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Air Force Miniatures: Opening Salvo Pt. 3
Angels 20 Set
by Mons Johnson

Welcome to the third preview for Axis & Allies Air Force Miniatures: Angels 20. In this article, we'll take a glance at the heart of the game: the movement rules.

To put the movement rules in context, let's first look at the turn sequence. During a turn, you complete each of the following phases, in order:

  1. Initiative (high roller moves and fires second)
  2. Movement (players alternate moving aircraft)
  3. Attack
  4. End turn

As you can see, the turn sequence is pretty simple. The details make things a little more complicated, but not excessively so. Players roll for initiative, with the high roller both moving and firing second. The player with the most aircraft moves one of them first; if both sides have the same number of aircraft, the player with the lower initiative moves first. In the attack phase, the player with the lower initiative fires with one aircraft first, with players alternating afterwards. A small difference from our other miniatures games is that attacks are resolved immediately—so, for example, a wingman can protect a friendly aircraft by crippling or shooting down an enemy before that enemy has a chance to fire.

We built the movement rules to include two principles: Aircraft turn tighter at slower speeds, and different aircraft move in different ways. To handle the first principle, aircraft have both a Speed and a Hi Speed number. Normally an aircraft can turn 60 degrees (one side of a hex) or attempt a difficult maneuver when it enters a hex, but at Hi Speed an aircraft can't maneuver in consecutive hexes. In addition, maneuver checks at Hi Speed are harder. Important note: Normally an aircraft can attempt only one difficult maneuver during its move.

To reflect the second principle, different aircraft have different maneuverability ratings. There are seven difficult maneuvers: Barrel Roll, Break, Climb, Power Dive, Scissors, Split S, and Tight Turn. Each difficult maneuver uses one of an aircraft's Turn, Roll, Climb, or Dive ratings. To attempt a difficult maneuver, the player rolls 2 dice and adds the aircraft's appropriate maneuver rating; if the total is 10 or higher (13 or higher at Hi Speed), the maneuver succeeds.

Let's look at the stat card for the Guards Yak-1:

The Yak-1 is a fast and nimble aircraft. It turns well, with a Turn rating of 5—better than the Bf 109 Ace (Turn 4), but not as well as the Zero (Turn 6).

For example, if the Yak-1 player were to attempt a Tight Turn or a Scissors (both Turn maneuvers), its player would need to roll only 5 or better on 2 dice to succeed at normal speed. At Hi Speed (5 or 6), the roll would have to be 8 or better. A Split S or a Break is a Roll maneuver, so these are slightly harder for the Yak-1, with a Roll rating of 4. Attempting one at normal speed would require a die roll of 6 or better to succeed.

Some aircraft dive better than others, such as the P-40C Flying Tiger:

If an aircraft attempts a difficult maneuver and fails the maneuver check, it moves based on the class of maneuver it attempted. For example, a successful Tight Turn lets an aircraft turn 120 degrees (2 hex sides), while an unsuccessful attempt turns it only the normal 60 degrees. A successful Break (a Roll maneuver) allows an aircraft to turn 60 degrees, then move 1 hex forward (instead of first moving forward 1 hex and then turning 60 degrees as normal); an unsuccessful Break check means the aircraft moves forward 1 hex without turning.

The advanced rules allow an aircraft to adopt a status at the end of its movement, which is shown by tilting the model on its stand. An aircraft can be in one of three statuses: Diving (nose down), Climbing (nose up), and Evading (tilted left or right). Each status modifies an aircraft's combat statistics, but it requires an aircraft to perform a specific maneuver on its next turn. An aircraft doesn't have to adopt a status—it can remain level, which has no additional effect on play.

For example, Evading status imposes a –1 penalty on attack dice rolled against the aircraft, as well as on that aircraft's attacks. While in this status, the aircraft must execute a turn or a Tight Turn in the direction the model is tilted (left or right) during its next move. Choosing this status is useful when you are forced to move an aircraft early or expect it to be under attack.

Here is a Zero in Evading status:

That's it for now. As always, you can discuss this article or other aspects of the game on our message boards.

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