Airpower in ASL

CraigBenn

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I've only been playing ASL for 2 1/2 years or so, but been a serious grog for much longer. One of the games I used to play a lot of pre-ASL was the 'fighting wing' series of games - 'achtung spitfire' and 'whistling death'. These could be compared in levels of complexity to ASL, with rules for negative-g pushovers, cockpit visibility and similar chrome, with individual performance data cards for various aircraft.

Considering the vastly detailed vehicle notes, the generic 1939,1942 and 1944 fighter bomber irritates me from time to time. That 1940 Bf109 strafing in the battle of France has only two nose machineguns - the two 20mm cannon only have about 60 rounds each and doctrine is to keep them for the air to air battle. So it should only strafe as a stuka...
That Italian CR42 biplane is so slow it should be easier to shoot down, and unable to hold the far faster British Hurricane mk1 in dogfight...

ASL doesn't understand air! I read 'Legions' excellent AAR site about Edsons ridge CG, where he uses Japanese fighter-bombers very effectively. No!!! The model 21 Zero's had to come all the way from Rabaul, had about 15 minutes over target, and stayed at high altitude looking to bounce the defending wildcats. Coordinating that with an IJA attack just wouldn't happen - no radios on the zeroes for one thing. (The ridge did get bombed once by Bettys at 20,000 feet but this was a navigational error on their part).

I believe HOB did some rules and counters for Sturmoviks in the Onslaught to Orsha module, - I'd be interested to hear peoples opinions on that. Looking at ASL from an air game perspective, aircraft seem very vulnerable to ground fire (no mods for crossing targets!) and probably a little too effective in hitting stuff in the mud.

So is it time for Chapter E to be updated with new improved air rules? An official MMP module...or should we let sleeping spitfires lie...
 

Markdv5208

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I want to say that Chapter E talks about Airpower and its effect on the TACTICAL battlefield which ASL is all about. The whole point is that it has more of an effect BEHIND our battlefield and not as much ON it.

Having said that, one of my more painful DTW memories is the STUKA of mine that rolled a 12 ie mistaken attack then CH my PzIVF1. I can just see the crew dancing for joy with their swastika, cheering their Luftwaffe until they realized that the 150KG bomb was coming straight at them. I was laughing about that with my opponent...a week later.

At the time? Highly unamused....

Mark DV
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James Taylor

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I believe HOB did some rules and counters for Sturmoviks in the Onslaught to Orsha module, - I'd be interested to hear peoples opinions on that. Looking at ASL from an air game perspective, aircraft seem very vulnerable to ground fire (no mods for crossing targets!) and probably a little too effective in hitting stuff in the mud.

So is it time for Chapter E to be updated with new improved air rules? An official MMP module...or should we let sleeping spitfires lie...
Hmmm...

FWIW, most of the people I play with consider the aircraft rules a little weak. Nothing like PM, but still... there are some holes that Mr. Bebakken could probably drive a Mack truck through if he wanted.

So tightening them up a little would not be a bad thing from my opinion.

I think some of the stuff that has been done by various designers to extend the aircraft type, (HOB, SSR's, etc.) has worked out OK.

However, I'm not certain we need to open the game up to aircraft as widely as we do for vehicles.

Personally I think aircraft pretty much dominate the battlefield when they appear in big numbers. I don't think they are that vulnerable, especially late war, when you are pretty much wasting your time unless you have a serious AA asset like a Whirblewind.

They get to attack first, which means they usually have the opportunity to take out the AA asset when it is available.

I don't dispute the impact that aircraft have on the battle, i.e. I think the game may model their dominance well, but the fact is that the game becomes less fun for me because of that dominance. I'm playing a scenario right now where 3 FB are on the game for the first 3 turns of 6.5 turn scenario. That's too long as far as I'm concerned. If they were only there for 2 turns they would still be a great effect on the scenario, but not so dominant that the non-aircraft player can absorb the hit.

If the game was 9 turns and the attacker had to cover a lot of ground... then maybe 3 wouldn't be so bad.

Having said all this, when aircraft are *controlled* by the scenario designer well they bring a new dimension to the game and can make for some memorable laughs or groans.

