Well as I said I'm not an expert on the subject. But you can understand my reasoning for thinking why they wouldn't have flown at night. As you say it's hard to imagine how they'd manouvre. I understand manouvering in those days was done by finding landmarks, church steeple etc. So what is there at night you could aim for. Would they be able to manouvre with a good map and a compass? Hmm I reckon you could get really lost if something unexpected happened.
If anyone knows.......
Funny that, when thinking of ww1 airwar, I was only thinking of dogfights over the battle field. I really should do some reading on the subject, if only to not make such stupid observations in future
I blame the movies, in movies on that airwar they never bother with nightflying etc.
asto your ideas about searchlight, and lets see if I can explain what's in my head (and trust me there's loads of room up there).
Let me try and explain as simple as I can, if only I knew how to upload pictures I could show you a drawing.
Okay Imagine a circle as the base.
now imagine a sort of long cone shape, (sort of the shape of the licht beam of a search light.
attach the cone to the circle, so you can move it. That way you'd allways have the perfect range without having to fiddle about with rulers. In fact you'd have a constant beam that way, wich would enable planes to avoid the area, or try to do so.
Now the circle base should be positioned at a point on the map where your searchlight is.
Than you could move the cone-shape left and right or any direction that would complie with the way they used them things back than and the airplane that hits the 'beam' is found.
Am I wrong in thinking that your idea is very simular to what I've just written?
I'm not sure if you'd use cards to move the searchlight. I imagine that rather than moving the thing about randomly, they'd listen and direct their light to where the noise seemed to come from. So the closer the plane gets the more chance of being detected. I'm not sure how you could realistically direct searchlight movement with cards.
Maybe Dice could be used for this? Okay I reckon many will not like that, finally find a game without dice and now he wants to bring some in.
I'm not thinking about normal dice obviously but you could have a '+' or a '-' sign on the dice (plus or minus) and if you throw a plus you'd move your beam a certain distance to the left. and with minus to the right (or even go for dubble plus and dubble minus to have the ligt move two distances) now to avoid any unneccesary measuring you could simply draw lines on the circle to indicate this 'distance'
so if you threw plus, you'd move your beam to the left untill the next line.. and so on.
I don't know if this description makes any sense, but with the picture in my mind, it sounds like a good suggestion.
Hm that leaves me ofcourse to find a solution for the fact they's have an idea where the plane was, so they obviously wouldn't move it in the totaly opposite direction. That would be stupid and make the use of the things in the game a bit silly. So we would have to have rule wich allows the searchlights to be pointed in the general direction of an approaching plane without immedeatly giving the position away.
Would you allow an attack on searchlights in the game, or simply assume they'd be protected by AA and assume this to be impossible.
Speaking of AA, I was wondering if the game takes weather conditions into account. Possibly I'm taking matters too far now, but if you had low clouds AA would be rather pointless (well they could fire blindly I reckon) I could just imagine random cloud movement on the 'game-board'
Just imagine, you'd put clouds on sticks (like the planes) to indicate altitude of the clouds and if a plane was flying over or under the cloud cover, well that would be obvious and it would be blocked from the view of lower planes and AA. (I'm ofcourse thinking of a game with miniatures, I don't think this would work without them).
But maybe the whole idea is just silly. Well I just put to paper what popped up in my head and I may have become a bit too enthusiastic.
Afterall if you started messing about with clouds, you'd also have to take the sun into account i.e. planes attacking 'out of the sun'