LUFTWAFFE: 1946 Role Playing Game
Jonathan M. Thompson and Michael Scott
Battlefield Press, Inc., April 2004 (First Printing)
Downloaded from DRIVETHRURPG.com January 2006
Luftwaffe: 1946 is a role-playing game based on the Antarctic Press comic book series of the same name. I had a slight familiarity with the comic book series so when I say this game I purchased the e-book version. I wish I hadnâ€™t.
Luftwaffe: 1946 RPG uses Gold Rush Games ACTION! SYSTEM as its core mechanic. This is both the advantage and disadvantage of this game. It appears that the authors wrapped the ACTION! SYSTEM with the Luftwaffe: 1946 background material. Unfortunately, it appears they didnâ€™t translate enough. For instance, combat uses 5ft, 50ft, and 250ft scales. However, the distances in the Combat Modifiers Table (pg 66) are all in meters. Other times it is an inconsistency with naming conventions. For instance, in Chapter 7: Vehicles under Vehicle Speed, paragraph Initiative, the rule states: â€œ An alternative is to roll initiative for each vehicle, using the vehicles initiative modifier." Yet in the Table: Sample Vehicles (pg 88) as well as A List of Typical Luftwaffe 1946 Aircraft (pg 90) there is no â€œInitiative Modifierâ€ listed, just a Maneuverability Bonus (MB). Is this the same, or not? It is issues like this that render the system near unusable.
One would imagine that in the world of Luftwaffe: 1946 that aerial combat would be key. Air combat rules are here but they are very simplified. If you are looking for an air combat game to add to your role-playing this is NOT the system. You are probably better off finding a simple set of miniatures rules and figuring out how to fit them in yourself. The game includes stats for only 17 aircraft (none with pictures). The least the authors could of done was gone to the Luft â€™46 website (http://www.luft46.com/) or even used the Antarctic Press Luftwaffe: 1946 Technical Manuals for more illustrations. Furthermore, to an old grognard like me, the only real difference between aircraft is the Maneuverability Bonus. They range from +5 for an A6M5 â€œZeroâ€ to a â€“3 for large bombers like the B-35A Flying Wing. This extreme simplification is too much for me. I imagined a robust air combat system in a game where air combat is so important to the storyline and plot. Itâ€™s not here.
Finally, there is a touchy political issue here that offended me. In the introduction, Ted Nomura (author of the Luftwaffe: 1946 comic book series) gets his say. He discusses the early influences on his art and his quest for accuracy and details in models and eventually drawing. Near the end of his introduction though, he makes some statements that I have trouble just letting go. From page 7:
â€œBeing educated in America and thus thinking that weâ€™re a free-press society, I found the obvious censorship of history highly insulting to my intelligence. Thus, beginning in the early 1970s, I made a careful study of Nazi Germany and found out that their atrocities were not much worse than what other major countries had done to their people and their neighbors throughout the centuries of warfare. Focusing on a selected few seemed not only unfair but inaccurate. Telling only half-truths was just as bad as telling half-lies.â€
If you can put the politics aside, then this game may be for you. If you are focused on the RPG aspect and very familiar with the ACTION! SYSTEM them you may be able to use these rules. If you are looking for an air combat game to use in your RPG world, STAY AWAY.
A final note: Apparently there is a newer version of this game out there that has 160 pages versus the 109 in my version. Not having seen this later version I cannot comment further on it.