Thursday, 17 May 2012

Shot Down In Flames

Although most Wargamers will tell you that they play their games for the enjoyment and camaraderie that comes with being with like minded folk, deep down we all want to WIN!

Apparently, when I was a little boy, I was a terrible loser and that I would go into a terrible huff if I didn't win whatever game I was involved in at that time. Now I have no recollection of such behaviour (probably blanked it out of my sub-conscious psyche) and it's probably just as well that I don't act like that now - honest I don't! - as those of you who have visited these ramblings before will have learnt that my record at winning games is not very good.

Now it is always a pleasure to bring new players to the wargames table or teach old players a game that they hadn't played before. Of course, one of the Golden Rules about teaching anyone a new game is not to do it in such a way that they get totally hammered by the person doing the teaching as this will inevitably discourage the new player and they won't want to play the game again.

Knowing the rules of a game better than your opponent is usually one way of getting a win and so it is almost inevitable that when teaching a game to a new player, unfamiliar with the rules mechanics etc that the teacher will usually end up just winning  the game and no more and that would be fine as the new player will be left encouraged by his almost successful outing and will want to come back for more.

So last Friday, after a long absence, I actually had the time to go up to Kirriemuir Wargames Club. My old mate, Kev, had posted on the club forum that he was taking Wings Of War WW1 along for a game as he was hoping to teach a few of the other guys how to play, although Kev would be the first to admit he had only played it once before himself so he was as much a "new player" as the other guys. So, says I, I'll come along and teach the lads the rules.

My first outing with Wings of War had a predictable result (being a new player) as told many moons ago in my post here but I had enjoyed the game so much that I ended up getting the original set, all 3 expansions ("Watch Your Back", "Burning Drachans" and "Flight of the Giants") as well as the Deluxe version. Of course, typically, just as I was getting into the game, Fantasy Flight Games who had been producing the game under licence announced they were ceasing production. Fortunately, a new company Ares Games have taken over the game system and while they are now branding it as "Wings of Glory", I understand that the old game and models will be compatible with the new game. And they are going to be bringing out models of Bombers! Anyway, I'm digressing, back to the games night.

So, I turned up with my toys and was met at the club by Kev, Neil, Steve and Graeme arrived a wee bit later. Table was quickly set up and I gave the boys a quick run through of the rules.

Wings of War is a delightfully simple game. You pick your plane, you get a deck of manoeuvre cards for that plane and each turn you play 3 of those cards and your plane moves in the direction of the arrow printed on those cards. If you end up with an enemy plane in your firing arc and within a ruler's length of your plane, the target player draws damage cards from the damage deck and when the number of damage points equals the damage rating of the plane, down it goes and, in those days, you didn't have a parachute.

The game gets depth from the special damage that can appear on some of the damage cards, for example jammed rudder, engine damaged, plane on fire, guns jammed and so on. And despite it's simplicity, there are a lot of tactics. Until, you get used to how the cards position your plane at the end of each phase, it can be a challenge to get yourself in just the right position, and of course, that's assuming you put the cards down in the order you intended to...

Plus the game does not use any dice! So clearly, I was going to be at an advantage compared to the others, having more experience of how the manoeuvre deck worked and knowing the types of manoeuvres and distance each plane that was in play was capable of, but remembering the Golden Rule, I was, of course, trying to ensure that when I won the game that I "just won and no more".

So Kev took the Fokker Dr I triplane, obviously fancying himself as the Red Baron, Steve had the Albatross DV, Neil had the Biggles role flying the Sopwith Camel and yours truly, as Reme Roisleyjardin had the Spad XIII.

Although there were 4 of us playing the 6ft x 4ft table we were using was probably a bit on the big side so it took a few turns before we started to getting down to the nitty gritty. But soon I was closing in on the dastardly Kev and his triplane.

Dakka Dakka Dakka!!!

Meanwhile Steve and Neil were floating about in the other side of the table enjoying the view

A couple of more turns and then Kev and I both ended up in each others firing arcs. We each drew 1 damage card, Kev pulling his first then I drew my card.........

Mon Dieu! Mon Derriere est frit!


This was, of course, a deliberate ploy by me to show the others how the damage deck could be lethal and it meant, of course, I could now concentrate on helping the others with the rules as they played out the rest of the game, honest guv!

The guys, to their credit, didn't laugh too loudly. So much for the bloody "Golden Rule"!

