Tag Archives: First World War

Wings Of War – 6 Inch Move’s First Look

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.

Rene Fonck heroically flies off the table
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!

Book Review: Birdsong By Sebastian Faulks

This novel was first published in 1993, but I’m a slow reader. Really though my elderly neighbour loaned me her copy last Thursday and I couldn’t put it down.

The book, without going into too much boring detail is a fiction about the life and times of a soldier, Stephen, who fought in the first world war. It tells of times before, during and after and sometimes concentrates on other minor characters who are important in Stephen’s life. This book is excellent, it’s a real page turner. I have never before found the fear and emotion expressed by soldiers as they are about to go ‘over the top’ communicated so effectively as I have in this book. The chapter where Stephen is involved in the the first day of the battle of the Somme is especially memorable as one reads and can see the disaster unfolding even before anyone has jumped over the parapet.

Not all of the book is set in the war, and there are several chapters based in the 1910s and the 1970s, but these help to flesh everything out and make the characters even more believeable which draws the reader in deeper when they face certain annihilation in the horrors of the war.

The only downside I could see with this book comes right near the very end: it really could have done with being a little bit longer. The entire book builds up these fascinating characters, with their hopes and dreams, but their entire lives after 1918 are summed up by an old lady in a cafe literally in about 3 lines set in 1979. ‘Oh yes, he died here, she died there, he married her.’ I found this a real disappointment after seeing what everyone had gone through and I was hoping for something more. Maybe the characters in 1979 could have found out more details as part of their ongoing investigation into their ancestors (which is what these characters were doing anyway), or even there to have been some kind of epilogue chapter to tie things up smartly.

Overall, an excellent read despite the minor disapointment at the very end. Very emotional and very moving. Birdsong gets 4 chirps out of 5.