In our 1st Action Point covering Battle of Britain from PSC Games, we looked at the two types of Attack options for the RAF in Interception and Dogfighting. In Action Point 2, we examined a German Mission Assignment and an example of a Bomb Run.
In this 3rd and final Action Point, we will cover the British Production & Repairs Phase as well as the finer points of squadron management.
German Targeting & British Production Board
We mentioned this board in earlier Action Points, but it is used by both players. The board tracks the condition of cities and radar stations located in each RAF group and is a quick reference to show what targets have been knocked out as when a target is destroyed a knocked out marker is placed in the corresponding space on the board.
You will also notice that each city has a number shown on the board. This number is called the City Production Number and tells the RAF player how many production points they will have in each Production Phase.
The numbers correspond to a number of dice that the RAF player will roll to determine production points which can be used to repair damaged aircraft, airfields and radar stations. Repaired will also be done in order of the RAF group number starting with 10 Group and ending with 13 Group.
As you can see in the picture above, 11 Group has one airfield that is knocked out (Hawkinge) and has 4 damaged squadrons. You will also notice that B flight and D flight have returned to their home bases to reinforce their flight’s with new squadrons. You can’t see the specific cards but B flight is missing 2 squadron cards and D flight is missing only 1 squadron. Upon returning, and during their Squadron Alert Phase, they can draw new squadron cards from the Combat Ready Box and add them to their flight boxes without revealing the cards. If there are no cards in the Combat Ready Box, it is impossible to reinforce their squadrons.
Back to the British Production Phase to show you an example of how this process works. For this example, we will look at 10 Group. In looking at the board below, you will notice that in 10 Group there 3 knocked out markers; one on the city of Cardiff (1 production points), one on the city of Swansea (2 production points) and one on the West Prawle radar station. Totaling up 10 Groups production points we see that they have 6.
This means that the RAF player will get to roll 6 dice to determine how many production points they will have to use. They roll 6 dice and are looking for roundels. For each rounder rolled, they will get one production point. The RAF player rolls only 2 roundels and will have 2 production points. They can repair the knocked out West Prawle radar station for 1 point and then will have 1 point remaining to repair one squadron card which they do to place a Spitfire from the Damaged Aircraft Box to their Combat Ready Box. Remember that cities cannot be repaired.
In the case where a Group has no damaged radar stations, airfields or squadron cards to repair, the RAF player can announce that the production of this group is going to be transferred to another group’s production roll. One third of the group’s production number will be added in dice to the receiving group. So, if 10 Group in our example had no need for their production points, or simply felt that another group was in greater need, they could donate 2 dice (1/3rd of their total of 6 dice) to this other group. This can only be given to the same group once per Turn.
I am not an expert at playing the RAF but have learned some of the basics. One of the most important lessons is to have at least one smaller less than useful fighter in your flight. While having 3 Spitfires is amazing with their 12 dice, you will lose a lot of good planes this way. Always have at least one weaker fighter that can absorb some of the hits from bombers or Dogfighting. I know the Blenheim isn’t fancy and only adds one die to Intercept or Dogfighting but it can absorb 2 hits and keep your Hurricanes and Spitfires in the battle.
A few of the groups, both 10 Group and 12 Group, have some antiques flying around. The Gladiator of 10 Group is the worst aircraft out there, with only one die in combat and only 1 damage strength, while the Defiant is marginally better with 1 combat die and 2 damage strength. You need to get these out of your flights as soon as possible and rotate in some of your better planes. This is easier said than done but is something you should focus on.
It is also very important to keep your radar net intact and should repair it whenever damaged in any group. Your radar stations are your first and most important line of defense as they force the Luftwaffe flights to stop when you intercept them and require that much longer for them to reach their targets buying you time to earn VP’s and stop the German player from completing missions.
Battle of Britain is a fantastic little historic game that allows you to recreate the famous engagement in the skies over London and have fun doing it. There is some great strategy in choosing missions as the Luftwaffe player and a tension filled continual decision by the RAF player on how to keep their defenses viable and fighting and what to repair. I am eager to play this one again soon.