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Anyone create military sims?

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Mike Atencio
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Joined: 07/04/2013

Thinking about creating a military sim using tanks from WWII.
Anyone have experience with something like this?
One thing I'm struggling with is terrain features. Tanks can't go everywhere, though they can do a lot. Rivers, thick brush and hedges, forests and the like pose design issues. The game will also have hills and cities. Using miniatures, how am I going to show these things on a flat table top? This poses issues.

I guess I could use templates.

ElKobold
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You are placing the cart in

You are placing the cart in front of the horse.

Start with defining what sort of game you are making.

target audience?
complexity level?
playing time?
price range?

What might work for one type of game, will be completely out of place for the other. Unless you know what exactly it is you are trying to achieve, you risk ending up with a random mess of mechanisms which do not go well with one another.

Mike Atencio
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Thanks

Good advice.
I'll answer.

target audience? 15 to 45
complexity level? Medium (average) complexity, requires strategy to survive.
playing time? 1 hour to years depending up campaigns
price range? $19.95 to $29.95 for starter set. Goal is the $19.95 and additional modules being $9.95.

I Will Never Gr...
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No issue, just decisions..

There are many WW2/Historical wargames that simply use tiles and/or maps with terrain features printed on them. See Heroes of Normadie as a good example of this (they even use the top-down image printed tiles for units instead of minis)

This makes them more economical (which in the price range you're thinking of is required) and easy to set-up, store and transport; but less attractive as they're just flat boards placed on the tabletop.

You could look into 3D terrain (3d printed, molded plastics, laser-cut MDF, etc) but then the costs skyrocket accordingly.

Ultimately it comes down to two things;
1. Price
2. Appearance/Personal Preference

HOWEVER, before even thinking about this, you should have the mechanics of the game (actual game play) nailed down first. Design and appearance issues come after. Until you have your game fleshed out, just use pieces of paper with things scribbled on them in pen/pencil. It will be affordable and easy to change and update as required until you're satisfied with it.

ElKobold
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Mike Atencio wrote:Good

Mike Atencio wrote:
Good advice.
I'll answer.

target audience? 15 to 45
complexity level? Medium (average) complexity, requires strategy to survive.
playing time? 1 hour to years depending up campaigns
price range? $19.95 to $29.95 for starter set. Goal is the $19.95 and additional modules being $9.95.

Ok, so now we're getting somewhere here.

First thing to remember is that your price range severely limits what you can do in the sense of components.

So templates are probably not ideal solution as they are additional components.
Minis are questionable as well. Unless we're talking about something like 1 tank per player and everything else is tokens. (Minis will instantly increase your cost by ~$5K for the tool give or take + modeling cost)
3D terrain is a no-go for the same reason.

You will probably manage to stick a few cards/dice, a board, and a punch board for terrain/tokens. But that's pretty much it.

Your next step is to answer the following questions:
1) What will set my game apart from the other games?
2) What in my game will make the potential buyer say "Hey, this sounds cool!"?

adversitygames
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Mike Atencio wrote:Thinking

Mike Atencio wrote:
Thinking about creating a military sim using tanks from WWII.
Anyone have experience with something like this?
One thing I'm struggling with is terrain features. Tanks can't go everywhere, though they can do a lot. Rivers, thick brush and hedges, forests and the like pose design issues. The game will also have hills and cities. Using miniatures, how am I going to show these things on a flat table top? This poses issues.

I guess I could use templates.

Yes templates are fine for most purposes

What scale? Like 1/72, 1/300?

If you're going for *cities* being part of the battlefield, I'm guessing you're going with 1/300, otherwise you get a huge difference in scale between minis and terrain.

You don't need to make your own minis. There are a HUGE number of companies out there that produce miniatures for wargames and you can just make the rule system that players can use their preferred minis for. If your game stands out, a lot of players who already have miniatures could try them just with getting your the rulebook.

