Ares: Tripods and Triplanes
BEST FOR: Kids and Grandparents, Historical Gamers
RRP: £46.99 (additional vehicles £15-25) (available HERE)
With the BBC’s War of the Worlds remake just around the corner, what better time to get into a bit of classic alternate history gaming? From Ares Games, the folk who gave us Wings of Glory (formerly Wings of War) and Battlestar Galactica in miniature form, history and sci-fi combine to give us the excellent, highly intuitive Tripods and Triplanes, which is just as silly and enjoyable as the name suggests.
The starter set gives you everything you need, with one invader and one plane; existing players of Wings WW1 will find everything they have already compatible, whilst newcomers may want a couple of extras to round things out: stuff a Sopwith and a Squid in their stocking, or something.
WoG also continues to be the only game I have ever managed to get my own father to play: it’s delightful when the 68 year-old and the 9 year-old are competing with their NEEEEEEEEOWWWWW noises whilst their tiny planes are chasing each other round the kitchen table.
I was a bit wary of introducing my dad to something a bit more, well, gamer-y, but he could hardly contain his excitement, even if he did inadvertently manage to get his alien invader blown up by a plucky Nieuport 16.
Now, as is the way these days, the rules are freely available for your perusal (CLICK HERE)
The same strategic decisions from WoG exist: planning your manoeuvres each turn, hoping to anticipate and fly rings around your opponent, but now you have to face off against the terrifying alien menace. They are not as slow and lumbering as you might think, either, pivoting on the spot and moving with disconcerting, scuttling speed. Their firing arcs are much more restrictive (a narrow beam template), but you tend to have to fly right down the throat of them to land your shots (not quite Randy Quaid in Independence Day, but close).
As you would expect with an Ares product, there’s plenty in the box, with damage decks for all of the vehicles that are currently available, plenty of dashboards and an array of tokens. I was worried that I’d want more planes or Tripods for variety, but there’s enough variation in the base-game scenarios to keep you busy, plus of course all Wings of Glory goodies are compatible. However, other invaders are available, all playing slightly differently, plus reprints of long-unavailable WW1 aircraft. It’s still completely intuitive, and remains one of the most accessible games out there.
Again, I threw the rules at a child to read and explain, and the 11 year-old duly taught me, his younger brother and grandfather in turn without any real issue. Plenty of fun to be had with this, and it’ll keep us busy over Xmas and New Year for sure.
I think I would recommend picking up another plane and a Locust (basic tripod): whilst not essential, it certainly adds to the game. Whilst I’m a big fan of a Sopwith Camel (too much Biggles as a child) I would add a Fokker or Albatross for around £15, so you’ve got the ability to play Entente Vs Central Powers as well – thrown in another, why don’t ya, and then you’ve got a fully playable Wings of Glory set as well.
And a reminder that you can get your copy from our friends Element Games for at least 10% off RRP (CLICK HERE), using code SAM4132 to earn DOUBLE store credit too.