Shot Down In Flames!

Last month I started a Crimson Skies game by e-mail with my boss, StuG.  Now that it’s finished I thought it was time to feature it here!  Normally we’d play the boardgame with painted plane miniatures, but this time it was played using a digital map and Excel plane record sheets.

CS Game SJ1 Move 0

So, the game was set up as shown above.  Crimson Skies is hex-based and in the top left hand corner of the picture you can see two crimson-coloured fighter aircraft, a Hawkeye and a Rifleman (StuG said it’s Crimson Skies, so he wanted crimson planes)!  These two aircraft are air pirates and their aim is to destroy a cargo plane being escorted by two other fighters (the grey and khaki planes shown bottom right in the picture).  The map is a downloaded jpeg and the plane symbols are gifs, so I can move them around as required – this is the position at the start of the game.  Some hexes on the map have red dots on them to represent mountain peaks, bluffs etc. and these pose a threat to low level flying.

I’m in control of the cargo plane and its escort, a Spanish Republican unit flying over Cuba (in my CS world, the Spanish Civil War rages in the Caribbean following an attempt to invade Cuba in 1935 and just about everyone piles in).  My aim is to get the cargo plane off the map safely at the point at which the two pirate aircraft have entered!

CS Game SJ1 Move 2

By Move 2 (above) the planes had started moving closer to each other (well, OK, apart from my Aguila wobbling along the bottom of the map), but with ranges still too long to do any shooting.

CS Game SJ1 Move 3

By Move 3 (above) the two sides were closing quickly and flare rockets were being fired in attempts to shock oncoming pilots into panicking and flying in straight lines!  Despite this, the Rifleman managed to put a magnesium round into the I-18s port wing, reducing the latter’s ability to manoeuvre.

CS Game SJ1 Move 4 Firing detail

On Move 4 (above) things went seriously wrong for me as the pirate Rifleman blasted my Aguila apart before I could do anything!  As the plane exploded after a magnesium round hit one of the wing fuel tanks, my pilot was lucky to bail out, although she didn’t escape injury!  This meant I was reduced to one small fighter escorting the cargo plane!

CS Game SJ1 Move 5 Detail

On Move 5 (above), the two pirates managed to blast past my I-18 and close on the cargo plane, so things were definitely not looking good for me!

CS Game SJ1 Move 6 detail

Fortunately, on Move 6 (above) the cargo plane pilot craftily stalled her plane, tricking the pirates into flying ahead of her.

CS Game SJ1 Move 7 detail

This gave the cargo plane the chance to break away on Move 7 (above) while the I-18 turned back to intercept the pirates.  Although the Rifleman got the drop on the I-18, the latter’s small size meant it got away with virtually no damage.  The same could not be said of the pirate Hawkeye, as the I-18 hit it with guns and rockets, severely damaging its engine and ability to turn (although the I-18’s cannon jammed in the process).

CS Game SJ1 Move 8 detail

On Move 8 (above) the cargo plane pilot failed to push the plane beyond its capabilities, which was probably fortuitous because it meant its subsequent random movement kept it out of trouble!  With no targets available, the I-18 pilot also managed to clear the jammed cannon ready for the next turn.

CS Game SJ1 Move 9 detail

Move 9 (above) saw the Hawkeye managing to get a sonic round close to the cargo plane, forcing it to fly in a straight line for the next turn.

CS Game SJ1 Move 10 detail

With the pirates knowing the cargo plane was going to fly straight on Move 10 (above), it was obvious to the I-18 pilot where they were going to be, so he positioned his small fighter in behind the two close-flying pirates.  Unfortunately, the Rifleman fired first and managed to shred the rear fuselage of the cargo plane with machine gun and cannon fire.  With a magnesium round burning its way towards one of the fuel tanks, the cargo plane pilot ‘chuted up and bailed out before the plane exploded.  The I-18 manged to hit the Rifleman with a magnesium round damaging the rudder controls.  Having shot down the cargo plane and achieved their objective, the pirates elected to beat a hasty retreat – with both pirate planes’ manoeuvrability impaired, they were unlikely to be able to outmanoeuvre the lighter I-18.