And who doesn't like making the "Neeeeaaahhhhh!!!" sound when they make a turning dive to attack? :)

JT
 

ASLSARGE

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I've always felt a little more detail/options to the current Air Supprt rules would be a big help. At least something to show the difference of having a P40 attacking and a P47 besides just different mg's. Show added weapons (rockets etc) plus it's ability to do other things differently. BTW - I tried playing Achtung Spitfire and never quite grapsed all the rules. Open to a couple questions sometime?
 

Houlie

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I vote for letting sleeping Spitfires lie.

ASL does a decent job of abstracting airpower and gets the job done. Dedicating time and resources to revamp the rules isn't worth the effort IMO. Especially in light of the rare appearances of airpower in scenarios.

In 200+ scenarios, I'd estimate I have probably seen airpower used less than 10 times. That said, I actually enjoy scenarios with airpower. It creates another unique factor in the scenario equation. I just don't see the incremental payback in redoing the rules.

Cheers!
 

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The air rules in ASL could be shored up here and there, but are basically sound in what is a design for effect game on infantry combat. The person who designed the amphibious landing rules could have taken a lesson or two from the air rules. The air rules focus on what is important from the perspective of the guys on the ground. They focus on how you can be hurt and how you can hurt the other guy and how you can make that bad air stuff go away.

If you opened the door to focusing on individual aircraft, the specifics of the CR42 versus the P51 versus the Scheckenheim-Gloster rotary-drive triphibious triplane, the tail doesn't just wag the dog, it basically throws the dog around like a frisbee. That's opening a Pandora's box which cannot be closed.

No, the air rules are pretty much fine as is. Are they hyper realistic? No. Do they produce the effect of air support of ground combat? yes.
 

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So many features of this game are abstracted to make our lives as players easier. OBA is a perfect example of this. Germans primarly used fieldphones or observation planes for non mortar OBA. Russians lived off of pre reg fire on the attack and defence, as did the Germans on defence. Spotters were often teams and field phones were quite mobile. Every major nation used OBA differently yet in ASL, OBA is the same for everyone. There COULD have been far more rules in OBA, it COULD have been done to reflect each nation's doctrine, but it was simplified so that every nation used one set of rules.

If one were to stand back and pick holes in the game based on reality, EVERTHING in the game would be suspect, squad firepower, morale, leadership, tank armour, ammo depletion (what tank commander would go into battle without being resupplied first?)....the list is almost endless.

Put it all together however and it works as a whole......for the most part.

There are things that could be improved, however the cost would be huge. How many scenarios would be drastically altered by changing how a given rule currently works?
 

Portal

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CraigBenn,

I'm also a big fan of J.D. Webster's Fighting Wings series of games, and always looking for more FW PBEM opponents. The FW system is very well-suited for PBEM play, even more so than ASL.

If you'd like to be added to my list of FW opponents, please PM me with your e-mail address. Or if you prefer, I can send you mine. Just let me know what works.

Cheers! :)

BTW - I think everyone agrees the A/C model in ASL is less than stellar. However, its role for this scale of game and considering the focus is ground, not aerial combat, in ASL, the existing Chapter E rules work well enough, IMO. However, if I was going to get serious about my ground attack missions, I'd be playing a bombing mission scenario from AS or WD, like you mentioned.
 

serpico

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I want to say that Chapter E talks about Airpower and its effect on the TACTICAL battlefield which ASL is all about. The whole point is that it has more of an effect BEHIND our battlefield and not as much ON it.

Having said that, one of my more painful DTW memories is the STUKA of mine that rolled a 12 ie mistaken attack then CH my PzIVF1. I can just see the crew dancing for joy with their swastika, cheering their Luftwaffe until they realized that the 150KG bomb was coming straight at them. I was laughing about that with my opponent...a week later.

At the time? Highly unamused....


Mark DV
Ada, MI
This unfortunately reminds me of some photos I saw a few years ago on the net......what happened to a Panther crew that must of got caught in the open on the back of their tank as some allied pilot straffed/bombed them....

Pretty gross... a couple guys looked like they were having lunch or napping and that was it.....not nice to look at but reminders of war and how brutal it can be.

Very little visible damage to the Panther but the guys were "Fried".....
 

