Thursday, August 17, 2017

Whale Hunt! A Reintroduction to Canvas Eagles

Nieuport 11 tails a Roland Walfisch
After having brought up the notion of introducing Canvas Eagles (CE) to the guys and repairing my long-in-storage and damaged aircraft, a game was put onto the schedule.  With three players up for a gaming session and two of them with no experience in CE, I picked Early War aircraft and kept the situation simple.  

The encounter would feature two Nieuport 11's attempting to discourage one L.F.G Roland CII "Whalfisch" from completing its assigned reconnaissance mission.  After a briefing on the Sequence of Play, QRS and Aircraft Maneuver Schedules (Schedules for aircraft shown below), I sent the two new pilots off into the Nieuports and climbed into the Walfisch cockpit to begin Game One.
Stat Sheet for Walfisch
Stat Sheet for Nieuport 11
Action heated up as the Nieuports converged on the Walfisch.  At first, the French had difficulty bringing their fixed Lewis guns to bear on the lone German.  As the French closed, the Walfisch's observer was able to draw a bead on one of the Nieuports causing limited damage.  It was not long, though, before the pilot in the white Nieuport figured out how to fly his aircraft and maneuvered himself into a tailing position.     

Once tailed, the unlucky pilot of the Walfisch spent the remainder of the game handing out Tailing Cards to the Nieuport pilot.  The rookie in the white Nieuport, kept his aircraft on the tail of the Whalfisch (see leading photo of Nieuport tailing Whalfisch) and riddled both aircraft and occupants multiple times.  In the end, the Whalfisch was brought down after having suffered a critical hit to the wing.  Quick and bloody.  Game One goes to the French.  
German gets the drop on the French Nieuports
In Game Two, the situation began the same.  That is, the French pilots converged onto the Walfisch.  While the Frenchmen flying the Nieuport in camouflage pattern maintained a conservative flight path, once again the Whalfisch mixed it up with the white Nieuport.

In a series of running maneuvers, counter-maneuvers, and bursts from the machine guns, the German finally got into a tailing position on his White Menace.  How did the German manage this accomplishment?  Well, he took advantage of the Nieuport's difficulty in turning left to escape the Frenchmen's tailing efforts.  Slipping the tail, the German got himself into a tailing position.  After several bursts from the observer's Parabellum gun, the Nieuport went down with a critical engine hit.

The Whalfisch then banked to bring the remaining Nieuport to bear.  The rookie Frenchmen pilot, noticing fuel was low, broke off and headed towards Allied lines.  Game Two goes to the Whalfisch in an another fast and bloody engagement. 

That was fun!  Both games were completed in under two hours total including rules' briefing.  Both games resulted in action quickly and outcomes were decided decisively.  After two turns, plotting and carrying out moves seemed quick and effortless.  Combat resolution was equally easy and with few questions.  The games played smoothly.

What did my two rookie companions think of CE?  Both enjoyed the games greatly.  Games were quick with little conjecture as to who won the encounter.  CE was a hit!  CE is perfect for an evening of light gaming or as dessert following a more intense battle.  As we cleaned up the game, Scott and Kevin both talked about buying a few models in anticipation of building and fielding their own aeroplanes for future games.

Getting the guys to commit to building aircraft after only one playing says a lot for CE.  As a bonus, the components for CE are easily transported to another locale.  The planes can be boxed and map rolled in minutes.  Few other items are needed besides the flight stands, rules, and a few D6.  With the combination of ease of play and aircraft modelling, CE might provide a good stepping stone towards getting our next generation of young wargamers  pulled away from video games and interested in the hobby.  I expect CE will see semi-regular action on the gaming table; at least more frequently than once every dozen years. 

Not surprisingly, encouraged by the afternoon's gaming, I placed an order to bring in a few new aircraft into my aerodrome too.

30 comments:

  1. Isn't it always the way...success in a gaming session spurs a new purchase!

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    1. Mark, I don't need success to spur a purchase. Defeats or inclusive results work just well!

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    2. Surely Charlottesville shows the need for more inclusive results. :-)

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    3. Sheesh! I meant "inconclusive!" You probably knew that..

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  2. Sounds like the rules do a good job in simulating WWI air war .... and of course they don't allow the players just to simply do what they want .... good!

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    1. The rules are quite elegant, the processes streamlined, and the game tense and fun. Throw in the laws of physics wrt to WWI aviation and a good game is found.

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  3. Superb looking planes...and mat, waiting for next aircrafts!

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    1. Thanks Phil. I look forward to building another aircraft too. Last plane added to the collection was about 2006.

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  4. Just downloaded the rules and the accompanying bits and bobs. Probably I'll never play them, but the may come in useful somewhere down the road.

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    1. Well, the price is right, free! A lot of good material within CE. Hope you find something in there of interest to you.

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  5. Lovely looking game. Interesting that the games went so quickly, as the stat charts seem quite detailed.

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    1. Thank you, Lawrence! Games do not always go this quickly but get on another's tail and and the unlucky foe can be brought down quickly.

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  6. Reminds me of the days when I used to be heavily involved with online flight sim gaming: Red Baron II and then Red Baron 3D. I started out flying the Nieuport 11s there. Tried to move on to WWII flight sim and gaming, but those just never had the "hook" that WWI flight sims (board and other) had.

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    1. Ed, I never tried online gaming but the Old School gaming using CE is a fun. The little Nieuport 11 is a favorite of mine. Digging around in storage, i found another N11 unbuilt.

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  7. A great looking and fun game, Jonathan!

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  8. oh, fantastic looking game. Ans the beautiful aircrafts!

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  9. Sounds awesome! I've always had a soft spot for WWI dogfights. Don't have my own models anymore, but I do try to find a game at conventions when I go now.

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    1. CE provides a light and fun game. Several dogfights can be fought in one sitting. Perhaps your interest will be rekindled?

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  10. Great looking planes/ game what is the maximum number the rules can cope with on one table ?

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    1. Years ago, and I mean many years ago, we played with as many as 6-8 with no problem.

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  11. Looks like lot's of fun, don't know why but I like ww1 air combat, not so interested in ww2 , nice planes and the mat works well too.
    Best Iain

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    1. Iain, it was a lot of fun. WWII air combat holds not much interest to me either. Perhaps, WWI air combat is more romantic?

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  12. Fine looking game, and one that inspires the players to buy the rules and models to go with them is a home run in anyone's book!

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  13. Fun looking game, I am sorry I missed it!

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    1. It was fun but there will be many other opportunities to take to the air.

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  14. It was a blast, Jon! Thanks for hosting!

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    1. It was a blast! Have you begun working on aeroplanes for this?

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