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RAF: The Battle of Britain 1940» Forums » Variants

Subject: Lion handicap rss

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mark of carnage
United Kingdom
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I've played Lion around a dozen times without varying the rules and found the Brits typically win a decisive victory fairly easily usually before stabilisation and almost always before sealion prep.

For me this has been the only source of annoyance in a game which is spot on in every other respect. Reading posts on here there appears to be some agreement that by ignoring some raids and massing squadrons against other raids the Brits will nearly always win a decisive victory sooner rather than later. An almost guaranteed game winner is to hit a major raid on a deep target with everything you have, stripping your defences, because the pay off inflicting heavy losses on the Germans is worth it.

Somehow as players we have to encourage ourselves not to play the game this way if we are going to continue to be challenged by it. I've started using a 'squadron contact die roll' in the same way as that used in Eagle and 2 player adjustment rule in 21.11 but for squadrons instead of gruppen so excess squadrons occasionally get sent into the inflight box on the roll of a die. This simple addition to the rules discourages me from committing too many squadrons to a raid and appears to rebalance the game making play much more edge of the seat. I've only played using this variant once but it was the most exciting Lion session to date, ending with a British operational victory on Sep 15th- This was the furthest date I've ever reached and the first time I've ever had a result that wasn't decisive!

As others have observed chucking in lots of squadrons without holding back just doesn't appear to reflect the way Park fought the battle. Obviously a dozen squadrons committed to a single engagement in the game does not necessarily mean they were committed in 'big wings' and probably attack in waves ideally as pairs of squadrons. However, it gives the impression of 'big wings' being used and I'm uncomfortable with it. Quite apart from gifting the Brits decisive victory in the game virtually every time I feel it undermines the 'big wing' controversy that was becoming increasingly debated over the period the game covers by adding weight to 'big wings' being better than committing squadrons piecemeal.

Now, I get the impression the game was (quite rightly IMO) designed with an intention of marginalising 'big wings' in part because they were inappropriate for the period and the 'big wing' debate didn't really gather a head of steam until at least half way through the period covered. The cards reflect the way it was at the time just a niggle in the command structure. Once the Brits had the upper hand in the battle- by the end of September the argument for 'Big wings' was obviously going to become more compelling and those in the ascendency would successfully criticise Park's tactics for the earlier period making it look like they were right all along about 'big wings'.

So the debate is really important to understanding the battle of britain and IMO really important that the game doesn't leave the impression that massing aircraft was the answer at the time when most historians tend to now come down on the side of Park in the debate because for the most part raids would have come and gone before the 'big wing's' had even assembled! Had the powers that be fully understood (or cared about) this in the months following August and September 1940 then Park might have been feted as another Nelson for what he achieved given that Dowding held back so many squadrons from the battle and 12 group were so uncooperative at times.

Anyway, a simple rule change might balance Lion and maintain the flavour that I'm sure was intended.

Tally ho!
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Peter Ball
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Nr Grantham
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One of the ideas I have been playing is if the RAF do not intercept the raid the Hunters instead of going to the inflight straight away, carry out a free strafing run on the sector airfield. No event card picked. Then proceed to bombing run, airfield could be hit twice.

This idea comes from the Burning Blue game.

We also do fending can only be done by sqns from same sector and if Hurri and spit, the spit always fends as was the tactic.
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Todd Quinn
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PandaBall wrote:
One of the ideas I have been playing is if the RAF do not intercept the raid the Hunters instead of going to the inflight straight away, carry out a free strafing run on the sector airfield. No event card picked. Then proceed to bombing run, airfield could be hit twice.

This idea comes from the Burning Blue game.

We also do fending can only be done by sqns from same sector and if Hurri and spit, the spit always fends as was the tactic.


I tried the strafing run on the sector airfield in my last game and it worked really well. I was at about -10VP for the whole game and just before Sealion prep was to occur Germany got to max depletion and I wiped them out quite quickly after that. Still, it was the most exciting game so far!
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