(scroll down to see game details!)
8th Air Force, Second Edition: $69 (US)
Click here to view first edition play-throughs of each phase, and a full turn: PLAYTHROUGH!
11.25″ x 8.75″ x 1.00″ box
In 1943, the US Army Air Force (USAAF) began a strategic bombing campaign with a small but growing number of aircraft. By 1945 it had, for all practical purposes, swept the German air force (Luftwaffe) from the skies, and was bombing targets throughout the shrinking Third Reich almost with impunity. But getting to that point was no easy task…
You, as commander, 8th Air Force, have a very full plate! Early on, insure victory in the Battle of the Atlantic by bombing submarine bases in western France, then support the eventual Allied invasion of occupied France by bombing railroads and river crossings throughout France and western Germany. Failure in these critical bombing campaigns is not acceptable. Long-term, you’ll need to pulverize Germany’s aircraft factories and oil facilities to reduce the Luftwaffe’s aircraft production and support, and win the war by blasting Germany’s heavy industry. There will be more challenges along the way, from providing heavy support for the D-Day invasion and Normandy breakout, to suppressing the demoralizing V1 and V2 attacks on England, to assisting your Soviet ally by attacking German army staging areas in the east. In the meantime, the Luftwaffe is developing advanced jet and rocket technology that may tip the tide of the air war if you have not crippled their industrial capacity.
28″ x 22″ mounted game board
BELOW – EARLY MISSIONS: Railroads, River Crossings and Submarine bases – early in the game, your limited forces should concentrate on those early Bombing Campaign targets. Below, escorted B26s in Target Track 6 will attack the rail yards in Amien, hopefully clearing a path for the unescorted mission to the Upper Seine River Crossings. Meanwhile, B17s escorted by P38s in Track 7 hit the Loire Crossings and unescorted B24s in Target Track 8 see an opportunity to hit the less heavily defended Brest Submarine Bases (a Bf110 Group patrols the area, augmented by reinforced AA):
The game comes with the 28″ x 22″ mounted gameboard, 2 player aids (the calendar/bombing campaigns aid shown below), 18 page rules manual loaded front to back with examples, 2 dice, and 290 laser-cut thick, sturdy game counters representing almost 150 USAAF and Luftwaffe Groups/Gruppen plus plenty of reinforcing squadrons, and dozens of strategic and tactical targets.
BELOW – MID/LATE-WAR: missions are lined up to hit the Merseberg oil facilities, Bielefeld rail yards and the Gotha aircraft factories in Target Track 2, and raids on the Dulmen oil facilities (escorted by P47s), Freidrichshaven aircraft factories, Mannheim oil facilities and the Dutch coast V1 sites in Target Track 3. Destroying the aircraft factory and oil facility targets will slow down the Luftwaffe’s growth, and the railroad yards and V1/V2 sites are bombing campaigns. Note that the war industry target of Shweinfurt was hit on a prior turn, so you’re getting a victory point for that…
RICHLY ILLUSTRATED GAME MANUAL – the “8th Air Force, Second Edition” game manual is replete with illustrations and examples. Some folks learn games easier through illustrated examples but if you’re not one of them, just skip over the many examples – they are all easy to identify in their big blue boxes!
BELOW: BIG AIR BATTLE OVER BERLIN! Late in the war, you have a good-sized force of heavily escorted B24s over Berlin hitting its aircraft factories. Berlin’s oil facilities and war industries have already been hit, and note that the RAF bomber command has also pummeled Hitler’s capital! But the P51s escorting the mission won’t have it easy – a force of three Luftwaffe gruppen consisting of Me262 jet fighters, advanced Ta152s and even a force of FW190 trainers is entering the fray – tally ho!
EXCITING NEW OPTIONAL RULES! Create the very real “what if?” of US and Luftwaffe jets wrangling in the skies over occupied Europe! With a few lucky breaks (and less interference from Hitler), the Luftwaffe could easily have introduced jet fighters to the conflict considerably earlier and in greater quantities, perhaps forcing the USAAF command to accelerate its own jet program. In the new optional rule, Germany’s jets can take to the skies in force as early as April, 1944. Imagine how different history would have been with Gloster Meteors, Bell P59 Airacomets and Lockheed P80 Shooting Stars racing through the skies in dogfights with Me262s, He162s and Me163s!