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War games and board preferences

2 replies [Last post]
Joined: 12/31/1969

I am a pacifist who is obsessed with war games and I have a few questions about board design preferences.

1. Layout balance. I have designed 2 war games now and both times I have had the issue of wether the board should be balanced in land and resource distribution or unbalanced. With a balanced board, there is less importance put on board location, all areas of the board are more or less equal in area / resources. With an unbalanced board, certain areas can become prizes to be fought for and protected but, it can be dull when the person that controls a certain area always wins. Is it more fun to play games on balanced boards or unbalanced boards?

2. Real world or fictional world. Both of the war games that I have designed could be set on Earth but, it seems that they may play better if the board is designed from scratch to work with the game systems. For one thing, Earth has the problem of uneven land mass distribution stated in question 1. As a game player do you prefer maps based on reality or is a fictional map that is designed for the game system just as much fun?

Thanks for any comments that I might drum up.


larienna's picture
Joined: 07/28/2008
War games and board preferences

1- I would say, balanced forces. Terrain is not the only element that can make you win the war. There is the terrain, but also units, technology, information, tactical advantage, etc. So if a player has terrain advantage, give the opponents more units, more technology, etc. But at all cost, both players must have equal chances to win (approximately). Unbalanced force could be good in some rare situation like a newbie VS an experienced player. This will rebalance both players like an handicap.

2-The first problem with real world is that you have to do some research to make it real. You are limited to the political situation that historically happen. Finally, you must try to reproduce the real maps. For example, for my war game, I have made a system of tilable maps. I can produce many kind of terrains, but I cannot reproduce exactly a real terrains. I don't want to produce a map for each battle, this is why I made up a tile map system. So I think that fictional or may alternate history ( like command and conquer, Ring of Red ) is the best solution. The again, it always depend on how much realistic you want your game to be.

Joined: 12/31/1969
War games and board preferences

You can tie the unit types into the resources. For example Resource Type 1 is used to make Unit type A, resource type 2 is used to make unit type B and resource type 3 is used to make unit type C.

Now all you have to do is have a Scissors/Paper/Rock relationmship between units. eg Unit type A beat unit type B which beats unit type C which beat unit type A.

This will create a dynamic need (will change as the game progresses) for diferent resource types. So if player 1 hogs all the resource from resource type 2 (and builds unit type B) then Player 2 can use resource type 1 to produce Unit type A and gain the advantage. Player 1 have to now capture resource type 3 and produce unit type C to fight back effectively.

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