Tom "Snicker Daddy" Pancoast
Our First Play of Wings of War
I recently picked up Wings of War because it sounded so interesting. The three of us decided to give the basic rules a try the other night. Since there were three of us, and since we just wanted to get a feel for the game, we tossed the idea of teams out and just played a three way free-for-all. I guess the Allies weren't getting along that day. We had no idea what we were doing when we chose our planes, but I picked the Fokker DR I (Richtofen), Nathan picked a SPAD XIII, and Terri picked a Sopwith Camel. Terri and I faced off across the board, and Nathan came in from the side.
I saw no reason not to just dive right in. This was a test, after all. Terri pretty much did the same, and I was surprised at how quickly we moved across the table. Looking at the little cards, and it you just move inches at a time, but the phases go quickly, so the planes do too. Nathan curved towards Terri from the side, and was almost overlapping her card when he was able to get off a close range shot. He passed her, and she and I continued towards each other. We did a little maneuvering, but we pretty much made mirror image choices, so we still ended up facing each other. We both got off a long range shot, with little effect, then we each got off a short range shot. Terri's short range attack was formidable, and I jammed my guns in the process. She got me for nine (4 + 5) damage. After that, we were on top of each other, so I didn't have to worry about her shooting me any more. During all this, Nathan peeled away, did an immelmann, and was heading back. It wasn't long until he and I were face to face. That situation did not end well for me. We fired as soon as we were in range. I do not know what Nathan drew, but I got the explosion card. One down.. So much for the Red Baron's vaunted reputation.
That was it for me, and for the direct approach. Terri and Nathan were much more cautions. They looped around each other for about 8 passes. In general Terri preferred to use the immelmann after an attack pass, and nathan preferred to use regular turns. They made multiple passes at each other. I would have guessed that the immelmann would have been the more flexible way to turn around, but Nathan got the drop on her a couple times. I think the required straits ended up putting her further out than she wanted. I'll have to keep an eye on that, but I think we were inexperienced and I should be careful with observations from this early game. Fortunately for Terri, I used up most of the bad luck at the top of the deck, and she took little damage. I was surprised at how many zeros there are in the damage deck, but I guess every attack can't connect.
They continued to maneuver around each other while trying to second guess the other. They whittled each other down, but their planes are tougher than mine. Even so, after my quick death, I was surprised at how many attacks they survived. Their guns jammed on occasion, but never at a bad time for them, and the jam was clear before it mattered. I remember someone on BGG saying that it took a long time to get back into the fight after a pass, but that didn't seem to be the case. The remainder of the game took a while because there were so many passes, but it never seemed to take very long to get back to the fight after each one.
After some more attacks, they both only had a couple points of damage left. This last time, their looping and second guessing ended with them face to face at close range. They both fired. They took two damage cards each, and were both destroyed. Since Nathan killed both me and Terri, I guess he won, but we weren't really playing for points. It was a nice introduction to the game. I look forward to the next time where we use the optional rules.
thanks for your nice reports! The 0 cards are 11 out of 35. If I did not forgot the math I learned at school , this means a 31.4% chance to do no damage if you fire at long range, 9.2% if you fire at short range (drawing 2 cards). Those chances increase to 32.3% and 9.8% if you put away the explosion card before starting the game (as I personally suggest).
No damage, in this setting, means both that you miss the target completely or that you just make holes in non-vital parts of the airplane. It was pretty common that a plane would go back to its home airfield with no problems, to discover that there were dozens of holes in its fuselage and wings.
Of course one thing is the historical setting, another is game enjoyement - I hope you had fun. In average, an A damage card is about 1.6 points of damage so you need an average of 10 of them to shot down a SPAD, 8 to shot down a Fokker Dr.I. The minimum, for very unlucky players, is three cards for the Dr.I (5 + 4 + 4) and four for any other one. All this not only reflects historical characteristics of the planes, but in gaming terms it also compensates for better maneuvrability of the Dr.I.
That's why it takes a while to shot down a plane: a very lucky shot is never enough, apart for the explosion card, that can be taken away, or the fire damage, that's an optional rule.
Bye and thanks again!