13 March 2015

Solo 1/600 Jet Combat: Initiative

Here's Post #2 in a series that introduces my home-brew jet combat tabletop game, designed for solo-play.  The posts will unfortunately come in slowly due to my work commitments.

Airspeed and Altitude:

Altitude and Airspeed are abstracted in OSAAF to ranges from 0 to 9.  As shown in the pictures from this old post, I use home-made polymer cubes to record the current Altitude and Airspeed of each aircraft.  Any aircraft with an Altitude of 0 has crashed and is destroyed; therefore the red cube represents Altitude.  Although the numbers are abstract, I imagine about a speed of 6 represents Mach 1.  Good starting speeds and altitudes are 3 and 3.


After initial set-up is complete and the opposing jets are on the board with Altitude and Airspeed set, it's time to play.  Since it's a solo-game, the very first thing to accomplish on every turn is determining the order of decision-making.  This is not however the order of decision-execution (i.e. moving/shooting), just the order of making certain energy management decisions (how hard will I bank, do I care more about speed or nose-pointing accuracy, etc.)

The aircraft cards I introduced last post were designed to be drawn as chits for initiative.  During play test however I've found simply rolling to determine order works fine.

Once the order is established randomly, then the energy management decisions are made.  It's a simple process but it's the core of the game and I haven't had my coffee yet… so that's for next post.

07 March 2015

Solo Jet 1/600 Wargame: Our Space Age Air Force

A while ago I promised Chris over at Just Another Wargames Blog that I'd share my home-brew rules for solo 1/600 scale jet combat.

Unlike most of my rules, this home-brew system exists not as a nice downloadable document but resides only as scribblings in my notebook.  And also uncharacteristic of my rules, this set really works!  At least for me that is; I've had a lot of fun over my three or four play test experiences.

So eventually I'll write up the game in document, but until then I'll use this blog to introduce pieces at a time.

OUR SPACE AGE AIR FORCE (Solo Wargame for 1/600 scale Jet Combat) Post 1

Materials needed:

  • 1/600 (or other scale) jet miniatures
  • A minimum of 5 six-sided dice
  • A hex mat
  • Aircraft notecards (one per aircraft, details below)
  • Markers for Altitude and Airspeed (I use small polymer clay cubes)

Aircraft Characteristics:

Aircraft designs in Our Space Age Air Force (OSAAF) have only a small number of characteristics.  In addition to Fuel Capacity and weapons load-out, each design features only three other "game mechanic" characteristics: Energy Factor, Maneuverability, and Maximum Speed.

-Energy Factor: Arguably the most important important characteristic is an aircraft design's ability to gain and keep specific excess energy (called Ps "pee sub-ess").  Energy factor is driven not only by engine design, but the overall aerodynamics of the fighter as well.  Five Energy Factor classes exist, in ascending order from 1 (the best) to 5 (the worst).

-Maneuverability: Three Maneuverability classes exist in OSAAF: Low, Medium, and High.  The majority of all fighter aircraft are Medium with only rare examples in the Low and High classes.

-Maximum Speed: Maximum Speed is the highest level flight speed in hexes per turn that a given design may attain.

-Fuel Capacity: Indicates the game turn on which the aircraft must exit the table on a friendly edge or be considered lost.  Fuel Capacity can decrease with afterburner use and is adjusted for all aircraft (non-afterburning and afterburning) with a dice roll for extra drama.

-Weapons Load-out: Indicates not only the type of weapons available, but the number of individual attack rolls that may be made for each type.

Aircraft Notecards:

Each aircraft requires some sort of notecard to record not only the above characteristics, but turn-by-turn decisions.  The pictures below illustrate the cards I use.  Initially these were intended as chits for random Initiative draw, but play test soon revealed that a simple dice roll would suffice for order determination.

The above card shows the SU-9 has an Energy Factor of 4 (circled first number), Medium Maneuverability, and a Maximum Speed of 8 hexes.  It also carries four semi-active radar homing missiles, but no gun.  Next to its Fuel Capacity number it has a number of blank boxes, indicating it has afterburner capability.

The French Mystere above has a similar Energy Factor and Maneuverability, but is slower and lacks afterburner.  While this particular version carries no missiles, it does feature air-to-air rockets.

Note the Fuel Capacity numbers on both cards.  Playtesting revealed these numbers are way too low and I've since doubled their values (not shown here).  Also note the "plus sign" next to the number, which reminds the solo player to roll an additional 2d6 during set-up increasing the fuel further.

The right sides of the above cards feature action tracks.  This is the topic of the next post, where I'll get into actually playing the game.