Alexander has really enjoyed this series of games from Legion Wargames since playing the first game Target for Today. The narrative that the game creates is second to none and the choices made during the game are very interesting. Here is a link to the review Alexander posted on the first volume several years ago as well as an interview.

Grant: Target for Tonight is a follow up to the successful Target for Today. This followup has been greatly anticipated by gamers since it was announced a few years ago. What is it like to be putting out a game that has so much expectation attached to it?

Steve: Frankly, I did not think about it. Bob and I just tried to put together the best possible game and hoped players would enjoy it. So far it seems that most have.

Grant: The similarities to B-17 readily evident, as they were with Target for Today, but what are the differences and newer concepts that have been put into Target for Tonight?

Steve: There are a few: all missions occur at night, no formation flying, the introduction of electronic warfare, spoof raids, flares, and of course the deadly German night fighters to name a few.

Grant: What were the key points from history that you wanted to make sure to model in the design?

Bob: For me I think the key point from history for Target for Tonight is showing how the advances in electronic warfare affected night bombing operations. It was literally a seesaw battle back and forth between the RAF and the Luftwaffe almost on a daily basis for who had the upper hand. I think the game models this pretty well. 

Steve: I have to agree with Bob on this – electronic warfare was a war within a war and continues to this day.

Grant: What led Bomber Command historically to perform night bombings? What were the inherent risks?

Steve: Bomber Command was not well equipped to handle daylight raids when the war began and suffered dearly for it. Extremely high losses led to the decision to fly at night.

Bob: Excessive losses in daylight bombing raids led Bomber Command to conclude that it was impossible for Bombers to reach their targets in daylight. The Bombers could not defend themselves against determined fighter attacks. Bomber Command switched to night bombing operations in an attempt to reduce bomber losses to the point where new production could keep up with losses. Night bombing made this possible.  

Grant: What are the different types of Bombers the player can fly?

Steve: The player has four options: The Stirling, Halifax and Lancaster. These are the standard Bombers. As an option the player can also fly the Wellington.

Target for Tonight Components

Bob: The, Lancaster, Halifax and Stirling Bombers are the standard game four engine heavy Bombers the players can fly. The Optional Rules Wellington twin engine Bomber is new to the Target for Tonight line up. Both Target for Today and Target for Tonight was designed for the heavy 4 engine Bombers. The optional rules twin engine Wellington features some new rules to accommodate this new Bomber type.

Target for Tonight Wellington

Grant: What do you feel is the strength of the gaming experience?

 Steve: The player has plenty of targets to hit over 12 campaigns. The game offers endless play, and it challenges the player to survive the 30 operational missions. It won’t be easy.

Bob: I think the narrative game style of Target for Tonight gives the player a feeling of “being there” in the sense that they are piloting their Bomber and reacting to events as they occur. The game system gives them the opportunity to experience history and what these brave airmen experienced and endured on a nightly basis.

Grant: How have you been able to create such a great narrative using so many charts and tables?

Steve: Some do not like the numerous tables and charts, and say stay away from the game because there isn’t much decision making. That’s fine – that is their choice. I tend to disagree with that excuse. There are plenty of choices to make as the player – do I abort or don’t I? Do I use the corkscrew to evade the enemy? Do I go around the target again to get back on course or do I skip that and not risk another enemy attack? How do I equip my aircraft for a mission? Do I fly at low altitude or do I go high? Once you make the choice the outcome is out of your hands. That’s where the tables and charts come in. And it’s those decisions and unknown outcomes that provide a narrative for the player.

Bob: For me the solo nature of Target for Tonight is like reading a good book or watching an exciting movie. My imagination draws me into the story and I feel like I am right there flying that Bomber, avoiding prowling night fighters and treacherous anti-aircraft fire while trying to bring myself and my crew through the ordeal.  For me rolling the dice and using the tables is no different than turning the pages in an exciting adventure novel. Many players say they are drawn into the game so much that they actually experience palpable symptoms of fear and relief after finishing a mission. It apparently affects players in this same way as being drawn into an action packed movie, and that make me happy as that was the goal.

Grant: What resources did you consult for the history behind your design choices? Of those sources what is the definitive source you’d recommend?

