I’ve always been fascinated with World War One and when I spotted this biplane miniature game years ago it wasn’t hard to convince me to get into it. If you’re looking for a faboo games for all ages, here’s Wings of Glory by Ares Games. I do have to mention that they DO also have a branch dealing with World War Two planes but being a huge Snoopy and the Red Baron fan… I’m going to talk about the WWI game. The rules are basically the same for the WWII and the gameplay identical.
Wings of Glory is one of those games that has survived multiple owners, name changes and being shipped in from overseas – usually one of these issues kills a game dead, no matter how enthusiastic the fan base or the quality of the game. But not only did Wings of War/Glory survive it seems to have inspired other games from other companies who took the basic simple gameplay and used it in other areas.
But let’s start at the beginning. To start with you only need the two plane pack pictures above. That’s it. You do not have to lay out hundreds of dollars (although it’s easy to!) for expansions and more minis unless you want to. It’s a great starter mini game for those who want to dabble in the game without making a major financial commitment.
The gameplay is as simple or as advanced as you want to make it – making this a perfect game for children. I’ve played with 8 yr olds at Origins who loved this game to bits because it was a fast simple dogfight game. You choose your miniature plane (all of which are painted beautifully to start with!) and place it at the edge of the playing field. You have a deck of maneuver cards that you have at your disposal. Each round you choose three cards to represent your plane’s moves for that turn. Place the three cards face down. When everyone playing has chosen their three cards everyone turns over the first card and moves his/her plane.
This is done by placing the maneuver card on the playing field and lining up the starting black line on the card with the black line on the model base. Then you move your plane to match up at the line at the end of the card. This represents moves your plane makes in the split-seconds of battle. Sometimes you may turn left or right, sometimes just wiggle back and forth.
Then you resolve battles if you’re within range. Range is determined by a simple ruler determining if you’re within range. If you are being shot at you pull a damage card from a deck designed to represent the power of that specific plane. Take enough points of damage and your plane goes down in flames.
The beauty of WoG is that you can make this game as complicated OR as simple as you want. You can play with altitude rules which makes it tougher to chase down enemy pilots. You can play with partial damage which makes your plane harder to control as parts of your plane are destroyed or taken out of commission. With the expansion box you can take individual pilots through a lifetime of war and arm them with special rockets to take out barrage balloons or increase their skills based on their kills.
Or… you can just run two planes around the table shooting at each other.
To me that’s the beauty of this game – the complexity is totally up to you. You can simplify it for young players to enjoy a fast dogfight or you can crank it up for experienced players to make it a tough game with smoke and fire damage, altitude issues and injured pilots. Add in bombers, barrage balloons and ground fire and you can make a game of WoG last for hours, maybe days.
Or… not. Which makes this game a winner for me in any incarnation from any of the companies that have owned this game. The ease with which you can teach the game makes it an easy one for new mini players and the depth makes it a guaranteed return yearly for many players at Origins who live for a 25+ person dogfighting scrum that can last hours.
One of the best online resources (and GREAT group of gamers!) is the Buckeye Gamers of Ohio who run the Aerodrome. Here you can find local gamers in your area, buy accessories, discuss strategy options and look at some fantastic repaint jobs. They also run the games at Origins every year and I can’t recommend them enough if you’re looking to start playing WoG.
All in all I think Wings of Glory is a great miniature aviation game for all ages. From the young kid looking to fly against the Red Baron to the grizzled veteran who wants a believable recreation of the chaos of WWI Wings of Glory covers all the bases with fast, easy gameplay that allows you to scale up or down the complexity based on what the players agree to. Toss in a low starter price to get the game basics and you’ve got a winner!