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 WINGS OF GLORY Is there anyone out there in the wargaming world who hasn't heard of Wings of Glory , just one of the most accessible an...


For your Wargamer, Toy soldier collector, MiniFig collector, military history nut. Reviews, interviews, Model Making, AARs and books!

Aerial Warfare


Is there anyone out there in the wargaming world who hasn't heard of Wings of Glory, just one of the most accessible and enjoyable games on the air war in WWI.  Dogfighting, balloon busting, reconnaissance - you name it, you got it.  Superb pre-painted models of all the famous planes and then some!  All in a system that's so easy to get into, quick to play, but not simplistic.

Well, now courtesy of Direwolf Digital and Steam, you can take to the skies again online.  This is a direct modelling of the original game and contains a range of features that were introduced through various expansions.

So, overall here's what's included.  As with most computer games I'm familiar with, you start with a Tutorial, which, in this case, has three sections: Basic Rules, Damage and Altitude.  Each steps you through a number of simple scenarios, instructing you what actions to take. With those rapidly under your belt, it's time to move on to what will constitute normal play either solo or against an online opponent.  

I've already seen a number of comments online about the few opponents as yet available.  At first I assumed, with some surprise, that the reason was a lack of players buying the game.  However, it may be that they're encountering my problem, which is that whatever name or password I've tried in order to create an account for online play I get the identical message that this account already has been chosen!! 

However, until I make that significant breakthrough, I have plenty to occupy my time with what on the game's menu is headed Local Play which is subdivided into Solo and Challenges.  Both of these categories are purely for solo play and have an element of overlap.
Solo covers four scenarios headed: Dogfight, Bombing Run, Bullets in the Mud and Reconnaissance. While Challenges cover 
Earning Yours Wings: Ace Skills
Trench Buster: Strafing
Bombing Run: Bombing

Here you can see proof of my success at the Trench Buster Challenge and I didn't even need it on easy Level!

The variety offered encompasses the following elements:-
Play as either Entente or Central Powers
A.I. Difficulty: Easy/Normal/Hard
Rules Level: Basic/Standard/Advanced
Map Size Default/Bigger/Huge

Then there is the Hangar where you can select from a list of historical Ace Pilots with pre-set skills to match the real life pilot or you can create your personalised pilot choosing from a range of skills.  To be expected, the Hangar is also where you select the model of plane you wish to fly. and both plane and pilot are purchased with points earned in action.  Good news is that going through the Tutorial builds up a number of points to easily get you started.

Who Else?

So, lets get down to game play, which stripped to its absolute bare essentials involves two main actions.  The first action starts the game by simply choosing a type of plane and taking the associated deck of manoeuvre cards.  The latter item creates the crucial differences between types of plane - mainly by allowing/restricting the number and manner of varying plane moves in a deck.  For example, one type of plane might have more right turn manoeuvres than left turn ones or might include more sharp turns or  some planes can't make the famed Immelman turn.

The second action is the secret choice from your manoeuvre deck each turn of a sequence of three cards.  Each player will then play them out  alternately and, after each card play, check whether they have an enemy plane in range to fire at.

The fact that the program handles so much of the work is both a boon and a drawback.  It does mean that your whole attention is on flying your plane, trying to out guess your opponent whether a live online one or the solo A.I.  The greatest benefit is not having to constantly run through your deck of cards trying to find exactly what you want, as you plan each turn's sequence of three.  

Instead you have a display of all your cards with small dots indicating how many of each type of manoeuvre you are allowed per turn.  No problems about remembering sequences that might be illegal, as a given card immediately changes colour to show that it cannot be chosen as the next card!

Here you see a shot from the opening tutorial, with all possible manoeuvres available and  I hope you can see the small dots that indicate how many of each card you have in your deck.  Each card also has a small arrow to show whether a manoeuvre is to the left, right or straight ahead.  I know you might be thinking that is so obvious why bother, but many's the time in the heat of the moment of the original board game I've managed to somehow choose left rather than right or vice versa. [Duh!]

Equally useful is that the program automatically registers if an enemy plane is in firing range and opens fire on it.  No need for measuring rods.  A fast playing game becomes even faster and the hidden nature of the damage done to an enemy plane makes solo play a genuinely accurate depiction of two player action.  On the down side, I must admit that I miss that extra frisson of tension as you turn a damage card, especially as the damage starts to mount.

On the other hand, I do like visuals such as the small flickering flames that show you engine's on fire or the coloured firing arc that appears and the tracery of bullets that lance out towards your enemy, though it's not as much fun when they're inbound, homing in on your own plane!

Also on the plus side is that you can handle up to 3 planes with ease - a task which is heavy weather if you were playing the physical board game. It's no mean feat handling three separate decks of cards, potential damage cards for three different planes and all the associated laying of the manoeuvre cards on the table and placing each card in front of its respective plane and then transferring your planes into the correct position!

For me there is a single major downside in comparison with the board game - no beautiful scale models which are a sheer delight to handle and to place on whatever gorgeous terrain mat inevitably bound to buy.  

Still this digital version offers for less than £12 the perfect recreation of an all-time great.

Many thanks to Dire Wolf for supplying a review key code.

Age of Dogfights: WWI by Forsage Games  From Germany we have Lothar and Manfred von Richthofen, Immelmann, Boelck...

Age of Dogfights: WWI by Forsage Games Age of Dogfights: WWI by Forsage Games

For your Wargamer, Toy soldier collector, MiniFig collector, military history nut. Reviews, interviews, Model Making, AARs and books!

