Sunday, September 24, 2006

Wings of War

This afternoon I convinced my wife to go see the new movie Flyboys with me, a highly fictionalized tale of the exploits of the World War I Lafayette Escadraille. There's nothing like a Sunday matinee for an epic, bloody war movie. Based on recent discussions with Simon, I've been looking forward to playing Wings of War. So, seeing the previews for Flyboys, I was quickly suckered into going.

My review of the movie is that it's probably a 2 out of 5 star feature best left as a rental. The acting was pretty bad and the little subplots were pretty ridiculous and actually must less interesting than some of the real ones (see also this one; if anyone wants to read this, this, this, or this, just let me know...). Unfortunately, there was also far too much talking and not nearly enough of the colorful CGI dogfights (i.e., 5 minutes of violent spectacle followed by 20 minutes of love story; repeat 5 times). One the positive side, casualty levels in the movie did seem realistic from what I've read regarding the life expectancy of WWI aviators. The airplanes that were shown had a tremendous amount of detail one them that looked pretty accurate. Alas, the producers of the movie felt compelled to give every single German pilot a bright red Fokker Dr-1 Triplane (with one exception of the big bad guy who flew a black one) , apparently so the audience wouldn't be confused as to who the bad guys were. My wife and I did get a juvenile giggle when a character yelled something like, "Here come the Fokkers!"

In any event, the movie did further motivate me to bring Wings of War to the table sometime soon. I have the full set of games plus the new blister packs. Kendahl, Patrick, and I did play the game a little over a year ago during one of the pre-SABG gaming sessions. Wings of War is essentially a miniatures game played with cards, but with some good board game mechanics thrown in. The rules are just a few pages long, and with games taking less than an hour, I would classify this game as a rollicking good filler. With our savy group of gamers, I think I'd only want to play with the full realism optional rules turned on, such as altitude, damage modeling, etc.

Anyway, as soon as I can get a game scheduled, I'll be bringing it.

24 Comments:

At 8:56 PM, September 24, 2006, Blogger Chad said...

Your review of the movie confirmed my suspiscions about the movie. The dogfights in the previews looked pretty cool, but I was afraid it'd be a case of everything cool about the movie being shown in the preview. I almost went to see it tonight, kinda glad I didn't.

As for Wings of War, I've been wanting to play it for quite some time. I was a big fan of the original version of Crimson Skies (the FASA version, not the Wizkids one) and Wings looked somewhat like Crimson's successor. It may lack Crimson's pulpy alternative history storyline but it still looks like a lot of fun. Count me in.

 
At 9:04 PM, September 24, 2006, Blogger Ben said...

I might raise my review up to a three of five, just because I do like the subject matter. They did throw in a lot of historically accurate chrome (which I won't spoil), but the story itself was pretty bad.

Definitely a good rental, but for the price of going with a date you could almost pick up a copy of Wings of War instead, which would be a much better use of your money.

 
At 9:14 PM, September 24, 2006, Blogger Ben said...

PS: Some WWI aviation movies I consider to be worth watching are Blue Max, Zeppelin, and Wings (winner of the first ever Oscar for Best Picture; filmed largely here in San Antonio).

 
At 9:46 PM, September 24, 2006, Blogger Rob said...

Ditto, Chad....on wanting to try this for a while,

 
At 1:16 PM, September 25, 2006, Blogger Ted Kostek said...

I'm interested to try this. The one complaint I've heard is that the cards for the planes shift a bit too easily

 
At 1:17 PM, September 25, 2006, Blogger Ted Kostek said...

Ben,

Don't you also have Zero? That's another one I'd like to try, especially a campaign game.

 
At 4:02 PM, September 25, 2006, Blogger Mark said...

I'm interested in trying the game.

Thanks for the timely review (warning).

 
At 7:51 PM, September 25, 2006, Blogger Ben said...

Its best to plan for Wings of War as if you are going to play a miniatures game. To play need a large flat surface with table cloth or felt surface of some kind, otherwise, being smooth, the cards will slide around, making the game less fun and possibly causing a fist fight or two.

 
At 7:52 PM, September 25, 2006, Blogger Ben said...

I do have Zero and its sequel/expansion Hellcats & Corsairs. I really want to play, but it just never bubbles to the top of my priority list. Wings of War first, then maybe Zero....