CraigBenn

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I've always felt a little more detail/options to the current Air Supprt rules would be a big help. At least something to show the difference of having a P40 attacking and a P47 besides just different mg's. Show added weapons (rockets etc) plus it's ability to do other things differently. BTW - I tried playing Achtung Spitfire and never quite grapsed all the rules. Open to a couple questions sometime?
I can answer 'Achtung Spitfire' questions no problem. The system was revamped quite a bit when Whistling Death came out. Some of the changes were good - the excessive speed deceleration was fixed, but the FATT added a lot of complexity and I'm a bit hazy on some of it as its been a while since I played. The air data cards can be used with either system. Happy to have a go - just send me a private message anytime.
 

CraigBenn

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The air rules in ASL could be shored up here and there, but are basically sound in what is a design for effect game on infantry combat. The person who designed the amphibious landing rules could have taken a lesson or two from the air rules. The air rules focus on what is important from the perspective of the guys on the ground. They focus on how you can be hurt and how you can hurt the other guy and how you can make that bad air stuff go away.

If you opened the door to focusing on individual aircraft, the specifics of the CR42 versus the P51 versus the Scheckenheim-Gloster rotary-drive triphibious triplane, the tail doesn't just wag the dog, it basically throws the dog around like a frisbee. That's opening a Pandora's box which cannot be closed.

No, the air rules are pretty much fine as is. Are they hyper realistic? No. Do they produce the effect of air support of ground combat? yes.
Mark,
there are plenty of squad leader enthusiasts who said we ruined a perfectly good infantry game by having more than one type of generic tank. But we all love the myriad different types of vehicles and ASL would be much poorer without them. It is important that a Sherman doesn't penetrate the frontal armour of a King Tiger. Because otherwise an important element of the games fun - the suspension of disbelief - is lost.
ASL was once described as a game where if you didn't know the difference between a PzVD and a PzVG it wasn't for you...similarly if you know the difference between your model 21 and 32 Zeroes - a generic counter that does things it shouldn't hurts that suspension of disbelief and makes it less fun.

Hey I'm only talking about some aircraft counters with different values on them not the IIFT :).
 

CraigBenn

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CraigBenn,

I'm also a big fan of J.D. Webster's Fighting Wings series of games, and always looking for more FW PBEM opponents. The FW system is very well-suited for PBEM play, even more so than ASL.

If you'd like to be added to my list of FW opponents, please PM me with your e-mail address. Or if you prefer, I can send you mine. Just let me know what works.

Cheers! :)

BTW - I think everyone agrees the A/C model in ASL is less than stellar. However, its role for this scale of game and considering the focus is ground, not aerial combat, in ASL, the existing Chapter E rules work well enough, IMO. However, if I was going to get serious about my ground attack missions, I'd be playing a bombing mission scenario from AS or WD, like you mentioned.

Portal,
thanks for the offer. Its d*** hard to get a game of fighting wings! I accept but it will be a couple of months before my other gaming commitments allow unfortuanately. Plus I played a lot of AS, but only about four games of WD, so need to brush up on the rules. I'll send you a private message after the UK March asl tournament. Something CACTUS air force I think.
 

Jim McLeod

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IMHO, airsupport is something that should not at all be represented in an ASL scenario. The scale and scope of ASL does not lend itself to airsupport. Its current use in ASL is very gamey as well. Again, IMHO.
 

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I've done some work on individualized types of aircraft for ASL. The MG values are pretty simple to calculate (MG's 1 FP each, .50 cal's 2 FP each, etc). I also discovered that the square root of the bomb load in pounds can be used for the IFT (or IIFT) column that the bomb attack is on (a 500 lb bomb attacks on the 22 or 20 column, a Ju 87D with a average load attacks on the 43 or 36+ column).

The trouble I ran into was trying to determine the defnsive modifier the plane gets when fired on. I just haven't got the right combination of speed, armor/toughness and size to come up with a good formula. When I do though, I will post it on my website.

If anyone wants the MG and bomb load values for the 150 or so planes I've done so far, just let me know and I'll send you a pdf.

