Wings of war: tabletop wargaming review of Wings of War Deluxe set

I just finished playing my 8 year old son, Byron, for the third night in a row, Wings of War battle strategy game. And as I have only just started learning, and assuming there are others in the same position, I thought that I would give a review to the game. (For a game to play with 5 year olds, read my experience playing the 1 brain cell toy soldiers rules on Hubpages.)

Byron is very bouncy, not always able to concentrate, easily distracted, and I get confused by loads of tables and reading dice that comes of regular wargaming. I was told about Wings of War and how it was card based – no measuring, just laying one card out in front of another.

It is a game that says on the box it’s for 12 or 14 years upwards (it depends on which bit your read!). So would Byron like it? I have played a few wargames before including Lord of the Rings, and other more unusual games. So I know how hard and complex some of the rules can be. Well if you read some Amazon reviews, like I did, then you will fast discover that many people are playing it with kids far younger than that suggested. So as it was my birthday money (40th) I decided to give it a go.

Overview and basic movement

Out of the box, the deluxe kit that I got (Wings Of War II – here after known as WoW) includes decks for the manoeuvre of and details concerning the 4 models that are included in the deck.

How many packs of cards are included in the Wings of War deluxe set?

Unlike the other WoW sets there are only 4 sets included (please note – I couldn’t find this clearly on the packaging or anywhere online.) This differs from the other sets such as Fire From The Sky which contains 6 sets of cards.

Are the figurine miniatures for WoW worth it?

Yes! A million times yes! The difference is moving cards a table and moving miniature aircraft! It’s also a lot easier to represent the altitude changes. I got the miniatures because I wanted Byron to play, and as he has never played a wargame before I wanted to capture his imagination. Playing a few cards wouldn’t do it.

Initial set up time

About half an hour to pop out all of the small cards. But we started with just the main decks, speed indicators and damage chips. They all come on thick, 1mm printed card stock. You need to be careful with this kind of stuff because it is easy to accidentally pull the top covering away from the main stock, but it is well made and with a little twist rather than enthusiastic ripping apart, there was no unnecessary damage. Byron managed anyway, and he could be a little heavy handed!

How long does it take to read the rules?

WoW is a very complex game…when you are read for it to be! The pages are as follows (each page has about half a page of A4 paper of text on it, in two columns, which makes it easy to read).

Page number:

2. Introduction, and what’s in the box. Half a page of the miniatures packs available.

3. A photograph of the items involved in game play

4. A photograph of all the tokens, markers and counters and what they all mean (quick reference when you decide to go into the additional rules)

5. Object of the game, number of players, setup, game turn instructions (what happens each turn)

6. Planning moves, how to move

7. What happens when you overlap planes (page 7) – half a page of notes

8. How to fire (dead easy!) – half a page

9. Damage – you choose a little chip token. No tables, look ups, save throws etc! Simple!! What winning looks like. – half a page

And that’s it! The only damage at the early point in learning the game is hits, and explosions. in all there are 3 ½ pages of rules. Shorter than most board games. And in about 20 minutes we were up and running.

We avoided in our first game the ‘Immelmanm Turn’, but by second game we were using it because otherwise you spend half the game flying in a curve trying to get back at the enemy. The Immelmann shortens that to about 4 moves.

Is it fast…will my kids get bored?

As I said at the top, Byron gets wriggly. A problem with many wargame strategy games is that they are turn based: one player moves, then the other. And there is a whole load of table look ups, special rules checks and the like which gets boring very quickly. This game is nothing like it. Every one moves at the same time. Then you work out the shooting (about 20 seconds of no calculating). And a couple of minutes planning your next manoeuvre. It is perhaps the fastest game I have ever played, save ‘snap’.

Ok, but it sounds pretty boring. Flying around shooting each other. What about longevity? Just shy of 50 quid seems a bit steep…

I haven’t mentioned the other 27 pages of option rules! And they really are optional, pick and choose. Play all of them, choose ones for particular scenarios. We have added in the altitude rule now which seemed the most obvious. Tomorrow night we are adding strafing rule as we can then play one of the themed scenarios. We haven’t added the Ace fighter, special damage, or any one of a load of other options. As we get used to each rule, we will add a new one in. I think after strafing, fuel and aim rules will be included.

