Last night my game group gave In Harm's Way: Aces in Spades a test fly. This is Clash Bowley's rpg of World War I flying aces. As a GM I generally stumble my way through any game that doesn't involve dungeoning dragons, but I had a good time anyway. The PCs consisted of three freshly minted 2nd Lieutenants in the Royal Flying Corps. MacGregor was a hard-drinking Scotsman, a temperamental artistic type with a bit of a deathwish. Parker was a charming rogue, the kind of fellow you'd buy a drink for and never notice that he failed to return the favor. And Doug played the snotty Prince of Wales. He had spent the maximum number of the points on his dude's social class stat, so why not?
The new lads of Squadron 90 were quickly introduced into a situation involving a captured British aviator. The commander of a nearby German squadron held Lt. Fosdick. He was willing to swap Fosdick (who was eating Jasta 62 out of house and home) for a German pilot currently staying as a guest of the French squadron that shares hangers and airfield with the PC's unit. We never quite completed the scenario. I was looking forward to the part where the British PCs help a German prisoner escape from a French unit.
One of the best roleplaying moments of the night occurred in the officer's club shared by the French and British fliers. Here the PCs found out that the local French squadron had a betting pool on how long it would be before all three new British pilots were dead. Fifteen days was the most anyone gave the group. One drunken French pilot tried to convince Parker that if he could hold out 12 days they could split the winnings. MacGregor, being a moody son of a bitch, put money on himself only lasting one day, with instructions to buy drinks with the winnings.
We spent a good portion of the night involved in an airfight between the PCs in their SE5's and some passing Albatross D III's. The PC's squadron was enroute to drop a reply note to Jasta 62's proposed prisoner exchange when a flight from another German unit spotted them and dived to intercept. MacGregor and Parker got shot up a bit for their troubles, but the PCs each managed to score a kill. My Albatross's kept stalling out during tricky maneuvering. That did not help the Germans at all.
Earlier in the evening we had randomly rolled the conditions of the airfield using the chart provided, resulting in a bumpy patch that increases the chance of a crash by 15%. MacGregor's damaged plane was not up to the task pf coming down in one piece, requiring Pat to roll on the crash results chart. He got the worst possible result, destroying the plane and automatically killing MacGregor. That evening drinks were on him.
We had originally planned two maybe three sessions of World War One flying aces, but at the end of the night we agreed that the session ended too beautifully. You don't mess with a perfect moment like that.