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Subject: Altitude - what am I missing? rss

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Edward Wehrenberg
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Hello again guys, got in a couple more plays and I have noticed that we never (really, never) use any altitude changes.

I just don't see any point, or more likely, I'm missing something. I understand you can draw a card by descending, or expend a card to ascend (that's pretty clear). But I'm not understanding why you'd bother, if the other guy can just do the same.

Is there an inherant advantage in being at a higher altitude than your opponent? (or lower for that matter)

Again, thanks in advance,

Ed
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Christopher O
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Hi there - glad you're trying the game.

Altitude gives you options when you're disadvantaged or tailed. If you dive while disadvantaged you draw a card, but your opponent has to discard a card before drawing a new card if he wants to follow you. If your opponent is tailing you, he gets the same card, but the card you draw may mean a life saving counter-manoeuvre, or scissors, or any of a number of things.

You can also use "vertical roll" to climb or dive, and it is that much more difficult for your opponent to follow.

If your opponent is low on cards, you can climb to escape, hoping he won't want to follow to a new level.

Finally, since there are additional cards to draw at lower levels, you may wish to dive to gain cards on the pre- and post-turn draws to give you those few crucial cards you need to survive to the end of a dogfight.

Learning to fight in the vertical is key to success in this game.

On the offense, if you dive onto an opponent at a lower level, you're gaining a card in the process. You can also linger an altitude level above, hoping your opponent climbs to get you. If he doesn't, you dive on him.

Generally, in real life WWII aerial battles, fast aircraft dove to escape a pursuer. Some, like the Bf109, climbed to escape a pursuer (the superior climbing ability of the Bf109 isn't modelled well in DiF). Others with good manoeuvrability tried to turn and burn (turnfighting, extending turning).

Generally you want to try to dive if you're in trouble, occasionally climbing if the situation merits. Vertical rolls can get you right out of a sticky situation, if used at the right time.

With planes with speed advantages, you can dive on your opponent, use speed manoeuvring to get a good position, fire a few shots and climb right out of engagement altitude again with a vertical roll (if you have one). This is the DiF equivalent of what is known in air combat manoeuvres as "e-fighting" - conserving energy, speed and altitude and using it wisely (and aggressively) on the attack.

In short, the advantage of being higher than an opponent is that you can trade altitude for energy, represented by drawing a new card.

The advantage to being at low altitudes is that you draw more cards than your opponent at a higher altitude.

Generally, higher is better. There is an adage in fighter combat: "Speed is life". Since you can trade altitude to gain speed, "Altitude is life".

I'm guessing what you've probably missed is the requirement that an advantaged opponent must discard a card before following an altitude change by your aircraft.

Quote:
Reacting to an Altitude Change
If your fighter is Advantaged or Tailing another fighter and the enemy chooses to change his Altitude, you can react to his Altitude change by changing your Altitude to follow him.

If you are Advantaged, you must discard one card. If you are Tailing, you do not need to discard.

In addition, if you climb, discard one card. If you dive, draw one card.

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Edward Wehrenberg
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Thank you very much! Very informative answer! (and makes a lot more sense to me now)
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Edward Wehrenberg
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Aaaah, waitaminute!! I just disovered my other reason for not quite understanding the importance of altitude. It's in the first sentence of Actions on page 4 of the Rulebook! .

It says: "Declare an enemy aircraft at your altitude to play cards against."

Ahaaa!! THAT's the piece of the puzzle I was missing, you can only attack when you're at the same altitude! (well, duh!).
For some reason, I totally missed that!
 
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Drake Coker
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Yes, that's pretty important
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Christopher O
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Chairman7w wrote:
Aaaah, waitaminute!! I just disovered my other reason for not quite understanding the importance of altitude. It's in the first sentence of Actions on page 4 of the Rulebook! .

It says: "Declare an enemy aircraft at your altitude to play cards against."

Ahaaa!! THAT's the piece of the puzzle I was missing, you can only attack when you're at the same altitude! (well, duh!).
For some reason, I totally missed that!


Oh my, yes, that would be a pretty important thing. Yes, if you're at different altitudes, you cannot play cards against each other.

Hopefully you will find the game taking on a different dimension now (literally and figuratively).
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Edward Wehrenberg
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AND if I'm understanding this correctly (I'm at work - don't have rules in front of me), if you use a Vertical Roll card to change altitude, if your opponent can't counter your Vertical Roll to stop you (by playing an appropriate Reaction card), then he can't change altitude with you, correct?
 
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Dan Verssen
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You play the VR to change altitude on yourself, so the opponent is not allowed to counter it. The opponent must discard the appropriate number of cards to follow your altitude change.
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Edward Wehrenberg
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Okay, but then what's the point of using that card instead of just discarding a card to ascend?

Obviously you wouldn't use it to descend, since you can do that for "free" AND receive an extra card.


I can only think that the value of it is that your opponent can't follow you (if he's tailing or advantaged) since you're doing it as an action, instead of on your Altitude step.
 
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Dan Verssen
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You can always adjust altitude during the Adjust Altitude step. VRs allow you to adjust while playing cards.

By climbing once or twice a turn, you can drain him of cards if he tries to follow. If he has fewer cards than you, you can force him to either keep his position on you and discard cards, or give up the position.

For example, during Adjust Altitude you climb. He chooses to give up his position, keep his cards, and stay at his current altitude. You discard a card to climb. You then play a VR to dive back down and draw a card. You can play cards to attack him from Neutral.
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Edward Wehrenberg
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Aaahhhh, very important point number two that I just realized: You can only climb or descend ONCE during your Altitude step!

Gotcha!! We were playing that you could adjust altitude, your opponent would follow, THEN adjust it again, then he could follow, etc. We'd go from Low to High in one altitude step!

Thanks everyone for your patience and assistance, I look forward to another game with my son tonight, this time we'll be playing correctly.
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