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MAVERICK'S AIR COMBAT WARGAMES

Air Combat Games:  These games reflect
an interesting area of wargaming.  The
designer is restricted to a two-dimensional
format for simulating a three-dimensional
scenario (some designs have "cleverly"
avoided this dilemma by ignoring altitude.)
It is also a frustrating gaming arena
for aviation enthusiasts who often feel
that something is lost in the translation 
(not surprisingly and perhaps inevitably
so.)

Air combat games traditionally make a
compromise between excruciating detail
and playability.  It's generally not
enjoyable to spend three hours to
play thorough thirty seconds of actual
combat, but some games just about do that.
Indeed, some of the most enjoyable games
on this list are not particularly
realistic but still do an admirable job
of capturing the flavor of air combat
in a less complicated manner.

With the exception of a few titles, this is
a nearly exhaustive collection of all the
air combat board wargame titles published 
to date.

Looking for games? I may have some of these for sale!





AIR COMBAT BOARDGAMES (PUBLISHER)
------------------------------------------------------------
ACES HIGH (3W)
ACES HIGH (SIMULATION GAMES/WWW)
ACES HIGH, WARGAMER 12 (WWW)
 World War I game from 3W/WWW which spawned a small number
 of related games.  Originally published as a magazine game 
 and later released in two boxed editions.  Other releases 
 in the series include an expansion: Blue Max (not the GDW 
 game), a stand-alone expansion: The American Aces, and 
 another magazine edition: Red Baron.
ACE OF ACES BALLOON BUSTER EDITION (NOVA)
ACE OF ACES FLYING MACHINES EDITION (NOVA)
AEE OF ACES FLYING MACHINES EDITION (NOVA)
ACE OF ACES HANDY ROTARY EDITION (GAMESHOP)
ACE OF ACES HANDY ROTARY EDITION (NOVA)
ACE OF ACES HANDY ROTARY EDITION, UNBOXED (NOVA)
ACE OF ACES HANDY ROTARY RICHTHOFEN EDITION (NOVA)
ACE OF ACES POWERHOUSE EDITION (NOVA)
 The Ace of Aces series use a pair of books to recreate
 WWI dogfights.  The books consist of pictures of views from
 the cockpit of your aircraft showing the location of the
 enemy aircraft.  Permitted manuvers are listed across the
 bottom of the page.  Each player selects a manuver and
 the game system leads you to the appropriate page showing
 your respective positions.  The basic game is that easy.
 Advanced rules allowed for further complexity but the
 basic game is so fun and fast it's hard to give it up.
 A favorite of gamers and non-gamers alike since anyone
 can learn to play the basic game in a matter of minutes.
ACES OF ACES HANDY ROTARY DELUXE EDITION (NOVA)
ACES OF ACES JET EAGLES, DESERT STORM EDITION (NOVA)
ACES OF ACES WINGLEADER (NOVA)
 These later "deluxe" editions came boxed with two books
 that used black and white photographs of the actual aircraft
 rather than drawings.  In addition, charts and cards are
 provided adding additional detail and some realism to the
 game.  Wingleader expanded the series to WWII fighters
 (P-51 and FW-190) and Jet Eagles dealt less successfully
 with jet fighter combat.  Deluxe edition of Wingleader includes
 additional aircraft and campaign rules.
ACES OF ACES WINGLEADER, DELUXE EDITION (NOVA)
 This edition distributed through Chessex included an extra
 24 aircraft and campaign game rules.
ACE OF ACES, FRENCH EDITION "VOUS ETES L'AS DES AS", ROTARY DELUXE IN SLIPCASE (GALLIMARD)
ACHTUNG SPITFIRE! (CLASH OF ARMS)
 WWII
ADVANCED FIGHTER COMBAT (GAMESCIENCE)
 Expansion adding aircraft and rules to Basic Fighter Combat 
 WWII miniatures rules, see below.  Also released as part of 
 the Complete Fighter Combat System boxed set.
AIR ACES (INTERNATIONAL GAMERS)
 A set of miniatures rules for WWII air combat.
AIR CAV (WEST END)
 An update of Air Cobra.
AIR COBRA (OSG)
 Attack helicopters in modern tactical combat.
AIR DUEL: DANGER ZONE (ONE SMALL STEP)
 This modern air combat game is an interesting attempt 
 to bring Ace of Aces style mechanics to the tabletop.
AIR FORCE (AVALON HILL)
AIR FORCE (BATTLELINE)
 Classic WWII air combat system using plotted movement.
 Air Force features air combat in the European theater
 and a second game, Dauntless, focused on the Pacific.
AIR FORCE/DAUNTLESS EXPANSION KIT (AH/BATTLELINE)
 Expansion set adds additional Japanese, British and
 American aircraft as well as introducing aircraft for
 the Italians and Russians.
AIR POWER (TSR)
 A set of miniatures rules for WWII air combat.
AIR STRIKE (GDW)
AIR SUPERIORITY (GDW)
 Modern air combat and ground support.
AIR WAR (SPI)
AIR WAR (TSR/SPI)
AIR WAR UPDATED EDITION (SPI)
 Probably one of the most complex SPI "games" produced
 (if you can call it a game.)  Highly "detailed" system
 for recreating jet combat.  Takes some of the basic
 concepts of the early SPI air games and buries them
 in chrome and complexity.
