Designing Wing Leader: Blitz

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When I designed the first Wing Leader game, I made a conscious decision to go broad with the game content rather than narrow. Looking at other WW2 air games, such as Air Force and Fighting Wings, they begin with an intense focus on a single-theatre–always northwest Europe–so as to maximize coverage of the Luftwaffe. Let’s face it, the Luftwaffe sells. Hooray for Herrenvolk!

Evolving the Wing Leader System

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Developing the second volume of Wing Leader was supposed to be so simple. I would assemble some new aircraft data cards, throw together some scenarios, kick it out the door, then. . . profit!

It all went wrong when people started to LIKE the first volume, Wing Leader: Victories. The problem when people like your game is that they play it. They play it a lot. They push the system and ask awkward questions. (What bastards!) Next thing you know, you’re responding to the feedback, tweaking rules, nerfing some values while buffing others. The game evolves!

Wing Leader Scenario V25 Replay (Part 2)

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The following is a continuation of the previous Wing Leader post, which was a replay of Wing Leader Scenario V25 “Singapore Sling”, one of the supplemental scenarios provided by Lee B-W online.

Wing Leader Scenario V25 Replay (Part 1)

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Wing Leader Cover

The following is a replay of Wing Leader Scenario V25 “Singapore Sling” which is one of the supplemental scenarios provided by Lee B-W online..

Japanese Pre-game Planning

In order to win this scenario you will definitely need to bomb the airfield and at least take it out (6 hits). The Sally’s you are using have a bomb value of 20 so you will need at least 25% of the bombs from both bombers hit. That means that when you bomb you will need to roll an 8 or higher each time you bomb (before modifiers). So you will want to be sure to keep the negative modifiers to a minimum.

There are three paths that the Japanese can take to the target.

1. Dive down as soon as possible to altitude 0 and head straight for the Airfield and bomb. Then RTB (Return to Base).


Wing Leader Scenario V24 Replay – Part 3

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Here is Part 3 of the Wing Leader Scenario V24 Replay. If you missed Part 1 and Part 2, go here and here to read them first.

Turn 7 Setup Phase


Turn 7 Tally Phase

Kittyhawk D will try to Tally SM.79 X which is 1 square away. He needs to roll a 1 or higher. He rolls a 4-2 (Behind Kittyhawk D) = 2. SM.79 X is tallied.

Spitfire P will try to Tally SM.79 X which is 2 squares away. He needs to roll a 2 or higher. He rolls a 5+1 (Veteran) =6. SM.79 X is tallied.

Here is the map after the Tally Phase:


Wing Leader Scenario V24 Replay – Part 2

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Wing Leader Cover

Here is Part 2 of the Wing Leader Scenario V24 Replay. If you missed Part 1, you can find it here.

Turn 4 Setup Phase


Turn 4 Tally Phase


Spitfire A will try to Tally SM.79 X which is 3 squares away. He needs to roll a 3 or higher. He rolls a 3 +1 (Veteran) = 4. SM.79 X is tallied.

Wing Leader Scenario V24 Replay – Part 1

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Lee Brimmicombe-Wood’s newest design, Wing Leader: Victories 1940-1942, has been one of several big hits for us this summer. For you guys who don’t own or haven’t yet had a chance to play the game, we’re presenting here  (in several parts) Brett Dedrick’s terrific set of After Action Reports for a couple of the free scenarios that Lee has made available online. We hope you enjoy this detailed look inside the the game! – Gene



The Art of Wing Leader

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tab_01Flame wars, don’cha love ‘em? Gets the blood up. Keeps me alive and truckin’. This post begins with one of those online feuds in which grown men rhetorically whack each other round the head with saucepans until one side is exhausted or goes completely loopy and starts chewing the walls. In this fight my opponent’s parting shot was to wish me well with my Wing Leader ‘art project’. It was snide diminution of my game and I could cheerfully have lobbed a brick back. But like the best barbs it had hooks of truth. Wing Leader IS an art project. A damned big one. I told myself I might as well own the idea.


The benefit of being an artist-designer is that you can make a game look exactly like you want. There’s no other vision mediating the final experience. But there’s another benefit: the art and the design are intertwined. Sometimes the design is driven by the visual/tactile game experience. Art can inspire the design.

It’s true of my earlier games but it is especially true of Wing Leader.

Wing Leader: Content Creation

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Lee has done a bunch of cool air games for us since 2004, when we published Downtown, Lee’s outstanding game on the operational air war in Vietnam. Ten years and several games later, he’s working on a series that has captured my imagination more than any of the rest – Wing Leader. The initial design work we’ve seen to date looks amazing, so we’re really anxious to see this one progress, both design-wise and on our P500 list (451 orders in just a few months on the list). Lee has also created a terrific video promo for Wing Leader. If you haven’t seen it yet, check it out here for more info on the series and a good laugh!  – Gene


Today I start a vacation. Or it should more properly be called a staycation, as I’m locked to my desk at home, working on content for my Wing Leader game.

Like a certain game about squads and leaders, much of what makes Wing Leader great is in the scenario creation. There’s latitude for riffing on a number of simple themes and I’m looking to build a suite of scenarios that are fun, touch upon a lot of different moments in history, and deliver a variety of experience.


In my day job, building content for video games, you go through the early stages of a project trying to nail the basic stuff. You explore what the game is about and construct game worlds that support the core gameplay. Only once you understand the basics can you begin to stretch the content in different directions.

So it is with Wing Leader. Early scenarios focussed on basic building blocks. They attempted to define what a scenario looked like on the page, what the basic grammar of a scenario was. Now we have learned the basics we can start to play about, do some more sophisticated stuff. And we are almost at the place where we have a first draft of all the content.

It’s an important time. Knowing the scenario content allows me to lock down what the asset requirements are for the game. How many counters of each aircraft type do I need? How many aircraft data cards are required? I have estimates of all of these, but I now need to nail down precise numbers.

However, having a first draft, and having developed a working knowledge of the game and scenario creation, we can begin to tweak the stuff we have. We can take those early basic scenarios and buff them up, adding the spice and playful stuff we learned along the way.

I’ve tentatively pencilled in the autumn for the start of beta testing, which will permit some of you to take a look at the game and the content for the first time. It’ll be good to get fresh eyes on this. I’m not taking any newcomers just yet, so keep your eyes peeled for the bat-signal!