Check Your 6! - Q&A w/ Scott Fisher & The Devs

Check Your 6 brings you in the middle of the World War II battles, with a turn-based strategy game that carries the spirit of the dogfights.
Post Reply
Posts: 106
Joined: Mon Jul 24, 2017 1:25 pm

Check Your 6! - Q&A w/ Scott Fisher & The Devs

Post by Muso » Wed Feb 28, 2018 10:38 am

Only two more weeks to go before the release of Check Your 6!'s digital version!
We decided to get in touch with both the creator of the game, Scott Fisher, and the developers team working on the PC version of his masterpiece.

Let's get straight to the point, here's the Q&A:
Q: Why did you choose CY6?
A: Friends of mine, who are passionate airwar- and boardgamers, mentioned that Check Your 6! was one of the best airwar games out there, especially as the game rules and whole game concept are based on actual in combat situations.
I started to look at CY6! and bought the game rulebooks and played the game. Soon I found out that the main designer of the original CY6! board game, Scott Fisher, was being consulted and got help of veteran Navy and Air Force pilots, guys who actually flew missions in WW2, Korea and Vietnam! This topped with the historic well researched scenarios, I contacted Scott Fisher and told him I would love to bring his wonderful game to a digital arena, he loved the idea to and so Check Your 6! the digital version was born.

Q: How different is the digital game from the boardgame?
A: The intention, right from the start, was to stay as close as possible to the original board game. But we know from experience that for gameplay sake, technical reason, practical reasons, etc., we would have to bend the rules and adapt them if necessary to make the digital version fun and nice to play. If we did so, we always consulted with Scott and explained why we thought it was the right decision for the game. Luckily in general these occasions were rare and for both parties clear, obvious and necessary. So I can state we kept as close as we possibly could to the original game rules and at the same time make the game fun to play on digital devices. We opted for an accessible look, but the game play is so deep and fun and the learning curve is challenging, but once you get sucked in, it has that "one more turn" addiction in combination with a high replay value.

Q: What challenges did you find in developing this game?
A: The biggest challenge always when developing games is: managing time, costs and resources while at the same time aiming for quality in gaming experience as well as in look and feel. As a complete Indie developer it is a constant challenge and battle to get the maximum results out of minimum budgets. It was not much different compared to previous games we developed or co-developed.

Q: How much did your past experiences with Panzer Corps and Warhammer 40.000: Armageddon help you?
A: Experience helps of course and you learn from your mistakes or successes alike, but we still do this out of a passion for wargaming, so keeping your heart and your brain in balance is tricky sometimes. Putting up your business hat, while at the same time the gaming toddler in me needs to be fed with fun and games, is a schizophrenic exercise. ;-)

Q: What do you think of the latest trend of fleets strategy games that are coming out recently?
A: There has been some cool fleet strategy games that game out lately, but most of them are set in space. There are zero to none fleet strategy games out there that took place in WW1, WW2, Korea, Vietnam, The Arab-Israeli wars, the Indian-Pakistani wars. Missions and dogfights that really happened, when it was still "man against machine" with real lives at stake. The famous Aces throughout so many air wars, battles and dogfights that deserve to be studied and analysed. If all goes well, we plan to bring all Check Your 6! and Check Your 6! Jet Age scenario books and game rules to a digital platform. So this first game "is only the end of the beginning and not the beginning of the end" to quote Winston Churchill. We would love to make this a respected series of games over the years to come, just like we did with the Panzer Corps game series.

Q: How did you get the idea for Check Your 6?
A: For over 20 years I have been playing wargames with a particular group of very smart and talented people. In about 2002, we began playing other air games and decided that none of them met our expectations for representing air combat or allowing us to finish games quickly. It so happened that this group contained two combat-experienced pilots, so we decided to write our own set of rules, with the objective of representing the major aspects of air combat (maneuver, ammunition, pilot skill, aircraft performance) without any unneeded complexities that would make the game take too long to play. Essentially, we wanted the perfect air game for an evening of play (at least for us). Quickly after we started to develop the game, we also had the idea to create scenario books that would allow players to fight whole air campaigns (in the same way we had done so for land-games with our SkirmishCamapaigns series of scenario books). This also became an important driver as we wanted to be able to play a whole mini-campaign (3-4 scenarios) in a day (should we ever be so fortunate to have this kind of time!). Later, after the success of the WWII version of Check Your 6! we started the development of CY6-Jet Age which allowed us to expand the rules to the modern era.

