Air Combat Rules

Conflicts and wars from the end of the Second World War to the end of the 20th century.
Post Reply
User avatar
hammurabi70
Posts: 61
Joined: Fri Aug 01, 2014 9:05 pm

Air Combat Rules

Post by hammurabi70 » Wed Oct 03, 2018 1:38 pm

I have some experience of CHECK YOUR SIX but none with MISSILE THREAT. Can anyone compare the two in dealing with late C20 air warfare?
If you are such a great writer make me want to logon and respond! [Adapted]

CarlL
Posts: 404
Joined: Mon Mar 25, 2013 8:53 pm

Re: Air Combat Rules

Post by CarlL » Wed Oct 03, 2018 2:37 pm

Has anybody played the two of them?
Hammurabi, tell us about 'Check your six' as these are probably unknown to lots of us who, like me, haven't yet ventured too often beyond 1945.
CarlL

MrCreak
Posts: 19
Joined: Wed Sep 07, 2016 4:28 pm
Location: Scunthorpe, UK

Re: Air Combat Rules

Post by MrCreak » Thu Oct 04, 2018 1:08 am

I'm not particularly enamoured of either set, but for different reasons.
CY6 (Jet Age) limits all aircraft to a given absolute maximum speed (around 6 hexes from memory - it may be more), slower types may have a max of less than 6, i.e. there's absolutely no provision whatsoever for an aircraft to come blazing into the arena at high supersonic speed and either leave the victim of a missile shot in its wake or perhaps have to slow down to engage further targets. It's also somewhat egregious in that it doesn't relate at all to the prop-driven rules (IIRC prop types also have a max of 6). In other words they've either reduced the time of a move or altered the ground scale.
What made me sell my set was discovering that, despite an aircraft having to take multiple moves to complete a 180 degree turn they allowed (some?/ all? can't remember) aircraft to do a 180 in the vertical plane in less than a single move: i.e. completely reverse course to face a trailing attacker in that single move.
Missile Threat (read a few times but not played) looks to be pretty good for doing air-ground actions with the eponymous missile threat being from SAMs, it's aimed at (or appears to be) strike missions with wild weasel support. (And also seems to be pretty good at it). On the downside helicopters (and downed pilots running for home) all manage to move at near-Mach speeds and, despite an angle being given for which aircraft can turn through (as their manoeuvre rating) they ALL have the same turn radius (that of the protractor used to measure the angle in-game). Plus, aircraft have a set time-on-table (based on their radius of action[1]) and simply disappear when that limit is reached regardless of whether or not anything is tracking/ locked on or chasing them.
It might give you a good dogfight, but turn radius is to important to be left out, IMO.
I think that there's a linked video (or embedded one) on the relevant Wargame Vault page that features a quick play-through.

1 And they misread the stats for at least one aircraft: the EE/ BAC Lightning in these rules has a longer range (time on table) than the A-4 Skyhawk. Presumably because they read "range" (which is usually given for the Frightening [2]) as "radius" - the radius is, of course, somewhat less than half of the range. (I think, by the rules given, using a Lightning "correctly" would allow one single move on the table and that's it). Smart players may well make adjustments and add a simple formula for time-on-table to be related to the target's distance from base [3].
2 Probably a deliberate decision by the MOD or EE/ BAC so as to make it seem not quite so short-legged as it really was.
3 From memory the rules I wrote some years ago took the radius, in miles, assumed that you'd need at least as much fuel to get home as you did going out (not strictly true due to the aircraft being cleaner sans ordnance, but...) and then divided the remainder by 10 to give the on-table-allowance. E.g. a 500 mile radius aircraft operating at 300 miles from home would have 500-300 = 200/10 = 20 moves on-table (with variation for afterburner use counting as triple or something like that).

