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Thread: "Official" climb rates, and how they change over time

  1. #1

    Default "Official" climb rates, and how they change over time

    My local gaming group has gotten pretty hooked on WoG, and specifically we've been getting into WWII as well.

    Most of them are very experienced gamers, and as they begin to master the Basic and Standard rules for WGS, I'm looking towards the Advanced Rules to add some additional tactical interest to the game.

    We're fortunate in that, between my own collection and the burgeoning collections of the other players, we've got a pretty good cross-section of the entire WGS product line.

    Which means that, as we look towards transitioning to the Advanced Rules, we need to deal with Altitude and hence climb rates.

    I have a copy of the original WoW Dawn of War box, the WoW Deluxe Starter, the WoG WGS RAP pack, and the WoG BoB Starter, and lastly the PDF download from the Ares website containing maximum altitude and climb rates.

    Upon comparison, my two big impressions are:
    - There are big discrepancies in the list of aircraft included / excluded
    - There are very big changes in the climb rates and maximum altitudes from edition to edition

    It seems the original intent around maximum ceiling was to reflect the prototypical aircraft's maximum ceiling in meters via its maximum "flying higher" ceiling in game, dropping of the "000". So a maximum real-life ceiling of 10,000m would become a maximum "flying higher" ceiling of 10 in-game.

    Climb rate is a little more amorphous, but it seems that a you take the real-world statistic and figure out how long it takes to climb 1,000m, not accounting for altitude, temperature, fuel load, external armaments, etc. Aircraft that could climb at around 4,000ft/min or better get a climb rate of 2 (eg. Bf109K), 3,000ft/min (15m/s) usually get a climb rate of 3 (eg. A6M2 Zero), ~2,200ft/min get a climb rate of 4 (eg. F4F-3 Wildcat), etc. This varies significantly depending on which edition you look at, however.

    Which leads me to the crux of my dilemma: it seems like the climb rates and maximum ceilings in older editions hewed more closely to the aircraft's actual real-world performance, whereas newer editions seem to vary significantly.

    For example, in the original WoW rulebook (available via PDF on the Fantasy Flight website, link below), the A6M2 Zero used to have a climb rate of 3 and a maximum of altitude of 10 (matching its realworld ceiling of 10,000m and climb rate of 15m/s). In the new WoG WGS WW2 PDF on the Ares website, it's a climb rate of 3 and a ceiling of 11, and in the BoB starter released last year, it's now a climb rate of 3 and a ceiling of 13 (???).

    In that same time, the F4F-3 Wildcat has gone from a climb rate of 3 and a ceiling of 12 (WoW PDF), to a climb rate of 4 and a ceiling of 12 (WoG PDF). The F4F-4 was a slower climber than the F4F-3 in real life, and this was reflected in the old WoW rules, but now in the BoB starter both the F4F-3 and F4F-4 have the same exact climb and ceiling stats.

    Fantasy Flight Wings of War WW2 Rulebook PDF:

    Ares Wings of Glory WW2 Rulebook PDF:

    So... what do you do? Go with the most recent published stats, aka the BoB starter? Go with whatever you've bought and ignore what came before and/or after? Or something else?

    My inclination is to try to stick to the realworld stats as much as possible, using the ceiling in meters as the maximum altitude in WoG (with the 000s removed, obviously) and dividing the real-world published climb rate to see how long it would take to climb 1,000m, using the rough rule-of-thumb that 3,000fpm (aka 1,000 meters per minute) = a climb rate of 3 as the baseline.

  2. #2


    If you are running the game, use whatever statistics you think are correct.

  3. #3

    flash's Avatar South of England Squadron Leader. (ret)

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    There was a change in altitude when it switched from WoW to WoG, where level 1 became zero feet ie hedge-hopping height and the max alts bumped up 1. That may explain some of it perhaps but not all.
    The F4F-3 & 4 stats were matched 4/11 in the WoW WW2 Fire From The Sky stats so not a WoW/WoG change other than the +1 Alt bump to 4/12.
    The Zero model and stats have always been a bit hinky and argued over - whether the model was right or wrong or whether the stats / manoeuvre deck matched the model etc. So might be best to make your own decision on that.
    As David says you need to make your choice as a group - maybe take the bulk as written in the latest rules, change the ones you find contentious, so long as all your players agree & are aware it should be OK, it's your game after all.

    "He is wise who watches"

  4. #4


    Actually, as you can see it's a bit all over the place, from the very beginning!

    Wings of War WW2 Dawn of War original box:

    Wings of War WW2 Deluxe Starter set:

    Wings of Glory WW2 RAP:

    Wings of Glory WW2 BoB Starter set:

    Wings of Glory WW2 PDF download:

    I agree that it's all down to what you agree on with your gaming group. What I'm asking is which one the community here believes is best

    All joking aside, I did find the contributions above helpful to contextualize the changes over the years. None of this is meant as criticism - just trying to understand the various realism and gameplay motives in play here.

  5. #5

    flash's Avatar South of England Squadron Leader. (ret)

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    As the WoW are so out of date now (2007-2009) & with the Alt change it would be a WoG one, and whatever is the latest release, so BoB in this case but its worth creating a doc that covers it all that you can update and tweak any contentious values on.

    "He is wise who watches"

  6. #6


    So it looks like rules changes around how altitude work in WW2 have prompted some of the revisions to maximum ceilings.

