Tag Archives: Dauntless

NOVAG’s Winter Game Day, 29 Jan 2017, Centreville VA


(Note: I have some reports that the inline pictures are not viewable on this post.  They are to me, that’s a little mystifying, but it might be a permissions issue– I’m using Google Photos instead of Flickr for this post.  Here is a link to every picture I took, which is public: https://goo.gl/photos/3GzUcNgKknah5hFQ9)

Today was NOVAG’s Quarterly Game Day (Winter 2017) held as usual at the Centreville Library. This is the big meeting room facility at the library and it can hold roughly 9 setups for miniatures games, roughly equivalent to a 5 x 8 table at a convention (somewhat smaller). This gameday was fairly well promoted on Facebook, Twitter and elsewhere and attendance was fantastic– every table had something on it and every game ran the length of the gameday (pretty much), from about 1 to 5.


Ron Prillman Routs some Russians. I think.

I’ve posted the PEL elsewhere, and every game but two (the Space Hulk and Russo-Polish game) was played.


Okay, maybe it was some Americans.


… and Dave Luff is astounded at the results!!

Jason Weiser runs his game with Mike Pierce in the background. Okay, yeah, it was Eastern Front. The green paint job fooled me.

This was Battlegroup World War II “The End of the Iron Dream”.. looks like everyone enjoyed themselves. I like the fire effect Jason was using with a flickering tea lamp under the smoke cloud.

Peter Schweighofer was there with his new rule system aimed at kids, Panzer Kids Deluxe. This looked like a blast from where I was sitting. Tons of kids at this game con, this is a great sign!

Brian Dewitt, kind of an iron man of running games at cons and gamedays, took a break from Chariot Racing and Ancient Galley Warfare, to make a game about Medieval Siege Warfare, the Siege of Skipton Castle.  I like Siege games, for some reason– and this looked like it was a hit with the younger set.

There was also a modern game of Force on Force going on in the corner, called The Battle of Yampil.  This was run by the Byrne brothers and seemed sparse in infantry and dense in armor vehicles.

Elsewhere, Roy Jones ran Sword and the Flame (Sand Dunes of Zwarfontein) NOVAG’s own Tim Tilson ran a War of the Austrian Succession game (15 June 1746. Piacenza), and Dennis Wang reran his cool variant of Air Force / Dauntless that used a tablet client to make moves. It’s a fun game, more on it here.

What was I doing?  Oh, I was busy.  I actually came to play in Dave Markley and John Koprowski’s Russo Polish War game, which is a favorite period for me.   They had cancelled but that was fine– as I came in I noticed Mark Fastoso, a GM I associate with running historical games, had set up a Napoleonic skirmish game using many Alternative Armies FLINTLOQUE game figures and DRAGON RAMPART (modified for Napoleonics) as the rules.  I asked if had space, he said “sure, wanna play?” and I said “I”m In!”.   This proved to be a good time– first time for me using both Flintloque miniatures (which are charming!) and the Dragon Rampart rules, which make total sense to me and are a blast.  Bear with, here on the many pictures of this game, this is where I was for most of the day and I only nicked off to snap a few of other games now and then.

See the rest of them here in this GOOGLE PHOTOS album!

I tried Facebooking live on here which I posted publicly to the Facebook Alternative Armies group in three parts: ONE TWO THREE (I made this public share specifically so it could be viewed by everyone).

and compiled it all here on a YT, but it’s kind of small:

In summary, a great time and it’s always fun catching up with people you don’t see that often, even locally. Kudos to the organizers, another fun event.

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Air Force with Ipads! NOVAG Game Day Winter 2014


Thanks to the constant efforts of Mr. Tim Tilson and Mr. Brian DeWitt, NOVAG held its Winter Game Day event at the Centreville Library on 15 February 2014.

My son Garrett and I showed up at a little after noon, so we missed any early games.  I was interested in playing in this game I noticed in the PEL:

1 pm – Air Force/Dauntless, By Dennis Wang
Period: World War II
Scale: 1/300
Rules: Air Force Dauntless
Players: 8
Time: 3 hours
Size Table Needed: 5’ x 6’

Air Force/Dauntless, the Battleline/AH game of plane to plane combat updated for the computer age. Tabletop 1/300 scale plane to plane combat with a computer aid using your Wi-Fi enabled tablet computer to handle movement and all those pencil and paper calculations of speed and altitude. Bring your tablet, laptop or smartphone that has a WWW browser.

This really appealed to me, being A) a big tablet nut, and B) liking plane to plane combat games.   The part that REALLY appealed to me was the clever idea of automating the combat tables for movement and combat away from the paper rulebook (which you can get here as a PDF) and onto a server, which can be viewed through any smart device, like a tablet, ipad, smartphone, etc.   I played it on an Ipad Air Tablet; Garrett used an Iphone 5.  Other players used Kindles and generic Android Tablets, all provided by Dennis Wang.