The Bomber Command war diariesSteve: We used various websites, books and official documents as source material. In constructing a timeline for electronic warfare, as well as determining targets I used The Bomber Command War Diaries – An Operational Reference Book, 1939-1945. Of particular interest to me were the actual pilot manuals and engineering notes for the Bombers used in the game. Since I worked on Phantoms in the Marine Corps, I couldn’t help being sucked in when reading the manuals. The covers that adorn the Bomber booklets in the game are the original covers of the manuals from the 1940’s.

Bob: Extensive research was done for the game that included a number of declassified government documents, personal memoirs from participants and published works from many writers and historians. There are too many sources to list here but a listing of sources is included in the game rules for players interested in doing their own research. For me, no one source was definitive, but I did find an Air Command and Staff College De-Classified Study titled Electronic Combat over the Third Reich to be most interesting.

Grant: How has Bob Best helped you in the design? What skills and thoughts did he bring to the table?

Steve: While the groundwork for the game was laid down with B-29 Superfortress and Target for Today, Bob was of great help adapting these previous games to Target for Tonight. He did a fantastic job and we will be working together on several future projects. The use of search lights and how radar is reflected in the game was all his.

Grant: How has the German Luftwaffe improved to make the game even more difficult for the player?

Steve: I do not know if improved can be used in this instance. The Germans had a small Night Fighter force and that force grew and adapted as the war progressed. Coupled with the advent of aerial radar, the German night fighters became a force to be reckoned with but was never strong to gain the advantage and hold it. Their pilots were aggressive and racked up impressive scores. That aggressiveness is reflected in the how fighter combat works in Target for Tonight.

Bob: The combat portion of the game system for Target for Tonight is somewhat different than that used in Target for Today. In Target for Today the player flies his bomber in a combat formation with other Bombers and defends against numerous attacking fighters as was the real life experience of US airmen bombing Hitler’s Fortress Europe. In Target for Tonight the player’s bomber is flying alone at night and can be attacked by a single night fighter at a time. In Target for Tonight the night fighter can continue attacking until the player can either “lose him” in the night or he is shot down. It makes for a tense and exciting time for the player so in game terms the Night Fighter has become more tenacious and aggressive.

Grant: I know that you have mentioned it several times in this interview but what is the Electronics War? What different equipment is available to players and how do they effect their mission’s chance of success?

Target for Tonight EW

Steve: Lockheed Martin defines EW fairly succinctly, “Electronic Warfare (EW) represents the ability to use the electromagnetic spectrum—signals such as radio, infrared or radar—to sense, protect, and communicate. At the same time, it can be used to deny adversaries the ability to either disrupt or use these signals.” Window is a good example of an EW countermeasure. These strips of course, black strips of paper with thin aluminum foil stuck to one side were used to jam the German’s Würzberg radar sets. These sets controlled Night Fighter interceptions and radar-laid flak, as well as Lichtenstein radar sets carried by the fighter themselves. For a short period of time, the Germans were rendered blind but within a few months they developed countermeasures which rendered Window ineffective.

Bob: The Electronic War as used by the Germans included a belt of interconnected sites along the Atlantic Wall that used radar and listening posts to locate individual bombers flying singly in a bomber stream moving toward a target. The Wurzburg and Freya radar systems were able to locate the height and direction of the Bomber. A pair of Night Fighters would orbit a known location and also could be “seen” on the site’s radar system. From this information a ground control officer would vector the Night Fighters toward the detected Bomber. When the Night Fighter got close enough to the Bomber its own internal radar was used to make the attack. Both sides developed counter measures and counter-counter measures that seesawed back and forth as the war progressed. Blind bombing devices such as GEE for locating targets are also available in the game. Bombers equipped with more advanced Electronic Warfare devices have a better chance of finding and hitting their targets and avoiding the Night Fighter and Anti-Aircraft gun threat and this is reflected in the game. 

Grant: What optional rules are included? How do they change the experience?

Steve: There are plenty of optional rules to allow the player to increase complexity or to experience some “what-if” situations. See Bob’s comment. The player has the option to use the Me-262 and Ta-154 Night Fighters, fly gardening missions, fly the dam busting missions, fly as part of a squadron, allow the Germans to use decoy fires, use of optional personnel if wish to carry an observer, as well as variations on Bomber armament.