    Upon review, I can see that one of the challenges has been trying to make altitude work with the stock 4 peg system, while also trying to come up with something that will be fun from a gameplay perspective.

    Since my gaming group and I use the Aerodrome Accessories altitude bases to track altitude and climb counters, we do not suffer similar constraints.

    As a house rule, I'll amend all references to "below level 1" to "below level 0", as thanks to the altitude bases we use, the number of pegs under the miniature is irrelevant, unlike in the rules as written.

    This also frees us up to use the real-world service ceilings, simply rounding to the nearest whole number and dropping the extra zeroes... so a real world service ceiling of 10,000m becomes a WoG max ceiling of 10, for example.

    Service ceilings and climb rates are extremely well documented and readily available for the whole of the released line of WoW/WoG minis, so no reason not to use real stats, IMHO.

    For the most part, official WoG stats match published realworld stats - with the proviso that the ceiling is always incremented by 1, presumably to account for the omnipresence of at least 1 peg in the mini's stand. For some aircraft - such as the Zero and a few others - stats are mysteriously different from real world, even accounting for this 1 "extra" ceiling limit. I have to assume either an error or an effort to "balance" the game... either way, I've revised to simply match the real world ceiling, as the altitude stands make this easy to accommodate.

    Climb rates appear to follow a fairly consistent arrangement... I've reverse engineered it as well as I could from the extant model line, and it appears to work more-or-less (i.e. +/-200FPM from stats listed) as follows:

    WoG Real World (FPM)
    2...... >3,500
    3...... ~3,000
    4...... ~2,300
    5...... ~1,700
    6...... ~1,100
    7...... ~900
    9...... <700

    Again, official WoG climb rates seem to mostly follow the above, though there are some glaring and head-scratching exceptions (i.e. the F4F-3 climbed at 2,300FPM, and the F4F-4 climbed at 2,200FPM, but they have been given wildly different climb rates over the various editions). I've simply used the above table to match an appropriate WoG climb rate to the approximated (+/-200FPM) real world climb stat. (Full disclosure: I took the best climb rate the plane was capable of, as the simplified WoG rules and gameplay dictate that this seemed to be the most appropriate for our purposes. This also appears to be the methodology used by the WoG designers, so I've only changed the climb rates when the published rates failed to match published and documented real world performance).

    I've compiled all of this data, involving more time than I'd like to admit researching and cross referencing real world service ceilings and climb rates, along with points costs, maneuver cards, damage output, and hit points, and packaged it up in a handy little Google Drive spreadsheet:

    So that's what my gaming group will use, going forward, and I'm satisfied

    Thanks all for the input.
    Last edited by surfimp; 01-23-2018 at 09:49.

  7. #7


    This raises the question as to if any of us actually do vary our altitude by more than about four pegs.

    Except for on instance where I went climbing to get at a German Giant which was at 12 pegs, (and the least said about the outcome of that the better) I have never used more than six pegs which was for landing on an airfield and taking off again.
    I will be very interested to hear your opinions.
    "Courage is the art of being the only one who knows you're scared to death."

  8. #8


    We had a game a couple weeks ago where two Zeroes were sent to intercept three SBD-5s flying at their maximum altitude (we used 9 IIRC). One of the Zeroes was at altitude 10, the other at altitude 12 (again, we were at that time using the "official" stats, which I now feel are inaccurate and have proposed revisions to, based on realworld stats).

    Both Zeroes tried to intercept one of the SBD-5s, which began a series of dives that completely stymied the Zeroes' attempts to attack it, while successfully drawing their attention. That SBD went on to successfully divebomb a target at altitude 2, destroying it, before zooming off at high speed (its bomb load dropped), still dragging the Zeroes. One of the other, unmolested SBDs made a successful dive bomb from altitude 3, and the third SBD was able to dive down and boom-and-zoom both Zeroes to finish them off, as they had been damaged previously by the tail gunner of the first SBD.

    Game ended in a complete victory for the American SBDs and a rather humiliating lesson in how not to intercept dive bombers for the Japanese Zeroes

    Point of the story is to demonstrate that we used nearly the full altitude scope available to all aircraft involved in the engagement. Doesn't happen every time, but certainly can happen when ground objectives are in play.

  9. #9


    Guess that answers my question then thanks Steve.
    In my case I spent the whole game at the show clawing my way up the sky expecting the bomber to come down to meet me when it descended to bombing level. On my tail was an Albatros which every so often chipped away at me on the odd occasion it got into long range. The upshot was about ten minutes before the end I finally reached the Bomber quite damaged and his tail gunner sent me straight back down again.
    The real downer was that not only did he not descend at all but went on to get a high altitude hit on the target. I have never witnessed bomb aiming from that height. Non of our side could have stopped him.
    Could be why we never have games that start at ground level with bombers at their ceiling height anymore.
    "Courage is the art of being the only one who knows you're scared to death."

  10. #10


    For the most part we play with Advanced Rules without Altitude and the explosion counters taken out. With that in mind, my comment is fly over.

    In general for rules I am going with Most Recent Printing unless there was an obvious mistake that has not been correct.

    Caveat: House or Host rules always take precedent over anything. So if I were in Santa Barbara, Havana, or Rome I would go with what the locals say and keep my internet opinions to myself.

    If we should have to fight, we should be prepared to do so from the neck up instead of from the neck down. -Jimmy Doolittle

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