|Nieuport 11 tails a Roland Walfisch|
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.