 
At 10:52 PM, September 25, 2006, Blogger Rob said...

Ben, I want a seed of your boardgaming-money tree.

No , seriously, how do you hide all those games from your wife? :)

 
At 6:39 AM, September 26, 2006, Blogger Ben said...

My wife and I have no secrets, a key to everlasting happiness. Games are relatively inexpensive compared to other hobbies.

A quick partial survey of SABG game collections via BGG:

Brian: 271
Jeff/Amy: 195
Jon: 162
Ben: 127
Kendahl: 122
Simon: 102
Rob: 49
Michael: 43
Ted: 9?

 
At 9:13 AM, September 26, 2006, Blogger Rob said...

Interesting.... but when you adjust the 'stats' for variables like marriage status, partner gaming tolerance/enjoyment, you and I are on par...and you have more games than I do.

Study conclusion: Rob is simply jealous.

 
At 9:34 AM, September 26, 2006, Blogger Ben said...

I've been playing and collecting wargames since 1976. You'll catch up... :)

 
At 9:38 AM, September 26, 2006, Blogger Ben said...

Partner gaming tolerance/enjoyment... always a critical statistic!

 
At 11:29 AM, September 26, 2006, Blogger Simon said...

Well since BGG counts expansions and the like, those numbers aren't terribly accurate. Regardless, I think a collection of one hundred strong is the way to go...which means some games are on the chopping block for me!

Looks like my local Goodwill is getting a copy of Fluxx and Mission Command: Sea!

 
At 12:45 PM, September 26, 2006, Blogger Ben said...

Mission Command: Land (or actually the older version I have called Tank Attack or something similar) is a great little game!

The older version I have is the US vs. Germany in North Africa, and the models are very nice. The only downside I can say about the game is that combat results are determined with a spinner... I imagine this could be readily updated to a die roll by looking at the relative percentage of the pie that is a hit vs. miss.

Probably at least a third of my BGG entries are expansions. Heck, I have the full set of Blue Moon and Runebound now.

 
At 1:17 PM, September 26, 2006, Blogger Jeff said...

No one should look at my owned list very closely. They won't find that I'm artificially puffing up the numbers by claiming to own such things as Spades and Cribbage. Certainly not.

 
At 1:35 PM, September 26, 2006, Blogger Rob said...

Ben: so you are saying that there's hope for me....sweet!

Jeff: LOL.

 
At 1:37 PM, September 26, 2006, Blogger Rob said...

Ben: How old are you? I was born in '77.

 
At 4:01 PM, September 26, 2006, Blogger Ben said...

I'm 10 years older than you. I was playing Squad Leader the year you were born... My friends and I would play "army" outside all day in the woods, then play wargames and D&D when it rained, snowed, or at night. Today I play Air Force all day, and still game at night. Ah, the good life...

 
At 8:59 PM, September 26, 2006, Blogger Rob said...

You're going to be 40?! Wow. What moisturizer do you use?

heheh.

 
At 12:21 AM, September 27, 2006, Blogger Simon said...

Back on topic, I noticed Flyboys only has a 28% over at rottentomatoes.com (a great site for inquisitive moviegoers). That's pretty low, but I'm sure the new Transformers movie coming out next year will shatter that bar. I predict less than 20%. Why you ask? Despite knowing we all love nerdy stuff from our childhood, there are a good three concrete reasons:

1) Michael Bay
2) The leaked robot designs look like dog crap (See: http://tinyurl.com/qrcse)
3) Michael Bay

...And you thought predictably bad movies would end with Bruckheimer eventually retiring (oh wait, I forgot Brett Ratner and Uwe Boll still exist, too! Argh!)...

 
At 7:00 AM, September 27, 2006, Blogger Ben said...

Ahem, I'm going to be 39, actually.

The animated Transformers movie from the 80's wasn't bad back in the day. I'm sure it hasn't aged well though...

 
At 7:06 PM, September 30, 2006, Blogger Ben said...

Back to the original topic of this thread...

I watched the 1935 movie "Dawn Patrol" with Errol Flynn, Basil Rathbone, and David Niven this morning on AMC. A great WWI flying movie! The fact that actual veteran Royal Flying Corps technical advisors were involved probably helped a lot. It was interesting to see how Fly Boys ripped off quite a few ideas from this movie as well.

 

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