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RAF: The Battle of Britain 1940» Forums » Reviews

Subject: A Quick Review of RAF:Lion for PC rss

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Oldies but Goodies ... Avalon Hill and
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Decision Games has issued a computer version of RAF:Lion, available for $19.95 direct at their website. I received my copy earlier this week and have now played two full campaigns, one a decisive and the other an operational British victory.

Graphics are clear and sizeable. Simple mouse-wheeling takes you between views of the entire map sheet (a direct copy of the board game version) and a full zoom large enough to show individual sectors, the sectors surrounding them, and an up-close counter view where squadron numbers, combat factors, and sector/Luftflotte assignments are clearly visible.

Patrolling and raid selection operations are handled on the map sheet. Selecting squadrons for patrol is handled by dragging and dropping them between their assigned sectors and eligible patrol boxes, which are highlighted in green for each selected squadron. The cards are not shown. Instead, card effects are displayed through pop-up windows or by red indicator text at the top of the Raid Display. Relevant markers (Victory Points, Raid Detection results, etc.) are moved by the computer when necessary. For those who want to "play along" with the actual board game components, a text log is available. This shows all draws by deck and card number, dice rolls made, modifiers, and the like.


Squadrons patrolling the southeast in anticipation of a Luftflotte 2 Raid

The RAF map sheet is rather busy and contains a lot of chart space which could be better handled through tabbing or windowing in the PC version. Presenting the whole map during non-combat operations requires frequent grab-scrolling in order to access important boxes such as the Raid Display, RAF Tote Board, and Victory Point Display. This must be viewed as a negative, but it's not a major problem.

On the bright side, raid mechanics are handled through pop-up windowing. After intercepting squadrons are selected, the player is presented with a Hunt window through which to choose squadrons engaging the hunters and those which will directly engage the bombers. Resolution is displayed by columns, indicating which squadrons are inflight but not eligible for further action, which have suffered losses and are now out of action, and which have moved into the bomber box for further action.


Instead, the tricky bastards bomb Weymouth on the south coast


10 Group doesn't fare well against the 109s

Next, the Bomber Attack window is displayed, showing engagement losses and indicating which bombers have penetrated to bomb the target (and their status as either full, reduced, or unintercepted).


Spits damage one gruppe, but the others get through unscathed

Once this window is closed, the results of the raid are displayed, including any Victory Point losses, status changes for squadrons at attacked airfields, Replacement Point losses, and damage to radar installations.


Down 3 Victory Points (and 2 Spit squadrons to the Light Loss box)

At the conclusion of each raid, the clock is advanced, patrolling squadrons are moved to their re-arm boxes, and eligible squadrons are returned to the field. Squadrons are again placed on patrol, and the next raid is determined. If end of day has been reached, the computer displays available reinforcements for selection, adjusts the calendar, and announces the accumulation of replacement points and any changes in Sea Lion status.

So, how is it overall? Well worth the $19.95. Although I miss the tactile feel of pushing counters and drawing cards, the computer version keeps much of the raid resolution "under the hood" and is thus much, much faster to play through than the board game version. It took me only an hour or two to get through a month of operations and reach game conclusion both times.

Pros:
- very fast playthrough
- clear graphics
- full rules enforcement
- easily-accessible text log with card and dice roll references
- contains complete PDF of the Version 2.0 rules
- onscreen instruction boxes to explain computer interface

Cons:
- strict graphics translation not optimized for computer screen
- loss of tactile feel and "hands on" combat resolution

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Michael Olsen
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Thank you for taking your time to do this review of the game I made. I think it is a very fair review, and I am happy you are enjoying it.

In case you do not know, there is a video game geek entry here: https://videogamegeek.com/videogame/201638/raf-lion
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Michael McCalpin
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Michael_Olsen wrote:

Thank you for taking your time to do this review of the game I made.

Thank you both for your contributions. I am enjoying the cardboard version of Lion and am looking forward to trying out Eagle. Michael, do you have plans to create a PC version for Eagle as well?
 
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Jason Doyle
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I'm quite interested in the PC games Decision is putting out but I don't understand why they are not being sold via download. It really seems a strange idea to insist on physical discs when the PC game market is pretty much dead in that format.
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Michael Olsen
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mmccalpin wrote:
Michael_Olsen wrote:

Thank you for taking your time to do this review of the game I made.

Thank you both for your contributions. I am enjoying the cardboard version of Lion and am looking forward to trying out Eagle. Michael, do you have plans to create a PC version for Eagle as well?


I can not make any promises, but it is certainly something that could happen.
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Michael_Olsen wrote:

Thank you for taking your time to do this review of the game I made. I think it is a very fair review, and I am happy you are enjoying it.

In case you do not know, there is a video game geek entry here: https://videogamegeek.com/videogame/201638/raf-lion

Since you're here, I'd like to ask about the advanced rules. Fend and Evade is in there, but I don't see anything about Ace Squadrons or Delayed Response. Am I missing something?

BTW, thanks for making this possible. It's well done and could be helpful to people who didn't like the board version because it is so process oriented.