Bob: There are many optional rules included in the game that run the gamut from different Bomber armament packages as was experimented with by the RAF in real life, to optional Luftwaffe Night Fighters that includes jets. There are also optional rules for optional crew members, mine laying missions and the Dambusters Raid on the Ruhr Basin dams. Also for players who feel they want the experience of flying in an RAF Squadron we have included a Squadron Game. This option allows the player to fly with the other Bombers in his squadron and determine their success in their attacks during the mission. Optional rules for linking Target for Tonight with Target for Today and B-29 Superfortress, allow the player to fly the Bombers contained in the trilogy in any of the 3 games. An example of this is if the player wants to fly the B-29 Superfortress on missions over Germany… that is included in the game. The new player reading this should not feel overwhelmed. The basic game of flying your Bomber on a night bombing mission is quick and easy to learn and as you gain more experience you can add in the optional rules that you find interesting and want to try.

Grant: What is the anatomy of a Bombing mission?

Steve: Since Bob wrote the introduction to the game, I will let him answer that one.

Bob: Aircrew would usually be notified early in the day that “Ops are on tonight”. Briefings usually commenced during the afternoons. Whenever possible, RAF Bomber Command would arrange for a diversionary attack which was known as a “Spoof Raid”. The hope was that the “Spoof Raid” would draw the night fighters far enough away from the main force Bombers that they could not recover in time to effectively intercept the real bombing raid mission force. The Luftwaffe’s night integrated air defense system used radar, listening posts, ground observers and searchlights to coordinate Night Fighter interceptions and Anti-Aircraft Artillery (AAA) gun attacks against the invading Bombers.

After completing the briefing, the RAF Bomber Crews commenced take offs at dusk or into the evening hours. The pilot would climb to the designated height and head for the group’s assembly point near the coast. Mission altitude was normally between 12,000 and 15,000 feet. Crossing the Channel, the Bombers could expect Luftwaffe Night Fighters to be stalking them. Depending on the course to the target the Bombers might overfly several belts of anti-aircraft artillery and search lights, radar sites and listening positions. The Bombers would be illuminated by searchlights and fired upon from the ground, and all the while be pursued, harried and attacked by Night Fighters. An often-successful tactic to evade a determined Night Fighter pilot or after being caught by a searchlight(s) was to perform an evasive action “Corkscrew Maneuver”. This was a high-speed spiral carried out while diving several thousand feet before pulling out of the dive. This maneuver caused high G-forces on the Bomber and if not properly executed could tear the wings off. The Bomber stream could be 100 miles long and the attack might last an hour or more. The Bomber would then fly a straight and level bomb run to aid the bomb aimer in lining up on the target.

After making their attack the crew would turn away and head for home while attempting to avoid known AAA gun concentrations and fighter hotspots if possible. Arriving back at base crews were promptly ferried to de-briefing where mugs of tea were distributed while each crew was interviewed and a detailed operational report, compiled before a generous bacon and egg breakfast could be claimed.

Grant: What are the different campaigns included in the game? Which are the most challenging for the player?

Steve: There are 12 campaigns in the game, covering different time periods from 1942 to 1945. Here is an extract from the rule book:

Campaign 1Harris Takes Over

(8/9 March 1942 – 29/30 May 1942)

Bomber Types – Stirling, Halifax, Lancaster, Wellington

Campaign 2The 1,000 Plane Raids

(30/31 May 1942 – 17 August 1942)

Bomber Types – Stirling, Halifax, Lancaster, Wellington

Campaign 3Pathfinders Introduced

(17/18 August 42 – 20 December 1942)

Bomber Types – Stirling, Halifax, Lancaster, Wellington

Campaign 4Gathering Strength

(20/21 Dec. 1942 – 5 March 1943)

Bomber Types – Stirling, Halifax, Lancaster, Wellington

Campaign 5The Ruhr

(5/6 March 1943 – 24 July 1943)

