Welcome to my 'Beer and Pretzels' style lead and paint free wargaming blog. Much as I admire our colonial chums across the pond, I prefer a nice cuppa and a decent doorstep sarnie with my wargaming, so it's time to get a brew on! This blog will follow my occasional adventures in low complexity, one brain cell, not too serious hex and counter, 'off the shelf' miniature and 'print and play' paper wargaming.
I cut out and glued together some of the components for Table Air Combat last night, to see how easy it was to put them together and to try out the game today at some point. I chose the early war Pacific combination of the F4F-4 Wildcat and the AM6-2 Zero, with each set providing enough counters for a full squadron of twelve aircraft, the turn templates and the energy counters.
This is all you will need for a game using the scenarios provided in each set and a few D6. I'm on holiday at the moment, so this is ideal. No charts, no rulers, no tape measure and no miniatures, unless you wanted to swap the counters for 1/600th, 1/700th or even 1/1250th scale models, which would be a quick and simple way to convert this system to a miniatures game.
The A6M-2 Zero set (plus the Akagi)
There are plenty of models available for such a swap including the extensive Tumbling Dice range, the Tamiya, Skywave and Hobbyboss plastic sets and the C.A.P. Aero or 617 Squadron ranges from Magister Militum. You would probably need to enlarge the size of the turn templates for the larger 1/600 or 1/700 scales but this would be easy just using the 200% button on the photocopier.
Anyway, the components were easy to assemble, although I decided not to follow the instructions to the letter, choosing instead to cut out the counters and template with a sharp pair of scissors and stick the two halves back to back with a glue stick. I wanted to keep this game as portable as possible with each aircraft set fitting into an envelope or plastic sleeve, so coins were not used.
I also couldn't resist the option of adding a carrier for the Zeros to launch from, so borrowed the Akagi from the SBD-3 Dauntless set in which it is provided as a torpedo and dive-bombing target. You can actually launch waves of Zeros from it's flight deck as one of the scenario options, so it's not just something to sink. How cool is that! The other sets also include ground and naval targets, so there's lots of things to blow up.
All of this took only fifteen minutes or so per aircraft set, which is pretty quick as a 'print and play' exercise, even allowing some time for trimming and setting. The cost was only £1.50 for each squadron set, so no more than the price of a sandwich for a fully functioning game complete with scenarios. Not bad value at all. I'll aim to get an initial dogfight game under way later today, holiday activities notwithstanding.