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Naval Combat/Map Creation Mechanics

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Jerry
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I'm working on a new game idea. The theme is WW2 era technology, specifically naval warfare. It is not a historical game at all. It will simply be 2-4 sides competing for control of cities on a random map layout every game. I have some ideas, but would like input so as to expand the mechanics a bit.

The Map:
The map will be grid based, 1x1" squares. I'm thinking about a hex map, but not sure yet. There will be various island, coastal tiles which can be placed. I need a mechanic to randomly place these tiles on the board. I would like a little asymmetrical-ness, just for the added gameplay tactics it could add. After the map is created, players would take turns placing cities on the islands/coasts wherever they want.
After all tiles and cities are placed, players would then draw 2 city cards out of a city deck (one card for each city), and choose one as their starting city.

I did think about using dice to place land tiles, ( roll1 = x plane, roll2 = y plane) but I am thinking of making the tiles different sizes and shapes, so that complicates things, such as how do you orient the island if it is larger than one 1x1" square.

Combat:
At this point, the best thing I can come up with is dice based. It could be ships roll different dice based on their class. For example, a battleships rolls 3 or less on a 6 sided die. A destroyer rolls 3 or less on a 10 sided die, etc.

Player could research or buy technologies to help in combat. For example, advanced targeting technology, can either add or subtract 1 to a die roll. The biggest thing about dice combat is the randomness, which I know turns some people off. However, I also feel like it could be fitting for battleship-esque combat.

Summary:
I am looking for ideas on map creation for a 1x1" grid based map. Tiles will be different sizes and shapes. Picture Tetris pieces for reference.

Combat is die based at this point. Looking for ways to make it interesting and for players to feel like they can go into battle with an advantage, or a chance at winning if they have a smaller force.

X3M
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A d4 for which side will be

A d4 for which side will be north.
A dx for x part of the island to be the center.
If they are all the same size. D4 again?

How big is the grid itself?

For combat. Can you supply more details? Like the complete mechanics as you have right now?

Jerry
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X3M wrote:A d4 for which side

X3M wrote:
A d4 for which side will be north.
A dx for x part of the island to be the center.
If they are all the same size. D4 again?

How big is the grid itself?

For combat. Can you supply more details? Like the complete mechanics as you have right now?

The game board would be modular, depending how big you want the game to be. At the largest, I am thinking about 24x32ish, using modules of 8x8.

The islands will not all be the same size. A possibility could be letting the player decide which way to orient the island, as long as its placed closest to being centered as possible.

For combat, essentially my idea is die based at this point. Different classes of ships will roll for different chances. For example, a transport ship would roll for "one or less", and a cruiser would roll for "3 or less". The thing I don't like about die based combat is how random it is. I would not be happy about losing a battleship to a transport ship, for example. Axis and allies has combat similar to what I'm describing, but I am searching for a way to make it way deeper, and to integrate researchable technologies and other variables into battle.
Examples:
-Smoke Screen, advanced radar, better AA and turrets, etc. I suppose a combat deck could be made. Not sure where I'd start with that though.

One thing I would like, is to make ships not be simply sunk with one hit. Rather they can retreat for repairs and fight another day.

I am also planning a radar detection type mechanic, where players can have their ships upside down so their opponents can't see what they are, unless they are in range of a radar tower.

Hope this adds a bit more to the picture!

Over_Thinker
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I'm actually very excited to

I'm actually very excited to hear that you are working on this game theme. I have been reading some Clancy Novels lately, and I was thinking about naval warfare as a game theme.

I like the idea of random placing, but do you want the game to be completely dice based? It might be good to randomly generate some aspects of the playing field and allow players to place others (something like setting up a game of Catan).

I'm curious about your radar/sonar system? I would just like to know how you plan to implement it as a game mechanic.

Wish I could be more helpful, but I really like the game idea!

Jerry
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Over_Thinker wrote:I'm

Over_Thinker wrote:
I'm actually very excited to hear that you are working on this game theme. I have been reading some Clancy Novels lately, and I was thinking about naval warfare as a game theme.

I like the idea of random placing, but do you want the game to be completely dice based? It might be good to randomly generate some aspects of the playing field and allow players to place others (something like setting up a game of Catan).

I'm curious about your radar/sonar system? I would just like to know how you plan to implement it as a game mechanic.

Wish I could be more helpful, but I really like the game idea!

I've been wanting to make a naval themed game for a while, and I have a huge soft spot for WW2. Plus, battleships are cool, who wouldn't want those in a naval game?

For the random placing, as I mentioned earlier, I was considering using modules of 8x8, (could be 10x10 too) and players could roll an 8 sided or 10 sided die depending on which is used. Each tile would get one island. Roll 1 = x plane, roll 2 = y plane. center the island as close as possible on that space for that module. Players could also orient the island as they please, or they could roll a 4 sided die to determine north, as X3M mentioned above.

Players would take turns placing one to two cities per island wherever they want.

Cities will have a population level (1-6) which indicates their size. Players will be able to build buildings in cities which will allow certain things.
- Airport = build aircraft there, and launch attacks from there.
- Radar station = Enemy must reveal ships tokens within range.
- Gun emplacement = Fire on approaching enemy ships.
- Shipyard = Build and repair ships.
- Research center = Receive research tokens every turn, which can be used to acquire technologies.
- Hospital = Recover lost population faster every turn.

