Wings of War has a really neat addition to their game of WW1 aerial combat. They offer two different color observation balloon sets. Each set comes with a balloon in either olive drab or yellow, and a rocket-firing Nieuport biplane. I purchased the yellow balloon set, and looked for an opportunity to play.
I set up a WOW game for one of our Saturday night games. Chris volunteered to be my opponent. For this scenario, the game lasts 12 turns. That's how long it takes for the ground crew to winch down the observation balloon and save it from destruction. Chris took the side of the Germans, with the balloon, several ground AA cards, and an Albatross defender. My raiders were a silver Nieuport and the brown Nieuport with the rockets. The picture at top shows the middle of the game with the Balloon winching down and the Nieuports making their attack run. Underneath the silver Nieuport is the Albatross card. Altitude rules are in effect, and the Albatross was underneath the Nieuport so we replaced the model Albatross with the card temorarily until the planes moved apart. Behind the balloon, the brown Nieuport with the rockets is making an attack run from the other side.
Preparing to fire the rockets. The planes passing underneath realize their peril.
In the game, the balloon busters need to cause enough damage to the balloon so that it either becomes incapable of floating and crashes to the ground, or explodes in flames. Another option is that the balloon observers may decide to abandon the basket and parachute to the ground, which counts as a mission kill as the balloon has to interrupt it's observation mission anyway to lower down and get a new observer. Of course we really just want to blow up the balloon!
Kablam! The balloon explodes and takes out the brown Nieuport.
The result of the attack was a pyrrhic victory for the French. As the Albatross and silver Nieuport passed under the balloon, the brown Nieuport fired its rockets which ignited the balloon! While the first two aircraft zoomed away from the situation the brown Nieuport got too close and the resulting flaming explosion caused enough damage to down the plane on the spot.
The remaining Nieuport makes a run for it.
With the balloon destroyed, the remaining Nieuport made a break for the Allied lines. With the Albatross in hot pursuit, it seemed an impossible task as the Nieuport had already taken hits from ground fire, and now had to weave its way through the defenders again! Time after time the Albatross zeroed in on the Nieuport. What Chris didn't realize was that I was experiencing extremely good fortune, as each time a took a damage card, I got a card that usually worth 0 damage points! Eventually I reached safety for an allied win. I showed Chris my cards (over 15 cards) and he couldn't believe my good luck.
I doubt I would be so lucky next time!