GAMEDAY: Famous Aces: Watch your Back!

Slaughter of the Innocents


The game series being played is WINGS OF WAR by Nexus, distributed by Fantasy Flight in the United States. Spawn (Gar) likes the first game of this series (Famous Aces), and wanted to try the follow up, Watch your back! Gar is seven, kind of impatient, and very smart. He can get very aggressive in a game system that he understands. He HAS shot me down before in the first game. Watch your Back! brings more airplanes into the game, but doesn’t appear to change the rulebook at all from the first game, which is a little confusing, as there are some new bits in WYB, like “blank” maneuver cards.

I wanted to see more planes in this system. The scenarios are fairly weak in both games, but you can ALWAYS generate a random dogfight if you have enough planes. I think there’s something missing in both rulebooks because I still have an imperfect knowledge of all the game components and what they do. Not everything is explained adequately– I suspect it’s a function of the translation.

Still, the basic dogfighting mechanism is fairly sound and very exciting– and the random dogfight is mostly what Gar and I like to play with. Wings of War can be a lot of fun in a “Blue Max”, “Ace of Aces” kind of way. This is a pictorial of our first game of Watch Your Back! together (as straight WYB.. we have played both games combined before). Sorry the pics were so blurry. A Palm Zire isn’t the best camera in the world. If you want to see a larger picture, click on it to view.

First Pic: starting position

Gar is not as sleepy as he looks, but it is close to his bedtime. He brought the game up as a classic stall tactic, and as we had a half hour I was keen on giving it a try.

Second Pic: my plane card

I’m flying the Italian Nieuport, which is really fragile compared to Gar’s Austrian UFANG. I’ve got 10 points of damage to play with, he’s got 17.

An Ill-Advised start!

This is not a good beginning; Gar turns tail and flys off in the direction of the table edge. I convince him that he is flying the far superior, more maneuverable plane, and he should go on the attack. He realizes his mistake quickly.

Chasing the UFANG

Gar, Gar, Gar…. tch tch tch… a beeline straight away from me is not a good idea, no matter what kind of maneuver cards you are playing, buddy!

Dang! too far!

Curses! Foiled by the long range. I have the Ufang in my sights, but he’s just THAT far enough away to get a long shot on him. He’s working on a dodge to the left, I can tell.

Slipping to the left..

I’m sideslipping left to line up another shot as he banks to the left. I have you now!!!

and again!

One again, moving off to the left.

Straight versus Bank...

Ooops, I don’t like this combination of maneuvers… HE CAN TURN INSIDE MY TURN! I may be in for it here!!!


Still NO SHOT! Blast! I have to move now..

Side slip versus tight turn

Another bad combo. I thought I could sideslip out of this bad position, but he turned inside again. He’ll be coming in on my flank here… FAST…


Well, I knew I was going to take some gunfire…


Eat it up, Daddy!

getting guns to bear.

Well, that hurt, but at least I can get my guns point in the right direction, eh?


Budda budda budda budda… eat hot flaming lead!!!!!


ONE MEASILY POINT???!! Aw c’mon…


We rapidly disengage and work new angles. Maybe an Immelman turn…?

blurry, but that's how it goes...

I work an Immelman turn, Gar heads away from me.

Second phase of maneuvering

I’ll get you yet, RED BARON!


This is where the battle went bad for Gar. he turns in exactly the wrong direction, and I’m the back of his plane like “stank on a pig!”

Another shot in!

The damage cards are not favoring me tonight! A mere 1 pointer!

Staying close

As long as I can stay with him and turn with him, I’ll get more shots in…

Bad news for Gar

The angle now favors YOURS TRULY!! Can I take advantage of this positioning?

More Flaming Lead

Eat more hot flaming LEAD!!! Aw, come ON!! Not another #@%^%$%^$ ONE card???!

Jinking out of there!

Gar wildly tries to jink out of the lne of fire… But I counter him nicely.. I have you NOW!!!

Not so FAST!

“Not with THAT card, Daddy!”

And guess what..To top that off.. my guns jam!


Gar expresses his righteous contempt for my gunfire standards…

Plucked for the kill!

Three turns of following close later… I clear my guns, line up for the shot… and hear:


We agreed that Gar was the victor, as he had less overall damage on his plane at the end of the game. He shook hands with me (he’s quite a sportsman), and thanked me for the game, then trundled off to beddy-bye.

SUMMARY: A great time was had by us both. I like the basic fighting system, but think the rulebooks need a re-edit to explain (adequately) what all the components DO in this game. I think the casual player would greatly love to see a better historical commentary about the actual historical planes being represented by these cards.. I know I would. The scenarios and a campaign system really need some work. Other than that, this is a great system which has born up against several replays.


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