I played a very enjoyable game of MiG Alley this evening, with two flights of two F9F Panthers with regular pilots against one flight of four North Korean MiG-15's with green pilots, once again fitting everything on to the kitchen table. This meant rotating the table layout by 90 degrees and leaving off the sea area but this didn't seem to make much difference to the game itself. The North Koreans deployed three mountain upland templates but I didn't bother with ground targets for the United Nations side, as there were no bombers or attack aircraft involved.
In the game, the four Panthers entered from the south west corner at level three and turned northwards, running up a valley toward the Yalu River. The MiG's entered at level four and crossed over the Yalu in a shallow dive, heading directly for the oncoming USN fighters. In Turn Two, one of the Panther section leaders attempted to pull a tight turn to get on the tail of the MiG's but overcooked it and ended up in a spin, only recovering at level one. The other Panther pilots decided to play it safe and just turned normally, ending up without a shot on the MiG's, which also turned back toward the Yalu to pursue their enemy.
It wasn't looking good for the US Navy but they were still in the fight and determined to make up for their mistakes and engage the MiG's head on. In Turn Three, one of the F9F Panthers managed to get into position for a head on attack but this ended in disaster when the USN pilot missed his shot, while the targeted MiG made a 'snap shot' attack of its own and shot down the Panther! This was a bad start for the USN but it would soon be time to more than even the score.
In Turn Four the Panther flight leader began his long climb back to altitude in a series of power moves, while his wingman circled above at level three to protect him from the MiG menace. The other lone Panther moved in on the MiG's and managed to pull two consecutive tight turns, putting him right behind one of the MiG-15's. This made all the difference to his chances of a kill and he proceeded to blow the North Korean fighter out of the sky with a D6 roll of 6!
This was followed up with a second attack on the MiG-15 in front, which also disintegrated in a fireball with another roll of 6! In turn five, the Panther pilot now calmly turned onto the tail of a third MiG and pulled off a hat trick, with his victim blasted out of the sky in a hail of cannon shells. The game was now over, as the USN had matched it's Victory Target points total, with three MiG's shot down for the loss of one F9F.
I really enjoyed this game and will be running another one tomorrow if I can squeeze it in. I think this is a great little system with lots of depth and playability, despite being only a very concise set of rules. It is also ideal for solo play, as it has an IGOUGO structure which allows for one side to complete all of its moves an attacks before the other side, with the exception of snap shots. I don't usually like this way of doing things but it works very well here and makes it very easy to manage for one player. I also like the way each set of rules is neatly adjusted to the specific conflict involved, which gives it a lot of historical flavour. Great fun!