What’s all this, then?

What did all that have to do with games?

Well that was the setup for a game I’m playing called Our Last Best Hope.  It is a Roleplaying Game.

But wait, you say, don’t you usually play solitaire?

Why yes, I reply, I do.

How on Earth, you pun, do you play a Roleplaying Game solitaire?

Let me show you.

There are more ways to roleplay solitaire than there will probably be words in this blog post.  The fundamental rule about playing an RPG solo, is simply introducing a way to get your imagination going, be it a list of words, pictures, or even a simple premise and being imaginative enough to go from there without help.  Then you have to introduce a way to add ways to knock you off the rails your imagination would put you on.  This could be as simple as a coin that says “Yes/No” to complicated charts or decks of cards that have dozens of random outcomes to a myriad of decisions.

I personally use The Mythic Game Master Emulator for all my random needs.  It’s simple, but fluid enough to get my mind to change gears when I need to, and it’s Actions/Effects lists are perfect to get me focused on everything.  There’s also a Mythic Variations to further point your game down a Horror, Mystery, Action or Epic path, a Creature Creator which is a whole lot of fun to make stats for Monsters for any game, as well as a Location Crafter for, um, Locations.

So with my GM Emulator, Our Last Best Hope rulebook, some dice and a pencil and paper, I am set for a quick game.  So far I took about a half hour to set the game up (what you’ve already read), and about 20 minutes which took me about 5 scenes through the actual game.  I’ll introduce you to the mechanics of the game as well as the mechanics of Solo GMing in between bits of actual play which will be interspersed with rules and die rolls, much like how I do my playthroughs of boardgames.

Yes, it will be Very Wordy, but it’s what you’ve come to expect from this blog, so there you go.

And yes, you can solo roleplay any RPG (probably).  I’ve done D&D, GURPS (one time travel and one mystery), WEGS, Burning Wheel, With Great Power…, and there’s probably more scribbled in my notebook somewhere.  It takes a while to stretch your mind to the place it needs to go sometimes, but when you get there, your pencil won’t right your notes fast enough as your world fleshes out around you and the story springs forth.  It’s a blast, and I recommend trying it for all those whose gaming groups have grown up and moved away, or for those who just don’t get as much gaming as they need or, like me, who have gaming groups that just won’t play the hippie games that you’re into.

Stay tuned, I have a lot of typing ahead of me!

In space, no one can hear you fail



The government finally decided on naming the ship “Armstrong” after the first man to land on the moon.  While it was briefly discussed to open up the naming of the craft to the people using a poll on the internet, fear of “Spacey McSpaceface” caused the Vice President to quickly squash that idea.

Of course, discussions about the ship became more serious once the reasonings for its flight came to light.  No one could keep the secret for long.  Though the order for secrecy was airtight, and the penalty severe, a whispered word from husband to wife, or mother to child quickly spread around the world, becoming the most talked about story to ever reach the airwaves since OJ Simpson:  the Earth was going to be hit by an incoming asteroid.  The asteroid was almost 100% metallic and almost perfectly round.  Speculation as to an alien origin has given birth to more abduction stories, conspiracy theories about what species our leaders were and a resurgence in sandwich boards reading “The End is Nigh!”

But the Armstrong is what can be built when an entire planet comes together.  Boosters from China, living quarters from the ESA, rocket fuel from India and Japan-and the USA supplying a dozen mothballed NERVA rockets from the 70s.  Nuclear powered rockets that never saw the light of day due to mounting concerns of nuclear safety.

The plan: Attach these rockets to the “Orb” (what people ended up calling the asteroid when that word started losing its meaning) and divert it from its deadly course.  The Armstrong would do a gravity assist around Venus, another assist around Earth, and a final assist around Jupiter to make contact with the Orb.  There it will use its fuel to match speed with the object.  Then using EVAs and some elbow grease (no time was given for robotic arms or other easy way to attach the rockets), the rockets would be attached and fired.  Then the Armstrong would follow the Orb’s original flight path which would send it straight home to Earth.  It would, however, use its remaining fuel to slow itself and reach a more stable orbit where our heroes can return to the surface and life can continue.

The plan would take 18 months of flight.  The only way to feed and house astronauts for that long without resupply is to only send four people.  Arguments flared over sending so few people for such an important mission, but in the end, this is what was decided.  Sixteen specialists were trained on all aspects of the mission, though only four ultimately were sent:

Jessica Barnez – Pilot

Allison Haslip – Lead Engineer

Dexter Pendragon – Astrophysicist

Shirley Van Housen – Doctor

The World’s prayers go with these four brave humans, sent on a mission as Our Last Best Hope.

Huh? Where am I?

So, the blog has been quiet lately.

It takes a lot of time and energy to be very wordy about a playthrough.  I’ve played games since my Everything vs. Everything game (though my loss did send me spiraling into depression for a while….okay, not really).  I’m playing in Play by Email games of High Frontier, just finished a Play by Email game of Neanderthal, started a Play by Post game of Torchbearer and am still continuing my tabletop game of 7th Sea using the Fate Core system.

I’m a lucky, busy guy.

I also solo game every chance I get, it just hasn’t been all that much yet.  One of the problems has been a recent visit to a library.  I get books, I play less.  Books are fun, too!  But that doesn’t help you readers any, so I just don’t post anything.

But just so you don’t think I’ve forgotten you, I’m just letting you know I’m still here.  My Kickstarter copy of This War of Mine: The Boardgame is supposed to arrive today, so that may get my butt back to the table and I may want to share a story or two from that for you.

But for now, my nose is stuck in a book, I’m feeling sleepy from a lot of other projects (one of them being retiring my career as a semi-pro comedian) and I just got nothin’.

Happy gaming to you all!

Let’s just Blow Stuff UP!

So by now, the mechanics of Everything vs. Everything are pretty well known.  If not, read back through the previous posts, or just go to BoardgameGeek and download the rules (and all the printable cards!) and give them a read.  They’re simple enough.

Because of that, I think I can now forgo the deep, indepth rules discussion, and move on to the more exciting events of Fandom vs. The Director, wouldn’t you say?

Now, where was I?

Everything vs. EverythingMap

Oh yeah, getting my but whupped.  The white dice are hit points.  The blue dice are boost tokens.  The green tokens are Tetsuo’s “Blob tokens.”

You’ll see I forgot to put Dr. McCoy’s hit points on him.  Oops.  Boy do I have work to do.

Now I know it’s been a throwdown, but I’m sure everyone’s been wondering, where has Mal been?  Why hasn’t Serenity come flying down, guns-a-blazing?

Well, now’s the time as a loud sound is heard, and Wolverine is torn apart by large-grade ammunition.  He’ll be able to recover, but he doesn’t look happy about it.

But when does he look happy, anyway?

That’s the only attack that came, though Strider and Fudd have been giving each other the side-eye, like they found my weakness and are about to exploit it (they both gained 5 boost tokens).  I don’t like the idea of a Ninja and a Looney Toon ganging up on me.  Looks like I need to retaliate and fast!

Raistlin looks up at Serenity and sneers (again, does he ever not sneer?).  With a muttered word, smoke begins to pour out of the ship.  The engines begin to strain and the metal squeals loudly as the vessel pitches wildly, sending debris flying through the air, striking Strider and Tetsuo.  Raistlin looks tired, but pleased.

In the distance, The Director laughs.


Well.  I best do something, then.

Luckily Wolverine has had enough holding back, and leaps into action.  Strangely he leaps at Codex.  Perhaps she was twirling her hair and making googly eyes at him or something.  He didn’t seem to take too kindly to it, however.  With a snicker-snack, several strands of hair (as well as articles of clothing, clothing that she spent good gold on, darnit!) are laying in a pile at her feet.

Before retaliation occurs, a grand explosion is heard as Serenity explodes into thousands of sparks.  Raistlin is seen coughing blood into a hankercheif, but the smile on his face belies his illness.  The spell worked and Captain Reynolds will not be a problem anymore.

The Director planned for this eventuality, though.  He had his own wizard prepared and ready to fight, and out of the firey wreck of the space-ship, a small shadow emerges.


Hoo boy.

Willow strikes a pose next to Strider, making eye contact with the Ninja.  They both appear to be waiting for just the right moment to strike, when a high pitched scream causes both of them to flinch.

“Do you know how much gold farming I had to do to afford this outfit?  You jerk!”

Apparently Codex is a little mad.

A flip of her staff and a few of Logan’s teeth are scattered to the wind.  McCoy can’t help but laugh.  But McCoy has to quickly run to help Link as a large cartoon bullet rips through the Hyrulian Hero.  Unfortunately, his body lay vewy vewy still, and vewy vewy quiet from Elmer’s rifle.

With a flick of the wrist and anger in his eyes, McCoy’s phaser fires off, on kill.  Tetsuo is the nearest target, the giant teddy bear almost fully formed.  Though the futuristic psy-abilities are strong, nothing beats science and the bear catches fire, taking Tetsuo out of the fight.

“Hey, you okay?” McCoy says to Raistlin.  Raistlin wordlessly stares at the man.

“Fine, be that way, but this might make you feel better” and he unceremoniously slaps a patch of antibiotics, pain killers and amphetamines onto the mage.

“How dare you!  I…” Raist begins, and then he stops, smiles and turns towards his enemies.

“Fuego!” A burst of fire flies at Willow, Strider and a shadowy figure who was standing behind Willow at the time.

Willow was able to get out of the way as the newcomer, a Man Who is Not to be Named card5

Mages have to stick together, I guess.

However, ninjas are to fend for themselves, and Strider wasn’t able to dodge the torrent of flame.  Not even a ninja could have survived a white hot blast like that.

“Damn fine work,” Bones says, “But you’re mixing your catchphrases, magic boy.”

“You made me modern,” Raistlin says, gesturing at the patch, “I might as well act like it.”

The conversation is cut short, however, as a flash of lightening strikes McCoy in the chest, sending him flying backwards.  The laughter from Voldemort pierces the battlefield.

The lightening continues, Voldemort never letting up, the glee in his eyes getting more intense as McCoy’s screams get louder.

Raistlin begins to form a counterspell, but before he is able to unleash it, a small acorn hits him in the leg.  He spins to see Willow smiling at him.  Before he is able to regain his concentration, the stone creeps up his legs and takes hold of both his body and mind, preventing him from ever casting a spell again.

Which I suppose is more dramatic than Codex smacking Wolverine upside the head again with her staff, but that’s still pretty hardcore.

Wolverine has finally had enough and shoves Codex back, looking threatening.

“Don’t you realize that if The Director wins, we won’t have WiFi anymore,” Logan growls.

“Wait, huh?” Codex says.

“Yeah, you’re playing for the Horde right now.  For real.  You should stop.”

“Oh.  Sorry. Um.  I’m going to go.  AFK.”

And just like that, she logged off.

Logan then looks to his left, seeing the only member of his team left standing is a little yellow furball who’s been hiding behind a rock this whole time.

“You!  Get to work!”

With a nod, Pikachu finally stands and begins jump in front of a bunch of slanted lines now that the Pokemon’s been chosen.

Voldemort quizzicly cocks his head, looking at the strange rat flying at him.  Lightening on lightening should be fun, but before the fur would really fly, a grand voice is heard:


Everything vs. EverythingMap


And there we have it.  I could have done a little more damage with Pikachu, and Voldemort would have come to Wolverine eventually and that would have been a fun throw down, but you can see just how many Boost tokens were down by now.

So our final scores are-

The Director: 27

Me: 18

Looks like the world has been ruined.  Sorry everyone.

Hope this was fun to read.  It was certainly bizarre to write.

Meet: The Director

Booo! Hissss!!

For a solitaire game, the Director is very easy to manage.  There’s no charts to worry about, no advanced AI to deal with.  Just some cards.  There are about 9 different categories of “personality types” you can choose from, and you snag two of those and shuffle them together to form your Director deck.  They range from Attack and Boost (very basic decks) to CounterStrike, Web, Resistance, Full Heal and other more advanced moves.

Most of the time I randomly choose my decks, but for the sake of the very wordy game, I’ll just choose Attack and Boost since they are recommended as the “Easiest” of decks.  I could make it easier by not adding the “Uber” cards of each deck.  Where’s the fun in that, though?

So of the 6 cards of each deck, I grab 5, one of which may or may not be the Uber card (it’s just a more powerful card, nothing all that special, but it sounds menacing).  And now we have our enemy deck.

Before I can see the characters I’m up against, I have to place my own characters onto the battlefield.  As a reminder, here’s what my side of the board looks like:


I have to choose one character to fall back as my substitute.  I’m not going to think too hard on this and just choose Bones.  Why?  Because the by the time he shows up, I’ll probably need his healing ability.  So let’s pull him back into my hand.  Now that leaves an empty spot on the field, and I can move my characters around however I wish.

