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Eagle Day: The Battle of Britain» Forums » Reviews

Subject: More of a game than a simulation - But fun & tense! rss

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Lewis Kenyon
United Kingdom
Great Yarmouth
Norfolk
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Eagle Day – Designed by Joseph Miranda and produced by Decision Games.

Eagle Day is a two- player wargame covering the most critical period of the Battle of Britain. It is part of Decision Games mini wargame series and the second game in the series that I have played. The first was Khyber Rifles.

Components
The components are the usual standard for this series, with a perfectly functional map which has the turn record track, bombing, anti-aircraft and air combat tables on. There is also a dotted line that simulates the radar range of the British, any German units that cross this lien are allowed to be inspected by the British player.
You get the usual standard quality counters from Decision Games and two sets of ten cards these are very close to poker quality, maybe slightly more on the thin side and as you expect are mini in size however, they are very nicely done with pertinent pictures and clear easily readable text.

The counters represent various British and German air unit types including the JU87 ‘Stukas’, HE111’s, ME109’s & 110’s, JU88’s, Do17’s. The British have Blenheim’s, Decoys, Hurricanes and Spitfires. These are nicely drawn and coloured silhouettes of on aircraft on each counter. As well as this the British player also receives AA counters and HQ counters.
The aircraft counters are marked with a B or F to mark them as either fighters or bombers. The aircraft counters also have two numbers on them, the bottom left denotes their combat value; this is how many dice they roll in combat. The second number is the distance the aircraft can move on the square grid map. If this number is in brackets however, the unit has to land by the end of the next hour. Bombers also have little bomb silhouettes, the number of these is the number of dice you will roll on the bombing table when attacking a target. The opposite side of the counter shows the national symbol and the word based and is used when units are on the ground.
The British also receive AA counters which have a gun silhouette with a number above it; this denotes the number of dice they roll in combat. HQ units have a building on them. Both of the above can be placed anywhere on any land grid on the map.

Rules
The rules are quite nicely written and only required two or three checks after the first turn. They consist of a total of only 5 pages.
A turn generally consists of eight 1 hour segments, with a total of 6 turns if I remember correctly. Each player receives a hand of cards at the start of each turn equal to their sides command level. The cards tell players the effect of the card and when to play them. Some give reinforcements or combat bonuses; another shortens the game turn amongst others. Cards can be held over from turn to turn with no limit on the size of a player’s hand.
The number of units that can be stacked in a grid is dependent upon each belligerents command level. The British can go up to five and the Germans four.

The first phase of a turn is the planning phase where a player can deploy or redeploy his units to various airfields in line with their capacity, this is mostly one, but some do have two. Which airfield you place your units on is crucial in this game as with varying ranges and limited hours in the air, certain units will not be able to reach their target and land again and will be subsequently destroyed costing a player victory points. A bomber (except for Stukas) can only fly once in a turn, while units with bracketed movement can land and take off in the next hour segment as many times as you want within a turn as long as they are landed by the end of the turn.

Combat is relatively straight forward with results being either destroyed or aborted. A 5 is generally an abort result with 6 being a destroyed result. Bombers and anti-aircraft artillery cannot cause a destroyed result, only aborts. These go to their respective boxes on the map. Aborted units return at the start of the next turn while destroyed units have to be brought back through the use of cards. Units can bomb or strafe (fighters only) both units on the air units on the ground, factory cities and ports.
All air units can defend themselves if intercepted by an enemy unit subsequently both sides can suffer in combat.

The victory conditions of the game are the following, one Victory Point (VP) for every factory city bombed successfully. There are eight of these; if you manage to bomb all of them you receive an additional +4 to your VP total. Ports are very similar all have a value of 1 VP; if you destroy all 5 you get an additional two VP’s. The Germans also receive 1 VP for every destroyed British unit in the damaged box at the end of the game while the British player receives 2 VP’s for every German unit in this box. So the British player should try to keep the German score down throughout the game and destroy as much as of the Luftwaffe as possible.

Gameplay & Tips
(Based on a single face to face game)
The first turn didn’t go to well for the Germans as I sent nearly all my bombers out straight away and unfortunately most of them were aborted and with bombers only allowed to fly once for the turn however, I was able to successfully bomb Weybridge. After finding my feet the second and third turns went better for me with me managing to bomb several more ports and a couple of the factory cities. As the game went on however, things became tougher. After successfully bombing all but Weymouth in the south and east of the UK Andy was able to concentrate his defences on the remaining targets.
As we neared the end I tried to you use bluff by drawing up his fighters so either they would have to land and so be unavailable for a follow on waves of German bombers or to dogfight them with my own fighters which on the whole are generally as effective in combat. This achieved some success but with Andy’s use of the Ultra card there just wasn’t enough hours in a day to reach long range targets such as Derby and Pembroke and return home successfully, losing at least three units due to this lack of time. At the end of the game I had bombed all of the factory cities except Derby and all the port except Pembroke and Weymouth which led a charmed life the whole game despite numerous attempts made to destroy it. The final result was -1VP’s for the Germans giving Andy’s British and operational victory which is what happened more or less historically.

So we finished our game in about 3 hours and I must say it was really good fun as our game was tense and a close run thing with decisions needing to be pondered and made.
However I did have some issues with this game, firstly I feel this is more of a game than a simulation.

