Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Tinkering With Spandau And Lewis

In odd moments I have been playing small, quick, games of 'Spandau and Lewis', in order to try out possible changes. Most of these I have written about over the last couple of weeks, but I'm slowly settling on some alterations that I think I can live with.

Firstly, I have tried increasing the number of hits an aircraft can take. This increases their survivability and offsets the ease of lining up shots that my generous, but easy to adjudicate, firing ars offer. Aircraft are generally shot down by critical hits now - the pilot being killed, or an engine hit. I'm still playing with the numbers, but I have increased a 5 hit plane to 8 and a 6 hit plane to 10.

In concert with the above I have reduced the number of shots an aircraft has. Each gun now only has 8 bursts. This equates, on average and very roughly, to about 16 dice over the course of the game, so with a 1 in 3 or 1 in 2 chance of each gun scoring a hit you can see that you have to be very lucky to bring down a plane by shooting it to pieces. You can hinder its performance by scoring half damage on it, though*.

Finally I am settling on a way of representing loss of speed and agility through sustained maneuver, and the ability to recover via power. It does require an on-table marker, though, something I've always been keen to avoid.

As with previous incarnations of this rule, a plane has a Power rating of between 0 and 4. Generally early planes and two-seaters will tend towards the lower end of this score, whilst scouts and later planes will be at the upper end.

If a plane turns more than 45 degrees or sideslips more than 1" - an Extreme Maneuver -  then it must roll under its Power on a D6 or pick up a  marker. If a plane begins its Maneuver Phase with a marker then it cannot declare a speed greater than half its maximum (rounded up). It can still maneuver, but generally will do so at a penalty (there's a -1 if your declared speed is 3 or less, don't forget). If it turns 45 degrees or less, or sideslips 1" or doesn't maneuver at all, then the marker is removed. If it does another Extreme Maneuver then the marker stays on; there is no roll to remove it. In other words, once a plane acquires a marker, only limiting your maneuver (voluntarily or otherwise) will allow you to remove it and move at greater than half-speed on your next turn.

Testing continues ...

*And if it sounds difficult to shoot down enemy planes, consider one test game which saw four Sopwith Camels take on three Fokker DVIIs and a Triplane. Three Camels were shot down for no German loss - one with its pilot killed (an Ace as well), one through an engine fire and one via progressive damage after being tailed for several turns. Most hits were scored by a single DVII (also an Ace) with some help from the Triplane.


  1. It makes sense as most kills came from damage we would consider critical hits. You could do away with a damage and just use crit markers. Black smoke for fuel damage, grey for engine, and Red for fire.

  2. Do the Spandau and Lewis rules work with 1/72 scale planes? I have recently been building WWI 1/72 scale airplane models. I became interested in this era after watching Errol Flynn in Dawn Patrol. I had looked at getting into Wings of Glory but balked at the cost of the individual planes. 1/72 also allows me to build them myself, which is part of the hobby I enjoy. The great thing about WW1 era is the great variation in color schemes - which pretty much allows me to paint the planes however I want (I am not that concerned about historical accuracy). Now that I've assembled a couple of planes I want to fly them around and make machine noises (I'm still a little kid at heart). In order to do that as an adult I need some good rules (wife is less likely to think I've lost it if I tell her that I am wargaming).
    I have been looking for a good simple rule set that does not use a hex mat (don't have a hex mat, don't have the money to buy one or the time/patience to make my own). I have discovered your rules and it looks like it is what I am needing. I just want to know if it would work with 1/72 scale or not. Thanks.

    1. I've not tried it, but there's no reason why not. You'd probably need to tripe or quadruple distances though and play on a larger table.


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