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Wing Leader: Victories 1940-1942 (First Edition)» Forums » Reviews

Subject: brief review after scenarios 1+2 rss

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Kenneth Lury
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I already own Downtown and The Burning Blue. As a solo player, Downtown is just a little overwhelming for me in terms of keeping tracking of everything. The Burning Blue is a bit easier and after multiple plays, I can keep most things straight.

I just finished my second play of Wing Leader.

My initial impressions are as follow:

1. Components- everyone talks about a games components- to me this is less important than how the game plays, but the fact that the components are excellent in WL is a bonus- What I have come to expect for a GMT/LBW game. Oh, and the box is sturdy with great art for those of you who are box focused.

2. Rules- generally well written with some ambiguities. As is always the case, the designer has a large presence on BGG so resolving these is pretty quick. Some more examples of play would be helpful. Looking forward to using the advanced rules.

3. Scenarios- probably more than I will ever get a chance to play.

4. Difficulty-Fortunately for me, it borrows some concepts from the previous games so I do not have a learning curve re what is trying to be simulated (eg."disrupted" and "broken") I do need to keep a paper record of what is going on or I get lost keeping track of everything. Each of the concepts is clear. Just a lot happening. Not as difficult for me as Downtown or The Burning Blue, but not a lightweight by any means (maybe after more plays, will seem less difficult). I agree with the GMT rating of six is about right.

5. Problems- as above, some rules ambiguities, but these are quickly addressed by the designer. Otherwise, no significant issues.

6. Solo accesiblity- very solo friendly

7. Overall assessment- I think Wing Leader will be on my table for quite a while so I can internalize the rules. After that, will probably stay on the table as it promises to be a challenging, exciting and fun game.
Another hit for this very prolific designer. Seems like LB-W is the most productive of all of the game designers. He somehow manages to design and bring to production more games more quickly than anyone else despite the large amount of historical research and detail of each game. (Maybe does not not have a day job !-just kidding)


Edit: after replaying scenario 2 and playing scenario 3, I see the game is not as difficult as I first thought. Jotting down attack strength modifiers and dice roll modifiers in combat for each side helps a lot. Playing the third scenario, I pretty much had the basic rules down and made very few, if any errors (that I know of). Relatively short playing time packed with lots of action. Now, on to play with the advanced rules and more complicated scenarios. Lots of fun ahead.
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Ian Wedge
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I've found that having played against a couple of mates on 3 separate occasions we've been able to get 4 scenarios per day played, so are steadily working through the book. This could be the first multi-scenario game where I end up playing all of them, although the later scenarios are bigger so that rate of play will slow down.
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Dave Earp
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"this could be the first multi-scenario game where I end up playing all of them" .. couldn't agree more Ian and this is from a serial rules reader and not games player. Just had the game a few weeks and up to 9 solo plays already. Each time I play I am left thinking about how to play differently the next time and am torn between repeating a scenario and wanting to move onto the next. I love it, a great game. :-)
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Jim F
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Great system and each scenario has a different bite. My nomination for best game of 2015 and I have played a few!
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Michael Lind
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Having ordered this via P500 I was looking forward to getting the game on my table.

It was out of the box and set up within a day of receipt. It's the first game I've played by this designer.

After reading the rules once quickly and again slowly with the game set up and played through I found the rules somewhat unclear. More examples would be a huge improvement. I also struggled with the language of the rules and perhaps this is English English versus American English to some degree and the style of the designer to some degree.

The designer quickly responds to questions via BGG and I did get some clarification there. However I still came away feeling like I was just missing something. It didn't "feel" right.

Not one to give up on a game, I reread the rules and played through various scenarios 6 times, slowly, making notes as I played on any questions that came up.

Unfortunately I don't think this game is for me.

In the end I found the map to be too cluttered when things got busy, the cloud markers to be a nuisance (maybe not so much if they were larger, say the same size as the spaces on the map) and generally it was tedious to keep track of everything for me. Very easy to miss something or get out of sequence although this got a little better after 6 play-throughs.

While I think the mechanics are right on from a simulation standpoint (I've been lucky enough to fly a fighter-trainer aircraft in a mock combat situation) as it's incredibly easy to lose your opponent and not be able to continue the fight after a pass or two, I don't think it makes for much fun in a game.

Oh, and for me it's all about game play and my appreciation for graphics and art is a distant second to game play. I'm old enough to remember being excited by a game with more than 2 colors.

Most likely I'll put this one in the closet and maybe give it another try in the future or it will find it's way to BGG Marketplace.
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Ian Wedge
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Aardvarkius wrote:
I also struggled with the language of the rules and perhaps this is English English versus American English to some degree

Plenty of Americans in the play test and development team, so that seems an unlikely cause. And seeing as we get to deal with many sets of rules written by Americans without differences in language use causing problems, I'm even less inclined to think that's a real issue.

