Spitfire: 1940

January 24th, 2011 Games

With the 70th anniversary of the Battle of Britain last year came a flurry of programs on TV honouring the heroic deeds of those that fought to defend their country. It was inspiring stuff so inevitably I felt the need to make a game on the subject.

There are already plenty of games where you fly around shooting planes down so we opted for a different approach in Spitfire: 1940, choosing instead to put the player in charge of the whole operation involved in defending Britain. We thought we could do a good job of it but were never 100% certain that it would make for a fun game and there was a lot of tweaking to be done before we were happy with it. In the end though I feel that it turned out pretty well and I have enjoyed playing it myself so I hope others will too.

It’s one of the more serious games that I have made with robotJAM (artist on many of my games) and a departure from our usual tendency to add humour to our games. We felt that this deserved a certain level of respect and with that in mind did plenty of research around the subject and tried to base the statistics for the planes based on how they performed in real life.

23 Responses to “Spitfire: 1940”

  • John Mollison [ 25Jan11]

    You don’t know me – I interview WW2 pilots and draw their airplanes.

    Google my name – John Mollison and find out for yourself.

    BUT…what a game (Spitfire 1940). You guys have captured a feel for the Total War of the Battle of Britain…so much of the human struggle is in that moment…

    Anyway, great work. I will play it some more. If you ever want to do another aerial combat game, give a shout – there are cool ideas to share. :)

    Regardless, great work.

  • Rob [ 26Jan11]

    Hi John,

    Thanks very much for your comment. It’s always great to hear from people who appreciate our work.

    I checked out your site, some fantastic artwork there and interesting stories. I’ll absolutely be in touch if we decide to another aerial combat game. We’ve already discussed possibly doing another one along these lines because it’s far from perfect and there are lots of areas that it could be improved in. I’m sure we won’t get round to it for some time though…

  • HundertzehnGustav [ 29Jan11]

    What John Mollison said 1

    I “play” Plane games of all sorts and realism settings.
    I prefer Simulations tho, sitting in the cockpit , low level at high speed… but in German crates of all kinds.

    I recently finished the book “Spitfire Summer”, and love the feel of Spit1940. The Music is brilliant, the background is grim, and the whole game conveys a sense of worry. excellent!

    Played it multiple times and find it not too hard to win – sometimes neglecting a city, just to absolutely beat the hell out of the Germans over an other.
    Most challenging thing is the allocation of Human Resources . Never lacked Metal so far due to the shipments from the US.

    Never built any Hurricanes.

    Thought to myself:
    Let there be coloured Backgrounds instead of these dark ones, and let the Stukas, Dorniers and Heinkels have their respective shape and maybe even their own “damage model” properties.

    When painting Bombers over British Cities, pleas let them retract their Gear before making an appearance…

    Let the Dogfight explosions be less frequent, and some planes “only” smoke instead.

    For the Future:
    Defending Germany in 1944 and 45?

    Offensive Variant of the Game
    *Being a German and trying to crush England?
    *Being a Brit again, and starting raids against northern France in 1941 and 1942?
    *being a Yankeedoodle on the Way to Berlin?

    The Whole Game leaves me somewhat speechless – and would like to thank you.
    Too few Games are about something as serious as the BoB, or History in general.

    Thumbs up, and a big “V” sign!

  • HundertzehnGustav [ 29Jan11]

    ah, just spent another hour on it…
    sent a 53 spit 1 Hurricane Interception group to take care of a Bunch of Heinekens in the Midlands, TARGETING that medal that one gets for 50 Spits… i did not get it.


    Take care, and keep on rocking!

  • Rob [ 29Jan11]

    Thanks for your comments Gustav. I’m not too sure what was going on with that medal but I have uploaded an update which should be rolled out soon (you can check that you’re playing the right version if you look at the top right corner of the title screen – it should read v2.0 in the latest version. You may need to clear your cache first).

    Re your suggestions for the game, a few people have suggested that it might be fun to be able to play as the Germans and I agree, that would make for a completely different game and it could be interesting to do.

  • HundertzehnGustav [ 30Jan11]


    The Day i got the Masters of the Skies Medal…
    day 29.



