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Subject: ww2 pacific Intelligence rss

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Eric Pietrocupo
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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.

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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.

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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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mike
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If the focus is Naval Combat, the movement is pretty important.

Fleets are not stationary and having intelligence data is one small piece of the puzzle of Naval engagements

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Eric Pietrocupo
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In fact the fleet moves, it's just that they are pooled back to HQ each turn to regroup and redeploy. That makes the management of fleet much more easier and makes it easier to manage secret movement.
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Mark J
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Not a direct answer to your question, but if movement is abstracted away, I think you need to give a player good reason to attack one place rather than another so this doesn't just turn into a guessing game.

I mean, if a player can attack anywhere on the board, and the other player has to try to discover or anticipate his attacks to deploy a defensive force, then in the worst case this could turn into a game where the defender has to guess where the attacker will hit with no real information to go on. I've played some games like that, I call them "I'm thinking of a number" games.

Now I think the game could be very interesting if there are good reasons to hit one place rather than another. You mentioned having supply lines, that could well be one factor. If you can create a situation where there are obvious easy targets, obvious high-value targets, etc, but where a player can color outside the lines, take some big risk, etc, that could make for an interesting game. And I think it would fit the scenario. WW2 in the Pacific had a number of routine, predictable campaigns and also some surprise moves. Like the Japanese attack on Singapore was probably pretty predictable. Pearl Harbor on the one side and the Doolittle Raid on the other, not so much.
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Eric Pietrocupo
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You have a very good point. I think the predictability could be influenced by 2 things so far:

Resources: There is a lot of fuel in indonesia, and it could be an interesting target to acquire resources or cut resources to the enemy.

Supply Route: This is the second most important element. Cutting supply route is what amercans did by taking the phillipines cutting supplies from indonesia, or what the japanse wanted to do in guadalcanal to cut supplies to australia.

That might change with the new map, but right now its hard to completely isolate an hex, so I am using a progressive/partial supply system. For example: each hex side that connects to your supply network will increase the number of land forces in the area or the number of resources you can harvest.

The supply network is important because there is no land forces on the map. In fact, there is no units on the map at all, only control markers. So it's "how much" an hex is supplied that determined the max number of land forces that can be sent there when a battle occurs.

So the strategy would be to capture bases adjacent to other bases in order to increase the number of supply connections making it easier to attack for you and harder to defend for your opponent.

You can try to cut your opponent, but if those new bases are not well supplied, they could be captured easily. The idea is still under development.
 
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Mark J
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If you're giving value to objectives based on resources, maybe other factors, that's cool. I'd think you'd want to make places like Indonesia, Australia, Hong Kong, Singapore, and the Philippines intrinsically valuable; Guam, New Guinea, the Solomons not so much. In real life in WW2 places became valuable as airbases and supply depots rather than for resources or industry. You seem to be trying to factor that in.

My off-the-top-of-my-head thought is that the level of supply of a space should depend on distance to a supply source over controlled spaces rather than the number of directions from which supplies can come.

Like I understand that back then lots of Americans were terrified that the Japanese were going to invade Hawaii or even California. In practice that would surely have been almost impossible, as they had no way to maintain such a long supply line. Maybe possibly they could have made a small raid just to scare and harass, but even that would probably have stretched the limits of their abilities, and would likely have been a suicide mission.
 
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Carl Nyberg
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Is "Pacific Intelligence" the name of the game?
 
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Eric Pietrocupo
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Quote:
In real life in WW2 places became valuable as airbases and supply depots rather than for resources or industry. You seem to be trying to factor that in.


Some bases will be more defended or have larger airfield, and some bases also has industry used for production of units. Each base will have a card with various stats, so that could play in the value of a base.

Quote:
My off-the-top-of-my-head thought is that the level of supply of a space should depend on distance to a supply source over controlled spaces rather than the number of directions from which supplies can come.


It's an idea, but it could be harder to manage. One thing I did is that the pacific and atlantic ocean are separate, so it takes 1 turn to switch ocean. I'll give it some thoughts.

Quote:
Like I understand that back then lots of Americans were terrified that the Japanese were going to invade Hawaii or even California. In practice that would surely have been almost impossible, as they had no way to maintain such a long supply line.


I want to make the invasion of USA possible in my game, so this is why distance might not be a good idea. An alternative could be that it cost more transports to supply a certain base since you need more convoys.

Quote:
Is "Pacific Intelligence" the name of the game?


No ... But the names looks cool! laugh That would fit more for a game where you conly manage intelligence information, and the more efficient you are the better your troops are going to perform. But you do not control any armies or units. I could be some sort of influence game where you manipulate the objectives of the navy with the information you have.

 
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Mark J
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larienna wrote:

Quote:
Like I understand that back then lots of Americans were terrified that the Japanese were going to invade Hawaii or even California. In practice that would surely have been almost impossible, as they had no way to maintain such a long supply line.


I want to make the invasion of USA possible in my game, so this is why distance might not be a good idea. An alternative could be that it cost more transports to supply a certain base since you need more convoys.


Oh, I'd make it POSSIBLE. Just hard.
 
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