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Subject: 27 plane battle at BGG.CON rss

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Richard Johnson
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I had the chance at BGG.CON to moderate a 27-player game of Wings of War with the miniatures (we were told the largest game to date with miniatures was 19). We had two of every plane model, plus a couple triplicates. Setup took quite a while, and we made a few modifications to simplify and speed up play.

We played with a single damage deck (deck A) and had players write damage taken on individual scoring sheets we had previously developed for each plane instead of keeping cards (we would have needed a dozen or so damage decks otherwise). The damage was announced to the group which had the added benefit of getting everyone cheering and booing depending on what cards were drawn and what plane was taking damage. We ignored the smoke, no left turn, and no right turn icons on the damage cards but used the rest. We did not use tailing rules, but we did add 1 to the damage taken when you shot the same target twice in a row. When a player was on fire, they put three marks on their paper to cross off at the beginning of each planning phase after a new damage card was drawn to keep track of their fire status.

We also did not use the player boards (simply not enough room) and instead laid the three cards down in a stack next to the appropriate plane with the top card being the first maneuver. This facilitated being able to know when everyone was done planning and ready for the first maneuver. We then took turns moving the planes (only about half the players could do this at a time due to space constraints), and, starting with one side of the table, combat was resolved with damage called out and recorded by the appropriate player. We removed the explosion card at the beginning to give everyone a decent chance of surviving the first few rounds.

As the game progressed, we tightened the playing space by first removing one table and then another for the last few planes left. We added in the explosion card back into the deck when about half of the planes were left to speed things up, and, when we got down to 7 planes, I intensified the combat by removing any zero damage cards from the deck and adding random flack attacks drawing from the C damage deck.

These changes made the game with this number of players manageable and quite fun (though a little chaotic). Running this was the highlight of BGG.CON for me, and even though I was the first plane shot down (I purposely placed my plane all alone at the front facing about 8 opposing fighters which killed me in two rounds so that I could moderate the rest of the game) it was a real blast.

The Germans started out with 14 planes to the Allies’ 13 and took an early lead shooting down myself and one other plane. Things stalled a bit with a number of fighters from both sides taking heavy damage during the middle of the game, but not enough to bring them down. The Allies managed to retaliate and brought down three Germans in a row, but soon lost more of their own planes. This was when the first table was removed to keep things close and personal. The battlefield naturally split into two combating groups with pretty equal distribution in each group. As we made the damage deck more potent, more and more planes were shot down with the Germans holding a nice lead. It eventually got down to 1 Allied fighter versus 3 German fighters, but, fortunately, the battle was near the Allied side where the ground machine guns managed to mangle the German fighters down to even things out. The battle came down to on German Focker (one of the three ‘Red Barons’ we had on the field that day) and a Spad XIII. The Focker had the advantage of being only lightly damaged thanks to being off by himself in a small skirmish on the edge of the map for much of the game and ended up being victorious. It was a very close game and I think everyone enjoyed themselves. There were some very memorable moments such as planes being set on fire a second time after also sustaining engine damage and still limping out a few more turns alive; one plane was shot down when drawing the two 5-point damage cards for damage on a single hit (not very good when you can only take 13 damage points). For anyone who participated, please share your experiences below as I only got the big picture running the game and a lot of the smaller details escaped me.

Wings of War is one of my favorite games. It was an absolute blast running this game for so many people. Special thanks to all those who supplied miniatures to make this possible and for all the help in getting this setup and putting everything away afterwards. It's not easy inventorying 27 movement decks! Also thanks to Fantasy Flight for providing prizes for the winner.

A few photos from the game:


Initial setup (we added another table before starting)



Planes start to make contact



An aerial view



Things really start to mix



The last two planes in firing range



Everybody who played



The last two pilots with their planes
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David Reed
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This was a blast and it was one my highlights of BGG.Con this year. Thanks for running it and for being one of the driving forces in making it happen.
Next year, should we shoot for an even forty planes and get a spot cleared out to make things easier?

By the way, has the Crokinole board made it up there yet?
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Mark Wilder
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That was a lot of fun. It's inspired me to start my own minis collection... I'm up to seven, which isn't a bad start for just a couple weeks!
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Richard Johnson
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Yeah it really was a lot of fun. Next year will be bigger and better. I think some sort of scenario would be fun where one side has to shoot down some balloons or something.

Crokinole is being held at UPS and we are picking it up tomorrow
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Andrea Angiolino
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Cuzzle, that's a fantastic event and a great report indeed! Would you share it on www.wingsofwar.it too? If you want, just tell me if we can use the same text (or send me a text file with the different one) and send me the three pictures you like most at angiolino(at)gioco.net. Thanks!

A couple of little notes...

>we would have needed a dozen or so damage decks otherwise

The thumb rule is 1 deck for each 4 planes to guarantee that you never need to reshuffle even if you take all explosions away. So with "only" 7 decks you can be sure that even if all 27 planes are left with just one damage point susteinable you still have cards to end the game. But you usually need quite less of them. Far less if you keep explosions in.

The BD rulebook and the Miniatures one are available here:
http://www.fantasyflightgames.com/wingsofwarsupport.html
Both should have easy rules to handle running out of damage cards.

FFG will probably be happy to support you with the next event:
http://www.fantasyflightgames.com/contact.html

Said so, of course playing with revealed damage is perfect if you like it more!

>Next year will be bigger and better.

From January you will have Sopwith Snipe and Fokker D.VII available: stronger than existing planes, but if you add them on the same amount on both sides the general balance of the game will be preserved.

For the next con, maybe Albatros D.III and Nieuport 17 will be available too. Nieuportts are slightly weaker, but give them an ace skill (the same for everybody if you want to keep things easy, like not jamming with the green cross but only with the red one) and pretend they all fire at A, and balance with the D.III is preserved again... add the same amount of D.III to Germans/Austrians and Nieuport to the Allied.

Or use two-seaters to make a special scenarios: they will be available in January.

>I think some sort of scenario would be fun where one side has to shoot down some balloons or something.

Two-seaters allow recon, bombing and such.

And it is still to be put into the production line and never said loud before today but... One year from today, maybe WoW miniatures of balloons could be available on the market.

Thanks again for everything!

Andrea
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Bryan Spellman
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Great report!!!! Are you coming to GenCon this year and set something like this up there!!!

Also I love the fact that Andrea si around here! It's nice to write up a session report and get some thumbs and then a tip and all of a sudden the developer of the game is commenting on it...I love the Geek!
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Iain K
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Great AAR, thanks for posting it.

A few questions:

(1) How did you take the aerial photo?

(2) What was the favorite aircraft? i.e. Which models were the most chosen by participants?

(3) What were the last 6 aircraft left airborne? To get a sense of the durability.
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Richard Johnson
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Andrea, you can use the text here if you want (or any part of it). I will send pictures to you as well. I'm really excited about the new minis and that would be awesome if you guys release miniatures for the balloons. Thank you for putting out such an awesome game!

Bryan, I have no plans to make it to Gencon. The only other con we have planned besides bgg.con next year is Gamestorm in Portland.

Iaian, I stood on top of a table to take the high up picture. The German Fokker is the most popular aircraft specifically the "Red Barron" model (I like the Kempf version of the Fokker myself)

I don't remember exactly what the last planes were but I believe the last Allied planes were all Spads (very fast and durable so they tend to get hit less) and for the Germans an even split between the Albatrosses and Fokkers (I think the Albatrosses survived a bit better but it was close).
 
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Andrea Angiolino
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Here it is:
http://www.wingsofwar.it/read.asp?id=3022

Thanks a lot!

Andrea
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