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Ecclesiastes

 That which hath been is now; and that which is to be hath already been;


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Guys, can you do me a little favor? I've written a small outline of the game for my blog and since you guys have played it maybe you could read through it to see if I have missed anything or if I'm stating something that is odd or untrue?

I''ll paste it here (others that have not played but are following this topic are ofcourse also invited to provide feedback Smile ) As you guys know, 'motivational' writing is not my strong point.


"So, finally it has come to this point… I’m proud to be able to present to you guys the first game preview of my own WWII Naval ruleset: Naval War

What kind of ruleset is Naval War? Why is it different from other rulesets?
Naval war is a fast-playing, action packed wargame that will really blow you away… ‘wink’

Now that we’re done with the compulsory empty rethoric, let me take you on a cruise down the ruleset so you can make up your own mind about what makes this game different:

The core of Naval War is the players’ Command Station. The Command Station is where it all happens, it dictates the flow of the game, decides if lady luck is on your side, annoys your opponent and allows you to outsmart and outmaneuver the enemy fleet. Now how does this work? Every player’s fleet generates a certain amount of Order dice each turn. An order die allows you to activate a single ship or a squadron of ships (for convenience I will refer to this as a ‘squadron’ from here). When you activate a squadron with an order die you can perform one activation, which could be a maneuver, shooting your guns, launching aircraft from your carrier etc. After this activation, your opponent can activate one of his own squadrons (and so on..). The amount of activations are only limited by the amount of your order dice and the rule that a squadron cannot perform the same activation twice in one turn. This means that Naval war does not have pre-defined phases of movement, shooting etc. Players alternate their activations during the turn and this opens up a complete new spectrum of possibilities. Do you want to move closer to your opponent first and risk getting shot at before you can, or do you open fire at long range to get in the first shot? Because of the alternate activations, players are non-stop involved in the game.

On top of this, the command station has a pre-defined set of orders you can give your squadrons during an activation (or as a reaction to your opponents’ activation). These orders require you to spend order dice and can have a difficulty requirement to be able to successfully perform them. So you can spend order dice to make your ships move faster than average (Flank Speed!), shoot better than average, or just be more luckier than average. It sometimes even allows you to influence the shooting or movement of your opponents’ squadrons, simulating ‘friction’ and bringing a huge amount of tension to a game. There is a catch however: both activations and orders tap into the same resource which is limited, your order dice. So do you spend order dice to maneuver every squadron or do you enhance your performance, risking that you run out of order dice and that squadrons cannot perform the activations that you want them to? It creates in the game exactly those situations you read about in the battle-reports, leaving the readers wondering why some ships did not perform as they could have in a battle, while other ships seemed to have all the luck in the world on their side taking center-stage (Taffy 3 anyone?).

The game is designed to be played on a tabletop, and to be usable for different kinds of scales. The goal to produce a fun and exciting game took precedence over simulating exact ranges and speeds. Abstractions have been made, especially by introducing a so called ‘telescoping groundscale’ which means that within a squadron and very close to it, distances are scaled differently than when covering large ranges of the table. This causes ships to move quite fast compared to most naval games, and at the same time dramatically increases the importance of maneuvering, keeping distance and the effects of squalls, shoals and islands. Movement is measured in ‘Movement distance’ units, this allows the players to tinker with this variable when playing in a different scale. Time is also variable because of the activation mechanic. These things will sound anathema to most simulation gamers, but in practice it works surprisingly well by allowing players to zoom in and out of different events happening on the battlefield.

Speed of play is another aspect that is taken into account in Naval war, the activations create a tremendous amount of involvement for both players, but each activation also does not take a lot of time to perform. The D6 is used for everything, shooting is resolved by 3 rolls, roll to hit, roll for damage/armor penetration and roll on the system damage chart to see what components have been damaged. Torpedo’s work almost the same, but use a template to simulate the spread, and effects are resolved at the end of the turn, allowing for a cat-and-mouse game of ships trying to launch their torpedo’s after their targets activated for movement (so cannot take evasive action anymore) and opponents trying to anticipate torpedo launches or desperately trying to get out of the way once launched. The system damage chart is the only chart in the game, and since it has only 12 entries (with different entries for torpedo damage or non-penetrating hit damage) it is quite easy to learn by heart.

This brings us to the next subject, damage registration. Naval War uses elaborate ship statcards to represent each ship on the table. On the card you can mark damage, damaged components and effects on performance by that damage. No markers on the table are required, one glance on the unit statcard will inform you of the current status of your ship. Each component and weapon system has a ‘damaged’ and ‘disabled’ status, allowing or disallowing damage-control and possible lethal hits to take out complete systems in one go.

Naval War does use a point system to build fleets but does not use unrestricted fleet lists. Order of Battle PDF’s are provided to guide the player in building a fleet inspired by a specific campaign or battle. This will for instance enable a German-navy player to build his fleet from one of the lists in the Norway 1940 Order of Battle to capture the feeling of a fleet that could have sailed in the invasion of Norway. This will make sure that all constructed fleets still have a certain flavor to them.

