Wings of War-athon

Last night we fit in our “Wings of War-athon” at Jim’s house. He recently picked up a bunch of the Wings of War minis and we were all itching to check them out. Afterwards we managed to fit in a couple of quick fillers as well.

Wings of War
(image courtesy gnomus @ BGG)

First up last night was Wings of War. I’ve been interested in Wings of War for quite some time so I was really looking forward to giving it a go. We were playing with the miniatures and the minis rules although we didn’t get into altitude at all.

The game’s elegance is immediately apparent. Each plane has a maneuver deck, damage deck and hitpoints. We didn’t play with the damage deck – we rolled d6s and looked up a hit chart – so I can’t comment on that, but the maneuver deck is excellent. The deck you use varies based on the type of plane so decks reflect the capabilities of the various aircraft. On your turn you pick three maneuver cards and place them face down in the order you wish to perform them. Everyone reveals their first, resolves movement and checks for fire. Cards are easy to read, generally having a path for the plane and an arrow showing where you line up your plane on the card. Some planes are slower but more maneuverable so their straight cards aren’t as long but they have tighter turns; rotary engine planes only have hard right turns, for example, showing off the distinct properties of that style of plane.

A measuring stick combined with the firing angle on the front of your plane determines if someone is in your sights. If so, the person taking fire rolls the dice (in our case, or draw a damage card in the base rules) and consults a damage chart. Generally you’ll just take damage but there’s a chance you’ll catch on fire, start smoking, have a rudder jam or your opponent’s guns jam. It handles the subtleties of air combat really well and in such a simple manner that you can teach it in a matter of minutes.

Overall I was really impressed with the game. Turns go by quickly and you really get excited when you see planes circle each other to try and get position. I’m not sure I liked the hit table we used, though, as too many shots would result in zero damage which made for a long game. Also, the models – while looking extremely cool – also made the game more fiddly. If planes were too close you’d have models sitting on top of each other and we were constantly moving our models to make room for others to play their movement cards. I think I’d only want to use the models again if we used elevation rules (which then add in mid-air collisions), otherwise I think the card to represent your plane would help things move along a bit more smoothly.

Fun game overall. Certainly a bit light and you could almost pick your movement cards randomly if you wanted but it’s still fun to try and outguess your opponents. If you want to check out the game I’d pick up one of the card-based decks and later dive into the models if you like the game.

(image courtesy EndersGame @ BGG)

Next on the list was Democrazy. It’s a really light filler game by Bruno Faidutti, maker of the fine game Citadels. If there’s one thing Democrazy isn’t, it’s not a fine game.

The concept is simple enough. Everyone gets a Yes and No vote card along with one special vote card, five random colored discs drawn from a sack and a handful of bill cards. Each turn you draw a new law and then place one down to be voted on. Some bills take effect instantly while others last for the rest of the game. Everyone secretly votes yes or no and the bill either passes or doesn’t. Play goes around until the “End Game” card is drawn.

It’s a shame the end game card is built into the last few cards of the deck because it needed to come up far sooner. Each bill changes the rules of the game, generally impacting how much your colored discs are worth at the end of the game. This has the potential to change with every new bill put into play so there’s no real strategy, just tossing bills down, voting yes or no and laughing when you see the results. If you win it certainly had very little to do with intelligent play on your part.

I can see some value in this style of game where you want a quick, mindless filler. It plays up to ten I believe so as a party style game to introduce people to a different sort of game it might work but for your serious game night don’t even bother. There are many better fillers.

Tag 6!
(image courtesy EndersGame @ BGG)

Like Tag 6! for example. This is one of the best filler games I’ve come across. Fast, easy to teach and there’s just enough thought you can put into it if you want to make it enjoyable for gamers and non-gamers alike.

Everyone (up to 10 players) is dealt 10 cards from a deck numbered from 1 to 104. Four cards are put in the middle and serve as the four rows of the playing field. On a turn everyone simultaneously picks a card and reveals. Cards are resolved from low to high. A card is placed on the row of the card it is numerically greater than and closest to. If the card is the sixth in the row you take the row and your card becomes the new base; likewise, if the card is lower than the top card in the four rows the player gets to choose one row to take and replace with their card. Cards have pips at the top which represent points. Points are bad; you don’t want points.

Tag 6! (also known as 6 Nimmt and Category 5) is fast, simple and seriously fun. Do you play the safe card (one that is extremely close to another on the field) or try and get rid of something else? What do you think everyone else will play this hand?

I know there’s more than pure luck to the game as I always seem to do extremely bad while other players in my group tend to do well. It’s that subtle level of strategy that gives the game its legs. Seek out a copy if you can.