May 19, 2024

#UnboxingDay! Interceptor Ace 2 from Compass Games

Michael Eckenfels, 15 June 2023 ~ #UnboxingDay

The sequel to 2019’s Interceptor Ace: Daylight Air Defense Over Germany, 1943-44, by Compass Games, just dropped a bit ago this year (2023), and takes the player from the end of their career in 1944 (or on a new one; you don’t have to have the first game to play this one) until the end of the war. Designed by Gregory Smith, who also designed American Tank Ace and Amerika Bomber, to name but a few – has created another challenging title on par with another design of his, The Hunted: Twilight of the U-Boats, 1943-45, where you command a U-Boat in the final years of the war (and will be damned lucky if you survive that long). 

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click images to enlarge

In this game, you play as a Luftwaffe pilot either fresh out of training or as a carryover from a surviving character in the first Interceptor Ace game, and attempt to knock out as many enemy fighters and bombers as possible, without getting killed. As the Luftwaffe lost strength in the waning days of the war, the Allies gained more, and ruled the skies from 1944 onwards. This makes for a very fearsome environment in which to jump in and play.

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The back of the box says there are forty (40) unique Interceptor Models from which to choose, though many will only be available under certain circumstances, like only during certain time periods and only if your pilot is successful (because I don’t think anyone in the Luftwaffe high command is going to give a terrible pilot a brand new Gotha 229).

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Opening the box, we see there’s a lot of space. This is not a bad thing as you can include your own organizer tray if you want, or whatever storage medium of your choice you decide upon.

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The cards, which drive the game’s combat mechanic. The design is the same as in the first Interceptor Ace game, but I’m guessing these are much more challenging.

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The rules, in a nicely-formatted rule book.

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An example of what you see when you open the cover. There’s some excellent flavor text in here, as well as images, to help illustrate the points of the game and to reinforce it with historical photos.

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Another rule book page, detailing starting squadrons and the aircraft you’d start with as well.

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Interceptor Ace was different from Nightfighter Ace, in its dogfight mechanic, which is repeated here in Interceptor Ace Volume 2.

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And I couldn’t resist including an image of this…SWOTL. Secret Weapons of the Luftwaffe. This and Their Finest Hour were some awesome games back in the heyday of computer gaming. (Not that today isn’t a heyday, but hey, this was MY day; now get off my lawn.)

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The Operations Map. Apologies for the glare in this and any other photo. This is a mounted board so that’s pretty nice.

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A Log Sheet for you to record your missions upon. 

And so we start with the actual aircraft. There’s a LOT of Bf-109s. I did not take photos of all 40 of the aircraft, but rather include several of the ubiquitous 109, the 190, and several others that look pretty awesome in this game. 

That’s a lot of planes! And that’s not even all of them.

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The record sheet for your pilot, which is similar to the ones in Nightfighter Ace and Interceptor Ace.

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A dogfight chart for when you engage Allied fighters (good luck with that!).

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Oh, wait, that wasn’t enough Allied fighters, so here’s more. Like I said, you’re going to have your work cut out for you!

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An example of a player aid sheet.

 

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And now, we look at bombers. I guess if you’re lucky enough to get near one of these things, after getting through a cloud of escorting Allied fighters, now you get to deal with the bristling armaments of these monster bombers.

 

And finally, the counters.

All in all, impressive components, a challenging game system in a period where survival is probably a bigger reward than becoming an Ace. We shall see how it plays out as I intend to get it to my table pretty quickly.

 


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With trembling hands and eager zeal,
I unbox a wargame with great appeal.
Countless components I behold,
Strategies yet to unfold,
In this box, a battlefield surreal!

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