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Posted on Oct 6, 2016 in Boardgames, Front Page Features

New Wings of Glory World War I Aircrafts Have Taken Flight!

New Wings of Glory World War I Aircrafts Have Taken Flight!

By Rick Martin

Wings of Glory World War I Aircraft Booster Packs Game Review. Publisher: Ares Games Designer: Andrea Angiolino and Pier Giorgio Paglia Price $14.90 to $19.90

Passed Inspection: Significant aircrafts, wonderful detail, nice selection of paint jobs and types, another Turkish aircraft is added to the fleet

Failed Basic: Nothing at all!

Wings of Glory is the successor to the extremely successful line of Wings of War World War I and World War II cards and miniatures game which has been available since 2004. While the game started as a card game where each card represented one airplane, anti-aircraft gun or balloon, it has evolved in to a non-collectable, non-randomly packaged, air war game where players could purchase a starter set and then purchase “booster” packs with individual airplanes or even large models of observation balloon and bombers.

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Ares Games new Wings of Glory air plane packs integrated with their tactical airplane combat system makes for a wonderful gaming experience. Their four new 1:144 scale World War I aircrafts feature 2 scouts and 2 two-seaters in three different versions of each plane.

The first scout we’ll look at is the French designed Nieuport 11 “Baby” which was a small, single seat aircraft with a sesquiplane wing design. A sesquiplane wing design features a lower wing which is significantly narrower than the upper wing. It allows for a reduction of drag, better downward view for the pilot and a greater rate of climb than traditional biplane designs. The machine gun was mounted on the upper wing as interrupter gear technology was not used on this design in 1916. This was the aircraft which broke the “Fokker Scourge” when German monoplanes designed by Anthony Fokker featured machine guns synched to fire through the front propeller arc spread terror in the Allied Air Corps. The Nieuport 11 was faster and more maneuverable than the German monoplane. The Nieuport 11 reached the front in January of 1916 but was phased out of most front line service by March of that year. Such was the state of airplane technology during World War I that a three month useful combat life was expected before new technology supplanted it. The Nieuport 11 had a maximum speed of around 97 mph (156 kph).

Several other versions of the Nieuport fighters have graced this game including the Nieuport 16 with wing mounted rockets, the sturdy Nieuport 17 and the fast but not so sturdy Nieuport 28 which had synchronized twin machine guns.

The three versions of the Nieuport 11 in this release represent the aircraft as flown by the Italian 11 victory ace Giovanni Ancillotto and by the French 16 kill ace Jean Chaput and 15 victory ace Armand de Turenne.

The Nieuport 11 uses the E maneuver deck which gives it good speed and some nice tight sideslips. In addition optional cards are included to arm the Nieuport with rockets (great for balloon busting) and also can give the plane the ability to fire its machine gun upwards instead of just straight ahead. Also special ace cards are included for players wishing to use ace abilities such as the “acrobat” skill. While this plane should perform well against early war aircrafts and some mid-war aircrafts such as the Albatros D II, it may be tough to take on later aircrafts in the game but it would also be a good way to handicap a skilled player when taking on a beginning pilot in a 1917 or 1918 airplane. The rocket armed variant makes a great balloon buster that many enemy pilots will underestimate until it’s too late and the balloon goes up in flames.

The Phönix D.1 is a good, sturdy scout with one big down side. It was used by the Austro-Hungarian Empire in 1917 and 1918 as both a fighter and as a photo reconnaissance aircraft and, after a few issues with structure defects, proved itself to be stable and able to sustain very steep dives. It was also moderately fast with a top speed of around 112 mph (180.25 kph) but not as fast as a Se5a or a Fokker DVII. The machine guns on the Phönix are self contained well forward of the cockpit. This provided for a better overall view from the cockpit but did not allow the pilot to clear gun jams which were a rather common occurrence during The Great War.

In Wings of Glory, the Phönix uses an X Maneuver Deck which makes it both moderately fast and about as maneuverable as an Albatros DIII. What it does have is a special extra stall card allowing it to stall twice in a row which means it can get in to a good attack position from a target’s 6 o’clock and blast away without much of a problem. With the extra stall maneuver it also becomes a good over diver and diving away from combat may be a good option if you need to. It also has a pretty decent climb rate of a 3 (that means it has to climb three times in order to go up a peg of altitude). An optional rule is included which states that when the Phönix has a gun jam, the jam cannot be cleared so the pilot will be unable to shoot for the rest of the game. My Wings of Glory group has an optional rule which states that when the Phönix has a gun jam, it is only effected by red gun jams (not green ones) and the jam is only for one of its two guns. It drops the fire power from the A Damage Deck to the B Damage Deck. If a second red gun jam comes up during the game, then the Phönix pilot had better head home as he can’t attack anymore. This makes the aircraft fun to play but doesn’t knock the player out of the game as quickly as happened during our fights with the Phönix leading up to this review.