I move Raistlin next to Totoro, mainly because Raistlin needs a friend (his brother isn’t here, after all), and Totoro will take the hits for the little mage.  Beyond that, location doesn’t seem to matter, so I’ll leave Pikachu next to Totoro as well since it doesn’t have a lot of health either.

Enter: The Enemy.


You may know some of these character, you may not.  You may be laughing your arse off, you may be scratching your head.

And there’s many MANY more characters to play with, folks.  Here’s our battlefield:

Everything vs. EverythingMap

Strider vs. Pikachu

Tetsuo vs. Totoro

Captain Malcom Reynolds vs. Raistlin Majere

Codex vs. Wolverene

Elmer Fudd vs. Link

The world just got a little more ridiculous people.  And I also want to call foul.  I don’t think Felicia Day and Nathan Fillion should be on the same team.  That just shouldn’t be allowed.  Hrmph.

Anyway, the dice I have sitting on everyone’s face is their hit points.  When a die drops to zero, it’ll get taken off of a character.  If you lose the die, you can’t heal up any more, so you try to keep as many dice you can as long as you can.

The game itself is simple enough:

Upkeep phase

Director smacks you

You smack the Director




So let’s look at the first upkeep.  There are three characters that have Upkeep abilities:

Pikachu zaps everyone with electricity tokens.  None have any yet.  Wolverine heals himself 1 point for every 2 humans alive.  Sadly that’s just him and Mal.  Everyone else is a frickin’ Cartoon.  Go figure.  So I turn one of Logan’s dice from a 4 to a 5.  Better than nothing.  Finally, Raistlin does damage to all machines by merely existing, and then boosts them all with dark energy.  Again, I’m just surrounded by Cartoons, so nothing happens.  Lame.  Ah well, bad luck.  Now let’s see what the director does to me.


That’s some chiseled features right there.  I wonder if that’s Chad, the designer.  Anyway, the card is easy to read.  You go left to right, top to bottom, doing what the card says. So in column 2 I add a Boost token to Tetsuo, meaning he’ll do more damage when he attacks later.  Yuck.  Then column 4 attacks.  There is nobody in column 4, so we just move on to column 5.  That’s Codex, so she attacks.

Simply put, we read the text of her top power and do it.  “Do 1 magic damage to any opposing character.  A maximum of 3 Boost tokens can be applied to this attack.”  So she’ll do damage to any of my characters.  The Director will always try to remove dice first, so he’d try to hit Raistlin.  Of course, that just means Totoro takes the damage, so I lower one of Totoro’s dice to a 4.

And finally Elmer Fudd attacks, and this one is done as if it had 5 boost tokens on it.  Let’s see what Elmer does: “Do 2 damage to the opposing character. Do 4 additional damage if it is a cartoon character.”


So he, vewy qwietly, shoots link for 2, then adds 4 because link is a Cartoon, then adds 5 because of the director’s card for 11 total damage!  Link has 13 hit points, so immediately drops to 2.  Despicable.

Of course, you know, this means war.

And as a last moment of kindness, The Director drops a Boost token on Totoro.  Why?  Why not.  We have evil Elmer Fudd for pity’s sake.

But now I can riposte!  It’s my turn!  But first, I have to draw my energy cards to see what I can actually do.  I only draw 3 cards, so I’m very limited at first, which stinks when you get whacked for 11 damage on turn 1, but you never know what might happen.  Let’s see what we get.

Heart, Spade, Heart

Okay, no diamonds.  That means I can’t use Pikachu, or Totoro.  Huh, or Raistlin, or Wolverine, or Link’s first power.  No Clubs means I can’t use Link’s other power.

Oh crap!  I can’t do ANYTHING with this hand!

So, it’s a “rebuilding” turn.  Isn’t that what sports people say when their team is losing?

Looks like I have to suffer through another upkeep and Director’s turn before I can hit back.

Well Upkeep is easy, Wolverine just heals another point.  But now the Director attacks again.


Looks like another attack card.  Great.

So Strider attacks with the +5 bonus.  “Do 4(+5) damage to the opposing character(Pikachu->Totoro). Do 1(+5) damage to 1 neighboring character(Totoro). Then move to the closest open field space to the left or right of Strider.”

Yow, so Pikachu gets whacked for 9, but Totoro takes the hit for him. And then Strider does 6 damage to Totoro directly. which knocks Totoro out! Well.  I guess that didn’t work out so well.

Strider then jumps to column 4.

Another thing, the second sentence of Strider’s ability says “Do 1 damage to…” Tetsuo’s Always Active ability says “If any character activates an ability that says “Do 1 damage to…”, then add a single blob token to Tetsuo.  Looks like a giant Teddy Bear is incoming (that movie was weird).

Looks like it’s Tetsuo’s turn. “Do 1 damage to the opposing character for each Blob token on Tetsuo.”  Lucky for me, there are no characters opposing Tetsuo, so no damage is done, but he does get another blob token himself because of the wording of his power.

The director’s card now places a Boost token in Column 4, where Strider is now sitting.  But wait, he already went!  TOO BAD! He gets it anyway.  It’s good to be a ninja.  And now, finally Codex attacks again with her 1 magic damage.  This time she does knock out Raistlin’s single die.

I can see my plans falling around me.

Finally Raistlin is given a boost token for fun, and The Director’s turn is over.


First thing I do is bring in my sub.

Dammit Jim, I’m a doctor not a playing card!

I put him opposite Tetsuo because 2 damage is better than the 4 he would get from Strider.

I now draw my 3 energy cards.

Heart, Diamond, Spade.

That makes my hand: Heart, Heart, Heart, Diamond, Spade, Spade

Sadly still only one Diamond, but I’m going to unleash Raistlin’s power with it while I have the chance.

I cast magic missle!

“Do 3(+1 for his boost token) magic damage to the opposing character(Mal).  Do 2(+1) magic damage to each character directly next to the opposing character(Tetsuo and Strider).”

So 4 for Capt. Reynolds and 3 for Tetsuo and Strider.  Not crippling, but a palpable hit.

I’m unable to do anything else.

So I must wait for the pain.  Help me, Dr. McCoy.  You’re my only hope.


Commence Nerd Rage!


Subscribers to this blog are here for the playthroughs of my very nerdy, procedural, deep, thematic games.

Either that or you’re my wife who’s reading this just because you’re awesome.  Thanks honey!

Anyway, today I’m starting a playthrough of a game that’s nerdy, fun…and that’s about it.  It’s also FREE!  A-yup.  With just a bit of printer ink (okay, I guess that makes it not free, and considering the cost of printer ink, probably makes this cost about $60), some dice, some cubes/discs you can play this game too!

And I think you should.

Welcome to:


Clearly the game is explained perfectly in the title so I’ll just get started.



Okay, fine.

In this game, you will pit a squad of random geek related characters against a squad of other random geek related characters into a battle to the death.  So if you want to have the Zerg fighting Captain Reynolds while Robocop shoots at the Stargate, this is you game.

Now you see why this game is free.  The licensing costs would be astronomical.  And if anyone reading this wants to sue…please don’t, the game is fun and you’ll look like a jerk, okay?

Clearly I’m playing the solitaire version of the game, which pits my character against “The Director,” a hideous villain who is going to destroy the world by taking over the minds of other characters.  I’m the only one who can stop him.  I have 10 turns to deliver the pain, then whomever has the most hitpoints wins.

All games of EvE start with a drafting phase wherein I get to choose my squad of awesome characters.  I get to field five of them while one sits back as a sub that I can bring in when someone gets knocked out (or if I just want to retire someone because they’re not doing well).

The Director will also be fielding 5 characters, and will have a number of subs based on how difficult I want to make the game.  1 for Easy, 2 for Normal, 3 for Hard.  I’ll go Normal.  I’m usually victorious on Easy, but I rarely win Normal games, so this should be fun.

So six stacks of cards are made, and I get to pick one out of each.  Let’s take a look at the first:


So I have the Proton from the video game Starcraft, Kirby from various Nintendo games, Watson from the Sherlock Holmes movies, Pikachu from the Pokemon universe and Captain Jack Sparrow from the Pirates of the Caribbean movie franchise and countless renaissance faires.  Yup.  There’s a lot of different choices in these games.

Let’s zoom in.


What makes the character different is

  1. Their type: Human, Cartoon, Machine, Other.  The Protoss are aliens, so fall under Other.
  2. Their health: the Protoss start with 3 health dice, all three at the max value of 6.  So that’s pretty healthy.
  3. Their abilities: If I play a spade, a heart and a club, I can do 6 damage to the character across from the Protoss.  That’s a pretty big zap.  Also, I can discard any 4 cards to transform them to 1 of each type that I can use to activate someone elses ability.  Of course, it zaps the Protoss to do that.

That’s it.  Type, Health and Ability.  What I have to do with the draft is find the best way to mesh these three things together with the six characters I grab.  Now the first card I grab is pretty random since I have no idea what I’ll be grabbing so I’ll just grab what looks fun right now.

I grab Pikachu.  Because I choose Pikachu.  C’mon.  It’s like a law.  I was too old for the cartoon, but I still feel compelled.

Let’s take a look at our next group.


Two X-Men!  And yes, they’re labeled as Human.  How PC of them.

So now we need to see who meshes well with Pikachu.  Pikachu uses a diamond and spade to change a boost token (which are used a lot, all they do is provide +1 to any kind of attack) to an electric token.  Electric tokens do nothing, but during upkeep they do 1 damage per electric token.

So what I can look for is: Characters that can place boost tokens or characters that also use diamonds and spades.  It’s good to have a lot of characters that use the same suits because then you can stack your energy deck in their favor (more on that later).

While Cyclops and Professor X can lay down some serious damage, My Neighbor Totoro has the following powers:

Heart/Diamond: Give 1 boost token to all in play (on both sides).  Then heal this character equal to the number of boost tokens given.

Always in effect: When a neighboring character would be damaged, Totoro takes the damage instead.  Any other effects of the attack apply to the original target character as normal.


So Totoro lays down a bunch of boost tokens, heals up and then Pikachu turns the enemies’ boost tokens into electric tokens, zapping them all!  Sounds like a good combo to me!

Looking good so far, let’s see what we can add next:


Ha!  Original series Scotty to modern Bones!

This is a tough one.  The good abilities require clubs and spades, and I’ve been avoiding them well.  Yoda is pretty awesome, being able to heal 3 damage to all of my characters.  Bugs Bunny is also pretty simple and can do damage as well as add boost tokens.

Now that I think about it, relying on all the same card suit may not be too great since I may never use anyone elses powers if I just focus on Pikachu/Totoro.  Would I use Bugs if it meant using a heart?  Should I get Bones so I do something with different cards?  And actually Bones does a little damage, heals a little damage, and can change other cards into Hearts.  That might actually prove best.

Yeah, let’s do that….even though deep down I really wanted Bugs Bunny because he’s the best thing ever.


Here’s my next draft.  And I’ve played this game..while not a lot, but quite a few times.  This is the first time I’ve seen Raistlin, and it makes my nerd heart go all a quiver.  Dragonlance was my first fantasy series that I got into.  I bought the book for my father because I heard he liked that kind of thing (he was into The Hobbit, so why not?) and he liked it, so I gave it a try.

And now look at me.

And wow, looking at his card, that’s pretty bad ass.  Heck with it, I’m taking Raistlin.  No more talking.  moving on.


Hmmm…Starscream would hurt my own characters…and was a dick in the cartoon.  The Borg aren’t as good against The Director because its ability to destroy energy cards doesn’t matter because the Director doesn’t use energy cards.  The Mechwarrior needs a lot of black cards which I’m not using a lot of at this point.  That leaves Wolverine and Dracula.

Yes, this game makes you think all sorts of awesome sentences like that.

Dracula is great at avoiding damage, doing a little damage and then healing back up.  Wolverine is good at healing and dishing out damage.  I think Wolverine is better than Dracula.  Wow.  What an interesting argument to have.  Isn’t that what the internet is for?  Anyway, let’s go Logan.


Lots of Star Trek represented here today.  I like B’Elanna’s ability to draw more energy cards.  RoboCop’s ability to drop Web tokens is pretty great, too (makes them unable to do anything for a turn…since they’re in jail).  However, I think Link fits my deck the best since it uses all the card types and will do damage all over the enemy row.

