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Posted on Mar 18, 2020 in Boardgames, Front Page Features

“All jets scramble!  Intercept bombers!”  TS’ “262”  Board Game Review

“All jets scramble! Intercept bombers!” TS’ “262” Board Game Review

Rick Martin

262  Board Game Review.  Publisher: TS Games  Designer:  Wojciech Zalewski  Price $38

Passed Inspection:    beautiful components; nice counters; only 1 page of  rules; very fun to play; solo and multiplayer scenarios, stunning box artwork; includes rules and scenarios in English, Polish, Spanish, Italian and Catalan.

Failed Basic:     may be a little too simple for some gamers; wish it had rules broken in to basic, intermediate and advanced play; the Me262 is a little too maneuverable; fighters have to attack first and then bomber defensive fire occurs – this seems backwards based upon my experience in other games and in simulators.

TS is a Polish war gaming company with an impressive catalogue of games (see the picture of their catalogue which I have included in this review).  262 is their newest game and it focuses on late World War 2 air combat –specifically the epic battles between the few Luftwaffe Me 262 jet fighter squadrons and the Allied day bombers and fighters. 

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The Messerschmitt Me 262 was the world’s first operational jet fighter and even while being produced in small numbers (only around 1400 were ever made compared to 15,000 P 51s, over 20,000 Spitfires and 34,000 Me109s) the model still managed to account for around 542 Allied aircrafts.  The Me 262’s maximum speed in level flight was 560 mph (900 kph) compared to the fastest Allied planes which clocked in around 440 mph (708.1 kph).  The Allies found the most effective way to deal with this two engine jet was to attack them when they were taking off or landing.

The first thing you notice when you pick up the game box is the stunning artwork showing two Me262s soaring through the clouds.  The artist is Wojciech’s son, Rafal Zalewski. The second thing you notice is how sturdy the box is and the special side opening flap is ingenious.  This box should hold up longer than almost any other game box I’ve seen.

The components are:

1 Rule Book with 1 page of rules in English, Polish, Spanish, Italian and Catalan

4 Scenarios each also in English, Polish, Spanish, Italian and Catalan

1 6 sided die

2 maps (24 “ x 16 ½”) – one with Berlin and surrounding countryside and 1 with blue skies

54 double sided aircraft and flak counters

262 has one page of rules with additional rules appearing on each scenario.  Each of the four scenarios has solo and multiplayer rules.

Each aircraft counter is one individual plane with a red cone showing its arc of fire in the case of fighters.  Bombers can shoot at any enemy plane within range of 1 or zero.  Also each plane has a number on it which represents how many hexes it can move each turn.  There is no speed reduction so all planes have to move their full speed each turn.  On the reverse side of the aircraft counter is a picture of the same airplane but damaged and leaving a smoke trail.  When a plane is flipped to its damaged side, its firepower and speed decreases.  When a damaged plane is hit again, it is destroyed.

The following types of planes are included in the game – Me 262 (of course), P 51 Mustangs, Spitfires, B17 Flying Fortresses and B24 Liberators. 

There are also counters for flak batteries.  The flak counters are double sided.  One side shows the battery and its effectiveness and the other side is blank.  There are also two “blank” flak battery counters.  In some games, if you are playing solo as the Americans, you put all the counters flak side down and then mix them up and lay them out per the scenario.  As your bombers approach the flak counter, you turn the counter over to see if it is real flak battery or just “bad intelligence.”  You can also do this in multiplayer games.  This adds a wonderful fog of war to the game.  Additionally, flak batteries fire at all the planes in 1 or 0 hex distance!  This is very realistic and in one of my review plays, I lost two Me 262s to “friendly” fire.  I didn’t find it very friendly.

Altitude is not a factor in this game.  If two planes move through the same hex, you have to roll to see if a collision occurs.

The turn sequence is rather lose with movement and attacking being made in any order as long as one player moves and/or attacks with all available units.

When turning, all aircrafts can turn 1 hex side per movement point.  I found this problematic as the Me 262 when flying at combat speed had trouble making tight turns like this.  I house ruled that a 262 has to move two hexes to turn 1 hex side.  This proved to be more realistic in my view.

During bomber interception, fighters have to attack first and then bomber defensive fire occurs – this seems backwards based upon my experience in other games and in simulators.  For my house rules, I reversed it so that the bombers put out their defensive fire and then if the fighter pilot chooses, the Me 262 pilot can chose to either press his attack or abort the attack if the plane is damaged.

The game is great fun to play and its simple rules make it a great war game to play with young kids.  It’s also a great game to play when you only have an hour or so to play.  It sets up fast and plays very quickly.  It also doesn’t take up a lot of table space making it the perfect game to take on trips.  The maps and counter artwork is beautiful and the game looks great on the game table.

That being said, 262 may be a little too simple for some gamers – I wish it had rules broken in to basic, intermediate and advanced play.  I think there would be a great deal of potential in creating an “Advanced Me262” game which could add altitude, other aircrafts, speed changes, dog fighting, etc. 

So if you want a fun, fast playing World War 2 aircraft game, check out “262” it may be your “cup of tea”!

Armchair General will have an interview with 262’s designer Wojciech Zalewskipublished soon so you can learn more about him and his company TS Games!

Armchair General Rating:  90% (1% is bad, 100% is perfect)

Solitaire Rating: 5 (1 is not suitable, 5 is excellent solo play)

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 and Sherman Leader for DVG.  In addition, Rick can remember war games which came in plastic bags and cost $2.99 (he’s really that old)!

stunning box artwork
back of box
components
TS Product Line
B24s and B17s approach the target
Me 262s race to intercept AA batteries stand ready
interception
dogfight
damaging some B24s
fighter cover interception
counters

6 Comments

  1. where are they available in the US?

    • Great question. You can order directly from the designer. See his email information on the catalog picture in the article and he also takes orders over Facebook.

  2. How it compare with Pocket Air War (WBS)? It is another simple air combat game…

    Thanks!

    • I’m sorry to say that I have not played Pocket Air War so I can’t really comment on that. Maybe other readers have played both and can offer a comparison?

  3. Why doesn’t AG maintain their Twitter account, last post 2015

    • I have no idea. AG has changed hands since the Weider History Group ran it. I’ll see if I can find out who has the passwords to the Twitter Account. Maybe we can restart it!

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