Armand
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Dear Andrea,

I'm a bit of a WWII buff. I recently bought a Sails of Glory starter set. I hope to get it to the table one day. That may or may not happen.

You see, my friends are gamers. They are not 'miniature gamers'. They are gamers. When they sit down to play a game they expect a rigorously play-tested, finely tuned experience. If there are variable player powers by God they had better be exactly equivalent or the game will be laughed off the table.

This afternoon I started looking at WoG WWII. I watched a video by Marnaudo that raved about it. I started to get excited. I thought, "Hey, this might be a gateway to Sails. It seems easier to pick up... There's no wind direction to factor in... Sailing and firing broadsides are awkward but everyone understands, 'point it that way and shoot things out the front'. I'm going to get WoG!"

So, the big question: what to buy?

And the answer, after a couple hours of gazing at shiny He-111's, Beaufighters, Me BF 110's, and Spits? Of reading a dozen forum threads which seem to indicate that balance of forces is mainly guesswork? What the heck do I put in the cart and buy?!?

I have absolutely no idea.

Andrea, with all respect to you as a designer, do you have any idea how BAD that is?

You have to tell gamers explicitly what to do with the components of your game. This isn't a salad bar. You don't throw in some chickpeas to see what happens.

I have 50 games in my collection. Everyone in my group has at least a couple dozen.

This game, with luck, will get one shot at the table. If it doesn't provide an awesome experience - balanced, tense, finely tuned as a Swiss watch, or if, at the end of the game, the result was felt by the group to have been predictable - side A was stronger than side B - your game, system, whatever, is done.

I know this thread will take a lot of flack from people that love WoG. I know I will be called lazy and told that I should look elsewhere - that WoG is not for me.

I am writing this as an open letter to you, Andrea, for specifically that reason. I assume you want more people to play your game.

So, please tell me: what 8 planes should I buy to accommodate between 2 and 8 players? And which components should I employ for each player count?

Thank you and best regards,

Armand


 
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Re: Open Letter to Andrea: The Problem with WoG
Dear Armand,

My name isn't Andrea so you might not be interested in my opinion, but you left your letter open and I sort of wandered in.

It seems to me that you're either really over-thinking this, or you're trying to make the game become something that it can never be. I believe that the best approach is to pick your favourite aircraft, fly them at each other, and see what happens (laughing as you outmaneuver your opponent then blow them up with a lucky damage card draw - or vice versa). This really is a salad bar game.

Acquiring 8 planes is a pretty heavy investment for a game that you feel fairly dubious about. My advice would be to spend a few dollars on an used copy of the original, card-based version of the game (Wings of War: The Dawn of World War II) and give it a whirl. If it turns out to be a success, investing in the amazing minis would be the logical next step. And if not, there are plenty of very finely tuned Euro-style games out there for those who require razor's edge balance in their game play.

Also, don't forget to have fun!

Cheers, and happy dogfighting! cool

-Josh
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Re: Open Letter to Andrea: The Problem with WoG
From airplanes that you can get easily nowadays - concentrate on Pacific. Ares are about to release some battle of Britain aircraft but who knows when.

This is my advice (as a 3 years complete WoG geek):
1. WWII is not fun with 2 people, unless you have at least 2 airplanes each.
2. Get Zeros, Wildcats and Vals - they are on sale in many internet shops, and Ares is about to release Dountless in the next wave.
3. Get Rules and Accessories pack - it holds all you need to play the game, it doesn't come with the the airplanes inside though.
4. Beaus and Me110s are "scenario" oriented planes and they are not really fun in dogfight, because of their clumsy maneuvering.
5. FW190D, Spits, Nakajimas and Mustangs are fun, they use large maneuver cards which makes them very fast. I recommend these only later after you got familiar with the game.
6. Do not play with altitude rules till later, after you got familiar with the game.