Never mind, here is a link: http://www.cavalcadeofwhimsy.com/wargaming/asl/ASL_aircraft.pdf
 
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Brian W

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The trouble I ran into was trying to determine the defnsive modifier the plane gets when fired on. I just haven't got the right combination of speed, armor/toughness and size to come up with a good formula. When I do though, I will post it on my website.
I see that you have the F190-D with the same modifier as the F, despite the D having an inline engine and the F having extra armor for ground attack (IIRC). I would probably never give an a/c with an inline engine more than a 2 (or 3 if very fast or with two engines like the P-38).
 

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I personally don't mind the ambigious plane rules for ASL. I don't want to have to learn a whole different "vehicle"-esk rule section and the planes themselves for the rare time I see them in play. The fact, planes > anything else. I once had planes in a game and I absolute demolished my oppenents forces with them. It was amazing. For a while me and my oppenent thought that they were too strong but then the game came down to the last die role so it was noded that good design will keep planes in check.

I actually wouldn't mind if the current rules were revised and re-written though. I find they just don't make sense at times. I had a hell of a time reading through them. Bloody hell of a hard time, I'm almost 100% sure I play them wrong but oh well. I play them wrong in my favor :laugh:

- The Canadian Dude
 

Cthulhu

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I see that you have the F190-D with the same modifier as the F, despite the D having an inline engine and the F having extra armor for ground attack (IIRC). I would probably never give an a/c with an inline engine more than a 2 (or 3 if very fast or with two engines like the P-38).
Those defense values were just based on aircraft weight (as a measure of "toughness"). Like I said, I haven't come up with a satisfatory formula for the defense values. Consider those on the pdf as placeholders.
 

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If ASL can model mules, exploding dogs, and robots, then hey, it can model individual airplanes. I'm all for it.

Maybe someone could design the Air Power Pack (Bombs Away!).
 

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Mark,
there are plenty of squad leader enthusiasts who said we ruined a perfectly good infantry game by having more than one type of generic tank. But we all love the myriad different types of vehicles and ASL would be much poorer without them. It is important that a Sherman doesn't penetrate the frontal armour of a King Tiger. Because otherwise an important element of the games fun - the suspension of disbelief - is lost.
ASL was once described as a game where if you didn't know the difference between a PzVD and a PzVG it wasn't for you...similarly if you know the difference between your model 21 and 32 Zeroes - a generic counter that does things it shouldn't hurts that suspension of disbelief and makes it less fun.

Hey I'm only talking about some aircraft counters with different values on them not the IIFT :).
:smoke: I think your ideas have some merit, but the number of scenarios that I play with FB's & such warrant only the current rather abstract rules. BUT, that is not to say I wouln't consider a more detailed approach.

I assume you've never played or seen the SL air rules (from whence the ASL air rules were founded). These, with a few notable exceptions, simply lumped FB's and Ftr's into a rather generic aircraft if I remember exactly (will look at the older game rules to verify/deny this statement later). ASL put additional information on their aircraft counters more as "eye candy" than to denote particular differences-at least in detail per particular aircraft performance.:(

:whist:I think the current rules serve well enough to add airpower into a game dedicated to small unit actions of ground combat. However, my guess is that many of the people in the community would be at least mildly interested in more detailed approach for aircraft, if simply for no other reason than being more "purest" in their approach to the game (Hey some people are actually Ape S**t about black SS counters?!).

I would suggest that if you're particularly interested in this aspect, a cooperative effort could be undertaken with personnel of similar intrests and dedication, and put together a third party product. You could even submit your proposals to MMP for inclusion into the existing rules or as an optional set. "The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single footstep" (or something to that effect).:hmmm:

Keep plugging away, keep positive, :nofear:and the best to you mate! :bandit::thumup:
 

The Purist

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Considering the terrain scale of the average ASL scenario (500 meters to 1 km) and the size of forces being represented (perhaps a company or two),...aircraft do not need any more detail. Like the various discussions over the years have noted,....at the "level" most scenarios cover, even having availability would have been extremely unlikely. From the "historical" side, aircraft were not that effective in frontline situations anyway (as noted above) and were more effective shooting up road convoys and artillery positions. :bite:

We need to remember this is not a "simulation" game but rather one of 'design for effect'. :)
 
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