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Derrick C
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I recently got into Wings of Glory, and although I know it’s older, I feel like it doesn’t get enough love as it’s a really great game.

One thing is it’s labeled as a war game and that comes with certain connotations and expectations. But really this is like no other war game I’ve played. In my experiences so far, there tends to be several feel bad moments in other games that keeps them from being fun on both sides of the table. But I’ve never seen this happen with WoG yet.

Some will compare it to X-Wing, but it’s done best here: link

The differences really separate WoG a part from war games.

I tried to tackle this review from a different angle, because I feel like only a certain crowd would be looking for a game like this, when in reality, everyone should be looking at this game.

And if I dare say it, it can work as a party game. Imagine you have 5 other friends around a table with you, all having a drink, just moving planes and having a laugh. That’s how I see this game.

Don’t get me wrong, it is a war game, and I do like several war games, but this one just has a different feel.

For the purpose of my comments below, I’m defining war games here as skirmish/collectable.

To give my conclusion on top, I give this a 10/10. I have a slight complaint below, but it does not affect my rating.

Accessibility

One thing that prevents fun on both sides of the table in war gaming is inaccessibility. Many people won’t touch a war game, because they are intimidated by rules and sometimes having to paint their minis.
If you are one of these people, I would urge you to give this game a shot.

If you’ve never war gamed: This is the best entry point I can think of. The game is simpler than Chess.

In chess, you have to remember how everyone moves. In Wings of Glory, you have cards that show you exactly how your plane moves.

I had a thread that demonstrates just how accessible this game is from a game play perspective.

But just because it’s as simple as chess, doesn’t mean it’s as easy as Candyland. WoG will only ever be as hard as your opponent (and how well you can read them).

But don’t even let that intimidate you if you are sitting across the table from an experienced WoGer. I feel the hidden information gives even the novice a chance. Especially because you might do something in our inexperience that they weren’t thinking you’d do.

You can gradually add rule sets and optional rules as you get into this game. But even if you never do, this game is fun at its core.

If you’ve war gamed and not liked it: Please try this game.

If painting minis put you off, no painting minis in this game as it's pre-painted.

If it’s the complexity, see above.

If it’s something else, keep reading.

If you’re an experienced war gamer: Everything I’m saying above affects you, because a game is only as good as people who play it with you.
You have a friend who isn’t into war gaming, but you are? Give this a shot with them.

You don’t paint your minis, but there are 3 paint jobs on each plane, so you should find one that catches your eye. Also, I know from other games, some people just paint their stuff anyways.

If you think this game is too shallow, it can get pretty deep as you add rules to your liking.

Set up

Similar to Accessibility, set up sometimes puts people off. Sometimes, a game just takes too long to get set up. And sometimes, people are put off by list building.

List building is putting together elements of the game you buy separately to create combos. (Like deckbuilding in MtG.)
This can put people off because sometimes it feels the game is won before it is even played.

If you’ve never war gamed: Set up time is comparable to many other games. Because you don’t need a board, your set up time really only depends on how many planes you are playing.

If you’ve war gamed and not liked it: If you were put off by list building, there isn’t any significant list building in this game.
What I mean is: yes, you can put together a list, but unless you’re 1 plane against 2 (for instance), you’re not going to notice a significant advantage of one list over the other.

If you are concerned about it, the Rules and Accessories pack has a list of “power levels” and what planes are comparable to which. However, I’d argue that as long as you are doing a 1:1 ratio on planes during set up, both sides are winnable.

If you’re an experienced war gamer: One fun aspect of list building and set up in war gaming is the customizability. If you are itching for some of that list building feel, the Rules and Accessories pack comes with pilot skills that tweak the way you fly, shoot, etc. But these pilot skills are not going to “break” your game. They add some flavor and some advantage. But you will not frustrate your opponent with them.

You can also customize the "board" or scenario. The game comes with ground units and targets that your plane interacts with.

My 8-year-old was only fairly interested in this game until I told him anytime we play he gets to set up the scenario. This got him really excited to play.

The Rules and Accessories Pack comes with some introductory scenarios, but I’d encourage you to make your own if you itch for that customization in a game.

Luck

In war games (possibly more so in any other type of game), there’s only one way to roll your dice: High. Other games, take the luck factor of dice but do not strictly rely on high rolls.

If you’re any gamer: This game is luck based in the damage cards. Sometimes you get hit with 0 damage, sometimes you get hit with 5, and anywhere in between. But the feel bad moments of bad luck is mitigated significantly. Only you know how much damage you have taken. So if you keep hitting your opponent with 0’s, you don’t know. And because you don’t know, it “feels” like you are always hitting until the end.

Luck is also mitigated by skill. If I hit you more than you hit me, the odds are in my favor as there are only so many cards in a damage deck. But, I’ve once hit someone with about 10 cards, then got hit 3 with cards and died. (If you get bad luck, at least it ends quickly.)

