Volume 30, Number 1
Three Games & New Players at New Year's Day Gaming
The Indy Squadron kept its 30-year holiday gaming tradition alive again this year by kicking off 2018 with three well-attended games in Union City, Indiana.
The first scenario pitted a trio of British SE 5's (Ethan, AJ, Stephen Dale) against three wily veterans in Albatros DIII's (Rick, Bob, Stephen). Stephen Dale flew very well and led the way for the British but the fight eventually broke up with heavy damage to several airplanes and no kills scored. The safe return of LTN Johannes Kahle from his 12th mission gave Stephen his fifth German ace/experienced pilot. Rick's Albatros DIII pilot, LTN Johann Schoffler, returned safely from his 25th mission.
The second mission was a brief, four-turn affair featuring a British balloon hanging at 700 feet and defended by three Bristol Fighters (AJ, Rick, Stephen Dale). The Bristol crews were strong and experienced, led by 2LT Clayton Rodgers and LT Rupert Hobbs (Rick, 13 missions each). LT Steve Irwin and LT Albert Oz (Stephen Dale, both 7/0) were aloft in a 275 hp Bristol as well, with AJ's crew rounding out a solid flight. The Brits scored first, attacking both Bob and Ethan, before flying to the outskirts of the fight to allow their ground based anti-aircraft guns to begin firing.
The Germans flew into the teeth of the ground fire, striking fast and hard. A Fokker Triplane (Bob), Seimens Schuckert DIII (Ethan) and a Fokker DVII 185 (Stephen) dove for a coordinated attack on the balloon. All three Germans hit their mark, with Ethan's Schuckert easily scoring the most hit factors. The balloon exploded instantly with the credit justifiably going to Ethan's pilot, LTN Grim Funf (2/1), who scored his first kill.
Their mission complete, all three Germans immediately fled the scene and no other kills were scored. Stephen's Fokker DVII pilot, VZFW Jurgen Ulf, completed his 12th mission to become the sixth German ace/experienced pilot on his roster.
The third game was especially enjoyable when two new players (Jason and son, Casey) flew their first-ever missions as Dawn Patrol players. The scenario featured three French Nieuport 27 fighters (Rick, Casey, Bob) in a high altitude dogfight against three Germans (AJ, Jason, Stephen).
AJ carried most of the offensive weight for the Germans while Stephen rolled lousy initiative numbers and Jason learned the game. For the French, Bob's Nieuport absorbed a number of hits but he continued to fight off Stephen's Albatros while Rick battled AJ. The game was primarily a learning opportunity for the new players and no kills were recorded by either side.
Jason and Casey picked up the mechanics of the game as quickly as anyone we've ever seen, including a number of very experience gamers. They didn't require much teaching and seemed to grasp every concept after one brief explanation. Both kept their score sheets and rolled up biographical information on their new pilots, which is a good indication that they enjoyed the game enough to play again. Their quick adaptation to the game means that they'll be formidable opponents in a very short period of time.
The Indy Squadron's annual April classic, "The Red Baron Fight," commemorates the final flight of Germany's famed fighter ace, Manfred von Richthofen, who lost his life in a dogfight over Vaux-sur-Somme on the 21st day of April 1918.
We are in luck because this year, April 21st falls on a Saturday. That means we have the opportunity to hold the 29th Red Baron Fight on April 21, 2018, precisely 100 years to the day after the Red Baron was killed in combat.
The Red Baron Fight is always held on the third weekend of April, or on the closest available date that we can manage. This year's game will be only the fourth time in the 29-year history of the event that we've been able to hold RBF on the exact date of Richthofen's final fight (the other three were 1990, 2007, 2012). The 2018 edition of RBF will be even more special since it falls exactly on the 100th anniversary of the event we're commemorating.
Be sure to brush up on the legendary and still controversial dogfight that claimed the Red Baron's life. Also remember to preview the rules of the Red Baron Fight game and look up the history of its prize, the Silver Goblet.
A centennial anniversary occurs only once in a lifetime (literally), so be sure to join us on April 21st for Red Baron Fight XXIX.
Indy Squadron Dispatch Enters Fourth Decade of Publication
It is with great pride that the Indy Squadron Dispatch begins Volume 30 with this issue, celebrating 30 years of continuous publication. Many publications dedicated to Dawn Patrol gaming have come and gone over the years, but ISD has been a constant since 1989.
The Dispatch began as a simple, typewritten notice announcing upcoming games, mailed via the postal service. Your Editor-in-Chief would like to go back in Indy Squadron history a few years and thank Terry Phillips, who was the first to begin plugging the text of ISD into a desktop publishing system back in the early 1990's. Terry took the Dispatch to new heights and allowed us to produce a true paper newsletter that was attractive and readable.
Any record of the Dispatch is also incomplete without thanking Brian Halberstadt, the long time Indy player who brought the Dispatch to the Internet and later created the world's first online Dawn Patrol games.
When the Indy Squadron held its first gaming day in late 1988, none of us ever dreamed that our small gaming group would still be going strong thirty years later. But as fun as this game has been, the real value of Dawn Patrol has come from two unexpected sources.
The game's first and most lasting impact has come not from any success or honors earned, but from the friends that it has brought into our lives along the way. Friends are among life's most precious resources.
Dawn Patrol's second great contribution - unforeseeable when the game was invented back in the 1960's - has been to bring its players back into the real world. When we're playing Dawn Patrol, we don't have our faces glued to a computer, a smart phone or the latest brain-rotting I-gadget. We're actually engaging in real human conversations instead of texting. We're playing a game based on actual paper, cardboard and dice, with real people, at a real table, rather than blankly staring at fake electrons on a screen.
Dawn Patrol may only be a simulation, but it is far more real than than most of what comprises our 21st century world. As author Mike Adams pointed out, the news you watch every night is fake (believe me, I spent years in the industry). The coloring in your food is fake. So is the taste, courtesy of GMO's and MSG.
The "war on terror" is fake. Our politicians are fakes. WMD's in Iraq was fake. The made-for-TV myths of Jessica Lynch, Bin Laden, 9/11 and Lee Harvey Oswald were faked. The history taught in public schools is fake.
Your bank account is fake. It contains no actual money but only digits entered on a screen. There is no money. Get that. There is no money. There never was. The whole thing is a scam.
The flag-waiving dog and pony shows we see before NFL games are fake, paid performances staged on cue with tax money. Our courts are fake. Social media gives us fake friends through contrived conversations masquerading as real social interaction.
Even the page you are reading right now is fake. It doesn't really exist. Unplug your monitor and see.
As trivial as a board game might be, Dawn Patrol remains one of the few genuine things in our lives. At least it brings us real friends, real social interaction, and playing it requires us to step away from the hectic pace of daily life and relax. Even board games are more real than the delusional world that surrounds us. That is Dawn Patrol's second great contribution to its players, surely a benefit that Mike Carr and his teenage friends could never have imagined when they created this game almost half a century ago.
Thanks for being a part of that, and thanks for reading the Indy Squadron Dispatch. We're proud to still be here after 30 years.