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Although there are a lot of miniatures rules for air combat out there, we settled on Phantoms and have been running games with it for almost a decade. Based off of the Avalon Hill game Mustangs, Phantoms features maneuver markers placed ahead of the aircraft models to
regulate movement. The rules are definitely suited for large group games and provide a lot of fun. The rules are of medium complexity and can be downloaded for free by clicking on the Phantoms icon at the top of this column. For this game we used the optional spotting rules where aircraft could not maneuver until they spotted an enemy aircraft, which gave both sides some interesting starting positions.

Phantoms: F-8s vs. Migs


Jet Combat over the skies of Vietnam

We had not played Phantoms in awhile and with a visitor this time it seemed like a good game that was easy to set up and wouldn't take too long to explain. We decided to go with four F-8 Crusaders against a pair of Mig-21s and a second pair of Migs, but this pair had one Mig-21 and one Mig-17. The Migs spotted the F-8s first and began to maneuver against them, although the second pair of Mig-21s was far behind the approaching dogfight area. The F-8s spotted the first pair of Migs and turned into them, starting what would be one of our few dogfights that went the distance, meaning 8 full turns until both sides ran out of combat fuel, then returned to base. The second pair of Migs were kind of forgotten until they moved in and got off a pair of Atolls at a F-8! The dogfight now became a battle of violent turns and altitude changes as both sides maneuvered for a shot. One of the F-8s knocked down the lone Mig-17 with a high angle cannon shot, which then left the NVAF side outnumbered. However, a Mig-21 did a scissors maneuver with an F-8 and shot it down with an Atoll. The Russian made missiles only had two of the six launched actually fall off the rails and ignite towards the target, with the other four failing to launch! The game then began to degenerate into more violent maneuvering which allowed only a few more chances for both sides to get off shots. It was a testament to all players that there were very few quality shots all night long, with many being head on passes or from front angles, which have a low chance of success. The U.S. side definitely had more chances than the NVAF side, but the die rolls failed them at the worst possible time. In the end when both sides had to disengage the score was 1 to 1, which for all intensive purposes would be a slight NVAF propaganda victory. One of the funniest lines of the night came from Gary when his F-8 shot down one of the NVAF/Communist Migs, saying, "I've sent you to your godless hell!" Overall, it was a great game that played fast (8 turns= 80 impulses!) and we'll be looking forward to the next game, which will hopefully feature some ground attack action.

Older Updates

April 14th, 2014 Another later Renaissance AOD game featuring a large Spanish tercio plus assorted Italian and German units against a large Swiss and French force.

March 30th, 2014 A Renaissance game very similar to Fornovo in appearance, but was a defense of a river line set in the 1525 era played with the AOD rules.

March 29th, 2014: Fire & Fury ACW-Battle of Chantilly featuring Stonewall Jackson.Feb. 2, 2014: BKC 2 game on the Eastern Front.