Game Preview: Birds of Prey

You know, some mornings, you just wake up and say, “Gee, the world needs another jet era air combat game that fits somewhere on the difficulty scale between Air Superiority and Speed of Heat.”

If that was you this morning, then you’re in luck:

Birds of Prey playtest set, taken from

Birds of Prey (Ad Astra Games), which just entered its pre-order stage, is a tactical air combat game focusing on jet dogfights, notable for its use of pitch and altitude markers under “box minis” that actually tilt the plane in its proper attitude—sort of a counter-miniature hybrid game.

Sadly, there’s not much information available on the Birds of Prey website beyond some basic marketing text. Not enough, at least, to justify a pre-order from me as yet—particularly given the strange self-e-mailing PDF pre-order system they’re using that is incompatible with the default Mac OS .pdf reader—but I’m hopeful that they’ll get a proper site with more details online soon.

In particular, I wonder about the “box minis”—will the registration on the die cuts be tight enough, and the construction simple enough, to produce aesthetically pleasing results? The “box minis” look pretty good in the playtest image above, but what about average results? I’m not renowned for my arts and crafts acumen. Board wargamers want to punch and play (or at the very most, punch, trim, and play). Don’t make us glue and fold stuff.

Worth following, though, and they’re shooting for a Summer release at Origins.

Update (March 14, 2008): Phil Markgraf has been in touch with me regarding the pre-order difficulties noted above. He’s put information on how to pre-order via e-mail on the Birds of Prey website. [Link outdated as of 2023, somewhat understandably.]