Cost

I’m a budget gamer. So I have to be picky about collectable war games I play as they are a money pit.

If you’ve never war gamed: I’d say if you’re new to this type of game as a whole, the best approach is to get one of the Duel Packs. Two planes. Rules enough to have a good time. If you like it, you can always expand, and you didn’t break your wallet to get into this in the first place.

If you’ve played war games (whether you liked them or not): You know what you’re getting into here by reading my review and looking into the product further. I’m going to tell you what I wish someone told me. Skip the Duel Pack and buy the Rules and Accessories Pack and two planes that come in smaller packs (unless you really want the planes in the Duel packs). I’d go to the Ares Website to see which ones have a red A on their base. But as long as you stick to the smaller packs, you’ll be okay at first.

Then after setting up and playing your first couple games, you’ll get an idea of what planes you’d want.

This method will cost you more upfront, but $30 less in the long run.

If you want to minimize the planes you buy, I’d buy 2 single-seaters and 2 two-seaters (one on each side for both). This will cover a lot of scenarios you could create. It also gives you quite some depth in the game.

Right now, I own 7 planes and I’m sitting happy with the amount of elements I have to play.

Other games in the collectible model give you incentives to buy buy buy. But because all you need from an upgrade perspective is in the Rules and Accessories Pack, you don’t need to buy anything to be competitive. Get the planes you like the most. (My personal favorite is the Macchi M5.)

Components

Here is my only negative on the entire game. The components are a little finicky, but it’s a necessary evil. My two complaints are the cards and flight stands.

When compared to other games like this, the card system is a little challenging, because you have to put your plane on the card then retrieve your card from underneath the plane. Cards can get bent and worn, and I feel like you’ll be using these cards a little harsher than other cards in games. However, you’ll never shuffle these cards, so they won’t wear that way.

But the cards are also good, because it makes it so your plane can accurately do the maneuvers as it’s not locked into a specific way of moving (from a design standpoint).

The flight stands are another weak point because they don’t fit snug. So you need to lift your plane by the base, but the base is beveled, so it’s hard at first.

However, the purpose of the flight stands is that it represents altitude in the advanced rules, which is pretty cool. So it’s a necessity that they fit a little looser, so you can swap them out when you need to.

If you’re used to war gaming: No issues.

If you’re not used to war gaming: You’re probably gonna drop planes on the table at first until you get the hang of it. But my 5-year-old figured it out, you can get there too.

Theme

I’m not super into realistic war gaming, but when I heard about Tripods and Triplanes coming out (an expansion to this game), I got really excited and decided to try WoG before I bought T&T. Just to say it, if you are put off by realistic war games, this game is about to get Sci-Fi.

Edit to add...

Time

Another roadblock can be how long it takes to play a game. WoG feels fast because you move and shoot at the same time as your opponent. The lack of waiting on someone is reduced significantly, so you are always engaged.

WoG is also faster, because the most decisions you have to make is at the beginning of your turn and the rest of your turn is working out that decision. Even if you are flying a bunch of planes, there typically isn't a ton of options of who to shoot. I think the most I've had for targets is two (not with a two-seater).

Because all of your major decisions are in the beginning of the turn, I have yet to witness analysis paralysis in this game. It can be hard to predict where someone will be, but staring at your cards forever isn't going to help you much either.

(You can also see comments below on details for this topic of Time.)
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John Di Ponio
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Hey Derrick, This gem gets overlooked quite often. Many games see it as too simplistic when I suggest it. Or, I get the other spectrum; 'it's a miniatures game, it must be complicated and expensive!' I like this game and have invested a little bit of money into it but it's more for bling then play. I upgraded the stands and added flame markers from Litko and some mats and pilot panels but the system as a whole is easy to get into and fun to play. I have thought about its sister game Wings of War but I find the WWI era of play more suitable to this system.

As you mentioned, this game is super easy to get into but can be made as complex as you want it with all the optional rules and there are enough options to please most, if not all seasoned war gamers!

I think I have 10 planes total at this time and will probably add a plane here and there over time.
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Mayor Jim
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Derrick, thanks for your analysis. I don’t have Xwing, but I’m familiar with it. The WWI WoG/WoW planes/system is perfect imho. I had a bunch of their WWII planes/game but sold them all as I think the system is best suited for WWI action. ...now, we’ll see how the tripods work once they finally come out whistle
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Andrea Angiolino
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Derrick, thanks a lot for your deep ananysis. I think that you catched many details that are usually overlooked.
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Derrick C
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MayorJim wrote:
Derrick, thanks for your analysis. I don’t have Xwing, but I’m familiar with it. The WWI WoG/WoW planes/system is perfect imho. I had a bunch of their WWII planes/game but sold them all as I think the system is best suited for WWI action. ...now, we’ll see how the tripods work once they finally come out whistle


Thanks for your Comment, Mayor Jim!