Now we have the six characters that stand between The Earth and Certain Doom(tm)


And I am sadly out of time.  Let me just grab my deck of energy cards.  This is 20 cards from a standard deck of cards where all I care about is the suit.  While it could lean one suit over an other, I think getting 5 of each suit will probably do me well.  Actually no.  I’ll rarely need clubs, so I’ll just take 3 clubs and ramp up my hearts and diamonds by 1.

So I am ready.

Next time, we shall meet The Director.


Best. Problem. Ever.

The kid is in bed.  The chores are done (or at least the washer is washing and the Roomba is vacuuming, ain’t technology grand?).  Looking at the wall, you see you have time.  What time is it?  Game time!


You’ve been jonesing to get a game in.  Sure, online games and play-by-emails have been great, not to mention a great 2-player game over the weekend, but during these brief moments of seclusion the real nerdy games can come out.  The solitaire-only games.  The games that everyone else looks at and goes “and that’s fun?”  Games like Bios: Genesis, wherein you play evolving bacteria.  Games like Nightfighter playing German, um, Nightfighters trying to fend off British bombers over Berlin in a highly simulated way.  Games like Fields of Fire, one of the west war games ever created, yet only playable by one person.

You live in a golden age.

So you go to your game closet.  Oh to have a game closet!  To go back in time and tell your younger self that you will have a game closet and actually have a wife who likes you!  Heck, she loves you and loves games, too! Oh the tension that would flee from that younger self!

Back to the closet.  You open the doors and hear the brief choir of angels sing as the multi-colors and shapes cascade before your eyes.  From party-games that bring people together like Dixit, to friend-ruiners like Pax Porfiriana that cause fist-fights (if you play it right).  Each calling out to you: “Pick me!  Pick me!”

But tonight your eyes wander to the section of closet that houses the solitaire games.  The Phil Ecklund games, the John Butterfields.  The Solo-bots and the full co-ops.  The dungeon crawls and disaster managements.

And you pause.


What do I want to play?

And your brain says:


I don’t know.

The hell, brain?  You’ve been waiting all week for this moment!  You’re here now!  You have time now! (insert Twilight Zone voice)  It’s not fair!  Just go for your favorite game, High Frontier, how can that go wrong?

Brain: But that’s a lot of set up, and aren’t you worried about playing it too much?  Wouldn’t you hate to get burnt out on it?

Um, okay, I guess that could be a thing.  Well, if I’m worried about setup time, I’ll just grab Onirim and play a couple hands of that with different expansions mixed in.

Brain: But you don’t want to do that, you have all this time!  Why play a game you could play if you only had fifteen minutes.

Okay, I guess that’s a good point.  I could set up Fields of Fire in the basement and continue my Korean campaign.

Brain: But do you really want to be in the musty old basement tonight?  Besides, you’d have to clean it off and have to accept the fact that you can’t fix the SpotBot that’s sitting on the table right now.

Hey!  I told you!  Don’t mention my inability to fix things!

Brain: Sorry.  Back to games.

Right.  Um.  So if you’re so good at telling me what I don’t want to play, tell me what I want to play.

Brain: I don’t know.  You tell me!

But you are me.

Brain: Maybe that’s just what I want you to think.



Brain: I can’t believe you’re wasting a perfectly good evening watching old episodes of Dick Van Dyke on Netflix rather than playing a game like you wanted to.

Shut up brain.

It’s like having a million channels, but nothing’s on.  What do you do when you have the time and a million games to play, but just can’t pick one?

Enemy Coast Ahead: The End

It is now one o’clock, and all is better than it was an hour ago. We have one dam breached, and another being strafed ineffectually. But we still have others flying over enemy territory, so we have to follow along with them and see how they’re doing. If Wave one can make it to the Eder and take it down, I will have what will amount to quite the successful mission, I believe.

So we start with Coordination Checks. Remember those? I need to try and keep my first wave together as they go deeper into enemy territory. Sadly the worst crew’s skill is 9, because we’re still flying with the unfit crew, but we have +1 due to my Veteran leader. I could drop a Very Light to get another +1, but that would add another Hazard marker. I’m seeing they’ll be drawing 3 dark blue hazards this turn (2 for being in the Weiser, +1 for the Alert level being at 1 now), so I’d rather not raise that up since I’m only going to be getting rid of two of those hazards. So I’m going to need an 8+ to get my planes coordinated.

Rolling: 10

Phew. It was a risk, but I made it. Now we move onto the Wireless Telegraphy Phase since there’s no more Coordinating to do. The only plane I need to talk to is AJ-F, which I need to assign to a new dam. If you remember, it used to be a part of Wave 3, so it’s still trying to fly to Mohne dam. Of course, he’s missing at the moment, but he may find his way back, so I’m going to try and get him to change his Primary target to the Sorpe and meet up with the second wave. It’s a shot in the dark and you have to roll 8 or better, but otherwise I’m wasting a bunch of turns as he flys around aimlessly, eventually going to the Ennepe which he’ll never be able to take down by himself. So let’s talk.

Rolling: 6 – Misinterpreted. Uh oh, he misheard. Howso:
Rolling: 4 – Dam with highest Recon level.

Which is, of course, the Mohne. Great. Oh well, I tried. So now we move, the First Wave heads into the Weser section and poor ol’ AJ-D with the compass card, faulty controls and the broken radio heads for home. That’s all that moves as the missing box and RTB boxes don’t move. Now Nav checks.

Let’s chcek on our AJ-F in the missing box. It may be headed to the wrong dam, but let’s see if it makes it at all. It’s a base 8, with a -1 for it’s map error. So I need a 9+. Ick.

Rolling: 10.

It moves out of the box into the flight zone. There’s a part of me that would have rather he get lost and head home. Now lets check on our First Wave. I have an elite navigator, so that pumps up our base of 7 with a +1. So I only need a 6.

Rolling: 6

And we’re good. I like saying that. I could get used to it.

But now the bad part. Hazards. AJ-F, all by its lonesome is getting 3 light blue, while the First wave is getting 3 dark blue.

Luckily I get to remove 2 in each zone, so I only have to deal with 1 hazard a piece. I end up with two ‘?’ hazards since I don’t want a Nightfighter to destroy my lone plane, and flak can easily destroy my plane while map errors can be much more forgiving.

Let’s see what hits our lone plane in the Ruhr area.

Searchlights! Another Nav check as the plane scrambles…..again. Base 8, -1 for map error, -1 for searchlights. I need a 10, or back to the missing box it goes. I guess their nose art shouldn’t have been the fluorescent target.

Rolling: 3

My eyes audibly roll, which I may want to see a doctor about. I now but that one dark blue hazard on my unfit crew and flip it over to find…Searchlights! Whaddyaknow? Base 7 +1 for Elite Navigator, -1 for searchlights.

Rolling: 4

Formation Compromised, because god forbid I can make a coordinated entry. Speaking of which, it’s Target Acquisition phase, so I can move the First Wave into the Eder box. It has total recon of 4, so they need a 7 to find the thing.

Rolling: 3

Woof. I’m out of high rolls, it seems. I can try a Persistent Attempt, however, if I fail, one plane gets kicked out of my wave. If that happens, that’s another hazard I have to pull next turn, so I’ll just sit and wait as it’s only flight turn 5. I’ve got some time before dawn to find the dam. I hope.

Now back to the Target Map phase where we can zoom back into the Sorpe and try to drop that last Upkeep.

I have to make another Visability check, but this time I’m at -1 as the odds of it being foggy are getting greater as dawn approaches.

Rolling: 10

Should have saved that roll for my persistent attempt. Yeah, because that’s how math works. So it’s still clear at the dam. Hmmm, now that I think about it, I probably should have wired to this plane to pick a different dam. If both planes had gone to the Ennepe, I may have pulled something off. Oh well.

So AJ-H starts it’s new run, let’s check that attack vector. It already has an approach observed marker, so that’s good.

Rolling: 3 S

So 1 Speed, but 3 Altitude due to the Elite Navigator on board. Let’s see how they do: Speed: 231mph Altitude: 65ft Meh. Not all that great. We’ll just have to fly closer and get a better speed, huh?

Nope, no better speed. Let’s give up the approach observed marker and really try for it. Again, no better. Again we pull up and get the dummy run marker. Of course, you also may remember that there’s a Nightfighter Nearby token left over from last time, as well as 2, yes 2, Very Light Flare markers left over. Not good, but not much I can do about it. The dam is pretty much written off at this point, they’re just finishing their mission parameters. So the Nightfighter will go away on an 8, and attack on a 2-5. Yuck.

Rolling: 7

It sticks around, but nothing bad happens. I’ll take it. Now to check for those two Very Lights.

The older: 1-3: It’s out.
The Newer: 3-2: Still on.

And we move on to another run. Let’s check our Attack Vector:

Rolling: 6

Oooo, 2 pulls for Speed and 3 for Altitude! Let’s see how that goes! 53Ft at 227mph. Not all that great. Man. That Nightfighter is going to get me at this rate. Let’s move in close and try to fix that altitude. 65Ft is a whole lot better. So I’m only pulling 2 for each trait, but I think I’m going to drop my Upkeep now. Why? Because I won’t be dropping 10 damage with one mine, so I’m just going through the motions and I want to get these folks home in one piece. Is it possible I drop it really badly and damage the plane? Yes, but 2 pulls each isn’t too bad and it’s better than risking that Nightfighter over and over.

Let’s see how he dropped it: Currently 56ft and 220mph, I’ll use my dummy run marker to fix the altitude. 60Ft! Perfect!

+8, +1 for vet. Now let’s check for late release:

Rolling: 4 no effect.

So +9 total. I can’t damage my own plane. Excellent. Now let’s see if we hit!

Rolling: 8. It’s a hit!

In the Circling phase, we move everyone to Moving Far because I’m not really worried about how much damage I did. Again, I can’t do 10. We’ll see how I did during Morning Recon. But Walker, that Navigator, sure knows what he’s doing. Raise another glass.

Status check. Let’s see if that Nightfighter noticed the explosion:

Rolling: 8 He left! And just to be kosher, I’ll check for the Very Light.

Rolling: 4-3: It stays on, just to taunt them.

I now move the three planes as a Wave to the RTB box. Alive and well, which I honestly wasn’t expecting all that much. At least we damaged the dam, that’s got to be worth something to the suits back home, right?

Back to the Flight map we see the Cleanup phase which doesn’t mean anything as we didn’t breach any new dam, nor can we lower any Activity levels since everything is still tied at 4. Not that it matters, again, but there you go.

It’s 2am. Do you know where your kids are?

Let’s get that first wave coordinated. Again.

And Again.

Again, it’s 9 +1. I’m not going to drop a Very Light because we’re so dang close that I don’t need more flak and searchlights coming after us. I need an eight. Oh please, oh please, oh please.

Rolling: 3


This could be bad.

Back to the Wireless. I can’t get our lost plane again (it has a “Wireless misinterpreted” chit on it now) because we assume it heard us right, so there’s nothing I can really say at this point, so that phase gets passed with a sigh. We’ll just thinking about something nice, like what Koinsky sees outside of her window. Or in her dreams, probably.

So the Move phase. Which is….nothing. We’ve got one in the missing box, and one in the zone it’s supposed to be in. We must be nearing the end of the game.

Navigation now, let’s check on our missing plane. Again. Base 8 -1 for map error. Glad I have a moon. I need a 9 or I roll on the Lost table.

Rolling: 6

And he’s finally gone. Let’s see what happens. -1 for being in the Ruhr zone.

Rolling: 7-1: Returns Damaged. Our first plane home. Love it.

Now to check our Compromised First Wave. 7 + 1.

Rolling: 4

Oh come on!

Fine, the Unfit Crew is separated again. I blame them for everything.

Now we’re on hazards, and we’re pulling 5. Not a fan of that. Here we go.

That’s a bit intimidating.

Let’s get that flak and searchlight out of there. Which leaves a ‘?’ for our unfit crew and our two planes following our brave leader. Let’s check on our unfit crew first.

Crash! Since it’s already damaged, there’s no need to roll a die. There is no Veteran on board, so there can’t be a Veteran save either. The Unfit crew hits a church steeple and explodes. Sometimes it just happens. They had it coming. They should have paid more attention in training. They paid for it. They paid too much for it.

Now AJ-L, the other Seasoned crew that’s in the First Wave: Searchlights! We need to check the other Hazard first, because if it’s flak or more searchlights, they’ll stack and make for a really difficult situation.

AJ-N is a Veteran crew with an Elite Pilot, and they are dealing with a….map error. Not good for Navigation. Which we need for this Searchlight.

So Base 7 + 1, -2 now for the map error and the searchlight.