Q: What was the hardest part in developing the ruleset?
A: I think the hardest part of any ruleset is making it comprehensive to include what matters but keeping it simple enough to play relatively casually. I used to joke that I wanted CY6 players to be able to still play and not worry too much about rules after 4 beers(!). Ultimately, this came down to determining the major factors in Air Warfare and modeling them in a way that allowed for quick game-play. Importantly, pilot skill (especially in the WWII era) is the most critical factor. I suggest folks read Mike Spick’s book Ace Factor if they have any questions about this aspect. Also, all players love to discuss and pine over attributes of each aircraft; for this we did a LOT of research (years) to try and make sure that specific aircraft pairs worked together and also had their traditional advantages – for example the Zero vs. F4F Wildcat, and Bf-109E vs. Spitfire, etc. Interestingly, the thing that made this work do-able was the stable of folks who I worked with who were ACTUAL combat-experienced PILOTS, and who would often solve problems pretty quickly with their input. I recall one example when we were discussing possible maneuvers and the speed costs, another was when one of these guys told me that actually ammunition was one of his biggest concerns in a fight. When we looked closely at this, it is surprising how pilot skill and ammunition expenditure are related – green pilots burn their ammo much faster! So, I think in the end, it was deciding what mattered most and trying to model it in elegant ways – as I note in the paper rules, ultimately it was, in Chuck Yeager’s words, “It is the man, not the machine.”

Q: What do you think about the choice of the planes in the game? Would you have wanted different ones?
A: I think picking the Battle of Britain as the first set of aircraft makes great sense as it a key early large scale, EPIC air dual of WWII. Interestingly, this was also the first scenario book we produced for CY6!. This is not to discount the intensity of the air combat over Poland in 1939 or France in 1940, but the Battle of Britain, the sight of Bf-109s, Hurricanes and Spitfires is legendary. It is also an interesting combination of opposing aircraft – the British have not yet given up on their all rifle-caliber weapons while the Germans have moved to adding cannon. The Spitfire and Hurricane can turn hard, while the Bf-109 and Bf-110 have other advantages. Overall, I am really happy that Battle of Britain was chosen.
As for other scenarios and planes, of course, if the initial digital release does well, I would be all about supporting further campaign/aircraft releases. Note that we currently have over 10 scenario books released or in final development for the print version, everything from the Battle for France and the Battles against the Luftwaffe in 1944 (think B-17s, LOTs of them), to Battles in the Pacific; all of this could be brought to digital format. One interesting thing is that late war aircraft match-ups really change the game with all having a higher top speed and more firepower (much more in many German cases). So, yes, I want to do other aircraft and releases, for sure. As for other scenarios and planes, of course, if the initial digital release does well, I would be all about supporting further campaign/aircraft releases – I would especially like to see other key WWII match ups like P-51B vs. Fw-190 and F4F Wildcat vs. Zero, Buffalo vs. I-16, and Cr42 vs. Gladiator, and the list goes on!

Q: Would you like to see digital versions of your other games?
A: Yes, for sure. In some ways, I think that conversion of CY6!-Jet Age would be perfect for the computer. With the complexities of Jet-Age combat (ECM, Missiles, etc.) the amount a player must consider increases. In WWII CY6 for example, one tends not to worry about enemy aircraft that are more than 6 hexes away from you, and if needed, you can often turn your tail and run. Turns out in the Jet Age rules, turning your tail to a guy with heat-seeking missiles is EXACTLY what you DON’T want to do, and oh, by the way, they can reach out often to 12 or more hexes to get you. So, while the rules are almost exactly the same, the Jet Age adds needed complexity and gets folks REALLY thinking. I would love to have much of the calculations for range etc handled by the computer, thus freeing folks up to play the epic campaigns of Korea, Vietnam, the Falklands, and even the Iran-Iraq war (F-14 vs. Mirage anyone?). Since we already have aircraft and scenario books for each of these, the conversion could be pretty easy. Of course, all this depends on folks liking the first WWII digital version!

Q: What do you think of the latest strategy games that are coming out recently?

A: Frankly I am thrilled at the fact that more strategy games are hitting the market, especially the multi-player ones. I have always felt that playing multi-player games was most fun – in many ways that drove the design of Check Your 6! since we wanted a game that we all could play together in an evening. My opinion on Strategy Games is that they not only lend themselves well to multi-player fun but also end up teaching the subject that you are playing. I think the more the better!

Check Your 6! will be available March the 15th both on our site and on Steam, so stay tuned for more news coming soon!

Post Reply

Return to “Check Your 6!”