Axis and Allies Angel 20 is a game of aerial combat with WWII aircraft of various nations fighting on a hexagonal map. Players take turns determining initiative, moving their aircraft, and attacking opponents. Victory is determined player elimination or victory point total comparisons. Optional rules allow for clouds, flak fields, barrage balloons, and even night combat.
The game also comes with a conversion appendix allowing the aircraft to be used with the Axis & Allies Miniatures Land Game. The cost of the game is £31.99 (starter), £19.99 (booster) but you can get the models much cheaper on ebay, i picked up most of mine for around £6.00 each.
The stater set comes with 6 pre-painted miniature planes and all 31 stat cards for this set. Also includes two battle map sections, Rulebook dice and counter sheet.
The scale of the models are 1/100 and the game scale is one game turn approximates 10-15, a hex is 500 yards across, there are six levels of altitude and abstracted speed of 100 mph for range 1-2 and non linear steps for range 3-5.
A standard 100-point game allows a player to deploy 2 or 3 fighters—usually a veteran or ace pilot with one or two less experienced wingmen. Planes vary in firepower, armor, price and maneuverability.
Pilot experience is a key factor in the game, as it was in combat, and a corresponding increase in skill means a significant increase in the cost of deploying that pilot. For instance, a poor pilot usually costs 15–20 points and a veteran between 30–40, while an ace can cost as much as 50 or 55. Highly experienced pilots do not have extra firepower or agility but do have lots of special abilities and receive a bonus when attacking less-experienced pilots. Pilots can perform a variety of different maneuvers including climb, dive, turn, and roll.
Different planes are better suited to different maneuvers, such as a Zero, which excels at climbing but is less suited to a dive. Diving on an enemy pilot also provides an attack bonus, but a certain amount of luck is involved in each maneuver. The pilot must roll two dice when attempting to perform a difficult maneuver and adds a bonus based on the pilot’s abilities. Success means the maneuver is completed while failure may mean the pilot makes a wider turn or slower dive. Flying at high speed means tight turns or rolls are much more difficult to achieve.
Initiative is important, too, because losing initiative means you must move first—a serious disadvantage in a dogfight. "Tailing" the enemy provides a bonus to initiative, and once you’re on his six it’s hard for him to shake you. For instance, although my Hurricanes lacked the firepower of my opponent’s Bf110 fighter-bombers, I was easily able to turn faster and stayed on his tail for most of the game.
The disadvantage of losing initiative is offset somewhat by the ability to shoot first—damage is resolved instantly, not simultaneously. If you engage your enemy head-on and score the first hit, you have the chance to cripple or destroy him before he can return fire.
Once you line up the shot, a variety of factors affect your chances of scoring a hit. Range quickly diminishes your accuracy, as does making a "deflection" attack. However, diving on the enemy or shooting at an inexperienced pilot makes it easier to score a hit. The best position is, of course, above and behind your opponent!
If your crippled fighter is about to be destroyed by the enemy, you can retreat from the battle by flying off the board. Such a move means the opponent only scores half a victory, and this option is fairly easy given how small the maps are.
The basic rulebook includes a variety of scenarios based on the Battle of Britain—such as dogfights, bomber interceptions, and fighter sweeps—and additional rules for cloud cover, flak barrages and night combat. In addition, the models and rulebook are compatible with other Axis and Allies Miniatures games.
However, the only bomber included at this point is the Bf110 but that’s understandable, as the 1/100 scale means the miniatures are already five or six inches wide, but, the miniatures are durable and well painted.
Overall, Axis and Allies Angels 20 is an enjoyable game with lots of different scenarios and rules to try out. The next set due is Bandits High and is due at the start of 2013 so take to the sky and fight for freedom.
John Kell is an avid boardgamer and wargamer and has been coming down to Wee Gamers on Friday nights and keeps Wee Ivor out of trouble by bringing out shinnies to distract him. John has been gaming for many years and one to ask about any number of systems.