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Offline Asid

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« on: May 08, 2019, 04:00:39 PM »

Your name is unknown. Your deed is immortal - Tomb of the Unknown Soldier (Moscow)

WarPlan is a game like few others. It is more than a WWII game. It’s a tool. Merging the experience of 50 years in wargaming, WarPlan puts in players’ hands the control of virtually everything.

Supply System, Production, Politics, Military operations and many other layers are offered to you thanks the great engine flexibility.

Product page: Here
Official forum: Here

Complexity: Intermediate
Period: World War II
Manual: PDF
Editor: Yes. Moddable Data Files
Theatre: Eastern Europe, Western Europe, Mediterranean
Turns: Turn-Based
Unit Scale: Army, Corps & Division
AI: Yes
Hotseat: Yes

About This Game

Warplan is an incredibly accurate World War 2 simulation engine. It is a balance of realism and playability incorporating the best from 50 years of World War 2 board wargaming.

Developer Kraken Studios places their emphasis on games that are… Easy to use, hard to win.

Warplan employs one of the best interfaces to lower micromanagement as much as possible so players can focus on playing and thinking.

Recreate World War II in every detail, thanks to the huge engine flexibility and database.

•   70 different potential countries
•   Map scale 30 miles / 50km per hex using a Peter's map scaling which better represents real distances
•   Land scale 15k - 60k men
•   Air scale 300-400 air craft
•   Naval scale 2 capital ships + support ships
20 different units with 15 different attributes, 17 different technological advancements, 5 different specialties. Each country has their own units with their own attributes.
•   Breakdown - Land units can be split or reformed.  Corps may detach a division, armies may split.
•   Formation – Small formations may be grouped into larger ones.
•   Generals - Each player comes with their own generals that affect combat, mobile attack, and retreats.
•   Support pool Units - 11 different support types
•   Naval units stack in fleets.
•   1 land, 1 air, 1 fleet per hex.
•   Production points,
•   oil, manpower,
•   Logistics,
•   strategic resources,
•   trade agreements,
•   convoy zones
•   17 different advancements
•   Each unit has at minumum 2 advancement choices.
•   47 different unit configurations.
Land units have the capacity of having a specialization. This is an attachment of equipment, elite trained units, or gear. With advancements this allows for 120 different land unit configurations
Supply system is based on cities, rail, ports, headquarters, and distance from railways. The supply system more accurately represents the North African Campaign.
Players may declare war, influence, attempt a coup, or negotiate a surrender. Each country has a loyalty and an entry level. Actions in game may alter the entry and loyalty of various countries.
•   Hex based map and movement.
•   15 different types of terrains subdivided in to sizes with each different features including motorized and non-motorized movement, airfield capacity, and defensive bonuses.
•   12 different resource types
•   5 different strategic resources
•   Fog of War – detection levels determine information of units.
•   5 different weather conditions
•   Land - Multihex attack based on operation points allowing for multiple move and attack tactics allowing for frontline breakthroughs.
•   Zone of control – Use of ZoC restricts the movement of the enemy.
•   Air – Attacks selected targets and may automatically support land attacks
•   Naval – fleet and raider modes affect detection. Night action, Surface, Sub, and Carrier combat are available
Units automatically repair and get advancements simulate realistic conditions allowing players to focus on strategy and play.
•   play vs the A.I.,
•   hotseat,
•   PBEM.
WarPlan includes an editor to allow modding and creation of scenarios

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Offline Asid

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Re: WarPlan
« Reply #1 on: May 08, 2019, 04:04:31 PM »

Today, developer Kraken Studios and Matrix Games are proud to announce that WarPlan has reached the Beta Phase, so if you think you have what it takes to help polishing and testing don’t miss this incredible opportunity and join the Beta now!

Get more information about the game from its official Product Page

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Offline Asid

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Re: WarPlan
« Reply #2 on: June 10, 2019, 08:29:25 PM »
WarPlan Dev Diary #1 - Introduction

by Alvaro Sousa, Kraken Studios

This story starts out when a 15 year old kid was introduced to the game Rise and Decline of the Third Reichfrom Avalon Hill back in 1982. A friend taught me the game in a learn the rules and watch me exploit your lack of knowledge method. He would pull out convenient rules when it suited him and didn’t tell me rules that helped me. He thoroughly kicked my ass by 1942 as the Axis as I had little clue as to what I was doing. For most people this would only encourage them never to play the game again. Instead I became fascinated.

