This is session report is #2 out of 4 and is a summary of one of the Wings of Glory games that I hosted at Texicon recently.
Accompanying pics are of the actual game in progress.
The fine folks at Ares provided the planes used in this scenario along with additional damage counters and they were fantastic to deal with!
Following a quick break after the Battle of Britain scenario a few more players who had eyed the first game decided to join into the fray. I was excited to get this one going because it featured the new WW2 planes from Ares.
I had a chance to play with some of them at Nashcon in May when my brother, Kevin, and I hosted games there. I knew these planes looked good and I was eager to get them out onto the table.
We had five players for this game in what I’d described in the convention program as a "wild melee" where the last plane flying wins. It was wild alright with lots of laughs and friendly game tension around the table throughout the game.
If you have seen this set of four aircraft models, you might ask why Ares produced them as a starter set. As I understand it, these planes were already in the production pipeline when Ares took over, so they have been the first Wings of Glory WW2 planes produced. Rest assured we will soon see more including bombers! And now having played with them at two conventions, I will add that these planes are a ‘must have’.
Given the challenge of arranging a historical scenario using these four planes, I opted for a ‘wild melee’ type event instead of trying to create a historical scenario. In time, I will likely work on that, but I was completely pleased with how the melee turned out.
One of the new members at the table was a young man in his early teens who had never played the game. I gave him first pick of planes and he chose one of the Yaks.
We all rolled dice to see who would pick next and it was our lady, who had played at my table last year with her husband as well as being on the winning British side earlier that night in my Battle of Britain scenario. She chose one of the Japanese Ki-61 planes.
Her husband picked next and took the yellow tail P40.
I picked next and took the Flying Tiger P40, as it has always been one of my favorite planes. Our last player took the sleek black Italian Re-2001 and we were off and ready to fight.
In order to get right into the action, I took all 5 plane cards and basically tossed them into slightly in the air, letting them spread out a bit and bounce. What resulted as a pretty close group of planes and we would not spend the better part of the evening just flying to get to each other. No sir, we started off in very close proximity to each other and that was fine!
So here is our starting setup.
I did allow a first card immelman for anyone that wanted to do that. Lastly, I put in a couple of the 3d clouds in case someone needed to go hide a bit, although I encouraged the group to fight and not just fly off and let the other players smash each other. Explaining the chivalry of the fighter pilot, all these players just wanted to tear into each other which is a great attitude to have with this game.
Of note, our 5th player also had never played WoG before but he’d seen it and wanted to try it. I had several folks the next night who were completely new also and I have to say this is one of my favorite aspects of this game—new players can get into it so quickly.
Easily, in five minutes or less, I have explained the rules and had new pilots flying. When you combine that with the simple elegance of the game and the stunning visual effect of the airplanes, it really has become one of my top two or three games of all time and is a great testament to the designer and the company for producing this.
Our starting move put planes in contact immediately, with shots traded between the yellow tail P40 and the Yak as our youngest player dove right into battle with no timidity. Pic 39
One of my favorite effects is fire and our youngest player got a chance to experience that.
Sadly, our youngest pilot and his distinctive Yak were shot down first with an explosion. Since it was his first game, I gave him a ‘resurrection’ and let him take some damage instead. Nothing like playing in your first game and getting whacked early!
We did not play with altitude but we did use all of the special damage effects. One of our pilots got wounded and we learned very quickly that when that happens, it can spell a near end to that pilot from several causes, not the least of which is enemy bullets finding your plane easier.
I made a few shots but I must be a good teacher because I was the first plane shot down for real! I was taken to the ground quickly at the hands of the sleek black Italian plane and a rookie pilot who figured things out quickly. How embarrassing! "Are you sure you are qualified to be a GM for this game?" Clearly here is a victory for Italy!
So now there were four pilots left...
Our female pilot was off on her own after she’d played a series of mistaken maneuver cards. You could tell the evening was getting late for her as she played several maneuver cards in a row, turning right when she meant to turn left or vice versa.
She took a nice reconnaissance trip off to the side of the battle while the other pilots were in the thick of the fight, but no one made any comments about female drivers or about not being able to read a map.
