Our WW2 Wings of Glory game system brings to life epic aerial duels between Axis and Allied aces on a tabletop, and now it has a new entry point: the Battle of Britain Starter Set. This new all-in-one boxed set includes everything new players need, but it’s also a great resource for veteran players, combining the strengths of the previous Starter Set and of the Rules and Accessories Pack: four fighter airplanes (two Spitfires and two Messerschmitt Bf-109Es), all the cards, rulers, markers, tokens and other materials to fly them, a 44-page comprehensive rulebook and a booklet with seven scenarios set during the Battle of Britain.
The major military campaign in history to be fought entirely in the air, the Battle of Britain took place from July 1940 to June 1941. The battle was a pivotal event of World War II: the German plan aimed to win air superiority over Southern Britain and the English Channel by destroying the British air force and aircraft industry, targeting Britain’s air bases, military posts and, ultimately, its civilian population. Hitler saw victory in the battle as a prelude to the invasion of Britain (codenamed Operation Sealion), after the surrender of France, which had fallen by the swift and deadly blows of the Blitzkrieg. The success of the Royal Air Force (RAF) in the battle forced German to postpone and ultimately cancel Operation Sealion.
To new players, the Battle of Britain Starter Set brings four iconic fighters: two Supermarine Spitfire Mk.I and two Messerschmitt Bf-109E, beautifully sculpted in 1/200 scale and painted in every detail, along with the cards, rulers, markers, tokens and other materials to fly them. The rulebook is organized in three different levels, starting with the Basic Rules that provide a very simple starting point to learn the core concepts of the game and begin to play quickly, and stepping up to Standard and Advanced rules.
The Standard Rules make the game a little more challenging by introducing variable speed, airplane movement planning one turn ahead and special damages, and the Advanced Rules provide an even greater level of realism, including rules for variable altitude levels and acceleration.
The rulebook also presents Optional Rules, which make the game more detailed, including popular options such as tailing and aiming. Some of these Optional Rules can be played starting at the basic level - each optional rule indicates the level of the rules it can be used with.
For the veteran players, the rulebook includes the rules to use Special Airplanes available in the WW2 Wings of Glory range - two-seaters and multi-engine bombers. These models are sold separately in Airplane Packs and Special Packs. These rules are indexed according to the complexity level – Basic, Standard and Advanced, and Optional - so that special airplanes are playable whatever the complexity of the rule set used. Ground Units (Anti-Aircraft Guns and Ground Troupes) and Special Weapons that can be used to equip airplanes are also presented in the rulebook.
Finally, the rulebook includes a chapter of Scenario Rules, which includes all the rules for bombing (both "Level Bombing" and "Dive Bombing"), rules suitable for use in specific scenarios, such as Full Load, Drop Tanks, Photo Recon, and rules for Solitaire Scenarios, which allow players to put on "auto-pilot" one or more airplanes (multi-engine bombers and two-seaters) to be taken down.
The WW2 Battle of Britain Starter Set also includes a large number of game components: a variety of special cards (6 Target/Troop Cards, 6 Anti-Aircraft/Troop Cards, 6 Bomb Cards), to create and play different scenarios; four airplane consoles (dual sided for use with either the Basic or Standard/Advanced rules); two measuring rulers for determining attack range; 252 damage tokens, including all the different sets of tokens (A, B, C...) which define all the different weaponry in the WW2 range of miniatures; and 266 markers, tokens and counters, that handle special damage, ace abilities, manage altitude, and keep track of your airplane status (such as damage to the crew, last maneuver taken, altitude).
The 12-page Scenarios Booklet presents seven ready-to-play historical scenarios set during the Battle of Britain, which can be played using the currently released miniatures for Wings of Glory. Basic Scenarios require only the airplanes included in the set, while Advanced Scenarios allow you to play with additional miniatures released in the WW2 Wings of Glory range. Each scenario presents the historical background and outcome, and all the information required to play. The booklet also gives instructions for inventing new scenarios and presents the full range of existing airplanes compatible with the Battle of Britain time frame.
There are three basic ready-to-play scenarios: “Never in the Field”, a fierce dogfight between two patrols of fighter in the skies over England; “The Battle over Waterloo”, with an escorted Bf.109 fighter-bomber attacking London in daylight: and “Bombs over Dover”, with two Bf.109 fighter-bombers reaching an enemy airfield and attacking, while defying ground fire from AA installations.
The four advanced scenarios are “The Hardest Day”, where an escorted Stuka must destroy a target defended by R.A.F. fighters; “The Blitz”, where Luftwaffe bombers with a heavy escort are sent to bomb London and are constantly harassed by the R.A.F. - first meeting over the coast, then upon reaching the city, and finally chasing them on their way home; “Bursts in the Dark” where, during a night patrol, a Beaufighter meets two German bombers and attacks them; and, finally, “Biplanes over Folkestone”, where a patrol of Italian Fiat Cr.42 looking for opponents is intercepted by a flight of Spitfires.
More airplanes to play the Battle of Britain
At the same time as the new Starter Set, separate WW2 Wings of Glory Squadron Packs are releasing, allowing players to field a larger force of airplanes from the Battle of Britain in the game. The main new feature of these packs, compared to the previous Airplane Packs and Special Packs, is a sheet of alternative decals with individual codes and insignia: buying several copies of the same pack, players can then field a whole squadron. Similarly to the most recent Wings of Glory Airplane Packs, skill cards and special rule cards for the airplanes are also included.
The four Squadron Packs released together with the Battle of Britain Starter Set feature Spitfire Mk.Is from the 610 Squadron “County of Chester”, Messerschimitt Bf-109Es from the Jagdgeschwader 2 “Richthofen”, Hawker Hurricane Mk.Is from the 303 Polish Squadron “Kos´ciuszko”, and Junkers Ju.87 B–2s (best known as "Stukas") from Sturzkampfgeschwader 77.
In addition to the planes included in the Starter Set and in the Squadron Packs, several other aircrafts previously released in WW2 Wings of Glory Airplane Packs were employed during the Battle of Britain and can be used in the scenarios for this period: the Heinkel He.111, the Gloster Gladiator, the Fiat Cr.42 Falco, Bristol Beaufighter Mk.IF and Bf.110. All the other airplanes in the WW2 Wings of Glory range are compatible with the Battle of Britain Starter Set and its planes, even if they were not historically involved in this period or front of WW2.
The WW2 Wings of Glory Battle of Britain Starter Set and the four Squadron Packs will be in stores in March 2017. In the meantime, stay tuned for our preview articles about these new airplanes.