Players will be able to bomb (with aircraft) cities to reduce population or destroy buildings.

Buildings will require certain populations to function.
- A city has a pop of 5. I can build an airport which needs a pop of 4 and a radar station which needs a pop of 1.

For the sonar, this ties into submarine warfare, which I need to develop ideas for as well.

The other thing I need to figure out is, I don't necessarily want the victory conditions to be annihilation. I'd like to have multiple modes players could choose from. For example, There could be "Sink all your enemies' capital ships. Both sides start with all battleships and carriers and duke it out until one loses them all. Or "Capture their starting city". Any other game mode ideas?

X3M
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It surely adds a bit more to

It surely adds a bit more to the picture.

The thing with randomness is that you can get either, complete b*llsh!t battles. On the other hand, it could add some balance and risk. The first part can be countered with health and/or armor to the ships.

Armor example, if a hit occurs at 1 to 3 on a d6. And the enemy ship is with an armor of 2. Than the true hit would be d6 - 2 against that ship. Simply put, you can make it so that a transport has only 1 as hit, and can only sink ships that have 0 armor.
You can also make the armor go random.

Another armor example
You could even say that most ships are from the first class. Only 1 die to roll. But a higher class ship forces any ship to roll 2 or 3 dice .
For example.
Transports need to roll 1 or less on a d6
Cruisers need to roll 3 or less on a d6
Against Transports, only 1 die is used. We have 1/6th and 3/6th of chances (6 and 18)
Against Cruisers, 2 dice are used. We have 1/36th and 9/36th of chances.
If this is interesting to try. And you want to have an overview of all the chances that occur, I can help you with that.

Health
Well, just have the bigger ships more health? If it is not an option, you still can go with the armor example. And don't forget, you can combine the 2.

There are many, many,
many,
veryverymany,
possibilities in combat of how to apply armor. The choice is yours, which one you like most. I have only given 2 examples above that are easy to apply. I recommend to look at various RTS, but also at board games that use effects that differentiate between units.

***

Since you are using a modular board. I can't supply with a better idea for random islands. Sorry.
Perhaps it is better to randomize the modular board itself. With islands already printed on them??
Simply shuffle and place them?

***

I like that radar idea. It only works if all ships have the same size and are all in a fog of war.

X3M
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Game modes

Capture the flag
Get (floating) flag, return to base.
Easy and allows for ambush along the way. Various speeds would work here well! (Although, I assume they all have to go the same speed regarding the radar)

Domination
Hold certain positions on the map for X turns and receive points. The thing is, the only one way to win here is not to go out and attack. Since other players would then take over the spot.

Assault
Attack this, Take over the next thing, Go over there and activate the port to..., reach an end point.
The other team needs to prevent this.
This game mode requires sudden death. But can also allow for "respawning". The thing is mostly that for each objective, a player has to go to a certain point. Sometimes, these points can be completed and are not valid any more. Thus the path could become easier. (Or harder)

Jerry
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Good Suggestions

Thanks for the armor ideas. Lots to play around with there.

Yes, ship chits will all be the same size, and move at the same speed until they are "discovered". Then their normal movement kicks in.

I am leaning towards making double sided module for the game board with different island layouts on each side I think. Players will then be able to just mix and match as they like to create a map. Should hopefully allow for lots of replayability.

As for the game modes, I am going for something more real world realistic than capture the flag. (I understand it's just a suggestion).
A variation of this could be a protection mission. E.G. A player must protect x number of transports which are trying to make x amount of trips between cities.

I'm also pondering having multiple victory conditions on the go which can be pursued. The trick will be balancing those so people won't always choose one strategy. This would also allow other players to pursue different paths if there is no chance at "goal 1". All the while trying to thwart your opponents plans.

X3M
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While the forum is under attack. :(

I still dare to ask.

Since you are using a square grid.
How are you going to apply diagonal movement?

czarcastic
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Tile Placement

Instead of using tiles to generate the complete game board, you may want to start with a open-water game mat that the players drop a few landmasses on. Similar to the way random terrain/obstacles are placed in some miniatures-based war games.
This solves the problem of making all the "Tetris pieces" fit together when using tiles of varying shapes.
You could also allow a landmass to be placed partially outside the play area. The out-of-bounds portion could belong to a country that's impartial to the conflict. Think of the landmass and territorial waters of Haiti / Dominican Republic for a real-life example of this.

Jerry
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X3M wrote:I still dare to

X3M wrote:
I still dare to ask.

Since you are using a square grid.
How are you going to apply diagonal movement?

Different ships would have different movement capabilities. To be honest, the diagonal movement on a grid doesn't really worry me.

That being said, I am also playing around with a hex based map. I will probably design something on both and decide which I like better.

Over_Thinker
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I recently added diagonal

I recently added diagonal movement to my grid game, and everyone who played it before and after told me that it was a significant improvement. Still balance. Granted, mine requires getting into the right position to attack, so it helps a lot to reduce frustration of players, but it's balanced out by difficulty in other areas that make more sense.

It comes down to your game mechanics to see what type of board and movement best fit. My recommendation is to get some sort of basic playable mechanics and pieces to and try to play with both boards to decide what you want to do before moving forward with details of your game. Board set up can be very important in influencing the other mechanics.

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