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Subject: Solo variant test session and rules rss

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Hi all,
So I have been thinking of looking at an easy way to make Crimson Skies playable solo. I scribbled down some rules today while going through the rule book and pitting Louis "Wild Card" Thibodeaux in his Peacmaker 370, against Charlotte "Charlie" Steele in her Coyote.

The Ace pilot figures add the Fate and Daring Feats. These are, respectively, the ability to mitigate or increase damage and doing some crazy actions like walking over the wings to an adjacent enemy and commandeering the aircraft.
The aircraft seen above are in fact already the Aces' special planes and are tougher than most, plus have reinforced armor and special weapons.

These are not perfect but the solo rules I applied are as follows:

During the initial set speed phase at the beginning of the game, roll 1d6 +1, this is the initial speed of the AI plane. Do this for each AI plane.
At the beginning of each turn when modifying the current speed of an AI plane, roll 1d6. On a result of 1 perform a piloting check, if successful decrease speed by two clicks. If failed speed is unchanged and the plane takes one damage. On a die result of 2 or 3 decrease speed by one. On a result of 4 or 5 increase speed by one click. On a result of 6 perform a pilot check and if successful increase by two. If failed speed unchanged and take one damage.
If after a speed roll the plane is already at maximum or minimum speed and the AI can't increase/decrease speed any further, the current speed is maintained.

If both player and AI aircraft have the same speed and would navigate/move at the same time, player aircraft always choose their navigation cards first. This avoids the player having the advantage over AI by knowing what navigation card the AI has chosen.
Choosing the AI navigation card, remove any cards from the deck that have a higher speed than the current speed of the AI plane. Shuffle the deck and reveal the top card. If would cause the plane to exit the play area, reveal the next card in the deck and use it instead. If there is more than one option on the card, choose the one that will bring the AI into closer range and/ or firing arc of the enemy.

An AI Ace pilot will use fate defensively if taking 3 or more hits in a single attack.
AI will use fate offensively if a player silhouette is 6 or higher.

Daring feat:
AI will always perform a daring feat if the chance presents itself.

The Coyote (desert camouflage) was the AI, while I controlled the Peacemaker (green and purple).

Charlie spots me on the horizon and closes in:

The randomized maneuver selection seems to work well to get the ships into range.

Louis uses his special Retournment maneuver to get in close behind Charlie giving him a double bonus for being in the rear and point blank.

The AI found it difficult to target me and only managed to do so once, hitting me for two points (clicks) of damage.
I also struggled to get my sights in Charlie, probably because of the unexpected behavior from the random maneuver draws. But there were several collisions in which the AI took damage and I did not. This really helped me to make a dent in her defenses.
One of several collisions:

A near miss:

The final collision, during which I also fired on her and sent her spiraling down out of the sky. Charlie did manage to perform a bailout action along with the heroic action of grabbing her lover's picture off the console before diving out of the flaming Coyote. In a campaign setting, if she were a player character, this would have saved her bacon and let her reappear in the next adventure, plus earn her 25 experience points.

All in all I had fun with this. The solo rules work, and made me feel less biased as opposed to choosing the maneuver cards for the enemy myself. Gameplay was on the slower side for me, controlling both sides, although only one ship on each. That said this was only my second time playing and I needed to refer back to the rule book which is not the greatest.

Crimson Skies is an oldie but goodie and I hope more people were still playing and posting content about it. The minis are really cool and I see how this could easily be played as a campaign, using the Ace ground combat to fill in the gaps between flying missions.

Wild Card, signing off
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