Another Two Days

This week’s wargaming was a return to some Check Your Six: Jet Age, a game about fighter aircraft trying to shoot each other down. We were back to the Six Day War, fighting a couple of scenarios over the course of the evening. We had six players, each taking one or two Israeli or Egyptian planes.

For the first scenario, on the Egyptian side, we had some MiG-21s and MiG-19s. We were up against some Israeli Mirages. Two MiGs started the game coming in high and fast to try and intercept the Israeli fighters. A couple of turns later, four more MiGs entered the table to back up their colleagues.

Controlling two MiG-21s, my aim was to try and intercept at the same time as the first set of MiGs, so we could hopefully use a wave of missiles to take out the enemy jets early on. Unfortunately, we were flying into the sun, and our crappy 1960s heat seeking missiles couldn’t find a lock against the glare.

We came into range of each other in turn 5, and since missiles weren’t an option, we resorted to guns. We failed to hit anything. The Israeli’s shot down one of our jets though, killing the pilot.

The following turn sees everyone fly past each other, then come about to try and get missile locks or enemies into gun sights. Both of my jets do a Steep Split-S to come around quickly. After such a violent manoeuvre, our missiles don’t work (I said they were crappy), so we resort to guns again. Again we miss, but one of my pilots is shot down and killed.

My remaining MiG-21 is coming up behind two friendly MiG-19s, and at last my missiles are neither facing into the sun nor still shaking from a hard manoeuvre. Beyond the friendlies, just within range, is an Israeli Mirage. I launch a missile, which manages to avoid hitting the friendlies, and get a hit. Simultaneously, the MiG in front of me fires at the same target as well, and also scores a hit. We both record a kill – so that’s two enemy jets shot down. That’s how it works isn’t it?

Unfortunately, there are Mirages behind me taking aim with their missiles. The first two miss or malfunction, but a third gets lucky and my last fighter jet goes down.

The rest of the Egyptian forces flee, and it counts as a win for the Israelies.

Aircraft/Pilot stats for my MiG-21s

We have time for a second scenario, set a couple of days later. This time we have three Egyptian Ilyushin II-28 bombers returning from a missio. Only one miniature is an actual Ilyushin, the others are random aircraft. Then the actual Ilyushin came off it’s pin, so we had three not-Ilyushin’s representing the bombers.

For this scenario we had some actual terrain. Like in space battles, terrain is a difficult concept in air battles. I suppose you could have some mountains, which come into play at lower altitudes. Aircraft altitudes are on a 1-12 scale, so there’s a reasonable amount of flexibility there.

In this scenario though, we had clouds. As usual, the first couple of turns involved aircraft moving across the board, with the bombers trying to reach the far table edge. On turn 3, a couple of Israeli jets came in from the side, shooting at the bombers but missing.

Turn four, the bulk of the Egyptian defence dropped from above, entering the centre of the table and trying to surprise the Israelis. The enemy were quite low, so we needed to lose altitude (starting at 12) and speed so we could get behind our targets and shoot them.

The bombers were trying to use the clouds as cover, but were soon past, them, and out the other side. Again, hard turns meant I couldn’t use my missiles, and I wasn’t getting any luck with my cannons. However, the Israelies were more successful and an Egyptian MiG went down.

The Egyptian bombers had spent most of the game being lucky and managing to avoid being shot down. Their tail gunners weren’t particularly good shots though, and weren’t getting any hits either. Eventually though, the Egyptian’s luck ran out, and a bomber went down. I fired two missiles, and missed with both.

Just as the final two bombers went off the table, I got a shot at an Israeli jet and managed to damage, but not destroy, it.

The Israeli forces did slightly better in this scenario than they did in real life, shooting down more fighters. But the Egyptians did get two bombers off the table.

With six players, a several of whom hadn’t played it before, it was a bit slow at times, but the game worked well. Having played X-Wing again recently, I think in general I prefer X-Wing as a game. Check Your Six is a better simulation though. It’s just more fiddly with how the movement works. With the addition of altitude as a concept, CY6 is also better for handling aircraft rather than cinematic sci-fi spacecraft.

People may point out that I like to use Newtonian vector movement with Full Thrust, but in that game movement is just very basic maths. CY6 has a lot of different options, some of which work in slightly different ways. You need to know which ones can be used in a given situation, and how to combine them to get your aircraft pointing in the direction you want. I also got impression that there was a lot of table-look-up complexity going on in the background which was all handled by the game organiser, which the players didn’t need to worry about.

Given CY6 seems to span everything from the Great War up until the 1980s, I can see a lot of reason for some of the fiddly stuff around some of the things. It represents the changing technology over the decades, so it might be interesting to play earlier or later periods to see how they play out. I don’t know whether it could do cross-period battles such as a The Final Countdown scenario though.

It was a fun game though, even though we lost this time.

Samuel Penn

1 Response

  1. Thanks Sam, the look up are basically on 2 pages of quick reaction sheets and are relatively simple, once you have read the rules. Gets a bit harder with radar homing missiles and SAMs.

    Once people get more familiar they can run their own shooting…