Since then I have played just about every game that has involved WW2 on a grand strategy scale. If I didn’t play it I at least read the rules of the game to understand the system.

I read a solid 20+ books on WW2 military history increasing my knowledge of the time period. Some titles include Black May by Gannon, Wages of Destruction by Tooze, Why the Allies Won by Overy and of course Brute Force by Ellis.

I was a gamer and loved gaming. I played card games like Magic the Gathering, RPGs like Dungeons & Dragons, along with wargames on the computer and board. In 2004 I learned poker diving into 100+ books on the subject studying the mathematics and psychology of the game. I learned web design, programming, history, science, psychology, and some application UX design (user experience). I wanted to do something more than a normal job.

The opportunity presented itself around 2011 where I encountered a game called Strategic Command 2 (SC2). It is an excellent game system, better than any I seen before. SC2 came with an editor to make my own scenarios. So I designed my own game called Brute Force 1939. The name came from John Ellis’s excellent book called Brute Force on WW2. It was a mod based on the SC2 system, the board game World in Flame, and SPI’s European Theatre of Operations. It was designed so play was easier and it gave players balanced decisions within the game. I made each country slightly different than the other to give it personality. It incorporated a split map which was a big no-no back then. The game became one of the most popular mods in the community. It was so popular it is now part of the Strategic Command Classic: Global Conflict.

Due to my family’s financial stability and the surprising success I had with my mod I had an opportunity to get my foot in the door of the gaming community. My wife pushed me into relearning programming and getting into designing my own games. I started off by approaching Fury Software into doing their final 2 expansions, Assault on Communism and Assault on Democracy, also included in the classic version list above. They had already taken several ideas from my mod and suggestions to incorporate them in their future editions and even their WW1 game. So I listened to my wife and learned C# and Unity Engine. WarPlan began to take shape.

Since I have been gaming for the last 35 years I have seen many trends, game mechanics, and games go by in a unique experience that is missed by younger designers. I was there when the golden age of video games began. I was there when going to the arcade was a night out. I was there before the internet when having a game night was a social engagement of chips, beer, dice, figurines, and character sheets. With my education, age, and experience from developing the SC2 expansions I feel I have an advantage in understanding my audience, at least when it comes to wargames. So I wanted to do the best game possible putting forth maximum effort into the game mechanics and playability.

Due to my knowledge and interest in WW2 I decided to make my first game would be a grand strategy WW2 game. I wanted to have the things players wanted, a new system of performing actions incorporating and streamlining the best from other great games of my past. WarPlan was to create decisions points based on giving up something to get something else where the strategy of knowing what to use when was the key to winning. This was to be a monumental task starting from zero. Any game developer will tell you that you start small and work your way up. I just started large, very large.

The games that generated all the ideas for WarPlan were the following and more: Third Reich, SPIs ETP/PTO, World in Flames, Axis and Allies, Decision Games World at War, Block system by Colombia Games, Steel Panthers, Hearts of Iron Series, Making History, Strategic Command, Commander Europe at War, any Gary Grigsby game, Clash of Steel, High Command, Operational Art of War, Unity of Command, Victory in the Pacific, Panzer General, and many games from SSI in the 1980s.

What most people don’t realize is that developing a game is an incredibly difficult, tedious, and time consuming task. Games from Mario Brothers to WarPlan have to tackle different problems but have an equal amount of complexity with its development. As a single person developing the game I had to hire out a fair portion of my art and music. But all the coding, UX design, and game design was just one person…. me.

WarPlan focuses on ease of use to allow players to spend more time playing and thinking. It allows many decision points in the scope of getting something while sacrificing something else in an abstract method. There are no decisions to be answered like Decisive Campaigns Barbarossa. Players must balance resources and management to fit the strategy the player wants to employ. When I play tested this myself to work out bugs in the A.I. I realized some strategy and tactics I could do within the game system that I didn’t intentionally create. My hope is that WarPlan is experienced by the players like a game of poker. You have limited information and resources to be creative and efficient. Players make strategic choices that build up next summer’s strategies. Your purchase and suggestions go towards influencing future versions of WarPlan. My goal is to create a better WW2 wargame experience. That is why I took my time developing this game. .

