The Cardboard Kid – 092: Wings of Glory: WW2 Battle of Britain

Wings of Glory: WW2 Battle of Britain has two players controlling planes in the skies over Britain in the second world war. Oh, I almost forgot. This copy of the game was provided to us by Ares Games in exchange for an honest review. There are a bunch of scenarios, and tonnes of modular rules. I’m going to focus on the first scenario and the basic rules. As we go, I’ll touch on a few others. Okay, so if you don’t own a mat, you’ll need to frame the play area. All scenarios, including this one — Never in the Field — give the set-up information in the book: historical background and outcome, number of players, map dimensions, starting point, win conditions, and variants. Your goal here is simple: outlast your opponent. Once the tokens are separated into piles, and each player has chosen a side, plastic base and stands, decks, and has got into position, you’re ready. The airplane card shows the model and pilot, as well as side: Allies are green, the Axis is grey. It also shows firing arc at the top. At the bottom is damage resistance — meaning health — what deck to use, and a movement arrow. In the bottom-right, you’ll see short- and long-range damage. Depending on your range, your opponent will draw those chits when you hit them. Remove the climb and dive cards — they have red arrows — from the manoeuvre deck when playing the basic game. On these cards, the long blue arrow is your path at high speed; the shorter arrow with a white head is your path at low speed. In the bottom-left, you’ll see the card number and what deck it belongs to. In the bottom-right, you may see special symbols like a diamond, meaning steep. You can’t play two steep cards in a row. A stall manoeuvre is a steep card with a short arrow. An Immelmann turn needs a straight move, the Immelmann reverse, then another straight. In Wings of Glory, turns have multiple phases. You’ll plan by secretly choosing a card, then (playing) it on your console. In the basic game, you’ll always use the blue, meaning high speed, arrow. Once everyone’s ready, reveal and resolve the movement. Line up the plane base and card. Follow the path until the base’s movement arrowhead is on top of the manoeuvre card’s. You’ve planned and moved. Now resolve the third and final phase: firing. Use the ruler and the half-mark on it to determine if an enemy is within long or short range. If an enemy’s plane stand is within your plane’s firing arc and the ruler, you can hit them. If the plane falls within the close half of the ruler, they draw damage chits based on your plane’s short-range firepower. They otherwise draw long-range damage. If your plane has left the playing area during the game, it is removed from the battle. You win if all of your enemy’s planes have been destroyed, or you have otherwise met your objective. Choose cards, plan wisely, don’t put yourself in too much danger, and take out your enemies. That’s Wings of Glory: WW2 Battle of Britain! Our dining table is seven feet by three-and-a-half feet, and we need close to two-thirds of it for Wings of Glory. This game has a huge play area. Keep that in mind if you’re considering picking this up. Set-up and take-down, thanks to the insert, is really quick. The box says play time is 30+ minutes, but that’s really only true for some of the dogfights. Well… okay, I think most scenarios could be played on weeknights, but everything depends on how the chits come out, and how long it takes players to decide. I’ll talk about this in the Likes and Dislikes, but for most people, I think 60 minutes should cover most scenarios. If playing with the basic rules, I think most eight-year-olds won’t have any problems; possibly younger if you play with damage visible. I’d save the standard rules for experienced nine- and 10-year-old gamers. We play Wings of Glory: WW2 Battle of Britain’s first scenario — Never in the Field — a lot because it’s so quick. It’s a pure dogfight, and can get pretty tense at times. In one game against Mom, she inflicted massive damage to my one Axis plane: 15 points out of a maximum of 17. On the other hand, she only did one damage to my other plane — I kept drawing zeroes. I slowly chipped away at her planes, destroying one. She kept saying, “How is that one still alive?” In the end, I shot her down from the sky. She couldn’t believe it. Wings of Glory: WW2 Battle of Britain isn’t cheap. It’s around $65 Canadian. For that price, I wish there had been a third plane type, or even better: a paper mat so we didn’t have to use masking tape to frame the area. The play area is important: nowhere to run, and nowhere to hide. If you fly out of bounds, you’re out of the game — at least one plane is. Ask my mom about that. The minis are awesome, although we had to modify the insert — which is otherwise really good — so they didn’t get damaged when pulling them out. One propeller broke, but Dad fixed it with modelling glue. The plastic bases and top of your deck are your reference cards. Smart. The modular rules are awesome. I’ll talk about this again in the next section, but seriously: they’re amazing. Want to add some programming, a bit more movement strategy, and super cool special damage chits? Use some or all of the standard rules. Want to add a whole pile of altitude and speed rules for movement and firing? Use some or all of the advanced rules. There are also four pages of optional rules, a couple more for ace and rookie pilots, and then even more for different airplanes that are available for purchase. Yeah, about that… you can buy around 20 planes for Battle of Britain alone. Then there are a tonne of additional World War II planes, including bombers. Did you know there is a World War I set? And ships in Sails of Glory? And… yeah. If you’re interested in expanding things, you can, but you never feel like you have to, which is good. I like that special manoeuvres are limited. These are WW2 planes, and they can only do so much. This adds a bit of strategy: when should I bust out my Immelmann turn? Things like that. I love that there are a few scenarios in the box, but you can easily create your own, or use ones people online have made. Some can be played co-op, or if you have additional planes, you can add more players. Cool. You’ll eventually know your deck and your opponent’s, what damage can be inflicted, and can better plan things. This takes the game to a whole new level. It can be very exciting having an idea, but not knowing exactly what chit you or your opponent pulled. Analysis paralysis — or A.P. — means you freeze when you need to make decisions. If you or your regular gaming partner are like that, maybe pass on this one. This game is best when you’re quickly grabbing your cards, revealing and resolving them, then repeating. If the players don’t suffer from A.P., turns are quick, and the game is fast, exciting action from the first turn right up until the end. I really like Wings of Glory: WW2 Battle of Britain. A lot. Ares Games did a great job with the modular rules, being detailed but still easy to understand for different skill and experience levels. The Allies feel different from the Axis because the Allies have a few extra agile moves, but the Axis deal more damage. This game is for fans of interactive strategic and tactical games. If you love discovering history, you’ll learn about this battle and the cool planes. This history lesson in a box is highly recommended.

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