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Subject: Recommend a good solitaire AIR wargame to me pls rss

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Robert Wilson
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Hi all. I have a hankering for some air warfare madness , I was going to play the newish GMT Nightfighter game or perhaps Downtown. But I thought I'd ask if anyone has any other suggestions first ?
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Wulf Corbett
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Do you want actual air-to-air combat, or aircraft as a theme? DVG does a series of solitaire games of air campaigns, Phantom Leader, Hornet Leader: Carrier Air Operations and the older (but about to be updated) Thunderbolt/Apache Leader. The air to air combat is a single die roll per combat, and the campaign is chiefly ground attack, but they are excellent games.

Then there's RAF: The Battle of Britain 1940 or the older RAF, again actual combat is abstracted, but it's certainly an air combat game...
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Tim Benjamin
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JD Webster's Fighting Wings series can be easily played solitaire. The initiative uncertainty makes the play very 'reactive' so a player can just make the best move possible each turn. These are 'tactical' games about using the particular aircraft to best advantage, so 'strategy' is mostly about multi-plane co-operation. So start with 1 on 1, then 2 on 2 using the Buffalo Wings introductory game.
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Barry Doyle
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Wulf Corbett wrote:
DVG does a series of solitaire games of air campaigns, Phantom Leader, Hornet Leader: Carrier Air Operations and the older (but about to be updated) Thunderbolt/Apache Leader. The air to air combat is a single die roll per combat, and the campaign is chiefly ground attack, but they are excellent games.


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Doug Cooley
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Wow, Downtown and Nightfighter are very different beasts in terms of complexity. I think Downtown is fantastic, but you need to devote time and energy to learning as well as having a regular opponent, the main reason I've stayed away.

You also don't really mention what period you're interested in. WW2 is a very different beast than anything set in the Jet Age.

The air games that I've played are:

RAF - This is the newer version, which adds in two player as well as operating the Luftwaffe. Personally, I think that while the Luftwaffe game is interesting, there's far too much AI management and very little in the way of choices once you've set up your raids. That's just a reality of this conflict. The RAF play, just like the earlier West End Games edition, is very entertaining but it does tend to be "solvable" through certain tactics. Fairly accessible, the designer generally does good rules and the game is not one of the many Decision "klunkers" that they tend to produce.

Down In Flames - There are two versions of this game out, one from GMT from nearly 20 years ago that I'm still very fond of, another that Dan Verssen did with DVGames that improves component quality, strips down the ruleset, and gives players more options vis a vis maneuver, and GMT is planning to revamp the original system as well. My favorite is still the original, because I like the wingman mechanism that got left out of the DVG edition. Definitely pick up Eighth Air Force if you can as well, as it covers late war and the big bomber campaigns over Germany. Some solitaire, but really it's a two (or more) player game.

[=burning blue][/] - Battle of Britain again, but this one is much different than RAF. Each game is one raid, which requires considerable planning on the part of the Luftwaffe player. I've played twice and enjoy it quite a bit, but my opponent lives a couple of hours away and we have trouble finding time to play. This is not a trivial game to learn, but there are some learning aids on the designer's website, especially for planning raids. My favorite part is you don't quite know who has won until the very end of the game.

Downtown: Air War Over Hanoi, 1965-1972 - If you thought TBB was complex, Downtown takes it up another notch yet again. The games don't use the same system, but they do have a similar feel and scope. Making Downtown even more complex is that the air defense system needs to be carefully planned as well. Fortunately, there is a pretty good series of scenarios that introduce you to the various concepts in a gradual manner. Still a bear to learn, and you'll want a devoted opponent, but rewarding once you get into it. There is a companion game, Elusive Victory: The Air War over the Suez Canal, 1967-1973, on the Egyptian-Israeli conflict in 1973, about the same time historically, that uses mostly the same rules.

Leader Series - I used to take the original Hornet Leader with me on road trips before I had a laptop to keep me occupied in the hotel room - cheaper than strip clubs! Like Down In Flames, this game series first saw light with GMT and one of the designers has been reimaging under the DVG banner. I have Phantom Leader, and it's good fun too. Thunderbolt/Apache Leader is a very different beast, however, with a ground combat component (abstracted, but present) that your missions directly affect. I think the newer games are better, although again I liked the wingman mechanism of the original that got abstracted out, but the weapons systems in the newer games are a marked improvement, and I would go for those.