THE AMERICAN ACES (3W)
 Aces High series, see above for details.
B-17 QUEEN OF THE SKIES (ON TARGET)
B-17 QUEEN OF THE SKIES (AVALON HILL)
 Interesting solitaire game where the player controls a
 B-17 in various bombing raids over France and Germany.
 Although the player's decisions are very limited and
 the game boils down to rolling a bunch of dice and
 consulting a lot of charts, it still makes for a tense
 game and in reality a bomber crew had very little control
 over most circumstances surrounding their flight.
BASIC FIGHTER COMBAT MANUAL (LOU ZOCCHI)
 A set of WWII air combat rules for use with aircraft models.
 This game requires a large open playing area (floor, ping
 pong table, basketball court, etc.) to play.  Flat cardstock
 discs with aircraft info on them can be used if models are
 not available.  An Advanced Fighter Combat expansion book 
 added additional aircraft to the system.  Also released as
 part of the Complete Fighter Combat System boxed set.
THE BATTLE OF BRITAIN (TSR)
 A simple boardgame featuring plastic Spiftire and Messerschmitt pieces.
THE BATTLE OF BRITAIN, LARGE BOX (GAMESCIENCE/RENWAL)
THE BATTLE OF BRITAIN, SECOND EDITION (GAMESCIENCE/RENWAL)
 WWII
BATTLE OVER BRITAIN (TSR/SPI)
 WWII
BLUE MAX (GDW)
BLUE MAX, SECOND EDITION (GDW)
 WWI air combat game that has very accessible rules and is
 quick playing while still retaining a good feel for the
 period.  In addition, this has the BEST looking counter
 art for any air combat games (Mustangs is a close run for
 the money.)  Note that the first edition did not have any
 altitude rules (!) but these were added in the second
 edition.  Another preference note: the manuver cards in
 the first edition are heavier duty, but the second edition
 damage and movement log sheet looks better.
BOMBER (YAQUINTO)
 Allied strategic bombing campaigns over Europe in WWII.
BOMBS AWAY!, GAMEFIX 4 (GPG)
 Simple card game dealing with the Allied bombing campaign 
 against Germany in WWII.  Published in Gamefix magazine. 
CHECK SIX! (Close Simulations)
 Post-WWII jet combat game.  Produced for U.S. Air Force under 
 Project Warrior.  Later released by AH as Flight Leader.
CLASH OF EAGLES (CAMELOT GAMES)
 WWII Battle of Britain air combat system similar to Blue Max.
COMBAT WINGS (TSUKUDA HOBBY)
 Japanese game dealing with the Allied strategic bombing campaign 
 against Germany in World War II.  The rules are in Japanese,
 so all I know about the game so far is the English slogan on 
 the cover: "The Game of Eighth Air Force Bombing Target in Germany."
COMPLETE FIGHTER COMBAT SYSTEM (GAMESCIENCE)
 Lou Zocchi's Basic and Advanced Fighter Combat games combined
 in a boxed set that includes a mapsheet and counters allowing
 it to be played as a board game or with miniatures.
CORSAIRS & HELLCATS (GMT)
 WWII card game
DAUNTLESS (AVALON HILL)
DAUNTLESS (BATTLELINE)
 The Pacific Theater expansion for Air Force.  The Battleline
 version was a stand-alone game while the current AH release
 requires Air Force to play.
DAWN PATROL (TSR)
 Re-release of Fight in the Skies with some improved components
 but the same old creaky game system.  See below.
DELUXE FIGHTER PILOT (GAMESCIENCE)
 The boxed set for Fighter Pilot, a simple set of WWII air combat 
 miniatures rules released by The Little Soldier.  A mapsheet 
 and counters are included to allow play as a board game.  Also 
 includes Fighter Pilot Expansion which gives new fighters and 
 errata.
DESERT FALCONS, AIR SUPERIORITY EXPANSION (GDW)
 Modern
DOGFIGHT OVER FLANDERS (TABLETOP GAMES)
 WWI miniatures rules.
DOWNTOWN (GMT)
 Vietnam War tactical-operational scale game of American air attacks
 in and around Hanoi.
EAGLE DAY (HISTO GAMES)
 You know it's probably a good idea to stay away when the rules
 state: "Eagle Day is played in full turns, each representing
 ten minutes of time.  Each week has 20 full turns..." (!)
EIGHTH AIR FORCE (GMT)
 Second release in the Down in Flames card game series
 following up Rise of the Luftwaffe.  Adds additional 
 aircraft and rules.
FIGHTER BOMBER (TSUKUDA HOBBY)
 Japanese game set in the jet era.  The rules are in Japanese 
 so all I know about the game so far is the English slogan on 
 the cover: "The Game of Fighter Bombers Attack on the Ground 
 Target."
FIGHT FOR THE SKY (ATTACTIX)
 WWII Battle of Britain
FIGHT IN THE SKIES (THIRD EDITION) (MIKE CARR)
FIGHT IN THE SKIES, FOURTH EDITION (GUIDON GAMES)
FIGHT IN THE SKIES (FIFTH EDITION) (TSR)
FIGHT IN THE SKIES (SIXTH EDITION, SECOND PRINTING) (TSR)
 Old, creaky WWI air combat game that TSR called an RPG because
 of some bare bones rules for campaigning and characters.
 Not what one would consider an RPG today, and not what one
 would consider a decent air combat game today.  But it had a
 large following in it's time (before many air combat games
 existed) and is supposed to be good fun.  Re-released as
