Saturday, November 09, 2013

Modder Fockers fly again !

The prospect of another rent-a-grandson afternoon prompted me to dust off the old WWI aircraft.  Some of these models date back to the early 70's when some of us played with them on the floor at Mr Stuart (with quite differently coloured hair and flared pants).   In the 90's we looked at Flock of Fokkers & decided we could do better.  Our Modder Fokkers became the main game at Camp Cromwell for some time, though we've only played it occasionally in recent years because of a combination of having too many other good things to so & the fact that though we meet more often than ever, we seldom have the half dozen players at once that you need for a really good dogfight. 

Digging the rules out off my hard drive I found that though they had been copied on through several computers, they hadn't been changed since 2003.  We used to print off pro-forma game sheets for each plane & write down our proposed moves each turn & record damage.  After writing down our proposed moves, all planes moved simultaneously, so the essence of the game was to second guess your enemy & get your plane where it can shoot at where he's going to be  (while staying out of way of all his mates).

The rules always did work well & there's no reason to change them in principle, but I saw I could use our 21st century technology to improve it.  Instead of paper forms to write on, I've tried using Hail Caesar movement trays to make magnetic play boards so we can use washers as counters to record proposed moves and damage.
Each aircraft has its own sheet. Enough can be printed & cut out of each type to cover the planes we are likely to use.  Preparation for a dogfight will consist of tossing some Gauls off their movement trays and taping the required sheets to them.  Washers make perfect counters as you can see the number through the hole.  The counter with the cardboard aircraft outline is moved on the mini-map of the area in front of it to record your proposed move.  The captions on the edges of the hexes indicate where you can go, which way you can point & say what options for changing height you have if you go there.   The slide at middle right is to record proposed height change.  The 3 washers at the top record damage to wings, fuselage & engine and there are reminders of the effect of damage.   The sheets can be tailored in many ways to simulate the particular aircraft.  The boards fit in the hand nicely and it's easy to keep your cunning plans from prying eyes.
The lads took on my Fokker Dr1 with a Spad & a Camel.  Sam showed he's learning from me already - hanging about sniping at me while I chased his brother's tail.  The nifty little tripe chased the camel in circles while simultaneously trying to avoid the Spad.  The camel was lucky to survive, but the Spad's sniping got the Fokker first.
The magnetic game boards work beautifully.  If you orientate the board with the plane it's really easy to relate what you do on it with the model on the table - much easier than what we did before.   And having the restrictions on manoeuvre shown visually makes them so much easier to comply with, as well making it easier to tailor them to simulate aircraft characteristics.  The lads had no trouble getting the concept - they soon had me wishing I'd taken the DVII.
There's a bit more work to do refining the boards, but I'm sure I'm on a winner.  It would also be applicable for our Naval rules - both Men o' War & Dreadnoughts (both of which use the printed order/damage sheet concept).


Anonymous said...

looks like you all had good fun

Nick said...

I have always enjoyed Modder Fokker. But we really should get a hex sheet that looks like WW1 France!!!!