Nightfighter - I really like this game, but it's really more of a refereed solitaire game than a more traditional adversarial game. The referee is supposed to make things hard on the player, but there isn't a lot of opportunity, at least in the scenarios I played. Best part is you can teach this to a non-wargamer because of the way the scenarios introduce rules a bit at a time, and each scenario has lots of variants, with one in particular being very open ended. Nightfighting, however, is perhaps even more dependent upon luck than WW2 naval combat operations, and so it's almost more for the student of the milieu than for gaming. Like most of Lee B-W's games, excellent designer and historical notes. Should pair with Bomber Command, which GMT is supposed to be putting out soon.

Those are the air games I've played and enjoyed. I would start with something in a complexity level you're comfortable with and then pick a milieu you're interested in, as complexity varies so much in these games. Also, whether or not you have a dedicated partner or not, as the more complex stuff isn't something you pick up every year and play. It also depends if you want to feel like you're in a dogfight or a sector commander.

I'm sure there are a lot of other systems. I own Flight Leader but have never played. Second World War at Sea has some extensive air operations, but I have never really learned to love that system and I auctioned off all of my titles last year for charity. Do a little research on the suggestions you get from here and you'll find something appropriate and rewarding for what you're looking for.
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Robert Wilson
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I should have mentioned that complexity isnt really a factor as my 2 favourite games of all time are ASL and SFB, I just want something thats fun , anything from WW1 to WW3 would fit the bill

I even own a copy of Air War by SPI supposedly one of the most complex wargames ever made , wait a second , oh and whats next to it?

a copy of RAF! sweet! ordering games off ebay while medicated is a good thing once you sober up, its like Xmas all over again

(re: Downtown : It has a pretty robust Solitaire game ruleset , and I believe Nightfighter does too, Ive played a bunch of DT and a few F2F games of NJG)

thanks , keep the recommendations coming!


I also believe that Bloody April, 1917: Air War Over Arras, France will have a solitaire ruleset available and thats based on the EV/DT system also
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Alfred Wallace
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Wargames » Forums » General
Re: Recommend a good solitaire AIR wargame to me pls
For WWI, I'm a big fan of Wings Over France; again, it's operational and you're managing a squadron of British craft, handling bombing raids, trench CAPs (to use an anachronism), do recon, etc. The production standards are a little primitive but it tells a good story.
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Wulf Corbett
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alfredhw wrote:
For WWI, I'm a big fan of Wings Over France; again, it's operational and you're managing a squadron of British craft, handling bombing raids, trench CAPs (to use an anachronism), do recon, etc. The production standards are a little primitive...
You, sir, are a master of understatement... gulp shake
 
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Robert Wilson
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Wulf, does that mean the game is shoddy? or a bad game, or both
 
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Eric Lai
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alfredhw wrote:
For WWI, I'm a big fan of Wings Over France; again, it's operational and you're managing a squadron of British craft, handling bombing raids, trench CAPs (to use an anachronism), do recon, etc. The production standards are a little primitive but it tells a good story.


I second this motion. Despite the components, I think this is a really good game too.

RAF: The Battle of Britain 1940 is okay, I think its a little on the easy side once you know how to optimize where to place your squadrons (for the Lion version). The Eagle version is so easy that I think its almost broken... (just keep your German groups attacking the same area relentlessly 2-3 in a row with out breaks and you will win a decisive victory in the first few turns.)
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Wulf Corbett
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dude163 wrote:
Wulf, does that mean the game is shoddy? or a bad game, or both
The copy I had was extremely shoddy in production. Selotaped together player aids, copied loose pages, etc. Sure, there's a good game in there, but in terms of production quality it's a non-starter.
 
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Brad Koziey
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I'd go with one one the DVG Leader Series games. I've played Phantom Leader and RAF: Battle of Britain recently. I ended up trading RAF. I found it not nearly as exciting and not as many decisions as Phantom Leader. PL is a fast tense and exciting game, I just can't say the same about RAF.
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James Crosfield
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London's Burning a solitaire Battle of Britain game where you control 2 fighters over a month.
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Lawrence Hung
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Since nobody mentioned it, I would suggest The Burning Blue.
 
