Monday 23 April 2012

Angels 20....Reflections on the Game So Far

A Hurricane taking some extreme evasive action over the Channel whilst a 'yellow-nosed bastard' looks on....

I have to say I am really enjoying Axis and Allies: Angels 20 and the opportunity it has given me to revisit the model making of my youth - well the painting part in any event. As models go these aircraft are not bad. They are very much designed with the gamer in mind as there are very few 'bits' that can be broken so no lost propeller blades or machine guns. I have sourced (courtesy of Mr Fox to whom a huge thanks is hereby awarded!) some suitable 1/100th decals for both the RAF and the Luftwaffe for the battles of 1940 - including the tail swastikas for the Germans. I have pretty much all the paints I need from stock and I am not ashamed to say that I shall be using Humbrol enamels for the task!

Sighing for a Merlin - the squadron identifying letters need only the addition of the letters 'O and V' after the 'K' to send a very clear signal to the enemy raiders....

The RAF will be pretty typical for the period although I am sorely tempted to try and source the Polish aircraft emblem (the red and white squared affair) in miniature for the Hurricanes to place just under the cockpit. For the Germans the 109s will be in what I call 'Hollywood' scheme - that as seen in the film, complete with red spinners, so the infamous 'yellow-nosed bastards' will be no more. I shall acquire another two starter sets as I want to use four each of the Hurricane and Spitfire for use over Malta although the 109s of that vintage should the F version. There is an F in the models available but as I need four of them and do not want to buy the booster packs I suspect that a long trawl of Ebay may be needed

OK, a little off the wall I know - FW 42s in action over the English countryside....

As far as the game itself is concerned it is enormous fun and feels pretty convincing. I have played many games of aerial combat using board game rules (Battleline's Air Force, Dauntless and the Expansion kit being the main one) and without exception these seemed to have been of progressing complexity. My own view is that as you are trying to game something that was historically at very high speed with reactions being limited to seconds then how on earth can you get close to that with written moves and combat tables needing a degree in maths to calculate? The game is fast and for me that feels correct. As mentioned previously I was initially wary of the concept of 'difficult manoeuvres' including both climbing and diving requiring a successful dice roll to be actioned but have warmed to it. The fact that you need to avoid flying straight and level is well represented and whilst in a combat zone foolish is the pilot that neglects to take any kind of evasive action at the end of his move! The scale are fudged and I particularly like the idea of having 6 levels of altitude only - in a nutshell these could be anything although you are not allowed below level 1 or above level 6 so the implication is that 1 is the ground and 6 is 30,000 feet. I am hoping that someone 'reverse engineers' the aircraft data cards so you can see how they are made up in order to represent your own aircraft. My only gripe concerns the infamous 'special abilities'. This was a bugbear of mine for the naval game in that whilst they add a novel twist to the game I am less than convinced that they should be in play every time.

I have mentioned in the past that the whole Battle of Britain 'thing' is a subject of which I have an inordinate interest and so I am very pleased to have this system to use and some very nice models to use with it. Getting back in touch with my inner 'Airfix Spitfire/Commando Comic book/Battle of Britain spirit' is an unexpected and wholly delightful pleasure.


Brigadier Dundas said...

Enjoyed your take on the game once again. I have finalized my Zeros and F4F models from this company:

Don't know if they ship overseas. I'm looking forward to some arial hijinks this weekend.


Conrad Kinch said...

If Richard Borg wasn't dangling Samurai in front of me - I could see myself giving this a go.

David Crook said...

Hi Don,

I will check them out as I suspect that singles or bulk orders of 4 may now be the order of the day.

I will be interested to hear how you get on with Zeros and Wildcats - I am tempted to acquire some and repaint them into Fleet Air Arm colours!

All the best,


David Crook said...

Hi CK,

As an aerial rivet counting exercise it struggles a little but as a fun game with plenty of 'feel' it works our very nicely indeed and touches the inner fighter ace in us all!

Having said that the idea of C an C Samurai is very tempting....;-)

All the best,


Geordie an Exiled FoG said...

Reading this with interest David you naughty boy :)

David Crook said...

Hi Geordie,

It is great fun but will offend the aeronautical rivet counters hugely! It works for me though as it is fast playing and captures that all important 'feel' factor.

I should point out that I have amassed hundreds of hours flying game time over the years but this system really hits the sweet spot. Having said that, Bag the Hun is on the radar for a try out at some point.

All the best,