Aces of Valor After Action Report – British Short Campaign – Mission 1

Welcome to the first in what will hopefully be a series of after action reports for the extremely immersive Aces of Valor solitaire wargame of World War I aerial combat.

In my review of the game, I gave a pretty good description of how things play, so I won’t go into great rules detail, unless it’s something that I didn’t address there.

For this first campaign, I chose a short (8 mission) campaign and decided to use a British squadron. That way I wouldn’t have to roll to see what enemy I was facing (which you have to do if you are the Germans) and I just thought it would be cool.

Tally Ho!

Too much?

Anyway, let’s see how this first mission went.

(Don’t forget that you can click on a picture to enlarge it)

After choosing that, it was time to randomly choose the first eight fighters to join the squadron.

I actually rolled to get Tier 2 fighters, which is good for a short campaign because it lets you upgrade some but you’re not starting at the bottom.

I drew many unskilled pilots and a couple of skilled ones, including my ace, Billy Baldric.

Squadron Commander Baldric had a cunning plan for the first mission of the campaign, which turned out to be escorting two bombers to destroy the German HQ!

Talk about starting off with a bang.

Weather was clear, so that wouldn’t be an issue.

The British airfield was situated in Sector B, on the middle edge of the map instead of one of the corners.

And the German HQ was all the way on the other side of the map.

It would be a long flight!

Baldric chose three of his fellow pilots, Edward Eberle, Philip Peters, and John Jacobs

They took off down the runaway, meeting up with the bombers and headed for the trenches.

The flight made it two spaces away from the aerodrome but in the third space, they were jumped by an enemy raid heading toward the British lines!

The raid consisted of two German (Tier 3!) fighters and two 2-seaters.

Nobody was surprised (it looked like they all spotted each other at the same time, too close to veer off) so a dogfight ensued.

To the Initiative Track, Batman!

(Hell, I’m sure one of the British pilots had soldier friends who really had a batman back at base).

Notice that Tier 3 planes have an 8 Performance Rating while my Tier 2 fighters have 7 Performance Rating.

After Initiative rolls, the planes were situated as above.

Baldric won the initiative and faced off against Manfred (the German Ace). Billy managed to get two hits and damaged him! That will affect how he attacks the British fighter he goes after.

However, it didn’t matter. Manfred hit Edward twice and damaged him too.

Keep in mind that planes can only attack planes who are at the next lowest initiative level. So the only choice you get is if two targets are in the same initiative box.

Also, 2-seaters and bombers get to fire back with their rear-facing machine guns so attacking them.

None of the other attacks hit, except Max attacking one of my bombers. Max managed one hit but did no damage, but the bomber firing back did 4 hits! It only damaged Max, but that’s some solid shooting there.

Think he knows how to actually fly a plane?

Anyway, after that first round, all the German planes departed and I continued toward the trenches.

Flying in a damaged plane is never good, especially outbound, because each space you move requires you to roll for something bad to happen to you.

For that reason, Edward turned around and returned to base during the next turn.

I like that you get to do that for free, though you have to make a difficult landing check at your airfield. And if the weather’s bad, that may not be a good thing!

But it usually is.

One fighter down, three left and we hadn’t even reached the front lines yet.

Baldric was feeling a little less cunning.

On turn 6, they reached the trenches and took heavy Anti-Aircraft fire. Whenever you’re over an enemy sector with that gun symbol in it, you have to roll for AA fire prior to rolling to see if any event happens.

You roll for the intensity of the fire (Light, Medium, and Heavy) and then each plane has to roll for damage. A 6 causes a hit.

John Jacobs and a bomber took hits but thankfully didn’t suffer any damage.

Unfortunately, the combat event over the trenches resulted in the flight being jumped by four German fighters!

Fritz, Lothar, Oswald and Werner.

To the…ok, I won’t do that joke again.

Thankfully these were only Tier 2 fighters, but still…

The fighters were spread out and some took some hits, but thankfully nobody was damaged. John Jacobs actually did damage Oswald, though! A massive three hits made his fighter start to smoke a little.

Unfortunately, the end of round event was that Max (Tier 3) showed up and jumped everybody!

In Round 2, Max showed that even though his fighter is good, he’s not very good. He was the lowest German initiative of the bunch.

In fact, John Jacobs was the only one worse (the bombers had skedaddled in Round 1).

Phillip Peters successfully blasted the wounded Oswald from the sky! Reports were that flames were coming out of the engine as he spiraled to the ground.

Sadly, he didn’t get any skill increase, but that did give us some Mission Points.

No other damage happened and the remaining Germans left, intimidated by the British flying prowess.

Well, that could have been true.

The remaining path to the HQ

Anyway, Turn 7 and the event was Light AA and Squadron Leader Bladric was damaged!

That was a spot of bad luck.

Being the true leader he is, he decided to keep going, determined to get these bombers to their target before heading home.

And then they hit another Raid. Thankfully, it was just Manfred (Just Manfred????) and a 2-seater.

At least it was just Tier 1 Manfred.

Thankfully Billy is very skilled, so even damaged he made it so he couldn’t be attacked.

John damaged Manfred with two hits!

Manfred, even in his damaged state, went after a bomber…and paid for it as he was shot down ignominiously.

The 2-seater didn’t take any damage and stuck around for another round.

