In Action Point 1, we took a look at the various Aircraft options as well as some of the new technologies available in the jet age, such as Afterburners and Counter Measures. In this Action Point, we will take a look at Range and then a simple example of card play.

Range

Locked-On uses a relative range system. This measures how far an Aircraft is from the center of the combat air space. When determining the Range between two Aircraft, use the Range of the Aircraft at the longest Range, then add 1 to the Range for each level of Altitude separation. As compared to other DiF games, a difference in elevation doesn’t eliminate the option for engaging your enemy but simply makes it harder to use certain weapons. I liked this change although it took me a few moments to get my mind wrapped around it.

As you can see in the chart below, the ranges have letter codes for each, starting wtih the closest range being a G for Guns and the farthest being AH or Active Homing. Any Range beyond Active Homing is considered to be Active Homing.

Each of a jets Missiles and guns are only effective at a certain Range and these Ranges are color coded. There are 4 Ranges in the game. From closest to farthest, they are: Gun (G) which is yellow, Heat Seeking (HS) which is red, Radar Homing (RH) which is black and Active Homing (AH) which is green.

All Aircraft begin at Active Homing Range and must close to within Range of the weapon they wish to fire at their enemies. How do you close Range? You have to play a card for the Range section in the upper left corner and your enemy can try to evade you by any laying a counter card. If your card is successful, you simply move up that many Range increments and can then fire a Missile if you are within its Range. The Range part of the game was a little hard to fathom at first but once you get it down, it won’t be a problem.

Card Play

Down in Flames uses a card system where players play certain Action cards that can then be countered by their target to evade them. You initiate an action during your turn by playing an Action card. The opposing player can respond by playing an Action card in Reaction to yours, if the title of your Action card appears in their Action card’s React To: area.

For example, if you are trying to gain an advantage over your opponent and you play the following Scissors card for the Positioning portion of the Card in the upper left hand corner, in order to get away from you and avoid being Disadvantaged, your opponent must play a card in Reaction that has the title of your played Scissors Card to get away.

There are many cards that can be played including Scissors, Barrel Roll or an Ace Pilot Card which counters all cards. If he can play a counter card, you then have the choice to play another card that will counter his chosen played card and so on and so forth. This can go on for a while until either they cannot counter your played card, you can’t counter their played card or either of you decide to give up the Chase. There is great strategy in this game about knowing the cards and when to push your luck and continue the chase and when to give up. Card management is key to victory and you must make sure you hold Attack cards, counter cards as well as some trump cards to get you out of really sticky situations.

Example of Card Play

I will now give you a quick example of card play with some pictures of a dog fight between Alexander and I this past weekend. I had him at disadvantage and I wanted to maneuver to get on his tail so that I could take a shot with the Missile Card I was holding. So I chose to play my Scissors Card to try and increase my position on him by one step.

In response, because he really didn’t want to have me on him and able to take a shot, he played a Scissors Card followed by me playing a Barrel Roll and then he played an Ace Pilot Card which would have trumped any Card I had played. This was the end of this encounter and I was unfortunately not able to outmaneuver him and get into position for a shot. But my turn wasn’t finished. I still had 7 cards while he only had 4. Now was my chance.

I played another Scissors to get a position of advantage that he couldn’t counter so now was tailing him. I then pulled out my Tone Steady Card (and made a time sound which is always great fun!) which is required to lock on to the target. As he only had 5 cards, and a counter measure remaining, he let my tone through and after locking on I used a Missile Card to fire and drew my Missile mini hand of 3 cards.

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He launched his last Counter Measure token, and fortunately for me I had drawn a Scissors Card that can counter his Counter Measures and I rejoiced as my Missile ran true and destroyed my target for the victory!

Such a great feeling when everything goes well and you are able to execute a perfect strike to take out your target.

We really enjoyed our play of Down in Flames: Locked-On and would recommend this game to anyone that enjoys dogfighting games or the DiF system. There also is a great looking solo system with 6 full campaigns that all look very interesting. We have not taken those out for a spin yet but will and will share our thoughts about it after.

If you are interested, you can check out our video review on our YouTube Channel at the following link: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=pfG7Qsfqayc&t=20s

-Grant