Game exchange continues… Wings of Warglory

Last night we had our first run through of Wings of Wagglery… 

Curse you, Red Baron!

It is a fun game and I’m glad everyone found it as easy to pick up as I did… perhaps even easier as during the first run through I accidentally took myself out of the game by flying off the board. Everyone seemed to like it and I’m gratified that Chris, who doesn’t play games much, found it easy to pick up (and do quite well at). Our second run through (special damage and tailing rules added) ended with a kill for the Red Baron Chris (me, exploding) and Overbo’s ‘Murican SPAD XIII (taking down the Red Baron).
I have two each of four different planes and playing it a second time and having time to go through the move deck gave me a chance to see how the planes fare. Although a slower and lighter plane, you can’t beat the Fokker Dr. I ‘s maneuverability; whereas the SPAD XIII’s fast speed and heavy build make it comically combine harvester in comparison. Somehow it totally suited Overbo though and he not only stayed on the game mat, but did rather well bulling down his opponents.
The game mechanics are easy, once you get the hang of identifying the straight, difficult and Immelman cards, spacing them accordingly isn’t difficult (Steven). Given that the mechanics are so easy I’ve been trying to figure out where the traction is, the part of the game that makes it fun and makes it keep being fun. I think it is in the turn planning – the other players and their decisions are the source of the uncertainty in the game – not dice or some random factor. So you play to anticipate their moves and take risks accordingly.
The damage mechanic makes for an interesting game too, since you are never sure how close you are to victory. But I think it is the turn planning that will keep people playing it – especially since the depth of another player’s choices is much deeper than the possibilities on a dice roll. I like them in particular, because when you are wrong, you tend to be really wrong and the two planes head away from each other, only for you try to get the advantage on the next turn by anticipating how your opponent is going to try to get the advantage. Similarly, when you are right and choose a flight path that puts you out of harms way directly behind and opponent for a few turns you can be merciless… unless your guns jam, like mine did last night. Sopwith Donkey more like.

The planes themselves aren’t TOO important, at least not at the level at which we play. But it is funny that some people are already slightly attached to a particular plane. Throwing in two-seaters and bombers would be interesting wrinkles, as would the introduction of Aces with particular skills, but I think the main enjoyment is still going to be the planning mechanics. Playing with a mere four kites in the air certainly puts Jonathan’s collection (above) in perspective. You could have a lot of fun trying out combinations with all those. Playing more than one plane is something we should certainly do in the future, even though it isn’t as easy as it seems it would be – keeping the move decks straight is tricky.
The miniatures are very pretty, but I can see why they went to a card based game. Other than for altitude rules, cards will suffice as well. This is the kind of game that you could quickly rattle off a few duels while killing time. It isn’t exactly Cthulhu Dice, but it doesn’t take much set up once you know what you are doing. Going all Card would make that easier I suppose. Playing with cards would let you know whether you like the game too.
There is, of course, something satisfying about  pretty models and some of them are very pretty. I will say that of any miniatures I have that would look good on a shelf, somewhere public in my house, these are top of the list.
Anyway, I’m looking forward to playing a Sunday afternoon of this sometime – see who gets their Ace card first.


7 Comments on “Game exchange continues… Wings of Warglory

  1. I really, really like this game. It’s pretty easy, pretty deep, but goofy-random enough that you can play it by the seat of your pants forever if you want.

    I left a little early because I could have played all night.

  2. Jumping the gun a little here, but both JIM and Mike mentioned buying planes – at least in passing.

    I had luck with Coolstuffinc, at Jonathan’s suggestion:

    I will say though that unless it explicitly shows you a miniature, it is likely to be the card only version of the game. All the boxed sets with miniatures have them very clearly displayed.

    Each miniature pack comes with its own maneuver deck though, so you should be good to go.

    When it looked like the boxed set wasn’t going to arrive, I made my own damage deck out of two decks of playing cards and some artistic sharpie efforts. It never came to that though.

    Two planes, their decks, the damage deck and the measuring stick is really all you need to play the game.

    I have, so that no-one doubles up:

    2 Albatross DVa (Udet and Jacobs)
    2 Fokker Dr. I (von Richthofen and Kirschstein)
    2 SPAD XIII (Luke and Rickenbacker)
    2 Sopwith Camels (Ellwood and Brown)

  3. Great review Desfaber! Also really a big relief it has all arrived intact.
    Very interesting to hear it has been similarly popular with our brothers 4000 miles away, however you also had the key ingredient – a bunch of mates who all appreciate a well designed game with a USP.
    I think that WoW / WoG works so well because it is all things to all types of gamer. No matter how strategic or lazy, into historic realism, minatures or just plain old sledging / slating each other!
    It also works fine whether you are tired, hungover, drinking, or sharp as a tack. But some of these “states” preclude the more advanced rules or operating two planes each… that can be a real challenge (to get right).
    Above all you will get some great laughs and there is lots more to add yet:
    Try to create or just download some of the missions (bombing, recon, rescue, escorting etc), they add personal and team challenges over and above just staying alive and of course nailing other planes.
    Then you have altitude, weather, cloud cover, collisions, limited fuel, firing from the trenches, ability to land and repair… two seaters, balloons and heavy bombers… the list goes on!
    For any folks hunting down minatures you could go down a number of paths…
    A whole load of new WWI WoG planes are due for release around now, and all of the big online games stores will have them.
    ebay has some WWI bargains although they tend to only be WoW two seaters or the new WOG planes and of course they have some eyewateringly expensive WoW stuff too.
    Amazon is always worth a cheeky wee look.
    Boardgamegeek has planes listed on their Marketplace on the specifc WoW minatures page.
    If you have the talent (I do not), what seems most fun would be custom painting some of the (cheap) WoG planes as they will then be one of a kind…
    One thing to bear in mind whatever you buy – each of the aircraft in a WoW or WoG series are generally matched overall and largely follow an era of WWI. If you buy a plane from S1 and put it against a plane from S3 one may be way, way better than the other!
    Another interesting option is if as group one or two folks each go “big” on WWI, another WWII, another Star Wars and even another on Sails of Glory?
    Right now I am working on a new Litko flight stand arrangement that is interchangable for all planes, much more elegant than the pegs, allows altitude to be tracked and acrylic smoke / flame markers to be attached. Watch this space…
    What ever you get up to – watch your six, keep posting and we will of course do the same!

  4. P.S. Do try 6 or all 8 planes (even if one person has to play 2…) at a time.
    Putting the planning challenge aside you get more targets each turn, more random possibilities and more of what we all love – chaotic shenanigans in the skies!
    We often allow two lives for each plane. If shot down you can rejoin after a full round has passed – sometimes this is just when someone not paying (enough) attention has strayed to your end of the board! DAKKA DAKKA DAKKA

  5. I sent an email out, but posting here for posterity too.

    I ordered all of series I. 12 planes:

    Airco dh-2: Andrews, hawker, saundby
    Fokker a.iii: hautzmayer
    Fokker e.iii: buddecke, Immelmann
    Halberstadt d.iii: camouflage, keudell, luftstreikkrafte
    Morane-saulnier type n: chaput, Gilbert, Navarre

    and since I like the spad, I ordered one of them too:

    Spad xiii: coadou

    I’ll probably double up on one of the famous sopwiths and fokkers, but all of these ought to be unique additions to our pool. now someone can man up and order bombers from italia… just kidding, just wait a month or two and it will probably be me.