    Having a ball, somehow better managing the Battle, or have things become esaier?


    70 and more planes, long parade from left to right… a dozen germans shattered… and almost as its over… no german planes in sight any more, there are my two old Hurricanes taking part in the battle, last row of them all.

    and somehow the pilots managed to screw something up, because both pilots suddenly decided they had to bail out, both Hurricanes blowing up.

    I count that as landing accidents with planes written off.

  • One_Shot2010 [ 30Jan11]

    I hope this is just my playing this game and not the game itself, but I always seem to loose all my planes. IE: I just did a battle with 20 aircraft against around 20 germans. I lost all 20 while they lost around 5? Am I doing something wrong? I also can’t ever seem to get very far in this game. I really would like to do it right, but I must be doing something wrong. Thanks for building this though. Maybe in an update (if possible) you can make different skill levels for those as beginners, and those very good at this game.

  • Rob [ 30Jan11]

    You can get unlucky in the game certainly but it will balance out over time. You need to adopt a strategy to cope with the days where you lose a lot of planes. Max out your recruiters as early as possible and then keep the planes and pilots coming. Use firemen and builders sparingly because they can be killed. And remember that you can take damage and rebuild it so you don’t have stop every bomber from getting through. It might even be worth sitting back and absorbing some pressure before sending out lots of planes. There’s no set strategy though. Just try a few things and see what happens!

  • HundertzehnGustav [ 30Jan11]


    20 vs 20 is not the way to go.
    The Germans are tough ones, and i usually do not start a defensive patrol before i have a 50 percent advantage:

    minimum 30 spits vs 20 Germans in your example.
    If that means, you can only defend one City, but have another city Bombed, do not worry.

    This represents the Fact that the British did not have the forces to stop ALL the raids, and that British Cities* DID* get bombed, inevitably.

    so try a 2 Spits vs 1 German defense, and Bundle your forces.

  • Jim Mamoulides [ 03Feb11]

    What is the music in Spitfire 1940? It is so haunting….

  • Kreamy [ 06Feb11]

    First of all,
    I’d like to say that you made an awesome game, and it looks like you put a good amount of work into it.

    I came up with a list of suggestions if you were interested in making a 2nd version. It involves tweaking some gameplay to make it more difficult.

    If you are interested in the full list, send me an e-mail.

    2 Different concepts :

    1) Each city has proprietary resources
    2) Each city has a mix of resources

    for 1)
    London would have X (being manpower, industrial power, resource power etc)

    So 5 cities would have output of a single resource (manpower, industrial, metal and intelligence and maintenance) and 1 city would be airbase.

    As damage is taken, the maximum output is reduced. So if you have 20 workers gathering scrap, and the resource city is damaged by 20%, you would get the total number gathered multiplied by .80

    If you have 100 fighters, and base is damaged 20%, can only send out 80. etc..

    This will force players instead of taking bomb damage to fight, even when outnumbered to stiffle enemy damage and attrition.

    This is the simplistic method and can cause some balancing problems.

    (Keep in mind, I have a huge list and outline, this is just to change the “basis” behind the game.)

    This is the 2nd type,
    it is similar to the first, but with a few differences.

    Cities have a mix of resources, with a primary one, and damage still reduces output, but is more on an attrition basis then direct impact.

    EX: London has 40% manpower, 30% industrial, 20% metal, 10% intelligence (what would determine each, I dont know, maybe based on historically which city / region provided most of each resource)

    If london damaged by 50%, obviously half of output, for that city.

    If all other cities with manpower (equating to the remaining 60%) are in tact, the 20% temporarily lost (in london) will not handicap so much.

    Remember, these numbers are not definite outputs, but multipliers. So the base number that would normally come up for the day (IE 10 recruits) you would only get 80% of them

    This would be the basis for a 2nd version, in my opinion it is not a finished “plan,” just a rough outline. I have a full list of other implementations and suggestions, from which you could pick and chose, or you can go about it the way you already have :-)

    Great job so far!

  • sve230 [ 11Feb11]

    First of all, great job with the game. Like others have mentioned, it would be fun to be able to play as the Germans attacking the Brits.

