Plight of the Mosquito

Another shot at Nightfighter with my (now) regular ftf opponent. We played scenario 8, Steinbock, depicting a bombing raid by 5 He177a Greif planes, hunted by one Mosquito NF.XIII.

I was the umpire, and my “opponent” was the player, needing to shoot down two bombers to win.

This scenario uses the GCI radar rules meaning the player has a good idea where one bomber may be. But it is not an exact fix, unless he gets lucky. He can hope the Mosquito will find the target, but its radar has a narrow band. What was worse – for the player – was the poor visibility (randomly determined), so he was really up against it, with little room for error.

Unfortunately, for him, he lost track of the first bomber he was hunting down, and by the time he had recovered, a fair number of the bombers were well on their way. He did manage to shoot down one bomber, but could not manage the second.

It was fun, straightforward to play, and quite involving. I’m not sure I would enjoy the frustrations of being the player, though!

This game is one I expect to keep coming back to.



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.