After a long break (sorry about that), it’s time to get back to the Staffel Roy campaign for Storm Above the Reich, the solo game from GMT Games where you are in charge of a “Staffel” (essentially a squadron) of German fighters tasked with defending the homeland from the Allied bombing campaign in World War II.
To recap, since it’s been a little while, I am currently in Season 2, a 10-mission season (#7-16) in mid-1943. In order to “not lose” the season, I have to score 30 victory points. To win it, I need 40 victory points.
With three missions left in the season, I’m sitting at 23 VP. I’ve been gaining 6 VP a mission for the last 2-3 missions, so maybe I might actually win this one?
I don’t think I’m going to lose it at this point, though the dice (and card) gods can be fickle.
Did I just jinx things?
It’s time for Mission #14 and let’s see what happened! I don’t even remember at this point.
(Reminder, you can always click on a picture to see it full size. Also, for the specific rules of what I’m talking about, see the Mission #1 & #2 report and the Pursuit rules are detailed in Mission #7)
Just to remind you, I am using the “Advanced Rules” for pursuing Fallen bombers, which means that I have to actually destroy a bomber to get VP. I don’t get any for just knocking the bomber out of formation.
The first thing to do, of course, is see if Clausen and Grislawski are still wounded. Of course, they both are. I’ve heard rumours that Clausen has opened a distillery in the doctors’ changing room.
Or maybe he’s writing a book?
I don’t know. I just know he’s a slacker.
I actually had to spend EP to get an Inbound mission this time (the most lucrative as far as VP go) and thus couldn’t avoid getting an Escort.
This time I actually rolled Map 7, which is a totally new map for me!
Maybe things will work out better with that.
With 7 Operations Points, I chose to bring Ahrens, Doppler, Haase, Knoken, Ullmann (another greenie for Zilla!) and Wurzer, along with three Bf-110 fighters as well.
For an Escort, it was again Light. Five P-38 fighters that leave on Turn 8. Three of them are at the Nose of the formation while two are Below Trailing. Since Above Trailing is usually when you get jumped, I’m happy with that.
The bomber formation is Anchored at 10:00 High, but I don’t usually come from that direction anyway so it’s a non-issue.
There is no Sun and one bomber already has a 1-point Wing hit on it.
I get a massive 10 turns for this mission but only 2 Tactical Points.
Thus, you know one of the first things I’m going to do.
Here’s my starting setup, with my 190 pilots coming in at 10:00 Low while the 110s come in at Nose Low.
And the first thing I’m going to do is Regroup the 190s, which means that I lose a turn (only 9 turns instead of 10) but I get 6 TPs!
When the Escort phase arrives, one moves from Forward to Nose Level, which means those 110s had better get out of there. One also moves from Below Trailing to 4:00 Level.
On Turn 2, more maneuvering to get ready to attack (and also to avoid Escorts). The 190s move to Tail High (except Haase and Wurzer who move to Tail Level) and the 110s move to 10:00 Level.
We’re going to swarm those bombers and give them a good licking.
On Turn 3, as the fighters move into their Approach boxes, an Escort moves from Above Trailing to Tail High. Curses! No more Tail attacks!
It’s ok this time as my fighters will be going in before the Escort can catch them.
Since the most that can be in a wave is 6 and I have 9 fighters, there will be two waves: one of 5 fighters and one of 4.
Ahrens, Doppler, Knoken and Ullmann and a 110 attack the same element to try and ensure I get all three advantages.
The 110 comes in Evasive (I think I changed it after the picture was taken) because I’m getting sick of losing OPs from losing auxiliary fighters in the previous mission. The 110 is just there to gain advantages, nothing more.
(cue ironic foreshadowing)
Ahrens and Ullmann have to pass a Collision check, but with Ahrens’ Flyer ability (draw two collision chits and choose one), that’s easily passed.
All fighters are diving and rolling (I’ve found that helps more often than not in Continuing Fire).
Doppler does a 1-point Fuselage (Gunner) hit to his bomber and takes 2 Elevator hits.
That’s not how it’s supposed to happen!
The 110 does a Fuselage hit and the bomber blows up!
When drawing his Fire card, Evasive mode was a bomber hit but if he’d come in Determined he would have been hit instead.
That’s 2 VP and 2 EP for the Staffel!
Ahrens takes a hit but nullifies it with Position Advantage.
Ullmann uses a Schwarm hit as well as drawing his card. He takes a hit (nullified by Rotte Advantage) and the Schwarm hit is a 1-point Fuselage (Gunner) hit. I decided I would save the second Schwarm hit for Knoken.
Knoken takes a hit but uses his Quick ability to change modes to Evasive. This means he does one hit instead! It’s another 1-point Fuselage (Gunner) hit, though. The Schwarm hit is a 3-point Fuselage hit.
Continuing Fire gets quite interesting in this case.
The 110 breaks away cleanly (yay, no wounds!). Doppler breaks away clean. Ullmann would have been hit but dive rolling means he skips Continuing Fire. Ahrens gets a Friendly Fire event. He rolls an odd number, so he breaks away as well.
Knoken gets a Strafe event!
Since he’s an Expert, he gets to roll and manages to do a hit! The Engine hit that’s drawn knocks the bomber out of formation. No VP for the Staffel but he gets another EP for himself and for the Staffel.
