Pages Menu

Categories Menu

Posted on Jun 5, 2020 in Boardgames, Front Page Features

German Bombers Spotted!  Scramble Fighters!  Wings of Glory Squadron  Packs Review

German Bombers Spotted! Scramble Fighters! Wings of Glory Squadron Packs Review

Rick Martin

Wings of Glory World War 2 Aircraft Squadron Packs – Ju 88s and Do 17s  Game Review.  Publisher: Ares Games Designer: Andrea Angiolino and Pier Giorgio Paglia Price:  Booster: $29.00 each

Passed Inspection:  Beautiful, fully painted, tons of additional cards with each plane, different options, decals to modify the aircraft, important additions to your squadron

Failed Basic:  Nothing at all.

Any time Ares Games releases new aircrafts for their magnificent Wings of Glory World War 1 or World War 2 game system, players can rejoice.  We know that these planes will be fully playable right out of the box and will feature beautiful and authentic paint jobs and markings.  Now Ares has released the Junkers 88 and Dornier 17 bomber and night fighter to join the ranks of the Heinkel 111 medium bomber released some years back.  Players now have all the major medium bombers of the Luftwaffe to add to their air to air conflicts.

{default}

For those who don’t know, in brief, Wings of Glory (formerly known as Wings of War) is a game in which you “fly” fully painted miniature World War I and II airplanes using maneuver cards which are kept hidden from the other players until laid in front of the aircraft mini.  You then move the aircraft mini from back of the card to its front and this simulates how the particular aircrafts fly and gives the players the needed fog of war to make the game interesting.  When enemy aircrafts are in range and in the firing arc which is marked on the base of the airplane mini, the player controlling the plane you are shooting at draws one or more damage cards (for World War I) or one or more damage chits (for World War II).  The damage results can be anything from a complete miss (zero damage) to taking some hull points of damage to critical hits such as engine damage, pilot wounded or killed or the dreaded explosion hit!  The damage is mostly kept hidden from the other player aside for telling the shooting player what their pilot or gunner would see; for example “you see many pieces falling off my plane near its tail rudder” or “you see my plane blow up”.  Each plane is rated for its number of hull points and when the damage amount equals to or exceeds the hull point rating, that plane is shot down.

What makes Wings of Glory so appealing to many players, aside for the drop dead gorgeous airplane minis, is the ease of play and the various levels of detail that you can use while you play.  I taught a 7 year old child to play it in less than 5 minutes and the little guy shot me down pretty quickly.

Let’s talk a little bit about each of the new German medium bombers and night fighters that Ares Games just released.

The Dornier 17 shared its role as the main medium bomber of the Luftwaffe from 1939 to 1940 with the Heinkel 111.  It was nicknamed the “Flying Pencil” because of its long, thin hull structure.  Its aerodynamics and BMW engines made it as fast as or a little faster than many of the fighters at the time with a top speed of 255 mph (410 km/h) at 16,000 feet altitude.  Its twin tail fin configuration made it very maneuverable at low altitudes.  It was considered a “Schnellbomber” or “Fast Bomber”.  The Do17 Z-2  was the most widely used variant of this design.  It featured self sealing fuel tanks for safety.  It had 6 7.92 mm machine guns for protection in the front upper and lower position, rear upper and lower position and one firing from the beam.  Despite these features the plane suffered heavy losses during the Battle of Britain and was soon relegated to training and observation roles.  Some were refitted as night fighters while a more updated version of the plane flew as the Do 217 with some success.

The Do 17 Z-2 mini is painted in the markings of Kg76 plane commanded by Hauptmann Joachim Roth.  Decals are included to change the plane to one of three other aircrafts – nose markings are included. It has 4 crew positions; has 24 hull points and maneuvers using the U maneuver deck.  It’s fast by the way.  Its defensive machine guns give it good coverage to the rear arcs and narrow coverage to the front arc. Crew skills cards are included as well as the option to replace a front machine gun with a 20 mm cannon!  That would put the sting in to attacking it from the front 12 o’clock!

The Do 17 Z-10 is a night fighter variant of the Do 17 Z-2.  The engines were refitted and more fuel cells were added to the aircraft.  The plane could patrol a location for a longer duration than could the Me 110 night fighter.

