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Subject: Ummm...What Just Happened?? rss

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Richard Agnew
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The maiden voyage of ‘Command Decision’ leaves me feeling mixed emotions. This was my first attempt at B-29. With rulebook and chartbook close at hand, I embarked on my first mission against Imperial Japan.

I chose to dive right into the deep end, incorporating every ruleset into my game. The brass chose a night flight to Nagoya (zone 11). Expected fighter resistance was ‘none’, and all my weapons were removed with the exception of the tail gun. At this point, I’m thinking this will be a nice, relaxing, quiet trip to the target...riiiiight.

Weather was good up to and including zone 2, no random events either. Ran into a storm (BAD) in zones 3-5, and chose to expend an extra fuel point to avoid it as best I could. 6-8 saw good weather return. Hit another patch of BAD weather in 9, and this time the dreaded boxcars appeared on the Random Event DR... :shake:

I didn’t even want to look at the possible outcomes on the chart before rolling the dice. Just closed my eyes and let them fly...Oil Tank Failure on #3 engine. I’m thinking-How bad can that be? ...ummm..really bad actually...

Being dark, the crew didn’t catch it in time, and could not feather the engine. Prop started to windmill, but at least there was no fire. Yep, we’re
turning this baby around and heading for home. Right back into the storm
again..damn!

I’m nursing the plane all the way back to Iwo Jima, praying that the propeller doesn’t start to run away. Made it back, actually managed to find the airstrip (ON Course), enough fuel left, and weather over base is GOOD. I’m starting to breathe easy again...just a routine landing, right boys?

I roll a 2 on the Abort Out chart, which means a night landing (-2). Slap on another -2 for the windmilling #3 engine...ok, -4 isn’t so bad, is it? I throw the dice... a 1..and a 2...unbelievable...the pilot loses his bearings and slams the plane into the runway.

Co-pilot, Engineer, and Tail gunner all suffer serious injuries in the crash. Everyone else is bloodied and bruised, but walks away. Co-pilot and
Tail gunner sit out the rest of the war, while the Engineer makes a miraculous recovery. Thus ends the short career of ‘Command Decision’.

I was stunned by how quickly a mundane flight can turn into sheer terror. It reminded me of the tv series ‘Mayday’, which re-enacts actual air disasters. I don’t worry about meeting Japanese fighters, it’s weather, fuel management, and random events that are the real threat to a B-29.
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Damo
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That reflects history perfectly,.
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Edward Kowynia
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Thanks for the AAR. Would love to get a copy of this myself. Play B-17 regularly as well.
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Richard Agnew
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This first mission was more or less just a practice run. The results won’t be recorded, so I didn’t even bother assigning names to my crewmen.

At least I was able to get some experience with fuel, navigation, take-off, and landing procedures. Unfortunately never made it to the target, so meetings with the enemy will have to wait.

Hopefully, the next flight will see the plane actually make it to the target. Will start with missions 1-10, so I’ll need to keep a close eye on fuel management, having to fly at high altitute and in formation.

35 missions seems an impossible goal though. It seems like a mechanical breakdown is the norm rather than the exception. Just a question of which system the gremlin(s) will hit. It’s hard to believe the crews were expected to fly such a bug-laden aircraft day in and day out under such adverse conditions. It really serves as a testament to their courage and resolve.
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Andrea Fantozzi
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Rammstein69 wrote:
This first mission was more or less just a practice run. The results won’t be recorded, so I didn’t even bother assigning names to my crewmen.

At least I was able to get some experience with fuel, navigation, take-off, and landing procedures. Unfortunately never made it to the target, so meetings with the enemy will have to wait.

Hopefully, the next flight will see the plane actually make it to the target. Will start with missions 1-10, so I’ll need to keep a close eye on fuel management, having to fly at high altitute and in formation.

35 missions seems an impossible goal though. It seems like a mechanical breakdown is the norm rather than the exception. Just a question of which system the gremlin(s) will hit. It’s hard to believe the crews were expected to fly such a bug-laden aircraft day in and day out under such adverse conditions. It really serves as a testament to their courage and resolve.

Yes, 35 missions are almost impossible to do. Certain missions are very quiet while others become hell. I like this game a lot, as it adds much beyond combat. But combat can be deadly too. I have been beaten hard by Flak many times (last time a hit in the bomb bay with bombs aboard caused the plane to explode with no survivors). I fear more flak than Japanes fighters; it is true that they do not appear very often but, on the long run, they will take their toll. For me this one is a wonderful game!
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Mike Windsor
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Was the B-29 really the basket case this game makes it out to be?
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Jay Richardson
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Mike Windsor wrote:
Was the B-29 really the basket case this game makes it out to be?