CarlL
Posts: 404
Joined: Mon Mar 25, 2013 8:53 pm

Re: Air Combat Rules

Post by CarlL » Thu Oct 04, 2018 9:38 am

Thanks for posting MrCreak. Good to hear and read these mini reviews.
CarlL

MrCreak
Posts: 19
Joined: Wed Sep 07, 2016 4:28 pm
Location: Scunthorpe, UK

Re: Air Combat Rules

Post by MrCreak » Thu Oct 04, 2018 10:22 am

After thinking about it I'm fairly sure that the top speed was about 12 hexes. But my point is that that's the limit for all aircraft. Anything at (I didn't do any calculations) about 600 kt is doing 12 hexes.
There's no way, under those rules, that a Mach 2.5 plane could disengage from the fight and outrun a Mach 1.2 plane: it can't even extend the range and get out of the gun envelope (assuming it's in that range in the first place) of its pursuer.
Another gripe I have with CY6 (and this is fairly typical of rules these days) is that about half of the book is scenarios: pages which, to my mind, could have been far better used to list more aircraft types (they give only a limited selection - not even the Lightning).

User avatar
hammurabi70
Posts: 61
Joined: Fri Aug 01, 2014 9:05 pm

Re: Air Combat Rules

Post by hammurabi70 » Thu Oct 04, 2018 10:12 pm

MrCreak wrote:
Thu Oct 04, 2018 1:08 am
I'm not particularly enamoured of either set, but for different reasons.
My experience of CY6 is limited to WWII so your analysis is very interesting. It does not surprise me that there are few variations in speed; from a jet point of view I suspect it is really only capable of, and designed for, WWII jets: Me262, Meteor, P80 Shooting Star as the top end of aircraft performance. This was why I was interested in an alternative set more period specific. If neither of these are to be commended what better set of rules is there?
If you are such a great writer make me want to logon and respond! [Adapted]

MrCreak
Posts: 19
Joined: Wed Sep 07, 2016 4:28 pm
Location: Scunthorpe, UK

Re: Air Combat Rules

Post by MrCreak » Fri Oct 05, 2018 2:43 pm

hammurabi70 wrote:
Thu Oct 04, 2018 10:12 pm
If neither of these are to be commended what better set of rules is there?
Ah, recommended (or not)...
I will admit being a very picky little s*d and a long time aviation geek so my objections are purely my objections.
Air War C21 gets some good reviews (although so does CY6!). From memory some of the best (i.e. most acceptable to me) games I ever had were used the aircraft section from the (very old) Dodo Modern Naval Warfare set (sadly I sold my set many years ago and now can't even find them second-hand).
I've just downloaded Lethal Skies from Wargames Vault but I'm not sure whether I'll go far with them: the rules themselves are free but the aircraft data (and missile data) sheets (1 sheet per type) have to be bought separately (admittedly only $2 each, but amassing the charts for all the aircraft/ missiles you're likely to use could work out to be expensive.
I also wasn't terribly thrilled when the rules state that when performing a Pugachev's Cobra "The aircraft can move up to its speed value directly backwards before making its normal move", er, what?
And then it adds "Only aircraft with the Thrust Vectoring trait can perform Pugachev’s Cobra" which is blatantly false (e.g. the SAAB Draken at 2.04 in this video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jqiDEcfSnXs).
If you're interested I could send you a copy of the rules I devised (for a long-running modern [not just air warfare] club campaign) plus the data sheet (in Excel format so you can add any aircraft not currently covered (the campaign ran from 1950-present in game time).
The downside, so far, is that hits with cannon on fighters tends to be extremely destructive (usually no chance of being merely damaged), that didn't matter too much the campaign since it focussed mostly on land warfare but I am looking at alterations to the stats to fix that. These rules can be played with models on the tabletop (we've had 1/600 aircraft games and others 1/72 aircraft, although the latter was guns only due to missile minimum range) or plotted on a map/ blank paper (with the turn & burn parts abstracted but related to tabletop turn & burn) so as to allow long-range missile engagements.

User avatar
hammurabi70
Posts: 61
Joined: Fri Aug 01, 2014 9:05 pm

Re: Air Combat Rules

Post by hammurabi70 » Sat Oct 06, 2018 5:28 pm

MrCreak wrote:
Fri Oct 05, 2018 2:43 pm
If you're interested I could send you a copy of the rules I devised (for a long-running modern [not just air warfare] club campaign) plus the data sheet (in Excel format so you can add any aircraft not currently covered (the campaign ran from 1950-present in game time).
Most kind but at the moment I am not in a position to take advantage of such an offer. It certainly seems as if you have put a lot of effort into trying to get an excellent system. It is a pity that nobody seems to have produced a suitable rule set with all the hard effort you have made.
If you are such a great writer make me want to logon and respond! [Adapted]

Post Reply