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Subject: Brief Review from a Wings of Glory Fan rss

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James C
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In what follows I briefly compare Wings of Glory (WWI) to Star Trek: Attack Wing. I've been a WoG fan and player for about three years; I picked up Star Trek: Attack Wing this Christmas and played it for the first time yesterday.

The games are quite similar: outside of specific scenarios, the objective is basically to fly around and shoot down your enemy before he shoots you down. The implementations are also quite similar. So they make for a very good head-to-head comparison.

After investing probably a couple of hundred dollars into WoG, I am forced to admit that Star Trek: Attack Wing was both easier and more fun to play.

Will I be abandoning WoG? No. Do I prefer Star Trek: Attack Wing to WoG, despite its gameplay superiority? Not necessarily. Allow me to explain.

COMPONENTS / QUALITY

Both games feature very nice components. I find the aircraft in WoG stunningly well done - they're significantly more impressive to look at than those provided in Star Trek: Attack Wing. But that comes at a cost: the WoG aircraft are also quite dainty and fragile.

The secondary components (tokens, player boards, etc.) are, to me, quite good in both games.

GAMEPLAY

Star Trek: Attack Wing gives players more choices during play than WoG. In WoG, it's pretty much only about how best to navigate / position your aircraft. There's really not much to decide. In Star Trek: Attack Wing, there are ACTIONS to take in addition to simply choice of movement. This significantly ramps up the fun of play.

WoG utilizes movement cards to physically move aircraft; Star Trek: Attack Wing utilizes cardboard sticks. I found the cardboard sticks easier to manipulate.

In combat, Star Trek: Attack Wing involves rolling dice; WoG involves drawing cards. Dice rolling wins hands down - much more fun for me. Further, Star Trek: Attack Wing features defensive dice rolling as well: not only does the attacker roll his red dice, but defenders roll his green defense dice, in an effort to offset the attack. This is something I saw for the first time in Descent, and I love it. Each attack is much more engaging. Flipping a card simply doesn't come close to the exciting of simultaneous dice-chucking.

Finally, WoG requires players to select their movement from a deck of cards before implementation thereof; Star Trek: Attack Wing utilizes a hand-dandy movement dial, coupled with a navigation chart. This is much less fiddly, and consumes much less playing space (for in WoG, we typically spread out our entire deck of cards in front of us so we can see what's at our disposal). Again, I find the Star Trek: Attack Wing approach superior and easier.

WHY WINGS OF GLORY?

In light of the preceding, why would anyone play WoG over Star Trek: Attack Wing? That's a good question! Here are some reasons I can come up with:

1. Theme. To a history snob like me, playing a game involving sculpts (did I say how beautiful they were?) of actual WWI aircraft is simply more edifying than playing a game of fictionalized sci-fi spaceships. (I'm also a sci-fi snob, which is why I opted for Star Trek: Attack Wing over Star Wars....).

2. Style. I'm turned off by games that feature photographs of actors and actresses (such as those all over the cards and captain tokens in Star Trek: Attack Wing). It's a stylistic thing, but a real issue for me nonetheless. I prefer artwork.

3. Planning. There is one gameplay feature of WoG that Star Trek: Attack Wing lacks. This difference makes thematic sense, and I'm not at all faulting Star Trek: Attack Wing on this front, I'm just saying that it's a cool feature that WoG has and Star Trek: Attack Wing doesn't. Namely, in WoG, players have to plan their turns three moves at a time (secretly), and thereafter execute their movement as programed, one move at a time. This is fun. It requires not simply attempting to anticipate one's enemy, but attempting to do so for three full moves. It just works, and creates great tension.

4. Educational. This is related to point 1, above. As a parent-gamer, I love the fact that my 8-year old can recognize a Fokker DR VII and a Sopwith Snipe. Whether she can tell a Klingon vessel from a Federation ship, while cool, and impressive, is simply not as edifying to me.

5. RPG value. I cut my gaming teeth on RPGs (D&D in particular), and am still an RPGer at heart. We've built an entire campaign around WoG, complete with lists of national aces, promotions, awards (can anyone say "Blue Max"). It's very easy to do with all the historical, fan-made material readily available. I guess that's possible with Star Trek: Attack Wing, but I doubt that there's as much content available to do so. Plus, each ship in Star Trek: Attack Wing comes pre-populated with a set of potential captains, crew, etc. Can you make your own? What about their abilities? I guess you can pretend they're all clones of their predecessors and keep playing with them endlessly (it is the future after all).