I do recommend WWI for beginners - it is a simpler game, with many easy to get counterpart airplanes (Fokker D VII versus Snipe). And it is a little more fun in 2 people.
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Re: Open Letter to Andrea: The Problem with WoG
Well done, Jan.

My only addition would be to #4, that the Beaus are not only somewhat clumsy to fly, but if an opponent happens to end up in front of the guns, they will disappear (strongest shooter in the game, so far).


For the OP, the 'balance of forces' is not really 'guesswork' if you have studied the period and the planes involved.

But the system would not be as popular and successful as it is if the Ares folks only sold it in perfectly selected packs...

Even when the planes are well matched, there is enough variability and pure luck that no combination of specific planes is always going to produce the perfect image that you seem to think your group demands.

In fact, I'd love to see a list of all the games you have that can dependably produce this result. whistle
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Re: Open Letter to Andrea: The Problem with WoG
doctoryes0 wrote:
I know this thread will take a lot of flack from people that love WoG. I know I will be called lazy and told that I should look elsewhere - that WoG is not for me.

Yeah, WGS may not be for you. Sails of Glory has a points system , but the closest WGS has is a note in the rulebook for comparing damage output (B is on average equal to AA, etc) to get a sense of how planes might compare. Ace skills can also be used to compensate.

But it's not a finely tuned, exactly equivalent experience. The planes weren't balanced in real life, and they aren't in WGS. For me, it's about picking my favourites and throwing them at each other in generally historically-accurate melees. It's about simulating what happened in the skies of 1939-1945, not assembling a perfectly balanced game.

Also, throwing chickpeas in a salad is like the easiest way to improve any salad.
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Re: Open Letter to Andrea: The Problem with WoG
I don't think this game is for you. I suspect that you don't really want Andrea to tell you what planes to buy and that you just wanted to complain. I admit that I may be wrong with that assumption and hopefully I am. I've only been playing WOG since August and I thoroughly enjoyed researching the planes and deciding which ones to buy. You obviously don't want to do that and that's ok. Also, I have always been fascinated with WWII, so again this made the research fun for me. I agree it can be harder to get into WOG then other games. I got into Xwing miniatures at the same time and found that easier to understand. Have you played the Xwing game? That sounds more like what you are looking for.
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Re: Open Letter to Andrea: The Problem with WoG
I was was going to say a good way to gauge the system would be to pick up a copy of the original Wings of War WW1 Famous Aces set. It has everything you need to play and five different aircraft which are relatively balanced while each handles and plays uniquely and has it's own flavor. It's only draw back I can see is that it's cards only so if you're looking for a strictly miniature game you might not dig it.

I have three of the four original WW1 boxed sets (only one i don't have is flight of the giants) plus two of the mini expansions and it still hits the table from time to time after six years or owning them. I feel like the cards are still the best way to get into the game.
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Re: Open Letter to Andrea: The Problem with WoG
First of all, let me say thank you for all these very helpful and well considered responses. Particularly, thank you Jan for the specifics, and the advice to look at WWI.

Am I right that in WWI you resolve three planned actions immediately, and in WWII you resolve one of two per turn, always being locked into the next card? I think I prefer that idea…

yenam wrote:
I suspect that you don't really want Andrea to tell you what planes to buy and that you just wanted to complain. I admit that I may be wrong with that assumption and hopefully I am.


You are wrong, but it’s perfectly understandable. Lord knows there’s plenty of that sort of pointless complaining on this site!

I think my irritation at the end of the fruitless time I spent ‘shopping’ shows in my OP.

yenam wrote:
I agree it can be harder to get into WOG then other games. I got into Xwing miniatures at the same time and found that easier to understand. Have you played the Xwing game? That sounds more like what you are looking for.


I have played XWings and the theme and the dice are a major turn-off, both for me and for the main people I want to play a light, tactical mini’s game with.

