Lawson Deming
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I don't have a huge number of WOG WW1 games under my belt at this point but I tend to play with my wife using some of the simpler and some of the more advanced rules.

One rule that never seemed worth it to me was the altitude rules. I know there have been a lot of discussions on this site about how to make the altitude calculations less fiddly... I don't really have an issue with that, but rather it doesn't seem like they appreciably add to the tactics involved in the game enough to justify the added time of using them. Full disclosure, I've probably played with altitude twice, both times 2-on-2 fighter engagements.

Altitude advantage seemed to be important in WW1, from what I've read. Dicta Boelcke specifies speed and altitude as advantages (per wikipedia) and Mannock's rules name the benefits of 'diving' to attack and suggest that enemy ambushes may come from above.

The way that gaining and losing altitude in WOG works makes sense to me (its harder/longer to ascend than to descend) and as such there's a bit of advantage one gets in terms of choosing who to engage if you're at a higher altitude rather than a lower one. Likewise, there is a minor advantage gained by being one altitude higher in the form of the automatic AIM bonus described in "Firing from Above". However, the range penalty for being of different altitudes (both higher and lower can only shoot half the ruler distance per "Targets of Different Altitude") results in even the higher altitude plane having a hard time hitting the lower altitude plane.

Once you factor in the added complication of planes on separate altitudes, it seems to me they'll find themselves in good firing positions even less than normal, and likewise, the advantage of being at a higher altitude seems to be minimal. I've considered house-ruling the altitude rules based on a couple of ideas.

1) A plane of one altitude higher that dives down retains its altitude-derived AIM bonus for the action-phase that it dived during and also gains its full attack range (against targets a the same elevation it dove down to) immediately, whereas any planes that might attack it during that phase still operates as if the plane were one altitude higher and thus attack with reduced range even though they are now at the same altitude.

2) I've noticed that climbs and dives in the WW2 version of WOG (from looking at the rules) automatically affect the *speed* of the next maneuver. WW1 WOG doesn't have varying-speed maneuvers, though. I was considering allowing a dive to optionally add a straight (right after the dive, essentially a double-move played straight from the deck after all other maneuvers have been performed in this phase before firing is calculated) as a way to simulate both the ability of a diving plane to pick up speed and also the 'initiative' gained by the diving pilot over their opponent(s).

Any thoughts on these? Do they feel OP? I'm not trying to make the altitude rules more complicated than they need to be... just wanting to create a bit more payoff for the extra time spent dealing with climb rates and pegs. Is there something I'm missing about how the current rules deal with altitude advantage?
 
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Kevin Duke
United States
Wynne
Arkansas
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After a few thousand games of Wings, but no more than 12-15 using altitude, I'd say not to sweat it.

Some folks just can't stand an 'airplane' game that doesn't factor altitude, and I get that.

I also get that when we've used altitude, it takes 3 times longer, you end up with things like what looks like a great shot that doesn't happen because of altitude distance, and you seldom end up with a real "YES, that was more satisfying" anything.

I get it.

I get that a P-40 doesn't want to dogfight with a zero. It wants to gain altitude, dive through a formation shooting, and keep going. Worked great for Chennault. If my life were on the line, that's what I'd want to do.

In WW1 terms, think of a SPAD 13 attacking Fokker Dr1s. On the flip side, think about the Dr1s "escaping" by climbing away from the SPADs to out climb what they can't outdive (as I've read Voss might have done against the Se5s he had his last dogfight with).


For face to face games-- especially if you're doing one vs one... Nah. For one on one games and fun, you want hyper maneuver-- Dr1 vs Camel is a great "duel." If you run 2 planes each (my personal max suggestion) then you can be a little more open. The other Duel box-- Spad against the Alb D5-- ends up with a lot of head on shots and Immelmann's. That happens with WW2 planes also.

Possibly why our most fun is in big demos. Put 6, 8, 11 people on the table and it's a 'target rich environment," with the added joy that a complete, "never saw this before" person can be flying in 5 minutes and having fun in 6.

But not with altitude.

End of sermon.
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Mark McG
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Penshurst
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something I've often considered but never tried is allowing immediate play of a 2nd card after a dive. So you play the dive, and then choose and play from the dive card end another card to reflect the added speed and initiative.
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