Friday, November 27, 2015

Paper wasps on Black Friday

Here are some slightly chilly wasps in a tree at the Summit Walgreens. This might be the first time I have ever seen paper wasps with a nest in a tree instead of on a man-made structure. I am sure it happens all the time, I have just never noticed it. I noticed the wasp nest from my parking space. It was pretty obvious because there were no leaves on the tree.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Wings of Glory WW1

I finally got to play some games with my new WoG material! I invited friends over for a game on Armistice Eve.  Four of them were able to show up; none of them had ever played before, although a couple of them had played X-Wing Miniatures.

I have a big piece of scrap MDF flooring that I’ve been painting with ancient cans of house paint and some old bottles of cheap craft acrylic.  My goal is to make it look like a generic section of Belgian countryside from overhead.  It’s still a work in progress, but I think it looks decent enough to use.  It’s about 71 x 41 inches (180 x 104 cm).

First, I just told the three of my friends who had arrived to pick out some planes for a basic dogfight.  We started with an Alabatros D. Va and a Fokker D. VII vs. an Se5a and a SPAD XIII.  The dogfight wheeled around the table; my brain wheeled around as I tried to explain and keep track of the special damage rules; and my friends exhibited admirable patience as I clumsily tried to clarify rules points. 

My fourth friend arrived, and picked out the Fokker Dr. I and threw it into the fray. The SPAD was the first to go, after a Boom card was drawn, leaving the lone Se5a against the three
Central Powers planes.  The friend who picked the Fokker Dr. I, just the round before, quickly changed sides—what everyone had thought was a Fokker turned out to actually be a Sopwith Camel!

The dogfight moved sort of like a whirlwind from one side of the board to the other.  In just a few more rounds, the Albatros and the Camel both plummeted to earth, full of holes.  Finally, the Se5a got in some final shots on the Fokker D. VII before it could turn around, leaving the Se5a as the last plane in the air.

A couple of friends had to leave at that point, but the two remaining were enthusiastic about another match.  I quickly came up with a simple scenario:  An Airco dh. 4 with a SPAD XIII escort returning home from a bombing mission, waylaid by two Albatros D. VA.s.   The dh. 4 and the SPAD started on one end of the play area, with the goal of flying off the far end to escape.  The Albatroses started 2/3s of the way down the board, near the Entente aircraft. (I flew both the Airco dh. 4 and the SPAD, and they each took an Alabatros).

The distance was closed pretty quickly, with the SPAD racing ahead to meet the attackers.  All aircraft took fire.  The dh. 4 tried to zigzag to keep out of firing arcs, and to let its rear gunner fire, but the two-seater’s B guns were doing minimal damage to the attackers.  The SPAD’s intentions were to repeatedly zip through combat, do an Immelman, and then return; however, twice inside of two rounds I chose the wrong maneuver cards (once playing a stall instead of an Immelman, and once playing a sideslip instead of a turn).  The result was that for several rounds the SPAD was too far downstream from the action to be of any use.

The Albatroses had been distracted by the SPAD, but soon realized that their larger prey was moving to escape, and was leaving them behind.  They pursued the Airco dh. 4, but lost a round of firing as they tried to catch up.  After they caught up, the dh. 4’s rear gun jammed, and then the dh. 4 was set ablaze by the German aircraft’s guns.  The day-bomber’s damage was stacking up, but escape was at hand!  The next round, the dh. 4 made it off the board with 14 points of damage taken out of 17—but there was still one flame token on the plane.  In the interest of fairness and story, I drew one more damage card to see if the plane could make it safely home—and drew a 0!

The SPAD neared that edge of the board, and was game for attempting to take down one of the Germans.  However, after another exchange of fire, the SPAD’s guns jammed.  The pilot then decided that discretion was the better part of valor, and flew off the board at the start of the next maneuver selection phase.

The two Albatros D. Va.s were left frustrated with their empty hunting bags—but were still intact enough that any new prey that blundered in their direction would be in danger.

That was the end.  It was a fun night of shooting, with a few beers thrown in.  I am eager to play again.

House portrait, 11 x 15 inches

Finished a couple of nights ago

Wednesday, November 04, 2015

Wings of Glory

A couple of months ago I realized I had spent almost no money over the previous year on my primary hobby, games, so I felt like it was OK to spend a little money I had saved up.  I ordered a Wings of Glory WW1 Rules and Accessories Pack with a starter set of four airplanes.  This would go with the two planes I bought about 18 months ago to use while playing with Aaron, who already had the rules and some planes.

I was excited when it all came in the mail, and happily read the rule book.

Not long after that, just a few weeks ago, my old friend Kelly posted on Facebook that he was going to sell his Wings of War (same thing as Wings of Glory, just an earlier edition) planes, and asked if any of his friends were interested.  I jumped at that.  I didn’t even know he had the game.  He offered me a very good price, but even so, I told him it would be a little while before I had the money.  He said that was no problem.

I requested that he just hold them until I could pay him for them, but shortly after that I came home from work to find a box from him on my front porch.  He had gone ahead and mailed the planes to me, knowing that I would like to have them for a Veterans Day game I was planning.  What a super nice thing to do!  And I was thrilled to get them.  I love them.

And to top that off, just a few days after that, one of my co-workers just gave me two more planes.  He’d had them sitting on his desk, having bought them just to have models sitting in his cubicle, but had decided he wanted something larger.  He knew I was into the game, so he handed them to me.

It has been a biplane bonanza.

This is a photo of all my Wings of Glory planes.

Wings of Glory/Wings of War