Nightfighter

nightfighter

On Shabbat, Peleg and I played a game of Nightfighter. This is another Lee Brimmicombe-Wood design, also published by GMT, using his phenomenal knowledge of WW2 aerial combat.

It uses a single-blind system, meaning the umpire knows everything – and he controls (in the main) the bomber stream. Meanwhile, the player – controlling the nightfighters – has to find, tally, and shoot down the bombers.

The rules are straightforward and layered in a programmed instruction format. So, you read a few rules and play scenario 1. You read a few more, and play scenario 2, and so on. Very thoughtfully, the designer provides several variants for each scenario, so if you cannot be bothered reading more rules, there is still a ton of playability.

We played the standard version of scenario 3 which pits a Ju88C-2 with an expert pilot against 3 Wellington Mk Ic bombers from 301 (Polish) Squadron of the Royal Air Force. I was the umpire and Peleg the nightfighter player. His radar got an early success and from there on it was unlikely the bombers would escape. I regret to report that Peleg shot down 1 and damaged 1 of the Poles. That gave him a win.  (Boo!)

Given that this is not the standard gaming fare, not every gamer will like it. As the umpire – to ensure fairness – you are restricted as to what you can do. Really you are running the game for the player who has the challenge – and the frustration, sometimes – of trying to work out where the enemy is. But, because game play is easily finished inside a short session, you can play a scenario and swap sides.

We both enjoyed it and intend playing some more. It’s not playable solitaire, but if you have a willing opponent, this may turn out to be one of your best gaming experiences.