In short, this is absolutely brilliant for my 8 year old, and plenty for him to do. He is about average ability, and by adding one rule at a time he is getting used to it without any problems.

There are plenty of options to expand as well. The box game is suitable for 2-4 players, but you can expand. You need one of the basic sets to be able to make use of the many additional blister packs and miniature packs available. These packs include the miniature, altitude pegs, card for the details of the plane, and the manoeuvre deck for the plane. And yes, each manoeuvre deck is different for each plane, which makes things quite interesting! You can really play as many planes as you like as squadrons, but I would think more than 3 planes per player may slow down game play by a lot, and you will lose some of the fun of the speed of the game.

Each of these supplementary packs are about £9-£15.

Each of the WoW WWII planes are compatible with WWII sets or blisters or miniatures, but not with WWI, which makes sense. All sets of the same war are compatible with each other, whether it is series 1 or later.

You can buy just the blister packs of cards if you want to, but keep in mind that you need the main set – Deluxe, or cheaper Dawn of War or Fire From the Sky sets – first to get the rules.

I am more than happy to field questions that you have about this great game. Please contact me if you want to know anything about the game that you can’t otherwise find out online and I will do my best to answer you.

Where to buy…?

I wanted to get this from a real world store so that I could see exactly what I got. In the end I found some great Youtube commentaries about the game which made my mind up. And the real world store would have taken me too long to get to. In the UK I went to IGUK.com and bought online, and I wasn’t disappointed. They have an active stock inventory which means you know if the item is in stock or not, and unlike Ebay or Amazon they are big and will get it to you as fast as you like. I paid an extra £6 and had it within 24 hours by Special delivery, no problems.


Final verdict

I love wargaming, though it can get tedious, and I wanted to get my son into it. I had considered hero-clix but there seems to be a doubt over its availability now and has an uncertain future. I wanted something fast moving, simple to start with but you could add to, and would help him into something more complex later on. This has been an ideal starter for him. The rules are as complex as you can handle at any one time, but the action is thrilling right from the start. As you get used to it you can make it more and more fun with the addition of special skills, and even creating characters that have a career. The fact that it is a card based game means if you want to take it on holiday with you it fits into a small pocket (you need to provide your own tin) and you don’t have to use the planes. But the addition of the planes makes it more fun by far, as would do the playmate that is a large areal shot to make a playing field (not essential, and a quite pricey £25. I am researching alternatives!)

At just shy of the £50 mark it is a bit expensive though makes for excellent 40th birthday ideas, and anyone who has shelled out for wargaming in the past will know that it is in no way a cheap hobby, and £50 starter kit is actually quite reasonable, especially as getting more packs is cheaper than most. The starter kit really IS enough to play as well. You aren’t being short changed.

If you want something prettier, then go for the WW1 sets, as bi-planes are really nice. The game play is slightly different, some say easier, but you can’t get the models included, which means you are going to be paying £25 for the base kit and then another £40 for the models. WW2 deluxe is cheaper by economy to get you going.

This game fits somewhere between wargaming, roleplay gaming, and a collectible card game. So if your kids are into, or potentially into, any of these things then its brilliant.

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4 comments

Porshadoxus profile image

Porshadoxus 6 years ago from the straight and narrow way

sounds like a fun game. When I read 'WoW', I had to adjust my thinking. My first thought was World of Warcraft. :)


James 6 years ago

A very well written and informative article. In fact, your article is one of the reasons I just ordered the game: Dawn of War (WW2) deluxe, Balloon Busters, and Wings of War (WW1; the deluxe version of this game is still available, but not in English -- but the English rules are downloadable [www.wingsofwar.org].

Cheers!


AndrewGee profile image

AndrewGee 6 years ago Author

Splendid! Thanks James, I hope you really enjoy it, it's a fantastic game.


R Dewsbery 5 years ago

Just a quick heads-up. They have released a new WWI deluxe set, which should arrive in the UK soon. It has the same four manouvre decks from the first WWI starter, but the planes have a new paint job. And a proper rulebook in English this time. I expect that it'll be the same price as the WWII deluxe set.

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