Alvaro Sousa, Kraken Studios

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Offline Asid

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Re: WarPlan
« Reply #3 on: June 25, 2019, 01:04:48 PM »
WarPlan Dev Diary #2 - Land and Air System

Land and Air System

The land system for a wargame is one of the most crucial parts of the game. Land units allow you to control territory which is how you win the game. Nothing generates as much excitement and a healthy level of anxiety than seeing a Russian front stretched from Leningrad to Rostov with both players desperately trying to achieve their goals while feeling they don’t have enough resources just as the weather turns to mud.

I wanted to add flavor to the operational level of WarPlan without overwhelming the players with information or actions. I tried to take what was important and incorporate it as simple decisions for units grouped in as few categories as possible. This way they can make quick decisions without overwhelming procedures. This is also incorporated into the fog of war system which is based on inaccurate and incomplete information instead of being completely blind to what is happening where. Play like a general not a calculator.

General Information

Each unit has general information which they all are created upon. When a player selects a unit they will get the standard display. This shows their combined strengths and weaknesses with minimal intrusion to the game map. Each unit has 2 modes, some secondary abilities, a details button, and a prioritize button that allows this unit to receive reinforcements first and upgrade now above all other units. The oil stockplike shows how much oil the unit’s country has saved up.

Land Interface

As like in most classic wargames WarPlan uses a multihex attack. This is where multiple units attack a single hex at the same time representing a concentration of force. In a board game this is an easy implementation just by calling out the units you want to attack with. In a computer game it is a challenge. It took me a lot of experimentation to come up with a system that is efficient and swift for players to use. This is one of the key features of the game. The system is designed to use the a minimal number of physical actions to yield time to thinking actions while letting players choose the delay of information.

After testing a multitude of implementations I settled on using the left mouse key to select, right mouse key to perform an action, and the shift/control keys to choose the units to do perform the actions. This is not traditional for most games and applications which are always left click oriented for all actions, but it created a much faster interface. I saw an implementation of this function in War in the East/West and I liked the way it worked. In WarPlan players can hold the shift key and hover over an enemy to select all units next to it to attack or hold the control key and hover over a friendly unit then the enemy to setup an attack with specified units then right click. Units selected would be clearly marked so players knew exactly who was involved in the attack. If you made a mistake it is as simple as letting go of all keys and re-left clicking the unit you want to reset it. Left click selects and right click performs the action, Simple. To accommodate gamers who are limited in their functionality I added 2 keys on the top bar to hold the shift or control key down for them so you only need one hand to play. The unit interface drastically sped up the player turn to my satisfaction.

Land units have a variety of actions. They can hold a position or be set to delay. They can embark, invade, disembark, receive extra supplies, or rail. Land units also have specialties that can add a little more functionality to the unit. Specialties are listed below. Each land unit has operation points it uses to move and attack other units. It is possible to attack more than once during a turn. So players have to pace their units not to over exhaust them attacking. They have to think ahead on their offensives not to overextend their advances. So far in Beta the testers are having a fun time with the land system. It creates a lot of operation decision points.

Air Interface

As part of the appeal of functionality I had to make the air system equally simple with options for players who want more control. WarPlan uses more air counters than other games when considering the scales of land, air, and naval forces. I needed an equally simple system for its implementation.

Getting my idea from Strategic Command I implemented a two mode system for aircraft that players can decide on. Air units in full support mode automatically escort, intercept, and support land attacks. A player may set an air unit on mission only mode which means it does nothing unless the player manually makes the air unit do something. This is best used when resting air units to replenish them.

So players have the option of manually using all their aircraft or allowing a good portion of it to be automatic. A handful of early ideas were tossed around with wargamers I knew about manually intercepting naval and air units on the opponent’s turn. In a board game it is easy to do as the player is there to react to the action but in today’s PBEM computer games passing wait for me to act turns becomes tedious. So full mission actions on the opponent’s turn are limited to ground support and interception. The naval system was built to compensate for this.

Air units can select from a number of mission types to attack land units, air bases, production, or navies. With full support they can act on the opponents turn lending support vs enemy air units and friendly land units. This gives a lot of flexibility to players.  Yet still I felt there were too many planes to manage so I added one more feature to Headquarters, calling an airstrike. Call airstrike will fly all available bomber types to attack all land targets within a 5 hex radius of the HQ. This gives a little extra functionality to HQs and lets players easily hit many land targets at once without the tedious task of clicking every single air unit.

