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Birds of Prey: Air Combat in the Jet Age» Forums » Sessions

Subject: BoP Gun 2011 - Earning a Callsign rss

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Chad Marlett
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I recently attended the 2011 BoP Gun tournament in Colorado Springs. With my vast experience (a single run through a tutorial), I figured I would conquer all and be the next Maverick .

Flight #1 - 'Murderous Moderns'

This flight placed my wingman and I in MiG-29s versus 2 F-15s.

Our plan was an offensive break - both of us would pass each other on opposite turns and get the F-15s into an angles fight. This overlooked the critical point that the F-15s were slower than us, giving them a much shorter turn radius.

On turn 2 (12s into the fight), an F-15 rolled in on me and lit up my radar warning receiver. Being the pilot I am, I figured an 11G pull-up should clear my tail. It did that, along with bending up my fine MiG and knocking me out for the next 30s - with my fighter heading straight up with engines at idle and speed brakes out. I spent the next several turns learning the unloaded flight rules while I plotted the course of my now ballistic fighter. While both F-15s attempted to tail me, my wingman managed to occupy them enough to keep me alive. I did take some damage from a missile, but my wingman damaged my shooter with a gun shot.

Lessons Learned: (1) Don't pull 11Gs when 10G or less will do - the plane will most likely survive it, but taking a nap will not get you any kills. (2) Make sure you know the speed of the enemy planes versus yours when you make up your plan.

Flight #2 - 'Pluto's Finest Minute'

In this scenario, I had the same wingman as flight #1, with both of us in F-15s. Our opponent was now a BoP Gun instructor - Tony "Killjoy" Valle in an F-16. It turns out this out-numbered F-16 had us right where he wanted us.

The plan, such as it was, was for me to 'jam' Killjoy - stay close and attempt gunshots, while my wingman was to maneuver into a missile shot from outside the phone booth.

This pretty much went bad from the start as I couldn't really threaten a shot on the nimble F-16, and my wingman turned a way from the fight (don't ask me). Killjoy bogey-switched to my wingman and shot him down with a single missile shot, ending the scenario.

Lessons Learned: (1) As the lead, it may be appropriate to be very specific when outlining the plan to your wingman. (2) Jamming Killjoy may not be effective (I would need more than an 18s fight to make sure though).

Flight #3 - 'Fighter Follies'

For this flight, I drew a Flanker, teamed with BoP developer Phil 'Shaken' Markgraf, versus Killjoy (again) and Fighting Wings Designer JD 'Pluto' Webster, both of whom were in MiG-29s. I pretty much assumed that this wasn't going to go well for me after the thrashing from Killjoy in the last flight.

For the most part, I tried to fly defensively, hoping that my wingman would 'do some of that pilot ****' and win it for us. On the second turn, Pluto pulled in on Shaken, while Killjoy was coming into the fight fairly unengaged. I plotted a mild turn into the fight, with a bit of vertical to try to keep my energy up. I happened to end up in prime gun range of Pluto's MiG, but with a ton of deflection. As they say, it can be better to be lucky than good. I'm not sure what the odds were, but I think the chance of pipper-on were less than 20%. I proceeded to make this roll, along with 2 hits, both of which became criticals. Critical 1 shot off all of Pluto's missiles, while critical 2 walked into Pluto's cockpit and ended his day. Kill #1 for the newbie.

You would think that at this point, Shaken and I should have been in good shape with a 2v1 on Killjoy. This turned out to not be the case.

I was fairly certain that a turn away from Killjoy would have resulted in getting shot down, so I turned at him, while climbing. I thought I could get high for separation, than dive in a for a missile shot while Killjoy and Shaken mixed it up. Unfortunately, my dive into the fight, planned to get a lead on Killjoy, actually dropped right in front of him when he bogey-switched from Shaken to me.

While I was pretty sure I was toast, I was going very fast (>mach 1). When Killjoy launched, I pulled a 10G turn (see, learning from flight #1), and tried to get as much angle as I could. This time, I damaged the plane, but managed to only blackout instead of going nighty-night. The turn managed to defeat the missile, but Killjoy stayed on my tail, but luckily missed a fairly good gunshot.

Shaken finally came to my rescue, just in the nick-of-time (or slightly after the nick-of-time if I had not been continuing my lucky streak) as I had now accumulated 4 points of fatigue from continual 8-10G turns trying to lose Killjoy. I was still 'greyed-out' and not combat effective.

The rescue, however, didn't work out. Shaken pulled too many Gs trying to follow Killjoy and he lost consciousness, allowing Killjoy to move into perfect position on his tail. Given that my plane was bent and my pilot's head was pounding, I figured this was the moment when discretion was the better part of valour and I bugged out. Shaken woke up in time to pull even more Gs and folded his plane.

Lessons Learned: (1) Killjoy is the Red Baron. Don't be on the other side from him. (2) Someone in a 2v1 needs to get out of the phone booth - how you do this without a killshot from Killjoy remains a mystery to me at this point. (3) Newbie luck is a beautiful thing (to the newbie, not so much to the actual pilots).

Flight #4 - 'Damascus Steel'

In this flight, I was lead of 3 MiG-21s versus 2 F-8 Crusaders. The Fates have a tough time in this one, being surrounded by the MiGs. We only played a few turns before I had to leave BoP Gun, but I was able to chase one of the Fates and get a low-odds gun shot, which missed due to the buffeting that occurs on a MiG-21 at high AoA. The few turns I played were interesting because (1) I wasn't unconscious, blacked-out, or greyed-out and (2) I didn't have the Red Baron on my tail, and (3), I actually go on someone else's tail.

Based on my performance, it was voted that my callsign would no longer be Gryfon, it would be Sleeper, due to my preference for 8G+ turns, along with the occasional decent move that surprised the instructors. I think it is a pretty good callsign that may hopefully improve once I get a kill that isn't dramatically aided by the god-o-dice!
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Chris Buhl
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That's a great session(s) report, thanks for posting it. I hope to read some more.
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Trey Stone
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I own this game but haven't had a chance to play yet. This makes me feel the need for speed even more.
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Kenneth Ellis
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"We only played a few turns before I had to leave BoP Gun, but I was able to chase one of the Fates and get a low-odds gun shot, which missed due to the buffeting that occurs on a MiG-21 at high AoA."

Don't feel bad; Shaken tried that same guns trick on me two turns later from your seat, then proceeded to lob two ATOLLs at me which ended the same way: defeated.

I think the closest anyone got in that game to doing damage was a head-on shot I took at Rob that failed to connect in damage resolution by like 7. Like most eras, once tally is mutual and performance terms are pretty even, decisive results are difficult to come by.

Sometimes having someone on your tail isn't the worst thing in the world; I'd rather have a MiG at my six while holding energy and awareness than have no MiG at all.
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