6. Luck. Both games involve luck, clearly. But WoG is a bit less luck-driven by virtue of the fact that the card deck is not shuffled until depleted. In other words, according to the guns firing, there is a set distribution of damage across the deck. An aircraft can only be hit so many times before it's going down. In Star Trek: Attack Wing, it's conceivably possible, because of the randomness of the dice, to actually never ever get hit, no matter how many times an enemy fires upon you. Again, in terms of fun factor, I see no problem with this. But in terms of realism, I need to give the edge to WoG. Anyone who plays WoG knows that his or her luck will indeed run out - hits invariably accumulate, and the accumulation of damage is mathematically unavoidable over time. There is the very real sense that your time in the air is limited. This adds, again, to a certain kind of tension that I didn't feel in Star Trek: Attack Wing.

In sum, I'm thrilled to have both games in my collection. If I want to have a really fun, engaging fight, I'll reach for Star Trek: Attack Wing.

If instead, I want to scratch my RPG itch, and see if my latest fighter pilot will manage to get his fifth kill, using gorgeous WWI miniatures, with the tension of aerial dogfighting, I'll reach for WoG and relive a little history.
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Daniel Rodriguez
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You make some interesting points. I far prefer WoG over STAW even though i prefer the sci-fi theme. For me the planning ahead that you mentioned is a huge part of the fun.

I prefer the cards to the movement sticks and as for having the whole deck, someone created a nifty single card movement card, all of the decks moves are listed on the card along with their card number. so one card and a small slip of paper to record my moves and i'm good.

A lot of what i dislike about STAW (and its cousin xwing) is how the option system can lead to the min-maxing style. I like the simplicity of just having a plane with its subtle differences from other planes and working the table so i can eliminate my opponent. I do prefer dice to cards (or chits like in the ww2 version) but they do ok.

Im sure if i thought about it i could go on and on about little things here and there and how i like one more than the other but in the end with WoG i grab a plane or two, my opponent does the same and we are ready to play. So its just easier to get on the table!
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Don Lynch
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Wings of War/Glory all the way. Can't beat the period models or the programmed orders system.

If you can find it, FFG "Twilight Imperium Armada" is great fun and surprisingly realistic (as far as that can apply with SF). Also uses a 3 turn (chit) order planner and a control panel to keep track of ship status. Orders include changes to speed and direction, as well as firing, damage control, and commands. Interestingly, the system was designed and used for a Star Trek game titled "Red Alert", and is compatible with TIA.

Don
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Martin McCleary
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I'm not a Star Wars fan either but I recently had an opportunity to play SW Armada and I thought it was terrific. Big ships have to do the three turns ahead planning, smaller ships less so and fighters are just super flexible. It just nailed the big ship feel. Wish they could have used or could adapt this system to STAW or a BSG variant.
 
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Daniel Rodriguez
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Rallye72 wrote:
I'm not a Star Wars fan either but I recently had an opportunity to play SW Armada and I thought it was terrific. Big ships have to do the three turns ahead planning, smaller ships less so and fighters are just super flexible. It just nailed the big ship feel. Wish they could have used or could adapt this system to STAW or a BSG variant.


i vastly preferred armada to xwing for the same reasons. i know there was a fellow who did a whole conversion of the armada system for STAW and it looked really well put together but i never got around to giving it a go.
 
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James C
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Thank you for the feedback on my review.

Two other differences that I neglected to mention were (1) altitude rules in WoG and (2) hidden special damage in WoG. (I probably forget because my group doesn't play with the altitude rules and we make all special damage public.)
 
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James C
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danrodz wrote:
Rallye72 wrote:
I'm not a Star Wars fan either but I recently had an opportunity to play SW Armada and I thought it was terrific. Big ships have to do the three turns ahead planning, smaller ships less so and fighters are just super flexible. It just nailed the big ship feel. Wish they could have used or could adapt this system to STAW or a BSG variant.


i vastly preferred armada to xwing for the same reasons. i know there was a fellow who did a whole conversion of the armada system for STAW and it looked really well put together but i never got around to giving it a go.

That sounds very smart.
Maybe if WoG gets around to producing an expansion of balloons something like that might be incorporated.
 
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Don Lynch
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Professor X wrote:

Maybe if WoG gets around to producing an expansion of balloons something like that might be incorporated.


Actually there was a balloon expansion for Wings of War, "Burning Drachens", using extra-large cardboard counters for balloons. It was later supported by a couple of large plastic model ballon releases.

Don
 
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