Highway to the Knight Hawks zone

jedion357's picture
jedion357
July 16, 2014 - 6:15am
Well the girls had been enjoying Top Gun and calling it Danger Zone (the movie) and asking me to play Danger Zone (the game- which was really KHs). Once the 4th of July hits my job gets slow and I've stopped bothering to show up on Sunday afternoons thus we did church, lunch and then wandered over to the Hobby Bunker to use a wargaming table and play KHs. The bunker was kind of crowded with 10 people painting minis at 2 table and about another 10-12 playing games at 5 other tables. We were lucky to get a table as the game on the table we used had just wrapped up.

BTW breaking out the KHs did generate some interest since my ships are nicely painted. However, since I use a digitally remastered copy of KHs that I happened to try out a book binding tutorial on I thus have a home made hard bound rule book. This gave the impression that KHs was a home brew rule set and I think it would have been better to slap the original KHs materials down on the table. I never bring them out since my hard bound rules are more durable and its better they take the wear and tear than a 30 year old collectible. However, since the game does generate interest it might have been preferable to put on an aire of it being professionally produced.

We did two scenarios: two squadrons of fighters vs a sathar carrier and one squadron of fighters (all squadrons had 6 fighters). the girls won since their fighters moved into range for using their MPO weapons first and wiped out the carrier and all but two of the fighters for the lost of two of their fighters.

2nd scenario was two Assault scouts and a frigate vs two destroyers, the frigate got well chewed by the destroyers but the assault scouts got behind the destroyers and used their superior ADF and MR to stay there and shot them up with rocket ordinance for two turns despite one of them trying to use a masking screen which somewhat protected it from the LB (a shot did get through) but since I was trying to conserve the ICM for the frigate's torp one of the DDs got well served by assault rockets and the frigate did manage to fire a torp that got through (Rachel was otherwise unlucky with the frigate's weapons) but then the DDs finished the frigate off but both were badly crippled but by this time and the girl's interest was flagging so they asked if we could call the game.

Given another turn I think the Assault scouts could have finished the DDs since they could not turn to bring their MPO FF weapons to bear and they could not out run the smaller ships. Their only hope was that their battery weapons might take out the assault scouts while the scout ships picked away at them- the game could have gone either way but I told the girls the DDs were running away and they won since they wanted to go explore the store (Hobby Bunker is a store that caters to miniatures collectors, wargamers and RPG fans though 90% of their business is the high end collectible miniatures that you dont game with; they simily like supporting the local gaming market by providing gaming tables and carrying some extensive RPG & wargaming materials.
I might not be a dralasite, vrusk or yazirian but I do play one in Star Frontiers!
Comments:

Malcadon's picture
Malcadon
July 17, 2014 - 2:06pm
I remember watching Top Gun as a kid. I got board, as they did not spend enough time in the air — I had a short attention span. As I got older, I got into Macross Plus and a movie like Top Gun become instantly quint.

In Star Frontiers, playing a fighter pilot would suck, as you are strapped into a tin-can that can be taken out by a singe laser battery, while armed with a few anti-ship missiles that can do slightly better damage than a laser battery — a Frigate alone can endure five or so hits. And the real joke is, that a level 4+ robot could do the same work as a living pilot, while taking up less space and dealing with extreme Gees... (Wait, how is it that SF characters can deal with speeds that would kill any Earth man? Seriously, the HK scenarios state speeds of 20 to 50 Gees!!! That's not right!)

If your girls like all that aviator action and don't mind some slow pacing in the middle, I highly recommend an animated series called Last Exile. If you never seen it, it looks like WWI naval battles with airships, with wingless WWII-styled fighter craft. And it also features the most bad-ass anime captain since Captain Harlock! Which is also a great show, if you guys don't mind retro anime.

jedion357's picture
jedion357
July 17, 2014 - 2:36pm
Actually I'm planning on digging out my Wings of War game and teaching that to the girls as its going to teach tactics far better than KHs and fits the kitchen table (WW1 biplane models) might even go back on ebay and look for a red baron which was impossible to purchase when the game first came out. I actually purchased two planes on line and had the company cancel my purchase due to lack of stock and other retailers simply listed the red baron as out of stock.
I might not be a dralasite, vrusk or yazirian but I do play one in Star Frontiers!

rattraveller's picture
rattraveller
July 18, 2014 - 12:53am
If you want to go for a more Sci Fi type of game I have been playing alot of X-Wing and Attack Wing lately. They are Star Wars and Star Trek (respectively) star ship combat games. Both are pretty quick to play and they emphasize strategy in the way you customize your ships and then tactics in working the strategy. 

