GameTalk: England expects every man will play a naval game…

frontier wars 728x90 KS

Byron Grant, 20 October 2014

Our weekly design discussions continue!

Naval warfare games usually take two forms: grand fleet or ship-versus-ship actions Games based on the latter pose a unique problem for game developers: how to keep track of the countless aspects of ship management. Things like ammo type, sail state, hull damage, fires, engine speed, turret direction, and boarding parties. Some designers eschew detail and resort to abstracts and percentages; others pile-on the detail until you can almost smell the oakum and tar. So what kind of naval gaming experience do you prefer? Any favorite or not-so-favorite examples?

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4 Responses to GameTalk: England expects every man will play a naval game…

  1. Tom Meier says:

    I like the games where damage is calculated on ships and affects their performance. Whether it be board game or miniatures, the firing and effects really make a naval game for me. And the opportunity to do repairs is nice, but not required.

    From WS&IM to miniature games I don’t even recall the ruleset names to, the idea of maneuvering for a good shot, hitting and seeing the effects (or not) of the shots makes for an interesting game for me. The detail can vary, if a larger fleet action, then having only one or two special effects that can be marked works to speed play. But in the ship to ship, the addtional damage effects to track add the flavor to the game. So depends on scale of hte game as to how much damage and detail I want to use.

  2. Lou Coatney says:

    I have free and relatively fast and simple naval miniatures rules – Naval Action – on my CoatneyHistory webpage.

    On my http// webpage, I have my free little Leyte Gulf Naval Chess Game boardgame, in English, which was republished in Japan’s Game Journal No. 11, albeit with the Yamato and Musashi units upgunned (even higher than they already were).

    Enjoy. 🙂

  3. Byron Grant says:

    Hey Lou,
    Thank you for the post. Looking at your rules, you seem to have gone for the “detailed” route with Naval Action, insofar as I see a player can designate targets for individual turrets, and you movement is based on what looks like a 360 degree compass, but uses abstracted values for damage control. Why the “focus” shift in these areas? Also, how many ships could 1 player readily manage themselves?
    Yours in gaming,
    Byron Grant

    • Lou Coatney says:

      Byron, it’s by battery groupings. All the fore main battery guns shoot at the same target, while aft battery guns must combine with the fore if both are firing at a broadside target.

      I simplified movement/turing and damage control for playability – focusing more on gunnery and … torpedory? 🙂 The simultaneous movement plotting can lead to some very interesting situations too.

      By the way, I have now added the following boardgame naval games to CoatneyHistory:
      Lion’s Lair: Malta Convoy Battles 1940-42.
      Murmansk Run
      Midway (minigame)
      and my old, well-liked Sky, Sea, and Jungle (Guadalcanal)

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