So now imagine it is 1944 and the Allied turn. There are over 4,000 allied combat aircraft in England waiting to strike (13 counters). With just two headquarters, one British and one American, a player can strike all the German land forces defending the coast. The hard part now is invading. Players can individually strike different targets, automatically support land units, and call massive airstrikes from an HQ. After play testing many games myself I was comfortable and satisfied at the pace of the game with land and air force interface. It was also fun to watch all these air strikes happen at once on the map.

Land Combat

A land combat system can be created in many ways that are creative and unique. Ultimately no matter how ingenious the system is there are two simple questions to ask, is it fun and does work. Successful games have included combat systems involved with throwing many dice to determine hits, incorporating a chart, complex mathematic system in stages, or just a simple mathematical calculation adding all factors. I focused on the basic concepts from wargames: odds, defensibility, logistics, and position while manipulating data in a variety of ways that add a little flavor and no complications to the players.

After attacking units are selected, hovering over an enemy gives the approximate odds of the attack. A 3:1 attack is considered fairly break even. A player can only estimate the retreat chance by the apparent number of armored and mechanized units involved in the battle. Anytime a player hovers over a hex the information panel gives a description of the area and a generalization of the defense and spotting. This is part of the fog of war which relies on incomplete and limited information instead of the traditional complete fog of war where units don’t appear and information is exact.

Units have the following attributes that affect combat:
Artillery – Fires 1st in a round.
Guns – Defenders fire 2nd while reducing chances of retreating, attacker guns fire 4th.
Tanks – Fires 3rd in a round and affects the chance of retreat. Is less effective in urban areas.
Firearms – Fires last in a round.
Defense – How well they resist taking damage.
Experience – Increases their firepower and reduces the chance to retreat.
Strength – How much damage a unit can take and deal.
Effectiveness – Incorporates many things including: moral, damaged equipment, supplies, and fatigue.
Unit Supply Level – How long they can be without any supplies before suffering bad effects.
Entrenchment – Affects the combat odds.
Specialty – Affects different aspects of the combat such as lowering entrenchment, extra retreat bonus, extra gun bonus, winter fighting, river crossing, and elite unit status.
Generals – Headquarters have generals. If a general isn’t assigned a default subordinate commander will be automatically used. In combat generals have 3 attributes that impact how the battle will turn out.
Combat – Affects how well each general is at inflicting damage on the enemy and reducing damage on their forces.
Mobility – Affects the chances of retreating.
Tenacity – Affects the intensity of combat and the chance a defender surrenders in low odds attacks with a retreat result.

USA infantry corps large: +1 tanks, +1 oil use, +1 operation point
USSR infantry corps: -10 strength, -1 artillery, can’t be build
USSR infantry army: +6 strength, -1 artillery
Germany: starts with higher default experience and average statistics
Italian infantry corps: -1 firearms, -1 artillery, Can’t build large corps

Land units come in a variety of configurations broken down in sets which are easy to remember. Looking at the basic infantry unit players have divisions, small corps, and large corps (or armies). Each basic infantry unit has 2 advancements: assault for attacking, anti-tank for defending. Each unit has 2 status settings: active in which they function normally, and garrison in which most motorized vehicles and offensive firepower are removed giving back production and logistics. Less supply and equipment means less cost to operate. Garrison status allows a unit to keep its defensive firepower at the sacrifice of attacking firepower and mobility. Units also have specialties. There are 6 specialties which give them some advantage in certain situations.

Battles are not replayed like in some games. Actions of your opponents are shown from the previous turn on your screen. This allows you a global view of the situation you don’t have to remember. It looks more like a military map of combat actions. This idea was taken from Commander Europe at War and improved. I show where units came from and battle locations. A player can click the combat logs and a battle icon to see what happened in that hex.

The specialties are:
Tank Destroyer – The unit gains a self-propelled gun attachment of assault guns and tank destroyers increasing their anti-tank values +2
Engineer – The unit gains a specialized engineer battalion that reduces the penalties of attacking across a river by 50%.
Elite – The unit is composed of highly trained and experienced veterans. The unit gains a permanent +10 experience.
Heavy Artillery – The unit gains a battalion of specialized artillery for offensives. Removes 1 entrenchment from a unit when attacking. An attacker may only benefit from one heavy artillery per attack.
Infiltrator – The unit specializes in mobile combat tactics of infiltration to penetrate enemy defenses gaining +5% bonus to forcing a defender to retreat. An attacker may only benefit from one infiltrator per attack.
Winter Combat – The unit is trained with special winter combat tactics and equipment that allows them to fight better in snow or blizzard weather. They gain +15% in combat during these weather conditions.

