‘That’ Point in Game Design

Most of the core rules in the new Victory at Sea are more or less straight, and the fleet lists are slowly being built up to their final forms (still need a lot of playtesting in that area though, as there are a lot of ships in this game).

I am now reaching the point of game design where lots of ideas of ‘cool things to add’ keep popping up. This has the effect of making me wonder whether the rulebook will ever be finished, if I spent the next year working on it. Happens with every game, without fail.

I’ll give you an example.

Just been adding rules for coasts, coastal defences and land in general to the new version of the rules. Land is pretty easy to deal with in a naval game; don’t let ships sail over it. Punish them big time if they do.

You then need Shore Batteries added, which is fine, some big guns on the coast to keep marauding ships at bay, and we already had the core of those rules in Order of Battle. Just needed streamlining down a little, plus more specific examples added. Simples.

Anti-Aircraft Batteries get added next. Simplicity itself, just need to use the same rules for Shore Batteries, make them a bit lighter and mount different weapons in them.  Easy to write but this means, for the first time in Victory at Sea, we can now do pure aerial attacks on ports where only one side has ships and their opponent has nothing but aircraft – and have it make for a good game! Expect to see scenarios for Taranto and Pearl Harbour in this next edition.

And that was all I was going to add to that chapter, for now at least.

But it occured to me that some nice resin harbour buildings, warehouses, command towers, hangars, etc, might be a nice touch – and they would need rules. Well, static buildings we already have rules for with Shore Batteries, so they can be easily appropriated. Just a case of typing up some descriptions (a warehouse, a place where you store things…) and working out suitable Armour and Damage stats. Done!

Then I get thinking about using them as objectives in scenarios, where they have to be protected or destroyed. And if we have buildings, Shore Batteries, and all the rest, why can’t we have troop landers?  What about some rules for handling amphibious assaults? Could we get St. Nazaire into Victory at Sea? Would we want to?

The aim was to make the next Victory at Sea so complete it would never need a supplement. It may just be the case that we need to review exactly what should and should not be in a game about World War IInaval warfare!

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