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Angels 20 Axis & Allies Air Force Miniatures
Hasbro Games, £28.80
Ever woken up the morning after a show and thought, ‘why did I get that?’ Well, my impulse buy at Salute was this game (from Magister Militum) and, in my defence, I must say I was thinking about a WWII dogfight game anyway. So, knowing it’d be totally out-of-the-box, I bought it for the kids to play (my story to Mrs Mitchell).
The pack comes with six well-painted 15mm scale miniatures for the Battle of Britain - a Spitfire and two Hurricanes vs two Bf 109s and a Bf110. You also get stands, rules, counters, dice and two maps to fight over - everything you need to start bagging Huns! (Hint: get some re-sealable plastic bags for the bits). The rules say ‘age 12+’, which I am, but I needed my specs to read them. Set up to one of the scenarios is simple - no terrain, see - and it’s all done by hexes. All the stats you need are on the complete set of cards provided, you decide initiative, move and attack in turn, and then tot-up victory points (for shot-down or driven away aircraft) at the end of the game. The language of the rules is clear and easy, and altitude is denoted by a counter on the ball base that fits into the aircraft socket, allowing a variety of positions for those of us who haven’t progressed beyond playing with Airfix kits in the garden after coming back from seeing The Battle of Britain movie at the pictures.
Mechanics? One rolls dice and adds skill and plane characteristic scores to make manoeuvres and shoot. It’s dice heavy, but factors for each aircraft type and the skill of the pilot - give special abilities and advantage modifiers. There are examples in the rules to work through and advanced bits like ‘tailing’, attacking aircraft at different altitudes by using the ‘ball stand’ to change status, and clouds oh and my 110 can shoot its rear gun!
Bombers in the game are represented by tokens, but a quick net search showed QRF do 15mm Stukas and Old Glory a Heinkel 111 and wow - a Flying Fortress! More net searches are to follow but, for a quick start, I engaged my 14 yearold Valkyrie daughter Livvy with one plane a side. Patronising Dad that I am, I gave her a 109 and took a mere Hurricane and, once we got the hang of the mechanics, turned on each other taking pot-shots until she broke off, came back at me and did loads of damage (she’s seen Star Wars).
Verdict? It gets a thumbs up from the Mitchell clan as something to explore and have fun with on a rainy afternoon on holiday. I understand the ‘booster’ packs contain a random selection of WWII fighters - an American concept that will make me wary of buying - but (as noted above) other 15mm models are out there if you want to keep it historical and the system looks fairly adaptable.
Now, anyone got a Me262 I can borrow?
62 MINIATURE WARGAMES 351 JULY 2012