The strategy part of the land system is realizing how and where to deploy assets with the right functionality to accomplish the task you need. For example if the Germans are at Leningrad they should have mostly large infantry corps assigned the assault advancement with one heavy artillery specialty and a reserve panzer corps for counter attacks. If the Russians are attacking in 1944 across the Dnieper River they need strong armor units with an engineer specialty. When running out of logistics realize which infantry units are not in important parts of the front and set them to garrison status returning some much needed production and logistics to the pool. While this level of complexity is not required to play the game it creates a level of deeper thinking and planning for offensives and defensive lines without overwhelming the player.
With the simple interface and complex depth to units this should lead to a robust intellectual game or resources, units, and positioning. In WarPlan you should never have enough of what you want.
The fog of war system for the game relies on incomplete information and deception. Players get some information on units depending how far they are away from the front line. This allows for players to setup situations where they can

Air Combat

Air combat in WarPlan is based on attrition over the time using supply, technology, experience, and numbers as the modifiers. Players need to watch that their air units don’t get so depleted and worn that they are ineffective. Air units with effectiveness of under 50% will not fly missions in full support mode. I tried to represent the accurate scale of air forces in WarPlan with each strength being 15-25 operational combat aircraft per air counter.
Most air to air combats inflict little damage to each air unit per air battle but the deterioration on effectiveness can be readily seen. Late in the war when the Allies had a vast superiority of numbers they could fly, repair, and rest at their leisure. The Germans had to fly constant missions to reduce the Allied bombing threat against their factories. The German air force during D-Day was almost non-existent. This can be reflected in WarPlan. For example in mid 1944 the Allies use 10 bomber units to fly one mission per air unit over France. The Germans have 3 air superiority units defending. The Germans are flying twice as often expending more effectiveness to fly, taking more effectiveness in combat, and recovering less per turn relative to their effectiveness drop even though their physical losses aren’t a lot initially.

The effect of air forces on land and air units is less than what is traditionally expected for many computer wargames of the type. It also mimics history more accurately. The effects of bombers vs ground troops was vastly exaggerated from Allied airmen reports in 1944. Air forces were not nearly as effective as most had hoped. For example the Western Allies had complete air supremacy over the skies of France and Germany in 1944-45. Examining the casualties on that front from June 1944 to the end of the war doesn’t show that the Allied air forces had any significant impact on ground troops. It took the Allies 6 months just to get to the German border.
Air forces mostly impact enemy ground units’ effectiveness and movement and a small percentage of the actual damage is applied to strength. The only place an air unit has full effect on land units is if that land unit is on the beach where it has no cover and is most vulnerable.

Air forces are devastating vs naval forces. A naval fleet operating close to shore vs 500-1000 land based aircraft  (3-4 air counters) of equal experience with no air cover is sure to take serious damage and lose ships. This will impact the Mediterranean more than any other place.
Air units in full support automatically interdict supply convoys at a port within its move range or upto 8 hexes if it has remaining operation points at the end of the turn. But supplies can never be brought below a minimum of level 1.

Air units can’t be attacked and instead are overrun by land forces if they are alone in a hex occupied by an enemy. When an enemy land unit overruns an air unit a set number of air strength is destroyed based on the air unit’s effectiveness and the air unit is placed on the production queue to come out a few turns.
Air units have a variety of factors that impact different types of units. It is the most effective way to accurately represent their abilities vs different targets.
Most country’s air units have the same values in the game. Only advancements affect better equipment and abilities. Some countries might have slightly different attributes representing specific aspects of their own air force.

Having a superior air force means a player has more flexibility and control in the area where the air force is. When attacking they can weaken specific areas to exploit. When defending they can reduce strong units from being as effective. During invasions a strong air force can drastically impact the success or failure of the invasion. Air forces are a tool to be used that give versatility to a player.

That's all for now! Stay tuned for further updates!
Get more information on WarPlan from its official Product Page

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Offline Asid

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Re: WarPlan
« Reply #4 on: June 29, 2019, 01:40:39 AM »
WarPlan Previews

Hello Commanders,

WarPlan has recently entered Beta Phase and we'd like to share what a selected pool of wargamers have said in their previews and articles so far! Of course, being in beta means that many things could change during the development, so what you are going to see is not final.

