Having literally just finished the second game of Crimson-Skies-by-email against my boss, StuG, I thought I’d try and get a post done on it while I can remember what happened! You can find the background to the game here.
Basically, StuG’s air pirate/militia gang, the Springfield Raiders, are looking for a suitable operating base in the Caribbean from which to conduct their nefarious activities! The shady leader of the gang, known only as “Bleedin’ Gums” to his crew (and his dentist), is taking one of the new gang members, Nedward “Okilly Dokilly” Flanders, on his first mission in their newly acquired seaplanes. I pointed out to StuG that, with even my limited knowledge of a well known TV animated series full of yellow people, that no air pirate worth his salt is going to want Ned Flanders as a wingman (I consider my colleague Holly pretty damn knowledgeable about said TV series and I’m pretty sure she’ll back me up on this)! Anyway, would StuG listen? No!
The two pirate planes, shown in red at the bottom right of the map, have to fly over the two harbour hexes marked with an “X” in an attempt to determine how suitable this island might be for them to set up base there. However, they’ve been spotted by two Columbia Air Militia fighters conducting an anti-pirate sweep out of the Panama Canal zone (the two grey planes top left on the map, controlled by me in the game) and the latter are intent on intercepting the pirates.
The two pirate planes split up to try and divide the Columbia fighters, but the latter weren’t going to let that fool them and they changed course to intercept . . . Ned Flanders!
Ned was flying a Sandhill seaplane, a well-armed, reasonably fast, heavy fighter, so was not necessarily an easy target, so his boss was happy to let him fend for himself.
As the two Columbia planes, a Skyrocket and a Sabretooth, closed in on the Sandhill, they split up.
As both sides fired sonic rockets and flares in an attempt to shock their opponents into flying straight ahead, the two Columbia Air Militia pilots came through unaffected, but Ned was temporarily shocked.
This allowed the lighter Skyrocket to get in close and let rip with all guns and rockets.
This was too much for the Sandhill and a well-placed high explosive rocket destroyed its engine! Since Ned had slowed his plane down during his last manoeuvre he was left with no option but to bail out. At least he wasn’t “Dead” Flanders (haha, StuG, just had to get that in)! In the meantime Bleedin’ Gums managed a neat low level pass over the harbour in his Skua, spotting a large flying boat on the water with several pirate seaplanes nearby and more than a few agitated people around. The Skyrocket lived up to its name as the pilot hit the nitrous boost injector and pulled a fast port turn to come round on the Skua (I imagine the radio chatter being along the lines of the 1970s song “Convoy” i.e. “Pig Pen, this here’s the Duck, I’m about to put the hammer down, ten-four!”).
The two Columbia pilots now tried to close in on the pirate Skua.
Both sides were trying to avoid a head-on clash and manoeuvre in behind their opponents.
The Skua had the advantage of manoeuvrability over the Columbia planes, sneakily looping around to try and gain an advantage.
Cat and mouse stuff, but the Skua finally had the option to change direction and catch his opponents out, putting a couple of sonic rockets in behind the Sabretooth and shocking the pilot.
Although the Skyrocket did a good job of trying to tackle the Skua, the latter managed to hit the Sabretooth with enough firepower to destroy its engine.
Fortunately the Sabretooth pilot had kept her plane’s speed up and attempted to glide it into a firing position against the Skua, but the latter broke off at high speed.
While the Sabretooth pilot bailed out, the Skyrocket tried a high-G manoeuvre in the hope of tucking in behind the Skua. Unfortunately, the Skyrocket responded poorly, stress fractures appearing in its starboard wing as the pilot fought to keep it under control. This caused its speed and attitude to drop just enough to let the Skua escape at high speed!
It was a good game that moved along much more quickly than the last one. With each side losing one plane it came out pretty even, although Bleedin’ Gums is now only one victory short of becoming an ace. I felt I’d managed to guess my opponent’s move options correctly more often than not, and whereas I did lose a plane, I did manage to destroy one and damage another.
As far as the downed Columbia Air Militia pilot’s concerned, she’ll no doubt find a plantation owner with a radio and arrange for an air sea rescue flying boat to collect her. But what about Ned? Will his boss consider him worth rescuing! And what’s the significance of the flying boat and pirate seaplanes in the harbour? I wish I knew the answers to these questions, because I need to plan the next missions for the Springfield Raiders! Stay tuned, stay safe!