airbattle  air combat wargames


Game Description

The game components are as follows:

(a) 40 page rulebook. The core rules are around 20 pages and the rest of the rulebook comprises advanced rules and designer's notes. There are plenty of examples and illustrations to smooth the way. The appendices include a track listing (all scenario names are based on period pop songs from 1965 to 1972), a reading list and, more usefully, tactical play hints. The rules are fully cross-referenced and indexed for easy look-up.

(b) 40 page scenario book. This contains the historical background to the air war as well as 6 pages of order of battle charts. These go into depth on the US orders of battle in a set of easy-reference tables. A two-page introductory scenario provides a programmed instruction approach to learning the basic game mechanics. This segues into the sixteen scenarios that begin in July 1965 and finish in December 1972.

The scenarios are varied and include:

Surfin' Bird: (Introductory scenario) October 1966. A route reconnaissance with Navy Skyhawks along the highways in Route Package 6.

Here, There and Everywhere: July 1965. Early USAF strikes against SAM sites around Hanoi.

Spirit in the Sky: April 1967. The savage battles for the skies over Hanoi and the strikes on the Canal des Rapides bridge.

Respect: August 1967. Recon runs with photo recon aircraft, "alone, unarmed and unafraid", up the northeast railway.

Superfly: 10 May 1972. The hardest day of the air war. The USAF and US Navy combine strikes against the hanoi defences and launch precision-guided bombs against the infamous Paul Doumer bridge.

What's Goin' On: 1 June 1972. The Combat Search and Rescue mission to rescue downed pilot Roger Locher, sending "Sandy" Skyraiders and "Jolly" helicopters to Yen Bai in a desperate mission to pick him up before the North Vietnamese army reach him.

Walk on the Wild Side: 18 December 1972. Finally, B-52 "BUFFs" go mano-a-mano with Hanoi's fierce SAM defences.

Following the scenarios are three full campaign games covering several day's worth of operations over "Route Pack 6". Rounding out the scenario book is historical data on the US raids, a reference list of key dates and an explanation of how the detection levels (representing the many intelligence assets from 'Disco' to 'Red Crown' to 'Teaball') are rated.

Finally, there's a four-page extended example of play, an excerpt of which can be seen HERE.

(c) One 34 x 22" map sheet. Centred on Hanoi, this covers North Vietnam's airspace from the Tonkin Gulf to the Yen Bai airbase, from the China border to Laos. Based on a 1:500,000 Tactical Pilotage Chart from 1970, the map depicts the major rivers, highways, railroads, urban features and AAA concentrations, as well as the famous "Thud Ridge" and "Phantom Ridge" mountain spines used to mask the approach of USAF and USN raids.

The image below depicts an actual-size portion of the playtest map, showing the defenses around 'Downtown Hanoi'

The complete playtest map, (a 160K .jpg image) can be viewed by clicking on THIS LINK.

(d) Playaids. These consist of two 17 x 11" double-sided sheets and one 8.5 x 11" sheet. These summarize all the rolls and print all the easy look-up tables in the game. One of the sheets (shown below) will be in full colour.

Playaid sheet

(e) Aircraft Data Cards. A playaid and historical resource, this lists the stats for every aircraft in the game (all 41 of them!) and provides historical data and three-view illustrations of the aircraft.

(f) Flight Counters. 280 double-sided 1/2" counters. A sheet containing all the aircraft flight counters in the game. These depict all the aircraft types in accurate period colour schemes.

The following are examples of air unit counters from the playtest set, blown up 200%. These include flights of F-4 Phantom II, MiG-21, EKA-3 tanker, MiG-17, A-7 Corsair II, MiG-19, A-4 Skyhawk and F-105 Thunderchief:

        Air Unit Counters

The complete front side of the Flight and Aircraft Counters sheet (a 112K .gif image) can be viewed by clicking on THIS LINK.

(g) Information Counters. 280 double-sided 1/2" counters. A sheet containing all the information markers for use in the game, including altitude markers, flight status markers and bomb attack counters. This also contains all the units for the Vietnamese ground defences, including S-75 Dvina SAM battalions, AAA concentrations and Fire Can fire control radars. Additional targets such as Early Warning Radars (Bar Lock radars) and North Vietnamese Army units are included.

The following are examples of ground units and informational markers from the playtest set, blown up 200%:

        Marker Counters

The complete front side of the Informational Counters sheet (a 110K .gif image) can be viewed by clicking on THIS LINK.

(h) Log Sheets and Planning Map. For tracking the status of units and plotting the US raids.

(i) Two ten-sided dice.

Downtown copyright Lee Brimmicombe-Wood, 2001-2016. All rights reserved.