Public MAS-WWII Playtest Session

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Public MAS-WWII Playtest Session

Postby Charles Lewis » Mon Dec 03, 2007 7:54 pm

To give the community a preview of the upcoming MAS-WWII expansion, I'm going to run one of our playtesters, Mark, through the first mission of the 3rd Campaign - Aegean Debacle. This is one of the history-based campaigns included in the first product, which is focused around the Mediterranean Theater of Operations. MAS-WWII:MTO will feature the planes of Italy, Germany, France and the Commonwealth.

Ownership of MAS will be required, as you will need access to the regular MAS rules. As we proceed through the playtest game, I'll highlight differences from regular MAS. Comments and questions are welcome, but if having access to a copy of MAS will be helpful in understanding all aspects of this playtest session.

On to the mission!

Mark has decided to rejoin the Allies after helping Vichy France defend its fleet against the British after the fall of France to the Germans. This cost him half of his prestige, but we was still able to acquire some new model Hurricane IIs to bolster his squadron's forces during his premission purchasing.

Mission 1 is defending against an incoming Italian air strike. The mission is to shoot down 2 Italian B.R.20 bombers.

The Starting Bid is $15 and there is one Rival bidding for the mission, but since this wouldn't be much of a playtest if Mark lost the bidding, the Rival bows out this time. ;) The mission is only worth 2 Exp and features a Weak threat level and a $ Ground target bounty.

[This mission is meant to be a bit of a breather after the very tough battles of the second campaign.]

Mark, let me know who's flying, in what, and at what starting altitude. [also, Mark, note that I've adjusted the starting location to Band 5]
'Fear God and dread nought'
Coat of Arms motto of Baron Fisher, of Kilverstone

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Postby MarkG88 » Mon Dec 03, 2007 11:30 pm

Mark, let me know who's flying, in what, and at what starting altitude. [also, Mark, note that I've adjusted the starting location to Band 5]


Dully noted sir. :wink:

Fluffy introduction-- my MAS, the "Wild Geese" is a bunch of Irish and Iris-American pilots who started out flying for the Allies (France mainly though since we have some "issues" with Commonwealth rule in Northern Ireland). Having said that, we like the British planes. Lots of firepower on those Spitfires and Hurricanes. Our ace pilot Jim "Slick" McCarty (with 8 AtA kills) was shot down two missions ago and that has set us back a bit in the AtA (air-to-air) skill department but we've got a nice balance of fighter jocks and bomber want-to-be's left.

We took our $55 mission payoff (+$5 because our CO has special attribute "Persuasive" which gets us a bonus once per campaign after successful mission) and invested it in three Hurricane Mk IIBs. So without further ado, my MAS lineup for this mission...........

"Red" (0 Intiative) in Hurricane Mk. IIB
"Peanut" (0 Intiative) in Hurricane Mk. IIB
"MG Kelly" (-1 Intiative) in Hurricane Mk. IIB
Bullseye (-1 Intiative) in Gladiator Mk. II
"Kid" (-1 Intiative) in SM.79 Sparviero [with medium bomb load]

Red, MG and Bullseye will all be at high altitude in Wing 1.

Peanut and Kid will be at very low altitude in Wing 2. And both wings will start at same time.

Game play reasoning-- the mission payoff of $15 covers my pilot salaries so I decided to put Kid in one our Italian torpedo bombers and hopefully pick up some ground unit bounties along the way. He's an AtG (air-to-ground) specialist with one sunken British destroyer to his credit (but we didn't mention that when we signed contract with RAF :P ).

Peanut is solid all-around pilot and he's my back-up bomber guy (I gave him decent AtG cannons and dive bomber skills) so he'll be looking to strafe with his twelve (12) machine guns 8) .

Red is our MAS CO and has five AtA kills after last mission. MG (short for Daniel "Machine Gun" Kelly) and Peanut both have four AtA kills. Bullseye was recruited as a bomber pilot but has turned into a decent fighter jock and after missing a British DD with both his torpedoes (costing us the mission) he may end up being fighter pilot full time.

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Postby MarkG88 » Tue Dec 04, 2007 4:03 am

Here is the run down of my MAS pilots, the plane they are flying and their skills and special attributes.

