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Subject: NashCon Demo AAR rss

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Bill Wallace
United States
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I ported this over from the WW1 site because I didn't see it here and figure there are some folks who do WW2 and don't read the WW1 section.
Hope kduke doesn't mind.

Wings of Glory Demo at Nashcon

There are pix posted in the photo section that all mention NashCon which accompany this report.

Saturday, May 26, saw my first “two-fer” demo session, where I used both WW1 and WW2 planes in a single time block (but not on the table at the same time!).

My brother and I (known locally as “the Duke Boys”) were a bit late getting bookings for Nashcon (my bad) and their schedule was nearly filled when we got our prime-time slot for Saturday night. We originally wrote the description hoping for using the new WW1 bombers but did not have those in hand. The guy organizing the events had seen my report about showing the WW2 planes at MidSouth Con and asked if we could bring those, since he already had some other folks doing WW1 events and no one was doing the new WW2. That was reasonable, if a challenge. We were tempted to limit ourselves to WW2...

And then the bombers DID arrive in time!

So we opted to do both.

There were surprisingly few people playing any games at the 7pm start time, so we pulled out the WW2 planes first, using all the new Wings of Glory planes, plus some of the older models from Wings of War to give more variety. We varied from 5 to 8 players for a couple hours, keeping some through the whole time but others who were involved in something else but came over to play one scenario and then go back. Fortunately, the Wings series allows that.

Wings of Glory presented an unusual mix for its first 4 planes, both in terms of familiarity and historical connections. While they are interesting and beautiful planes, it’s a stretch to imagine them actually fighting each other—another reason for bringing in the extra planes. This diversity also prompts us to try some unusual combinations, especially with folks coming and going. So our opening scenarios were “planes with red markings” versus planes with non-red markings, thus giving us Japanese, Soviet, and certain Allied planes against German, Italian, US, and other Allied planes. It sounds more confusing than it was and the players had no problems keeping up with who to shoot and who not to shoot.

These opening sessions were a bit unusual since we had a girl playing. I say “girl.” She was maybe mid teens (that is getting harder for me to tell these days!) but she was very much a veteran flyer and enjoyed the game a great deal. She mentioned playing as much Wings of War as she could at this con and was also bragging about how lucky she had been, drawing many zeros and a few 1s when people managed to hit her. But this was her first WW2 experience! She did very well, actually. The luck of the draw gave her a good plane, a Tony using C guns (I left out the Tony using D guns to start with, as I had seen how terrifying it was for other players!). As one scenario led to another, she managed to keep her planes flying (though once down to ‘one more hit’ land) and shoot down a couple. (In the final WW2 scenario, she did manage to 'catch' several serious hits out of the chit cup-- a 5 and an 8 pretty much took care of her perfect flying record!).

After a couple all fighter mixes, we added some Val dive bombers just to make things more interesting. They did not last long enough to be VERY interesting!

But we did find some struggles about the allied roundels—are they red or not? As the mix of planes on the table changed, I realized a slight shift could make for “roundels against everything else.” This was also a lot of fun, and I’ve posted one photo of a bizarre “not quite touching stands” situation that ended up being difficult for a Yak.

I was thinking it was about time to shift to WW1 when that point was brought to me in force. A bunch of kids (I mean under 15—that’s ‘kids’ for me!) descended and one father among them. “We thought you would be using the bombers,” he said, and I explained that I was about to break them out right now. I’m not used to statements like that drawing a cheer but they did. So we packed up the WW2 and brought out the earlier planes. I knew a lot of folks had been doing early missions with Gothas and, given the mix of planes and people that I had, I wanted to make this an Allied bombing raid. I had the Breguets from WoW and had recently added a Caudron R-11 from Shapeways models—a plane created specifically for long-range bomber escort. At the same time I had also added a Siemens Schuckert D-III from Shapeways, a plane already in the Wings system (via the booster Dogfight) and one which saw some of its best service as a bomber interceptor, due to its remarkable climb rate and high performance (but short engine duration). So the match only needed some extras to flesh out.