Sounds like a great job but where did you say we had to go?

jedion357's picture
jedion357
July 18, 2014 - 4:22am
I saw X-wing being played at the Hobby Bunker on Sunday and the guy was telling me that some company had redsigned Star Fleet Battles to be hex less-not sure what that means but if the orignial company that did SFB isn't doing it can it be the same game? I'm not sure that the girls would do well with understanding the choices involved in modifying your ship- it will devolve to constant checking with Dad of did I make the right decision, which then means I'm kind of playing both sides. The mechanics of Wings of War are actually pretty simple so I think this is the new game for now. I will check out X-wing and Attack wing and see if I can sit on a game next weekend I get to the bunker.

I'm pretty sure that Check your 6, while a hyper realistic representation of WW2 dogfighting, is a non starter with its emphasis on a paper chart that can be slightly confusing the first time you see it.
I might not be a dralasite, vrusk or yazirian but I do play one in Star Frontiers!

rattraveller's picture
rattraveller
July 18, 2014 - 12:34pm
Not sure what the Star Fleet Battles comment was for since the two are very different. The makers of X-wing licensed the rules to the makers of Attack Wing who then used their molds of Star Trek models from another game but that is how you do it these days.

Oh and I am going on vacation to Texas so will be off line for most of the next 12 days. See ya.
Sounds like a great job but where did you say we had to go?

Abub's picture
Abub
July 18, 2014 - 12:38pm
Went googling for these old games... encountered a ton of car wars stuff out there... I never played car wars... but was it like huge back in the day?
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jedion357's picture
jedion357
July 18, 2014 - 12:48pm
Abub wrote:
Went googling for these old games... encountered a ton of car wars stuff out there... I never played car wars... but was it like huge back in the day?


It seemed huge to me. I played the piss out of it in Plattsburgh, NY and when I moved to England I found a guy who also played.

I started with just the pocket box of Car Wars, made my own arena out of graph paper, picked up the pocket box of Truck Stop and then Sunday Drivers and eventually got the combined rules done like a Basic D&D Box set. Lots of good times. It can be a little fiddly with the counters on thin card stock but as a kid I didn't care about that as i had a blast taking my armored pickup truck into arenas with a Recoilless rifle in a turret and blasting away at my friends from the neighborhood.

And now that I think about it SJG put out their version of an Endless Quest book where you filled in a car data sheet and kept a pencil and dice handy while reading the book and choosing your path along the way. I remember taking that book along on a long cross country family trip and must have tried every choice in the book.

BTW- the pocket box game OGRE and GEV were also by SJG and they were fun too but playing regular infantry and tanks vs the Ogre was perhaps not that fun as you were going to lose a lot of your troops but stopping the ogre with just your last few assets was always very satisfying.
I might not be a dralasite, vrusk or yazirian but I do play one in Star Frontiers!

Putraack's picture
Putraack
July 18, 2014 - 2:50pm
Hurrah for Top Gun and fighter pilots!

Wings of War (aka Wings of Glory) is cool, I played a bit of that last year as part of a WW1 RPG. I recommend getting the girls their own minis (or letting them paint their own?) that was a part of the reason I tried using those rules for the game.

Star Fleet Battles has some spinoffs going: Federation Commander is simpler and faster than SFB, but it is still hexes & counters. A Call to Arms and Starmada are a minis games, even faster and simpler than FC, so I think one of those may be the hex-less game you heard about. SFB is being produced by Amarillo Design Bureau, originally only the designers. A Call to Arms and Starmada are rules sets from other companies, ADB has licenses to use those rules in the Star Fleet Universe setting.

BTW, in one of SFB's many modules, there's an optional rule for remote-controlled fighters-- why waste a pilot in something that can be killed in two shots? I've been musing about that for KH, since the last fight I played saw all of the fighters get one-shotted.

jedion357's picture
jedion357
July 18, 2014 - 7:00pm
@Putraak: That's a good idea: using Wings of War to support the tactical combat side of a WW1 RPG. What rules did you use for the RPG side of the game?
I might not be a dralasite, vrusk or yazirian but I do play one in Star Frontiers!

