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Subject: Review after fifteen years of playing rss

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Juha Helin
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Obtained copy of Over the Reich some fifteen years ago from the local game shop. They also had Achtung Spitfire on the shelf but it took me until next day to rush back and buy that title as well.

This game fundamentally changed my view on aerial combat and when Actung Spitfire is counted, there are way over thousand missions of various types behind.

Components: Counters and map are one of the best I have seen in any wargame, aerial, naval or ground. Aircraft data sheets have certain professional clarity that was always missing from Air Force and others. They are miniature history lesson.

Rulebook: I have to admit that Fighting wings series rulebook is one of the best written I have ever seen. Extensive playtesting is visible from the result. Rules are introduced in most logical order and offer lots of room for improved realism (sometimes almost excessively once Whistling Death was introduced)

Flight engine: I always tried to find game where rules would set boundaries and allow player to be inventive within those boundaries. FW series flight engine delivers just that. There are no gamey rules that prohibit something because you just cant. Given right parameters and right circumstances, you can (if you suddenly found out you couldn't - oh well, have fun recovering from that turn stall). A/C datasheets give you comprehensive view of the planes performance and offensive firepower. There are no preset maneuvers, rulebook has few examples what can be done but do not restrict you.

Major difference between OtR and WD is in the vertical flight. While OtR had much less sophisticated vertical flight model, it is significantly less cumbersome and while somewhat inaccurate, I appreciated the simplicity especially in solo runs against Allied bomber formations.

Gameplay: One side always have upper hand, fact of aerial combat one have to accept. (Wether it is vertical advantage, maneuverability, speed, firepower or just pure toughness, or any combination of those). Goal is to cause damage to opponent while avoiding it yourself. Planes are relatively fragile and sometimes you do not have other realistic options but to fight it out.

Game has three levels, operational mission level, tactical level to maneuver in position and one to one combat level. Operational level games can be very, very long while single combat can be as short as few moves on board.

Moves are plotted in order of initiative and those unfortunate situation of being tallied have to execute their moves in full clarity since they have lowest initiative. Defensive fire happens before offensive fire and all effects of defensive fire takes effect before offensive fire.

Your survival depends on your pilot quality, cockpit view, skill and luck.

Lucky shot may down you so you don't want to take any hits if you can help it. On the other hand, some opponents seem to take bounding turn after turn seemingly unaffected. You fly into massed B24 defensive fire field only to find out that you could not fire a shot before your plane was chopped in pieces.

In more than few games, weaker side has gone to desperate measures to escape the fight, plane crippled, pilot wounded but alive - you really do not want to loose that precious crack-shot, gifted, veteran ace pilot of yours.

Shortest games have been about 5 minutes of futile heroism, longest over ten hours.

In short, if you are interested in aerial combat with realistic flight engine and nearly infinite possibilities, pick up any Fighting Wings title. So far for fifteen years and enjoyment continues...
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I Beg To Differ
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Considering your nationality and how much you enjoy OtR, it seems very likely that you have played Buffalo Wings as well. I hear this game is somewhat simplified. How different do you find that game from OtR?
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Wulf Corbett
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I'm not Finnish, but I have also owned both games - I never actually played OtR, as the rules looked too complex to me (I have played Air Superiority & Air Strike in the past, I just found them too slow moving). Buffalo Wings greatly simplifies the vertical component of flight, as well as a number of other rules - and just plain misses out some parts, significantly ground attack.

I found it greatly easier to play, while losing little of the feeling of control. I think the full Air Power rules would appeal far more to the technical player, but for myself I don't like the significant rules overhead it has over Buffalo WIngs.
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Edmund Hon
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According to the designer JD Webster, the simpler Buffalo Wings rules can also be used with the data cards from Over the Reich and Achtung Spitfire.
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Juha Helin
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abreiten wrote:
Considering your nationality and how much you enjoy OtR, it seems very likely that you have played Buffalo Wings as well. I hear this game is somewhat simplified. How different do you find that game from OtR?


I have all of the titles, including Buffalo Wings. Interestingly enough, there is no that huge difference (disclaimer: Because BW is essentially stripped version of flight model, and does not have defensive fire, flak, ground / naval attacks etc. heavy things included I only consider the basic flight model). In fact only significant difference in basic flight between BW and OtR / AS is elimination of bank angle on BW.

There are different opinions about the bank orientation but in my opinion, it adds layer of finesse that one can really pull fun out of the game. Adding bank comes of course with rule baggage because plane flies quite bit differently in for example inverted and orientation changes (and what you can actually achieve with them) may be hard to explain to new players.


However, ingenuity of the system is that what I call "basic flight" can be stripped really down to the bones and still maintain solid system - essentially represented by Buffalo Wings. None of BW eliminations compromise the finesse provided by other games in the series and you can keep adding complexity when you feel ready.

Transition from Buffalo Wings to OtR, AS are simple enough, transition to WD requires little more because of redesign of the vertical flight. Data cards, as far as I know of, are exchangeable. Therefore, you can move larger scale fights (you really do not need always that superior tactical maneuvering when engaged in hit and run attacks against massed B24's) (or training) from OtR to BW system.


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Wulf Corbett
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Taskforce 58 wrote:
According to the designer JD Webster, the simpler Buffalo Wings rules can also be used with the data cards from Over the Reich and Achtung Spitfire.
And vice versa - the data cards in BW are not simplified, they contain all the detail needed for the full rules versions.
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I Beg To Differ
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Thanks a lot, all of you!
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