Okay, after playing the other night, I had a few. . .clarification questions. . .I’d like to throw your way.
First, when resolving firing order, there seems to be a split in the main rulebook and the quick reference sheet. The rulebook says “Continue resolving attacks one plane at a time clockwise among players until every active plane has fired or passed the opportunity to fire”. The quick reference says “Continue resolving attacks, one plane at a time and alternating sides, until each plane has either fired or passed the opportunity to fire”. I prefer the alternating system as it adds another layer of strategy to the mix. What do you think?
The "alternating sides" construction assumes you have only two players. For multiple players, use the clockwise rule. Note, however, that you can arrange the players around the table in any manner you desire.
In practice, this has little or no impact on strategy.
There are allusions to planes flying at faster speeds moving and firing first (i.e., speeds 5 planes go first, then speed 4, then 3, etc), but in other parts of the rules, it seems that everyone moves at once. I’ve played it both ways, but I’d like to know: Is movement simultaneous or speed driven?
You missed the last paragraph of the "Set Throttle" section. It defines "active plane," which answers your question when you plug it into the fourth paragraph of the "Movement" section.
Also, the rules seem to be set up for two players. When I play, I usually have 3+ players maneuvering their planes around the table. This makes rules clarifications a little more difficult. For instance, I usually have each side roll for initiative. The ‘team’ and not the individual player is the ‘aggressor’ for the round. Here are my questions pertaining to this style of play.
Each player should roll; only one player is the aggressor. All other players act in clockwise order when appropriate.
First, say player #1 has a plane with a tail gun. After moving, he has a shot at a player in the front and a shot at a player in the back. The rules indicate that the player chooses one target and “When it is that player’s turn to take another shot, he can select the other weapon of the plane to take a shot at a single target”. Using the “go around the table” method, this makes sense. Using the alternating method, it doesn’t. We allow both weapons to fire, one right after the other. The player gets to choose which guns fire first. Does this sound alright?
No. Use the "go around the table" method. Note that this works just fine for two player games.
Second, there is a lot of simultaneous movement in this game, depending on how you interpret the rules. If we use the alternating, speed-based move/fire described above, there are instances where a faster plane will be in a firing position only after the slower planes have moved. For example, a Devastator flying at speed 5 moves, but doesn’t have a viable shot at the end of his movement. Later in the round, a speed 3 Avenger ends his move in the Devastator’s sights. If you follow the rules, the Devastator doesn’t have a shot since his movement and opportunity to fire are past. Am I interpreting the rules correctly, or does the Devastator have a shot?
Really, there's not all the much simultaneous movement.
No, the Devastator doesn't have a shot. The rules may be stupid, but that's the way they work (as written).
Incidentally, the ability to shoot first is a big reason for not slowing down to a crawl in CS. In real airplanes there are far more important reasons. But if you're interested in actual aerodynamics, you could play the Fighting Wings (Over the Reich) Quick Start rules, which are shorter than the CS rules, have an actual third dimension, have an active player community, and have vast array of aircraft available.