A game that scales well from 2-8 players is extremely rare. When we get to 6p-8p our options are pretty much Mascarade and Resistance, which I love, and One Night Ultimate Werewolf, which I am heartily sick of. (And besides, man does not live by social deduction alone.)

I’ll tell you what I wouldn’t love though… If the part of the Res and Masc rulebooks where it tells me how to set up the game for each player count were missing. And I think it’s a safe bet that if that were the case they wouldn’t be ranked nearly as high, nor would they have sold even a small fraction of the copies that they have.

Again, this is one guy introducing a game to between 1 and 7 other players who have no prior knowledge of the system, and many of whom have never played with any mini’s before. I have to be confident, and I have inspire confidence in the group that this thing is going to work. If someone asks which plane they get and I say, “Uh… I dunno… try the brown one…” this thing is going to go pear-shaped in a hurry.

So, Andrea, what components do I need and how do I set them up?


I believe this a fair question to ask a game designer. And as much as I appreciate the answers of players, which is a lot, I think the designer is precisely the person who is most qualified, and would most want to answer it!

Feel free to cut and paste, filling in the blanks for each player's plane or planes. (Indicating which players constitute a team by using different color fonts might help with clarity.)

2 Players
P1:
P2:

3 Players
P1:
P2:
P3:

4 Players
P1:
P2:
P3:
P4:

5 Players
P1:
P2:
P3:
P4:
P5:

6 Players
P1:
P2:
P3:
P4:
P5:
P6:

7 Players
P1:
P2:
P3:
P4:
P5:
P6:
P7:

8 Players
P1:
P2:
P3:
P4:
P5:
P6:
P7:
P8:
 
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Re: Open Letter to Andrea: The Problem with WoG
Hello.

The game has been marketed in several different ways along the time, both as a cards only and as a miniature game. Starting sets took different shapes with time. In any case, the starting point for WW2 at the moment is the WG:WW2:Rule & Late Airplane Pack Combo WGS600B:

http://www.amazon.com/WG-Rule-Airplane-Combo-WGS600B/dp/B00T...

(I link Amazon for easiness, but you can find it in brick&mortar and online shops as well). It is a full rule set and 4 balanced fighters miniatures.

For 2-12 players I suggest...

2 players: choose a table of at least 90 x 90 cm. You can play with one plane each, but two each is better. One player places his planes on a side of the table, the opponent on the opposite one. Here you go. Further details at page 6 of the rulebook.

3 players: the same. One player has two planes, the opponents are a team with one plane each.

4 players: the same. 2 teams of 2 players each, one plane per person.

In 5, 3 against 2 with 3 planes per team. In 6, 3 against 3 with 3 pèlanes per team. In 7, 3 against 4 with 4 planes per team. In 8, 4 against 4 with 4 planes per side. And so on.
With more than 4-6 planes you will find handy to add 20-30 cm or so of playing field width for every additional couple of planes/players. So let's say 90 x 120 in 5-8 players, 90 x 150 for 7-12 players and so on. No need to be strict on that. These are minimum sizes, if you have more room that's not bad if people keep on fighting and just do not wander around.

Which planes? Any of the planes in the combo above, and in the matching series of airplane packs, will fit. You have 12 of them to choose. Spitfire Mk.IX, Fw-190 D, Nakajima Ki-84, P-51D Mustang, each with 3 different color schemes.
http://www.aresgames.eu/games/ww2-wings-of-glory-line/ww2-wi...

To avoid confusion, better if a team chooses Axis planes (FW-190, Ki.84) and the opponent Allied ones (Mustang, Spitfire). For a bit more of historical feel, better if the Axis team takes either German planes (FW-190) or Japanese ones (Ki.84) since they never operated together. But if you want to play with a couple of Mustangs against a Ki.84 and a Spitfire instead, well... You are free to do that and the game will work anyway.

