I've always thought I'd enjoy Wings of Glory (formerly Wings of War) but never got around to trying out these rules. Recently a friend of mine agreed to get into the game if I would, and of course I was up for that. There are rules for both WWI and WW2, and they are similar but different games. I decided on WW2, and picked up two of their game mats and four Japanese planes for the Pacific War.
I've played a few games of the WW2 rules and really enjoyed them. I have yet to play scenarios or with the advanced rules for altitudes, but I'll probably be working those into future games. We played two-on-two dog fights, US versus Japan. The game mats really enhanced the experience, though the water color was a little too intense. Maybe that's how it looks from high altitudes.
The miniatures look great right out of the box. Each plane has its own maneuver deck that models how agile the plane is. You also get some cards for special moves. There's a serious amount of counters involved with this game, but they are fortunately kept off the board on a special "dashboard." Your planes are not cluttered with markers and doo-dads while flying around.
So my Japanese planes were a bit more agile than the US planes. However, the US got lucky and shot down my Zero in one go. After that, they chased me around while I managed to pick away at the US planes as I zoomed around the board.
The WW2 rules did a great job modeling the speed and the greater mobility of the planes of that era. We didn't use half of the special rules or the pilot "ace skills". However, the Ki-61 pilot was injured early on in the fight and his flying abilities were impaired. So there was some "pilot presence" in the game. I look forward to adding pilot skills to future games.
After that, since my friend had invested in the WWI bi-planes we put those on the table. Like I said, it is a different game because the planes fly so differently. The basics are the same, though in this game you plan out three turns in advance all at once. In the WW2 version, you're adjusting all the time. Also there's not speed variability in this game either.
I played Germans, flying the famous Red Baron! I was pretty excited about that and felt the Red Baron was going to clean up the table! Across the board were the despised British, just waiting to be shot down.
He didn't last long either, and he spun to earth a few more turns after the Red Baron. At least it was a quick defeat. I actually liked the WWI rules a little better than the WW2 rules, though that's really splitting hairs. Both are great games with enough similarity between them. You unfortunately do have to buy two different accessory and rules boxes for each game.
Right now I only have the mats and the four Japanese planes. I will definitely be buying more planes for both Pacific and other theaters, as well as forces for both Axis and Allies. At some point, I'll have to get the WWI stuff too. If you are looking for an air combat game that's easy to get into, then I really suggest this game. It's simple to learn and not too expensive to get started.