Re: Table Air Combat
« Reply #8 on: August 13, 2016, 05:50:37 AM »
Some news about the game. A few planes have been released recently, all quite interesting: G4M Betty, Me-262, P-40.
The G4M is great because it includes not-less than 5 scenarios, all diverse and very inventive. Me-262 is, as far as I know, the first jet fighter to be employed. P-40 is the first TAC release in multiple colors: tokens are included for five different air forces. It also includes one scenario for each of them.
The designer is working on rules for night combat and currently designing Polikarpov Po-2. Nachthexen are coming!

Also, a full rulebook has been released for free. It includes basic rules, all plane specific special rules, plus all-new optional advance rules.
You can get it here: http://www.wargamevault.com/product/187902/Table-Air-Combat-Flight-Operations-Manual

For more infos, check TAC Family Page on BGG: https://boardgamegeek.com/boardgamefamily/35483/table-air-combat
It's the hub to discussions, battle reports and reviews posted in every plane's entry.

All TAC releases on WargameVault: http://www.wargamevault.com/browse.php?keywords=table+air+combat&manufacturers_id=4613

Gabbi

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Re: Table Air Combat
« Reply #9 on: November 17, 2016, 03:41:09 PM »
The designer is working on rules for night combat and currently designing Polikarpov Po-2. Nachthexen are coming!

Polikarpov U-2 (also Po2) available:
http://www.wargamevault.com/product/198012/Table-Air-Combat-U2-Kukuruznik

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C7NSUFDHFgg