Our youngest pilot had really gotten the hang of it and was piloting his Yak like an expert after his ‘redo’.
You know that could mean only one thing and that was time for a humility check.
The sexy black Italian fighter, which looked a lot like a Stealth fighter, sadly was not stealth and the yellow tail P40 claimed another victim in a head on pass. Down to three pilots now....
As "Mrs. Magellan" got her left and right straight, she managed a crushing hit on our young man’s Yak with those D guns.
And then there were were two....
It came down to the husband and wife left on the map and isn’t this really a snapshot of life itself? Husband against wife in a mortal struggle for supremacy...
You can almost see her look of disbelief that her husband would actually challenge her!
At this point, with just the two of them left and not wanting to be the cause of marital strife, I offered to just end the game. No sir, these guys were not having any of that! They wanted to fight it out and see who the best pilot was.
Knowing that the husband had taken some hits and at least some fire damage while she had not been engaged, I figured she had the advantage.
Oh yes, and she had the D guns too, did I mention that? This plane was primarily a bomber interceptor, meant to throw a lot of firepower in a short time at our B29s. While it is not the best dogfighter, if you get in front of the guns you could be sleeping with the fishes in short order.
Surprisingly though , the missus had a return of her dyslexia card play and missed a couple of good kill shots by turning the wrong direction accidentally.
The husband managed to position himself and his P40 very well and after more jockeying around for position, he managed to knock her down with total damage accumulation. The P40 is well represented here and is no slouch in firepower either, and his close in shots were telling and lethal.
They seemed to be a very happy gaming couple as I saw them playing other games throughout the weekend. He had bragging rights but I wondered if he ended up on the couch that night!
Thus ended our Wings of Glory WW2 aerial melee and the first four hour session that I ran came to an end. I felt like it had been a great success! Getting new players into the game and enjoying the numerous comments of folks passing by were the high points to me of running this event.
With more than 6 players, I’d probably look at adding a wingman to the fray, so this melee becomes a 2-person team event. But with 6, it worked very well and the excitement level and laughter at the table was very constant throughout the game.
I particularly like the drama that comes with each draw of damage chits out of the cup. A little background ‘Darth Vader’ music or even better, the theme from "Jaws" can really make for a fun, tense experience.
Next up for my convention support is the Austin Boardgame Bash on August 4th. Stay tuned here for those session reports and be sure to check out the three other session reports from Texicon in this folder.
Thank you to Ares for supporting this convention! Wings of Glory is truly an exceptional design and I received so many positive comments from the convention organizers as well as countless attendees at the popularity and brilliance of Wings of Glory. The game’s combination of simplicity, speed of play, visual appeal...these planes are absolutely gorgeous!-- and logical, well laid out rules make an unbeatable combination.
I could not agree more, Ares has a true winner with Wings of Glory!
- Last edited Fri Jul 27, 2012 4:02 pm (Total Number of Edits: 14)
- Posted Thu Jul 26, 2012 3:39 am
Great report! Had to laugh a few times.
Thank you, Steve.
Cool report. What did you use as the aerial play mats?
I had it made at a place that makes large banners. It cost me about $250 , just under iirc. It's really been worth it though and is very durable.
I store it in a cardboard tube, horizontally, in between sessions and it is fine to drape over the table if the table isn't big enough to handle all of it.
A fellow on here from Dallas had it first and he sent me the electrons. I took them to this local shop in Austin of the same chain and asked them to make it as big as it could be.
It's about 5 x 8 feet and gives plenty of room for a busy table.
I've still got the file if you are interested, drop me an IM.
- Last edited Fri Jul 27, 2012 4:07 pm (Total Number of Edits: 1)
- Posted Fri Jul 27, 2012 4:05 pm
I have to concur that you do indeed run a wonderful game of Wings of Glory and I had a quick and exceptionally good time. Perfect game for me when suffering for convention organizing fatigue from being multiple places at the same time. I think it goes without saying that you made several converts at Texicon and Ares should no doubt see some sells as a result of your work at the convention.