Putraack's picture
Putraack
July 19, 2014 - 8:54am
We agreed on on Savage Worlds for the out-of-cockpit stuff, this group is all familiar with it. As it happened, about half the players had difficulty with visualizing air-to-ground when using WoW, and the dogfights ended up sucking up a lot of table time. For the last few sessions, we shifted to Savage Worlds rules for the aerial action. As it happened, "Kaiser's Gate" came out right then, which is an SW expansion for a fantasy WW1-- its backstory reminded me A LOT of Shadowrun's-- magic suddenly happens, etc. I didn't use much of that book, but the illustrations helped.
The campaign finale was inspired by/lifted from the finale of the "Beowulf" animated movie-- that is, a snarling dogfight with a fire-breathing dragon. I'd always intended that be in Savage Worlds, btw, so the transition from WoG wasn't all bad.

I wish I had been able to do more non-flying things, I tried to detail the NPCs in their home base, and lay some seeds for rivalries and relationships, but the players didn't seem to bite, not even a bar-room brawl. I tried to hook them up with a black-marketeer as a supply source/hook, but that seemed to fizzle unless I had some goons show up with guns blazing. The exception was in the first session, when I outlined that they had a patron, but no planes; there were planes in a German factory shut down by the Armistice. Their scheming and fast-talking to get into the factory under the eyes of the Entente inspectors, load the unassembled parts onto boxcars, and slip away with a makeshift train, was one of the high points of the game.

jedion357's picture
jedion357
July 20, 2014 - 6:59am
Putraack wrote:

  ....unless I had some goons show up with guns blazing...


There is a certain wisdom to that, IIRC a steampunk RPG gave that as GM advice: "When all else fails have two mooks enter with guns"

That sounds like an interesting game. Reminds me of a series of novels that started with "His Majesty's Dragon" which was essentially Napoleanic Europe with dragons and each side is desperate to gain dragon eggs so that when the dragon hatches they can see if it will take a harness and impress on a rider. Large dragons function as bombers and small ones function as fighters- large dragons have human crews that crawl around on their harnes to fend off boarders from enemy dragons. It sounds a little hokey but it was a good read and the author did a good job of bringing that century to life.
I might not be a dralasite, vrusk or yazirian but I do play one in Star Frontiers!

Putraack's picture
Putraack
July 20, 2014 - 5:54pm
Rumor has it that advice goes back to one of the 1940s crime novelists (Mickey Spillane?). It was in the back of my head when I set that session up.

"HM Dragon" was interesting, I think I read 3 or 4 of those-- Patrick O'Brian mixed with Anne McCaffrey. (FWIW, I am reading Pern this summer, I'd not read past book 3 back in the day.)

FWIW, I played a KH game again today, against one of my son's friends (the rest of the gang was making Shadowrun characters, and this guy was already done). I flew Sathar against a solo fortress. After 9 turns, I'd lost 3 fighters and had a DD wrecked, but the fort was down to 68 hull points and he conceded the game. I had another DD and 3 fighters, plus a carrier that didn't get into the fight. It was hard for me to remember to use masking screens and ICMs. The fighters shouldn't have stayed close to the fort, they should have done more boom & zoom tactics. I need to sit down with my CD of Star Frontiersman and look for more KH-related things to print off.

Over on the FB Star Frontiers page, another fellow pointed out that fighters in KH need to concentrate on those kind of boom & zoom, perhaps fighter pilots are the barely-trained expendable guys?

That reminded me of something from Elizabeth Moon's "Hunting Party" novel (I think there was a sequel or 2?). In that feudal-style society, the space navy was professional and the planetary fighter force was for nobles-- the pilots were considered well-bred fancy-pants, not smart enough to fly a real starship.

Putraack's picture
Putraack
December 31, 2014 - 1:06pm
I woke up this morning with this thread on my mind (under my subconscious?). I wondered about SF/KH and fighters and atmospheric combat. I don't recall much about aerial fighting in SF, does anyone else?
Fighters in atmo would be really needed for countering enemy planetary landing forces, of course, and would likely be different designs than space fighters.

Either one would work with the idea I mentioned above: remote control fighters, like contemporary drones. The pilots would work from some secure location, make their flights, break for coffee, and still get to wear oversized wristwatches and handlebar mustaches. Otherwise, Assault Scouts and their daredevil crews will have to be the high-tech fighter plane of the SF world.

Alternatively, any of the ground wars that have been hinted at could be locations for aerial/orbital action by individual units.

Maybe I'm just waxing nostalgic for a campaign that didn't live up to what I wanted it to be, on this last day of the year.

