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Posted on Jun 29, 2021 in Boardgames, Front Page Features

Age of Dogfights Takes Us to the Dangerous Skies of World War II – Kickstarter Preview

Age of Dogfights Takes Us to the Dangerous Skies of World War II – Kickstarter Preview

Rick Martin

Age of Dogfights World War II Board Game Preview.  Publisher: Forsage Games  Designers:  Predrag Lazovic and Dragan Lazovic

Age of Dogfights World War II is a sequel to Age of Dogfights World War I.  Age of Dogfights World War II is currently active on Kickstarter and Armchair General has been fortunate to have been sent a demo of the game to preview.  Forsage Games of Serbia again utilizes their patented “Triangle System” of movement.  Previously Armchair General reviewed their modern tactical naval battles game “Naval Battles in the Archipelagoand “Age of Dogfights World War I” which also both use their movement system.

You can find the Kickstarter campaign at: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1732812836/age-of-dogfights-wwii

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While the game’s components are not finalized based upon fulfilling Kickstarter goals, the components seem to be close to what was included in the World War I edition, namely:

3 bi-fold maps

4 board extensions

60 aircraft counters

112 plastic altitude stands including level flying and banked versions

2 tilt compensators

Initial position markers

21 control panels

Fuel tracking wheels for both bombers and fighters

Sliders

Photo mission markers

Bomb mission markers

Ace/rookie markers

Damage overlay markers

Cloud markers

1 each sun direction and wind direction indicators

Task zone markers

Various six sided dice

Rule book

Box Art Demo Edition

There are 21 different types of aircrafts in the game and the types provide a great representation both fighters and bombers.  More aircraft will be added in based upon Kickstarter goals but currently the game includes the following mid/late war planes:

P51

P47

P38

P61 Black Widow

B25

B17

Spitfire Mark IX

Tempest

Beaufighter

Gloster Meteor

Blenheim

Lancaster

Bf109G

Fw190

Me262

Me 410

Ju 188

He 177

Also the following photo reconnaissance planes are included:  Ju 388, Mosquito PR Mk 34 and the RB 26C Invader.

As with the World War 1 Age of Dogfights, each unit is one aircraft and each aircraft is represented in the game by a top down counter mounted on a plastic base as well as by a control board.  The plastic base snaps in to the altitude stands and is very durable. The aircraft control board has enough room to track multiple airplanes of that type and includes data on the individual aircraft’s special features such as how well it climbs or dives and how maneuverable it is as well as gun arcs.  In addition, for each aircraft are spots to track ammo usage and how many times the aircraft can apply its booster for extra speed (if applicable to the aircraft type).  The red and green sliders are used to track the ammo and full throttle uses.

Control Boards and Fuel Trackers

To easily show the aircraft’s altitude, the plane counter is put on top of  a plastic altitude indicator stand.  Altitude is tracked from levels 1 to 14.  Each level of altitude is 1000 meters or 3280 feet.  Each aircraft is also in one of four flight modes – level flight, banking, climbing or diving.  This is indicated by tilting the aircraft counter nose up or nose down or leaving it level to show level flight. In addition, to represent the aircraft’s bank, altitude stands which bend at the top are used.  World War II aircraft have additional statistics which were not used for the World War I version of the game.  One such statistic is the fuel carried which can be modified if the airplane carries drop tanks.  Planes such as the Me262 jets uses far more fuel than does the P51 with its extra internal and external storage.  Bombers have multiple gun positions grouped by their strength at different angles for upper, level and lower shooting.  Aircraft are also ranked by their maneuverability with some turning like trucks while others dance in the sky.

Control Boards and Airplanes

You now have different levels of blue movement dice to modify your aircraft’s base movement rate.  These different dice simulate the throttle controls of the plane.  Roll one type of six sided dice to go slower and another type if you want to push the throttle to the firewall without using your fuel injector for maximum speed.  If your plane is equipped with a methanol injector, you roll a green dice and add that amount to your base speed but you only have so many uses before the injector is emptied.

The three mounted map boards are beautiful.  Overlaid on top of the terrain are lines where you may find hexes in other board games.  Each of the lines comes together in points.  The points are where you start and finish moving your aircraft.  Much of the well organized and easy to understand rule book is taken up by examples of movement and finding firing solutions using Forsage’s unique “Triangle Movement System”.  One side of the boards give you ground terrain to fly over while the other side gives you oceans to fly over.

A Me262 Shoots Down a B17

The Triangle Movement System gives a very organic feel of to the aircraft maneuvers.  I like that you don’t have to chart your movement in advance so you can act and react to the situation as it develops.  The use of the control boards makes it very feasible for one player to easily control up to six or more aircrafts.

The turn sequence is pretty much the same as the World War I game.  Initiative is determined by an agreement of the players. I have the bombers move first then the other planes move in order of novice pilots, average pilots then ace pilots.

Every time you move, if an enemy is in your gun arc and range, you can try and shoot.  This may give you multiple chances to shoot during each turn.  Just remember that you use up ammo with each burst.  Shooting is broken in to two phases.  The first phase is to determine whether you hit the target.  Your accuracy is based upon the positional difference between your plane and the target.  The rules give great detail as to how this works.  Basically, if you are behind the target you roll on the A Accuracy Table and if you are taking a deflection shot, you roll on the B Accuracy Table.  Modifiers include range, target banking, etc.

Then you look at the Shooting Outcome table and factor the Attack Factor of the weapons of your aircraft plus the results of 2 six sided dice rolls minus the Defense Factor of the target.   If you get a 6 or less, you miss.  A 7 to 10 gives you a damaged result while an 11 or higher destroys the target.  If you damage the target, the target player rolls a damage dice which shows damage to either the tail surface, wing surface, engine or weapon system.  If a fighter is damaged twice, it is shot down.  If a bomber is damaged twice with the same damage dice roll, it is shot down but if the damage is different, it is shot down the third time it is damaged.

Me109 takes tail damage

For my own games, I modified the takedown and damage results to include more detailed damage and more details to the takedown.  I house ruled a table to a six sided die.  When shot down, you roll the die and the results range from a 1 which means you can try and glide the aircraft down for a survivable crash landing, 2 to 3 means you crash  and have to roll to survive, 4 to 5 in which you catch fire and crash to a 6 which means you have exploded and died.  I also allow for a dice roll for bailing out.

There will be rules for the direction of the sun and attacking out of the sun or with the sun in your pilot’s eyes; rules for clouds; rules for bombing and photo recon missions; rules for collisions; rules for pilot experience, etc.  But these were not included in the demo edition I received.

My demo edition included previews of Zeros and Wildcats for the Pacific expansion!

A Preview of the Pacific Campaign

I co-wrote the solo rules for Age of Dogfights World War I with Dragan Lazovic.  A version of these solo rules will be adapted to the World War II game.  The pictures I have included were from a play test I conducted using the solo rules.

What I love about Age of Dogfights (both the World War I and World War II game) is that the rules are easy to learn but very accurately reflect the duels in the skies of these two conflicts.  Also, it is very easy to control up to a dozen planes per pilot making for much larger games than in most other systems.

If you love aviation games, check out Age of Dogfights!

Air Battle

About the Author

A college film instructor and small business owner, Richard Martin has also worked in the legal and real estate professions, is involved in video production, film criticism, sports shooting and is an avid World War I and II gamer. He designed the games Tiger Leader, The Tiger Leader Expansion, Sherman Leader for DVG and co-wrote the solo system for Age of Dogfights by Forsage Games.  In addition, Rick can remember war games which came in plastic bags and cost $2.99 (he’s really that old)! Currently Rick is working on T34 Leader for DVG.

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