Crimson Skies is a tactical dogfighting table-top game produced by FASA. While similar to many other games of the genre, four things set it apart.

The world of Crimson Skies is set in an alternate history setting. The year is 1937, and airplanes have been pushed into much more impressive technology than existed in our timeline. Prop aircraft of all types exist in this setting, and zeppelins are the main source of transportation and freight. Pirate groups terrorize the skies, and militias and mercenary groups are the only protection. The United States is no longer united, instead having fractured into a number of smaller mini-countries, ranging from the Pacifica and Hollywood on the western coast, across the Mormon Militia controlled Utah and independent People's Collective, to the eastern seabords of the Atlantic Coalition and the Outer Banks. It's an age of heroism and villainy, where it's not unusual to see fighter pilots leap from their soaring craft onto the top of a bomber flying fifteen feet lower, so that they can subdue the pilot and capture the craft. Pirates with harpoon rockets spear train cars and carry them off to their bases to be looted. Rocket propelled drills chew through wings, and magnesium bullets burn. All of this is set in a detailed and illustrated history, complete with photos and bios of prominent personalities.

The game mechanic for resolving damage is entertaining in itself. Each weapon has its own damage template, which you use to mark damage boxes on the aircraft. This gives you a good visual representation of how damage is accumulating on your craft, and adds drama by allowing a series of well placed shots to shear off a wing. This also allows a player to use armor piercing rounds to dig through the armor protecting an area, and then follow them up with a dum-dum round to wreak havoc on the exposed internal systems of the plane.

Movement in Crimson Skies is done by looking at a chart which shows all available maneuvers for your craft. More maneuverable planes can be much more acrobatic in where they choose to go, but of course anybody can attempt to exceed the limitations of their plane, and possibly damage it in the process. As planes take damage, it reduces their ability to turn as well. A plane with a highly damaged right wing might have a difficult time making sharp right turns, yet be unhampered on shifts to the port. A great deal of the strategy of Crimson Skies comes from anticipating what your opponent will be attempting.

The pilot of the aircraft is every bit as important as the plane itself in Crimson Skies. This gives the game some interesting role playing potential, as pilots can be carried from game to game, getting better as they perform feats of heroism and bravado. Better pilots can be more physically punished, hit their target more consistently, and can push their plane past its normal maximum.

Crimson Skies has also made a very succesful transition to the PC, in the form of Crimson Skies by Microsoft. The game is a flight simulator of a curious nature, for the default way to play the game is with a camera view from behind the airplane, rather than the traditional cockpit view. This is important, too, because it's hard to judge if your craft is going to fit in between the struts on the Golden Gate Bridge from the cockpit! By the same team who brought Mechwarrior to the PC, Crimson Skies manages to completely capture the feel of the board game, starting off players in a battle against pirates for a secret treasure cache located on the Hawaiian islands. Stunning graphics complement a flight engine which was designed to maintain the unlikely ability of the planes in Crimson Skies to perform amazing feats such as fly underneath bridges with ease, and feels very natural once accustomed to. The game also features some of the best voice acting to hit computer games yet, which serves the fascinating and over-the-top plot well.