 Dawn Patrol.
FLIGHT LEADER (AVALON HILL)
 Jet combat.  A revision of Check Six!
FLYING CIRCUS (SPI)
FLYING CIRCUS, S&T 31 (SPI)
 Classic SPI design which became the basis for Spitfire
 and Foxbat and Phantom.  Simple, playable game which
 explored concepts adopted in many later air combat games.
FLYING TIGERS (GAMESCIENCE)
 Sorry excuse for an air combat game especially when
 you consider it came from the designer of the reasonably
 detailed Luftwaffe and Battle of Britain.  But of course,
 even though it is abominable in a historical sense, it
 still might be a fun game...
FOX ONE (ONE SMALL STEP)
 Card game of jet fighter combat.
FOXBAT AND PHANTOM (SPI)
FOXBAT AND PHANTOM DESIGNER'S EDITION (SPI)
 An early air combat game focusing on modern (70's) jet
 combat.  Simple, accessible system focused on playability
 rather than an all-out facade of realism which was the
 downfall of Air War.  The designer's edition came boxed
 with mounted mapsheets.
HORNET LEADER (GMT)
 Innovative solitaire game where a player controls a
 group of F-18 hornets through a series of strike
 missions.  Aircraft and pilots must be rotated and
 assigned to various duties.  Player selects weapons
 loads and attack routes.  Threats include enemy fighters,
 SAMs, AAA and occasional bad luck.  Excellent game
 with great replay value.
HORNET LEADER II PLAYTEST KIT (GMT)
HOSTILE AIRCRAFT (GOBLINTOOTH ENTERPRISES)
 WWI miniatures
KAMIKAZE, F&M 31 (STEVE JACKSON GAMES)
KNIGHTS OF THE AIR (AVALON HILL)
 WWI
LONDON'S BURNING (AVALON HILL)
 WWII Battle of Britain
LUFTSCHIFF (SIERRA MADRE)
 WWI solitaire game where player controls a Zeppelin in
 raids over Britain.  Highly playable even with great 
 attention to historical detail.  Followed by an expansion 
 kit (Riesenflugzeugabteilungen) which featured the "giant"
 bombers of WWI.
LUFTWAFFE (AVALON HILL)
 WWII Allied strategic bombing campaign over Europe.
MALTA, CLASH OF EAGLES EXPANSION (CAMELOT GAMES)
 WWII Mediterranean Theater.
MIG KILLERS (GAMESCIENCE)
 Jet combat
MIG KILLERS EXPANSION KIT (GAMESCIENCE)
 The cover says "240 Extra Aircraft Counters" but inside
 the game says "Enclosed you will find 240 die-cut counters
 that have been mistakenly cut off-register and/or
 improperly bonded to the cardboard."  Really!
MISSION ALOFT (JIM BUMPAS GAMES)
 This self-described operational-tactical game focuses on  
 air-to-ground and recon missions from 1960-1980.
MUSTANGS (AVALON HILL)
 WWII
MUSTANGS AND MESSERSCHMITTS (FALCON GAMES)
 WWII miniatures
NORAD, CONFLICT 4 (SDC)
NORAD (MISHLER COMPANY)
 Simple presentation of Russian strategic bomber strike 
 on U.S. in early 1960's.  Originally appeared as a 
 magazine game in Conflict.
OVER THE REICH (CLASH OF ARMS)
 WWII
PANZERZUG (WINSOME GAMES)
 Card game depicting late WWII allied fighter attacks on 
 German rail assets. 
RAF (WEST END)
 Solitaire strategic air game where the player controls
 the British air units during the Battle of Britain 
 against the German attack which is run by an innovative
 card system.  A classic solitaire design which is both
 tense and challenging.
RED BARON, WARGAMER 48 (3W)
 Aces High series, see above for details.
RICHTHOFEN'S WAR (AVALON HILL)
 WWI
RIESENFLUGZEUGABTEILUNGEN LUFTSCHIFF EXPANSION (SIERRA MADRE)
 Expansion for Luftschiff, see above.
THE RISE OF THE LUFTWAFFE (GMT)
 WWII card game
ROLLING THUNDER (COMMANDO WARGAMES)
ROLLING THUNDER (GROUP THREE GAMES)
 Vietnam
SKYHAWKS, WARHAWKS COMICS MODULE #8 (TSR)
 Simple "game in a comic book" of fighter combat during 
 the Battle of Britain.
THE SPEED OF HEAT (CLASH OF ARMS)
 Jet combat
SPITFIRE (3W)
 WWII
SPITFIRE (SPI)
 WWII
STURMOVIK, CLASH OF EAGLES EXPANSION, PARABELLUM 0 (CAMELOT GAMES)
 WWII Russian Front.  Released in first issue of 
 Parabellum magazine.
THEIR FINEST HOUR (GDW)
 WWII Battle of Britain.
THUNDERBOLT-APACHE LEADER (GMT)
 Solitaire game of modern close air support.  An offspring
 of the Hornet Leader system, it shares many advantages.
 Requires careful decision making and mission planning by
 the player, and adds additional detail and complexity over
 the Hornet Leader system.
TOP GUN (COUNTERS) (FASA)
TOP GUN (PLASTIC PLANES) (FASA)
 Modern jet combat
ULTIMATUM (YAQUINTO)
 Unusual game of global brinksmanship in the 1950-70's which
 features ICBMs as well as strategic bombers and interceptors.
VCR DOGFIGHT (SPINNAKER SOFTWARE)
 WWWII.  Unusual hybrid wargame using VCR footage for 
 combat resolution.
WINGS (EXCALIBRE/YAQUINTO)
WINGS (YAQUINTO)
 Highly rated WWI air combat system.  Features a few differnt
 rule systems in one package allowing a range of play from
 highly detailed combat recommended for only a few aircraft
 at a time to simplified rules allowing for mass air battles.
WINGS OVER FRANCE (LAMBOURNE)
 WWI solitaire
ZEPPELIN, S&T 159 (SPI)
 WWI Zeppelin raids


