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Flight School

In this post, we continue our guided tour through the Dogfight: BETA rulebook. Last time we talked about the planes, now we talk about how to fly them in the game.

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There are strict rules governing the movement of the aircraft playing pieces about the game board. Pilots can choose to alter their speed and/or altitude each turn.
Changing speed alone during level flight is possible with no change in altitude. Speed changes like this cause a plane playing piece to be moved a number of squares to the left or right on the game board.

The Board

Normally, changing altitude automatically involves a change in speed as climbing slows a plane down while diving speeds a plane up. Altitude changes cause a plane playing piece to be moved diagonally on the game board; down and to the right for diving and up and to the left for climbing.
Some damage effects cause changes to a plane’s current speed or altitude. In these special cases just one of the variables is affected (i.e. altitude may change without a corresponding speed change).

Valid Moves

Air Combat
Each player has an Aircraft Status Sheet which is used to track their plane’s declining performance attributes.
Four characteristics have damage tracks: Structure, Maneuver, Climb, and Acceleration. Attribute Status Markers are used to note the current value for each of these attributes. As damage is sustained in a given characteristic the relevant status marker is moved to the left, down the scale.
An airplane is crashes and is considered destroyed if either Structure or Maneuver is reduced to zero, or if, at any time during the game, the plane has an altitude of 0. The only exception to the altitude rule is the special case of a plane Landing.

Next time we’ll look at how to set up the playing space and get the game underway.

The Planes

In this post, we continue our guided tour through the Dogfight: BETA rulebook. Last time we talked about the cards, now we talk about the planes and the other pieces in the game.

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The Planes
The Dogfight game uses historically accurate statistics for over 40 different, real-world aircraft from the World War I era. Planes are given a score for each of six performance attributes: Max Speed, flight Ceiling, Structure rating, Maneuver ability, rate of Climb, and Acceleration. During the game the planes can suffer damage due to aerial combat. Accumulating damage degrades one or more of the plane’s operational characteristics and can eventually lead to a crash. See the Dogfight: Scenarios and Planes booklet for more information.

Here is an example of two aircraft from the game, along with an aircraft status sheet.

Example Planes and Status Sheet

The Board & Pieces
During a dogfight the air is filled with a chaotic mass of planes. Friend and foe alike dive and swoop, turn and climb, constantly angling for an advantage and trying to line up a shot. In this game, we assume that all combatants are present in the whirling circus of aircraft. We do not keep track of each plane’s exact position and facing, but rather focus on the pilot’s attempts to manage his potential and kinetic energy. The potential energy is represented by the plane’s altitude, while the kinetic energy is expressed as the plane’s speed. During the game pilots will convert one type of energy into the other, trading altitude for speed or vice versa, both to avoid attacks played against them and to meet the prerequisites for attacking others.
The game board is a grid, with current plane speed plotted along the horizontal axis and current plane altitude plotted along the vertical axis. When a plane changes its speed and/or altitude during the game, the corresponding piece is moved appropriately on the board. At a glance all pilots are able to evaluate their speed and altitude positions relative to each other.

Next time we’ll look at the game board and go to Flight School to learn how to move our planes around.

The Cards

Dogifhgt Cards

Dogfight contains 54 cards used to form the draw deck during the game. Each card is from one of six Attack Sets, as noted by the title across the top of the card: Crossing Shot, Diving Shot, Head On Shot, Strafing Run, Trailing Shot, and Turning Shot.

Attack Sets may have special conditions governing when the set can be played. Before trying to damage an enemy plane, you must collect a number of cards from the same Attack Set equal to the card’s Set Size. These cards are then played together as a Bid for Damage. If the attack is successful, then the target plane suffers damage equal to the Damage Value listed on the cards.

Some cards in the deck have a Defensive Value and can be used to avoid an enemy attack.

The draw deck is also used for randomly assigning specific types of damage to target planes. For each point of damage inflicted, one card is flipped over from the draw deck and the listed damage is applied. The information along the bottom of the card is used solely for this purpose, and is ignored during the set collection portions of the game.

The Cards

Dogfight BETA

Well, the first nice card version of “Dogfight” has been released into the wild as a Beta game. Now available on DriveThruCards the game consists of 54 printed cards (with great art on them!) and PDF copies of the rules, the game board, and the planes and scenarios stat book.

Beta now available

In this first cut we see 22 of the 40+ aircraft I have generated statistics for: the single seat scout/fighters. Following sometime (after more playtesting) will be the two seat observation/multi-role planes and the three or more crew lumbering bombers, observation balloons, and zeppelins.

Cards!

Got the proof copies of the latest round of “Dogfight” cards today! They are looking great, so I will be hurrying up to get the rules finished up ASAP and get these things for sale!

Cards and RulesClose up of cards

For the Print On Demand version of the game, I plan to offer both the board game version (print your own board at a local copy shop) and the “no-board” version of the rules (use poker chips or similar to track altitude and speed). Definitely more work to do, but it seems the most difficult phase is behind me.


Maybe…


(hopefully?)