Wing Leader initial impressions

I have now had a chance to play a couple of sessions of Wing Leader, and my initial impressions are generally favorable. There are some minor points that might fairly be described as personal perspectives (or foibles!), but on the whole it’s a good package. For sure, it delivers a fresh perspective into this part of WW2, and it seems like a good way to learn the lessons of large scale aerial combat.

Here, in no particular order, are some initial comments:

  • The environment – the sun and weather – are a welcome, key feature of the design.
  • Combat verges on the bland. This is the weakest part of the experience.
  • To offset the preceding point, it’s readily apparent that the real danger to aircraft is not combat, it’s the after effects: cohesion.
  • The disproportionate effects of pilot quality(good and bad) are well represented.
  • The chaos of war is present to just the right (frustrating) degree. (There’s nothing quite like blowing an easy tally roll!)
  • I would have preferred the identifiers on the plane counters to be larger, to make it easier to see them. The Wing Displays are excellent, but the burden is in matching the counter on the map with the right part of the display.
  • Given the importance of tallying on move sequencing, it might have been preferable to give this more prominence in the rulebook and the player aids.
  • The basic game is fast to learn and play. That makes it a very accessible experience.
  • The basic game left me craving more. The advanced game does not look too difficult, but will slow play down.

This will be getting more play.

Winging it


Gorgeous package from LBW and GMT, just arrived before Shabbat in time for a weekend’s worth of browsing. On a first read of the rules, the general principles seem clear, and well presented. I need to line up an opponent, for this is screaming out to be played.

What is it about? From BGG:

Wing Leader is an exciting new game system of large scale aerial combat in World War II. Based on a unique side-scrolling view, in which altitude is clearly visible, players can recreate the great air battles of the war.

This first volume focuses on the fighting from 1940 to 1942, with scenarios for the Battle of Britain, Malta, Coral Sea, Midway, North Africa, and Stalingrad. Future games will expand the system to the late war.

Players fly squadrons and flights, attempting to intercept raids or fend off marauding fighters in fast-playing games that take between 90 and 120 minutes.

Wing Leader takes a new look at aerial warfare, incorporating aircraft, altitude, and weather in a way never seen before!

Nitpick: why use ‘squares’ (when they aren’t) instead of ‘boxes’ or ‘spaces’ for example? It’s not material for sure, but I am intrigued by the choice.

Boxcover: one of my favorites. Wonderful. Sign that artist up, now!