Sunday, October 15, 2017

D&D Attack Wing is an enjoyable Flight Path game as expected

I bought Dungeons & Dragons: Attack Wing about 3 years ago, but only today I finally got around to playing it with my friend Jeff.  I only just discovered yesterday that the game is discontinued, so there's that.

I am well familiar with the Flight Path system, as I have played X-Wing and Star Trek: Attack Wing, and even Armada previously.

The game is about 80% similar in mechanics to the other Flight Path games that I mentioned, only there are rules for ground combat, as well as some tweaks concerning the ability to change altitude and permanent armour bonus that doesn't go away unless a critical hit, which is unlike space opera shields found in X-Wing and Star Trek.

I noted that the game's dice has different symbols than other Flight Path dice, no doubt just to squeeze an extra buck from us.. 

Jeff and I set up a flight-only try-out this time and left the ground combat to another day even though I had some Elf and Hobgoblin troops.

We set up a 75 point game, with my Blue Dragon and Gargoyle, vs Jeff's Red Dragon and Wyvern.

Jeff is much more intimately aware of the D&D universe than I am and dutifully informed me that Blue Dragons in D&D are usually evil.

I shrugged as I had no idea. I just liked the name of my Blue Dragon, Eshaedra..

Eshaedra was equipped with a bite and tail attacks for melee, as well as a ranged attack using lightning breath..

My gargoyle Malebolge was a bruiser on the ground, able to roll 5 attack dice on terra firma, 3 in the air. Not bad..

Both Eshaedra and Malebolge had armour upgrades, able to deflect 3 normal hit points of damage with every blow, which made them both harder than a coffin nail. Or so I hoped.

What Jeff and I were not used to was that in D&D: Attack Wing, melee attacks could be front and rear arcs (e.g using a tail), and not necessarily have bases touching. You can bite someone at range 2 for instance, to take into account the size of the creatures and fluidity of aerial combat.

I forgot to bring a terrain mat to play. Since we didn't want to do our majestic dragon vs dragon battle on Jeff's wife's flowery brown table cloth, we used a black mat and called it a night battle.

We set up the game, and put hidden obstacle markers (the yellow circles)...

The yellow circles symbolize either ground or air obstacles that will only be discovered when a creature flies through them, even slightly. Creatures that pass through them have to roll for damage and lose an action as they traverse it and attacks through it give the defender a bonus defense die.

I at first found this stupid.. How can you not see terrain on the ground until you're on top of it?  And what the hell is an air obstacle? Clouds?

Jeff though, being the D&D loremaster that he is, pointed out that it's pretty common in fantasy to have floating castles, islands, rocks, etc, in the sky, as well as traps on the ground. Fantasy he explained, is replete with illusions spells, vortices, magical storms, etc, and that dragons fly very fast (60 mph he said)... so it all made sense.

I grudgingly conceded his point, but the grognard in me had a wait-and-see attitude about these terrain rules.  The rules called for us to agree on a set number of obstacles and place them in turn on the board before setting up. We agreed this time that neither of us would see what kind of terrain it was and blindly put them on the mat. Underneath these yellow tokens was a number and we followed the rulebook's example. with the obstacle numbers 1-6 being a ground obstacle, 7-10 being air, and 11,12, being dissipating mist (nothing).

It did not take very long when playing to see how important these obstacles are to game play.

Jeff cautiously skirted having his dragon go through them during play..

I however collided 3 times in the game with these things,  with 2 points of damage on my 5 health point dragon, and 1 point on my gargoyle.. all because I needlessly risked going through them. To be honest, I at first naively thought my 3 armour would protect me, but only after I flew through them did we look up to make sure about our assumption. I turns out that obstacle damage penetrates, with no armour protection.

Thus, my Gargoyle took a hit here in my eagerness to engage in melee with Jeff's Wyvern....

And another 2 obstacle hits on poor Eshaedra.. she got got hit once when I soared past Jeff's dragon,

and then another hit on the dice roll when I did an emergency bootlegger reverse after the fly-past to get behind Jeff's dragon to fire a lighting breath at him...

I had to roll a red attack die for every brush with obstacles, and got a hit 3 times even before Jeff laid a hand on my forces... bad bit of luck there..

Anyways, it turned out that obstacles we encountered and uncovered were usually ground ones..  Jeff dug up some ice terrain as they were about the same size in diameter as the yellow circles to symbolize that..

Performing a lightning breath attack
We both critically realized that setting up the obstacles is an important part of the game.. you can use it to put a crimp on the other guy's play, especially if you know what kind of terrain obstacle you're putting.  I imagine when you play with ground troops, you can try to lead the enemy into ambushes with the ballista and other such ground based ranged attacks in killing zones.

I had Lightning breath, and Jeff's dragon had Fire breath.. It sounds powerful, but once you use it, you have to put 3 delaying tokens and waste 3 turns to charge up again.. so, even powerful dragons have to engage in melee a lot and can't just stand back and attack at a distance..  This is a bit different than the other 2 Flight Path games I am used to..

There was lots of maneuvering back and forth as you would expect in a Flight Path game..

My Gargoyle was being chased by the Red Dragon and eventually taking a beating down to 2 health points...

until finally Eshaedra maneuvered just right and homed in on the Red Dragon in her sights after Jeff spent some time chasing my hapless Gargoyle..

and opened up again with lightning breath ..

However, there was no damage in that lightning bolt, and so Jeff opportunistically decided to get close to me and go toe-to-toe in a fight.. bite vs bite in a dragon slugfest. We both landed on the ground as we gingerly wanted to avoid the nearby obstacle, as it's easier to maneuver on the ground as you can pivot 90 or 180 degrees or even go backwards.

The same thing was happening with our Gargoyle and Wyvern.. neither of whom had a ranged attack and so both had to close to use teeth and claws in melee...

It was here that my wounded gargoyle entered my Dice Hall of Fame, as he pounded the healthy Wyvern to death inflicting lots of damage, all in one roll, despite being wounded from the Red Dragon's pounding.

I realized that the Gargoyle figure should be used primarily against ground troops, as the +2 attack dice when on the ground comes in handy.... a thought as I filed away for next time when we play with infantry.
However, just as I killed the Wyvern, Jeff's Red Dragon inflicted 2 critical hits on me (bypassing my armour), killing poor Ephaesdra. They just both happened to be the same critical hit, "Crippled"..

We decided to call that a game as we fulfilled our objective to familiarize ourselves with D&D: Attack Wing.

We both enjoyed it, as there are some subtle differences with the other Fight Path games. We definitely want to try it again and next time, use ground fantasy troops as well. I read somewhere on BGG that some found the ground aspect kind of clunky, but we'll see.

Now that the game is discontinued, we are hoping that the expansion packs will be discounted on the shelves....

Thumbs up on D&D Attack Wing.

We finished the evening with this post-apocalyptic tableau building game, 51st State: Master Set.

I won't elaborate too much on this game here, as tableau games do not lend themselves to interesting blog posts.

I just want to say that the artwork is very pleasing, and the meeples are not bad quality (guns, gasoline, metal, bricks, people)..

The tableau gameplay is very enjoyable and the game goes by quickly, with less than 2 hours to play..

The art and theme is very post-apoc, and sometimes, the cards are amusing to read...

The tableau at the end of the game is very pleasing with all the artwork. and there is some satisfaction at the game mechanics to build it.

All in all, an enjoyable gaming Saturday with two very different games and genres...


  1. Those dragons look sweet! Blue Dragons in D&D are evil? I had no idea too.

  2. I was only vaguely aware that dragons come in different colours but didn’t realize it meant different powers and factions.