Aerial Warfare

Age of Dogfights: WWI


Forsage Games

 From Germany we have Lothar and Manfred von Richthofen, Immelmann, Boelcke (whose 'Dicta' is still used in air warfare today), and Werner Voss (possibly the greatest of them all). From France we have Rene Fonck (the Allied Ace of Aces), Georges Guynemer (French children were taught, just flew up until he reached heaven), and Charles Nungesser. From England and the Empire we have William Bishop (the top Empire Ace), Edward Mannock, and the young Albert Ball. The skies of World War I were an incredibly dangerous place. Many pilots' lives were spent in a few weeks at most. Those that survived their ordeal were strapped into their planes again and again to fight until the war ended or their luck ran out. A good number of pilots kept a pistol on board to save them from a fiery death. Parachutes were well known in WWI, but they were never handed out to pilots, at least for most of the war. So Forsage Games has asked me to take a look at their Kickstarter game Age of Dogfights: WWI. Let us kick the tires and take her for a spin.

 This review is more of an unboxing and quick run through the rules etc. than I am used to doing. So the first thing you notice when holding the box is the heft of it. Once you open it, you find out that Forsage Games has handed you pretty much everything but the kitchen sink in the box. It is one of those boxes where you are not sure after looking at the contents if you are going to be able to close it up again properly. Let us look at what they put in there:

Board (3 bi-fold segments) total size 70 x 63 cm.
4 Board Extensions
54 Plastic Aircraft Pieces
100 Plastic Altitude Stands (5 Heights x 20)
18 Plane Control Panels
60 Red and Green Counters for use on the Plane Control panels
24 Photo markers
30 Bomb markers
30 Plastic Damage Markers
24 Plastic Ace/Rookie markers
3 Plastic Tilt Compensators
6 Plastic Task Zone Markers
3 Initial Position Markers
Sun and Wind Indicators
10 Plastic Cloud Markers
5 d6 Dice
Shooting Chart

 No wonder I didn't think I could get it all back in the box! Oddly enough, there is not a small bottle of castor oil included in the box. The manufacture of the pieces is really well done, you could even say excellent and not lie. The Map pieces are made of what seems like laminate on top of cardboard. They are not as thick as usual mounted maps, but they seem very sturdy. The game is played in eagle eye fashion so you are looking down on the aircraft. The map does not really show any details like houses or anything, but resembles what a pilot would see from a great height. Most of the pieces being plastic and not cardboard means that they will be here for a good long time. The plane pictures on the pieces are a bit small, but you can easily tell the difference between the planes. The Control Panels are also well done. They are easy to read, and some gamers will be familiar with them from other aerial games. The plastic Altitude Stands are also sturdy and I think they are a great innovation. The Plane Pieces have a slot built into their bottom to slide onto the clear plastic part of the Altitude Stands. All of the game components have the look and feel of parts that will last, and were well thought out in the designing process. The Rulebook is thirteen pages long, with two extra pages including a summary and a look at the expansion for the game. More on that later. 

 These are the planes that come with the standard game:

Albatross D.V
Aviatik DFW C.V
Fokker E.IV
Fokker Dr.I
Fokker D.VII

Hanriot HD.3
Letord Let.5
Morane Saulnier AI
Nieuport 24
Salmson 2

Airco DH.2
Armstrong Whitworth F.K.8
Bristol F.2 Fighter
Handley Page O/400
Royal Aircraft Factory S.E.5
Sopwith Camel

 A far as the rules, it is one of those simple yet hard to master games. One of Forsage Games' blurbs says you will be playing in five minutes. If you are used to aerial warfare games that seems about right. The use of stands for the different heights of the planes has been used before in other games. In this game, at least to me, the use of them just seems easier. One interesting point the rules look at is the 'Gyroscopic Effect'. This is the effect where rotary engine planes could turn to the right much easier than turning left. This is due to the nature of the rotary engine and its spinning. I am a nut about World war I planes and aerial warfare, but I have not played many board games on the subject until recently. It is really only the last year that I have started playing aerial warfare board games; before that I was just a PC simulation player and voracious reader. I have made up a lot of lost time in the past year though. I have to say that Age of Dogfights is now my favorite World War I aerial warfare game. The game is extremely easy to set up and start playing. It is not as deep as other games, but it makes up for it in sheer ease of play and fun. 

 As was mentioned, Forsage Games had already designed an expansion that you can buy with the game itself on the Kickstarter campaign. This includes six planes each from Austria-Hungary, Russia, Serbia, Italy, Bulgaria, and the USA. Tell me how many games let you fight above Serbia and Bulgaria in the First World War? With this add on and hopefully many others to follow, we may see a very large stable of WWI aircraft to play in the game. The game itself is $48 on Kickstarter, and the game and the expansion are $76. The game has hit nine out of ten of its stretch goals. It only needs about $3000 more pledges to hit all ten of them. Forsage games has already run more than four successful Kickstarter campaigns.  If you are looking for a simple, but deep game on WWI air warfare look no further. For those of us who are into the aesthetics of games this is also for you. 

 Forsage Games has also generously sent me 'Tank Chess' and its add-on 'Fun-Set' to review. look for them in my upcoming reviews. Thank you very much Forsage games in allowing me to review your products. Now, please get to work on a ton more expansion planes.

 Sorry, I forgot to add a few things. I was sent the 'trial version' of the game, so some things will change. Here they are:

The game will actually come with 6 altitude levels.
The Cardboard Counters will be wooden blocks.

Forsage Games:

Age of Dogfights: WWI on KS:

Tank Chess: