Well, I was able to get a second modern playtest of the new aerial combat rules in this weekend, and it was fun once again. This time we've got Israeli F-16s up against Syrian MiG-23s, but it's more than that: the Israeli pilots are aces, but their are only two of them, while the Syrians are rookies, and there are four of them.
Even so, I was a little worried about the numbers advantage, so I started the Israelis off on their board edge, in a trailing position, on the Syrian flight's rear left quarter, and I gave the Israelis the advantages of altitude and the fact they had already 'spotted' the Syrians, who would go first each turn, but would have to roll to spot the Israelis. It turned out the spotting issue wasn't much of an advantage, as the Syrians got in a lucky roll early on and were able to quickly to turn into their attackers.
Anywhoo, let's get this thing under way.
Fight's on! As the Israelis are not yet spotted I gave them the choice of going first or allowing the Syrian to go first; they (I) decided to have the Syrians go first, which was probably a mistake, as the Syrians would get two attempts to spot the Israeli aircraft each turn (one try for each pair of planes).
The only good news is this: Normal and Rookie pilots must make a straight and level move after taking an Evasive move, but Veteran and Ace pilots can move in accordance with their activation roll.
The Syrians are very wary of the Israeli advantage in quality, and they know it will be very difficult to pass a tail test, so they'll take their head-on attacks and see how it goes. If it goes bad they'll simply disengage by flying off the board edge.
The first missile misses...
The fight is now 2 vs 2.
But neither can fire: R1 is out of range, and R2 is below his target (have to be on the same altitude level).
The fight was fun, but still took an hour and fifteen minutes... I was real nervous about the numbers difference, and, to tell you the truth, I wouldn't run a 'real' game 2 vs 4. I could see doing 3 vs 6, 4 vs 6 or 8, etc..., but 2 vs 4 leaves you too susceptible to one wacky roll (which isn't unrealistic, it's just not very much fun as a game). Which is a perfect segue for me to confess my sin: I did, indeed experience one of those wacky rolls. At the very beginning, the very first shot, R3 fired a missile at long range: the first roll was a kill, so I did the CM re-roll, and I'll be damned if another 6 didn't come up (on the one kill dice).
So, I figured the fight wouldn't be very much fun, nor would the test provide much data, if the Israelis were 1 vs 4 right off the bat. So I had Dagger 1 take an evasive action and I continued the fight.
So far, the only benefits to being a Vet/Ace are 1) big modifiers for the tail test, and 2) not being restricted to 'straight and level' after being forced to make an evasive action (due to enemy fire).
The rules 'feel' right to me; there's nothing strange about them (to me), there's no weird result (so far). I'll say the rules aren't the coolest thing ever, and there's nothing all that sexy about them, but they are giving a fast and fun game that feels (to me) like a dramatized dogfight.
I do want to play some bigger fights, maybe 8 vs 8, or 6 vs 8, but I'm a little scared due to the time it's taking so far; I really want a game in an hour, though I suppose I should be happy with an hour and a half. Maybe this weekend, though I really need to get Brigade Commander on the table (too?).