Sunday, May 5, 2013

Air Combat: Wings of Glory

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.

I actually managed to shoot down one of the American P-40E Warhawks and I had my Kawasaki Ki-61 in position behind the last plane. Unfortunately, I pulled an illegal move and therefore a took a damage token. Since I was at my last point of damage, my plane pulled apart under the stress and the Americans won.

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.

It must have been early in the Red Baron's career.  He went down in a blaze of glory, his plane on fire, pretty much right from the start. His buddy didn't do much better. He was also set on fire and had his left rudder jammed. The fire had an interesting effect in that I could no longer fly in a straight line. I was too busy trying to put out the flames to do fancy flying.

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.


Drunken Samurai said...

I have looked longingly at these games for years. They seem like a blast and the planes are cool. This one is moving up my list of must haves.

Jerry said...

They really are fun, and you only need a few planes to play. Two planes can go anywhere from 30-60 minutes, at least in my limited experience. A lot of online stores are putting planes on clearance too. So it's not all that expensive right now. The mats are nice but not necessary.

Da Green Skins said...

Jerry I have Wings of War and a few of the plans. It is a great game and I have always enjoy playing it. I have not purchased the current edition so I don't know if the rules have changed. Sounds like you had fun playing it. Lets put this game on our list for the 25th.

Jerry said...

Sounds like a plan, Mike!

Tim Kulinski said...

Jerry, I have heard from some that they did not like the WW2 version, they said it was too fast. Does it play like X-Wing? If so, I can see getting a few planes.

Jerry said...

@Tim, I'm not sure if you mean that the game is too fast or if the planes are moving too fast.

For the game speed, I think that's the luck of the draw. I've had my planes blown up fast, but that was bad luck and stupidity on my part. The dog fight I semi-described in the post lasted about an hour.

If it's the plane speed, I can't really comment on that. They are more maneuverable than biplanes, but not like crazy stuff. I thought it felt about right.

There's a lot of similarity with X-Wing. They're not the same, but the general concepts seem to be.