Tips, Concerns and Conclusion
Fly your fighter in relays to provide defence for your bombers as well as intercepting incoming enemy fighters. Also place the Stukas as near to south east England as possible due to their limited range and need to land in the very next hour.

Once a factory or port is successfully bombed by the German player, the British player no longer has to defend these sites. This allows him to hedgehog defend the remaining targets and make life difficult for the German player. This was certainly the case in our game. Historically some targets were attacked several times. So don’t bomb all the targets in one area quickly such as south east England as your opponent can then concentrate his defence on the remaining targets.

There is no place in this game for the destruction of British airfields or HQ’s, which especially with regard to the former was one of the initial objectives of the German aerial assault. With regard to HQ’s I certainly think there should be VP’s associated with them in some way as well as the loss of card in the British player’s hand which you do get if successful.

The main issue the British faced from the German attack was the lack of trained pilots and the fatigue of the pilots that were still fighting; this could possibly be modelled into the game with a card or by making the refit of British fighters more difficult. Even though historically there was not a real issue with regard to the number of machines available.

A couple of the cards are also a little off. The Ultra Card allows the British player to shorten a turn to six hours. This can create huge problems for the German player, as his bombers generally move quite slow (fastest being 3 squares) and getting to targets such as Liverpool, very difficult and generally you will end up losing this unit on its return as time runs out before it can land. In our game Andy was able to play this card 5 out of 6 turns. This could possibly be remedied by limiting the cards use in some way.
The other card is the Bomber Command card, which allows for either the German or British player to gain extra VP’s on a dice roll, this card can also be played as many times in the game as you want. This allows the possibility for the game to get out of control.
So on the whole this game is certainly a fun tense game with the need for players to plan effectively and to make difficult decisions, however for me it does have a few issues but I would certainly take this on holiday or play with people new to wargamers as it cover an event that most people know and for £10 its good value.
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Andy M
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I really enjoyed this game, you'd struggle to find many games this good for £10. Definitely recommended for those looking for something quick and with great flavour, if not necessarily great simulation.
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Norman Smith
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Hi Lewis good report, you got unlucky in your game for the Ultra card to be drawn so many times. Perhaps a house rule could be that it can only be used to shorten the day one time and whenever it is played again, the second option only is used.

It is played immediately it is drawn, so the German player has prior warning as to how long the day will be - as you say, saving some targets in the South East does have advantages for attacking on those shorter days.

The HQ can be bombed just like the AA units, it is considered a ground unit.
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Andy M
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normsmith wrote:
Hi Lewis good report, you got unlucky in your game for the Ultra card to be drawn so many times. Perhaps a house rule could be that it can only be used to shorten the day one time and whenever it is played again, the second option only is used.


I think it gives a good reason to go after the HQs, as bombing the HQ reduces the number of cards the allies draw. I was drawing 4 cards every turn which meant I could almost guarantee that I would get Ultra on the next turn by holding on to a couple of cards that I valued less.
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Chuck Pierce
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moss_icon wrote:
I think it gives a good reason to go after the HQs, as bombing the HQ reduces the number of cards the allies draw. I was drawing 4 cards every turn which meant I could almost guarantee that I would get Ultra on the next turn by holding on to a couple of cards that I valued less.

After a few plays, I'd found that it wasn't really worth the effort to attack HQs. Destroyed HQ chits can be brought back in the game pretty easily with card draws. So, unless you took out most/all of the HQs in one day, it doesn't do enough damage to the RAF to make it worthwhile, especially at the expense of NOT bombing VP-gaining targets while attacking HQs.

I really enjoy this game. BTW. It's a very nice light BoB game.
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John Conner
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Oxotnik wrote:
moss_icon wrote:
I think it gives a good reason to go after the HQs, as bombing the HQ reduces the number of cards the allies draw. I was drawing 4 cards every turn which meant I could almost guarantee that I would get Ultra on the next turn by holding on to a couple of cards that I valued less.

After a few plays, I'd found that it wasn't really worth the effort to attack HQs. Destroyed HQ chits can be brought back in the game pretty easily with card draws. So, unless you took out most/all of the HQs in one day, it doesn't do enough damage to the RAF to make it worthwhile, especially at the expense of NOT bombing VP-gaining targets while attacking HQs.

I really enjoy this game. BTW. It's a very nice light BoB game.

Which card allows refit of a ground unit?
 
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Andrea
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Well, this IS supposed to be a game. Why would anyone expect it to be a simulation?
 
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Andy M
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I think you're taking that a bit literally. The point is that it's a lot more abstract than your typical wargame.
 
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Nomadic Gamer
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Fun system but needs tweaks. Operational cards (Squadrons forward) make sense to choose but shortening-the-day-card &/or specific events should NEVER be chosen. hahaha- the day ends early and all your planes crash. BS.Any experienced wargamer knows what I mean. Plus all the German cards are similar whilst the Brits make up powerful unpredictable combos.
 
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Mike NZ
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Excellent read thanks! Possible to play solo? whistle
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andrew lauzi
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Bombers can also strafe if they have AIR COMBAT VALUE. 1 combat dice roll per each air unit.
Strafing is only posible to based air units; factories, naval bases and ground units may be bombed, not strafed
 
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