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Ryan Powers
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There's always B-17: Queen of the Skies or the more modern B-29 Superfortress.

Neither leave you with a whole heap of decisions, but they do make nice narratives.
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Robert Wilson
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Lawrence Hung wrote:
Since nobody mentioned it, I would suggest The Burning Blue.


TBB would be almost impossible to play Solitaire wouldnt it?
 
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Darrell Pavitt
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dude163 wrote:
Lawrence Hung wrote:
Since nobody mentioned it, I would suggest The Burning Blue.


TBB would be almost impossible to play Solitaire wouldnt it?


I think so. There is a sort of excel worksheet system available, but you nee to do a lot of work to set up a scenario, and are left thinking "Why don't I just play RAF instead?"

Yes, I know they are different timescales etc.
 
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Morten Lund
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dude163 wrote:
Hi all. I have a hankering for some air warfare madness , I was going to play the newish GMT Nightfighter game or perhaps Downtown. But I thought I'd ask if anyone has any other suggestions first ?


In a similar vein to the Leader series is Falcon Ace - it focuses in a single F-16 (with a wingman, mind) and seem to be quite detailed, and inherently solitaire, too.

It isn't published, as such, yet, but you can download the latest version here from BGG
 
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Lawrence Hung
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dude163 wrote:
Lawrence Hung wrote:
Since nobody mentioned it, I would suggest The Burning Blue.


TBB would be almost impossible to play Solitaire wouldnt it?


Well, if only we just count the solitaire system, I would suggest a solitaire game in Zero!
 
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Andrew Bloom
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I cut my teeth on playing Richthofen's War during my college days. I recently picked up one on eBay still in its original shrink warp!

Richthofen's War set the stage for Wings Over France, which appears to be a re-make of this Avalon Hill game.

Anyway, I introduced it to our gaming group and they loved it, especially if you play the Tournament Rules plus the Optional Rules...

But before I introduced the game, I played a solitaire scenario to re-learn the rules - plays well.

Cheers,
Andy


alfredhw wrote:
For WWI, I'm a big fan of Wings Over France; again, it's operational and you're managing a squadron of British craft, handling bombing raids, trench CAPs (to use an anachronism), do recon, etc. The production standards are a little primitive but it tells a good story.
 
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Darrell Pavitt
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Quote:
Richthofen's War set the stage for Wings Over France, which appears to be a re-make of this Avalon Hill game.


That doesn't sound right to me. Wings, Knights of the Air and others are similar to RW, but WOF is closer to maybe Thunderbolt/Apache Leader

(edit: wrong wings!)
 
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Andrew Bloom
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Ture, Wings, Knights of the Air and Wings of War: Famous Aces series are similar to RW. So is Wings Over France...check the description: "Wings Over France is a solitaire WWI wargame, simulating the day-to-day operations of a RFC Squadron during the month of April 1917, known as "Bloody April" because of the heavy losses suffered by the allied air force. The game puts the player in control of 1 to 3 RFC Flights based in Arras, France.

The objective is to sweep the skies clear of Huns in support of the Arras ground offensive, but just surviving would be an achievement.

Each squadron has to undertake a number of missions each day (determined randomly), but with limited resources and personnel.

The various missions include rece's, bombing raids, destroying enemy balloons etc - but all will involve dogfights with enemy aircraft - with the game easily capable of handling over 20 aircraft fighting in the skies simultaneously."

which is the same for RW except RW can play up to six people...where as Thunderbolt/Apache Leaderis modern day jet fighters...

Cheers,
Andy

nyhotep wrote:
Quote:
Richthofen's War set the stage for Wings Over France, which appears to be a re-make of this Avalon Hill game.


That doesn't sound right to me. Wings, Knights of the Air and others are similar to RW, but WOF is closer to maybe Thunderbolt/Apache Leader

(edit: wrong wings!)
 
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Warren Bruhn
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My best solitaire air combat gaming experience was playing Sturmovik IL-2 on a computer with a good graphics card, a big screen, and with a good joystick. Awesome computer combat flight simulation game!arrrh
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Mark Thompson
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Phantom Leader looks awesome. Anyone know if it is available anywhere?
 
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Tycalt wrote:
Phantom Leader looks awesome. Anyone know if it is available anywhere?


It's being reprinted (check out the DVG.com website) in an updated version, soon.
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