Once More, With Feeling...
New Indy Champ to be Named at Armistice Day Fits Tournament, November 10
The 24th annual Armistice Day Fits Tournament is coming on Saturday, November 10th, at 11 am to the Skinner's house!
Must I remind you just how big this event really is? For nearly a quarter century, the Armistice Day tourney has crowned the Indy Squadron champion. Its winner receives the coveted Victory Medal, the highest award the squadron can bestow. The tourney is among the longest running and most respected local squadron awards in all of Dawn Patrol.
By popular demand, here is this year's handicap of the top ten players most likely to compete in this year's event. If you are committed to playing in this year's title match and are not listed here, please let us know and we'll include you in this handicap. And remember... it's just for fun!
Scott Jones - Every now and then Scott remembers that he is, in fact, a Dawn Patrol player and he returns to the squadron that he co-founded. He is rusty and is notorious for having awful luck in big games. Everything would seem to be against him. But Scott has nothing to lose, and pilot records don't count on Armistice Day. It only takes one roll, and this ain't Scott's first rodeo. Odds: 12/1
Wayne Richeson - After being away from the game most of the year, Wayne's abilities remain intact but how current are they? Will he play? If so, will he make a critical mistake at the moment of truth? If he plays, Wayne will have to take a champion's provisional invitation because he has not gamed this year. The youngest player to ever win a Victory Medal, Wayne plays the odds and makes the dice work for him. That's a winning combination if he's sharp enough after his year-long layoff. Odds: 12/1
Mike Carr - A surprise entry on this list is the game's creator, who is not eligible for the squadron title but nevertheless may win the tourney as a spoiler. Mike has gamed heavily all year and has more experience than anyone at the Armistice Day table. But he is not accustomed to Indy Squadron rules and will be at a heavy disadvantage. The game will be far more strict than anything he's experienced since his last visit years ago. He'll need some luck. Will he get it? Odds: 10/1
Ethan Skinner - How can we not rank Ethan near the top? Despite his relative lack of experience, he swept the 2011 title as well as last spring's Red Baron Fight. He's had a taste of the glory and he wants it again badly. And although he doesn't have the experience to dominate, he's shown the ability to stick around and be lucky at the right time. One die roll can change everything. Ethan is living proof. Odds: 8/1
Kevin Richeson - A proven champion, Kevin's odds are lower this year simply due to a lack of gaming. He's gotta knock the rust off in a hurry if he expects to make a serious run for his third title. But what Kevin lacks in recent experience is made up for with fight and determination. No one loves the Victory Medal more than Kevin and that counts for a lot. Odds: 6/1
Dory Oda - After years of irrelevance and half-hearted efforts, Dory's recent playoff runs have made her a legitimate threat for a fourth title. She finished 3rd in last year's classic and 5th in 2010's enormous Armistice field. She told us early this year that she wanted to start playing more. Overlooking her could be a big mistake. Odds: 7/1
Stephen Skinner - The only seven-time champion has been distracted with a busy year and played very little. His heart is still in the game, but nothing replaces being razor sharp and ready at the right time... and Stephen is not. On paper, this doesn't look to be his year. But championship titles aren't won on paper and he knows how to win this game. Will it be enough? Odds: 5/1
Stephen Dale - Another hard luck Armistice story, Stephen Dale's fortunes may be ready to turn. His last few gaming days have been marked by smart playing, better luck, and good moves in crunch time. He is as ready for this ADFT as he has ever been for any, and his Gen Con World's Largest and RBF X titles show that he can win the big one. Odds: 4/1.
Rick Lacy - Guess who's been playing online on Monday nights? Guess who has racked up more missions in 2012 than any other Indy Squadron player? Rick is a veteran Armistice Day player. He's sharp and ready. Everyone else is rusty. He's due for a lucky break at a critical moment in the game. After more than a decade of trying, this is his year. Odds: 3/1.
October 13 Gaming Report
The Indy Squadron flew three missions on October 13th in what will turn out to be the final tune-up for the 2012 Armistice Day Fits Tournament.
Stephen Dale, Rick, Ethan and Stephen gathered at the Lacy's house on Saturday morning for an abbreviated day. Time has been at a premium this year for everyone and gaming has been less frequent, but we wanted to be sure to get in at least a partial day of gaming in preparation for the championship tournament.
The first game on October 13th featured Ethan's Albatros DII and Stephen's Roland DI against the French SPAD VII's of Stephen Dale and Rick. Ethan's pilot (Hippert Hohndorf, 4/0) was wounded on the first turn by gunfire from Stephen Dale's SPAD VII. Ethan managed a quick escape and narrowly saved his pilot's life.
