A games recently introduced into the SAD Wargamers club by Simon and Sue is Wings of War produced by Fantasy Flight Games. This is a very simple to pick up World War 1 air combat game using a very easy to understand card movement system.
Combat is equally simple being driven by damage cards with variable levels of damage on each card. The games were played on a flat surface in an area approximately 4 foot square.The games have varying levels of complexity, with the introductory level allowing players to start the game almost immediately without any previous knowledge of the rules. A simple 2 minute explanation with an example demonstration had 6 players going in minutes. With the first game finishing within 15 minutes additional rules were added introducing special damage effects such as rudder damage or jammed guns the second game rapidly got underway and again finished within 20 minutes
Aircraft movement is worked in turns, with a player choosing 3 manoeuvre cards which will be played in sequence over the next turn. The turn is divided into three phases with one of a players manoeuvre cards being played in each phase. Each player has a manoeuvre deck which is tied to the capabilities of their aircraft. Each card has a manoeuvre which is placed in front of the aircraft on the table with a simple arrow showing where the aircraft model is moved to. With each player doing this at the same time the game moves along very quickly.
Shooting takes place after each manoeuvre. The arcs of fire for each aircraft are shown on the base of the model/card, with range being established by using the rulers included in the set. (Additional rulers were provided made from bamboo skewers). A player gets two cards for short range shooting and 1 card for long range shots. Each damage card has a value of 0 or more, occasionally with symbols on for special damage. These special damage actions may restrict an aircrafts ability to turn, perform advanced manoeuvres, fire, or even tail an enemy aircraft. At the end of each turn of 3 manoeuvres, each player then selects a further three cards for their next turn, applying any special damage restrictions which they have received.
The game continues until the enemy aircraft have been destroyed or the objective achieved.
Further rules allow for flying at different altitudes, Blimps, spotters, rear gunners, and ground fire. There are three main boxed sets, additional card booster sets, and a host of model aircraft which come with their own manoeuvre decks. There is also a boxed set covering the Second World War.
From a personal perspective I thoroughly enjoyed the game and even intend buying myself a set.