Analysis between X-Wing and WoG has been done to death, and I've linked my favorite up above. However, it's all kinda moot, because of X-Wing 2.0, which is just too early to tell. But I think some of my same issues with X-Wing will remain in 2.0.(I want a game where it's won on the flying skill and not the list building skill.)

Because the comparison is always done between the two games, I wanted to give another perspective for those who never played X-Wing or even games like it.

WoG is not the game people would think it is before they play or watch someone play it. Just the other week, I told my friend I wanted to play this game with him and the look on his face was like... shake or maybe more like... gulp.

But I promised him this game is not what he thinks it is, and he'll have a fun game. So hopefully, my review helps people like that overcome some of their roadblocks. Or help their friends explain that there should be no roadblocks to this game.

My wife wouldn't touch a collectable game or a war game with a 10 foot pole. But I urged her to just try this. She's good with the Standard rules and minimal optional rules, and I get to play WoG with my wife!

My kids tried X-Wing with me but didn't like it. And I was playing a scaled back version of X-Wing. All generics, minimal upgrades. Avoiding all complex interactions. They played WoG and liked it. I asked them why but they couldn't articulate it. I think (from knowing my kids) that this game feels faster. I know there has been analysis that it's not true, that the games are about the same length. But this feels faster because there's only one major decision each turn and it's at the beginning of each turn. The rest of the turn is working out that decision.

And to your point about WWI over WWII, I can imagine WWI plays faster and hits the points I highlighted above better than WWII. However, I've never played WWII.

As far as Tripods and Triplanes, I'm super excited for it. It was one of the reasons I went WWI over WWII. I wanted to get this review down before I played that one. Because I definitely plan on reviewing it.
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Andrea Angiolino
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IMHO Wings of Glory scales far better than X-Wing with a growing number of miniatures and players, since X-Wing broke the simultaneous execution of movement and firing that I struggled to enforce always.
So, if you played in more than 2 this could explain the sensation of Wings of Glory being quicker. There is no downtime between a movement and the other, a fire and the other - you are always engaged and all happens at the same time.
I played a 100 players, 100 minis Wings of Glory game in Florence and it lasted 1 hour. I read of a X-Wing game with just 42 minis that required more than 6 hours 1/2.
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Derrick C
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angiolillo wrote:
IMHO Wings of Glory scales far better than X-Wing with a growing number of miniatures and players, since X-Wing broke the simultaneous execution of movement and firing that I struggled to enforce always.
So, if you played in more than 2 this could explain the sensation of Wings of Glory being quicker. There is no downtime between a movement and the other, a fire and the other - you are always engaged and all happens at the same time.
I played a 100 players, 100 minis Wings of Glory game in Florence and it lasted 1 hour. I read of a X-Wing game with just 42 minis that required more than 6 hours 1/2.


100% agree here. Moving at the same time definitely makes the game faster. Not to even pick on X-Wing, WoG's movement system makes it faster than a lot of War Games out there. When I get a moment, I'll edit my original post to make that point. That's a great point.

As a side note, the initiative system was probably my one of my biggest "feel bads" about X-Wing. I started wanting to play Aces, but as time went on, I realized something crucial: your initiative only matters if it's higher.

Let's say I have Luke at an 8 (now a 5), and they have Vader at a 9 (now a 6). Not considering other stuff on the board, I just paid a ton of points for Luke who is just as useful as an initiative 1. This is why I started playing generics. Generics all day in that game.

Another side note, when I discovered how overlapping works in WoG, I was like, "Why did they change that in X-Wing!" I once was able to keep bumping a large ship and keep it from moving and getting actions. At the time, I thought I was clever, but as I walked away from it, I was like, "That just made no sense."
 
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Andrea Angiolino
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My personal opinion is that a few things have been changed just to say that they are different, after FFG retired the offer to license the game mechanics. Not for the sake of a better game.

Another problem can be production issues. Maybe they designed a higher base and then they saw that it did not fit overlapping rules well.
I think that something similar happened with the line of sight. I find it quite elegant to measure from the central peg to see, in a single gesture, both if the target is in the firing cone and if it is in range. This is how Wings of Glory works, and this is how the designer used to play X-Wing in official demos (here at the 2012 GenCon):



In the released version of X-Wing, the things are separate: you check if the target is in range along the lines on the base, then you check distance from the closest point of firing base to the closest point of the target base. Maybe they found that the thick base of the central stand had been designed without keeping the rules in mind and hampered a correct measure. In any case, the new rule has pretty bad effect not only slowing down checks, but also because it generates quite absurd situations. Have a look at the photo here:





The upper Tie fires at the X-Wing with no penalties, no mater the huge asteroid it has in front of it, while the X-Wing fires at the lower Tie with the penalty of a blocked LOS from the very lateral heap of rock.


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