Red [Hurricane Mk. IIB]
+1 Manuever, AtA Cannons
0 Intiative, Dive
-1 Evasion, AtG Cannons
-2 Climb, Speed, all bomb
Admin--2 Persuasive
Leadership--6 Rogue
AtA--10 Sixth Sense, 20 Bomber Buster


Peanut [Hurricane Mk. IIB]
+1 Manuever
0 Intiative, AtA Cannons, AtG Cannons, Dive Bomb
-1 Evasion, Dive
-2 Climb, Speed, level bomb, torpedo
Admin--14 Enjoy the moment
AtA--15 Whoa!


MG [Hurricane Mk. IIB]
+1 AtA Cannons
0 Manuever
-1 Initiative, Evasion, Dive, AtG Cannons
-2 Climb, Speed, all bomb
Misc--5 Overall Lucky

Bullseye [Gladiator Mk. II]
0 Torpedo
-1 Intiative, Evasion, Manuever, AtA Cannons, level bomb
-2 Climb, Dive, Speed, AtG Cannons, Dive bomb
AtG--11 Accurate

Kid [SM.79 Sparviero]
-1 Intiative, Evasion, Manuever, AtA Cannons, AtG Cannons, level bomb, torpedo
-2 Climb, Dive, Speed, Dive bomb
AtG--3 Steady

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Postby Charles Lewis » Tue Dec 04, 2007 3:05 pm

OK, we'll get the mission underway here shortly. First a couple points of clarification.

1. There is no Speed skill. We discussed it early on, but I felt it would be too much of a penalty for new pilots. Fortunately, it doesn't appear Mark has put any Exp into developing those skills.

2. Activation costs. In MAS-WWII, the activation cost is determined by the number of engines the aircraft has. This proved to an simple and effective way to account for the higher maintenance and larger crews of multi-engine aircraft. In Mark's case, his three Hurricanes and Gladiator cost $1 each, while the Sparviero cost $3. I'm not sure that a Ground $ bounty is worth the activation cost, particularly given the Weak threat level, but that's Mark's decision.

3. Related to activation costs are ordnance costs. Unlike in MAS, where you can stockpile ordnance and have lots of choices, the WWII era is much simpler. As such, you simply pay an additional activation cost to load ordnance onto an aircraft up to its payload capacity. A Medium bombload for Mark's Sparviero cost him an additional $2 for activation. [Are you sure you want to send the Sparviero, Mark?]

At this point, you have a choice between a bombload or torpedoes for attack options. A future release will add in rockets. Other options include drop tanks.
'Fear God and dread nought'

Coat of Arms motto of Baron Fisher, of Kilverstone

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Postby MarkG88 » Tue Dec 04, 2007 5:05 pm

Charles Lewis wrote:OK, we'll get the mission underway here shortly. First a couple points of clarification.

1. There is no Speed skill. We discussed it early on, but I felt it would be too much of a penalty for new pilots. Fortunately, it doesn't appear Mark has put any Exp into developing those skills.

2. Activation costs. In MAS-WWII, the activation cost is determined by the number of engines the aircraft has. This proved to an simple and effective way to account for the higher maintenance and larger crews of multi-engine aircraft. In Mark's case, his three Hurricanes and Gladiator cost $1 each, while the Sparviero cost $3. I'm not sure that a Ground $ bounty is worth the activation cost, particularly given the Weak threat level, but that's Mark's decision.

3. Related to activation costs are ordnance costs. Unlike in MAS, where you can stockpile ordnance and have lots of choices, the WWII era is much simpler. As such, you simply pay an additional activation cost to load ordnance onto an aircraft up to its payload capacity. A Medium bombload for Mark's Sparviero cost him an additional $2 for activation. [Are you sure you want to send the Sparviero, Mark?]

At this point, you have a choice between a bombload or torpedoes for attack options. A future release will add in rockets. Other options include drop tanks.


Sorry about the Speed Skill snafu, I just cut and pasted my textpads I use for note keeping for each scenario so those were in there from "modern" MAS from my beginning as a playtester and never got deleted out lol. :oops:

I'll probably regret it later, but yes I want to Sparviero out there, I need to get more AtG kills and although I'm working for the Allies now so it won't be easy to replace if I want another one, I don't want to get anymore fighters shot down if I can help it. Losing both Spits and one pilot on a single mission really hurts the MAS "bottom line".

I assume I can shoot down a pair of Italian bombers with "weak" opposition so the $15 will cover my pilots fees (I'd send four pilots normally so I'd really not save any money there by not flying anyone) and I can use Red's "persuasive" attribute to get $5 to cover the extra cost of activating the Sparviero (assuming we shoot down our two targets of course), so any ground bounties would be "profit". Risky I know, but I thought I'd give it a go.

