Serious wargame?

Talk about the game or make suggestions.

Serious wargame?

Postby Soulmage » Sat Jun 21, 2008 3:14 pm

I know you've always wanted to keep Battleship Chess as a 'bathtub fleet' game.

Have you given any thought to making a more 'serious' naval wargame? There really aren't that many alternatives out there. Most are just fan updates of older games. I think you could make a game somewhat more involved than B Chess and have it be very popular.

For instance, what if there was a strategic map where you grouped your ships into task forces and moved them around. Battles could be resolved in a b-chess like tactical level. (Not B Chess, but something on that scale.)

Thoughts?

I know I'd buy it in a heartbeat and be willing to pay easily double what I paid for B Chess!
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Postby Andrew Ewanchyna » Sun Jun 22, 2008 7:58 am

I continuously give thought to such ideas. I never thought that Battleship Chess (BC) would be my last naval game. I suppose BC was my attempt at a more casual naval game.

I'm developing a new game engine for Loco Mogul that should allow me to create new games faster. This in turn, should allow me to experiment with game ideas. Doing another naval game that's more involved than BC is definitely one of those ideas.

A task-force based naval game sounds interesting. I was thinking of one involving carrier task forces. There's also the idea of ironclad navies. Or maybe a naval-based kind of civilization game, where all techs are naval based and all land is small islands.

Are you interested in a more history-based naval game or something else?
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Postby Soulmage » Sun Jun 22, 2008 9:33 am

Personally, I'd be interested in a more historical naval game. WWI might be a good choice, as its pretty much the golden age of naval surface combat, there's a lot of information about it readily available, and it was largely confined to a limited area, which would make the strategic element easier to implement.

If you wanted to do less historical. . . that civilization-style naval combat game would be interesting -- so long as there was a lot of focus on different ship technologies and the different classes of ship. Personally, I'd like to see that limited to a surface combatants only - or at least have carriers not be completely overpowering to everything else in play.

Either one sounds like a fun game to me!
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Postby Andrew Ewanchyna » Mon Jun 23, 2008 9:29 am

I think any game having carriers would, unfortunately, make all other ship classes subservient. This would be a game that concentrates on carrier operations. I'd also want to include other ship classes, as you'd need to build a task force from them. The question, as always, is finding the balance.

Isn't Storm Eagle Studios http://www.stormeaglestudios.com/public/home.html handling the historical WWI (and Jap/Rus period) well? How could I improve on this?

Wargamers tend to be a fussy lot. Is there anything in particular (multi-player mode, 3D graphics, non-historical) that would kill this vision of a naval game for you? There must be something. I guess I'm asking what *not* to do. ;)
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Postby Soulmage » Tue Jun 24, 2008 10:30 pm

Well I will definitely be picking up SES's Jutland when it comes out. At the moment its just vaporware, but hopefully they will actually finish it here soon.

But incidentally. . . just because there is one game that handles a particular subject well, doesn't mean that there aren't room for more. I would LOVE to have multiple WWI games to choose from, so long as the game play was different.

But back on topic. . .

What *not* to do. . . . hmmm. . .

I get that in any carrier game, the carriers are going to dominate. I would hope that the rest of your task force would actually make a significant contribution however. If we are talking WWII AA cruisers were a very important and effective part of the task force. Destroyers provided more AA cover while simultaneously screening the carriers against sub attacks. Battleships provided still more AA, and were critical in amphibious landing support.

I guess I would be disappointed if there were *no* mechanism for surface combat. There were numerous surface battles in WWII. . . and several "near misses" that could have resulted in major surface actions, like if Halsey had actually detached battleship Task Force 34 at Leyte, leaving them in position to intercept the returning Japanese Center Force. Carriers will be the centerpieces, but there ought to be room for and gameplay surrounding pure surface task forces engaging each other. It happened.

On a different tack. . . just spitballing here. . . have you considered making it a modern naval combat game? Or maybe Falkland Islands era? There's really just not a lot of games out there that cover that angle at a task force level except for maybe Harpoon. But thats more of a CIC simulator than what we are talking about in terms of a naval combat game. Anyway, just an idea. It would be nice to see some Phalanx CIWS in action though! :)

Anyway, I don't know if that is helpfful or not. Hopefully I've given you a couple ideas.
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Postby Soulmage » Tue Jun 24, 2008 11:16 pm

Now you've got me scouring the net looking at every possible alternative.

Found a game, maybe you have heard of it: War Plan Orange - Dreadnoughts in the Pacific.

Proposes a hypothetical war based on U.S. military plans in the 1920s between Japan and the US. Carriers and subs are still new and and haven't come into their own. . . battleships are still the queens of the seas.

EXCELLENT CONCEPT! Unfortunately. . . seems like the execution for this particular game was lacking based on everything I've read.

1. Its primarily a strategic game. There is very little in the engine pertaining to the actual combat.

2. Its EXTREMELY complex and very difficult to play.

3. Its extremely slow.

A game that allowed for some strategic task force deployment, while still maintaining significant tactical gaming of the battles themselves would be awesome. . . and it covers a period not really addressed adequately anywhere else.

