Playing Blood Red Skies

Wargames, Soldiers and Strategy was recently given a complete copy of Blood Red Skies. We'd had the rules for some time, what we hadn't had was the marvellous planes nor the clever movement stands.

Blood Red Skies is a fast and fun game of aerial combat set in the Second World War.  I took it down to the South Devon Games Club and the Brixham Berserkers to give it a run, where it received a warm welcome every time we played.

The basics of the game can be picked up by players in minutes, usually by the second turn of play. The game comes with useful play sheets which are self-explanatory and an excellent guide.

This is a game which needs two or three 'run-throughs' to master the tactics of aerial warfare (ok, aerial combat in the game, not in real life). As the more experienced player, I was able to outmanoeuvre and then outshoot (despite bad dice) my opponents. After their first game, however, they soon became more experienced.

In one game, time and again I provided my pilots with shooting opportunities, just to have them miss. Thankfully as I kept on getting my planes onto people's tails, I finally got in the 6's to hit and the all-important 'boom' chits. So, I'd recommend playing a few games to get an idea of how it works before passing judgement.

I like it as it is quite a bloodless game, despite the title. You are more likely to drive an enemy squadron off with a couple of holes in their wings than you are to kill every single last enemy plane. This opens the game to some form of a campaign setting, where successful pilots gain ranks and perhaps the odd extra bonus card. My only complaint? We need more planes! How about some Curtis P-40 Tomahawks for the desert?


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