The Z- 10 features armor around the cockpit giving it a hull strength of 26 points.  It’s a little faster than the already pretty fast Z-2 model.  The Z-10 features 4 front facing machine guns and 2 20mm cannons making it a very heavy hitter.  It also has rear firing machine guns.  An option allows you to outfit the Z-10 with Schrage Musik (Jazz Music) upward firing cannons for tearing in to the underbelly of an enemy bomber.  There is also an option to convert the Z-10 to the earlier night fighter model – the Do 17 Z-7 which was not as well armed as the Z-10.  Crew cards allow for such things as a gunner taking over the pilots position in the case of the pilot falling in combat as well as the “shadower” and “exceptional pilot” skills.  In addition, the Z-10 is outfitted with an infra-red emitter and a night vision screen for the pilot.

While Ares hasn’t released night fighter rules yet, I have written some house rules which I have included following this review.  I assign a situational awareness die roll of 1 to 5 to the pilot of the plane (and the radar operator if the plane has one) and give the pilot a slight modifier to the skill based upon the IR system in this plane.  In reality the IR system was supposed to “greatly” increase the ability of the pilot to see enemy planes at night but the system was generally regarded as a failure since it only slightly worked.  Before night fighters were equipped with radar such as the Lichtenstein Radar, the crew had to rely on searchlights, reflections from clouds, the full moon and the “mark 1 eyeball” to spot their prey.

One Do Z-10 was fitted with the Lichtenstein Radar system but by that time, most night fighter squadrons were moving to the Ju 88 night fighter which, sadly, is not included in this release.

The Do Z-10 features the markings of NJG 2 and additional decals are included to modify the aircraft’s markings.  NJG 2 is particularly known for a series of raids on Bomber Command airfields where they could pick off British bombers which were either taking off or landing back at their airfields.

Now we come to the Junkers 88.  This plane was the workhorse of the German medium bomber fleet and was probably the most versatile design of any two engine aircraft.  It was used for level bombing (of course), dive bombing, torpedo bombing, as a night fighter, reconnaissance plane, heavy fighter, fighter bomber, ground attack plane (close air support), tank buster and even as a remote controlled flying bomb!  The Ju 88 was used on all fronts in which German troops were fighting.

The general characteristics of the Ju 88 were a crew of 4, a maximum speed of 290 mph (470 km/h), 5 machine guns and a bomb load of 3,100 lbs internally and up to 6,600 lbs of externally mounted bombs but with all the different variants of the plane, weapons and performance varied. 

Ares has released two different Ju 88 models – the older A-1 and the newer A-4.  Both models are faster than the He111 and both are very maneuverable with extremely tight side slips.  The Ju 88 A-4 is faster than the A-1 and has a greater hull strength and better machine gun coverage.

The Ju 88 A-1 has three defensive machine gun positions and 26 hull points.  It’s guns are all .303 so they do “A” damage.    The plane is in 5/KG77 markings and comes with decals to modify the aircrafts markings. It comes with crew skill cards and an option to add an additional machine gun position in the nose.  It also comes with an option for additional armor to be added to the cockpit.

The Ju88 A-4 is up gunned and a little faster than the A-1. It has 4 machine gun positions and 28 hull points.  The machine guns do “A” damage.  The plane is in the markings of KGR506 and also comes with decals.   It also comes with three crew skill cards and options to give the plane additional armor (29 hull points), a fifth machine gun and a gun lock to allow the pilot to fire the front machine gun thus freeing up one of the gunners to use another machine gun.

These planes are an essential addition to your Wings of War squadrons.  They are beautiful and functional.

Following this review is my unofficial night fighter rules for Wings of Glory.  I hope that someday Ares will release official night fighter rules since in addition to the Do 17 night fighter, they also have Me 110 and Bristol Beaufighter night fighters available.

Armchair General Rating:  100 %

Solitaire Rating: 5 (for some missions or with the solitaire app for Android)

About the Author

A college film instructor and small business owner, Richard Martin has also worked in the legal and real estate professions, is involved in video production, film criticism, sports shooting and is an avid World War I and II gamer. He designed the games Tiger Leader, The Tiger Leader Expansion and Sherman Leader for DVG.  In addition, Rick can remember war games which came in plastic bags and cost $2.99 (he’s really that old)!

Unofficial Wings of Glory Night Fighter Rules

By Rick Martin   6/10/2020  draft 1.31

Wings of Glory needs night fighter rules now that we have Do 17 Z-10s, Me110 and Bristol Beaufighter night fighter minis.

For each night fighter, roll 1d6 for the following – Visual Awareness and/or Radar Skill (this is the combined skill for the plane’s pilot, radar operator/communications officer (if any) and rear gunner).  Any roll of 1 counts as a roll of 2.  Any roll of 6 counts as a roll of 5.  Write this number down or use a 6 sided die to show this and put this number by the control panel for each night fighter.

If you are using the Dornier Do17 Z-10, and the Visual Awareness and/or Radar Skill is either a 2 or 3, add +1 to the skill to reflect the Do17 Z-10’s Infra-Red system.

