The solitaire wargame Skies Above Britain is currently up on the GMT Games P500 preorder list. The Battle of Britain game, designed by Gina Willis and Jerry White, has made the cut and will focus on individual aircraft as the player aims to defend against and defeat the attacking air forces of Germany. Skies Above Britain is for one or two players, for ages 12+, plays in 45 to 60 minutes, and is available for a preorder price of $65.00 with an expected MSRP of $99.00.
Skies Above Britain is a solitaire game depicting a Royal Air Force squadron of Hurricanes or Spitfires waging a desperate effort to disrupt and destroy German daylight bombing raids over southeast England in the summer of 1940. The player’s individual aircraft—each represented by a stickered block—must locate the incoming raid, intercept it, and evade or defeat swarms of escorting German fighters that usually outnumber you and whose pilots have superior experience and tactics. The game simulates the dogfighting and fighter-vs.-bomber action at an individual aircraft level using a card-assisted system that simulates key tactical decision-making without losing the feel of fast-paced aerial combat. A player can fly scenarios representing an individual patrol or use the patrol generator to create an endless variety of realistic individual patrols, multi-patrol campaigns, or larger campaigns covering the entire Battle of Britain. Each patrol will take a half hour or more to play, while a campaign can last anywhere between 6 and 28 patrols.
You select a roster of pilots with varying experience and skill levels. The squadron takes off, takes up a patrol station, and tries to locate and intercept a German raid before it reaches its still-unknown bombing target. Patrol success depends on your disrupting or destroying bombers and shooting down German fighters, but losses of your own pilots count against your score. You must weigh potential reward against risk as you try to keep your planes in contact with the bomber formation and each other, seizing opportunities for successive attacks before your fuel and ammunition levels get too low and the centrifugal forces of aerial combat scatter your unit across the sky. After each mission, you try to recover bailed out or injured pilots and get ready to scramble again—often several times in the same day—while your squadron faces the constant threat of exhausted pilots and excessive losses that could render it ineffective.
The patrol is played on several displays and surfaces at the same time, each one representing a different zoom level of the action in and around the bombing raid. An Interception Map presents the German formation as a lethal space of escort stations, where you can position your squadron for different approaches and assign planes to attack bombers or engage German escorts. Once engaged, moveable bomber tiles are positioned on the tabletop to show bombers in a variety of historical formations and cohesion states. Tiles allow the formation to literally break apart. Fighter blocks and escort markers on the tabletop show the ever-changing positions of attacking fighters and defending escorts. A separate squadron display shows the organization and cohesion of your squadron at a glance and tracks the relative positions of bogeys in relation to your planes during dogfights.