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Postby Charles Lewis » Tue Dec 04, 2007 7:03 pm

Very well. The Wild Geese take off. Wing 1 gets settled in at High altitude, while Wing 2 is at Very Low.

[To better differentiate between the capabilities of different aircraft in this era, MAS-WWII has 5 altitude bands instead of the base three]

As you are close to the target you begin in Band 5, which passes uneventfully.

Band 6, however, has 3 Re.2000s and a Moderate AAA battery. The Re.2000s are at Medium altitude.

Initiative order:

Red, Hurricane IIB, High
Moderate AAA
Re.2000 #1, Medium
Kid, Sparviero, Very Low
Re.2000 #2, Medium
Bullseye, Gladiator, High
Peanut, Hurricane IIB, Very Low
MG, Hurricane IIB, High
Re.2000 #3, Medium

Red's up. Any instructions/trait use before we begin?
'Fear God and dread nought'

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Postby MarkG88 » Tue Dec 04, 2007 11:13 pm

Stoopid AAA is going to kill my bomber *sighs* But actually I'd rather have it shooting at my bomber at very low altitude than at my fighters which will be dogfighting at medium altitude so this may work out yet. :wink:

No unique attributes to play at this time.

Red will Dive [0] and engage Re.2000 #1.

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Postby Charles Lewis » Wed Dec 05, 2007 10:56 pm

Red dives down on the Re.2000, but is caught off the guard by the superior maneuverability of the Italian fighter. The enemy gets a better position and fires...but the shot goes wide!!!

[The Re.2000 has 4 Machine Guns. Each pair of guns after the first grants a +1 to hit. Machine Guns start at 2, so this brings him to 3 with an additional +3 bonus from dogfighting roll. See below for more on this.The Re.2000 has a regular pilot, so no skill modifier. The Re.2000 needed a 6 or less to hit, but rolled an 8.

New to MAS-WWII is the addition of a Speed trait for planes - this trait factors into every engagement roll. For example, in Red's attack had a +1 modifier for the Dive attribute of his Hurriance IIB, +0 for his Dive skill and +0 for the Speed atrribute of the Hurricane. The Re.2000 had +2 for the Maneuverability of his plane and +0 for Speed. Red rolled a modified 4 while the Re.2000 rolled a modified 7.

For playtesting we've been using Optional Rules 7.3.1 Intense Dogfighting, which gives a shot to the pilot that wins the dogfighting roll and 7.3.3 Superior Flying, which adds the difference from the dogfighting roll to the Target Goal of the shot. 7.3.3 has been further modified to only apply to unloaded aircraft. The result is very intense, close-range dogfighting, which seems to model WWII era dogfighting quite nicely. I've not yet decided whether to officially incorporate these optional as required or merely very strong recommended.

In either case, Red and Re.2000 #1 are now closely engaged.]


The Moderate AAA battery is now up. It's best range is Low Altitude, but there are no targets there. It's next best range is Medium, so it'll choose a target there. First we roll 1d6 to check for friendly fire. Since there is no plane in use by both sides, the penalty is not applicable, so as long as the battery rolls a 2 or better, it'll choose an Allied target. A roll of '4' gets that out of the way. Next, we would randomly choose a target, but the only Allied plane at Medium is Red's Hurricance IIB, so he's the lucky winner! ;) The battery needs a 4 or less on a d10 to hit. A roll of '6' keeps him out of harm's way, but probably triggers an angry radio call from the Re.2000 he's engaged with.

This brings us to that Re.2000. He'll continue the fight with Red. The die roll modifiers are even, as while the Hurriance's Dive and Maneuver attributes are the same at +1, Red has a +1 Manuever skill. This time Red gets the upper hand as he rolls a modified 8 versus the Re.2000s 6. Red takes a shot, with a Target Goal of 10. The 12 Machine Guns of the Hurricane IIB grant a base Target Goal of 7 (2 + 5 additional pairs), +1 for Red's AtA Gunnery skill of 1, and +2 for the difference in the dogfighting roll. The wings of Red's plane light up with muzzle flashes as he mashes down the trigger. A roll of '7' hits handily. The Re.2000 has no damage modifier, so it's a straight up roll on the damage chart. The roll is a '6' - Performance Lost: all aircraft attributes are at -3 and all future damage rolls on this aircraft are at -3. The Re.2000 is smoking badly!!!!

This brings us to Kid and his Sparviero.
'Fear God and dread nought'

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Postby MarkG88 » Wed Dec 05, 2007 11:47 pm

...The Re.2000 is smoking badly!!!!

