While waiting for the release of JD Webster’s Wings of the Motherland, Against the Odds published magazine game about the Finnish aviation under name of Buffalo Wings.
This little minigame is more of a return to the relative simplicity of the Against the Reich and Achtung! Spitfire than expansion to the evolved system introduced in the Whistling Death. Wings of the Motherland will follow the path of the Whistling Death. However, Buffalo Wing’s simplified flight system is interesting.
Buffalo Wings offer a quick peek to the world of the Fighting Wings system, not unlike ASL SK series. It is accomplished without burdening players with all the load that the whole system carries. Rulebook of Buffalo Wings – only few pages long covers all the necessary bits and pieces needed for entertaining and decent aerial combat. Counters and map are very nice quality and the plane data sheets are written in sight of the full system and they are fully exchangeable. Additionally, the magazine including the game contains several interesting articles that treat the subject matter and give depth to the game. All in all, Against the Odds have done very good job there.
Subject matter is obscure and rarely touched in the aviation wargaming. It is interesting to see it happening and coverage is quite comprehensive. Planes available for both sides provide good mix to fight over, ranging from dogfights to bombing raids.
The modeling of the flight – if you are used to the Fighting Wings system is somewhat counterintuitive and requires a bit of learning curve to unlearn everything and then do it in a way that the very basic set of rules say. Turning allowed to single direction during the turn, inhibited banking requirements and completely different pitch determination system make the experience taxing if gotten used to the full system. They are also much more restrictive if compared to the rules edition that came with Whistling Death. By no means Buffalo Wings rules are even close to the middle ground. I can’t help thinking that too much was simplified.
Buffalo Wings offer nice entry to the Fighting Wings system for anyone that is afraid (unjustifiably or justifiably) that the full system is too complex or too hard to learn or visualize. If, however already familiar with the system it is probably easier just to use the newest ruleset and go with that. All the components support either approach. In either case, Buffalo Wings has offered interesting situations to play over the northern skies and shed light to the aerial conflict that is not well known.