To round of my presentation, rules for in-game aircraft, carriers, dogfights and CAP are present, so are rules for submarines. I hope that I have sketched the broad outlines of the Naval rule set enough to spark your interest, and also convinced you of the fact that it is an unique game to play!"


---I will ofcourse edit the layout and add lots of pictures and screenshots of the stuff discussed in the final version---
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PostTue Aug 11, 2015 10:18 am
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Toyama

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Hi Eccles,

A very comprehensive write-up indeed!

IMO, it's a good read. You take your time, explaining on the various game mechanics. Good stuff.

Still, you're asking for comments. It is hard to find anything, but here are one or two points:

Maybe you're diving into the core of the rules a bit too quickly. It might be better to elaborate on the nature of the game, scale, etc, before starting the Command Station part.

So, maybe start with the part: "The game is designed to be played on a tabletop,...", adding something about the scale of minis that can be taken, to be followed by "The core of Naval War is..."

I haven't played the more recent update of your game, so I'm not sure about this, but you might want to add the fact that Command Stations are nation-specific, or maybe nowadays they are more fleet- and year-specific (e.g. ABDA)?

Anyhow, in my opinion, the game you're creating/developing is a true product of love. If the rules you've added after I played the game (aircraft, carriers, subs, even dogfights!!) are of equal standard, we're looking at a masterpiece, no doubt!

I'm really looking forward to play Naval War again, supervised by the developer himself !
Wink
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PostTue Aug 11, 2015 12:02 pm
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Ecclesiastes

 That which hath been is now; and that which is to be hath already been;


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Thanks for the tip Toyama, I've edited it and it is now live at my blog to check out for everyone:

http://calltoarmsmwg.blogspot.nl/...of-naval-war-wwii-naval.html#more
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PostWed Aug 12, 2015 6:24 pm
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Toyama

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Very Happy
Going Kickstarter when?
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PostWed Aug 12, 2015 10:13 pm
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Ecclesiastes

 That which hath been is now; and that which is to be hath already been;


Joined: 31 Aug 2009
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Dont know if kickstarter is the way to go, the thing is 95% ready anyways Smile

I'm still struggling with the Command Station, something there is not working the way I want it. Anyone want to help on brainstorming that one? I think I might go blind just staring at the thing...
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PostWed Sep 02, 2015 10:52 am
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Toyama

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I wouldn't mind looking into the issues you might have.
You probably want to ask EK as well. He's good at this stuff..
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PostWed Sep 02, 2015 7:52 pm
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Ecclesiastes

 That which hath been is now; and that which is to be hath already been;


Joined: 31 Aug 2009
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Toyama wrote:
I wouldn't mind looking into the issues you might have.
You probably want to ask EK as well. He's good at this stuff..


I know, but it is quite a long drive for him to just have a little chat and look through some ideas (we are going to play a game soon though)... But you wouldn't happen to have a free evening this week or next week to pop over for a drink and discuss some ideas?
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PostThu Sep 03, 2015 12:52 pm
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Toyama

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I'm already engaged during coming weekdays and -evenings.
I'd like to come over (12 or) 13 oct; afternoon or evening both being possible.
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PostThu Sep 03, 2015 6:21 pm
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pendragon68

 Lord, let us be grateful for what we are about to receive

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Bummer.....

On the other hand, 24 October has become impossible now for me as well. My family comes over and as i see them rarely, i have to cancel that date for all wargaming activities.

Good luck at the FoW Tournament Eccles

Definetely going to Crisis (and saving for it already)
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PostFri Sep 04, 2015 9:46 am
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Ecclesiastes

 That which hath been is now; and that which is to be hath already been;


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No problem Pendragon and Toyama, I'll gather a case and just post it here so you can review it from a distance Smile I really want to put out a beta version for the testers soon so I dont think I can wait till we all found time to gather.
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PostSat Sep 05, 2015 7:48 am
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Ecclesiastes

 That which hath been is now; and that which is to be hath already been;


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Ok, here's the deal...

You guys have tested the following incarnation of the command station:


This command stations works the following way to bring you up to date:

- Players' fleets generate order dice
- Order dice can be used to perform activations and orders
- Orders have a difficulty rating like 3+ which is the required roll on an order die to have the order performed. If the difficulty is not met, the order fails to perform.
- Officer slot is meant for the fleet officer picked before the game, giving certain bonuses and provide the morale ratings for the fleet.
- Tactics slots give 2 variable slots in which (so far) 8 extra orders can be placed. At the start of each turn 2 different orders can be chosen to put in the slots.

