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Help With Modern Air Combat


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I am considering running a campaign and can use advice from Herodom Assembled.

 

(As an aside, yes this is SCUBA Hero from ages (years) past for those who remember me.  I will shortly be posting a “SCUBA Hero Is Back!!!” topic in Non-Gaming Discussion.  It’s *good* to be back!)

 

I’m looking at a modern-day campaign in which a secret civilian air force battles an alien force, with the general public unaware. (Yes, this is based on Near Space Defense from Super Agents.)  For the vehicular combat – I envision a pilots vs. aliens combat at the end of each session – I want dramatic/cinematic combat (instead of hex maps and turn modes).  I have The Ultimate Vehicle, and the dogfight rules are what I intend to base this on, but how do you apply this with multiple vehicles per side (probably 4 – 8)?  I’m thinking have pilots declare their intentions in reverse DEX order (since reacting gives an advantage).  So how do you account for wingmen, a combatant trying to achieve a superior position over an enemy only to be thwarted by his allies, and in general, multiple combatants?  In particular, I’m interested in Air Force or –ex pilots’ take on this.  I want it to be dramatic/cinematic and exciting​.

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I'm not a pilot, though I passed the written test once.  I'm not Air Force, though I spent more than my fair share of time on base.  Thoughts:

 

- Energy is a key concept in air combat: the combination of airspeed and altitude.  If you're at high speed and high altitude you have many options.  If you're at low speed and low altitude you don't.  You can trade altitude for speed and vice versa, hard maneuvering costs energy, and it can take a while to build energy back up.

 

- If you're willing to abstract the hex map away, then dogfight combat really lends itself to a sort of martial arts system, where you would have maneuvers like "high-g attack", "plunging attack", "improve firing position", "break and extend range", and so on, with ramifications for OCV, DCV, speed, and altitude.  Almost like treating aircraft as weapons.

 

- This would help solve the biggest problem I see with the TUV dogfighting rules, which currently boil down to a pilot skill roll-off.  Decisions are what make the game.  Do I spend lots of energy on a high-g attack and make myself a sitting duck?  Or do I patiently work myself into a better position for a missile lock?  Can I sucker this guy into overcommitting so that I can break away, or will he not be fooled and kill me?  Should I stay here and build energy or should I dive so I can get in range to save my wingman?

 

- There's some similarity with existing (on foot) combat maneuvers.  Missile lock is a bit like setting and bracing.  Plunging attacks would be like move bys. 

 

- I find myself wishing the dogfighting table were more gradual, like instead of a new roll-off result every turn, you could gradually build up piloting skill victories over a few turns and move yourself further down the table until you get to firing position at +6 and can engage with weapons.

 

Hardly a complete aerial combat system but I hope these random ideas help a bit.

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I'm not a pilot, though I passed the written test once.  I'm not Air Force, though I spent more than my fair share of time on base.  Thoughts:

 

- Energy is a key concept in air combat: the combination of airspeed and altitude.  If you're at high speed and high altitude you have many options.  If you're at low speed and low altitude you don't.  You can trade altitude for speed and vice versa, hard maneuvering costs energy, and it can take a while to build energy back up.

 

- If you're willing to abstract the hex map away, then dogfight combat really lends itself to a sort of martial arts system, where you would have maneuvers like "high-g attack", "plunging attack", "improve firing position", "break and extend range", and so on, with ramifications for OCV, DCV, speed, and altitude.  Almost like treating aircraft as weapons.

 

- This would help solve the biggest problem I see with the TUV dogfighting rules, which currently boil down to a pilot skill roll-off.  Decisions are what make the game.  Do I spend lots of energy on a high-g attack and make myself a sitting duck?  Or do I patiently work myself into a better position for a missile lock?  Can I sucker this guy into overcommitting so that I can break away, or will he not be fooled and kill me?  Should I stay here and build energy or should I dive so I can get in range to save my wingman?

 

- There's some similarity with existing (on foot) combat maneuvers.  Missile lock is a bit like setting and bracing.  Plunging attacks would be like move bys. 

 

- I find myself wishing the dogfighting table were more gradual, like instead of a new roll-off result every turn, you could gradually build up piloting skill victories over a few turns and move yourself further down the table until you get to firing position at +6 and can engage with weapons.

 

Hardly a complete aerial combat system but I hope these random ideas help a bit.

Very nice! And you can buy things like levels usable with a "wingman" and Teamwork.

 

At the very least I would use Tactics:Flight, as a complimentary roll to Pilot.

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Wikipedia, of all places, has a great primer on air-to-air combat maneuvers.  More detail than is probably needed for any game, but it includes a great list of maneuvers that could be adapted for use here, including the high yo-yo that I used to win so many simulation dogfights back in the day.

 

I am sorely tempted to build this out into some sort of Top Gun HERO minigame but I'm way behind on my Azure implementation here at the office, so it'll have to wait a while.

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Rodan has exceptional power and g-tolerance if he's able to pull supersonic loops. But he has the radar signature of a large building, and unless his avionics are better than I think they are, he's not going to notice the incoming K-100s that were launched from BVR.

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plenty of aircraft conversions of all eras up here http://surbrook.devermore.net/adaptationsvehicles/vehicle.html

 

Thanks! I have a pretty good idea of what I want for the NSD and alien craft, but more examples never hurt and there will probably be other real-world aircraft involved someday.

 

NSD "Sky Tiger"  Advantages - speed, long-range (compared to alien lasers) missiles, overall toughness.  Disadvantages - guns only fire straight ahead, maneuverability, missiles need lock-on or suffer severe OCV penalty.

 

Alien "Flying Saucer" Advantages - maneuverability, can enter orbit, lasers fire 180 degree arc and have Autofire.  Disadvantages - more fragile, slower, lasers shorter range than missiles.

 

Basically, if both craft have full speed/maneuvering capability then the Sky Tigers disengage by going full-speed away from the dogfight while the flying saucers go straight up into orbit where the Tigers can't follow.  If one or the other is damaged... well, that's when things get interesting.

 

I'm thinking to abstract a good bit - short/medium/long range, Combat Pilot rolls and Maneuvers determining who has the advantaged position that Turn, the ability to continue modifiers from an advantaged position into the next Turn.  Visually, there will be model airplanes and flying saucers on the tabletop that show the relative positions.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Does anyone have thoughts on handling wingmen in air-to-air combat?

 

Scenario 1:  Two Sky Tigers flying side-by-side, one picks up a Flying Saucer, and they do a Thach Weave.  So the FS attacks with surprise or gets a good Combat Pilot roll vs. the first ST; how do you handle the maneuver?  A bonus to the second ST's Combat Pilot roll?

 

Scenario 2:  Two STs against 2 FSs.  What happens at the start of a dogfight when it's 2-on-2?

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The traditional way is the striker moves to get a good shot, and the wing person moves to cover them from counter attack. It might be as simple as allowing the striker to allocate CSL's to OCV while the wingman protects him...?

 

OR...+3 DCV in aircombat, Requires experianced wingman ( so for a few missions it dosen't work till the get on the same page...etc)

 

Wingman: +2 OCV vs targets attacking person they are covering...etc..

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