Wings of War: Famous Aces
List Price: $34.95
Your Price: $27.99
(Worth 2,799 Funagain Points!)
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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!'.
A much anticipated game with many clever and simple mechanics that add up to an easy to learn and fun aerial combat game with great period feel and demanding careful thought to consistently win, Wings of War is undermined by production problems that leave me hoping that version 2.0 will be a significant upgrade.
Some issues, like those inevitably fiddly line of sight rules and the way in which some games drag on are, I believe, simply part of the nature of the game's subject, and I think any attempt to 'fix' them would have taken away from the realistic feel of the game. And for the most part this is an excellent and clever game that packs a lot of simulation-like feel (differences among aircraft in susceptibility to damage and performance for example) into some very simple mechanics.
One point, however, stands out: this is a surprisingly poorly produced game! (Steve Jackson's approach to components comes to mind.) At a minimum the aircraft 'cards' should be much heavier cardboard stock, the rules should be more carefully translated and printed in color, and enough components for scenarios involving several planes with the same maneuver characteristics should be included. As it is, the components not only fail to justify the price but can even interfere with play as too often occurs with planes that accidentally 'maneuver themselves' as the flimsy and glossy card stock on which they are printed is prone to 'spin' at the slightest touch.
I'm looking forward to version 2.0, which will hopefully include an abundance of maneuver decks, heavy stock aircraft cards, and improved and upgraded rules. (And yes, a box that goes with the game would be nice.)
This is a great game, I would love to own it. However, and as most of the other reviewers would agree, it is WAY overpriced, and should have been released all together, instead of as 3 separate games. Cards are not expensive, they could have easily doubled the amount of cards in any game.
Also, I feel that the Planes themselves should have been made of much thicker card stock. as it is it is difficult to move them around without bumping them and unavoidable changing the scope of the game. Boo
I really enjoy playing this game; it's fun and fast and flexible for multiple players. I look forward to the future expansions. However, the game has one serious flaw... it's packaging is ill-conceived making the game too expensive.
What do I mean? Each plane is assigned a maneuver factor A, B, C or D. After a player chooses a plane, he takes the deck of maneuvers that go with the plane's assigned factor. There is only one deck of each, so Allied and German planes with the same factor can not fight each other unless you have another set of the game. The same thing is true with the guns mounted on the planes. Each plane has a gun rating of A or B. The damage is determined by drawing cards from either the A of B deck... well, the B deck is in the next expansion (I hope).
So, in order to play the full scope of the game, I went to e-bay to buy another copy. Fantasy Flight could have easily fixed this problem by getting rid of the boards which are not needed, and used the saved money on more decks of cards, and a smaller box. That would have made for a much more economical gaming experience.
Because the need for multiple copies of the game runs the price up for the player, I have to give this game a lower score, and that is sad, because it is A LOT of fun!
Years ago, we had a brilliant Games Workshop product, Battlefleet Gothic. It was a gorgeous space fighting battle.
Then later, we saw a FFG production called Armada. Or should I say Star Trek Red Alert, as they are simply the same game: Another space ship battle using torpedoes and laser beams.
One common idea, they use pre-decided step(s) for the move, for the fight, for the fire, for the turnings.... So you may say one is a 3D space miniatures battle, another one is a 2D collectible space battle.
And now, years later, another dog-fight plane flying type game appear in the market. It is using almost the same idea for planing and moving. By using a new theme which is a World War dog fight rather than sci-fi space fight.
No matter what, it is still fun to play with this kind of concept. Nice cards rather than flying disc or minis.
However, the price for only one small deck of cards for over $20 is really blood sucking.
So, 4 points for good game concept (whoever designed it first), minus 1pt for the price, and minus 1 pt for imitation. Final score: 2.
Ben from Hong Kong