Rolling: 9

Just made it. The light goes back in the cup, but the map error stays. That could have gone much worse, but I would still have preferred 4 planes, even with one terrible crew. Now we have to see if they can find the dam. Still need a 7. The odds are technically in my favor, but I’m not feeling optimistic after the way things have been going.

Rolling: 6

Now do I go for a persistent attempt? I don’t know if I can survive another round of hazards. I also have visibility to take into account. I’m -1 to visibility rolls, and next turn that will turn to -2, leading to much more fog to deal with. Gah! I don’t know. If I fail the persistent attempt, I for sure won’t survive the hazard phase of next turn and I might as well write off this dam.

I know you can’t tell by this post, but I’ve literally have been sitting here for about 4 minutes just staring at the screen, internally debating on whether to roll again or not. This is what this game does to me.

2 more minutes have passed, and I’m going for it.

Rolling: 10

Oh thank god. I was going to be kicking myself for the rest of this game if I screwed that up. So let’s drop that Very Light to help with that Uncoordinated Entry. Sadly, due to the map error, all that does is give me a net zero.

AJ-L: 5
AJ-N: 6
AJ-J: 1

Looks like my wing leader was the first to get there, but his wingmen are far, far behind. You have to work with what you have, though, so here we go. Let’s check for visibility at -1:

Rolling: 12

Nice and clear to start with. Now surprise. Only a +1 on the water level, so we need to check for that.

Rolling: 6

Okay, no draining. And they’ve done some changes if I roll 4 on 2d6 with a -1. Which the way I like to roll 4s and 3s seems really freaking likely.

Rolling: 4

See? SEE? Son of a….Now you know how imporant security is. Even a -1 did me in here. Crap, crap, crap, crap.

Flak: 3 – +1
Searchlights: 6 – 0 but place Nightfighter Nearby marker.
Balloons: 1 +2

Ack! Balloons in both boxes. I’m going to have to spend a whole lot of time shooting. This is just. Not. Good.

Since I start in the Circling Far box, I have to check for Nightfighters before I can start Turn 2 and do an actual run. It starts nearby and activity level is 1 due to that first Very Light I dropped. So it will leave on a roll of 6+.

Rolling: 7

Okay. Now for the enormously difficult task of taking on all the new defenses they put up after we did our recon.

But there’s nothing to it just to do it, so let’s fly down there and shoot those balloons away. For the sake of fairness, I make an attack vector check anyway:

Rolling: 1 – SSM

Good thing I’m not planning on dropping anything. I’ve also got my Aldis Lights off, so there you go. No chits. But here comes the flak. It’s only level 1, but even low odds are still odds.

Rolling: 3

For the sweet….I have no chits to forfeit, so no Evasive Actions for me. Crap. So I take some damage. Boom.

Now to get closer so I can start shooting.

I’ll draw a speed chit just because. 227Mph. Not bad. And more flak:

Rolling: 4 (2,2)

Are you effing kidding me? Let me roll again now.

Rolling: 6

Okay, so now I can try Evasive Action after all. I give up my chit and I now only have a 50% chance of blowing up.

Rolling: 6 even. I’m good.


Now I can shoot at the balloons.

Rolling: 4 Miss.

And I pull up so I don’t hit the first balloons. This is going to take a while folks. Get comfortable.

Again, I have to check for Nightfighters, and also check for my Very Light which is doing me no good. But first, the Nightfighter.

Rolling: 6

None around.

And the Very Light:

Rolling: 2-2: It’s out.

Turn 3, let’s see if we get luckily. Approach vector:

Rolling: 6

220mph. Not bad for someone only planning on shooting stuff. Here comes the flak:


Okay, moving in closer. Altitude to 56ft. More flak incoming.

Rolling: 5,4. These are the results I’ve been hoping for.

Now to take down the balloons.

Rolling: 5 Drat. I have to take down the balloons in the climb box at least if I’m going to drop any mines, so I’m going to have to keep trying this. Pulling up.

Nighfighter check: 9

New Visibility check: 7-1: Clear

We still only have the Wave Leader at the dam, but our second will be arriving next turn. With luck, I’ll pop the balloon in the climb box by then so I can drop the Upkeep and fly support for him when he arrives, but luck seems to have all been spent at the Mohne dam recently, but dwelling on the past won’t help our pilots. Let’s start turn 4’s run.

Approach Vector: 3 SSM

Yuck. Altitude is 56ft which isn’t bad, but can’t get a hold on speed at that vector. And we all know what that sound means.

Flak: 3,1

Noooooooooooooo! If you remember, we’re already damaged from last time, so this will mean death for our humble plane even before it gets a shot off. Now for some Evasive Action. I forfit my altitude chit and rub my foot. I have no rabbits foot, so my own will have to do.

Rolling: 2: even: the hit is nullified!

Ah, My Left Foot. Always good in a pinch. They should make a movie out of it. Moving in closer:

Altitude now 65ft. Flak ahead.

Rolling: 3,5 Safe now.

Firing at Balloons.

Rolling: 2! A hit! The Balloons in the climb box are removed! If I wanted to, I could drop the upkeep now, but with all the crap I’ve had, I’d rather pull up now (still can’t get in the close box as there’s still Balloons there) and really go for it. So back up and with a dummy run marker.

Nightfighters: 6 Nope.

I can move on to turn 5, where AJ-L, a regular Seasoned aircrew shows up in the Circling Far box. Okay, new Run, and this time, for realsies.

Appraoch Vector: 2 SSM

Grrrrrrr. Altitude 53ft. Might pull up already as this really doesn’t seem worth following through on, though getting close enough to shoot at the flak is probably worth it. Speaking of flak.

Rolling: 2,3

These guys have really good eyesite. Just missed me.

I’ll move in closer so I can get a shot off at them. Let’s check my speed. 216Mph. I’ve had worse. I’ll dump my dummy run marker to fix my altitude. And that did nothing. Drat. Won’t be the run for me, but I have to dodge another round of flak.

Rolling: 2,5

But now I shoot back.

Rolling: 2

So close.

Pulling up, and moving my far plane to the Circling Near box. I have to make another visibility check at -2, so I’m debating dropping a Very Light at this point. The Activity level is only 1 at this point (from the balloon destruction) so adding another one shouldn’t affect things. I’ll do it. Let’s see about that visibility, shall we?

Rolling: 5-2: Fog

It was nice while it lasted. Now Nightfighters.

Rolling: 7

And we’re onto turn 6 where my last plane arrives in the circling far box. And this one has the good pilot who rolls 2 dice for the vector approaches. But for now, I’m sticking with the Wave leader who has his dummy run marker. Back into the trenches with you!

Approach Vector: 2 SSM AA

For pete’s sake! I’m only pulling one Altitude chit, and that’s only because of my one flare. Yikes. This is going to be a tough nut to crack, even if it only needs 6 damage. Just keep swimming, just keep swimming….

65ft, very close to perfect. But flak can put an end to that.

Rolling: 4,4

Rolling again: 6,2

Moving in closer. Speed 216mph. Again very close to perfect. I could choose to drop now just so I can get an escort for other runs while that flak is there. Of course, if I hit the mountain behind the dam (the ‘M’ in the Approach Vector chart) I won’t be doing much escorting. So many decision points in a game many call procedural and simulation…

Flak: 1,3

Noooooooooo!!! (Agggaaaiiinnn!!!) I have to ditch my speed chit to dodge another bullet. Looks like I won’t be dropping at all. Again!

Rolling: 4: Even: Hit nullified.
I have cheated death so much with this plane. I’m wearing the skin on my foot raw. But good ol’ Tootsie works again. They should make a movie about that.

Now to fire back.

Rolling: 6. Drat.

Pulling up. I’m droping another Very Light in the Circling phase and also brining my last plane to the Circling Near box. We’re all in this together now.

Nightfighters: 4!

Attacks: 6 Nightfighter now nearby (activity level is at 3)

Very Light: 5-1: We’re still good.

Turn 7. 2:45am and things are still shakey. I was hoping the popping of the balloon would lead to a tidal change in my favor, but needing a 4+ in approaches for any kind of draw is a real hindrance.

Oh crap.

I just realized I’ve been cheating.

I’ve only been rolling 2d6 for the flak when I should be rolling 3d6 since I turned my Aldis lights on. Mind you, I’m still rolling 4 far more often than I should, so I’ll take it, but still. I also haven’t been dropping Upkeep, so I haven’t used that to my advantage either. Dang. Sorry folks. I’m sure amongst all the errors I’ve done this game, this will be the only one I find. So keep your eyes peeled.

Meanwhile…back to the game. I need to start another run, so let’s get to it.

Approach Vector: 5 SA

Finally. That’s doable. Altitude: 60ft Speed 227mph Great so far! But now johnny lowers the boom.

Flak: 2,3,1

Of course it is. There goes my speed chit to evade again. Will my luck hold out?

Rolling: 3: odd: hit stands.

Plane destroyed. I was stretching my luck enough as it was. I had a feeling that would happen. I can still do 6 damage with two mines. I won’t drop another Very Light because we’re at 4 Activity and that’s the next tier where the odds of the nearby Nightfighter attacking are getting higher. I do check visibility again, though.

Rolling: 6-2: Still foggy.

Won’t Daredevil be proud? Now the Nightfighter check. Activity is 1 for the popped balloon, +2 for the two Very Lights, +1 for the destroyed Lancaster.

Rolling: 9

Phew. I needed a high roll there. The Nightfighter vanishes. Now to check my flares.

Older: 3-2
Newer: 6-1

Both are fine. Turn 8 now. I’m dropping AJ-L in because they are “only” the Seasoned crew and I hope to be able to shoot down the flak (or have it blow up from the upkeep explosion) before I risk my excellent Pilot. So away we go.

Approach Vector: 4 SA

Seasoned only gets one chit anyway, so I can only check Altitude: 56ft. Not bad. Now the flak:

Rolling: 1,2,6

Why am I going against the Iron Cross bearing gunners? Away goes the altitude chit.

Rolling: 2: even: hit nullified

Moving closer. Checking speed. 227Mph. Not bad, again. Still not going to drop at this point, though.

Flak: 6,6,2

Doubles: 6,4

Now that’s what’s supposed to happen, dangit. Now let’s fire back.

Rolling: 6

Wrong side of the die. Pulling up to get the dummy run marker. Checking again for Nightfighters.

Rolling: 5 Just missed it.

Older Very Light: 6-3
Newer VL: 3-2

Everything’s fine. We have to move back to the flight turn, though. We make it to the cleanup phase and I see that we’re again tied with every dam being at 4 Activity, so I can’t lower the Activity here. I kind of wish a flare had gone out, then I could have lowered the Activity to 2. Oh well, I don’t think Nightfighters are going to be the end of me, I think it will be that flak. Everything about the next Flight turn is ignored as the only feasable pieces are currently on the Target map, so I just jump back there, but it’s now 3am. The same -2 visibility modifier applies. Speaking of which, I have to check that now.

Rolling: 9-2: Ooo, we hit a clear spot! Back into the trenches!

Approach Vector: 5 S

Altitude: 54ft. Meh.

Flak: 1,4,2

Crap. Altitude chit gone.

Rolling: 3 odd. Hit stands.

Move closer check speed. 216Mph, pretty good.

Flak: 3,2,5

I’m good, firing back.

Rolling: 6

Using dummy run marker for altitude. 70ft. Not good enough, pulling up.

Nightfighters: 8

Old VL: 6-4
New VL: 5-3

As you see, sometimes you can just motor through Attack phases. I’m changing tactics now. Clearly even level 1 flak is deadly with Aldis lights on, so I’m turning them off and just going down to shoot it down. There’s no point in trying to bomb when I have to give up a chit almost every time. So as I start turn 2, that’s what I’ll do.

Approach Vector: 4 S

Sadly that means no chits at all. I’ll use my dummy run marker to get a speed chit at least, just for evasion purposes.216mph. Not bad.

Flak: 2,5

Moving closer: Speed stays the same.

Flak: 6,2

Firing back: 1!

The flak is gone! HOOOOOOORRRRAAAAYYYYY!!!!!

Pulling up. Now we can do this for realsies. But first:

Nightfighters: 9

Old VL: 5-5: Out
New VL: 4-4: Out

Turn 3 new run with Aldis lights on. Let’s rock this.

Approach Vector: 2 SSM

At least I have altitude. And I’ll use my dummy run marker for speed. Altitude: 60ft! Speed: 231mph meh. Halfway to what I want.

But hey, I’m not getting shot at. Moving in closer. Dang, no change to speed. However, I can try to shoot the balloons in the close box.

Fire!: 5

I’m going to need a pretty perfect run to get the right odds for a regular seasoned pilot. 3 altitude chits and 1 speed chit won’t do it. So I pull up again. I’ll be checking visibility again, so let’s drop a new Very Light.

