Down in Flames: Locked-On (or as I like to refer to it Down in Flames: Top Gun) brings the Down in Flames System to the jet age, by adding deadly tone seeking missile combat, afterburners and range.
With the advent of jets, the deadliness of the game ratchets up as the “one hit one kill” sudden death nature of modern combat brings a new feel to a beloved and fantastic game that is very different than earlier versions of Down in Flames!
The general mechanics of the system are still there, with the use of cards to maneuver into position and to bring your guns and missiles to bear on your target, with the same counter play of cards to get you out of trouble, but the element of range has now been introduced which was a challenge at first to get my head around, but more on that later.
In this Action Point, I want to take you through your new aircraft options, and oh there are many, as well as a look at some of their new abilities like Counter Measures and Afterburners.
Choices for Aircraft and Aircraft Display Cards
Down in Flames: Locked-On offers aircraft from the very end of World War II, from the Korean War through to modern times and the most advanced fighter jet ever made the F-22 Raptor. Other aircraft include the Harrier, Phantom, Tomcat, Eagle, Fighting Falcon, Hornet, MiG-21, MiG-23, MiG-29, Corsair II, Intruder, Aardvark, Su-22, and many more. All of these advanced aircraft have upgraded systems including the best Performance Ratings ever seen in a DiF product, Afterburners and Missiles. In our few recent plays we used the F18A Hornet vs. the MiG-29 (which ended in a victory for me and the Hornet) and then the Mirage IIIEA vs. the Sea Harrier FRS.1 (also a well earned victory for me using the Mirage).
The game now provides these very cool Aircraft Display Cards that help players keep their information in one space and all nice and tidy. This card tracks your available missiles, your altitude, relative range to your target and also tracks your counter measures and Afterburners. These cards are not necessary to play but definitely improve the overall function of the DiF experience.
As these are jets, they are powerful advanced fighting machines and have two new features to offer players.
Some jets have the addition of Afterburners. Some have only one such Afterburner but more advanced jets have two. If you choose to turn on your aircraft’s Afterburners, flip one of your Afterburner counters to its On side.
Use the A/B numbers in the upper right corner of the Thrust areas on your Aircraft card for card draws during the Pre-Turn and Post-Turn Discard and Draw Cards steps when these Afterburners are engaged. Extra cards, and the ability to gain more cards, are key in the successful play of DiF, as they simply give you more tools to foil your enemies.
Your Afterburners will remain On until the start of your next turn and you will discard the counter at the start of your next turn. Why is this important? If your aircraft’s Afterburners are On, and a Heat Seeking Missile is fired at your aircraft, the Missile draws 2 extra cards for its mini-hand which means it has more cards to play and counter your targets evasive card plays. You will need to use these Afterburners wisely as they offer a big advantage but also can be your downfall.
Counter Measures are a means of last resort. They allow a player who has no cards in their hand able to counter the current played card to avoid a Missile and can be very frustrating to their opponent. But they are not full proof though as there are a few cards that can counter them, such as Scissors.
I can tell you that counter measures are a wonderful addition to the game and can make your dogfighting experience that much more tense and enjoyable.
In our next Action Point, we will take a look at Range, which is a new addition to the system that can be difficult to get at first, as well as an example of card play.