The "equivalent damage" rule of thumb quoted in this thread works quite well (B chits being equivalent to C ones or to a couple of As). So with just a bit of experience you will notice that you can add any P-40 or the Allied Reggiane or the Ki.61 in the old Starter Set to the choice of planes above, having the same firepower. They will be slower but this will give advantages in maneuvring as well as disvantages in chasing or escaping. No perfect balance, but up to you to discover strenghts and weak points while you play.
You will also notice that in 4 you could use instead a couple of Fiat Cr.42 biplanes against a couple of Gloster Gladiators. Or two Russian Yak.1 against two Axis Reggiane 2001... Have a look if the firepower matches and play.

A point system was totally useless to Wings of War at first, with its limuted choice of planes and their limited number. Now there is an experimental one for WW1 that seems to work:
http://www.wingsofwar.org/forums/showthread.php?13767-Point-...
We will probably soon make it official. No WW2 version is available at the moment. You find plenty of scenarios online, instead. And in previous rulebooks as this one:
http://www.aresgames.eu/2084
The dogfight scenarios I described (two teams in front of each other) are fun, but you will discover that pèlaying (and inventing!) scenarios is a great part of the fun. And this is where multi-engine planes enter the scene.

While X-Wings seems to scale awfully when you add more ships/players (IMHO), Wings of Glory (formerly Wings of War) has been specifically designed to play with as many players as you want with no downtime. Known games involved up to 100 players at the same time.
https://boardgamegeek.com/geeklist/161160/largest-wings-warg...
Largest experimemnts have been made with WW1, but WW2 goes well too. I am just back from Prague Summer Con where several games involved more than a dozen players.
Sails of Glory works too - tomorrow a 71 ships battle is planned in USA.
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Re: Open Letter to Andrea: The Problem with WoG
Hi Andrea,

Thanks for the reply, and the thoughts.

angiolillo wrote:

The "equivalent damage" rule of thumb quoted in this thread works quite well (B chits being equivalent to C ones or to a couple of As). So with just a bit of experience you will notice that you can add any P-40 or the Allied Reggiane or the Ki.61 in the old Starter Set to the choice of planes above, having the same firepower. They will be slower but this will give advantages in maneuvring as well as disvantages in chasing or escaping. No perfect balance, but up to you to discover strenghts and weak points while you play.
You will also notice that in 4 you could use instead a couple of Fiat Cr.42 biplanes against a couple of Gloster Gladiators. Or two Russian Yak.1 against two Axis Reggiane 2001... Have a look if the firepower matches and play.


I think the penny finally dropped... I looked at the stats of the various planes here:
https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1N8DnVBdF1qTG4QtTDmCV...

...and just added up the firepower, A=.5, B or C=1. I realized that almost all of the single engine fighters have values that add up to either 2.5 or 4.5.

I think the simplest way to explain the system to new players might be to divide the fighters into 'Heavies" and "Lights", and to say that distribution of forces between teams should simply consist of an equal number of each?

Is that a good way to sum it up? I have no idea how much variation there is within these two groups in terms of other factors...

angiolillo wrote:
You find plenty of scenarios online, instead. And in previous rulebooks as this one:
http://www.aresgames.eu/2084
The dogfight scenarios I described (two teams in front of each other) are fun, but you will discover that pèlaying (and inventing!) scenarios is a great part of the fun. And this is where multi-engine planes enter the scene.


Really cool! Are the AA and ground troop cards featured in many of those scenarios also found in Wings of Glory?

angiolillo wrote:

While X-Wings seems to scale awfully when you add more ships/players (IMHO), Wings of Glory (formerly Wings of War) has been specifically designed to play with as many players as you want with no downtime. Known games involved up to 100 players at the same time.
https://boardgamegeek.com/geeklist/161160/largest-wings-warg...
Largest experimemnts have been made with WW1, but WW2 goes well too. I am just back from Prague Summer Con where several games involved more than a dozen players.
Sails of Glory works too - tomorrow a 71 ships battle is planned in USA.