Visibility: 8-2: Just enough to be foggy. Dangit.
Nightfighters: 9

Turn 4. Here we go again.

Approach Vector: 4 SA

No speed, but I can get it with my dummy run marker. So one each. Speed: 227mph Altitude: 56ft. Not bad.

Getting closer. No improvement. Shooting at the balloons.

Rolling: 1

Wow! Down go the last balloons.

Anyway, I’m currently going with 2 draws each which isn’t all that bad. Might be the best I get for a while. Of course, if I release here, I get a ‘M’ which is a -1 to the Michelskopf roll. Yeah, there’s a word for ya. That’s the big ol’ mountain behind the dam that you can ram into. You only hit it on a roll of 3, but you can develop a few minuses and they can add up. I can get closer so I don’t get that minus, though that can result in a minus to my bombing roll. But I can also get a better pull.

I’m going for it. In the close box. Nope, not a better pull, but I’m releasing the Upkeep because I like my odds at this point.

I dropped it at 60ft (+4) and 228mph (+1). Let’s see what I get for my late release:

Rolling: 3 -1MM

Nuts. Needed a 4+ for anything good.

So I need an 11 to hit the dam. I need a 6 to not blow myself up with the Upkeep. Dangit. Why couldn’t I get my speed right? Well, here we go.

Rolling: 7

At least I didn’t blow myself up. Now to check if I hit the mountain. I’m at -2.

Rolling: 11

NOW I roll the 11. At least I’m safe. My other plane earns an approach observed marker and drops a Very Light Flare to deal with the increasing fog. The Activity level is at 6 now, but I’m getting a bit desperate. I need one hit for 6 damage. It’s possible, but unlikely.

Nightfighters: 7

Older VL: 2-1

Turn 5. Let’s see how a GOOD pilot heads into the lake.

Approach Vector: 1,3: SSM AA

Well, not very good at all, is seems. I have to use my Approach Observed marker to get a Speed chit, but let’s see what we have. Speed: 216mph. Not bad. Altitude: 54ft. Bleck. Can I fix that getting closer?

56ft. Yes, that’s better, but still not great.

I’m going to pull up at this point as a better Approach is going to put me far ahead of this run. I get to check for visibility again, so maybe I’ll get lucky.

Visibility: 11-2: And I got lucky.
Nightfighters: 5 Phew. Getting close.
Old VL: 5-2
New VL: 3-1

Turn 6. Here we go again. These turns are going fast now.

Approach Vector: 3,4 S

Now that’s what I’m talking about. Speed: 220mph! Altitude: 56ft. Pretty good! Let’s keep it up. Getting closer.

Couldn’t fix my altitude, but I think I’m going to drop the Upkeep now. I feel my luck running out, and honestly I don’t think I’ll get 6 damage with this bomb, so let’s just get this boys home in one piece.

Upkeep released at 60ft (+4) going 218mph(+3M). I’ll spend my dummy run marker to try and fix my speed (and not hit a mountain). 220Mph(+4)!!!! Perfect drop!

So that’s +9 total. I need a 6 to damage the dam.

Rolling: 9

KABOOM! And again, I’m not going to hang around for the smoke to clear, I’ll immediately put them in the RTB box. Morning recon can tell me what happened.

And that’s it. Mission over. Now it’s just time for everyone to return to base. So let’s travel home, starting from those closest to home and going farther away.

First is AJ-D, our unluckiest plane with broken radio, late sortie, compass card and faulty controls. He’s -1 for the Compass Card, +2 for being on the Coast. Let’s give a roll.
Rolling: 10
Safe at home. Probably a little upset at the groundcrew for the state of his plane.

Next are the planes of 2nd and 3rd wave. In 3rd wave we’ll start with Atlee and Franklin. They are at -1 for being in the Ruhr zone, but +1 for being a Veteran aircrew and +1 for the elite crewman.
Rolling: 5 Uh oh. I have to roll on the lost table. Same modifiers.
Rolling: 11 Phew. They made it.

Now deadeye Gibson. Same as his wingmate in the Mohne destroying wave.
Rolling: 12 Yup. Home safe and sound.

How about the Seasoned Aircrew in 2nd wave? They have -1 for Ruhr zone, and -1 for being damaged.
Rolling: 6 Uh oh.
Rolling: 9 If already damaged, roll a die
Rolling: 2 Destroyed. Dang.

Now Sumpter, another damaged plane, but they have a Veteran crew and Elite member which evens out the negative modifiers.
Rolling: 10 Home safely.

And the remaining member of 2nd wave, Walker.
Rolling: 9 Also home safely

And finally the remainder of 1st wave. They have -2 for being in Weser Zone. And I have a seasoned crew in a damaged plane, so that’s -3 total.
Rolling: 8 Normally good, but not with those modifiers
Rolling: 2 MIA darnit.

And now my expert pilot who was able to damage the Eder against great odds.
Rolling: 6 Lost?
Rolling: 9 Returns damaged.

I have 7 planes returning of my original 11. Now for morning recon. Let’s check out that Eder, shall we? The upkeep shows ½
Rolling: 5 odd: I did 1 damage. Let’s see what Recon shows:
Rolling: 2 – as advertised. Nuts. Out of curiosity, the other Upkeep was a 2/3, so it was impossible to breach it.

Sorpe dam’s upkeep is showing also ½.
Rolling: 4 even. 2 damage.
Rolling: 6 +1 damage. So I did 3 to it. Not nearly enough, but it’s still something.

And I have 7 damage from 2 upkeep on the Mohne. Let’s see what morning recon shows us.
Rolling: 5
Rolling: 4

As advertised. I breached one dam the whole night.

Now is simply to go through the scenario book and find out how I did. I can tell you right now, not well. I got 8 RV and lost 4 planes. I only have 3 Upkeep remaining, so I’m not able to do a second run. I won’t post here what the campaign book would say since that’s the best part of the game, so I’ll have you look it up yourselves.

So you can plainly see that you didn’t learn too much about strategy from me.

Hope you enjoyed it.

What a bomb! (I’m not talking about Fantastic 4)

New day, new cup of coffee, same old problems.

Here we are, attack turn 6. We still have a Nightfighter nearby, fog rolling in and only 2 planes who need to do 10 damage to take down the Sorpe dam. Things don’t look good, but never underestimate soldiers in dire circumstances. Sometimes they can surprise you, which is what this game makes so exciting.

So we start with with AJ-E making yet another approach on the dam. Third time’s a charm, right? Let’s see how the approach is going:

Rolling: 4 SA

Due to the fog, there’s one less Altitude chit as well, so it will only be one chit from each. I’m relying on a lot of luck here. The height is 70ft, much too high, and the speed is erratic, all over the place. Not looking good. As we get closer to the dam, the pilot hits 220mph exactly, the perfect speed. I ditch the dummy run chit to see if he can figure out the right altitude. Nope, 54 which is just as low as he is high now. So 3 chits for speed, 1 for height. +1 for vet, +1 for Elite crew, -2 to +1 for being so close. Let’s say I get the +3 for speed, and +1 for height (playing some odds here). I’ll get -1 for the releasing close, again choosing low for odds. That would give me +5. That’s a 10+ to hit. I would need to get really lucky in my height pull to get a +3 too and maybe a 0 or +1 from the close release.

I’m going to risk it and pull up. This is just not going well for me. I’m also going to drop a Very Light Flare. Sure, it might let the Nightfighter see me, but it also might pierce through the fog and let me land this stinking mine. I’m getting trigger happy now, and I want this to happen!

Now the Status Phase, and let’s check on that visible Nightfighter. Activity level is still at 2, so that means it will leave on a 6+, and anything below that stinks.

Rolling: 7

Yay! It leaves. For now.

Now on to turn 7. There will be a chance for the fog to lift at the end of this turn, which is nice, but I’ve got 2 more chances before I’ll have to wait for the next flight turn to keep trying on this dam (I’ll have to “cutscene” to the Mohne in the interim). So let’s get our Wave leader in for a good run this time!

Checking approach.

Rolling: 4 SA

The Very Light burns away the A, so I’ll have two pulls for Altitude, one for speed. Checking: Ugh. 53 feet and 212mph. Not very good on either end. Let’s see what moving in closer gives me. I’ll try for an altitude change. Up to 56feet which is better, but not great. I’ll ditch my dummy run again to try and fix speed. If this isn’t perfect, I’ll have to turn around and try again. Nope, got erratic, so at 212 and 56′, there’s no point in releasing, time for another go around.

I know this looks very monotonous, but the good thing is, without all this typing and reading, this goes by REALLY fast in game. It’s a simple push your luck mechanism and I could do this whole dam in less than 5 minutes (unless I agonize over each decision, which sometimes happens).

I’m dropping another Very Light, just in case the fog stays and I make a bad roll on the approach vector. I’m getting desperate here, I’d love to get at least one of these mines/bombs off before this flight turn is over.

Let’s check for Nightfighters again. We’re back again to our 2-4 roll.

Rolling: 7

And I’m safe. I think everyone is back in bed at this point. The droning of my engines has lulled everyone into a stable REM, I’m sure.

I need to check for the Very Light I dropped off last turn to see if it goes out:

Rolling: 2

And my visability check:

Rolling: 8

The fog lifts! Awesome. Shame I dropped all those flares, but it was a risk I needed to take. I’m running out of time. Or am I? I’ve been pretty patient so far, despite my constant whining, and technically the odds have been good that I won’t be chased away by Nightfighters or anything. Of course, the more I roll, the greater the likelihood that they’ll strike, but slow and steady is doing fine so far, so I should stick with what I’m doing.

But I like whining, so I’ll probably do that a lot, too.

Okay, Turn 8 and last run at the Sorpe. Checking the Approach Vector:

Rolling: 5 S

Even with 2 pulls on altitude, I end up with 54ft and an erratic speed. This is just not working very well. Let’s fix our speed as we get closer. 220Mph! Perfect! And the dummy run marker can get me a new altitude chit: 65ft! Not perfect, but much better.

Ooooo, my best run yet. I used my Dummy Run marker, but I have 3 pulls for altitude and 2 for speed. This may well be the best I get for a long time. Let’s light this candle.

Release! The Upkeep is released at 56ft and 223mph. Not really all that great. It nets me +4. +1 for being Veteran, +1 for Sumpter, my Bombardier. Let’s see what the late release did:

Rolling: 4 No effect

So +6. Which is exactly what my poor damaged Seasoned crew had. This was just not meant to be. I need 11+ to damage the dam and 6+ to not damage myself.

Rolling: 5

BANG! Crap! The plane takes damage from a bad bounce. The Activity level is now up to 4 and another Upkeep is on the no damage side of the board.

Another check for Nightfighters:

Rolling: 2

Of. Course. Now I need a 9+ to make them go away as all the explosions and things are kind of arousing attention. Things are going pearshaped fast.

Rolling: 7

The Nightfighter is now nearby. I mark the board as such. Now I check for my two Flares:

Rolling: 3 – 2: fine
Rolling: 5 – 1: fine

Now I clear the tracker and mark everything so that I remember where the action on the Sorpe board is, because we now have to cut over and do 8 turns at the Mohne dam before we can continue the Flight turn. Will I become as invested in that one? Only time will tell.


If you remember, we’re cutting away from the, I hate to admit, rather dismal failure at the Sorpe to look at the Mohne dam and see if we can pull a success here. It’s another uncoordinated entry, which I would rather not have, but that’s not the biggest worry. The biggest worry is the Level 2 flak that will be firing at us during every run. Now time won’t be the only threat against us. This is where I get nervous as a bad choice can and will result in the death of several men.

It’s just a game, I tell myself.

First I have to get the Target Map set up with the Uncoordinated Entry. I’m launching a Very Light Flare to get as much time at the dam as possible. Risky for Nightfighter attacks, but I want as many Lancasters around as possible to provide escorts for the bombers (and to shoot the flak cannons). Of course, I see the “Nightfighter Nearby” chit sitting there from the Sorpe map and it reminds me just how close a bad dieroll can ruin a whole run at a dam. Am I going to start asking for Pepto already?

Ug, there’s only 2 planes in this wave. Then again, they only need to cause 6 damage. Okay, let’s get these planes to the dam. They don’t have any map errors or Compass Card problems, so with the Flare, they have a -1 to their roll to see which turn they show up.

AJ-A Rolling: 4-1: 3
AJ-B Rolling: 5-1: 4

We can just fast forward to turn 3 to have the first plane arrive, but first we have to make a visibility check

Rolling: 4 Fog.

Hmmm, foggier valley than the Sorpe.