As Lee is well known for seeking clarification of where people have had difficulty to see if a better wording can be found, perhaps you could give some examples. It might be these are areas others have stumbled over that are already being looked at.
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Kenneth Lury
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Wedgeij wrote:
Aardvarkius wrote:
I also struggled with the language of the rules and perhaps this is English English versus American English to some degree

Plenty of Americans in the play test and development team, so that seems an unlikely cause. And seeing as we get to deal with many sets of rules written by Americans without differences in language use causing problems, I'm even less inclined to think that's a real issue.

As Lee is well known for seeking clarification of where people have had difficulty to see if a better wording can be found, perhaps you could give some examples. It might be these are areas others have stumbled over that are already being looked at.
Very nicely said. I myself had no problem with the "English" as I am fluent in American, Canadian and "The Queen's English".
 
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Lee Brimmicombe-Wood
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I’m always interested when people say they have trouble comprehending my rules. I’d like to find out what they have problems with so that I can improve.
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Paul Saunders
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We've played around 8 scenarios now, just getting into the bombing rules. We've played all the LB-W air games to-date but I have to confess that this is my least favourite. It's not a bad game by any means and the components are drop dead gorgeous but it lacks the feeling of history that the other games generate during playing.

I suppose the nearest comparison would be night fighter but the blind movement and radar searches maintain the tension in the game. WL is a snapshot, albeit expanded, of the dogfight element in the larger Downtown and Burning Blue games.

The VC are very finely judged (in a good way) we have both been surprised as on more than one occasion it felt like a loss but was a win and vice versa when we totted up the victory points.

The key may be to try a few larger scenarios
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Andy Strauss
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Played scenario 1&2 yesterday. We got through the rules as slowly and carefully as possible. I do think we did everything in order for both scenarios, only missing the cohesion check after the first attack on the first scenario.

Scenario 1 was a breeze to play. Each of us "controlled" one flight of Flying Tigers and the Jap Bombers were on automatic. The play was fast, less than 60 min. Even checking a lot of rules and table during it. If we did know by heart the rules and tables, it would prolly last 10 min.
I wrote "controlled" because up to the vector point, unless your flight got a tally (hard contact) on the bombers, they flight auto as well. Only after you have the Tally is that you can control the aircraft proper. It make for faster play. It also makes for less decisions. Scenario 2 makes that part better with Radio Control.
Our Flights concentrated fire on the 1st bomber formation, we got a fabulous +4 on the combat chart and then rolled snake-eyes. Nothing.
Since all flights can only combat twice in the game, we decided to split fire on the next round. My Flight went to the tailing bomber formation, while my buddy stayed on the first formation. I did the Tally and moved to the other target. I rolled poorly and managed only on "stray" bomber. May buddy rolled better and got (lucky) 3 "losses" (Kills). We never did head-ons, as chances would get even worse.
Having only two attacks per game for each unit greatly makes for a fast game. Also, makes the decision to attack important. We did attack as fast as we could, so we could keep the speed penalty on the bombers. Once they release the bombs, their speed increase and it get harder to hits.

Scenario 2 was more interesting. I was "controlling" the Japs and my buddy the Flying Tigers. My planes were on "auto" play for 3 turns. On turn 4 I managed to get a Tally and start deciding things. Tigers were also not lucky and while their Veteran P40E Flight got and early Tally and started to fire on the lead bomber formation, his other Flight/Squadron failed their Tally and Radio/Vector checks to move to better position.
Second fire form the Veteran P40E connected and caused one Loss and one Stray. From then on, that craft simply dived to safety and got out of combat.
Turn 4 also was the turn that both Jap Oscar groups (1 Veteran Flight and Regular 1 Squadron) dived on the climbing P40Bs (1 Green Flight and 1 Regular Squadron).
The Jap Oscar Squadron dove on the climbing P40B Squadron and the Jap Veteran Oscar Flight dove on the climbing Green P40 Flight. That is the best possible engagement situation for the Japs. Bad rolls later, the results were that Both Jap groups disrupted and the Green P40 disrupted as well.

The Japs made 2 attack rolls on the game. The Tigers made 4 attack rolls. This also means that the Japs made 4 defense rolls, and the Tigers got 2 defensive rolls. Those 12 2d6 rolls defined what happened in the game.
My view is that the game so far (scenarios 1&2) has very few and poor decisions. Lots of tables to consult and roll (Tally, Combat, Damage, Cohesion) and a lot of "auto" movement. I understand that this is not a single-fighter simulation. It is a squadron simulation.

The game tries to simulate the reality and the reality looks like very boring thing were nothing happens. Bad rolls also helped to that impression. Maybe this bad impression I have of the game will improve with several squadrons, ships as targets and more rules...
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Ian Wedge
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> Since all flights can only combat twice in the game,

Not so.

If a flight passes its cohesion checks it can fight for more than 2 turns. Sure, at lower odds of success because it will be on low ammo, but there's no hard limit on the number of combats it can be in.

Note that if it fails its first cohesion roll then it'll only get one combat, not two. A flight that takes one cohesion hit is broken.
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