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Skies Above the Reich» Forums » Reviews

Subject: Review after first Full Campaign rss

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J Mangz
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This is a GREAT game! Before I even get into a very brief review let me start by saying this is easily in my top 10 solo war games. Skies Above the Reich offers a refreshing alternative to normal WW2 aerial combat games. Where we are used to taking control of allied forces invading Germany or defending Britain, in SotR you control the German Sortee's out to take down the allied bomber squadrons. This is the first game that I've played with a setup like this, although RAF does have a mode where you can control Germans invading Britain...it is more of a simulation.

Gameplay 9/10

The game plays extremely well, fast, and easy. It didn't take me more than a few short missions to get to a point where I was no longer in the rule book (aside from looking up necessary charts or small specific rules. In my opinion, the rules are written very well and the rule book is extremely organized essentially walking you through setup and game play in order. There is a wealth of decision making and vast replayability due to an abundance of options and randomness. You can play through a mission in as little as 15 minutes and some up to 45-60 minutes. I played through an entire Full Campaign (minus the last season because I had lost by then) in a few weeks playing only for an hour or so in the mornings (not every morning). The game play is exciting and it is easy to become attached to your pilots as they fly mission after mission. There is a small RPG element in that you can upgrade your pilots over time and assign them new skills that can be used during missions.

Complexity 9/10

This may be a bit subjective as I am a normal war gamer, but I would't rate the complexity of this game any higher than 2.5/5. Yes, there are a good amount of rules that really opens up the narrative and depth of the game, but the rules are easy to follow and after a couple of missions you can probably put the rule book down and just use the play aids. There are very few rules that I had to look back at more than a couple times at most.

Length 8/10

The variability during the setup of each mission means you could have some missions that play very quickly and some that last much longer. Overall, I don't think I spent more than an hour an any one individual mission including using the Advanced Rules. If you please a single season (6-10) missions you're probably looking at 3-5 hours depending on your understanding of the rules and your luck during mission setup. The whole campaign may take you a bit longer but as the game is so engaging as you progress it doesn't take anything away from the enjoyment of the game. It can become a little daunting if you make it all the way to 1945 because you've put a lot of energy into it already, but I think you'll still be enjoying yourself plenty, if you haven't lost by then lol

Solitaire 10/10

Made specifically for solo play with a 2 player option, this game absolutely nails it! The AI Allies are abstracted but work extremely well. The escorts you'll come up again can be a major nuisance especially in the late game. The whole solitaire system is among the best I have ever encountered with literally nothing left for the player to have to do in terms of decision making for the AI. The AI offers a great challenge especially if you use the Advanced Rules which I highly recommend

Components 9/10

Excellent GMT quality. The blocks, stickers, counters, boards, etc are all amazing. I personally am a huge fan of miniatures so I did use 1/600 scale painted aircraft miniatures (images on the main page if you're interested) on top of the blocks, but it is not a necessary upgrade. The components are beautiful and make the game really pop! there isn't an overwhelming amount of stickers/blocks like you get in some block games which makes getting started with the game a breeze. Definitely high quality!

Overall 9/10

I highly recommend this game and have it rated as a 9/10! I reserve perfect 10's for those extremely special games, but this one is not one to miss if you are a war gamer or interest in the topic. Everything about this game hits the nail on the head. On top of it, the designer is active on the forums and quick to reply. I am one of those gamers that is OCD about rules and while these rules are very well written, if I am even a little uncertain about anything I have to figure it out before I continue. So, having support from the community and designer was great. This is easily one of those games you can spend hours/days on. If it wasn't because I have other games I need to get to the table I would've started a whole new Full Campaign because I lost at the end of my first campaign and had so much fun doing so. I can't recommend this game enough!
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I still have this game on my shelf. I really do need to take it for a spin, don't I?
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Ryszard Tokarczuk
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@OsideP

Yes, you do With a single mission taking relatively little time, you can!
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J Mangz
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OsideP wrote:
I still have this game on my shelf. I really do need to take it for a spin, don't I?

Absolutely! Play one season (6-10 missions) to get a feel for the game and I'm sure you're going to end up wanting to play a campaign LOL
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