So this time round I failed to win, losing a fighter and the cargo plane, although all my pilots survived.  Whereas I thought I wouldn’t last long after the Aguila was shot down, I did manage to keep the cargo plane out of harm’s way for a while and damage both pirate planes.  Needless to say, StuG was pleased with his win and is quite keen to play some more games by e-mail.  Crimson Skies is quite a good game for keeping your brain active and it’s all about out-thinking your opponent (no wonder I lost then)!  So while lockdown continues in the UK, might as well try and lose a few more Crimson Skies games!

Until next time, stay safe everyone!


  1. I enjoyed reading this report, John! When I was a good bit younger, my brother got interested in a Crimson Skies game and me being my stubborn self who wasn’t interested in aerial or historical combat at the time, I never played it with him. I believe the planes came prepainted and were on Heroclix bases but I could be remembering incorrectly. It is cool to see that people still enjoy Crimson Skies and I’ll mention it to my brother to see if it piques his interest 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

    • Thanks Kuribo! 🙂 The Wizkids/Heroclix version of the game came out after the original folded I think and I’ve never played it. But it’s been years since I’ve played the original version and I thoroughly enjoyed it!

      Liked by 3 people

    • Thanks Ann! 🙂 It was good and, as you say, all my pilots survived, which is a plus! Sadly, years ago I set up an Excel spreadsheet that equated one year in real life to one month in the 1937 Crimson Skies universe and this allowed me to work out when wounded pilots could fly again and when damaged planes would be repaired by! Having recently dug all of this out even I was surprised at how much I had, including combat records for different plane types and the number an types of planes in different units.

      Liked by 3 people

      • Wow, that is pretty impressive that you did all of that. I wonder if some of the survivors are fighting this current war as well and you could add to their existing records? 🙂

        Liked by 3 people

        • Well, my boss is new to Crimson Skies, so his pilots are all relatively new, but I’ll just be picking up where I left off as far as my pilots are concerned! I’ve still got some pilots that have never been used so they might get into action. I won’t get to use my more experienced pilots until my boss’ guys have chalked up some experience points, but he’s getting there pretty quickly, so I might even get an ace into action at some point (I haven’t got many and my highest scoring pilot only has 6 kills I think)!

          Liked by 3 people

          • I hope your veterans are able to turn the tide against your Evil Boss when you finally bring them out of retirement. Instead of looking at it as “only has 6 kills,” think of it as, “only 4 more kills until double-ace status!” 🙂

            Liked by 3 people

          • Since he reads my posts I’ve tended to avoid referring to him as my Evil Boss, but no such restriction applies to yourself (and he doesn’t know I can edit replies anyway, hee hee hee)! I think one reason I have pilots with not many kills is because, a) I’m not that good at the game, and b) I’ve got a lot of pilots to spread out through the games! It would be nice to get a high scoring ace, but it becomes more difficult to use them in games as their experience points value increases.

            Liked by 3 people

          • Yes, I can see where it would be hard to keep your good pilots alive; just as in real life attrition has a nasty way of rearing its ugly head!

            Uh oh, don’t want to get you in trouble with the Evi- … er, Best Best in the Whole World Who I Think is Great Because he Plays Wargames With ME or in the grand tradition of the Death Guard, otherwise known as BBWWWGBPWWW-A, where “A” is the number corresponding to where he lies in the ordered list of all the bosses you have ever had.

            Liked by 3 people

  2. Thanks John, in this time when games are scarier than hen’s teeth, this was nice to read. I’m sure that your boss will happily improve your annual performance review rating as a result! If not, well just destroy him without pity next time!

    Liked by 2 people

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s