That was my experience with XWings also. Total chaos, no tension, and no idea whether pilot error, bad luck of the dice, or an unbalanced setup were to blame. Certainly a bit of all three, but who knows how much of each? Regardless, I don't need to play it again.

I'm really looking forward to getting into Wings! Thanks for the reply and to everyone else for the info.

Finally, I'd just like to say that I hope I didn't sound too critical in my earlier posts. Generally speaking, I feel that the divisions between boardgamers, miniatures gamers, and grognards are much more rigid than they need to be. I understand that the latter two groups share a body of knowledge and syntax that saves time and provides them with clarity, but it can also act as a barrier keeping the rest of us out. There's really no reason why every gamer's collection shouldn't include a nice heavy box of wooden blocks or counters and a set of mini's, but most don't - simply because it's so freakin hard to know where to start...

My .02

thanks again,

Armand
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Re: Open Letter to Andrea: The Problem with WoG
doctoryes0 wrote:
I think the penny finally dropped... I looked at the stats of the various planes here:
https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1N8DnVBdF1qTG4QtTDmCV...

...and just added up the firepower, A=.5, B or C=1. I realized that almost all of the single engine fighters have values that add up to either 2.5 or 4.5.


Well yes, that's not by chance. We choosed planes and sub-versions so to have a good choice of balanced planes to start. There are some more planes with weapon variants - as a good Ki.61, heaviy armed to face heavy bombers. They are good to variate scenarios. New planes are also coming that will have different armament and firepower. But the backbone of the offer at the moment has been studied to give you a good choice to easily start playing.

doctoryes0 wrote:
I think the simplest way to explain the system to new players might be to divide the fighters into 'Heavies" and "Lights", and to say that distribution of forces between teams should simply consist of an equal number of each?

Is that a good way to sum it up? I have no idea how much variation there is within these two groups in terms of other factors...


At the moment yes, I'd say. Then there are more or less maneuvrable planes, sturdier and weaker ones, quicker and slower ones (quick is an advantage, but having short speed arrows is another advantage giving more meneuvrabilitry). Of course the choice of maneuvres, and they being steep or not, is another interesting difference. But as a start that's good approach. And if, with a little experience, you think that a plane is weaker, give it an ace skill (or one more than other planes) and you probably balance it.
Or give it to the more experienced player as a handicap. That's another game element.

doctoryes0 wrote:
Really cool! Are the AA and ground troop cards featured in many of those scenarios also found in Wings of Glory?


I'd say yes. Have a look at the rulebook linked but also to the various Wings of Glory/War sites.
www.wingsofwar.org is a very good place to start. It is the largest WG community, mopre than 3.000 players amd growing. They put online a lot of scenarios, oprtional rules, aditional game materials and so on, and they are all very rteady to give support to anybody.

doctoryes0 wrote:
I'm really looking forward to getting into Wings! Thanks for the reply and to everyone else for the info.


You welcome, and I mean that - welcome to this game, I hope that it will give you satisfactions.

doctoryes0 wrote:
Finally, I'd just like to say that I hope I didn't sound too critical in my earlier posts. Generally speaking, I feel that the divisions between boardgamers, miniatures gamers, and grognards are much more rigid than they need to be...


Don't worry. I see your point. We are in a transiction again, re-defining starting points for the game - already done for WW!, still work in progress for WW2. I hope that it will be clearer too.

This is not a game aimed to grongards. Wargame veterans seem to appreciate it, especially with some of the advanced options and as an open box to personalize the game system. But the game seems to be liked by boys




girls




ladies




(please have a look to this thread: https://boardgamegeek.com/thread/22024/female-opinion-excell... )

and grandfathers/grandmothers too.



All of them, grognards and lighter players, do great things to make this game rich and lively:

https://boardgamegeek.com/geeklist/182802/gamers-are-great-w...

So yes, we will definitely make any effort to help people of all kinds starting better the game.
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That's awesome!
 
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