And now check for surprise. First for the water level. The marker is showing +3, which is an automatic success for me, so they haven’t drained the dam any. Good news.

And the surprise check is a ‘3’ with my -1 modifier for my Medium security risk. I think I can pull that off on 2d6. Then again, the way I have been rolling recently. Fingers crossed.

Rolling: 4(!)

I had to check, equal or higher is a success. First pump in the air. If I had failed, I would have to roll on the “Surprise Improvement” table, which would have netted me (probably) more Flak, some searchlights, a nearby nightfighter and some balloons. Close to insta-death, really.

Okay, so everything’s as we thought it was. We’re at Turn 3 with AJ-A, a Veteran Aircrew with a Wing Commander (one reroll) circling far and AJ-B, a Veteran Aircrew with a Bombardier (+1 to Bombing) entering next turn.

Turn 3 is a non-event as Circling Far is a box where nothing really can happen, so we skip right to the Circling Phase and move AJ-A to the Circling Near box. Now the Status Phase. I have to check visibility again which is actually a good thing:
Rolling: 4

The heck is it with the fours? Well, it’s still foggy. Now a Nightfighter check. Activity level is at 1, Alert level is still at 0, so a 2-4 to have one sighted.

Rolling: 9

I’m good. Now checking for the flare I launched on turn 1.

Rolling: 4-3: 1

It’s still lit, and we move on to Turn 4. AJ-B shows up in the Circling Far box. Now I have to make the choice on whether I send my first plane without AJ-B watching. I guess it’s a small chance that I launch the Upkeep without a dummy run marker. For those wondering why I don’t wait for the other plane to fly escort, you can’t have planes holding Upkeep flying escort (they’re too important). Once I drop my first one, though, that plane will certainly fly escort for the next. So into the lake we go, damn the flak!

Approach Vector:

Rolling: 3 – A

And with my one Very Light still burning, that’s no penalty! It’s good to have a lot of recon at a dam! So two chits each. Let’s see what we get. 70Ft and 227 mph. Not great. 1 chit and 2 chits, respectively. And now the flak comes in. The flak is level 2 so it hits on 3-5. Also, since I’m using Aldis Lights (I pulled altitude chits), they roll 3d6 and I chose the two “Most Lethal” dice. Lucky me.

Rolling: 6,6,2

So none of the combinations hit, but 12 is doubles, so they have to be kept, and doubles are always rolled again.

Rolling: 9.

I’m good. Now is a tough choice, I can fly closer to the dam which can get me better odds at dropping the upkeep, and more importantly, can give me the opportunity to take out some of those flak cannons with my machine guns. Of course, I’m at risk of damage myself. Really, should have turned my Aldis lights off and just tried to take out some of the flak guns first, but strafing and accounting is difficult work to do at the same time.

I’m going for it, hoping that I can use Evasive actions if I have to. I fly closer and try to fix my altitude. Nope, 53ft doesn’t help at all. Now flak gets a second crack at me.

Rolling: 2,5,2

Sadly 2,2 is the most lethal. A hit AND a reroll.

Reroll: 1,3

So two hits. Two attempts at Evasive Action.

I have chosen…poorly.

First I forfeit the altitude chit and roll one die.

Rolling: 4: Even. Hit is nullified!

Then I forfeit the Speed chit and roll again.

Rolling: 2: Even. Hit is nullified!

Now I can check for my front gunnery where I roll a die and try to roll under the level of resistance I’m up against.

Rolling: 2. A hit! A palpable hit!

So the flak level goes from 2 to 1! And I immediately pull up to the Circling Near box and take the dummy run chit. That was a whole lot of luck there in a row. Do I continue that luck and drop a Very Light because my other one will probably go out? Yeah, I think so.

Now Status checks:
Nightfighters: 12
Very Light: 4-4: Goes out.

Turn 5. I forgot to mention AJ-B moved to the Circling Near box last turn. Figured it was a given, but I shouldn’t assume that. Now that the flak is lowered, I’m going to keep the Aldis Lights on and concentrate on bombing this dam. Should I destroy the flak, great, but let’s not count on it, let’s count on a dam blowing up.

Run #2 begins! Approach Vector:
Rolling: 5 – A

Very Light burns that away. Two draws apiece. Speed: 220mph (perfect!) Altitude: 60ft (perfect!) Oh. My. But here comes the flak. At level 1, it needs 2-4 to hit. And you know how much I just love rolling 4!

Rolling: 6,2,3

Nope, I’m good. Of course, I still have to get closer, though, otherwise I have a -2 to my bombing roll, and I don’t want that. My one chit replacement is worthless here as both my speed and altitude are perfect, so we go straight to the flak.

Rolling: 5,1,4

Still surviving. Now to see if I take out that last cannon. I have a 1 in 6 chance.

Rolling: 5.

Nope, but I’m still doing really well here.

So, um, I have my dummy run marker and I’m pulling 3 chits from each trait. I think I’m having the perfect run. Guess it’s time to release! Upkeep away!

So far I have 64ft (+3) and 218mph (+3). I’ll use my dummy run marker to try and fix my altitude one more time. Nope, drew erratic, so +6 will have to be it. +1 for Veteran, so +7 total. I need an 8 to damage the dam. Drumroll please.

Rolling: 7


But wait! I have the Wing Commander flying this bird. I have a reroll, and I’m going to use it dangit. Gibson is NOT going to let me down.

Rolling: 9

You’re damn right! The upkeep is moved to the “Damaged” side of the boxes, and AJ-A is moved to the climb box. Unfortunately flak gets another pop at our plane.

Rolling: 2,6,6

Another reroll:

Rolling: 5,4

Now my rear gunner can try to take the flak down.

Rolling: 4

Didn’t think so. AJ-B gets the Approach Observed marker and everyone watches as a huge ball of smoke erupts at the dam. What happened? I guess we’ll find out in the status phase. Speaking of which:

Turn5 Visibility check

Rolling: 6

Ooo, the fog clears dramatically.

Defense attrition, did the Upkeep also damage the flak?

Rolling: 3

No. Nightfighter check:

Rolling: 9

Detonation Result:

Rolling: 4 even: Flipping the Upkeep chit: 3/4 – so 4 damage to the Dam! Not enough to breach it, but really, really close.

I could go longer, but I want to end this post on a high note. Finally, something went right!

Well, it’s all downhill from here.

How’s that for optimism?

After a day like today, I’m glad I got a hit on a dam, and I hope to do it again. I’m all the way to turn 6, but I have one more plane, and a Bombardier in it, so here’s hoping for some more luck to head my way. Let’s see how we’re doing. Ah, the weather cleared up, so the Very Light that’s still burning doesn’t help us, and actually hinders us a little bit by making Nightfighters a bit more of a threat. Beyond that, I still have level 1 of flak to deal with, but now I have an escort to go along with my bomber, so let’s try to blow that bad boy up before it becomes too much of a nuisance.

Also we have an Approach Observed chit on my remaining bomber. However, I think I’m going to go in with my Aldis lights off first and try my best to take down the flak and go in for the kill on Turn 7 (and 8 if things don’t go well). I got very lucky with the last run that I didn’t get shot down, so now let’s focus on getting rid of those threats.

So let’s drop into the lake again. Getting Approach Vector:

Rolling: 1 – SS

Ewwwww. That’s literally no chits drawn without Aldis lights. I’ll ditch my approach observed to get an altitude chit just because…hey, why not. 65ft. Not bad. I’m sure having Gibson on his wing is helping guide him to the right locations.

And here comes the flak.

Rolling: 1,4

Phew. Just missed. We move forward to the Near box, amazed at the bravery it must take to keep steering INTO the things that are making all the explosions around you.

Let’s pull a speed chit now that we’re closer. 227Mph. I have to say, for having no draws, this guy is a darn good pilot. Let’s hope he lives to hear about it.

Flak Rolling: 4,2

Great! Now let’s shoot those cannons and clear that away.

Gibson: 4
Astell (AJ-B): 2

Nope, not yet. But we can always fly closer. Let’s see how the altitude gets better. No, 70ft wouldn’t be better. Okay, this won’t be a freak thing where I actually would have to decide on whether or not to actually drop this thing. I won’t with 2 chits a piece.

Flak: 4,1

Ye Gods! What’s with the close calls? I’m getting nervous here. Let’s shoot the buggers.

Gibson: 4
Astell: 5

Dang. Time to pull up and earn a dummy run marker. Odds weren’t great, but I was hoping to use the time I had to make things easier. I’m not dropping another Very Light since the weather won’t change, so we’ll just hop to the Status Phase and check for Nightfighters:

Rolling: 3

Eep! Do they attack? The activity level is: Very Light +1, Released Upkeep +1, Defense levels reduced +1. 3 isn’t so bad, that’s the second tier. When you hit 4 is when the rolls really get not so in your favor. I’m hoping for an 8+, but as long as I don’t roll snake eyes, I can continue.

Rolling: 5

There is now a Nightfighter nearby. Commence nail biting.

Checking my Very Light.

Rolling: 2 – 3: It’s out.

It’s now Turn 7. Before the fog comes back in, or the Nightfighter pays us a visit, we can take this thing down. I need some inspirational music. Any suggestions?

Okay, now I start the next run. Let’s hope for a better Attack Vector.

Rolling: 2 – SS

GAH! Well, my Aldis Lights are on, so I’ll have Altitude pulls, but now no speed pulls. Guys! Look at Gibson! He’ll lead you! Altitude: 60ft! YES! It’s getting exciting now. But now the flak starts, and my hands start shaking:

Rolling: 3,3,3

A miss, but more doubles, so another roll.

Rolling: 2,4.

Okay, we can move to the Near box. Let’s pull the Speed chit. Again, look to Gibson, he knows what he’s doing. Speed: 216mph. Not bad. Here’s a choice. I’ve got 3 pulls in speed, and 2 with altitude. I could save my dummy run chit to pull one more result chit for the bombing itself, rather than trying to get the better altitude chit now. Or I could just state that it’s not perfect so I should just pull up at the end of this and try again on Turn 8.

You know what, the odds were stacked against me from the beginning with the bad Approach vector roll, so let’s hold the dummy run marker and plan on pulling up. Then again, a Nightfighter Nearby means I could be chased away (and one of my planes blown up) pretty easily at the end of this turn.

I’m going to hold on to the marker. Let’s see what the flak does before I make any other choice.

Flak: 2,5,3

I’m glad a 5 isn’t a hit anymore or I’d have been blown up more times than I can count. Of course, that does show just how easy it is to roll a five, which is good to know should we play craps later, or when we roll for the Nightfighter check. At Activity level 4, a 5 will have it attack, destroy one of my planes and send the other one away. Ug. I may have to drop the Upkeep this turn.

But first, let’s light up those flak cannons, shall we?

Gibson: 5
Atlee: 1 !

FWAKOOM! No more flak! I can’t lose this to a Nightfighter at this point, Upkeep away!

Altitude: 60ft 4+
Speed: 220mph 4+

And I didn’t even need my dummy run marker! So 8+1 for Vet +1 for Bombardier gives me +10. I need a 5+ to damage the dam, and it is impossible for me to damage my own plane.


Rolling: 7

Another chit on the damaged side of Mohne dam. Is it possible to do only 1 damage with a successful hit? Yes. And not all that uncommon either, but I have to say after the Sorpe disaster, I feel pretty dam good and awfully proud of my pilots.

Let’s go to the Status phase. Though it doesn’t matter, we have to go through all the motions: Visibility check:

Rolling: 5. The return of the fog.

Now the Nightfighter check. I’d hate for these guys to get shot down after all this.

Rolling: 12

Clearly it was not meant to be. The Nightfighter has vanished and I can now check the detonation result.

Rolling: 1 odd – ¾ so 3 more damage! The dam is breached! I flip the Alert marker to show that it will raise at the end of the turn and also raise the Activity level at the Mohne to 4 for the extra Upkeep. But Activity Schmactivity, my planes leave the Attack map and go back to the Flight map, ready to head home. WOOT!

By the way, the Bombardier was named Franklin. Raise your glass.

The planes are allowed to go straight to the RTB box because their Upkeep have been spent. They are also allowed to form Waves however they like, so I just put them back in the Wave 3 box and put the Third Wave chit in the RTB box, and we’ll get to find out their fate later. Man, what a turn!

Now we do the Clean Up phase of the Flight turn.

What, remember, we’re doing a Flight turn! Yup. The Alert level goes up to 1, because now they’re pissed that we blew up a dam. We can also lower the Activity level of one dam, but not the dam with the highest Activity level. Both Sorpe and Mohne were at 4, so I’ll need to check what you do with ties. It says you can’t select a dam that’s tied for highest either. Dang. I can’t make Sorpe better. I should have blown up more stuff at the Mohne. Oh well.