Anyway, just another idea to consider:

http://www.gamersinfo.net/articles/1486-war-plan-orange
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Postby Andrew Ewanchyna » Sat Jun 28, 2008 2:09 pm

I hadn't heard of the War Plan Orange game. Looks like Matrix Games was really trying to squeeze everything out of the War in the Pacific engine.

I agree that its a bit too non-tactical for my liking.

I've thought of doing a modern naval warfare game as well. I find there's a lot of interesting periods. Just a question of choosing one.

There's a series of games done by http://www.battle-fleet.com/ that are pretty good.
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Postby Soulmage » Thu Jul 03, 2008 2:51 pm

Checked 'em out. Fairly simplistic and complicated with too many different ship classes and not enough real difference between them. All the guns do the same damage for example. . . the ship class just determines how many shots you get. Still a fun way to kill a few minutes. . . but I'd rather play B Chess.
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Postby em2nought » Sat Jul 19, 2008 4:44 am

Something "not" to do is use DRM that is so customer unfriendly like SES.

I've always thought that Battleship Chess felt like a naval lite version of Battlefront's Combat Mission(which was pretty popular).

If you did a hypothetical war plan orange period and added a strategic map that fleets/convoys/raiders moved about on, you could have the combat be resolved in a slightly modified Battleship Chess. Carriers would still be very weak in their infancy so the other ships would still count alot. Great thing about a hypothetical situation is that you undercut alot of grognard complaints(hard to argue something that's not real). :wink:
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Postby Andrew Ewanchyna » Sat Jul 19, 2008 4:35 pm

I would never use a DRM.

I'm thinking of a simultaneous turn-based game. You setup and move all your units. Units could also be things like bases. Setups might be, in the case of carriers, choosing what planes to launch or what weapons to put on them. I'd like carriers to get caught with their pants down, like they did in WWII. Having a deck full of bombs and fully fueled planes could be fun to watch when the enemy attacks at that time.

I'm also thinking the multiplayer component would be where you send in your turn to the apezone.com server and then receive an email when all turns have been received. This way you could be playing more than one game, if you wanted to. I'm still trying to get multiplayer right, after BC and Starship Kingdom.

Having a game where carriers at least start off weak is an interesting idea. I think I could still find a way to make carriers less the dominant ship class, though. Go for some hypothetical ideal balance between battleships, battlecruisers and carriers.
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Postby orion » Sun Nov 09, 2008 11:52 am

Hi Andrew,

You will have concluded that you cannot out-realism the Storm Eagle guys. But BC does not compete here, and you have wisely kept BC as a fast flowing, non-technical and fun game.

Your suggestion of simultaneous turn-based is a good one.

You could add carriers as a new chapter - and if they were WWI-era carriers, they would not necessarily be the game changers that even torpedos are (as you know, I'm not a fan of torpedos). The essence of torpedos is: you can see them coming and do something about it. This aspect is not modeled in the game at all.

Many months ago, somebody suggested a sail version of BC. I was not enthusiastic at the time but actually there are quite interesting options here - narrower arcs of fire, boarding and capture, wind etc.

The email server is a good suggestion, might use it, might not, I would hate you to commit large resources to something that only a few may use.

I really appreciate you upgrading the game to Vista - I've started playing again and enjoying it.
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Postby Andrew Ewanchyna » Wed Nov 12, 2008 9:20 am

Ya, BC was what I use to call a Mock-naval game (as in Mock-chicken). :)

I wanted to keep things simple in this game, so I made the torps hit in one shot. It would have been a lot more interesting if you could spot them in the water and move out of their way. Not sure if that would have worked with the small grid that I wanted to use, though.

I'm planning on totally revamping how I sell and present games in 2009. Part of the plan is to allow smaller test games to be written to let people decide if it should be developed more. If this model works, then I plan on releasing more stuff over the upcoming years. Now to work on getting there ...
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Postby em2nought » Mon Jan 26, 2009 11:00 pm

You should really take a look at the newly released War Plan Pacific over at Shrapnel Games. Try the demo. That kind of a campaign combined with Battleship Chess would be even better than WPP. Since you're talking about smaller and more often releases you might consider adding components(campaign game/War Plan Orange/etc) for additional prices like Naval Warfare Simulations does. wwwdotnws-onlinedotnet
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Postby Commander Rackham » Tue Jan 27, 2009 3:37 am

A comment about surface combat versus carriers: I've repeatedly heard it speculated that Emperor Yamamoto could have salvaged the Battle of Midway if he had seized the advantage of nightfall. He was there on board his legendary flagship Yamato, just outside the battle the whole time. After the battle the American carriers' escort was scattered or something, and carriers of the time could not effectively conduct operations at night- but a battleship's effectiveness was reduced only slightly. It's believed he could have easily sailed in under cover of darkness unopposed, and what with being in the world's largest battleship, he would have massacred all three American carriers- but, well, he didn't for some reason. War is like that.

A tactical naval game that incorporated night/day cycles and other weather with early carriers could provide a wealth of attack opportunities. Subs as well tended to be excessively hampered by darkness and storms.
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