Billy broke off (he didn’t want to face the rear gunner and possibly get shot down) and Phillip managed to damage the 2-seater.

The 2-seater left the battle, but the remaining planes were jumped by 6 (!) German Tier 1 fighters in Round 3!

My guys only had two planes left, wanting to break off. But the Germans had some other plans as four of the six had higher initiative.

The number of dice rolled depends on how far apart in initiative the planes are. Ernst at 14 and the British at 9 meant that he got to roll a lot of dice.

And only got 2 hits on Philip!

It still damaged him, but with that many dice, I was expecting him to go down in flames.

Combat can only go 3 rounds, so there was no point in the remaining British breaking off. They were not facing any rear-facing guns.

However, they didn’t manage to do any damage to Otto.

Going 3 rounds of combat spends an extra fuel, but the distance back to the airfield isn’t bad enough to make it dangerous.

Yet.

On Turn 9, the flight continued with no event, but the damaged Philip developed engine problems.

He glided 3 spaces back to the trenches, but the damage was too much.

Philip Peters sadly didn’t make it out of the crash.

Billy decided to continue even though he was damaged too.

Turn 10, nothing happened and Billy passed his damage check.

On Turn 11, the German HQ appeared below them.

The only event was some light AA fire that did no damage.

So began the bombing run.

Each bomber has to roll to see what round (1-3) they will drop their bombs in. Each target has inherent AA fire that attacking planes have to roll for as well.

One bomber dropped his bombs in the first round but the second bomber had to wait until round 3. This would mean an extra fuel, and the flight was no longer in range of its home airfield.

Billy broke off immediately because he didn’t want to face six dice worth of AA fire and possibly get shot down. Sadly, there is no option to “hang around but not attack.” You either have to break off or attack.

This would be dangerous if any enemy fighters showed up.

John was able to strafe the HQ, sending German staff running for cover.

He took two AA hits but suffered no damage. He ended up doing 2 points of damage to the HQ (it can take 5 before flipping, then requires another 5 to be destroyed).

The first bomber took no AA hits and did a whopping 6 points of damage! Funny how bombs damage buildings better than bullets can.

No German fighters arrived in the second round. I guess they were startled by the suddenness of the attack and couldn’t scramble in time.

Since they also didn’t appear in round 3.

The third bomber dropped its load (you can’t strafe bombing targets once they’ve flipped to their damaged side), taking no AA hits.

The resulting bombs destroyed the building!

That’s 10 Mission Points!

Now it was time to turn around and go home.

The flight had to land at Airfield A due to fuel issues. This did cost one Mission Point.

Billy passed his damage check and, with the HQ destroyed, finally decided to return to base.

(This is a bit of a gamey thing which I understand but removes the immersion a little bit. Damaged fighters can just “return to base” and they just appear back at their home airfield. Even if they are out of range! They have a -1 to their landing check, in addition to being damaged, but unless the weather’s really bad, they’re still going to make it).

This did mean that the two bombers would have only one fighter escort.

But hey, they did their job. If they get shot down, who cares, right?

I kid, I kid…

They managed to get back to the trenches with no events at all.

AA over the trenches was moderate but caused no hits.

But they did happen upon a raid!

Manfred, Carl, and two 2-seaters (one of them very skilled).

The plan was to break off as fast as possible.

But the bombers, being slow, would have to take some attacks first.

John broke off immediately. It pays to roll high.

Manfred attacked a bomber and did 4 hits! But didn’t damage it. They are hardy planes (7 Structure rating).

The return fire from the bomber made Manfred regret that, as it damaged him (but didn’t shoot him down).

Carl attacked the same bomber and did no damage. But the rear gunner damaged Carl!

Are we sure we can’t hire that guy to fly with us?

No other damage happened and the bombers broke off.

The rest of the flight was uneventful, reaching Airfield A with no problems.

Both Billy and Edward passed their difficult landing checks, moving them to the Recover box.

The mission ended with 9 Mission Point with Phillip KIA. (Turns out that I forgot to roll to see if he survived the crash, but for drama’s sake, I decided to keep his KIA status).

I spent 5 Mission Points to get 3 Victory Points (that’s how it works in this game, buying a maximum of 4 VP). I spent 2 MPs to fix Edward and Billy, bringing our dear squadron leader back to the aerodrome.

I then spent 2 MPs to replace Philip with Donald Darlington.

The rest of the boys welcomed him with open arms. Apparently he had some experience strafing the trenches, as he had an increased Ground Combat rating.

Not sure where the 8th plane is in this pic! John was taking a breather.

I have a full complement of planes again!

The one optional rule I’m using in this campaign is the Post-Action Events.

Sadly, I drew the event where an enemy ace challenges my ace to a duel.

I didn’t want to do that, so I lost a VP.

I’m down to 2 VP!

Not an auspicious start.

But having the enemy HQ in flames is definitely a silver lining.

I wonder if that pissed the Germans off at all?

Mission 1 of this Short British Campaign is in the books and it didn’t turn out too badly (except that event, of course).

What did you think?

Let me know in the comments.

3 Comments on “Aces of Valor After Action Report – British Short Campaign – Mission 1

  1. Pingback: Aces of Valor After Action Report ā€“ British Short Campaign ā€“ Mission 1 ā€“ Dude! Take Your Turn! - 3DM-Games

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