Saturday, October 25, 2014

From Virtual Key West

Main gate, NAS Key West. (Google Maps - Street View)
By now you're probably asking yourself, where the heck is the Sarge at? Why no post today?

Well, I was at virtual Key West all afternoon.

Uh, what?

Yup, well actually I was here, in Rehoboth, Massachusetts. Let me explain. (Oh, you better!)

Rivendell Books and Games, Rehoboth, MA
The door to the left of Rivendell's is the entrance to virtual Key West.
(Google Maps - Street View)

Why do I keep talking about "virtual Key West"? Well, I went to Rivendell (Elrond wasn't there, he doesn't come in on weekends) to learn to play this...


It was a most excellent afternoon as my buddy Fringe led me through the first "turn" of this most excellent game.

I have to admit, I was skeptical at first. I've flown actual aircraft and had the chance to "fly" the Super Hornet sim out at NAS Lemoore.

Not to mention the many hours of virtual stick time I have on a multitude of computer flight sims.

I am also a veteran of military board games from way back. (When other kids were indoors in the winter, my best friend and I were in virtual North Africa, fighting it out between Monty and Rommel in Avalon Hill's game Afrika Korps.)

So I'm no nugget when it comes to war gaming. But I will make no claims as to my military genius or lack thereof. The time The Missus Herself landed unopposed on the North German coast and took Berlin while I was on the outskirts of Moscow still rankles. Let's just say, I'd make a better chief of staff than a commander. (Hell, truthfully? I could polish the CO's boots.)

Still, Fringe is a great friend and fellow Lexican and also a scenario designer for Birds of Prey (BoP). What with The Missus Herself being out California-way and me at loose ends, it sounded like a good way to spend a Saturday afternoon.

And it was.

While the game appears inordinately complex at first glance, once you get used to the many charts, graphics and tools, it is awesome.

Simulating fighting in a modern jet is no easy task in a board game environment but once Fringe showed me how all the charts and such worked, I began to see the light. Just follow the rules of the game, the mysteries of physics and all that math are taken care of.

So there I was*, it was supposed to be a 2v2, me and my nugget wingman taking on two VFC-111 F-5s. Mano a mano. Er, kind of. My nugget was a lady pilot, freshly winged and a novice learning the mysteries of air combat. (Hey, it's my story, I will tell it my way. After all I have friends who are ladies who fly fighters. They kick ass. Just in case anyone asks.)

On the runway, cleared to roll and as we run the engines up, my nugget hears a "bang" and gets a Master Caution light. She's a ground abort. I'm a solo.

I guess it's a 1v2 now. No problemo.

Once airborne and at 24,000 plus, I see them. Two of those nifty little F-5Ns in bad guy colors. Lead has already tipped his hand as I see his wings bank and his nose lift, he's turning into me, his wingman is still level.

Hhhmm, what does Gomer have in mind?

Let's go two-circle and take this fight vertical. I'll match my Rhino to those guys any day of the week.

The guys in the red circles are the  Sun Downers, the yellow arrow points at my ride.

Those were my thoughts anyway. I described them to Fringe, he showed me the magic of the BoP tools, charts and graphs and voilà that all gets translated to what you see above. Me, going vertical having gobbled up altitude and beginning to turn towards the gomers.

Of course, as I hadn't seen Fringe in over a year in the real world (see him online all the time, but it ain't the same) we started shooting our watches and talking about people we know, games we've played, etc., etc.

So we never got to my next move, we will though, down the road as I learn this game.

But really I had an awesome time. Can't wait to do it again.

Those Sun Downers are toast.

Now how about some real jets? The Hornet Ball 2014 video. Sweet, neh?

*WARNING: The beginning of a war story. Sort of.


  1. Sounds like an interesting game, and the video is GOOD!

    1. The game is interesting, I loved the video. The first part, well, let's just say my allergies were acting up and leave it at that...

  2. The Hornet Ball 2014 video. Sweet, neh?

    Sweeter after hitting mute at the 2:00 point.

    1. I barely listened.
      The visuals had just about all of my attention.
      Night carrier landings are scarier than ________________ (fill in the blank)

    2. Whenever the music starts I wonder, "What will Buck think?"

      No, really.

  3. Love love love that video. Soundtrack ain't so bad either. If that Wingnut guy is half as good a pilot as he is a video producer, we're in good hands.

    1. My thoughts exactly. I absolutely love the first part, it always brings a tear to my eye. Then the rest of it has me "flying" in my chair, if you know what I mean.


Just be polite... that's all I ask. (For Buck)
Can't be nice, go somewhere else...

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