Sunday, 5 April 2020

Break, Break!

I've been thinking about the way I run games of Bag the Hun, after some feedback from a fellow gamer, with regard to the way formations move, manoeuvre and fire. I have encouraged players to think of the way they play the game in terms of being 'in formation' rather than as individual pilots, emphasizing the role of wingmen and teamwork. However, this has led to players keeping their formations too rigid and, in particular, sticking to finger four or schwarm formations in combat, even when performing hard and tricky manoeuvres. 

This hasn't bothered me much before, although I have always encouraged players to split formations into pairs once combat begins, but now it has started to bug me a bit. It's just not realistic once you consider what dogfighting was actually like, at least after the Battle of Britain when the vic was abandoned and the finger four became the default, flexible tactical formation as far as the RAF is concerned. So, I reckon I need a mechanism by which I can force players to think more in terms of pairs rather than larger tactical formations, once the two sides are actually manoeuvring in combat.

The answer I've come up with is the 'Break, Break!' card, which will be slipped into the deck by the umpire once the shooting actually starts or at a convenient point just before the combat kicks off. There will be two of these, one for the Axis and one for the Allied sides, so that there is some flexibility built into the timing. Once he card is dealt, from that point onwards in the game, the fighter aircraft of the relevant side must reformate as pairs, activating on the Section Move and Fire cards, on the Character cards, Ace cards and Bonus cards, according the restrictions set out in the rules.

I'm going to give it a try out and playtest at some point, once things are back to normal and the club is up and running. I think it is a good way to make players think in a more tactical way and also reflects the reality of combat to a greater degree. It may annoy some players, who like to keep tight formations, but I think it will be a better way to model actual dogfighting and improve the dynamics of the game. It won't apply to bomber formations or other larger aircraft in recognised formations, so it will be a fighter only tweak.

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