11 April 2015

Solo 1/600 Jet Combat Pt. 4: Movement

Solo 1/600 Jet Combat Pt. 4: Movement


Movement in my homebrew solo jet game Our Space Age Air Force is pretty straightforward.  The order of movement is NOT the same order as established in the Initiative Phase and used during the Energy Management Phase.  Now that each fighter jet has its Altitude and Speed values determined, the order for actual movement depends on Altitude.

The jet with the lowest Altitude must move first and its entire movement is completed before proceeding to the next lowest fighter.  If two or more jets share the same Altitude value then determine first which table-edge indicates direction to the sun.  The jet farthest "down-sun" i.e. looking into the sun (farthest from the sun table-edge) must go first.  If multiple jets at the same Altitude are equally down-sun or the dogfight is at night, resolve ties with a die roll.

A jet must move a number of hexes equal to its speed value.  Fighter jets normally move into the hex directly off their noses but turns may also be attempted.  To attempt a turn roll 3d6 and discard two of the dice.  The dice discarded depends on the fighter's Maneuverability value (described in the first post).  Low Maneuverability fighters must discard the two dice with the highest scores.  Medium Maneuverability fighters must discard the die with the highest value and the die with the lowest value, leaving only the middle value die.  High Maneuverability fighters discard the two dice with the lowest scores.  The remaining die score, whatever the fighter's maneuverability, is compared to its Speed.  If the die value exceeds the Speed, the jet miniature may be rotated one hex-side (60 degrees) clockwise or counterclockwise.  If the turn roll fails to exceed the jet's Speed, the fighter's nose remains pointing at its initial hex-side.

If a jet pilot chose any Hard Turns during the Energy Management Phase, a bonus is applied directly to the roll.  The magnitude of the bonus may be +1 to +3, depending on just how many dice the solo player decides to sacrifice during the Energy Factor roll (see last post).  Note that this bonus is applied to every turn roll during the respective jet's Movement Phase.

Regardless of whether the turn roll is successful or not, the miniature must be moved forward one hex after each turn attempt.  Therefore a jet only has a number of turn attempts equal to its Speed.  Aerobatic maneuvers provide an exception to this rule allowing jets to turn two or three hex-sides before proceeding forward; aerobatics are covered in a future post.

And that's all there is to the Movement Phase.  The turn rolls may seem like a lot of dice rolling but I've found it leads to suspenseful solo play.

03 April 2015

Solo 1/600 Jet Game Pt. 3: Energy Management

Wow, work has been busy recently, leaving me no time for leisure.  Well, a little but that time goes to the wife, dog, and sculpting.  Subsequently these posts about my solitaire jet game have been lagging.

OK, so after the Initiative order has been determined (see last post), it's time to make decisions that will affect how each fighter uses its potential and kinetic energy.

Starting with the lowest Initiative fighter jet, decide how many Hard Maneuvers it will perform during the later Movement Phase.  The maximum number of Hard Maneuvers is 3, and the minimum is 0.  Three different Hard Maneuvers exist: Hard Turn, Jink, and Aim.  Looking at the unit cards in the first post, notice that there are boxes to check off.  I use this method to remember which Hard Maneuvers were selected.  Also note that there are three boxes labeled "Turn" for the Hard Turn maneuver.  A fighter can only choose to either Jink or not Jink, to Aim or not Aim, but Hard Turn can be selected up to three times with cumulative effects.  Hard Turn reflects the aggressiveness of turning for all banks this game-turn and provides a bonus during the Movement Phase; the number of Hard Turn maneuvers chosen indicates the size of the bonus and not the number of turns that will be performed later.  The Hard Maneuvers limit however is still three total.  Therefore, a jet pilot can choose for example to perform Hard Turn x2 plus Aim, for a total of three maneuvers.  Most of the time however less than three or even no Hard Maneuvers are selected.  Why?  Hard Maneuvers bleed speed, and speed is life.  The Energy Roll takes this into account as well as providing a random factor for solo play.

Once the lowest Initiative fighter decides on its Hard Maneuvers (if any), the solo player then makes an Energy Roll for that aircraft.  The roll consists of anywhere from 3 to 5 six-sided dice.  The "normal" Energy Roll is 5d6, but one die is lost for every Hard Maneuver chosen.  Thus if an aircraft decided to Jink and Hard Turn (x1), it is performing two Hard Maneuvers and gets only 3d6 for its Energy Roll.  After the dice are rolled, two dice are always discarded due to altitude effects.  The two dice discarded due to altitude effects depends on the aircraft's starting Altitude.  If the fighter is at Altitude 1 through 3, the two dice with the lowest scores are discarded.  A fighter at Altitude 4 through 6 discards the highest die and the lowest die.  Finally, a fighter at Altitude 6 through 9 discards the highest two dice.

After discarding dice due to altitude effects, the remaining dice are considered.  For each die with a score above the fighter's Energy Factor (1 through 5), the aircraft Speed is increased by 1.  Speed increases earned via this dice roll reflect a positive change in both kinetic and potential energy; therefore  any Speed increase due to this roll may (temporarily) take the aircraft speed above the aircraft's maximum.

Afterburners: An aircraft using afterburner adds 1 to the value of each die score, increasing the chance for acceleration.  Additionally, the aircraft gains a bonus 1 Speed increase.  For example, an SU-9 at Altitude 4 ignites its afterburner whilst simultaneously using a Hard Turn.  The single Hard Turn results in only 4d6 rolled.  The values are 1, 3, 4, 4.  One "4" and the "1" are discarded due to altitude effects, leaving values of 3 and 4.  Neither of these scores exceed the SU-9's Energy Factor of 4, so normally the Speed increase due to the Energy Roll would be 0.  The afterburner however results in adjusted dice scores of 4 and 5, one of which exceeds the fighter's energy factor.  This, plus the bonus +1 Speed, means the SU-9 is allowed to increase Speed by 2.  Of course this is at the tremendous fuel cost inherent with afterburning engines (more on that later).

After noting any increases in Speed due to the Energy Roll, subtract 1 Speed for drag effects.  No aircraft can ever avoid drag effects.

Next, decide if the fighter is climbing or diving and adjust speed accordingly.  Altitude changes of 1 level result in Speeds decreasing or increasing by 1 for climbs and descents respectively.  Descents of 2 Altitude levels increase Speed by 3, whilst climbs of 2 Altitude levels decrease Speed by 3.  Finally, if and aircraft dives or climbs 3 Altitude levels it gains or loses 6 Speed respectively.

Finally, after setting the fighter's new Altitude level, adjust the Speed downward to the aircraft's maximum if it is currently exceeding the limit.

Any aircraft ending the Energy Management phase with a Speed of 0 has Stalled (later post).

Speed Brakes: Any aircraft may "pop speed brakes".  This allows the solo player to choose NOT to take some or all of the Speed increase due to the energy roll or diving.

Once the new Speed and Altitude of the lowest Initiative fighter are recorded, repeat the entire process for each aircraft, working from low Initiative to High.