Another newbie weighing anchor and weighing in

Talk about the game or make suggestions.

Another newbie weighing anchor and weighing in

Postby John Ericsson » Tue Mar 13, 2007 8:25 pm

I got Battleship Chess a while ago and played it extensively, then got distracted by the arrival of my second-born. Lately, I've taken to playing it again while she's napping--it's nice to have a strategy game that lends itself well to bite-sized sessions. I see that there's a new version in the works, so now seemed like an opportune moment to chime in with my impressions.

There are two interface tweaks I'd love to see in the new version. While I like the sound effects quite a bit--the thundering of a 15" broadside is very satisfying--lately I've been playing with the sound off because I don't want to wake the baby. Headphones are out too, since I need to hear if she starts waking up. But playing without sound means I miss crucial sound-only cues like the warning splash when the enemy drops a mine or the klaxon when a sub dives. There is probably a more elegant way to do it, but I'd appreciate it if I could get messages along the lines of "Message from the Admiralty: intelligence indicates the presence of enemy mines in the area. Proceed with caution." along with notifications of the damage I do/take, etc. This would make the game friendlier for hearing-impaired folks, too.

The other interface tweak is pretty minor, but here goes: I'd like a way to deselect all ships and/or a way to cycle through all my ships via a keyboard shortcut. I find myself wanting this feature when I have a submerged submarine somewhere in the movement range of the auto-selected ship at the start of a turn. After some mishaps, I have pretty much trained myself not to move the ship accidently while trying to click on the sub to select it for movement. I almost always have a ship far enough away on the board that I can click on it and then click on the sub if I want to select it, but it's at least possible that I might have no way (at least, that I know of) to select the sub if my ships are close enough together or if I'm down to one surface ship and the nearby sub.

I've gotta say I almost didn't get into Battleship Chess based on the demo, because I set up my very first game in Chapter 1, figuring that I should start off with the simplest set-up for my first game. But battles with just BP and CA can be frustratingly inconclusive. Even if you know what you're doing, it can take a lucky mine hit or a great deal of fire concentrated on a single cruiser to sink a ship in a 1 battle war. So having BP trade punches until I ran out of turns didn't really turn me on to the full depth and fun of Battleship Chess. Historical accuracy probably dictates that this is how the game ought to play with those ships, but you might want to suggest somewhere that players start off the demo in Chapter 4 or 5.

Going back to Chapter 1 after playing mostly in Chapter 5 is interesting, though. I was amazed at how useful my cruisers suddenly became--sweeping mines, scouting speedily, and, yes, actually doing real damage to the enemy. A cruiser with upgraded guns hits almost as hard as a stock BP and has a higher rate of fire. To be fair, the game doesn't really have scenarios that model what cruisers were designed for: patrolling far from the nearest coaling station, commerce raiding, etc. Be that as it may, in the later chapters I use my cruisers mostly to snag upgrades to deny them to the enemy, or in tactical moves so I can fire several ships at once, or in desperation if all my good ships get sunk or flee the battle. Guess that's why they pretty much don't make cruisers anymore, eh?

Anyway, thanks for an enjoyable game. I've found myself reading up on naval history from the period the game covers lately. I'm amazed that such an abstract game can still capture the flavor and tactics of naval warfare in that era so faithfully. I eagerly await the new version.
John Ericsson
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Postby Andrew Ewanchyna » Wed Mar 14, 2007 8:54 am

You can hold the SHIFT key down and it will remove any movement icons on the screen. This allows you to select ships near the currently active one.

I'll look into adding a message when a sub dives/mine drops. Ditto for a shortcut key for selecting ships.

Interesting point about the demo defaults, I'll look into it.

The cruiser had so many roles. I decided to model its fleet role. Comercial raiding is touched upon with the merchant freighter. The cruiser is still the best ship to sink merchant ships.

Ever hear of the USS Ticonderoga? Modern ships have blurred the types. I think cruisers potentially have a good future with modern weapon systems. We'll see.

Glad you like it.
Andrew Ewanchyna
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