Last night we tried out Aernautica Imperialis, the F*** World 40k air combat game which uses the Epic scale fighter planes. As seen previoulsy in this blog, Dallas has been on a little tear of a "project", painting up a hefty Ork squadron, some Imperial fighters, and some great new terrain made of spare bits and junk from around the house.
Cam and I played the Imeprial side, with four Thunderbolts, and a trio of heavy flak guns defending the three different Imperial sludge reclamation facilities.
Frederick, Dallas, Mike F and Bill took control of the large Ork squadron, which included two "bommerz" (looted Imperial Marauders - excellent conversions by Dallas) and 8 "fighta-bommerzs" (or was it 10? or 12? as an Imperial pilot, I think I had an incentive to exaggerate the number of attackers).
As a certified F*** World hypocrite (yes - I bought Epic Tau), I was a bit wary of the new AI rules. Certainly the book lived up to Forge World's reputation for rigorous production controls (the Q&A addressing typos in the book was filled with typos itself).
Yet my concerns were misplaced - as is so often the case with GW's non-40k games, the rules are great. They are easy to understand, play quick, and use simple maneuver cards that provide some challenge in terms of aniticpating the other side's moves without needing a bunch of charts or (something that is in my subjective opinion one of the least-appealing sights in table-top wargaming) a hex-map on the table.
The game was fast-paced. Lucky for me, Cam's two fighters took the brunt of the early fire from the Ork squadron (or is it Skwadrun?) and he lost a 'Bolt in the second turn, while our flak guns missed. At that time, we wondered how useful they would be. HA! As the Orc attack wave broke up to engage the different sludge reclamation facilities, they started to pick the Orc planes out of the sky. In fact, our rolling got pretty awesome. I may never roll that hot again, and Cam was even winning initiative for us!
Gav Thorpe: "Definitely a moral win for the Imperial side..."
The "play of the game" had to be the moment when Dallas, after carefully lining up in the 6 o-clock spot of Cam's last fighter, had a chance to blast it. However, Frederick has also lined up a bombing run on one of the plants, and with the flak gunners demonstrating eagle-eyed accuracy, the Orks put the mission first and allowed Frederick to take the first shooting action, and he attacked the factory (and my apologies to Frederick - I can't recall if he hit the thing or not...)
Quote Dallas - "I've got a bad feeling about this..." The Imperial flak guns opened up, and blasted his fighta from the sky with a direct critical hit...
All in all, the Imperials shot down all but one Ork plane. But the Orks really pasted the targets, destroying one plant, severely damaging another, and knocking out one of the flak guns. Mike F in particular gets an Ork squig coupon (or would have if his pilots hadn't been shot down on the second-last turn) for a red-hot strafing run that absolutely pasted the second factory, and gave the Orks the victory - although I'm sure Gav Thorpe would agree that the Imperial side won a moral victory after shooting down almost the entire Ork attack force.
No doubt the Imperial pilots, thinking they had done well, were surprised to return to base and learn they had been demoted to Colon Servitor Fifth Class for not protecting the precious toxic sludge reclamation facilities...