Fire retardant is a very effective way of fighting forest fires. The tactics of use are not the same as for water, and although it can be used directly on the fire, retardant is more commonly dropped as a barrier around the fire to contain, delay or direct its progress.
As you can see on the following picture, the ground patern left by retardant release depends a lot on the aircraft, its speed, its tank, the wind, etc…
On tankers equipped with a « constant flow » tank, the release system also allows the selection of a level of retardant coverage that is adapted to the type of vegetation. Depending on the setting, the release computer will control the opening of the doors to achieve the chosen result. The line is also denser and the efficiency better.
This table shows the length of cover for a 1,200-gallon heavy tanker aircraft, in feet.
A longer line is usually required for grass fires. Brush fires, with their heavier fuel, require a more concentrated drop.
I have to use these two elements to decide on the form and effect of the retardant, and the water drops, in the game.
For the moment I think I’ll keep the same geometrical marker for all the aircrafts. Depending on its real capacity, the aircraft will have at its disposal one or more markers that it can put in place in one or more times depending on its real tank type. For example, an S2T may have four markers that it can drop in four times, and a C-130 MAFFS may have eight markers that it can only drop in one time because of the particularity of its tank. So I’m going to have to study each aircraft and each tank and deduce their effect in the game in a way that is believable and consistent. Also, a TBM will have a reduced retardant capacity and will have to make several trips to its base with waiting times, where a DC-6 may have a much longer time on the table.
The size and shape of the marker must also be related to the fire marker so that the fire marker can be stopped by one or two retardant markers.
The retardant doesn’t always have the same effect either, it depends on the level of cover and the strength of the fire. I’ve started to try a system that would take it into consideration but for the moment it doesn’t satisfy me because it requires too many rolls and markers to represent the effectiveness of the drop…
In order to find a marker size that is credible and consistent I am trying to convert to 1/600th the various retardant coverage size data from several aircraft. This allows me to confirm that the size I have in mind corresponds roughly to something credible.
The goal of a game is to put forward the gameplay, so I let myself adapt it so that in the end the size is as playable as possible. I also try to reduce the number of dice rolls to a minimum as I find that you can quickly spend your time doing nothing else! I’ll see if I can integrate specific dice like D3 for some elements if needed.
On retardant I advise you again this very good article by Fred Marsaly (unfortunately only in French) : Le retardant
In this video you will see the effect of the product in a more concrete way:
I also suggest you watch this video which shows the effect of a low-level drop:
Do you have any desires, ideas or can you think of any mistakes to avoid compared to what you have experienced in other games?