War in the Air

Wings of War is, in my view, a great game. Why do I think it is such a good game? Well, I’ve been playing it for many years and it continues to hold my interest because it uses simple mechanics yet it has significant depth. This ensures continued interest and variety. Over recent weeks we have had a number of games using Wings of War with last night providing another example of the real strengths of the system. Four players gathered to tangle in the sky over the Western Front.

Alas, I took no photos of the three games played, this seems to be a recurring theme of many of my games of late. However, I’ve included a selection of art and period photos in an attempt to add some flavour to the summary.

The first scenario involved some early war aircraft, including an Fokker E.III and Morane-Saulnier Type N along with an early Albatros III and Nieuport 17. Clearly the early war planes were outmatched yet surprisingly when flown by experienced pilots they performed rather well. Particularly important was the altitude rules which soon had aircraft operating at three different altitudes. Below a Nieuport 17.

Next up was a recon scenario where a R.E.8 supported by a SPAD tangled with an Albatros III and Albatros D.Va. This was a hard match for the Germans as both Albatros aircraft had real difficulty catching the R.E.8 after it slipped past them. The rear firing twin Lewis on the R.E.8 came as a surprise to me, expecting it to be s single machine gun. An early burst of fire caused engine damage on my Albatros further ensuring the R.E.8 would soon widen the gap. The result was a clear victory to the allies, though with the loss of a SPAD.

Above, an Albatros D.Va. A wonderful example can be found in the Canberra War Memorial Museum.

Finally, the last scenario of the evening was a balloon busting mission involving an Albatros D.Va and D.VII against defending Sopwith Camels. One camel was shot down early but was soon replaced by a third. Again altitude played a critical component in the engagement as aircraft dropped and weaved around the observation balloon. The ability of these aircraft to regain altitude contrasted to the early war aircraft which struggled to climb.

Incendiary bullets played a critical role in the German victory with two fires on the balloon. Yet the game was far from one sided and was arguably the most balanced of the evening. The picture above of course shows a German balloon under attack, however it illustrates the general concept of the scenario and well, just looks excellent.

Another enjoyable evening of gaming using Wings of War, which that famous ace “Snoopy” would feel right at home so near to Christmas I’m sure.


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