Wings of War: Famous Aces
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from 7 customer reviews
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Colorful biplanes fight each other in the foggy sky over the front. Can you manage to shoot down your enemies and become an ace, following in the steps of men as Manfred von Richtofen, Eddie Rickenbacker, Georges Guynemer and Francesco Baracca?
Each Wings of War set is a complete card game which may be combined with other sets to play larger and richer scenarios. Wings of War is based on accurate historical documentation to give you a fast and furious gaming experience.
Amazingly awesome! I've never had so much fun with the spare time. So much fun because you can maneuver in and out of your enemies squadron or deal direct hits to the enemy with your bi-planes or tri-planes. I love how they take real characteristics of planes and churn them out into a revolutionary board game / collectible miniatures game!
Overall I give it five stars.
The Components - good quality, fairly thick playmats, punch out cardstock tiles are thick enough and also of good quality. Artwork on Biplanes is very nice, the cardstock is thin but sturdy. (I'm guessing that the thin cardstock is about making the aircraft and maneuver cards easy to slide under one another for play purposes). There are 4 "Maneuver" decks (each one matching the characteristics of one or more aircraft), and a "damage" deck, used to allocate damage on the various aircraft. The WoW box has trays that everything fits into with room to spare. There are enough aircraft and distinct maneuver decks in WoW - Famous Aces to support 4 player games - as long as each player flys a different aircraft.
The aircraft included are the Albatros D Va, Fokker Dr1, Sopwith Camel, Sopwith Triplane and the Spad XIII.
The Basics: Each Biplane has a maneuver deck of cards assigned to it; each player simultaneously choose and play three of these cards face down on the play mat - card order is critical, as you must use them in the order played, left to right. Players then move (I won't go into detail here; suffice it to say that maneuvering is simple and mastered quickly - it's all "on the cards") their aircraft one card at a time, pausing after each card maneuver is finished to see if anyone can shoot. This process is repeated as each maneuver is carried out (play card, maneuver, check for shot opportunity. play card, maneuver, etc.) until all three maneuver cards have been used, at which point, you do it again until one of you goes down for the count.
If a shot occurs, damage is allocated by the drawing of a card or cards from a "damage" deck - I haven't done a mathematical breakdown as of yet, but the damage range allocated seems to "feel" right, and an optional rule allows you to remove one of the more draconian cards from the deck in the name of more balanced play. The aircraft are sturdy enough to take quite a bit of damage so the game isn't over in one "burst". There are also additional "effects" that a damage card may or may not include, all of which can be implemented or ignored by the players involved.
The player getting hit is the one who actually draws the damage cards, placing them face down on the playmat, so that his or her opponent is kept in the dark as to the exact amount of damage accrued. Each plane has a damage rating; when the total of damage points equals the damage rating, you've shot it down.
The gameplay is fast and furious, with lots of cool tension and laughs generated from zooming by each other trying desperately to get a good close range burst off without receiving one in return. You have to really think about the three maneuver cards you string together for the turn, visualising where you will end up at the end of the turn, and anticipating what your opponent is going to be up to. I must also note that you can achieve surprise by unorthodox maneuvers, but risk getting your tail blown off, which is as it should be.
Another enjoyable element is that you have nice trade offs between sturdier, less maneuverable aircraft that can take more damage, and more sprightly aircraft that are a bit more fragile. In game terms this means that the maneuver card decks assigned to various aircraft really do show some distinct characteristics of those particular Biplanes. If you use the same aircraft a couple of times you will get to know what it does well and what it doesn't do so well, and you can plan accordingly.
WoW is a perfect game for a change of pace between, before or after heavier, longer games. I'd class this as a "light" game with a twist; the game mechanics obviously fits the "theme" very well :-), but WoW is really a light "simulation" of WWI air combat that stands up outstandingly as a game.
In summary: Theme and Gameplay are a great fit, the card based maneuver system is simple and elegant, the time involvement needed to master the basics is negligible, it plays quickly, and most importantly it's fun!
W.O.W. is meant to be an easy to play, approachable game of WWI aerial combat. It is not the last word on the subject, nor did it intend to be. The designer clearly intended the game to be FUN, and as realisitic as possible within that context. The game succeeds.
First off, the components are well done, despite the previous reviwers concerns. The cards work well as they are easy to use when trying to manuever several planes close together, allowing you to gently hold them down while pulling a card away from the fray. (Has to do with how planes manuever). We found no issues with the components overall, except we saw the need for a faint gray line on the manuever cards that would help line up the bottom your aircraft card when repositioning it. Minor issue really.
Your manuever deck allows you to choose 3 manuevers per turn. These are laid down and each player reveals them one at a time. The cards are shown, the manuevers done, and if you have a shot, try to damage your enemy. After the three manuvers are done and any shots taken, you take back the cards, go thru your entire manuever deck, and again choose three cards.
In this way, you are able to take more shots as well as be able to (hopefully) set more up. All in all, we liked the way you 'flew' the planes.
If you play two planes apiece (recommended), the game can move right along with plenty of action. It is amazing sometimes how much it can take to shoot down an enemy aircraft, but this makes you work all the harder for victory.
Plane types are handled well with the decks used for them, so a Fokker Triplane can turn like the devil, but can't run away from a fight too well. A SPAD however, can catch up with most other types, but is less manueverable and has a hrad time getting in a shot at those twisting, turning Triplanes of the Germans!
We had lots of fun playing this game, and look forward to the next game, 'Watch Your Back!'.