 
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Michael Olsen
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SPIGuy wrote:
Since you're here, I'd like to ask about the advanced rules. Fend and Evade is in there, but I don't see anything about Ace Squadrons or Delayed Response. Am I missing something?


I am sorry to say Fend and Evade did not make it into the digital version.

As for Delayed Response, it is there, but... Interface-wise it was a bit of an afterthought, and this is likely to haunt me to my death: When Delayed Response is possible you get a small toggle button just below (to the right) of the Raid Detection Track. You are *not* the first to miss it, and this solution is far from perfect. That said, once you know it... (he said, desperately trying to justify the solution).

SPIGuy wrote:
BTW, thanks for making this possible. It's well done and could be helpful to people who didn't like the board version because it is so process oriented.


Thanks for your kind words. My goals were to facilitate faster play for boardgame enthusiast who felt the game was too process oriented, too long, or too fiddly.
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Oldies but Goodies ... Avalon Hill and
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Fend and Evade is in there. Did you mean to say that Ace Squadrons didn't make it in?

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Michael Olsen
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SPIGuy wrote:
Fend and Evade is in there. Did you mean to say that Ace Squadrons didn't make it in?



Yes, of course. It was late (here in Europe), and I got confused. That should teach me to only reply when rested.

Sorry for the confusion.

So to be clear: As you say, Fend and Evade is available. So is Delayed Response. Unfortunately there are no Ace Squadrons.
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Rich M
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This really needs a IPAD port
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Colin Houghton
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Where can you buy the PCs version of the game? I didn't see it listed among the pc games on Decision Games' web site...
 
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Michael Olsen
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Chou4555 wrote:
Where can you buy the PCs version of the game? I didn't see it listed among the pc games on Decision Games' web site...


https://shop.decisiongames.com/ProductDetails.asp?ProductCod...
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Colin Houghton
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Cheers!
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Pat Lane
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Great review, you convinced me and I just ordered. I do love the board game.

Thanks Michael for all the work to make it happen.
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Thanks for the review. Have the board game and thinking about the PC version. Lion is the only part of the game I have played, like it a lot.
 
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weateallthepies wrote:
I'm quite interested in the PC games Decision is putting out but I don't understand why they are not being sold via download. It really seems a strange idea to insist on physical discs when the PC game market is pretty much dead in that format.


A very belated ditto. It really is inexplicable.
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Jason Doyle
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Duckman wrote:
weateallthepies wrote:
I'm quite interested in the PC games Decision is putting out but I don't understand why they are not being sold via download. It really seems a strange idea to insist on physical discs when the PC game market is pretty much dead in that format.


A very belated ditto. It really is inexplicable.


I can only assume they are just so used to selling physical products that downloads are a bit alien to them. Or maybe it's concerns over piracy, that was a big stumbling block in the early years of downloads being more and more available.

Just hope they don't sell so badly that they pack in the PC game side, I think they could reach out to a potentially new audience of PC wargamers if only they would make them easier to buy.
 
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Martin Gallo
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It has always been my assumption that a big reason is IP protection. Not theft proof but it is slightly tougher to share the DVD files. I have no problem with IP protection.
 
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Jason Doyle
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Sadly the DVD format won't protect the contents. Console games are quite often available online the day of release sometimes before.

It's more protection by obscurity. You are either more widely avialable and accept to a certain extent that this will always be a problem. Or you make it difficult for potential customers or just be unknown to potential customers and be secure that it probably won't be a problem.

Or pay one of the big software protection companies to implement something (and they are getting better at that) but then you need to be selling a lot to make that possible.

It's all kind of played out in the rest of the games industry. You even have people like GOG who sell games with zero protection, and whilst they are available online from people sharing them, they have plenty of customers because they are well priced and accessible.

I'd have already bought one by now but I'll just go to an alternative that doesn't require a DVD to be shipped from abroad.
 
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Aldo Agostini
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I don't own the actual board game yet (gift to self), but love the the game . Thank you for this review.

Just wondering, I'm getting slaughtered on follow up raids in the PC version after committing squadrons to a previous attack. Is that common in the board game? Is there a way of defending against those that I'm missing or is it hold back squadrons from the first attack? Sorry but I'm a NOOB to the game.

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Tony Holt
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The rule-of-thumb that I use, with some success, is to only commit 1/2 to 2/3 of the available squadrons to a raid response, for this very reason. Now, you have to modify that based on the specific situation.

The overall strategy that I use, with a lot of success, is to only respond when I'll have the clear numerical advantage. This means not responding to some raids or using the Delayed Response option for others.

The trick in this game is to get the Germans onto the Depletion track. The hard part is hanging on until that happens. Once the Germans reach Depletion level 1, it's pretty much over.

Tony
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Aldo Agostini
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Thanks Tony, I will give the 1/3 or 2/3 strategy a try.
Unfortunately, I don't think delayed response is an option in the PC game (or I just haven't figured out how to do it). I just ordered the board game together with D-Day. The game is awesome.
Aldo
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