We had 2-3 young girls and 3-4 young boys, who seemed to be familiar with each other, and 3 Dads. I put them all on the same side as the German interceptors and they liked this very much—they wanted to chase targets rather than BE targets. I added a new Halberstadt 2 seater model, to give them something different (and guns that shot in a wide range), and as a small tribute to the Halberstadts that are soon to be delivered. Back when I was originally conceiving this bombing mission, I thought my defenders would be a couple first line planes meant for serious defense (like the SS D3) plus some rear area planes that might be used in advanced training… like the Halberstadt D fighters. I still hope to do that scenario some day!.

But for today and with this audience, it was a strong defense, with them having a Pfalz D3, several Albatros, and a Fokker triplane (we had to have one of those just for color—but not the red one. I feared there might be too much enthusiasm for that, so Herr Kempf represented the tri-wing group.)

With the allied mission I had a late arrival (adult) and decided giving them one single-seater might make for more interest, so an Se5 took the air along with the bombers. They trundled forward and the interceptors came up like a swarm of angry hornets. One interceptor was a bit behind the others—the pilot liked the look of the Immelmann and wanted to see what it looked like on the field!) but they all soon closed to fighting ranges.

Though the Germans presented a lot of firepower (6 As, 1 B, 1 flex B) the Allied were pretty good too, with 4 flex As and 3 flex Bs, plus a couple fixed Bs and the Se5. The German planes came in from all directions and soon found themselves delivering one shot but taking several in return. The SS and the Se5 quarreled separately for awhile and then the Se5 wisely turned into the bomber mix and the SS followed—to his pain! I was a little strict on the Allied firing arcs. The cards for the Capronis show the front gun firing back literally behind the wing a bit but I disallowed getting both guns on a single plane unless it was literally even with the wing (like a clean broadside). Though the young man moving the Capronis chafed a bit (especially when one of his tailgunners jammed on the first shot), he had to admit that his side was not too damaged by the ruling.

First one German fighter fell, then another, then another, until they were all gone. On the Allied side all planes were still flying. One of the Breguets had taken more than 50% damage and so had the R-11, but none of the other Allied planes were in serious difficulty. By now it was past 11pm. I had thoughts about the bomber formation having to reverse course and ‘fly back home’ against more opposition, but there were young eyes beginning to droop (as were the eyes of the GM) so we called it to a natural halt then, knowing the clean up would take us awhile.

One request for the Ares folks on WW1 planes—or rather the damage decks. I have read that you are using damage DECKS instead of chits (like WW2) and that’s fine, but one graphic change would really help players. IN Wings of War, the damage numbers on both the A deck and B deck are in red. Telling them apart involves seeing the tiny letter in the corner. The color “blue” starts with a B in several western languages, and I would request that the B damage deck have its numbers in blue, for easier separation later. You’ve cleverly made the damage chits in WW2 different colors, and I’d request something similar be done with damage decks. The backs could be different also, though some might say it is telling the enemy too much if they see you with mostly B or mostly A cards, but SOMETHING to make them easier to tell apart would be very appreciated.

For my WoW damage decks, I ran a blue highlighter to create a ‘wash’ along the bottom of the B deck cards. It works, even in poor light, but it would be much more pleasing to the eye if the numbers themselves were blue. Or the backs were different. Or something!

I want to thank my brother for helping with the demo, both in keeping the kids in order (and keeping me calm!). He realized we had something special going here and took plenty of photos.

I also want to compliment the kids, who played well and, except for one measurement ruler mangled by an anxious pilot, the equipment saw no damage. That was a real relief to the GM?

Wings of War/Glory remains one of my very favorite games, both to play and to administer in a demo. It’s easy for VERY new players to get involved but has layers of complexity that can be added for seasoned veterans. I’m very relieved that Ares has picked up the Wings of War franchise and will continue. I very much look forward to demoing early war planes for WW1, and adding bombers to WW2. (There is a Battle of Britain demo somewhere in my future, I hope!)

Thanks to all the players who took part in the demo, tried to get totally new ideas past the GM, and who took it well when I would conjure a “let’s roll a die” response to something which seemed very borderline. I think those little additions add a lot to the game and allow players to experiment with new tactics—(and maybe shoot their friends by mistake!).

And thanks to all the Ares folks who make this possible!

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Kevin Duke
United States
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I really would have cross posted, but no harm done. Glad you liked the report.
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