GMT GAMES, £21.95
DESIGNED BY GENE BILLINGSLY
REVIEWED BY MIKE CLIFFORD
The Rise of the Luftwaffe is the first of GMT's Down in Flames series and is a WW2 two-player card game of some quality. You will, however, need to defeat the non-sequential rulebook to make full sense of it.
Visually, TROTL is outstanding, but with Roger MacGowan on paintbrushes that is to be expected. The physical components are also top-notch, but there isn't much in the package beyond cards, rules and scenario sheets. But at least it comes in the scrawny bookcase format so as not to deceive the potential purchaser as to the bulk therein.
Wargamers familiar with the recent spate of card-driven games will soon conquer TROTL's straightforward system. Each player is assigned a flight leader and wingman (depicted by aircraft cards). What each card is capable of attaining is clearly labelled and so is the response. For example: A Spitfire is attempting a barrel roll. The riposte must define "barrel roll" to escape. For each non-reaction, the attacking player gains a positional advantage, from "neutral" to "tailed". If you are looking up the enemy exhaust pipe, then the odds in your favour are clearly improved.
When planes take hits, the depletion of effectiveness is shown by reducing damage capacity and then flipping the card to its lesser side. If the leader is shot down, the wingman can take over and assume his abilities. Target sheets (airfields, bridges, factories, etc) are included for those who would take the game a step further.
In what seems to be a problem with GMT rulebooks, the abridged order of play is not adhered to in the main body of the text (witness the Wingman Attack section, which is first in the Sequence of Play but is not explained fully until page 12). However, there were no questions left unanswered which does suggest completeness.
TROTL's author Gene Billingsly is clearly comfortable with the subject matter and format, and the game is a nice partner to his Modern Naval Battles. There has already been a supplement in GMT's house magazine C3l, and given the unlimited scope of air warfare the system has the potential longevity of some of the more notable wargame system series.
On to the review of Das Hornberger Schiesen or back to the review of An den Ufern des Nils.
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