I still have four planes trying to get to the Eder along with our three at the Sorpe. It is now 1am, can this string of good luck continue?


The final post

Into the wild black Yonder (ECA)

After much rolling of eyes and gnashing of teeth, I have decided to go ahead with the mission on Turn 3.

Why? Because this is a learning game, and you have all learned by now how the Planning phase works. Why prolong it?

That’s my story, and I’m sticking to it. Truthfully, I just want to get to the Flying phase and show you guys and gals the consequences of my decisions, and it will be more obvious if I skip an entire turn rather than trying to even everything out on turn 4. So away we go.

Before we get everything into the air, we have to do flight prep. Firstly, we do an Aircraft check. It’s just a simple 2d6 roll, but I can get +2 for each groundcrew I add. Right now I have 3 groundcrew, and I could move other assigned crew to these rolls by marking them fatigued. This would only give me a +1, but let’s look at the whole “check” part of the phase.

Looking at the end we see the Aircrew check. That’s another 2d6 which is modified by -1 for Extra training, which I didn’t do and +1 for rested aircrew markers, which I never got. So it’s a straight roll, so odds are I’ll have 2 aircrew grounded. That will leave me with 14 total crew. So as long as I get 14 planes and 14 Upkeep, I should be fine.

I just counted my planes. I have 14. Upkeeps, I have 15. Ug. So I need all my planes, and all but one Upkeep if I want my expected crew count in the air. So I move to of my three ground crew to the aircraft check which gives me +4. On average that will give me an 11, which will still ground a plane. I’ll flip a groundcrew to fatigued and and give myself a +5.

Rolling: 4 (insert facepalm here): total 9- 2 aircraft are grounded. +1 hazard at English Coast.

So I only need 12 Upkeep to fill all the planes. That would involve rolling a 5-6. I’ll just put my last unfatigued groundcrew there for a +2 and leave it at that.

Rolling: 7: total 9: 2 Upkeep grounded

I can’t modify the Aircrew check, so that’s just a roll of the dice (I’m due, says the chronic gambler):

Rolling: 11(!) All may fly

So it looks like my mission will involve 12 planes. 3 waves of 4? 2 waves of 6?

The next step is briefing. If I had any Rps left, I could do another round of Recon, but I’m broke. I really should have done another Requisition, but I’ll be saying “I should have” a LOT over the next few posts, and that’s the fun of this game, you get to watch what all your decisions meant and regret each and every one of them (well, in my case, anyway).

So now the Security check!
3 – turns
2 – Requisitions
7 – Groundscrew
1 – Recon at 3 or better
Total : 13 (Currently considered High)
Security Measures
2 – Extra police
1 – transfer the barmaid
1 – Tirpitz rumor
Tirpitz ruse – 1d3 – Rolling – 1 (head on desk)
Total: 5

Ending Security 8: Medium.
Alert level starts at 0, surprise modifier at -1

Medium isn’t the worst. If I had rolled anything but a 1 on the Tirpitz ruse, I would have dropped to Low and there would be no negative modifier, so I’m a little pissed at my die rolling at the moment. But I’m hoping the choice to have a moon to guide us will help.

So now I will make my waves and get the mission started.

Pretty uniform, now that I look at them. I can’t really give you too much as to why I put which Elite crew where or why I chose one target over another. I just hope to hit the Mohne, Eder and Sorpe and then go home. The rest is just gravy. When things go pear shaped, I hope radio checks can fix what I’m trying to do. Or not. Again, this part I’m never really sure about.

So away they go. This is as nice as it’s ever going to look.

So now we start the flight phases on Turn 1. It is 2100 hours and the planes depart England. You sit back and wait by the radios, glancing towards the south hoping against hope that in a few hours you’ll see the lights of your bombers returning home.

First is the Coordination Phase, which doesn’t need to be done yet because there is no reason to monkey around with my waves at this point. Next is the Wireless which I could scream into if I needed to change targets to any of my waves, but again, not necessary at this point. Really, if I needed to do it now, I should be peeling potatoes back in mess. So we move on to the, um, Move Phase.

Everybody moves towards their Primary Target which is easily done as they move forward into the English Coast zone. But now we need a Navigation check, because as the coastlines fade away, the inky blackness of the Channel leaves few markers for the pilots to track, and confusion can lead to disaster.

Starting with Wave 1, I roll the leader’s Navigation skill. In this case, it’s 7, but I have an Elite Navigator, so I have a +1 to my roll, so I need to roll a 6 or better to succeed.

Rolling: 9.

Now wave 2: Need a 7+

Rolling: 6.
Not good, but not too bad either, we flip the marker to “Formation Compromised.” This means that if we fail to get back together and we continue to have bad navigation, it’s possible for a plane to get really off course.

Wave 3: 7+

Rolling: 5 Also Formation Compromised. Dangit.

Now we move on to “Place Hazards” This is where “Gremlins” occur and we find a few problems with our planes. Nothing is perfect. We are guaranteed one problem, and we gained another one during our aircraft check and my low roll. So two get played. I have to distribute them evenly, so I’ll give on to Wave 1, since they are still a good wave, and the other to Wave 3 since their target is worth less Vps.

I now have to assign an individual plane for each. AJ-M and AJ-D are my candidates. Sorry, boys, but it has to be done.

AJ-M appears to be an unfit aircrew! That means -3 to all training levels, effectively giving them a 0 for everything. That 9 in Navigation is going to hurt if that wave ever loses Coordination. The jerks. How did I let them slack so much in training?

AJ-D has delayed sortie. This one is a “retro-active” hazard. It basically means that this plane didn’t lift off when it should, so during the next movement phase, it won’t actually move and will race to catch up with everyone else. This is one of the most annoying hazards. Aren’t you glad you got to see it?

Ouch. Two of the worst hazards to begin with. Some of you may notice I skipped the “Evade Hazards” phase, that’s because you can’t evade mechanical problems (or lazy crews, in this case) so I just jumped to Resolve Hazards. And jumping forward again I would go to Clean Up because we’re no where near our targets.

We are now into Turn 2 of flight which is an hour of flying over the North Sea. We’re already having problems keeping our formations, so let’s see what we can do about that.

During the Coordination check phase, Wave 2 is going to fire a Very Light Flare to see if that will help get everyone together. So now I get to roll against my Worst crew’s navigation skill, which is my Seasoned aircrew’s skill of 8. However, I get +1 for my wave leader being a veteran, and another +1 for my Very Light Flare. FYI, if I didn’t get my Radio made in the planning phase, this would not be possible.

Wave 2: 6+

Rolling: 6 – Wave 2 flips back over to Good Order side. Phew.

I’m going to do the exact same thing with Wave 3

Wave 3: 6+

Rolling: 8 – Also on Good Order side. Nice.

I skip the Wireless Phase and go to the Move phase which pushes everyone into the North Sea space, except for AJ-D who leaves the Wave 3 box and stays in the English Coast box, due to the delayed sortie.
And back to Navigation checks. Another FYI, I would be at -1 for all of these if there wasn’t a moon.

Wave 1: 6+

Rolling 10: Stays in Good Order

Wave 2: 7+

Rolling: 9: Stays

Wave 3: 4: Formation Compromised again. If it was still compromised, one plane would have been kicked out of the wave and become an independent aircraft.

AJ-D: 8+ (Yes, it has to roll for itself)

Rolling: 6: Moves to Missing Box

Looks like I’ve already got one plane that might not make it back because one of the crew had to pee.

Now we’re placing Hazards again, this time another two yellow hazards. I’ll choose Wave 1 and 2, again because they are both in Good Order. I’ll give the one to the Unfit crew in Wave 1 because if that one blows up, what do I care? Jerks. And the other to AJ-F because random.

AJ-M gets lucky and pulls No Hazard, something I never see when I play with the physical copy of the game. AJ-F, however, gets a map error, which will give me a -1 to all Navigation checks for the wave.

Again, the rest of the phases aren’t needed as I’m not in enemy territory. Yet. The Dutch Coast is one turn ahead, and I already have one missing plane.

We’re on Flight turn 3, and we begin with Coordination Checks again. Right now the only one I can make is to try and Coordinate Wave 3 and get them back in Good Order. The stressful decision here is whether I drop a Very Light here to get the +1 bonus because if I do, I will also earn +1 hazard during the hazards phase.

No, I’ll see what I can do without it.

Wave 3: 7+

Rolling: 8: Back to Good Order Hooray!

Again we skip Wireless to Move. Sadly my one little plane in the Missing box doesn’t move yet, but my three waves now find themselves over the Dutch Coast. And now we have the Navigation checks for all of them.

Wave 1: 6+ (+1 due to Elite Crewman)

Rolling: 4: Formation Compromised

Wave 2: 8+ (-1 due to map error)

Rolling: 11: Still good!

Wave 3: 7+

Rolling: 5: Formation Compromised

AJ-D – to find out if our lost plane can find its way back on course: It needs an 8+

Rolling: 8 Aircraft leaves missing box and returns to zone!

Of course, that just means its around for the Place Hazards phase. It gets one (simulating the extra wear for all this flying, I’m sure), while 6 get pulled for my 3 waves. Those 6 are pulled from the light blue chits which are a mix of benign plane malfunctions to actual run ins with the enemy.

On my pull, 3 of them I can see the “shadow” of what it is going to be. 3 of them are flak attacks, the other 3 could be anything. That knowledge is useful for the “Evade Hazards” phase which I’ve ignored up to now. Here I can remove hazards up to whatever my Recon is for this zone, which is 2 (what I have for all zones). I’ll get rid of 2 of the flak. Sadly now I have to distribute these 4 amongst my 3 waves. That means one wave will be hit by 2 hazards.

I’ll give wave 1 the 2 hazards as the unfit aircrew only hurts that plane, while the map error hurts the whole wave. Wave 3 is down a plane, so I don’t want to add insult to injury. I’ll also give the flak to the first wave and have it shoot at the unfit aircrew.

What, do I seem bitter to you?
The other chits go to AJ-L in wave 1, AJ-F, the map error in Wave 2, and AJ-C in wave 3.

Let’s start in the first wave: AJ-L: Searchlights I have to immediately make a Navigation check for the wave as we scramble to get out of their site (it will also stay to affect the accuracy of the flak. Great). The Searchlights give me a -1 which offsets my +1 for my elite navigation, so it’s a straight 7+ roll

Rolling: 3: One plane breaks off formation. I’ll make it the unfit crew. Not due to being bitter, but because then the flak won’t have the bonus for the lights, since the simulation shows that we scrambled away from the lights, the rest of the gang got back together, but the unfit crew was far enough off course to run into a clump of flak.

The flak is level 5, which means it hits on a roll of 6-9. Yikes. And at level 4 or 5 a roll of a 7 scores 2 hits, which is a destroyed plane.

Rolling: 5: MISS! Phew. Now let’s hope they can make it to their target.

AJ-F in wave 2: Flak at level 2, they hit on a 3-5. No chance for a double hit or anything, though.

Rolling: 7: Miss. Finally having dice going my way.

AJ-C in wave 3: Balloons: Holy crap! I didn’t even think this existed in the light blues! Flying this low, balloons held down by large heavy cables could tear planes apart, and that’s what this poor plane just flew in to. I’ve got 50/50 odds of being destroyed!

Rolling: 1 – Odd – Destroyed.

If I had a Veteran crew or an Elite crew member, I could have tried a veteran save to prevent that, but not in this case. That’s another batch of letters I’ll have to write home to some grief stricken parents.

And finally, the lost duckling that is AJ-D still just off the English Coast. Compass card problems. Apparently the magnets used in the Upkeep bombs would throw off the compasses in the plane. That’s what this chit simulates. It gives a -1 to Navigation checks. Goodie.

We are not able to reach any targets yet, so we can now move on to turn 4. Midnight. Our first turn where a dam may be approached. We’ve officially lost our first plane. Our third wave is down to 2 planes, and I’m seriously thinking of radioing them to go to their secondary target, which will link them up with wave 2, though even 2 bombs can cause 6 damage to breach the Mohne, if I’m lucky. I need those other planes to catch up if Wave 3 wants a decent chance. The other 2 waves are doing okay so far, and if I can get the Coordination checks and pull everything together, I might be able to start doing my runs on time.

But maybe I should have stayed at home and trained more. Has that +1 to Navigation checks been worth it?

As I start the Coordination Phase of Flight Turn #4, I have to think about the risk of using a Very Light Flare. Having a Wave in Good Order is a really, really, really good thing when finding your target. But dropping a flare increases the number of hazards you have to deal with, which, as I’m sure you’ve noticed, is not fun.

