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)
2 – Extra police
1 – transfer the barmaid
1 – Tirpitz rumor
Tirpitz ruse – 1d3 – Rolling – 1 (head on desk)
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.
Now wave 2: Need a 7+
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.
Rolling: 7: Doing fine.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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:
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.
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.
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?
Yup, though I forgot I have to make a visability check too, because it’s turn 3.
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:
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.
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:
Crap, the fog has rolled in. And now the Nightfighter:
What did I tell you? It stays nearby. And time keeps on ticking. I’m going to have to drop this thing fast.