You are not brought upon this world to get it!
In much anticipation, I invited several members of my gaming group over for a trial run of WizKid's Crimson Skies. I own just about everything they put out for it and have been wanting to play it for a while, so I got out enough stuff for eight players and waited for the gang to arrive.
Out of the 12 or so invites I put out, I had two friends come over, Ken and Nick. Neither one was conversant with the CS world or the game, although Ken has played WizKid's MechWarrior several times. It was decided that Ken and Nick would play as the Fortune Hunters squadron and I'd play as Charlie Steele and a Hollywood Knights wingman. Since it was 4 on 2, I knew I was in trouble from the outset, but hey, we were playing!
Nathan Zachary and his pirate gang were making a lot of trouble for the Nation of Hollywood. They had made several successful raids, gathering valuable resources and goods and were ready to pull of of town before they got busted. Their airship, the Pandora, was making its way to the Free State of Colorado, a known pirate haven (much like Tortuga was for pirates in the Caribbean). Following their zepp, the Fortune Hunters were providing a rear-guard and protecting their ill-gotten gains. Charlie Steele and her Hollywood Knights were on the prowl for the Fortune Hunters, with the intent on either bringing them to justice or bringing them down in flames. Charlie found them, but only had her wingman as back-up. Fearing that if she waited for help she'd lose the Fortune Hunters for good, she jumped into the fray, odds be damned.
The Fortune Hunters came in as two separate squads, effectively splitting the Knight's two planes. Steele's plane, a Bloodhawk, looked hard to hit; needing sixes to be damaged. Her wingman's Firebrand plane, while carrying a full loadout of rockets, was a sitting duck with a profile of "3" (i.e., the Firebrand's a large plane that is easily shot). Ken and Nick didn't have any Aces, but they had a good assortment of offensive and defensive planes (Devastators and Vampires) and superior numbers.
It was surprising to us how quickly we closed by the second round. I was able to shoot and seriously damage one of Nick's planes with the Firebrand's rockets early on, but the next few rounds saw all three of us dancing dangerously close to one another in a close-knit aerial dogfight. Collisions occurred, but nobody failed their piloting checks and were able to continue the fight. The Firebrand kept taking a couple of clicks of damage per round from various Hunters, but the plane kept rolling with the shots and proved to be a thorn in the side. Nick's planes both took enough damage to have to fly slowly, but I couldn't knock them out of the sky. Finally, the Firebrand took enough damage from one of Ken's planes to make the pilot "hit the silk" as it plummeted to the ground. With the odds now 4-1 and her plane starting to feel the effects of multiple hits, Charlie bugged out, vowing that revenge would come heavy and unexpectedly...just not today.
The Fortune Hunters resumed their exodus from Hollywood and are probably still counting their loot in Colorado.
Fun! Fun! Fun! I don't know why people complain about the octagonal movement markers. After two rounds to learn the rules, we were laying out tiles quickly, efficiently and almost simultaneously. By using common sense, we quickly resolved rules issues we had, namely plane overlap and fire resolution. Ken and Nick, who have played many flying games before this, were able to learn quickly and play proficiently in almost no time. The rules are fast and mainly clear. Ken's prior experience with MechWarrior truly helped him with this game.
All in all, we had an enjoyable night of gaming. I can definitely see where 4-6 planes per side could quickly become a full-blown free-for-all in the sky! Needless to say, we'll be flying the Crimson Skies again soon!