Platoon Commander Kursk

A Wing and a Prayer – First Look!

Coming in for landing on a table near you ~

Michael Eckenfels, 1 November 2017

I’m going to try something different. Well…kind of different. Here, I’d thought that unboxing videos were the way to go, but perhaps the written medium is the best way to go. I think finding the happy medium between the two is going to mean a bit of back and forth, not just in our forums, but also in discussions of these articles. Hopefully, you will spend a moment or two to let us know what you think.

That said, it seems that there’s several companies vying for the solo bomber-missions-in-Europe mantle. DVG has B-17 Leader, Legion Wargames has Target For Today (not to mention B-29 Superfortress and Hell Over Korea), and here, Lock ‘n Load Publishing has A Wing and a Prayer.

 

The box cover’s design is eye-catching, I think.

Designed by Erik von Rossing, whom has quite a few solitaire game titles to his name, this one has been received by the wargaming community with positive vibes, as far as I’ve been able to tell. I’ve checked out multiple first impression pieces and articles on this game as they’ve trickled in over the last few months as I’ve waited to receive this copy, and there’s nothing really that I’m thinking is going to surprise me in a bad way. We shall see once I get it to the table, though. 

 

The B-17 image is quite awesome here, and when you compare the perspective with the front cover, it’s kind of cool that they did that.

 

There’s also these GrogHeads guys. Yeah, yeah, we get it, you like games. Sheesh! 😉

 

Opening the box, you’re greeted with a manual cover that shows many B-17s in peril from heavy flak, and it immediately puts you into a mindset that you’re holding a challenging game. I can almost imagine my beleaguered squadron getting pounded by German flak as the target gets closer! One is already going down in flames, almost as if it’s warning you: be prepared.

 

He who controls the dice, controls the universe!

 

The two six-sided dice are somewhat of a surprise; while I knew it had them because I’ve seen this game on other channels/sites, it’s still a reminder that the game isn’t that complicated. Not that it’s not rich in detail. I’m hoping that the game is a good balance between simplicity and fun.

 

 

The cards are all target cards. I’m not remembering exactly how they work in-game, but your choice of Campaigns will certainly impact the cards you can choose from.

 

 

The manual itself is pretty awesome. It’s interesting to note that, while it’s not a hardcover manual, the cover material is sturdier stuff than normal manual pages. It’s a subtle but appreciated inclusion in the overall design of the manual.

 

 

It’s full color, too, with great examples. The print is two-column and quite large. Not elderly citizen large, but it’s really nice that I don’t need to squint or do the old man raise-your-head-to-look-through-your-transitions maneuver to read it.

 

 

The manual lays everything out well, explaining everything in good detail.

 

 

I’m not a huge fan of Times New Roman/typewriter-like font, but in a game about World War II, it fits perfectly, and I like it.

 

 

This is the only oddity – record sheets included at the back of the manual. I imagine there’s permission to photocopy these, and possibly that LnL has downloadable copies of them from their website, but this means taking an extra step before being able to play it. I’m not worried, if they’re downloadable; I have a big printer at work that I can take full advantage of! If you do not, though, you might need to figure some logistics out to play it.

 

 

There’s four hand-outs, too. I thought this was just a solitaire game, but look here – it says “2 Player Sequence of Play.’ That’s encouraging, if you want to try it against another player.

 

 

A close up of one of the handouts shows you the large print here, too. The tables are rather large and easy to read, which is a huge plus.

 

 

This Formation Card is long, but not too long. You can have up to a dozen B-17s in a mission, I think, and this is where you place them. I look forward to reading more about how this display works.

 

 

When I first saw the map, I wasn’t quite sure if it was a nice design or not. The boxes clutter the map and the huge icons in them aren’t exactly pretty. However, the more I’ve seen of the game – and especially now that I can see it in person – shows to me, at least, that the map does its job, and has a certain elegance and beauty in that regard. I think it’ll take some play time to sell me more on its design. For now, though, I think I can be down for what it’s presenting.

 

However, a closer look reveals numerous mistakes – four, in fact – when it comes to location names. “Sutgart” is used instead of Stuttgart. “Abberbille” instead of “Abbeville.” And two others. Lock n’ Load said they were aware of the issue after the shipment had already been sent, and this happened after they were assured the edits were made. David Heath of Lock n’ Load has said this falls right at his feet, and while that’s admirable, it’s still something of a mess, even if it doesn’t seem like it’ll directly impact gameplay.

 

 

The map is not mounted. My concern with that is, if you play it a lot, unfolding and re-folding is going to wear the creases out. But, this keeps production costs down too, I know, so it’s a double-edged sword.

 

 

If you think the production value is high so far (like I do), then seeing these counters will be a feast for your eyes, I think. They certainly are for me. They’re huge, for one thing, and there’s a lot of them in the three included sheets.

 

 

I think there’s at least one typo in them, though, and I didn’t notice this until I edited my pictures. Note the “SLAVO SALLY” in the upper middle part of the picture…I think that’s supposed to be “SALVO,” don’t you?

 

 

My hand/finger gives you some general scale (and I’m a big guy!). These counters are gigantic, which is awesome.

Overall, I really like the production value in this game. As a big fan of B-17: Queen of the Skies, B-17 Leader, and B-29 Superfortress, I can’t get enough of these types of games. I’m hoping this will be as good as the others, and I have no reason to think otherwise. Join us soon when I get a full review of this game to the site!


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