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Wing Leader: Victories 1940-1942» Forums » General

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Roger Pittiglio
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I just found out about Wing Leader. How does it compare to Air Force/ Dauntless and the Fighting Wings series?
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Joe Kundlak
Slovakia
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Welcome and be entertained!

As far as I can tell the aforementioned games are typical hex-and-counter ones (top-view) with more or less involved rules etc. Even though I do not know their rules, I would say they are more involved than those for Wing Leader (despite Wing Leader having a 48-page rulebook ).

Wing Leader uses a different concept - losing the top-down view and instead showing the height and length of a battlefield, mainly in the direction of the prevalent bombing missions (as most of the scenarios involve one side using bombers + escorts being the "raiders" and the other side using fighters intercepting the bombers + escorts). Some of the scenarios instead have "recce" missions, while a few are "transport" missions (a variation on bombing missions).

The "bomber" or better said "raider" side either has a definite target set on the map, which it tries to bomb and then return home (while keeping their bombers alive through their own escorts), or the bombers are intercepted en-route to the targets (so the bombers more or less fly straight, exiting the map, and the escorts try to protect them). The other side having only fighters is the "defender".

Thus while in the more traditional games you do not use the altitude dimension (even if you keep track of it on sheets or with counters somehow) and show the surface maneuvering area of a battlefield, Wing Leader is more about the diving and climbing part of the engagements, abstracting the "width" of the combat area.

The "Standard" rules cover the most used rules like movement and associated modifiers/restrictions, tallying (engaging) enemy, weather, line of sight, formations, wings and their leaders issuing orders, vectoring by ground radio, mission types, splitting squadrons, escorts, cohesion checks after each battle, dogfights and of course the whole slew of Air combat rules and associated losses and victory conditions.

The "Advanced" rules add lufberies, drop tanks, special weapons (Rockets, cannons, gun pods...), special tactics (bouncing, evasion), single aircraft formations, taking off of airfields, jets, surface units and flak, baloons, target bombing and bombing mission profiles.

Also, one counter usually represents a squadron (7-12 aircraft I think), but there are also flight counters (2-6 aircraft), having somewhat reduced stats and effectiveness in combat. So while you usually only have like 8-10 counters on the map for the regular scenarios (a few can have 20+), the amount of aircraft can count up to 80-120 or more for these. And you DO count individual losses and the resulting loss of cohesion, where the squadron/flight ultimately leaves the battlefield (shaken and disordered).

Loss of cohesion (in Cohesion checks after each Combat round) can be the primary factor of squadrons/flights disengaging and heading home, contrary to straight combat losses, as you might find out during first games. But this represents the reality of air combat in WW2 quite well (I am being told, and believe that in fact).


So I hope you can make your own opinion, even though I do not know the games you mention (just quickly checked how they look like through BGG).
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Stewart Thain
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Airforce/Dauntless are games about individual aircraft. If I recall correctly, in many of the scenarios the players control 2 or 3 aircraft each. Orders are written for each plane and executed simultaneously - though I vaguely recall there being some exceptions to this... it is a good many years since I last played these games. This limits the size of the engagements simulated. The board view is top down with height of the planes recorded.

Wing Leader is a game about squadrons and flights of aircraft. In some scenarios a player could be controlling 4, 5 or more squadrons and flights each, with some possibility of a squadron splitting into two flights. The engagements simulated are therefore much larger. The board view is side on, therefore height of a formation is explicitly shown and changes as squadrons gain or lose height. In many ways, Wing Leader works like an old-style side-scroller video game.
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Erwin Lau
Hong Kong
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Air Force is among my first wargames. I loved it very much when I was a student. The counters are individual aircrafts. flight characteristics such as acceleration, deceleration, climb, dive, roll, turn, slip, skid, stall are used. You better be fluent with high school physics and mathematics to enjoy the game.

Fighting Wings is a even more serious simulation of aircraft hardware than Air Force. If Air Force is a game for engineers to play, Fighting Wings are for Chief Engineers/System Architects. You better hold a degree in engineering or science to appreciate the game. Also, there are quite a few record keeping to do (and check your opponent's record keeping to prevent cheating).

Wing Leader, on the other hand, is a squadron level game. It is a game for tacticians. It is more about fight an interception battle. Not only airplane hardwares are differentiated, but also the peripherals such as ground control, weather, air crew training, sighting, are modeled. Flight characteristics are abstracted. You know it is better to dive and bounce the enemy from above and out-of-the-sun, but you don't need to pull it off by lots of pre-calculations in physics. All you need to do is position your squadrons appropriately one turn ahead. It is a more playable game with no record keeping and plotting.

Arguably, WL is a more realistic game. In FW or AF, you can fight to the last man if you, as a player, want to. In WL, air crew loses cohesion and say bye-bye in front of your eyes.



 
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Erwin Lau
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Oh just notice Roger carries a WD badge.

In WD, A6M2 vs P-38. We usually spend 4~6 turns to turn and aim if P-38 decides to fight it out and do a turn battle with Zero. If P-38 decides to run away with full throttle while Zero is chasing, it may be 3~4 turns before Zero decides to give up. This may be 1~2 hours in players game time.

In WL, this decision is 1 second. The attacker chooses whether to do a turn battle or speed battle and then fight it out with 4~10 dice rollings (to hit, check damage, check loss of cohesion).

In WD, we usually fight one merge (unless you play Ops, Tac battles). If both bombers, escorts and interceptors are in the same merge, it is a one day game session. In WL, multiple merges are fought in 1~3 hours game time.

P.S. It looks like WL is sold out already.
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Stuart Poll
England
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rogerp wrote:
I just found out about Wing Leader. How does it compare to Air Force/ Dauntless and the Fighting Wings series?

No resemblance to Fighting Wings at all.
Its like comparing ASL to Memoir 44. Both very enjoyable in the right circumstances and both about WWII but that where any comparison ends.
For the record I own and enjoy both.
Edit: Wing Leader components are far superior to the usual badly printed cheap rubbish that Clash of Arms turn out.
 
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Jeff Petraska
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From my experience, I think the game that Wing Leader reminds me of most is London's Burning.
 
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Brett Schaller
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Quote:
From my experience, I think the game that Wing Leader reminds me of most is London's Burning.


I was thinking exactly the same thing.
 
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