Stephen's Roland pilot hit Stephen Dale's SPAD for seven of the next eight turns. The French plan was to allow Stephen to attack one of the SPADs while the other took the offensive. The theory was to spread out the damage between two planes and gain the advantage, but Stephen Dale didn't count on receiving a critical hit in the wing that forced him to remain stuck in a bank right. His SPAD eventually took a critical engine hit and a propeller hit that forced the Frenchman to land at low throttle. He was fortunate to save his 5/3 SPAD pilot.
Rick's pilot (Lt. Aubrey Demrey, 3/1) overdove his SPAD by 350 feet in pursuit of Stephen and somehow the wings didn't collapse. The fight quickly broke up with Stephen Dale's pilot (S/Lt. Constantine Bertram, 4/3) becoming the first confirmed kill for VFZW Wilhelm Weyerhausen (Stephen, 10/1).
Stephen Dale Frenchman was eligible for a 5% roll to see if he could gain credit for shooting down Ethan's Albatros DII. Click here to watch the roll recorded live at the gaming table.
We were one player short on this mission so Rick flew an SE 5a in defense of a British balloon. Stephen Dale (VZFW Alex Godfrey, 4/0) and Stephen attacked the balloons in Albatros DV's. Both Germans dove straight in for a quick attack and flamed the balloon in a single pass, scoring a total of eight hits between them. Stephen won the cut for the kill, awarding OF ST Sabine Schort his second victory in 7 missions.
The Germans were returning from a two-seater mission in Stephen's AEG CIV, escorted by Ethan's Albatros DII. Rick was again teamed with Stephen Dale, this time in British Nieuport 17's. The mission was brief and inconclusive. The only notable result was Stephen's two-seat crew achieving Experienced Pilot status (VZFW Hasso Tinglestad, 13/0 & VZFW Paul Heimrath, 12/1).
"The First Blitz: The German Air Campaign Against Britain, 1917-1918"
Andrew P. Hyde, Pen & Sword Publishing, October 2012
Paperback, 6x9, 224 pages, 12.99 UK
"The First Blitz" is a clear winner from the first page. But don't be fooled by the cover. Despite what you see on the cover art, this book doesn't really focus on the earlier Zeppelin raids; rather, it gives a blow by blow account of the German Gotha bomber campaign over England in the final two years of the war.
Author Andrew Hyde does a fine job providing the reader both a wide overview of the campaign as well as up close, personal descriptions of each individual attack and the results thereof. This is not an easy task, but Hyde is up to the challenge and the reader is never lost.
"First Blitz" also spends a surprising amount of time describing the Gotha bomber itself, from its flight habits to armament to the type of bomb sights used. An eight-page center section features period photos of the damage caused by raids. The author relies heavily on first-person accounts and contemporary newspaper reports to make the emotions and conditions of the day come vividly to life.
Physically, the book is light weight, handy in size, and the font is large enough to be easily readable. At 224 pages, it is not too imposing and invites readers with a passing interest rather than only attracting the hardcore enthusiast. It is written in an informative yet prosaic style that is easy to read and relies on individual accounts and stories rather than dry facts and figures.
"First Blitz" will be a welcome addition to your bookshelf.
Jon Guttman, Osprey Books
Softcover, 10x7, 64 pages, $18.95 US
Selling a Sopwith Camel book to a Dawn Patrol WWI gaming audience will be easier than pawning off mittens to Eskimos, especially when it's written by veteran author Jon Guttman.
Guttman's depth of knowledge on the topic of WWI aviation is downright ridiculous. A long-time member of the League of WWI Aviation Historians, he is a regular contributor to Over The Front journal and Osprey Books, in addition to his magazine work.
The first thing I noticed about the book was the last thing in it. The back cover has a foldout, cutaway diagram of a Sopwith Camel and makes a wonderful addition to Osprey's already wonderful Air Vanguard series.
These amazing little books from Osprey have been coming out regularly for some years now, but rather than complacency, we see continual improvements in an already superb product. "Sopwith Camel" has a splash of color, including full color artwork from several artists, color diagrams and illustrations in the first two chapters, and modern color photography of replica Camels. This is a tremendous complement to the excellent WWI-era black and white photos that have appeared in Osprey's similar works for many years.
The text of "Sopwith Camel" contains all the usual treats including a full operation history, seaborne carrier operations, a description of the development process and the various contractors who built the Camel, and much more. But then, as a reader of ISD, you knew that.
And you also know that you have to have this book. It's a great value, it's smaller than a magazine, and a "must" for any WWI bookshelf.