The three versions of the Phönix include two with a beautiful varnished wood look. The three versions include one flown by 5 victory ace Friedrich Lang, one flown by 5 victory ace Karl Urban and one flown by 11 victory ace Kurt Gruber.

The first of the two seaters released in this set is the wonderful Sopwith Strutter 1-1/2 and the “comic” version for attacking zepplins! This aircraft is a great addition to the British Air Arm and is long awaited by Wings of Glory players.

This plane was rolled off the assembly line in 1915 and met requirements from the Royal Naval Air Service for an aircraft which could fulfill the roll of a two seat fighter and a single seat light bomber. The 1-1/2 Strutter takes its name from the configuration of the full length strut and half length strut which connected the wing assembly to the fuselage. This plane was also the first British fighter equipped with synchronized machine guns. It had a top speed of 100 mph (160.94 kph).

Don’t make the mistake of trying to fly this plane like the two seater observation airplane it appears to be. Pilot it as a moderately fast, moderately maneuverable, 14 hull point two seat fighter although the “comic” version ditches the rear gun for a forward and upward A damage card firing machine gun. The “comic” version is fantastic for taking on bombers, observation balloons or zeppelins. It can also fire at aircrafts overlapping with its base which are in its front/upward firing arc.

The two seat version of the Sopwith Strutter fires B damage machine guns with a good forward and impressive rear/side arc. It also has 14 hull points and is a two seater capable of doing an Immelmann or Split S.

The three versions of the Sopwith Strutter include one flown by 8 victory French Ace Dieudonne Costes who survived the war to stun audiences with his aero adventures and lived until 1973! One other of the two Strutters include one flown by the great Raymond Collishaw – the highest scoring Canadian pilot of The Great War with 60 kills! Collishaw is also well known for flying the Sopwith Triplane with the “Black Flight” whose all black aircrafts dueled pilots from J.G. 1 and Richthofen’s Flying Circus. The third Sopwith is painted in the colors of the Royal Flying Corps 78th Squadron and is the aforementioned “comic” version of the aircraft used primarily in defense of the UK.

The last but certainly not least of this release of World War I aircrafts is the ubiquities Albatros C.III two seater – probably one of the most prolific two seaters of World War I. Based upon the Albatros C.I, the C.III was used in a wide variety of roles ranging from photo-reconnaissance, observation, bomber escort and light-bomber. It had a top speed of around 87 mph (140 kph) and was armed with two machine guns – one front arc gun and one rear arc gun. The prominent cylinder head and exhaust manifold was located directly in front of the pilot and created visibility issues. It could hold up to 200 lbs of bombs.

While the Albatros C.III is not an exciting plane to fly in Wings of Glory, it is an important addition to your Central Powers Air Fleet because of its widespread use in the war.

In Wings of Glory, the Albatros C.III is flown as a typical two seat observation aircraft. It is of moderate speed and about as maneuverable as an average two seater. It cannot perform an Immelmann. It fires B damage with respectable firing arcs to the front and rear and can take 14 hull points of damage before going down. Use this plane in flights of three or four in order to take advantage of overlapping fields of fire for maximum protection.

The three versions of the aircraft feature one in Turkish markings. This is fantastic as it adds an extra plane to the small number of Turkish aircrafts available. In fact, the only other Turkish plane I remember off hand is the Turkish Fokker Eindecker which came out some years ago.

The three aircraft versions are the aforementioned Turkish C.III piloted by Emil Meinecke, a 6 victory ace German pilot who flew for the Turks.

One C.III is in the colors of Erwin Böhme, who was one of the great German aces and achieved his first victory in the Albatros C.III. He was unwillingly responsible for the tragic death of his friend, Oswald Boelcke when the landing gear of Böhme’s aircraft brushed Boelcke’s aircraft causing it to crash. After landing, a despairing Böhme was discovered in his quarters with his pistol in his hand. Manfred von Richthofen, the Red Baron, had to talk him out of suicide. Böhme died in 1917 after achieving 24 victories.

The last C.III released is in the average colors found in the Luftstreitkräfte.

Anytime Ares Games releases new World War I or World War 2 aircrafts in to their Wings of Glory series is a time for gamers to rejoice! These models add glorious options and beautifully painted miniatures to an already fantastic game.

Armchair General Rating: 100 %
Solitaire Rating: 5 (for some missions or with the solitaire app for Android)
About the Author
A college film instructor and small business owner, Richard Martin has also worked in the legal and real estate professions, is involved in video production, film criticism, sports shooting and is an avid World War I and II gamer who can remember war games which came in plastic bags and cost $2.99 (he’s really that old)!

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