Tripods & Triplanes: preview of one of the tripods, directly from the factory's CAD system.

Tripods & Triplanes: preview of one of the tripods, directly from the factory's CAD system.

Three renowned game designers - Andrea Angiolino (Wings of Glory/Sails of Glory), Francesco Nepitello and Marco Maggi (War of the Ring, Age of Conan Strategy Board Game) - are working together on a new project which was recently unveiled, during the Italian gaming festival Giocoforza: “Wings of Glory - Tripods & Triplanes”, a Wings of Glory science-fiction spin off, inspired by H.G. Wells’ “The War of the Worlds”. The game is planned to release in late 2017.

At Giocoforza, the authors Angiolino e Nepitello presented an early prototype of Tripods & Triplanes to Riccardo Vadalà, one of the editors of Giocomicon, an Italian website dedicated to board games. Read below the preview written by Vadalà and originally posted on Gioconomicon.

"Tripods & Triplanes": the first World War was against Mars!

Very few people know that in the dying days of the First World War (around 1918) a more global, dreadful and vital (for the whole humanity) was fought: the war against the Martian invasion.

Lucky for us, Andrea Angiolino, Marco Maggi and Francesco Nepitello, no strangers to the historical memory, remind us of such an important event that forever changed the destiny of our own planet – and what is best, they are doing so with a new board game that will allow us to relive the tales of those heroes on primitive flying machines who, even wearing different uniforms, formed an uneasy alliance to fight against an enemy from the deep space and armed with an incredibly advanced technology. Their lives were the tribute we paid to avoid falling in slavery under the Red Planet’s armies!

The first presentation of Tripods & Triplanes, with prototypes, at Giocoforza festival.

The first presentation of Tripods & Triplanes, with prototypes, at Giocoforza festival.

This is the story behind "Tripods & Triplanes", the new stand-alone game in the Wings of Glory series, that we played in a special world-wide preview during the Giocoforza festival, in Petriolo (Macerata, Central Italy)!

We will begin by saying that Tripods & Triplanes is incredibly fun: imagine joining the historical accuracy of Andrea Angiolino’s works (speaking of Wings of Glory) with the fantasy creativity of the duo Maggi-Nepitello, mixed up with the simplicity of the Wings of War series, and you have an idea of the game you will wish for in the next months!

The background, as you can easily imagine, is very close to H.G. Wells’ “The War of the Worlds”, although due to the epoch in which the game takes place, Tripods vs Triplanes seems almost to be the boardgame incarnation of the exceptional mockumentary The “Great Martian War" (which, if you have not watched it yet, you must do so right now!).

If you are fans of Wings of Glory, the system is pretty much the same, so you are already able to play it; if you have never played Wings of Glory, then Tripods & Triplanes will make a fan of the game!

Being a stand-alone, Tripods & Triplanes will be sold as a separate title, although fully compatible with Wings of Glory, and the starter set will include everything you need for a 2-players game.

What to expect, then, from the appearing of these Tripods?

In the pictures, you can see two different prototypes (crude at best) of Tripods: the first is but a scrap-built simulacrum that however gives an idea of the scale of the future Tripod models whose prototypes are still being assembled in the Ares Games labs; the other is just a bi-dimensional paper model, built from some concept art of the Medium-class Tripod from the first assault wave!

The base of a tripod's prototype.

The base of a tripod's prototype.

As you can see, Tripods have an octagonal base, with some familiar information (familiar to the Wings of Glory players, at least) together with new stats. Let us take a closer look to them.

Basic stats are on the left: the Maneuver Deck letter (indicating which deck of cards is used to move the Martian mech), the Firepower Deck letter (that indicates the deck used to inflict damage by our Tripod), and the Damage Resistance, being the maximum damage our alien unit can withstand.

On the right we find the new Tripod stats: the Class to which the mech belong (either Light, Medium, or Heavy), the Maximum Energy Value of the Tripod engine, and the Recharge Value (which will be detailed further on).

Furthermore, you will notice that the base depicted has some orange sides, that indicate the position of the Tripod’s Energy Shields that protect the mech from the machine gun fire. In detail, any machine gun attack suffered from one of these sides will force the Martian pilot to draw the relative Damage cards, but only to keep track of any possible Special Damage symbol, that will be turned into Energy Points loss; some base sides will also show Weapon icons, that indicate the fire arc of any given type of weapon the Tripod may mount. These shield, however, cannot protect the Tripod from either rocket or cannon attacks.

Tripods move in a totally different way compared to the aircrafts: they have peculiar orders (halt and reverse) and a penalty if the Tripod moved for the whole turn (i.e., if the mech’s three cards for a turn are all movement cards). In this case, one of the three cards must be a running card, considering however that running always costs Energy Points.

Thus, as it happens with illegal moves in Wings of Glory, if the Tripod does not fufill this requirement, will suffer a negative effect – in this case a devastating fall; after that, this terrible warmachine from another world will have to start the sequence to stand up again.

This sequence will take three game phases, and while the Tripod is standing up will suffer further handicaps, such as the impossibility of firing and the discarding of all the planned cards.