Abub's picture
Abub
January 2, 2015 - 12:39pm
I used jetcopters as a very small airpower.  I am not playing Assualt Scouts as being areodynamic at all, requiring a tail down landing.  Also I know most of you hand wave it... but the atomic engines in my game spew radation out the back.... so craft meant to operate on planet require chemical drives or chemical drives to be bolted on.  I'm also toying with the idea of having it be common for fighters to have a hybrid engine system which basically has seperate atomic and chem propultion system with VOTL vectored thrust.  Chemical fuel would be limited I'm thinking.

And depeneding on how nasty they wanna be you can just engage the atomic engine on planet and eff over the enemies environment.  Generally this is not done due to cultural taboo, simalarly bombarding from orbit is also very poorly recieved as a war crime.  Nasty people could still do it who don't care about becoming an outlaw.  I'm thinking life sentences or death penalty sort of thing.

Now... My first SF game involved me attempting to deal with mixing of KH space craft vs miltary land vehicles vs characters with not a great result, mostly due to my poor planning.

I'm thinking you might want to give a KH fighter different stats for use in an atmo?


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jedion357's picture
jedion357
January 3, 2015 - 6:33pm
I like the idea of a chem/atomic hybrid.
I might not be a dralasite, vrusk or yazirian but I do play one in Star Frontiers!

TerlObar's picture
TerlObar
January 3, 2015 - 8:01pm
I like the idea of a hybrid or dual engines as well.  On my ship the TSSS Dart (Star Frontiersman Issue 11, http://starfrontiers.info/wiki/index.php/TSSS_Dart), I put an atomic engine for spaceflight and atmospheric engines that were used near the ground.  I ruled that it handled like an aircar in an atmosphere. 
Ad Astra Per Ardua!
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Putraack's picture
Putraack
January 6, 2015 - 10:30am
ooops, by "high-tech fighter plane" I meant in space, they would be action-hero icons that we know-- not that they should be fighting in atmosphere.

Meanwhile, I'm thinking of a game with atmo-only craft, whether planes or copters or something else. The urge is fading, which happens to my gaming impulses often.

Abub's picture
Abub
January 6, 2015 - 2:42pm
Putraack wrote:
ooops, by "high-tech fighter plane" I meant in space, they would be action-hero icons that we know-- not that they should be fighting in atmosphere.

Meanwhile, I'm thinking of a game with atmo-only craft, whether planes or copters or something else. The urge is fading, which happens to my gaming impulses often.

I'm afraid that happens to us all as we get older.  Oh, I see you meant gaming... nevermind  lol


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Sargonarhes's picture
Sargonarhes
February 6, 2015 - 7:13pm
Malcadon wrote:
anime captain since Captain Harlock! Which is also a great show, if you guys don't mind retro anime.


Have you seen the recent CGI Harlock movie? It's pretty good in spite of a few changes to the Harlock mythos.
In every age, in every place, the deeds of men remain the same.

RanulfC's picture
RanulfC
March 6, 2015 - 7:27pm
Abub wrote:
And depeneding on how nasty they wanna be you can just engage the atomic engine on planet and eff over the enemies environment.  Generally this is not done due to cultural taboo, simalarly bombarding from orbit is also very poorly recieved as a war crime.  Nasty people could still do it who don't care about becoming an outlaw.  I'm thinking life sentences or death penalty sort of thing.

Not "quite" an SF trope but it's close. It's best known from Andre Norton as  "Burn-off" or "Burned-off" as it's possible to do it to a majority of a planet.*

Had the main baddie who managed to escape in one session of "Volturnus" do that to his headquarters trying to catch the PCs in it. Since they got INTO the place by using underground subways from the Erona he didn't know about the PCs survived but were VERY "put-out" by his actions and I had a hook for them for the rest of the campaign. Drop a "hint" so-and-so had something to do with anything and they jumped in with both feet. (Yes I abused it shamlessly, what GM worth his screen wouldn't have? :) )

(Still reading the rest of the thread)
*I should also mention that you "technically" don't need an atomic drive for this manuever either. Imagine the Shuttle or a Saturn-V "hovering" for a little while over the center of town... There is a very good reason that "interesting" (ones that get you somewhere in a reasonable time and accelleration) drives are often written off as "fluff' in most SFRPGs. Those that are not will allow you to reduce a habitable planet to ashes if you're feeling mean...

Randy