A number of my fellow bloggers have, at an opportune moment included a bit of a music video into their post, so it seems only appropriate at this point to bring you a wee bit of AC/DC and their classic tune "Shot Down in Flames" (hopefully this will work, I've never tried including a vid before!)

Some of you may know that the late, great Bon Scott actually hails from Kirriemuir.

The guys continued with the game

Neil in his Sopwith Camel manages to completely fly past Kev's triplane. We soon discovered that Neil had, instead of putting his 3 cards back into his deck for the next turn, been forming a wee discard pile. He thought you had to go through the whole deck before you could use the cards again!

Despite being outnumber 2 to 1, Neil gamely takes on the Huns!

And it wasn't too long before Kev found out that the Triplane doesn't have that high a damage rating

I'm sure that I had scored the first 10 points of damage before going down in flames

Now the sides are even!

A couple of turns later, Neil got Steve's Albatross in his sights and.....

I don't actually know how many "explosion" cards are in the damage deck but I had never seen 2 come out in a game before!

We then discovered how Neil, despite being shot at by two Boche for several turns had managed to avoid destruction

We set up for a second game, this time Kev bowed out and Graeme took over. Before we did that, Graeme showed us some of his work in progress Space Marines that he is working on in order to play some Rogue Trader

Graeme tried to say this was some sort of drill attachment from an old Necromunda figure but we were all pretty convinced it was a mascara brush!

Anyway back to the second game.
Reme's cousin, Pierre Roisleyjardin, seeking revenge on the Boche!

Oh Oh! Biggles is in trouble this time as Steve's Albatross swoops in for the kill!

And then Graeme's Fokker joins in!

But it takes a lucky hit to bring him down!!

And the filthy Boche manage to finish off Pierre as well

All the guys seemed to enjoy the games and looked keen to come back for more, which of course, was what I was hoping to achieve, winning was never a consideration.....yeah right!

A couple of pics from the other games going on, first some 40K mayhem involving Space Marines, Orks, Necrons and Tyranids

And a very nice looking game of "Songs of Drums and Shakos" by Ganesha Games

I think I might go and dig out my old AC/DC albums now.


  1. Replies
    1. They are very nice. Just damned expensive!

  2. You took one for the team and helped others, you lost so others would benefit, damn fine fella.....

    1. Fran, I like how you manage to put a positive spin on things. Good on ya!

  3. I haven't seen any blogs cover this game yet. I understood it better than the dice games and really like the planes. And love AC/DC as well.

    1. I really like the game for it's simplicity, the fact that it doesn't use dice and the models are already painted (albeit they are very expensive).

      I just have to get the knack of shooting the other planes down!

  4. Its a nice game Anne, its just a shame that the planes are so expensive, usually start at a tenner a go on e-bay, otherwise I'd be using them for a game of Algernon pulls it off!! The Lardies are famous for their double-entendre names.

    1. Well we are still waiting to see what Ares Games will charge for their models when they are released but somehow I don't think they will be any cheaper :-(

  5. Superb! Now I could get wonderfully distracted by that game!

    1. Thanks Michael! It is fun to play and once every one gets the hang of what they are doing, quick as well, so you can definitely get 3 or 4 games in a evening session down at your local club

  6. A good post and game summary. What scale are the planes? They are really nice.What you say about a teacher trouncing the person who is learning a game is true. The chap who was teaching me how to play Napoleonics, never gave me a chance. Scarred me for life did that, but I joined a club and the guys there were much more gentle with me.

    1. They are apparently 1/144th scale, but pretty hard to come by at present at a decent price due to the game going out of production, although hopefully Ares Games will be bringing out their line of models soon.

      One of the games clubs up north, Oldmeldrum Wargames Club, use the rules with 1/72nd scale models and they are very nice!

  7. It was a brilliant night that required very little thought (compared to our usual Urban War/Malifaux type adventures). Will definitely be investing in it at some point.

    1. Glad you enjoyed it Neil! You certainly picked up the rules quick enough once you realised you didn't have to go through all the cards in your manoeuvre deck!

  8. Very colorful planes and write-up! I played the WoW card game with my son a few years back but 3D makes it come alive.

    And back in the day, I could not get enough of AC/DC.

    1. Cheers Monty. The game just doesn't feel quite as enjoyable when just using the cards rather than the models.

      And AC/DC just have to been one of the greatest rock bands ever!