What is worse, fallen Tripods may trip other Tripods – this will also happen if two Tripods bump into each other (i.e., when their bases overlap).

An early prototype of the tripods.

An early prototype of the tripods.

Therefore, if the alien firepower is utterly devastating, on the other hand the Martian warmachines have opportune limitations that balance the game.

An interesting peculiarity in the Tripod movement is the presence of Action Tokens. When all the players have planned their moves, Martians can place an Action Token on their first Movement card (the Martian players can discuss their options during the game… well, these alien warriors may well have had a radio apparatus or telepathy… whatever!).

The possible actions are four: Fire Heat Ray; Fire Toxic Smoke; Change Heading (left or right); Recharge. Some of these tokens will be red, being only usable with red Manoeuvre cards (the Halt cards).

After the first phase, i.e. when the movement planning is completed, the used Action Tokens are discarded and will not be available again until the next turn, and the Martians will plan the placement of new Action Tokens.

Tripods have their saying even with their weapons systems. They can fire a Heat Ray (a sort of laser) with a narrow fire arc but a very long range and devastating effects – this ray costs energy and can only be used after specific Manoeuvre cards. Tripods may fire a toxic, corrosive fume, the Black Smoke, that has its own template; this weapon releases a toxic cloud that if entered will cause a lot of damage.

The Martian Tripods need energy to use specific actions such as Fire Heat Ray, Black Smoke, or Running; plus, a Tripod without energy is more vulnerable, since its shields are deactivated and the weapons system are shut down. These alien machines have their own internal generators that produce energy (one energy point per Recharge action); but during the game setup specific Objective Areas will be defined, on which the Recharge will be faster, operating at the value indicated on the Tripod base (the Recharge Value will be specific for each model).

Tripods & Triplanes demo with prototypes at Giocoforza festival.

Tripods & Triplanes demo with prototypes at Giocoforza festival.

The damage system will also be different for the Tripods. When you are piloting one of these mechs, you can forget about the traditional damages your airplanes are used to: when an alien pilot is wounded he can no longer fire weapons, and the damage location could hit the Energy Batteries or the Electric Circuits (the whole machine will malfunction), or even the Gyros (the Tripod will no longer be able to change its heading), the Weapons Systems, and so on.

On the other side of the hill, our beloved heroes on their biplanes – the last, best defense against the alien onslaught, have received new weapons from the High Command: new rockets and very powerful cannons. Rockets use the same rules as for attacking a drachen (the tethered ballons of Wings of Glory), but are more powerful, being designed to breach a Tripod, with more powder and petrol bottle primers. The cannons are 37mm guns mounted inside the propeller’s nozzle and, even though they can only fire once per turn, inflict a type C damage (calibrated on the Tripod scale damage), independent from the firing distance; unfortunately, the recoil sends a biplane into stall, and the cannon needs three phases to be reloaded, during which the pilot cannot fire machine guns or perform an Immelmann.

Biplanes can also equip incendiary bullets that inflict specific effects: damage cards such as Smoke and 5 Points damage will always result in a fire.

Historically speaking, the nozzle-mounted 37mm guns are real, being used by some French aces on their Spad XII (after the necessary modifications), while in the fiction of Tripods and Triplanes their use will be extended to many other aircraft models!

Early preview of Tripods & Triplanes with prototypes at Giocoforza.

Early preview of Tripods & Triplanes with prototypes at Giocoforza.

As mentioned before, playing Tripods & Triplanes is extremely fun. If you have ever played Wings of Glory with a Drachen scenario, you will know how hard is to hit anything with rockets, and in this battle against aliens the true aces will soon rise and shine!

At the moment of writing, the starter set of Tripods & Triplanes will include one Tripod and one biplane, plus all the rules and game materials for a complete two-players game. Rules will be divided in three levels: standard, advanced and special (that will include new game options, such as specific pilot abilities, both for Martians and humans).

In addition, Ares will publish new Tripods (in single model boxes), at least for the first two Invasion Waves with two different models per wave.

Each wave will include either a light Tripod (quick and agile) or a heavy Tripod (armoured and bristling with weapons, but slow), in addition to a medium Tripod. The design of the different waves will change according to the historical period, so that the first wave will be more “arcaic” and steampunk, while the second will be a bit more “modern”. On the human side, the rules of Tripods vs Triplanes will allow to use any aircraft model from the Wings of Glory World War I series.

 Work-in-progress: rendering of one of the first wave Tripod models.

Work-in-progress: rendering of one of the first wave Tripod models.

This is the story so far! Tripods & Triplanes is still undergoing a series of playtests, and the commercial aspects are still to be defined, and some things will possibly change in the next months respect to what we have seen and written. However, the first Tripod prototypes should be available for display during the next Essen Spiel.

The innovations for Tripods vs Triplanes are not limited to the ones we have reported, and the Italian trio of designers is already at work on new material which is still top secret! We can hardly wait to play the definitive version of Tripods & Triplanes, as surely all of you are!

Ares Games thanks Riccardo Vadalà and Gioconomicon for this great and detailed preview!

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