I think this is the first time in 14 missions that I have had all fighters escape Continuing Fire without a scratch.
For the second wave, one 110 joins Wurzer and Haase to attack one element (for Position Advantage) while another 110 goes off on his own.
The 110 comes in Evasive (same reason and maybe I’ll get lucky again!) while Wurzer and Haase come in on the same space. They manage to avoid a collision so they get Rotte Advantage.
Neither 110 does any damage.
Wurzer does a 1-point Fuselage (Gunner) hit and nullifies his own hit with Position Advantage. My guys seem to be aiming for the gunners!
Could that be a good thing?
(cue ironic foreshadowing #2)
Haase does a 4-point Wing hit but runs out of ammo! First time this mission; maybe the quartermaster actually was able to find some bullets.
Continuing Fire was quite eventful for this wave.
One 110 takes a Fuselage hit and gets jumped by an Escort!
The pilot successfully breaks away and kills the Escort! The Fuselage hit turns out to be superficial, thankfully.
The other 110 successfully avoids getting hit.
Haase and Wurzer are fine as well.
Turns 4-5 are uneventful. Both of Doppler’s hits are superficial, the formation with the missing bombers becomes Loose and then Kaputt.
On Turn 6, Knoken moves to intercept the Escort in Tail High position, since he has the ability to break away from a dogfight without exiting (if a dogfight happens).
It doesn’t happen, but instead Knoken kills the Escort and exits! That’s another EP for him. He’s turning into my go-to guy.
The bomber element tightens again.
On Turn 7, the fighters move to the now-vacated Tail High position and the element goes Kaputt again.
Turn 8 requires a bit of tactical decision-making on my part.
The bomber element is Kaputt and if it disintegrates further, a damaged bomber will fall out of formation.
However, if that happens and I commit all of my fighters to the attack, nobody will be available to pursue the fallen bomber and time will run out before I can do so.
For that reason, while everybody else attacks, I hold Doppler back. If nothing happens, he can do a solo attack on Turn 9.
However, it does happen and my prediction pans out! The bomber falls out of formation (1 EP for the Staffel)
Since there’s not a lot left of that one element, the attackers go after a fresh one.
The 110s go in Evasive (of course) and Ahrens and Haase go in to the same space (for Rotte Advantage hopefully). Ullmann attacks a bomber with a 110 while Ahrens goes after a bomber with the other 110 (remember Haase has no ammo, but to get Rotte Advantage, you have to go in Determined anyway).
The collision check is passed.
Ullmann fires a hail of bullets at his bomber and blows it up with a Wing hit!
The 110 no longer has anything to shoot at but he has to draw a card anyway. He nullifies the hit he would have taken.
Even though he’s the guy with no ammo, Haase takes a Fuselage hit while Ahrens is unscathed (but he also doesn’t do anything).
The second 110 does a 0-point Engine hit and takes an Engine hit himself.
For Continuing Fire, both 110s get out unscathed.
Ahrens takes a Wing hit from falling debris but no actual hits from the bombers. Haase takes another Wing hit and Ullmann is undamaged (Go Greenie! Zilla will be so proud).
On Turn 9, Doppler leaves to pursue the Fallen bomber. The 110s Engine hit is superficial as are the hits on both Haase and Ahrens.
I got through a mission with no downed 110s!
Here’s the final bomber map before continuing to Pursuit.
The map itself is quite interesting. Different angles of attack and all of that.
I think I did pretty well, though.
Since that shot is very wide (it’s a huge map compared to the other two I’ve used), here’s a close up of the two damaged elements.
The first pursuit is Wurzer and he successfully does it.
Wurzer comes in Tail High and does an Engine hit.
And the crew bails out!
That’s 2 EP for Wurzer, 2 VP for the Staffel and 2 EP for the Staffel.
Doppler also finds his bomber and comes in Tail High too (really, who wouldn’t come in Tail High?)
He only needs to do one point of Wing damage and it will fall from the sky!
Sadly, that doesn’t happen.
He takes a Fuselage and a Wing hit and doesn’t do any damage. If the Gunner hadn’t been wounded (reducing the Lethal Level), he would have done a hit instead of being hit himself.
Oh the whims of Madame Fate!!!
The Wing hit knocks him out and it’s mission over.
Unfortunately, that Wing hit also causes a fire so he’s wounded, joining Clausen and Grislawski in the hospital (he better not get any ideas).
However, what a mission! Even with the Escorts it turned out really well, including two Escorts destroyed!
Six VPs (3 bombers destroyed) and 7 Staffel EPs (the destroyed bombers and one fallen) and nobody died!
That’s a win in my book on any day.
Thus, I end the day at 29 VPs with two missions left.
It would be catastrophic if I don’t hit 30 at this point.
And if I keep this up, I will actually win!
Knoken continues to shine. He has all three Experte skills and now he’s working on duplicating them (you can only use a skill once per mission, but if you have multiples of it, you can do it more than once).
He is by far my ace and I’ll probably keep throwing him out there to see what happens.
Or maybe I’ll retire him.
Stop screaming, Knoken. I’m just joking.
Stay tuned (maybe next week) for Mission #15 and watch us go over the threshold (hopefully I didn’t just jinx myself).
Staffel Roy Campaign