Tail Feathers: Learn to Fly
Unique bird flight on a table comes to life

Tail Feathers | 2015-08-31

Tail Feathers

Welcome to week 2 of our Tail Feather previews! Tail Feathers is the exciting new miniature skirmish game by Jerry Hawthorne set in the beloved world of Mice and Mystics. Players will recreate the famous battles for aerial supremacy that shaped the Mice and Mystics world. Check our first preview, then pre-order Tail Feathers today for $15 off the retail price and a free promo Mice and Mystics Lost Chapter compatible with Downwood Tales!

Welcome Brave Pilot Candidates.  If you want to fly in the Downwood Forest, you're going to need a little primer on how flying works. 

Tail Feathers is a tactical miniatures game centered on flying bird units.  Understanding the movement system is vital to your success when battling in the skies over the Downwood. 

Flying around the battlefield isn't just getting from point A to point B.  Where you move determines what sorts of attacks you can make, what information you can see on the battlefield,  whether you tangle with enemy birds, and how you can transport ground troops and resources.  In short, your flight movement is a top priority.


The flight movement is governed by the use of flight templates (or flights).  There are two types (regular and end) and two lengths (long and short) for a total of 4 different flight templates.

Flight Paths

The templates are shaped to provide a regular fit with the base of the bird units and other templates.

You can see that the regular flights have 3 lines at a large round end (that's called the maneuver point).  The next template in your flight path will align with one of those 3 points, depending on the tilt position of that bird. 

The end templates are always the last one in the flight path.  They have a concave end (called the end point) for easy placement of the figure's base.  Note that the 'maneuver point' and 'end points' are distinct things within the rules, and those terms are used with certain other effects.

The angle of the right or left flight lines are larger on the short templates, and smaller on the long templates.  This means that short templates allow you to make tighter turns, while the longer templates will allow you to cover more distance.


The tilt of your flying unit is another important, but simple concept.  Basically, the tilt of your bird indicates the direction that it is going to be heading.  Birds begin the game perched in their home trees, so to indicate that your bird will be taking flight you simply tilt their beak up.  While flying each bird will be at Left, Center or Right tilt.  This indicates how the flight path will be created. 


For example, if you're at right tilt when you are building your flight path, each flight after the first will be aligned with the flight line on the right of the template (relative to the bird's front facing).  

During the tilt phase, each bird's controller may shift the each of their bird's tilts one step (right to center, left to center, center to right or left).  Being aware of your opponent's tilt is a key factor in outmaneuvering them, and gaining advantage in the air.  However, while in flight when you activate your bird, you can make a pilot check, and if successful, you can shift the tilt of your bird one step again before building your flight path.

Let's Fly!

Now it's time to build your flight path.  Each flying unit has a move value (next to the foot symbol below), which is the number of flights you are able to use to form your flight path.


You can choose a number of flights up to your move value, but you always must choose at least 2, and you can choose any combination of long or short.  Regular flight templates are used for all except the last--that one must always be an end template.

For example, you activate your bird that has a move value of 3, and is at right tilt, and you want to cover some distance, so you choose 3 flight paths.  Declare the length and order you will be placing them.  You'd say "Long, Short, Long."

Place your flights starting at the base of your bird unit.  The first is always straight ahead, and subsequent ones will follow the flight line matching your current tilt.  When the flight path is built, place your bird at the end point aligned with the flight line, and you're done.

Flight path example


Did I say we were done?  Well, that might be true if your birds and pilots are out for a leisurely cruise through open skies, but this is a battle game, right?  Right, so the skies above the battlefield are filled with dangers.  That's where crossing comes into play.  Whether due to skillful placement and tactical acumen, or unfortunate accident, your flight path will end up crossing something on the battlefield.  It might be a tree trunk, a mission token, a tree space filled with ground units, or even another bird.  Depending on which, you have various opportunities or a hazards.  Where you end your flight will also determine what sorts of attacks you can make and against what other units.

Putting it all Together

With the basics in mind, you can see how the right combination of tilt and chosen flights can position you in a wide variety of locations.  If you want to charge across the battlefield, use long flights at center tilt.  If you want a tight turn,  use 3 short flights at left or right tilt.   If you want a wide sweeping turn, use long flights at tilt.  You'll be working to outmaneuver your opponent each activation, reading their tilts and anticipating their possible positions as each turn dynamically unfolds. 

In short, moving flying units in this game is the core of what Tail Feathers is about.  Do it with precision, and you'll do well.  

Don't Worry

I realize that to a bunch of rookie pilot wannabes this might seem like a lot to grasp, but don't worry.  Get out there in the saddle and you'll get the hang of it in no time.  But try to avoid literally 'hanging' off the bird...that's a good way to fall. 

This quick overview provides the basics.  If you can't wait and want to see more, check out the Tail Feathers rulebook PDF!

Click here to pre-order Tail Feathers today for $15 off the retail price and a special promo Mice and Mystics scenario with initiative and search cards compatible with Mice and Mystics: Downwood Tales!