October 6, 2022

#UnboxingDay ~ 303 Squadron by Ares Games

Michael Eckenfels, 21 April 2022 ~ #UnboxingDay

Most Battle of Britain games to me are quite intriguing. This comes from a lot of years playing RAF (the solitaire game) as well as several others, such as London’s Burning. When I saw 303 Squadron was out, I went ahead and pulled the trigger to grab it. The components looked spectacular and the gameplay looked fun as well. I mean, lots of aircraft minis on a beautiful board? What could go wrong, right?

click images to enlarge

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The box is big and the artwork, amazing. 

 

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The back is pretty sparse info-wise, but that wasn’t a factor in me acquiring this game. Though, the English is somewhat…well, it’s not awful, but better word choices could be made, here. I had some trepidation there since this is a Polish company and they sometimes have issues with the language (not a big deal, but it can be depending on the game). 

 

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A close-up of the art. I mean, you can see the rivets on the aircraft as well as the ribs of their structure. A lot of attention to detail went into how this game looks.

 

There is a Rule Book and a Compendium, as well as a lot of components, and a large mounted board. Not to mention, all the aircraft minis!

 

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The inside of the Rule Book looks good. But looks can be deceiving; when I posted my acquisition to Facebook’s Solitaire Wargames section, a lot of people said the same thing – beautiful components, terrible rules. Jury’s out for me, still, but a cursory glance doesn’t look so bad. Some of this aligns with my worry of rules clarity, but we shall see.

 

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Another close-up of the rules.

 

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Another close-up of the rules, this time showing the aircraft in the game. Notice the lack of Spitfires? Yeah, that’s in an expansion. Fortunately, I acquired that as well.

 

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This is the aforementioned expansion that utilizes Spitfires. It also includes Luftwaffe Aces and has some additional content to add to the base game.

 

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And now a look at the Compendium.

 

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Besides the artwork and lovely components, it’s very cool that this game simulates actions fought by 303 Squadron, which was a Polish squadron in the RAF. Their pilots escaped Poland’s collapse in 1939 and fought on throughout the war.

 

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Information on aircraft in the game. Interesting that this mentions the Spitfire without having the Spitfire in the base game.

 

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There are several Scenarios included in the game.

 

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“JERRY’S ON MY TAIL! HOW’S YOUR FATHER! BREAK RIGHT!”

 

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The components are simple. Here’s hoping they make sense once I get the game to the table, but simplicity in design is often a strong point.

 

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The back of the component sheet.

 

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The game’s board comes in two mounted pieces.

 

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And, it’s BIG. I had to stand up to take this picture. As you can see, it shows northern France and southeastern England, as well as a large portion of the English Channel.

 

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The insert holds a lot of different components.

 

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The Pilot Boards, where pilots and their information is displayed and tracked during the game.

 

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It’s always a good sign when the backs of components, like these Pilot Boards, has attention to detail as well.

 

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There are also pieces for assembling dials, lots of dice, and wooden cube markers in many different colors.

 

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And of course, the aircraft minis!

 

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Some RAF aircraft.

 

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A close up of the RAF Hurricane miniatures.

 

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The Heinkel-111 German bomber looks pretty sturdy. The minis look good and they’re fairly large, too.

 

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A close-up of a Heinkel-111.

 

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More RAF Hurricane miniatures!

 

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Another close-up.

 

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And a whole mess of Messerschmidts. Me-109s, to be precise.

 

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A close-up of the Me-109 mini.

 

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There’s even some Messerchmidt 110s in the base game.

 

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A close-up of the Me-110.

 

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Lots of different-colored bases and stands for the fighters to be mounted upon.

 

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Lots of cards, too!

 

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The Mission and Target cards look fantastic.

 

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The other card art and layouts are pleasing to look at. 

 

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Even the Luftwaffe cards look outstanding.

 

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Yet more cards!

 

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And even a nice felt bag with the game’s title embroidered upon it. A very nice touch.

Now, here are some images from the Brothers in Arms expansion.

 

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The game box is smaller and much lighter than the core box, of course. But the art is just as nice.

 

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The back belies some of that English trouble I mentioned earlier (“While the event calls for the Spitfires to work like a robot…” – pretty sure ‘robot’ should be AI, but this isn’t too big a deal, just unwieldy).

 

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There’s a lot of empty space and a tray for components that might not be fully needed.

 

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Four Spitfires come with this game.

 

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A close-up of a Spitfire mini.

 

And the other components.

There’s a lot under the hood here. I look forward to diving in to see what people are meaning by the rules being bad. There’s a lot of YouTube videos on this game that they say are helpful, so we shall see.

 


Thanks for joining this month’s #UnboxingDay with the Armchair Dragoons and we hope you enjoyed our recon of our recent acquisitions.  You can always leave us your feedback in our #UnboxingDay thread, or in the comment area on this article, below.
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Editor-in-chief at Armchair Dragoons

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