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Ace of Aces: Powerhouse
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Nova Game Designs
Weight: 700 grams (estimated)
Average Rating: 4.8 in 5 reviews
The creators of this game really were thinking outside the box when they designed it! It emerged at a time when most air combat designs were stuck on hex maps with tons of charts, devolving into exercises in paperwork. This elegant little game is played with two books, making it ideal for travel.
The basic game is essentially fought in 2-dimensions, which makes it very easy for beginners to learn the manuevers. The advanced game adds more realism, as 'pilots' keep track of speed, altitude, ammo, etc.
The Handy Rotory Series is also completely compatible with the later Powerhouse Series, so that dissimilar aircraft can battle each other, playing to or against their respective weaknesses.
Until computer simulations came along, this was the ultimate dogfighting game, and it's still my favorite today.
Im not a gamer, never have been. I purchased this game as a mathematical, graph theory example for a college class. I started 'playing' the game as an experiment. That was 18 years, 50 pounds, and two kids ago. I still love the game. I have taught my 10- and 12-year-old sons to play. They love the game. Yeah, its not Nintendo. And it is a game that uses no batteries, requires social interaction, and requires mental strategy, not reflexes.
Take my advice and ask Funagain to put this on your game wish list. Chances are you won't regret it.
What is Ace of Aces? Simply put, it is a pair of books with a lot of pictures or drawings of WWI airplanes in various positions, and a whole lot of arcane little symbols. Sounds dull, right? Wrong.
Both players start on a neutral page, and what you see is your opponent from the aspect of your own cockpit. The arcane symbols are pictograms depicting different aircraft maneuvers. Each player decides what maneuver they wish to do, and cross-reference these moves, ending up on another page. If you are lucky or skillful enough, you will be pointing your guns at your opponent, blazing away at them. Even better, you may be behind them, and can then take advantage of this on future moves.
The fact that the entire equipment of the game consists of two chubby little booklets means that this game can go anywhere and be played at any time. With next to no luck involved, a win comes only as the result of outsmarting your opponent.
There are advanced rules, too, which add complexity and a little luck to the game, but make for much more realistic results.
This is a game that seems to go in and out of print with some regularity. If you can find it, get it. You will not be sorry. Highly recommended.
This WWI air combat game is very unique. You each get a book for your plane. The books are filled with drawings of your view out of your plane as you are looking at your opponent. On the bottom of each page is a list of maneuvers that the plane is capable of. You each secretly pick the maneuver that you want your plane to execute then compare pages listed and see where you end up. Planes fly at one of three speeds and this limits the maneuverability of your plane. If you can get behind your opponent they have to tell you weather they are going to execute a left, right or straight maneuver. If you can get your gun pointed at the other plane, the closer the better, then you score hits. I can not help but feel that the end result is realism far beyond the classic turn based wargame with tons of rules. This could be the only game in existence that plays very well and is fun over the phone. Very highly recommended.
The original Ace of Aces games was a study in elegance. The game had an almost chess-like sense of move and counter-move, albeit with simultaneous movement. It was very much a game of cat and mouse, with each player taking both parts.
The deluxe edition of Ace of Aces, however, added a veneer of realism to the mix which I do not feel added to the game, but rather detracted from the elegant design. It feels more like a wargame, what with special rules for each plane type as well as for each famous pilot from the era. The picture-books now sport photographs rather than the clear and detailed line drawings of the original. While the layout of the books is better than before, the photographs seems muddy and dark.
For those who want absolute realism in their games, this is a definite improvement over the original. Personally, I prefer playability over realism, and this one falls a little short. Recommended for those wanting a reality check in their games.