AIR COMBAT RELATED BOARDGAMES
-----------------------------
For those who are interested in more than just
air warfare, these games incorporate air combat
rules but are not solely focused on aerial combat.

AIR AND ARMOR (WEST END)
 Modern tactical air support.
BOOTS AND SADDLES (GDW)
 Part of the Assault modern tactical combat series, adds 
 airmobile infantry rules.
CARRIER (VICTORY GAMES)
 WWII
CARRIER BATTLES (RISING SUN SIMULATIONS)
 WWII
CV (YAQUINTO)
 A follow up to Flat Top that uses the same system to
 recreate the carrier battles at Midway.  Exceedingly
 detailed and not as highly acclaimed as Flat Top.
F.E.B.A. (Close Simulations)
 Modern air support game.  Produced for U.S. Air Force under 
 Project Warrior.  Later released by AH as Tac-Air.
FLAT TOP (AVALON HILL)
FLAT TOP, SECOND PRINTING (BATTLELINE)
 Detailed simulation of WWII carrier warfare in the
 Solomons.  Players control individual ships and
 small groups of aircraft in a cat and mouse game
 of search and destroy.  Followed up by CV which
 applied essentially the same system to Midway, but
 Flat Top is generally rated as the better of the two.
KRIEGSMARINE (SIMULATIONS CANADA)
 Tactical naval game incorporating air units.
A LINE IN THE SAND (TSR)
 Operation Desert Storm.
MIDWAY (AVALON HILL)
 WWII Pacific Theater.
RED STORM RISING (TSR)
 Modern hypothetical NATO versus Soviets.
TAC-AIR (AVALON HILL)
 Modern air support.  A revision of F.E.B.A.


05/30/04

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