The following night fighters have radar systems – black Me110s and black Beaufighter night fighters.  The Do 17 Z-10 uses an Infra Red sighting system that was only marginally effective.

INITIAL NIGHT FIGHTER PLACEMENT

All night fighters start out flying a circular pattern at least five rulers away from the bombers. 

The first maneuver card for the night fighters each turn must be a left or right turn of any type until they either spot or are directed to the bombers.  The night fighters are in a holding pattern over their assigned patrol cell.

If there are Lancaster bombers and they start with their spot lights on, the night fighters can start three rulers distance away and do not have to plot a right or left turn maneuver as their first card.  They also automatically spot the Lancs per the rules above.

Black Radar equipped Me110s and Beaufighter night fighters detect the bombers using the rules below.  For non-black non-radar equipped Me110s,  and Do 17 Z-10s, if they are within two rulers of the bomber, or three rulers if the bombers are Lancasters with their spotlights on, they can follow and attack the bombers.  If the bombers are spotted by the black Me110s, the non-black Me110s can break out of their circular flying and go after the bombers on a roll of 4 to 6 on a 1d6.  If the non-black Me110s fail their roll, after the second turn that the bombers are spotted by the black Me110s, the non-black Me110s have not gotten the order to attack the bombers but, none-the-less night fighter ground control contacts the Me110s and this allows the non-black Me110s to immediately break out of their circular holding pattern and try and intercept the bombers.

ME 110 and Do 17 Z-10 NIGHT FIGHTERS and black BEAUFIGHTER night fighter

If using the black Me110s, they are fitted with Lichtenstein Radars and use the radar detection rules below as do the radar equipped Beaufighters.  If they are not black Me 110s, they are not fitted with radar and must make visual contact or be directed by either night fighter air control or by the communications officer on the black Night Fighter radar equipped Me110s.

The absolute maximum ruler distance to spot at night time is 4 rulers distance.  If a Lancaster bomber has its spot lights turned on to detect its height above the water and/or ground, there is no need for a Night Fighter crew to spot the Lanc as it will be automatically spotted.  If the Lanc turns off its lights, the Night Fighter crew must roll for visual spotting as normal.

Visual Spotting Procedure for Night Fighters: For each two maneuver cards, roll 1d6 if the night fighter is within 3 rulers of an enemy bomber.  If the roll is less than the Visual Awareness skill, the night fighter has a visual spot on the bomber and can fly towards the bomber and track and shoot it if possible. 

Radar Detection Rules for black Me110s and Beaufighter night fighters: If the bomber is to the front of the black Me110 or Beaufighter night fighter, the night fighter crew rolls 1d6 and get less than or equal to the Visual Awareness and Radar Skill to have a radar lock on the bomber and the night fighter will plot and play its maneuver card after the bomber moves!  The radar works all the way across the game table so range is not an option for the purposes of this game.

If the black Me110 or Do 17 Z-10 is outfitted with   Schräge Musik cannons and if it flies under a bomber, use the rules on the Schräge Musik card included in the Do 17 Z-10 box.  I have an optional rule that limits its ammo so the night fighter gets three shots with the Schräge Musik cannons before it runs out of ammo.  If the bomber is bombing a dam and  is in its final low level approach to the dam, the night fighter under it must roll 1d6 each two cards it flies under the bomber.  On a 6, the night fighter takes a C chit of damage from turbulence or skimming the trees or, possibly, from hitting the ground or the water.

OTHER RULES

AA Guns (friendly fire) – if the night fighters are within ½ of a ruler distance of a bomber when the bomber is being shot at by AA guns, the night fighter must draw a C damage counter and take that “friendly fire” damage.

Full Moon – if there is a full moon (roll 1d6 before you begin play – a 5 or 6 means you have a full moon tonight), get a -1 to your Visual Awareness spotting roll.

Heavy Clouds – Roll a 1d6 before play.  A 6 means you have heavy clouds which light up from the search lights on the ground.  If you are flying your night fighter at an altitude of 4 or higher and the bombers are at your altitude or below you, give yourself a -1 to your Visual Awareness spotting roll as the bombers are easier to spot.

Do 17 Z 2
Do 17 Z 10 Night Fighter
Do 17 Z 10 Night Fighter close up cards
German bombers on the warpath
RAF attacks
Do 17 Z 2 near the coast
Ju 88 A 4
Facing down two bombers
Ju 88 A-1 in trouble
Ju88 on fire Hurricane smoking
Do 17 Z 10
Lancaster goes down

Post a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *