B – 17 Queen of the Skies



This is a real classic of wargames and solitaire games. You follow the crew of a B 17 bomber through a long series of raids against German targets during World War II.

The gameplay is extremely simple: You roll dice and check the results on tables. That´s basically it. Everything is determined by this mechanic: The weather, your position in the raid, the type and number of German fighters that try to intercept you, their behaviour, attack rolls, damage, flak fire, bombing success…

The game goes really into detail wich gives it a strong narrative element: If you´re hit for example, you check the number of bullets that have hit. Then you check, where the bullets have hit (also depending from where the attacker fired). Let´s say, it´s the wing….now you check the specific kind of damage: might be just superficial damage or a burning fuel tank.

Or let´s imagine the middle section is hit. Could be the radio, maybe one of your crewmen (check again how bad it is), or it might be even the bomb bay. In this case, you´d also roll again: it might be damaged, so you cannot open it anymore, or the hole load might even explode….sorry, end of campaign because of a bullet in the wrong place….

I´m not really sure what to think of this game: There´s no decision making, no great art and it´s only dice rolling. Still, the really strong narrative element makes this a fun gaming experience. Many also seem to develop a real bond to the crew, wich gains experiance and improves with time.
I´m pretty sure that there are many gamers who love this game because of their childhood memories….today, kids probably simply play a flight simulator on the computer, but 30 years ago, I can see how kids were fascinated by this.

Still, from time to time I play a few missions and I enjoy it, although it´s definitely not in my top 10.