Same applies to terrain if you wanted to have rules for 3d terrain, lots of suppliers of wargames terrain of all scales out there.
(and a lot of my early wargame experience involved using books and random boxes (often the boxes I packed my minis in) for terrain)

The hard part is the "If your game stands out" part. There's a lot of wargame systems, some of which are very good. I like Stargrunt (by Ground Zero Games), it's nominally a sci-fi systems but it's built to be adaptable to any tech level. I haven't played WW2 tank games for many years, I'm generally more into sci-fi.

X3M
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Just to gather idea's

Have a look at Advanced Squad Leader. A hexagon grid based war game. The pieces are flat squares. The boards are awesome of design.

In the early stages of my war game, I used these boards. I thought of my own rules for the terrain effect.
Later on, I went looking for a board that would accommodate my game more.

The journey was(is?) long. And you have to try a lot before you find something you like. It often leads to changing the game rules too. For one, I have been wasting over 1 year to find the board that I like. And sacrifices are to be made in the process.

Have you decided on what grid you would like to use? There are many options. Best to choose one to go with from the start:
Triangle's,
Squares,
Hexagons,
"Octagons"(Squared based),
Random sized rooms (Risk),
Random sized rooms that are ordered (Starcraft the board game),
Open (Warhammer40k).

Soulfinger
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Mike Atencio wrote:Good

Mike Atencio wrote:
Good advice.
I'll answer.

target audience? 15 to 45
complexity level? Medium (average) complexity, requires strategy to survive.
playing time? 1 hour to years depending up campaigns
price range? $19.95 to $29.95 for starter set. Goal is the $19.95 and additional modules being $9.95.

Phew. WWII tanks, eh? That's a crowded field. You have Flames of War, Bolt Action, Tanks, and a few others. Some of these are startlingly popular too with dedicated followings who dropped playing Warhammer seemingly out of left field in favor of them. They are stocked heavily at most FLGS I've been to. And that's not to mention the increasingly popular Weird War 2 market, Team Yankee, and then all of the sci-fi tank battle games, like Dystopian Wars and Dropship Commander. It needs to be a killer game to get attention these days.

This has already been mentioned, but $30 for a starter doesn't leave much room for including miniatures. To give you an idea, $100 gets you a Flames of War starter with:

1 Flames of War Mini Rulebook
1 Bridge at Remagen Army Book
1 Armored Rifle Platoon
3 M26 Pershing Tanks
5 M4A3 Sherman Tanks

All minis are 5mm, unpainted, plastic. If it is like most wargames, it's a $300 investment to build a viable force.

You should check out some of these games to get an idea of how they handle the problems you mentioned, why they are so popular (particularly Flames of War), and what you could do better.

Soulfinger
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iamseph wrote:You don't need

iamseph wrote:
You don't need to make your own minis. There are a HUGE number of companies out there that produce miniatures for wargames and you can just make the rule system that players can use their preferred minis for. If your game stands out, a lot of players who already have miniatures could try them just with getting your the rulebook.

This is one of my favorites: http://www.picoarmor.com/
1/600 scale! So adorable!

iamseph wrote:
Same applies to terrain if you wanted to have rules for 3d terrain, lots of suppliers of wargames terrain of all scales out there.

If you aren't busting out the blue board insulation, you are doing something wrong -- at least when it comes to the hills and landscapes. Anymore, I do modular 1' x 1' or 2' x 2' blue board sections backed with hardboard for durability. That way you can swap them around and reposition to create fresh battlefield arrangements. You can also dig in to create trenches, craters, and such. I do most of my texturing with a ballpoint pen though, essentially working it like a stylus to draw cobblestones or what-not. Making terrain can be one of the easiest aspects of the wargaming hobby.

And hats off on playing Stargrunt! I didn't think anyone played that anymore. I have a big bin of models for that somewhere from twenty+ years ago.

Mike Atencio
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Joined: 07/04/2013
I downloaded Stargrunt

Stargrunt is available free to download. I downloaded it and it looks pretty good for space combat.

I'll adapt it to a game for tank warfare and use the rules as a framework to build upon. Why reinvent the wheel, right?

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