After much thinking, I’ve decided to only drop the Very Light on the Third Wave. I’ve got to give them as much help as possible if they are going to succeed at all. Everyone else can rely on their skill to do what they need to do.

So first, I’ll do a Join Wave check on AJ-M to try and get him back into Wave 1: 7+

Rolling: 8: Successful! They’re only mildly unfit, I guess.

So let’s get Wave 1 Coordinated.: 7+

Rolling: 8: Another success!

Wave 3?: 6+

Rolling: 8: And the gang is all back together. Phew. I needed that.

I’m going to forgo the Wireless phase again, though, again, I could change Wave 3’s plan since 2 bombs is going to have a hard time breaching a dam, but I’m going to hold out for luck. So we go to the move phase, which gets them to the Ruhr Zone, and my one straggling plane to the North Sea zone, the poor thing.

Now the dreaded Navigation checks.

Wave 1: 6+

Rolling: 5. Compromised.

Wave 2: 8+

Rolling: 4. Compromised.

Wave 3:7+

Rolling: 7: Doing fine.

AJ-D: 9+

Rolling: 9(!): It can move forward. Just keep swimming, just keep swimming…

Placing Hazards: There will be 6 more light blues for my waves and two yellow for my AJ-D plane.

Ug, I can see the shadow of 3 flak, one searchlights and one powerlines. Since powerlines are a simple Crash effect, meaning 50% damage, 50% destroyed, I’ll remove that one. I’ll remove a flak as well, because even though the searchlights will really mess me up, it won’t destroy my planes.

I assign the searchlights to Wave 3 since they are still in Good Order. I put a flak on my unfit aircrew in Wave 1, and another on the one with the map error in Wave 2. I put the last unknown on AJ-G in Wave 2, because Wave 1 still has to go all the way to the Eder, so let’s cut them a break.

The yellow hazards both go to the poor straggler. Let’s see what those are. Faulty Controls: -1 to speed chits. Broken Radio. No Coordination checks, even if it does catch up! Awesome. That explains why it got lost so quickly. The good news is, during the next Move Phase, I can now officially choose to send it to the Return to Base box. I don’t think they’re going to do much good out there, so let’s bring them home.

But first, what is shooting at my unfit crew? Level 3 flak! Hits on a 4-6.

Rolling: 5. A hit! Now I can either choose for them to continue damaged, or choose Evasive Action. They would move to the Missing box, but I would have a 50% chance of having the hit never happen. Nah, I’ll let them go. That’s one damaged plane.

Now to Wave 2: We have AJ-G with Flak 2 and AJ-F with Flak 3! That’s a lot of enemy fire. 2 hits on 3-5 and 3 hits on 4-6.

AJ-G: 3 Crap!
AJ-F: 4 DOUBLE CRAP! (Luckily not doubles, those you apply the results then roll again)

I’ll damage AJ-G, but apply Evasive Action with AJ-F. Why? Because it takes his map error away from the rest of the wave, which might help it? Maybe? I dunno. Let’s see if it was worth it.

Rolling: 2 – Damage avoided.

Now I just have to make sure he can find his way back to the dam.

And now Wave 3’s Searchlights: 8+

Rolling: 4: Formation Compromised. I’m just not surprised anymore.

Now we move to the Target Acquisition Phase. 2nd Wave can make it to the Sorpe in this Zone, and 3rd Wave can make it to the Mohne in this zone, so both markers move to the target box.

For Wave 2 to find the Sorpe, they would need to roll 7 or better (because I have Recon 2 on the zone and 2 on the dam). If I had gone without a Moon, I would need to roll a 9.

Rolling: 7 Success!

Because my Formation is compromised, this is an Uncoordinated Entry, which means the planes will approach the dam at “random” times. So I have to roll a die for each plane to determine when they will enter. I’ll fire a Very Light Flare to add a -1 to the roll.

AJ-E: 1
AJ-H: 6-1
AJ-G: 2-1
So only one plane won’t be starting right away, but the second plane will arrive a half hour late. Woops.

But before I can play out the attack turns, I have to check for visibility. (The chart is on A1)

Rolling: 7 – Clear

And a Surprise check: I skip the first step of this because I have 2 steps of Recon here, so it won’t change by THAT much, but step two involves flipping the recon marker. That +1 means I roll 1 die and add one to it. If that number is equal to or greater than 3 (the planning turn I’m on), then I’m good to go, otherwise the Germans have drained the dam a little.

Rolling: 5

Then I look at the Surprise Icon under the Recon chit. In this case, a Circle. I then roll two dice and subtract the Surprise Modifier from way back during my Security Checks, which is -1. If I roll equal or higher, I’m good. Otherwise, they know I’m coming, and they’ll have changed their defenses.

Rolling: 11

Nope, all my Recon worked out. No defenses, just a dam with full tanks. Still need 10 to breach it, which will be tough, but there you have it.

Next, we take on the dam itself.

To be technical, we have to find out if Wave 3 finds the Mohne dam during the Target Acquisition Phase too. So we’ll just have to wait for that.

So the Third Wave needs a 6+ to find the dam because there’s a total of 5 Recon on the thing (we know a good deal about it).

Rolling: 10

They find it! Now, for those who don’t know, if I hadn’t, I could take a risk and reroll, but if I didn’t find it, I would treat it just like failing a Navigation check, and given that Wave 3 is already Formation Compromised, the two planes would become independent aircraft, too far away to be considered a flight at all. But luckily they both are swooping down to the Mohne, ready to drop fire!

We’ll find out when they make it onto the map and everything after the Sorpe is done so as not to clutter up the Attack Phase side of the map. Let’s bomb some dams!

So we start Turn 1 with two planes, AJ-E and AJ-G circling far away. That’s no good, so I can’t do any good far from the dam, so I’ll do nothing but wait for the circling phase where they can move to the circling near box. Then I check on the status of everything.

At this dam, all I have to do is check to see if any random Nightfighters are flighting near by and if my flare went out. First the Nightfighter: Since the alert level is at 0 and there are no searchlights, they only show up on a 2d6 roll of 2-4. I like my odds:

Rolling: 5

Jeez. And now the flare, I roll 1die and subtract the number of turns since the flare was dropped (1) and if the roll is 0 or less, it goes out.

Rolling: 2

Everything’s great. Next attack turn. Let’s see if I can get a plane on a good attack vector: I’ll send AJ-G because the poor thing is already damaged. If nothing else, it can provide a good view for the other plane to show how it should be done.

The pilot takes the awkward sideways attack vector and I make an attack vector check to see how it goes.

Rolling: 4 – S

So I only lose 1 Speed pull. I can deal with that. Oh wait, they’re just Seasoned anyway, so that means no Speed pull. Fart. Oh well, I could only avoid that with a roll of 6, so get used to it. So let’s pull my altitude chit: 60ft Perfect! Awesome. However, due to insistence from the Wave leader, he pulls up to get the Dummy Run chit. It’s the only way I’ll be able to add a speed chit to the run and that might be the difference between a hit and a miss. So back to the circling near box, the altitude chit goes back in the cup and I collect the Dummy Run chit. Part of me just wanted to say to heck with it and go, but right now I’m pretty safe from Nightfighters and such, so let’s use the time I have to get some perfect runs.

I change nothing in the Circling Phase, so the Status Check let’s me look for Nightfighters (2-4)

Rolling: 4 (!)

Mmmmm…my words are delicious! That doesn’t mean I’m attacked, though. That just means there is one in the area. First I check the Alert Level which is the total of all released Upkeep, all Very Light markers all Destroyed Lancasters and all Defense Levels I blew up with my guns. So 1, in this case (my flare). I then check to see what it’s going to do:

Rolling: 10 – Vanish

It just flys away because it doesn’t even notice us.

And now I check on my flare

1d6-2: 1 – It goes out.

That’s it, now on to turn 3. I’ll start another run with AJ-G, now with the benefit of the dummy run. Let’s start the Approach Vector again:

Rolling: 2 – SS

Which actually isn’t any worse than 1 S actually. So what’s my altitude: 60ft again! I’m going to use my dummy run chit now to pull a speed chit: 210mph. I appear to be going a bit slow. I’m also a bit far from the dam anyway, so let me get closer.

I’m now closer to the dam, in fact almost too close, but I don’t have much of a choice with this weird side approach you have to do with this particular dam. I’ll try to swap out my speed chit: 227mph.
Better, but not great. Right now I’ll be pulling 3 altitude and 2 speed chits for my bonus there, I’ll have -1 for being damaged, from -2 to +1 for my late release. Not great odds, but then again, the other two planes in the wave have much much much better odds, so should I waste a lot of time on the damaged plane when I have two “fresh” planes with elite pilots?

To heck with it, this may be my best attempt: Upkeep away! Bleck. Okay, it’s released at 64ft, which is pretty darn good, but at 228mph, which is not very good, giving me a +4. Checking for the late release:
Rolling: 6 (!)
+1 Right on!

So that’s +5 – 1 due to damage resulting in a +4. Since I need a 15, that means I need an 11+ to damage the dam. I need a 6+ to not damage my own plane.

And just to remind myself, I would have a further -1 if there was no moon. Not that 11+ is “good” by any means, and I really should have waited, but I’m impatient.

Rolling: 8

Well, at least I didn’t blow myself up. AJ-G heads back to the circling near box and AJ-E earns a “Approach Observed” marker to see what NOT to do. The upkeep marker gets placed on the “no damage” side of the dam box and I spend the rest of the game wondering how much damage that one would have been worth.

This does increase the Alert level which will make the next time a Nightfighter comes nearby a bit stickier, but I’m hoping since I already rolled in the 2-4 bracket, I should be good for a while, right? I mean, dice have memory, right?

Rolling: 5

Yup, though I forgot I have to make a visability check too, because it’s turn 3.

Rolling: 7.

Still clear, as it should be this early in the evening. As the game gets later on, the fog rolls in and makes everything more difficult. On to turn 4. Good news is AJ-H will be arriving next turn so I hope he’ll be able to see some nice fireworks!

Okay, we start turn 4 with AJ-E, which, you might remember is a Veteran lead plane with an Elite crewmember that gives +1 to the bombing roll, so I’ve got high hopes here. Let’s see what kind of approach they make.

Rolling: 5 S

And since it’s a Veteran crew, that means only 1 speed chit. No biggie. Let’s see how the approach is going, shall we? Altitude: 65ft Speed: 220 mph. We could get that altitude a bit better, so let’s keep flying, shall we? Nope, I could swap it with 53ft, which is way too low. Not going to happen. Pull up! And I just realized I had the Approach Observed marker. I could have gone again. Ah well, now it’s a dummy run marker which is the same thing.

In the Circling phase, I’ll move AJ-G back to Circling Far, in case we have to scramble, I’d rather give these guys the ability to limp home quickly. Now to check for a Nightfighter:

Rolling: 3 (!)

My lord. Okay, Since I don’t have any flares lit and only have had the one upkeep gone off, I’m still only at 1 Alertness, so I still have pretty good odds that the fighter will just leave. Let’s find out:
Rolling: 3

I. I. I just don’t know what the heck is going on. This is the most ridiculou….fine. That just means, though, that a fighter is now considered “Nearby” which means I’ll have to check to see if it attacks all future turns until it leaves.

Turn 5 starts with my new plane showing up in the circling far box, and I start AJ-E on another run. Hopefully another good approach:

Rolling: 4 S

My approach so far is at 56ft and 216mph. Not great. But with a Nightfighter breathing down my neck, I’m a bit more rushed. Let’s see what I can get closer to the dam.

Nope, I drew 51ft which was no help. I’ll ditch my dummy run chit and check for a better speed. Why not? 220Mph! Great. But still only drawing 5 chits, 3 for speed and 2 for height. +1 for being a Vet, +1 for my Elite crew, -2 to +1 for my late release. Let’s see what my odds are that the Nightfighter will attack.

HA! It’s 2-4. It will stay nearby on a 5 and leave on a 6+. The way that’s going, that’s pretty much a death sentence for me. If wait to go again, I’m hoping for a perfect dive which would be 3 pulls for each type and still holding on to my dummy run chit so I can redraw my final modifier chits.

Pull up.

I take back the dummy run chit and hope against hope that I can do this better next time. In the Circling phase I bring AJ-H over to the near box to watch the wave leader. And now I make another visability check:

Rolling: 4

Crap, the fog has rolled in. And now the Nightfighter:

Rolling: 5

What did I tell you? It stays nearby. And time keeps on ticking. I’m going to have to drop this thing fast.

Stay tuned…