Topic-icon Worklist for update 1.5

Naval War HQ created the topic: Worklist for update 1.5

2 months 2 weeks ago

(Items on this list are subject to changes as usual, feel free to try out these changes and please provide C&C)

The turn order
I’ve been studying the Naval War game sequence for some time now and I’ve found out that a few things can improve to speed up the game, especially when more players per side are involved.

The new turn order will become:
- Initiative roll
- Preparations phase
- Activation phase
- Remaining actions phase
- End phase

First thing that catches the eye is the renaming/removal of the indirect activations phase. This phase was kind of messy and confusing because you cannot play any activations with your order tokens but still need to make alternating activations for your ships for stuff like damage control and compulsory movement.

The base line in the game is now that in each phase of the game, the initiative side handles all his actions first, after which the non-initiative side handles all their actions. This speeds up the game, especially when sides have multiple players who can now all handle their actions simultaneously.

The big exception to this is the activation phase. This phase is so integral to the Naval War system that it is still handled by alternating activations.

Besides speeding up the game, this change also offers more structure because I can now better sequence the actions in the other phases, leading to more clarity especially for new players. Initiative becomes way more important, because it now decides if your side shoots first for Repeat Fire or moves first for Compulsory movement. The counter to this for the opposing non-initiative side is to spend more order tokens in the activations phase to pre-empt those actions in the following phases.

Basic activations
There is a balance problem for fleets with aircraft. Since aircraft do not generate order tokens, but order tokens are required to get them on the board (launching or requesting air support) a fleet with aircraft is starved for order tokens compared to fleets that did not bring aircraft. I’ve removed the basic activations of launching aircraft and requesting air support and moved them to the preparations phase. These actions no longer require order tokens. You still need order tokens for an attack run though, but the reduced order token requirement should bring aircraft-heavy fleets better on curve.

Order token curve
Which brings me to the next subject, the order token curve. Since order token generation is stable until the fleet composition changes due to kills and broken off ships, most fleets end up with many excess tokens in the early game, because besides of movement nothing much happens. Then, when the battle gets intense, the curve drops off because ships break off, but at that point in the battle you would want more tokens because there are so many ways to spend them when combat is going on.

Increasing the order tokens will make the early game worse and the late game a bit better, while vice-versa the opposite happens.
I’ve come up with a solution that hopefully will address this issue: Normal order token generations is still determined by the squadrons in your fleet and their composition, providing a steady stream of order tokens each turn. In addition to that, the officer now has a finite order pool of order tokens, few for lower officers, up to three tokens for an admiral. These order tokens do not regenerate but can be used at any time. This gives the player fewer order tokens to worry about in the early game when fleets are closing but gives a pool of extra tokens to be used when the going gets tough. Of course, as a result, an officer and the fleet flagship will no longer generate order tokens each turn.

Thanks to player input, a lower limit will be implemented that do not allow your order token generation to go below one token. This to ensure that even when your fleet is scattered, at least a small amount of control remains in the players’ hands.

Risk vs. Reward
The system of disruption, and the added penalties of failing an order discourages players from using the command station. This balance is always tricky, and expect tweaks to the system with each update. Last update a base difficulty of 2+ was added for all activations. I’ve now expanded on this concept by making the base difficulty variable depending on the impact of the order on the command station. An order with a big impact on the game might have a base difficulty of 3+ while an order with a small impact might be a 2+. To compensate and to bring balance back into the risk-vs-reward equation, only orders that fail the base difficulty value will cause the negative effect of an order. If disruption markers are added and an order fails because of the increased difficulty, the negative effects do not kick in, the order just fails. So a flank speed order (base difficulty 2+), with two added disruption markers (increasing the difficulty to 4+) will only cause engine damage on the roll of 1, on 2 and 3 there is no negative effect, just no added movement distance. This decreases the risk, but still allow for disruption.

The Russians are coming!
I’ve started adding USSR ships to my database and started work on a data card layout for them. Still looking for ideas and suggestions for the command station since the USSR navy has a rather lackluster performance in WW2 (How on earth do we make these guys interesting game-wise??)

Scouting rules
With the increased importance of the initiative roll, the rules for scouting have been streamlined (scouting is no longer a passive special rule but aircraft have to actively scout, disabling them from attacking). In addition some experimental rules for shadowing have been added to allow ships to scout too. Finally, the scouting bonus can be a + OR a - on your initiative roll. Sometimes you might really want to leave the initiative to your opponent.

Fleet builder update
I’ve been updating the fleet builder to give complete data-cards as output, including pictures for the ships, officers and aircraft. It now also includes options for color/greyscale and images/no-images to save printer costs.

Small changes:
- Cleveland cruisers have had their aft guns RoF reduced from 8 to 6, this was a typo
- Type XXI U-boats have their submerged movement increased to 10

To do list:
- Work all these changes into the rulebook. This is a major operation since some core mechanics like the turn order get revised.
- Complete the Russian fleet data
- Complete a Russian command station
- Add an order of battle that includes a Russian fleet, either the Baltic fleet or the Murmansk Convoys come to mind.
- Adjust scouting rules for submarines

Some of these changes are pretty big (especially the change in turn sequence), so please provide feedback and opinions on them, I might have overlooked something important. Critisism and feedback is always welcome as you all know by now.

Game designer

"That which hath been is now; and that which is to be hath already been;" -Ecclesiastes-
Last edit: 2 months 2 weeks ago by Naval War HQ.
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andrewcooke71 replied the topic: Worklist for update 1.5

2 months 2 weeks ago

Personally, I like the way the indirect phase is now. There is a real chess game going on. Do you try to repair before trying to shoot, hoping you don’t take any other damage beforehand? I think making one side do everything first a bit lopsided.

How about making all aircraft activations, except attacks indirect?

The order tokens are a tricky thing. I appreciate this is what makes the game unique. Yes there is sometimes an imbalance. The way I see it you optimally need 2 tokens per squadron per turn. In the games I have played 1.5 seems adequate. This gives you a nice balance of being able to do what you want and yet not quite have enough to do it all. Typically there is very little chance to use order tokens as reactions...

I really like the proposed change to the use of disruption markers and the consequences for attempting advanced activations. It will definitely make me use them more often.

I have a question regarding current scouting and carrier actions. Do the contact tokens move? Once a contact is identified do you have to spend order tokens to move the squadron or do they just stay in place. Do you get scout tokens for both Tone and Chikuma and any aircraft they have already launched?


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Naval War HQ replied the topic: Worklist for update 1.5

2 months 1 week ago

Thanks for your input on the indirect activations phase. I'll take note of them.
One side-effect from moving the launching of planes to the indirect phase is that it then combines launching and moving the planes in one phase, or it will result in a 3-phase air attack cycle. I'll give it some more thought.

As for the scouting questions:
The contact tokens do not move, once a contact is identified it may function as normal. Since the scouting phase is done before activations, the revealed squadron may activate as normal.

Both Tone and Chikuma have the scout special rule, so they get a scouting token (to represent their search planes).

Note that you may want to try moving the tokens in the 'weathering the storm' scenario. It might help to create tension and urgency for the attacker when the tokens can move and it gives something to move for the defending player when no squadrons have been spotted yet. I might add this to the scenario rules in the next version.

Game designer

"That which hath been is now; and that which is to be hath already been;" -Ecclesiastes-
The following user(s) said Thank You: andrewcooke71

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