My recent fun with Death Angel has lead me to try out so more card based games, and so I recently purchased Wings Of War. The thing that appeals with card games is the sheer lack of any preparation, building or painting required to get started, which is a sure time saver. The portability of a card game is a bonus, and I get extra wife points for having a game that doesn’t require its own room for storage.
Wings Of War is based around first world war aerial combat. The real heroes of the air war and their aeroplanes are represented by a card. Each card has different stats showing their manoeuverability, gunnery strength and damage statistic. You place your aeroplane card on the play surface and choose three cards from your appropriate movement card deck and then play out each move simultaneously with other players. After everyone plays a movement card everyone gets to shoot at each other. Gunnery is worked out simply, if you are shot at close range you draw two damage cards, if long range you draw one but always from the deck representing the strength of the firer’s guns. Each damage card has a damage number, and when your collection of damage cards is equal to your damage statistic your plane goes down in a blazing heap. The cards are varied and interesting, you may catch fire, sustain engine damage, your opponents guns may jam or you might not take damage at all. Once everyone has played their three movement cards and fired three times, the next turn begins and people choose three more cards from their movement deck. The movement decks are very different from each other, for example a triplane moves much more slowly but turns much tighter than a biplane. Planes such as the Sopwith Camel also turn much better to the right than the left, which is historically accurate.
There are other good touches to the rules to make the game more flavourful, for example ‘tailing’ an enemy has big advantages, as does keeping an enemy in your sights for several moves. Also possible is the use of missions as well as dogfights, strafing ground targets protected by anti-aircraft batteries, taking recon photos of artillery emplacements, destroying observation balloons, the possibilities for a game like this are massive.
Overall then this game is very quick and fun to play, with what appears to be a decent attempt at historical accuracy. I think it would suit multiplayer groups very well with everyone getting a plane for a chance to gang up on the group’s own version of Gribblin. I look forward to playing a few more games in future with my friends. For the more hardcore gamer the cards can be replaced with model aircraft, and tabletops can become sculpted, modelled battlefields as required. To begin with though the cards do just fine!