This brings us to Kid and his Sparviero



Well yaay Red!! :D We're liking the raw firepower those "H IIBs" deal out.

Kid will sneak in during Red's heroics and do a level bombing run [-1] using his medium bomb load on the moderate AAA. He will use his unique attribute Air to Ground 3. "Steady" to try and guarantee a hit to take out the target.

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Sorry to interrupt

Postby jygro » Thu Dec 06, 2007 6:54 am

Red takes a shot, with a Target Goal of 10.


Does a 10 always miss or in this case, the shot is automatic (don't own the rules yet)?

Fun read so far.
-Bren

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Re: Sorry to interrupt

Postby Charles Lewis » Thu Dec 06, 2007 3:48 pm

jygro wrote:Does a 10 always miss or in this case, the shot is automatic (don't own the rules yet)?

Fun read so far.
-Bren


I just double-checked in the main MAS rules, and no, there are no auto-hits or auto-misses. With the modifiers in place, it is possible to have a no-chance shot or an impossible to miss shot (like Red's). Essentially, Red got right on the Re.2000 and fired at very close range. That was the strategy used by Erich Hartmann, who got 352 kills. He routinely waited until he was within 20m before shooting. The irony of referring to Hartmann is of course his famous statement: "Dogfighting is a waste of time." :P

For the record, I'm probably going to indicate that the two optional rules we've been using in the playtests are "strongly recommended." The bonus to hit based on the outcome of the dogfight roll can really make a huge difference, and some players may not like it. The mod I made excluding the rule to only unloaded aircraft came about after some loaded Swordfish were knocking down attacking fighters like nobody's business. ;)
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Postby Charles Lewis » Thu Dec 06, 2007 7:00 pm

MarkG88 wrote:Kid will sneak in during Red's heroics and do a level bombing run [-1] using his medium bomb load on the moderate AAA. He will use his unique attribute Air to Ground 3. "Steady" to try and guarantee a hit to take out the target.


A Medium Bombload has a base 4 chance to hit a Soft target. Kid's skill reduces that to 3. He promptly rolls a 6, throws his Steady trait at it, and tries again...a 2!!! The 3 damage a Medium bombload does reduces the Moderate AAA battery to scrap.

That brings us to Re.2000 #2. With his flight leader smoking and harassed by Red, he goes to flight leader's aid. Alas, but Red is en fuego, as Red pre-empts that attack with a barrage of Machine Gun fire. Re.2000 #2 is quickly smoking and banged up as bad as his flight leader. [-3 to all stats, -3 to future damage]

Bullseye's turn.
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Postby MarkG88 » Thu Dec 06, 2007 9:23 pm

Charles Lewis wrote:
That brings us to Re.2000 #2. With his flight leader smoking and harassed by Red, he goes to flight leader's aid. Alas, but Red is en fuego, as Red pre-empts that attack with a barrage of Machine Gun fire. Re.2000 #2 is quickly smoking and banged up as bad as his flight leader. [-3 to all stats, -3 to future damage]

Bullseye's turn.


Well, Red is on a roll. Bullseye will Dive [-2] and not engage at this time (if possible, I'm not sure about that it hasn't come up before). I just want to lower his altitude, between is poor Dive -2 skill and the Gladiator Mk II low rating and speed [dive -1, speed -1], I really don't want him to engage in AtA combat this round, even against smoking bandits. He's a bomber posing a fighter jock so I don't want him to press his luck. :wink:

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Postby MarkG88 » Thu Dec 06, 2007 9:25 pm

Assuming Bullseye can safely dive without having to engage I'll press on with my orders.............


Peanut (very low) will climb to low altitude [-1 fuel for him].

MG will dive [-1] and try and shoot down Re.2000 #2 [AtA Cannons +1].

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Postby Charles Lewis » Thu Dec 06, 2007 9:31 pm

Considering those damaged Re's are at -3, you'd probably do ok, but that's your call. There's nothing stopping from diving without engaging, so you are free to do so.

Bullseye dives.

Peanut climbs.

MG dives down to help Red, and goes after one of the damaged Re.2000s. He easily slips in behind it and guns it down. The Italian pilot bails out safely. [yo, Joe!]

The last Re.2000 is up, and he now has a target rich environment. Seeing that Red seems to be the biggest threat, #3 moves in to help his flight leader. Red is Red Hot!!! deftly, but narrowly, fending off the newcomer, and then shooting him down with a quick burst to the engine!

That brings us to the end of the round.
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