This system works quite nicely but has a few drawbacks:

- Analysis paralysis at the start of each turn. Since there are 2 slots to fill each turn and there are 8 different orders to put in there, most testplayers I have found to take a very big amount of time to decide what order to put in the slots.
- Since all nations have a command station, it requires such a huge amount of orders that it becomes unavoidable that some orders wont be very relevant or effective in practice.
- Apart from the roll for difficulty, the opponent does not play a very big part in the command station except in praying that you will fail your roll (if you need to roll at all)
- It is very hard to put in negative effects. Especially as you dont want to get the situations that suddenly, if you fight germany for instance, all your guns seem to jam, while that doesnt happen to you fighting japan (since an order is usually unique to a command station).


So I came up with a slight tweak to the command station mechanics:


In this version I changed the following things:

- Order dice have been replaced with Order tokens
- In addition to order tokens generated by your fleet, any successful activation or order issued by your opponent will grant you a disruption token.
- No inherent difficulty roll is required, if your opponent does not respond to your order/activation (see below) the order will automatically pass.
- You can use disruption tokens in response to any order or activation played by your opponent.
- You can select to use 1-3 disruption tokens in response to your opponents order or activation
- If any disruption tokens are used, the player trying to issue the order needs to roll above the amount of disruption markers that your opponent played to make his order succeed.
- In case of a failed order, some negative effect may happen to the ship/squadron receiving the order.
- Succes or failure, all order and disruption tokens used are discarded.
- Indirect orders generate no disruption markers, nor can any be used to disrupt them, making them more important to the overall strategy.

So I might want to issue the order 'Radar Fire Control' to be able to shoot through a squall, my opponent responds by playing 2 disruption tokens, requiring me to roll a 3+ to perform my order. If I roll 3+, I can profit from the order as normal. If I roll a 1 or 2, suddenly my opponent may choose a ship within my arc of fire to shoot at (even a ship friendly to me), simulating that radar aquisition wasn't always that reliable in the chaos of combat.

In this version the amount of 'friction' experienced by your command is regulated by your opponent. The more orders you play, the more friction you will experience because you will grant your opponent more and more disruption tokens. Still, your opponent cannot reduce your chance to succeed to less than 50%, which will require 3 disruption tokens. Since your opponent does not generate enough disruption markers to influence every order or activation, he will have to pick his fights.

Since there is a drawback to a lot of strong orders (increased rate of fire can lead to a jammed mount, etc.) there is more of a tradeoff between risk, bluff and profit. In addition it involves your opponent more making it more interactive (and fun I hope)

There are of course also drawbacks to the system: I got rid of the tactics cards, reducing the options available (But is this a bad thing?), in response I tried to make the remaining order more meaningfull.


So my question is: what do you guys think of the new command station, are there any glaring gameplay holes I might have missed? I havent playtested it yet, so this is all theory and I might have overlooked some very important things?
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PostSat Sep 05, 2015 8:24 am
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pendragon68

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totally off-topic, but.... what army are you using at the tournament in two weeks?
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PostFri Oct 09, 2015 6:48 am
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Ecclesiastes

 That which hath been is now; and that which is to be hath already been;


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You mean the Flames of War tournament? I'm coming with my Americans, a late-late war list, mainly so I can finally field my Super Pershing for giggles (and an awesome model) Very Happy
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PostFri Oct 09, 2015 11:32 am
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pendragon68

 Lord, let us be grateful for what we are about to receive

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LOL.... wondering how you fared at the FoW tournament
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PostThu Oct 29, 2015 12:00 pm
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Ecclesiastes

 That which hath been is now; and that which is to be hath already been;


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I did 3-4, 6-1 and 5-2, so not to bad overall. Final scoreboard hasn't been posted yet....

My brother scored 6-1, 2-5 and 5-2, so also a very decent score.
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PostThu Oct 29, 2015 12:03 pm
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Ecclesiastes

 That which hath been is now; and that which is to be hath already been;


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pendragon68 wrote:
LOL.... wondering how you fared at the FoW tournament


Final scores: 2nd place among the allied players, shared 4th place in the overall scoreboard. Not to bad on a total of 46 players Very Happy

So when can you guys come over again to play a game of Naval War? I made some more modifications and simplifications I want to test Smile
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PostTue Nov 10, 2015 8:34 am
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Toyama

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Hi Eccles,

In the replay thread we are nearing the Barents Sea conflict.
How about putting that in a game of Naval War, with me and Pendragon playing the scenario and you in a moderator role?
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PostThu Nov 12, 2015 8:14 pm
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Ecclesiastes

 That which hath been is now; and that which is to be hath already been;


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Love that idea! Do you Guys have Any date in mind?
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PostThu Nov 12, 2015 9:30 pm
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Toyama

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** checking the agenda **

If we're talking about weekends, 6, 12 and 13 december are good for me (not having looked at januari yet).
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PostThu Nov 12, 2015 10:43 pm
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pendragon68

 Lord, let us be grateful for what we are about to receive

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same here, if you need more time, after the 8th of january my weekends are free as well


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PostFri Nov 13, 2015 3:53 am
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