The B-29 was a radical new design that was highly rushed in development, so it did have some issues, especially early in the war. But it was not nearly as bad as the game depicts: the game highly exaggerates the chance of bad things happening just to keep the player from getting totally bored.

My father served a full tour as a tailgunner in a B-29 in WWII. His plane suffered a direct hit from flak once (the shell didn't explode), and he was credited with one confirmed fighter kill that I know of.

He kept a log book of all of his missions, complete with flight times, and there were a few where the plane turned back before reaching the target... probably due to bad weather or some mechanical problem. But most missions were completed without incident. He never had to bail out, and they never ditched at sea or made an emergency landing. I don't think that any crew members were even injured while on a mission, but one crew member was killed when he substituted on another plane.

Dad enjoyed talking about his war experiences, if anyone asked him, but he would never talk about the firebombing of Japanese cities. The memories of that were too horrific for him.
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Richard Agnew
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richfam wrote:
Mike Windsor wrote:
Was the B-29 really the basket case this game makes it out to be?

The B-29 was a radical new design that was highly rushed in development, so it did have some issues, especially early in the war. But it was not nearly as bad as the game depicts: the game highly exaggerates the chance of bad things happening just to keep the player from getting totally bored.


Those are my sentiments on the game as well. I think a lot of games use artistic liberty with the implementation of ‘random events’. Rolling for RE up to 28 times per mission seems much too high.

Your last paragraph struck a chord with me. Even though it’s just a dice and charts simulation, I take no pleasure in the concept of bombing urban areas. Sometimes hard to focus on just the mechanics of the game and crew survival. Bomber crewmen must have carried an incomprehensible burden of emotions from their experiences.
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Joe Carter
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Rammstein69 wrote:
richfam wrote:
Mike Windsor wrote:
Was the B-29 really the basket case this game makes it out to be?

The B-29 was a radical new design that was highly rushed in development, so it did have some issues, especially early in the war. But it was not nearly as bad as the game depicts: the game highly exaggerates the chance of bad things happening just to keep the player from getting totally bored.


Those are my sentiments on the game as well. I think a lot of games use artistic liberty with the implementation of ‘random events’. Rolling for RE up to 28 times per mission seems much too high.

Your last paragraph struck a chord with me. Even though it’s just a dice and charts simulation, I take no pleasure in the concept of bombing urban areas. Sometimes hard to focus on just the mechanics of the game and crew survival. Bomber crewmen must have carried an incomprehensible burden of emotions from their experiences.


Yes, firebombing urban areas was a terrible thing, but one must remember that unlike Germany, most Japanese war 'factories' were just small shops spread throughout the cities. There really was no other way to destroy them other than to destroy everything.

Regarding danger and survivability, the game does seem to overdo it a bit, but I suppose it would be boring if nothing ever happened. But it can be easily addressed with some house rules. Bombs in the bomb bays exploding is probably one of the biggest killers in the game. Simply tweak the roll to make less chance of explosion. And regarding the Random Event roll, change it to 1D20, with a 20 equals 'possible' random event occurs. If a 20 is rolled, next roll a 1D6 with a 1-3 equals random event occurs.

Another way to survive longer in a campaign game is to be extra cautious. Any malfunction or problem means immediate abort mission. Also, watch your fuel very, very carefully and abort mission if you have any doubts!

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Andrea Fantozzi
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mwindsor wrote:
Was the B-29 really the basket case this game makes it out to be?

The impact of events is obviously higher than in real life. Otherwise, as others said, the game would be too boring. If you want to cut down bad events to more realistic proportions you cand simply, for example, roll another die when an event occurs: 1-3 = event is carried out; 4-6 = nothing happens (so you are cutting bad events by 50%). Or you could simply roll one die before you start a mission: 1-3 = do not play the mission. Simply roll on the bombing tables (assume that the mission were ok); 4-6 play the mission. In this way you are playing the most "eventful" missions. The other missions are assumed to be flown with no particular problems or damage (or negligible damage) to the aircraft.
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Jeffrey Martin
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A common lament among B-29 pilots was that they had more three engine time than four engine time.
FIFI, the Commemorative Air Force's B-29, does not use the original version of the R-3350 that was available for the WWII B-29s, it uses the much improved later version that was used on the Douglas Skyraider.
The airplane was ahead of its time, but not nearly as much as the engine it required was.
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