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Subject: Fly The Unfriendly Skies -- Screaming Eagles Session Report rss

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Luke Jaconetti
United States
Simpsonville
South Carolina
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I finally had a chance to sit down this weekend and play a game of Screaming Eagles with my friend Joe. Joe is an Air Force brat and ever since I got this game back from my parents' house, I knew we would have to hook it up at some point and "fly the unfriendly skies." This weekend finally provided that opportunity.

Some background. This game actually belonged to my brother from when we were kids. After we both moved out, my father was cleaning out the board games from their house, and this one, along with many others such as Skirmish, Carrier Strike!, Dogfight, and so forth, ended up with me. My wife is more of a card game player than board games, and my children are not quite old enough, so these games tend to stay in the guest room closet. Every now and again I get to break one out, like now.

I had not played SE since I was a kid, and Joe had never played it, so a quick perusal of the rules was in order. Everything is pretty straightforward both for the gameplay and the setup. Joe is a well experienced gamer who picks things up really quick, so in short order we were ready to go: I was controlling Cobra and Eagle squadrons of the 409th, while Joe was in command of Stallion and Tiger squadrons of the 67th.

Appropriately for a game about fighter jets, things get underway quickly, with all four jets zooming across the board, including both of us getting a feel for the looping around rules, which lead to some early strategy in terms of Command Cards. Joe was using his afterburners, wildly changing his position on each move. I tended to be more conservative, using Commands with less dice on them. Quickly Eagle is able to get Stallion into his firing cone, and snipe him in the wing with the cannon. When Tiger makes a move to loop around and draw a bead on Cobra, but he overshoots, setting himself up to be pinged in the engine in return.

Things take a distinct turn against Joe's forces in the next round of engagements. Cobra kicks in the afterburners and loops around, drawing Tiger into his firing cone, but at fairly long range (10 spaces). I mull my options. Don't want to waste a missile this early, but a hit is a hit right? So I break out a Long Range Missile, roll to hit. 0, 0, 5, and the last one rolls off the table. I re-roll... 5! Hit! Now for the location, rolling all four black dice. 1, 1, 1, 1! Cockpit, kablooey! Tiger is taken down and suddenly Joe is behind the eight ball.

Stallion was game though, plinking away at Cobra and Eagle, but absorbing all sorts of damage in the process. In short order he had 1 peg in his Tail, 1 in his Engine, and 3 in his Wings. Finally Eagle gets him in sight with a Medium Range Missile, and hits him in the Wings to bring Stallion down and give the victory to 409th.

Funny moments in the game include Joe drawing a bead directly behind me 2 spots, lining up his cannon and rolling... two 0's. DOH. I am kind enough to return the favor on the next turn when I line up my shot with a Medium Range Missile, needing a 3... and rolling a 2 and a 0. DOUBLE DOH! Be careful of using the Afterburners, can loop you around (split-S style) but also can leave you vulnerable.

Overall I really enjoyed Screaming Eagles, it's fun, with more strategy than you realize at first because of the different movement commands you can use, and the looping -- which I took to be like maneuvers such as the Split S and Immelmann turns. It takes planning and some educated guessing to be able to draw a bead on your opponent, and trying to determine where they are likely to try to get to based on where they are, and where you need to be to take advantage of it. Once you get the hang of the turn sequence, this plays very quickly and is good fun, with good-natured trash talk a natural result. I personally believe this would be even more fun with 4 players, so you and your wingman can confer and strateger-ize your moves each turn.

A fun session and very much looking forward to playing this one some more in the future.
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Sean Conroy
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Winchester
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Good stuff. One of my favorites as a younger gamer. Still a great game when your kids come of age too. A very light, but enjoyable strategy game. Glad you had fun with it.
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Dave Sands
Canada
New Westminster
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Thank you for sharing - sounds so cool. This game has been in my collection for years yet it doesn't see much playtime. I think I need to get it out tonight!
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Brian Urgo
United States
Wanaque
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I found this years ago at a good will and grabbed it for $3 I think. Great deal. I've played this a bunch with my nephew (14). I have yet to beat him, but it's fun every time.

We play with a bit of house rule that we alternate who moves their planes first and we do all the shooting at the end of all 4 planes moving. At least I think these are house rules..it's been a while since I actually read them

I plan on painting the planes, and thought about making a turn dial (similar to what X-wing has) in lieu of the cards. Just haven't gotten there yet.
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Luke Jaconetti
United States
Simpsonville
South Carolina
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buffburgo wrote:
I found this years ago at a good will and grabbed it for $3 I think. Great deal. I've played this a bunch with my nephew (14). I have yet to beat him, but it's fun every time.

We play with a bit of house rule that we alternate who moves their planes first and we do all the shooting at the end of all 4 planes moving. At least I think these are house rules..it's been a while since I actually read them

I plan on painting the planes, and thought about making a turn dial (similar to what X-wing has) in lieu of the cards. Just haven't gotten there yet.


Awesome! Please post pics when you do! And glad to hear you and your nephew are having fun dogfighting!
 
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Michael Taylor
United States
Venice
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Thelegitsandman wrote:
I think I need to get it out tonight!


This (and Memoir '44) are my two "Never Fail" games when I want to introduce people to wargaming.

It's a fun game at any experience level and never overstays its welcome.
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Robert Wesley
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Aberdeen
Washington
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This obtained the "Godzilla Bites of Seattle Space Needle" denotation, too wit: cool


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