Bomber Types – Stirling, Halifax, Lancaster, Wellington

Campaign 6 – Hamburg

(24/25 July 1943 – 3 August 1943)

Bomber Types – Stirling, Halifax, Lancaster, Wellington

 Campaign 7 – Prepping for Berlin

(3/4 August 1943 – 18 November 1943)

Bomber Types – Stirling, Halifax, Lancaster (Stirling begins phase out late 1943) (Wellington phased out Oct. 43)

Campaign 8 – Target Berlin

(18/19 November – 31 March 1944)

Bomber Types – Stirling, Halifax, Lancaster

Campaign 9 – Prepping for the Invasion

(31 March/1 April 1944 – 5 June 1944)

Bomber Types – Stirling, Halifax, Lancaster

Campaign 10 – Normandy

(5/6 June 1944 – 16 August 1944)

Bomber Types – Stirling, Halifax, Lancaster

Campaign 11 – Target Germany

(16/17 August 1944 – Dec 31 1944/Jan. 1 1945)

Bomber TypesStirling (phased out Sept 44), Halifax, Lancaster

Campaign 12 – End Game

(1/2 Jan 1945 – 25/26 April 1945)

Bomber Types – Halifax, Lancaster

As time progresses, players have new equipment to choose from as do the Germans – especially the EW equipment. As mentioned previously, that in itself was a war within a war. As for the most challenging, players will no doubt tell you no matter what campaign you play, it is a challenge. The Night Fighters are deadly.

Grant: How can Target for Today and Target for Tonight be tied together?

Steve: It was Bob’s idea to tie in B-29 and Target for Today. Optional rules are provided to allow players to fly those “what if” scenarios. Fortresses and Liberators can fly at night or Lancs, Halifaxes can fly during the day. And if the player so chooses, fly the British bombers over Japan. It’s why we included the Seafire Escort in the counter mix.

Grant: What are you most proud of with the design?

Steve: For me, the game does a nice job recreating the night-bombing campaign and provides a great narrative for players. Players can get a sense of what the actual pilots and crew experienced. I must say that the folks at Legion Wargames did an incredible job with the artwork – it adds to the mood of the game.

Grant: What is next for both Steve and Bob?

Steve: We have three projects in the works. First, Linebacker II covering the B-52 raids over North Vietnam in December 1972; second, a prequel to Target for Tonight covering the RAF Bomber Command daylight bombing missions from 1939-1942. This game will feature several of the twin engine bombers of those years. Third, a game called King of the Heavies focusing on the exploits of the 380th Bombardment Group (B-24) and the 345th BG (B-25). The 380th flew B-24s out of the Darwin area in Australia, hitting a variety of Japanese targets in Java, New Guinea, Celebes and a few other locations in the area. In 1945 they moved to the Philippines, hitting targets in Vietnam, China and Formosa. They flew night missions, day missions and armed reconnaissance missions. During the armed recon missions, they sometimes hit the deck to attack shipping so that will be simulated in the game. While they were in Australia, they trained Aussie crew and players will have a chance to do that. As an option, players can also have an all-Australian crew. It is really remarkable what this BG accomplished. As for the 345th (Air Apaches), they flew out of New Guinea and the Philippines and did plenty of low level attacks, as well as the standard bomb drops. So Bob and I have enough on our plate.

As for games done without a partner, I am finally wrapping up A Forgotten Sideshow. This game allows the player to manage a Corsair squadron in the Pacific during World War II. The second game is my first two player game, Operation Nordwind. Nordwind depicts the last German offensive in the west which was launched just before New Year’s Day 1945. It’s a simple card driven game designed to introduce younger players to the hobby. I am currently finishing up the map, which will be actual 1:50,000 scale WW2 army maps of the combat area. And yes – there will be a bot included for solitaire play.

Target for Tonight Counters

Thanks for your time Steve and Bob. I am grateful for your very fruitful team and the great designs that you have brought to wargaming. I am also very much looking forward to your upcoming games and am sure that they will make for a great narrative heavy and interesting experience.

Here is a link to our unboxing video so you can get a better idea of the components:

Here also is a link to a video review by Alexander:

If you are interested in Target for Tonight you can order a copy from the Legion Wargames website at the following link: