‘Wings of Glory’ Interview with Ares Games
Interview with Roberto Di Meglio, editor and supervisor of the Wings of Glory line of products (formerly released as Wings of War). Conducted March 19, 2012, by Richard Martin for Armchair General, with help from Andrea Fanhoni of Ares Games.
Ares Games in Italy has purchased the rights to both the Wings of War World War I and World War II line of games and has written updated rulebooks and brought out new miniature airplanes. The Wings of Glory–World War II starter set has just come out and is packaged with four beautiful 1:200 scale airplanes—the Curtiss P-40 F Warhawk, the Yakovlev Yak-1, the Kawasaki Ki-61-I-Kaic Hien and the Reggiane Re.2001 GV Falco II fighter.
ArmchairGeneral.com: Please tell us a little about yourself and how you became involved with game development, particularly the Wings of War/Wings of Glory game systems.
Roberto Di Meglio: I knew Angiolino and Paglia, the authors of the game, since the early ’90s. When they came to me—Many years ago!—to pitch their first prototype of an airplane combat game to be played with maneuver cards, I was immediately impressed. At the time I was the CEO of Nexus Editrice, one of the major game publishers in Italy, and I was already working with them on other projects. The very first prototype was for a World War II game, with large cards. We almost immediately agreed that we should try to publish the game, but at the time my company, Nexus Editrice, did not have a real international presence, so we partnered with Fantasy Flight Games to release it worldwide. After a few years, the game, together with the Nexus brand, was bought by NG International. Then, in 2011, NG ceased operations. Ares Games acquired the game rights but decided to release it under a different name.
ACG: What are some of your personal favorite games?
RDM: I love games with a strong thematic element, and with a lot of player interaction. My "infancy" as a gamer was playing with stuff like Caesar’s Legion, Panzer Blitz, Third Reich, Squad Leader … before discovering D&D and fantasy! That makes me inclined more towards the "American" school of gaming than most of the typical "Euro" stuff. My own game, War of the Ring, is a good example of the type of game I like to play. Actually, one of the reasons for creating that game, with my co-authors, is that we wanted a game about the Lord of the Rings that we’d like to play!
ACG: What do you see as the strengths and weaknesses of the Wings of War/Wings of Glory system?
RDM: The major strength of Wings is definitely its simplicity. The complexity of the simulation is hidden inside the maneuver decks and the structure of the fire decks/chits, so that you can start playing in minutes, and anybody can play, but at the same time if you are a veteran, you are not disappointed. The only limit is that it’s difficult for a single player to control more than two or three airplanes, so you can only play a massive battle with a massive number of players.
The other strength I should mention is the beauty of the models. We invest a lot of research and efforts in creating some of the most detailed models on the market, given their small scale, and they’re surely a big factor in the success of the game.
ACG: What changes can Wings of War players expect to find in Wings of Glory? Will players need to buy all new miniatures?
RDM: Wings of Glory is 100% compatible with the existing Wings of War miniatures, so you can use your Wings of War collection when playing Wings of Glory without any problem. The rules are essentially the same, but Wings of Glory has been revised in many ways—for example, the organization of the rulebook, and small details such as the effects of certain special damages. But there is no "structural change." The game experience remains the same as it used to be.
ACG: The choices for the first four planes released for Wings of Glory World War II are somewhat curious. They are planes that saw little if any action against each other in the Second World War, except for the P-40 and Ki-61. There are no German or British planes in the initial release. How did you decide on these four models to introduce the new game system?
RDM: Essentially, our publishing program re-started where the program of Nexus was stopped. We wanted to make it clear to the existing Wings of War players that we cared about them, offering as soon as possible the new airplanes that they were waiting for, rather than starting by offering airplanes they already had.
If we had started re-releasing airplanes that were already included in the Wings of War range, like Spitfires and Bf109s, the existing players would have to wait for many months before getting something new. And for newcomers, these airplanes are good, simple introductory airplanes to fly.
ACG: What are the next few releases planned for the Wings of Glory World War II game system? Are there plans to add rules to accommodate medium- and late-war airplanes such as the P51, Corsair, Fw190, Me262 and other faster and more powerful airplanes?
RDM: Definitely. We have in the making more early war airplanes, including interesting ones like the "last biplanes", the Gladiator and CR.42, but also later planes, such as the FW190, P51, Spitfire Mk.IX, and Ki-84, to begin with. But our next release will be World War II bombers—the He.111 and the B.25.
ACG: How would you address the concerns that some fans have regarding perceived idiosyncrasies they have found in some of the Wings of War World War II airplanes? For example, some fans say that the Zero should be more maneuverable and the Hurricane should have a slightly higher Damage Resistance and slightly higher firepower but be less maneuverable.
RDM: We will surely look at the feedback that we got from our customers when re-releasing these planes.
ACG: Will we ever see zeppelin rules and miniatures for the Wings of Glory World War I series?
RDM: A "true" Zeppelin is unlikely, except maybe as some limited edition model, because of its sheer size (more than 3′ in 1/144 scale)—but never say never! We definitely have plans to release more balloons, like the Parsefal, and other special models. We are releasing now big World War I bombers, the Gotha G.V and the Caproni Ca.3, and we’ve plans to do even larger ones in the future, like the Handley-Page and the Zeppelin Staaken!
ACG: Can you tell us about any other releases coming out from Ares Games?
RDM: At the moment, Ares is already the publisher of Wings of Glory and War of the Ring. We will add family games to our line-up, with our first release in April, Micro Monsters. A few months from now, we will release Sails of Glory, a new game line set in the Age of Sail (starting with the Napoleonic Age), created by the same authors of Wings of Glory, together with a new team-member, Andrea Mainini. We also have plans to expand War of the Ring (the first expansion, "Lords of Middle-earth", will release this year). Finally, we will enter the "Euro Game" arena with a great game by Leo Colovini, Aztlan, scheduled for late 2012.
ACG: Thank you for your time and for creating some wonderful games.