I'm consigning games through a "local" game shop and had $60 in store credit so far, so I'm filling gaps in my Wings of War/Glory collection. That may be a surprise for some of you -- I have over 40 planes currently so there isn't a lot of point to purchasing any more. The most I’ve ever played with is 25. But I like to have pairs of each model so that anyone picking a particular plane to play can have a wingman, a dogfight concept since Boelcke established the fundamental rules of air combat early in World War I. The store where I'm generating the credit doesn't carry GMT, which has the heavy-hitters on my wish list at the moment, so planes it is, a guilty pleasure of mine. It could be drugs or women, so no one is complaining.
I selected three. I got a second Aviatik, another Fokker D.VII which is likely the best all-around fighter in the game, and a second Sopwith Snipe. I already have two Snipes, so it's actually my third, but the two I have are duplicates, the result of a really oddball trade that I think I made with someone here on F:At. I had none and got two identical copies in the same trade. So this third one is my second paint job. I'm still looking for a new home for one of the dupes.
I build kits, where I put four pegs, the plane base, and all the associated cards into a single 3x4 bag. Grab a plane, grab a bag, you're set. To make it easier to find the bag that matches your plane I make sure the card with the image of the plane on it is on the outside of the pack. Given how small some of the writing is and the clear bases allowing visual clutter to bleed through this is really useful prep work, especially when I'm managing a dozen kids finding their stuff.
I'll just point out that once your plane collection becomes large this sort of filing system is almost a requirement for successful gaming. I kept the decks in a single box for a while with the stands and pegs separate, but once I got up to about 15 planes the time and effort to find a matching deck, a matching base, and the plane got to be a hassle right when people were getting fired up to play. It also made it tough afterwards when a card got mis-filed, because you needed to go through every single deck to find where it made its escape to. With the individual bags I can limit the search field by quarantining the decks used during cleanup. Each player throws what they have into their bag and those bags go into a separate quarantine location for the trip home. The next time I'm sitting in front of the TV I pull those decks and run the maneuver letters and count cards to verify. If something got switched (which is much more common in 20 player games where other people are help you move your planes) I can limit what other decks I need to search to just those that are in quarantine.
To make things even easier to find I put a plane card on both sides of the kits when I can. For most of the models I have a second copy of the card, taken from the original Wings of War booster packs or the original Wings of War game boxes. The original card game had most of the current paint jobs in it. So both sides of most kit bags show a plane card face-out -- super-easy to find the matching kit that way.
So last night I'm thumbing through my extra-plane decks to find matches for my three new planes. Looking a little more leisurely this time, it became apparent to me how many paint jobs they have that they still haven't published on models, most for the more popular (i.e., more historically important) planes from the war. I had thought they were running out, something pressing them to publish less prominent aircraft. But there are four or five unused Albatross D.Va paint jobs alone, and one of them is a damn sharp rendition in browns. Presumably they have a complete design of it to put onto a three dimensional model, and I really wish they'd publish more of the more popular planes from the war instead of trying to put out three of every vehicle that flew. Fielding a dozen Albatrosses against a dozen Spads all in different paint jobs would be really bad-ass, a proper rendition of the Flying Circus look and feel that made the phrase in the first place. Instead we're getting flying boats now, which granted are curious to look at, but I've never seen one anywhere but unpurchased on a store shelf.
And to expand the complaint further I think Ares is making a mistake with their World War II materials even more by going too deep into the different aircraft and nationalities that flew during the war. I think they would have been better off focusing on a couple of key battles, (Battle of Britain in particular, and Midway would have been a good choice in the Pacific) printing multiple Spits and ‘Canes even if it was just a matter of secondary markings, and multiple 109s, 111s, 87s and 88s. I think it would have focused the game better and painted a more coherent picture. Round 2 could have focused on later war battles, with four or six paints for each model instead of three of each. Three is truly an odd number, given the wingman concept. Don't know why they go with three, especially since model setup likely is a fair chunk of their fixed costs.
Granted, there are decals that people are applying in the aftermarket to WWII planes to accomplish this, because World War II did not see the broad array of paint jobs that World War I did. But Ares is publishing planes that aren't getting a lot of traction, because they have Greek markings or Russian markings or the like and don't make a lot of sense mixed with Western Front aircraft. If they were releasing four Eastern Front paint jobs for the Hurricane (the Russians just plastered stars over top of the lend-lease paint jobs coming to them so these too would be minor variants on a theme) it would make more sense.
Id be curious to know how many people are buying particular planes because they're pretty, how many because they maneuver and shoot well, and how many because they make sense historically with other planes. That's a question open to anyone caring to answer, because I may be applying a personal bias that doesn't make much difference to everyone else. But as it stands the WWII version of the game doesn't seem to attract the attention that the WWI version does. It's tough to sell Yaks in Ares' bigger markets. They'd do better to have a dozen P-51s instead, and if they were flying beside a dozen B-17s all the better.