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Posted on Nov 27, 2012 in Boardgames

Wings of Glory: World War I Rules and Accessories Pack – Miniatures Game Review

By Rick Martin

Wings of Glory – World War I Rules and Accessories Pack. Miniatures game review. Publisher: Ares Games SRL Designer: Andrea Angiolino and Pier Giorgio Price $29.99

Passed Inspection: Beautiful new boxed set includes all the rules in one set. High quality components.

Failed Basic: Does not include any airplanes models or cards. Aircraft dive rates still not covered. Expensive to collect the miniature airplanes.

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 in which each card represented one airplane, anti-aircraft gun or balloon, it has evolved into a non-collectable, non-randomly packaged, air war miniatures game where players can purchase a starter set and then buy "booster" packs with individual airplanes or even large models of observation balloon and bombers.

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In 2011, the publishers of Wings of War went out of business and enthusiasts lamented the fact that they may never again be able to purchase expansions for the games. Then, late in 2011, it was announced that Ares Games of Italy had not only picked up the product line but kept the same creative team behind the products. Early 2012 saw the release of the new Wings of Glory – World War II Starter Set and boosters with more planes being promised. Now, World War I aviation enthusiasts can purchase new airplanes and a whole new, consolidated and updated rule pack.

Like its predecessor, Wings of Glory is a tactical airplane combat system. The new rules have done away with the airplane cards and have focused on supporting Ares Game’s 1 : 144 scale World War I airplane miniatures.

The new Wings of Glory – World War I Rules and Accessories Pack is a beautiful place to start for the new Wings of Glory player and a great product to own for the ace Wings of War flier. The new rule book is nicely bound, full color and very attractive. The paper stock will hold up to years of abuse and the binding seems very sturdy. The rules are supported with plentiful full-color examples.

Even for experienced 'Wings of War' players, this new rules set is a must. Click to enlarge.The rules are logically laid out covering basic, standard, and advanced rules, as well as optional ones that add more realism, purely at the players’ option. The basic game can be learned and played in ten minutes—it includes moving the plane, basic maneuvers and combat. With standard rules, special damage is covered such as rudder hits, engine damage, etc. The advanced rules add basic climbs and dives, altitude, special maneuvers such as the Split-S, collisions, and airplane fires. Optional rules add tailing, targeting, landings and takeoffs, and even special abilities rules for ace pilots. The optional rules in regards to ace pilots, transform Wings of Glory into a pseudo-roleplaying game in which players keep track of pilot performance.

The rules also cover balloons, ground targets, anti-aircraft fire, and bombers.

Previous to this new release, Wings of War players had to purchase three different rule sets in order to play the game with this level of detail. Now all the rules are in one book. Thank you, Ares Games!

The game play is simple. For Wings of Glory – World War I, players pick the airplanes they wish to fly. Each plane is rated for speed and maneuverability, weapon power, climb rates, altitude ceiling and hull points. The speed and maneuverability are assigned to each plane as a letter A, B, C, etc. and each letter corresponds to a maneuver card deck. The clear base of each airplane miniature is marked with a blue arrow right in the center of the base. The player lays the plane’s maneuver card in front of the aircraft miniature’s base (each maneuver deck has cards for flying straight, side slipping left and right, turns, climbing, diving, Immelmanns, etc.) and moves the base so that the arrow at the rear of the base lines up with the arrow on the card. It’s that simple – no need for hex maps. The game can be played on a card table, if necessary. All players place and reveal their maneuver cards at the same time, so the feel is much more like a real dogfight.

When an enemy airplane is within range of the guns of the player’s fighter, the range is measured to see if the firing is at short or long range and then damage cards are drawn to see if a hit occurs. Each plane is rated for the type of damage its guns can do. Early scouts and most bombers were armed with individual .30-caliber machine guns; for these guns, damage is shown on the "B" damage card deck. Planes with dual machine guns use the more deadly "A" damage card deck. Flak guns have their own deck, which does much more damage—if the guns manage to hit anything.

When the amount of damage is equal to the hull points of the plane, the plane is shot down. The player being shot at may have to take into account special damage such as fire, engine hits, pilot hits, etc. Fire, for example, can be deadly. When a fire damage card is drawn, the player must draw damage cards each turn for up to three turns and take that much damage to his or her plane—in addition to any other damage that may be inflicted during those turns. A pilot can attempt to put his or her plane into "over dive" in order to put out the flames, but this may not always work.

Unless 'special damage' is visible, the attacker doesn't know how effective his bursts were. Click to enlarge.The great thing about the way that damage system works is that, unless visible "special" damage such as fire or smoke result, the player who shot at the target doesn’t know how much damage was actually inflicted on the target;this adds greatly to the fog of war during aerial battles. Damage cards are kept face down near the target’s control panel. The player who took the damage may tell the other player, "You see nothing happen" (for misses with 0 damage), or "You see a few pieces flying off my plane," or "You see a huge hole that was blown in my rudder," or even "I just blew up!"

Even gun jams, the bane of World War I combat pilots, are easily factored into the game by way of a symbol shown on the damage card, which must be shown to the firing pilot. But don’t worry—the pilot can unjam the guns after three impulses.

These are all a player really needs to know to fly and fight! They take longer to describe than to actually play.

Included in this new boxed set are two range finders, which look like short rulers; four decks of damage cards; and special cards for showing anti-aircraft emplacements, trenches, targets and bombs. Additionally, four newly designed airplane control panels are included. These panels are two-sided with the basic panel on the front and an advanced panel on the back, which includes places to put status counters. Over 150 special counters are included to show special abilities, guns jams or other airplane status changes.

For those who already play Wings of War, these new rules are a must. Some changes or clarifications are noted, specifically in regards to special damage affects, pilot wounds and death, illegal maneuvers, smoke affects and line of sight.

The optional rules have been rewritten and color-coded for ease of use. The new ace pilot abilities are fantastic for those of us who love to roleplay are pilots.

Miniatures must be purchased as accessory packs. A bomber like this giant Gotha can cost $30 but come prepainted, with their own stands.I only have a few minor complaints with this set. The airplanes are still not rated for diving ability (tri-planes were notoriously bad at diving but amazing at climbing). Unjamming the guns is somewhat unrealistic. Collision rules are somewhat open to interpretation. Including 2 airplane models would have made the game easy to play right out of the box. Each individual plane costs $12 to $14 for a scout or $30 for a bomber. This makes creating a large squadron somewhat expensive. But Christmas is coming …

Wings of Glory and its earlier version Wings of War have supplanted Dawn Patrol by TSR as my all-time favorite World War I aviation rules set. Thank you, Ares, for keeping this game flying high!

Click here to read a review of some of the booster-pack aircraft, including the huge Gotha bomber.

Click here to read an interview with Roberto Di Meglio of Ares Games.

Click here to read a review of the Wings of Glory World War II Starter Set.

Armchair General Rating: 95 %

Solitaire Rating (1 is low, 5 is high): 2 (for dogfight scenarios), 4 (for bomber busting), 5 (balloon busting and ground attack missions)

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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