Two tablets being used during the game, it all went splendidly!

Mr. Wang, pictured below, set out a very simple scenario.  A group of Aichi D3A Vals were attacking a US picket destroyer “somewhere close to the main American fleet”, which was somewhere close to the Japanese mainland in 1944.   They are escorted by two advanced Zero fighters (possibly the A6M5 or 6)– both Japanese aircraft were obsolescent by 1944 standards, but the Zero much less so.    The Americans, me and another fella (Tuscaloosa on TMP), were both flying a single F6F Hellcat, if memory serves.  Our job: destroy or disrupt the attack.  The job of Garrett and the other Zero fighter was to keep us off of the Vals.  Dennis ran the Val attack.  I ran the picket ship Anti-Aircraft fire as well.

Mr. Dennis Wang, creator of the mobile device Air Force game, setting up the scenario.

The infrastructure was remarkably simple. Mr. Wang set up his router and we pointed our devices to the IP address. A screen came up:

Opening screen. This screen takes the place of “Airplane Cards” in Air Force/Dauntless. All the information needed to run an *individual plane* in this implementation. See next screen

I selected the plane I was running, the F6F Hellcat. The Hellcat was arguably the best plane that was ever fielded by the US Navy during World War II. Clicking this hyperlink brought up the turn screen:

Start Screen for F6F. The Vals were handled slightly differently, but the Zero pilot players also saw a similar screen.

The original Avalon Hill game came with a series of data cards that essentially guided you through the physics of combat maneuvers and firing.

Card for F6F in the original DAUNTLESS game. Click to expand

Mr. Wang’s computer program condenses the information on the card into a browser based app that basically tracks all that information, including ammunition, fuel, and damage.

Two F6Fs take on a small horde of Japanese.

My colleague on the American side, Tuscaloosa, was used to the game and Mr. Wang’s implementation of it, and had a better idea of the maneuvering. The point of this scenario was NOT to engage Zeros, but to splash as many Vals as possible. Yet, I dove on the Zeros and managed to inflict some damage on Garrett’s plane. Unfortunately, I shot pasthis plane and found myself shooting away from the action quickly as the diving Vals gained speed. In Air Force, as in reality, a plane gains speed in the dive, and loses speed in the climb. We all started at 10000 feet and the Vals split up and were descending to their target, the picket boat, every turn until they hit max speed.

Lesson 1: go after VALs not ZEROs.

In the background, my Hellcat has just shot past the Zeros after a short dogfight. The Vals spread out to make a harder target and Tuscaloosa is desperately trying to catch up. At this point, it’s looking grim.

Speed was tricky.  Mr. Wang made a big point of this in the game briefing.   If we see a red message in the status window, we had to pay attention to it.  Alas, I didn’t.  I tried to wing over and dive to the right after the Vals on the right.  I tried to descend far too quickly and the wings came off my plane.

Not the status on the bottom right yellow box. Yeah. That sucked.

At least the log file tells you what you did wrong.

Mr. Wang was magnanimous, and gave me another F6F to throw into the fight because at this stage it didn’t look we were going to be able to do much to stop a Japanese victory.

END GAME. Japanese Victory

I didn’t manage to do much but damage a single incoming Val with aircraft gunfire and I splashed one with Heavy AA fire. I think if the game had continued a few more turns we might have splashed a few, but the Vals achieved their objective, which was to get to the Picket boat.

Lessons Learned: I should have turned and dived after the Vals immediately and not even cared about the Zeroes. We might have splashed about two before they got to the Ship. The quality advantage of the F6F over the Val was negated by basic physics.. they were accelerating away from us in a dive WAY too fast for us to catch up.

We didn’t have much of a chance of winning after the second or third turn, but you have to try, right?

As far as the technology implementation, I thought this was a brilliant approach to the game. I remember playing Air Force (the board game) when I was 20ish and it was enjoyable, but very slow to plot and execute movement and combat with 2D cardboard chits. I think Mr. Wang is on to something. The explosion of mobile devices (NOT necessarily Ipads) means this technology (which is web-enabled, therefore not dependent on a particular OS) is going to be increasingly available for gaming. A Kindle, any Android tablet, a smartphone or Iphone.. they can all handle this kind of server-based implementation of the rules.

Rules were minimal. There were two charts, with some basic maneuvers associated with AIR FORCE that were used (See the slideshow link, below). I ignored them for the most part and used my tablet. I still had to use a paper chart to roll gunfire and antiaircraft fire on, and Mr. Wang had to keep track of several Vals on a roster. I think there’s a great future for this, even as a commercial program. I hadn’t played Air Force in decades, but playing this game made mewant to scamper out and buy some planes and try this myself, being an Ipad nut. So, in sum, well done, Mr. Wang, I really liked this event and I liked your implementation. Keep working on it, your efforts are appreciated.

Here’s every picture I took in a single slideshow