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WW2 pacific Intelligence

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larienna's picture
Joined: 07/28/2008

I have a ww2 pacific game in design and I want to make an interesting intelligence system. To place the people in context, the WW2 theatre is somewhat special because you can somewhat attack anywhere you want in the pacific and try to guess where your opponent is going to attack. I would like one intelligence mechanic that would regroup: Fleet detection by scout, radar detection, Espionage, Communication interception and decoding.

From a mechanical point of view, the reason why it seems more important than I originally thought is because I think this is where most of the strategy of the game will be. In my game, there is no movement, you simply place stack of units into the target hexes you want to attack or defend. Else there is combat which has a few decision but which is mostly a dice fest, and there is production which is simply allocation of resources. So the only strategic thing left is how locations are selected to attack or defend

Here is a picture of some map idea still in design:

A few ideas from other games:

Pacific Typhoon: There is an contested initiative roll that determines who moves first or last. This was my first idea, but it might not be enough. See method 1 below.

Empire of the Sun: Each attack has an intelligence value which can be changed with a roll or reaction card. This allow the possibility of surprise attacks. It only affect 1 battle at a time, so not quite what I needed. Still there will be detection roll before each battle to know for example who air strikes who first.

Victory in the pacific + Fire in the sky: Japanese move first and USA moves second since USA can decrypt Japanese code. That is also used in my method 1 but it's not fixed through the game.

Typhoon over the pacific: Japanese play first for the first half of the war, then the USA.

Method 1: The first method I though is that both players makes a contested roll, the player that wins get the initiative. Then the turn order goes like this:

  1. Player that lost initiative makes attack placement.
  2. Player that won initiative makes attack placement.
  3. Player that lost initiative makes defense placement.
  4. Player that won initiative makes defense placement.

An attack placement must be made in an enemy territory, while a defense placement is placed in a friendly territory normally under attack.

The units are placed face down, so you don't know the composition of the units, but you know the quantity. There is no limit to the number of place you can attack or the number of units you can send and there are decoy tokens. Still if you attack a base with little or no supply route connected to it, you are going to be in serious disadvantage. Units placed includes only naval units and Submarines, the supply routes will determine the number of ground forces that can be landed that defends the base.

Now, the mechanic seems fair enough. My first fear was what would happen in the extremes cases: All ships are sent into 1 location, or all locations are attacked. In both situation they seem to be bad strategies. If you send everything into 1 location, the rest is defenseless and easier to grab. If you spread too much, you'll have little attack strength making local base forces destroy your fleets.

Method 2: The placement of forces is the same, you place stacks of unit in different locations. But there is much more hidden informations.

If there are not too many bases, I wanted to have 1 card for each base that details it's resources and defence. It would make it easier to manage production by spending cards like money bills.

Now my idea, is that during the planning of attacks, you exchange cards with your opponent. You place the location you want to attack face down and place a face down stack of units over it. So now, you do not know where you opponent will attack, but only how many targets he will attack with how many units.

The second phase is that you make detection and intelligence rolls. I am thinking of making 2 rolls, where 1 will reveal a certain number of location cards of your choice, while the other rolls will reveal stack of units of the opponent's choice. So know you know a few location that are going to be attacked, and you know the composition of a few fleets.

Then the third phase would be to make defensive placements on the map where you think you are going to be attacked. Then the attack cards are revealed one at a time and a naval battle occurs if both players placed units on the same location.

I think that this method is interesting hidden information mechanic that allow mind games. Secondly, that would be the core of the strategy of the game since this is where most of the thinking occurs. Third, it might reduce the number of naval battles per turn since you do not know for sure where you are going to get attacked. So you will rarely get a set of bloody battles where all the ships gets annihilated on the first 2 turns. It also promote the idea that you cannot be everywhere all the time, so you'll have to win and lose some battles.

Do you think it could be a good idea?

Do you think it would be too fiddly to manage?

Would there be an easier way to implement a similar system?

Thank you for the feed back.

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