    Any plans of making something similar for the smartphone market?

  • Rob [ 11Feb11]

    Thanks. No plans to do a smartphone version I’m afraid. I’m still yet to fully explore that area of development.

  • Shaun [ 14Feb11]

    Rob-would love to get in touch via email or phone to discuss an opportunity for you to do some work on a flash games project …can you please provide me with your contact info?


  • Kilo69 [ 17Feb11]

    Love the game Rob, Would love a sequel maybe allowing both British and German sides… or like was mentioned before one for the axis defending Berlin.

    The recruit management is the best part of this game though. Although it is annoying to have a 2:1 advantage and loose a ton of planes it keeps it challenging enough.

    Allowing experience for the pilots would be neat as well… try to keep pilots alive longer for better results etc.

    Thanks for the work, it made my work a little less boring this last week !

  • Rob [ 17Feb11]

    Thanks Kilo69. Experience for the pilots was something that I had briefly considered myself. In the end I decided it would be too much work but I can see that working pretty well for a sequel. Something where you can opt to train your pilots for as long as you want to give them as much experience before sending them into combat as possible. But of course you’ll always be in desperate need of pilots so it will be a trade off between sending them into battle and training them up (which would nicely mirror the real-life situation).

    Anyway, happy to have offered you a distraction from work :)

  • AshRj [ 28May11]

    Excellent game guys. Keep up the work. Hope you come out with more games of this type. Just to add, there is a lot of scope of increasing the strategy element in the game like the others have commented, but still great game (especially the music).

  • goyo [ 05Feb12]

    Excellent game guys.Keep up the work.

  • 12345678 [ 25Mar12]

    : )
    : )

  • Joey [ 21May12]

    What is the music called?

  • sia [ 27Oct12]


  • fragger24 [ 08Nov12]

    hey rob and john.I dont think you will se my comment but anyway it’s me fragger from BEO.wow.I just found this game and it looks good.I love planes so thnx for making another cool game

  • tankjob [ 24Dec12]


    this is a captivating game and after having played for several hours I keep on looking for the best strategy.

    There have been many suggestions for improvements. Actually, I don’t think you will create an advanced edition because it’s already two years old, though the game would deserve it.

    Playing as the Germans would mean a different game, but there is a lot of room for improvments justs as the game is now.

    There are some inerface issues, e.g. many clicks could be avoided if the different screens would be always accessable by some sort of menu bar. In the factory screen, the spits are on top and the hurricans below, in the main screen, it’s vice versa. The number of personnel and planes should also be always visible in all screens in some sort of status bar.

    It would also help if a reduced no. of workers in the factory would automatically reappear in the number of recruits in the recruitment screen. Actually, I would wish for a personnel screen where you could shuffle the workforce around between the factory and the other tasks. A statistical screen of the totals of the game would be interesing.

    The medals you give you something back. You probably know Mud and Blood 2. There are some bnefits in percentages and stats. In Spitfire 1940, I could imagine to have a similar mechanism providing single events, just like that occasional double production. Medals could give you e.g. double pilot training rate for one turn, double scrap metal, 10 extra pilots added to your staff, and so on. Plane upgrades would also be nice as those birds where indeed constantly improved.

    I haven’t seen any V-2. The British pilots actually learned how to intercept them (they tipped them over with the wing). Might be diffcult to integrate in a turn-based game, but could be an event that produces damage without being interceptable as a game balancer to e.g. upgrade or medal boni.

    Then the inner workings of the game: what does recruitment success depend on? It seems that a “region saved in raid” headline raises the no. of recruits the next turn and high losses lower it. What does heavy damage do in this regard? Could it also increase the number of recruits because the population gets enraged? This would lead to the somewhat devious tactic to occasionally let a German bombing raid happen to bring the populace behind your cause. It would also level the random factor a bit when you’re low on planes and/or pilots giving you more recruits, especially becaue the number of recruiters is limited. Is there a threshold where this tactic would backfire on you? Maybe depending on the ratio of planes in the air vs. planes on the ground?

    These are some quick ideas. The game is already great as it is but as I said it would deserve a “Spitfire 1941”.

    Thank you for the game!


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