Check them out here below, and if you want to be part of the beta you can still sign for it here.

Get more information about WarPlan from its official prodcut page

All the previews and article have been precedently approved by Matrixgames staff members


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Re: WarPlan
« Reply #5 on: July 08, 2019, 11:36:56 PM »
WarPlan Dev Diary #3 - Naval System Operations

Most naval battles occurred within a very short span of time over long distances. Simulating this on the WarPlan scale of 2 weeks is a difficult task. Consider the map following the Bismarck and the Prince Eugen. This whole engagement took just 1 week from the day the left port to the day the battleship was sunk. It took half the British navy to find her at sea. Another example is the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.

The movement and attack on Pearl Harbor took 11 days crossing 140 hexes WarPlan hexes of map distance. The complexities of recreating realistic scenarios are a challenge to say the least.

Naval System Operations

Most naval battles occurred within a very short span of time over long distances. Simulating this on the WarPlan scale of 2 weeks is a difficult task. Consider the map following the Bismarck and the Prince Eugen. This whole engagement took just 1 week from the day the left port to the day the battleship was sunk. It took half the British navy to find her at sea. Another example is the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. The movement and attack on Pearl Harbor took 11 days crossing ~140 hexes WarPlan hexes of map distance. The complexities of recreating realistic scenarios are a challenge to say the least.

Naval systems for wargames are one of the most complex systems to create. Some games tackle this with sea zones, others with hexes. It is difficult to get naval battle results at a reasonable level without too little or too much damage. I remember from my youth playing SPI’s European Theatre of Operations in which they have individual capital ships with smaller groups. It was very exciting at the time to have a game like this. It used a hex movement system to position fleets where you wanted. The problem was combat took too long and was incredibly bloody not to mention the mountain of naval counters.

Other games like World in Flames use a zone system which works really well and flows very nicely using search boxes to find the opponent. Even the casualty level seems about right. The issues with this system is that it groups too many distant locations close together allowing for land based air to control the flow of the a sea zone. For example the Marshall Islands are in the same area as Hawaii and Midway. In reality all these 3 island groups are incredible far apart. Games like Hearts of Iron did a good job of putting sea areas on a smaller scale. This was a consideration I had for WarPlan but I didn’t want to mix sea areas with hexes. War in the Pacific uses hexes for everything. It tracks fleets as the move using search planes, pre-assigned missions, air groups, and weather. It gives a very realistic feeling to the game. The issue here is these actions take a long time and the game is on a much different scale than WarPlan with a lot of detail. The turns are much shorter time lengths in War in the Pacific. With a single theatre which focuses primary on the Pacific this works well for the level of detail the game is at. But this would be too much for WarPlan and the simple to play concept. My conclusion was that I had to take the best of each system and incorporate it into something at a larger scale that can abstractly represent the reality of naval combat. The naval system took a very long time to develop and test but what resulted I believe was something very elegant that has a lot of depth into it.

I took the concept of hex positioning, fleet stacks, and screening from EToO.
I took the zone concept, and importance of land based air from WIF.
I took searching, deception, and detection levels from WitP.

All of this was combined to form hex based movement, detection based on controlled land, operational range positioning to counter the enemy within an area, and deception. The fog of war element that comes with WarPlan works very well with the naval system because it is based on incomplete information.

The naval scale for WarPlan is 5 different types of naval groups consisting of….
Carrier Group = 2 large aircraft carriers or a mix of smaller aircraft carriers with 150 – 200 combat aircraft.
Battle group: 2 battleships/battle cruisers + support ships
Cruiser group: 4-6 heavy cruisers + escorts
Patrol group: 4-6 light cruisers + escorts or a destroyer patrol
Sub group: 10-15 active submarines out at any one time

2 convoy groups…

Escorts – 6-8 frigates, escorts, and corvettes for trade routes
Merchant Marine – cargo ships ferrying resources

There are two military unit transport types…

Transport – Each point carries one strength.
Landing Craft – A unit needs 1 landing craft per strength to invade.

And the oiler unit which resupplies fleets at sea.

So practically for navies on the map in 1939 some of the major countries have….
Germany has 5 naval groups and 2 sub groups
Italy has 7 naval groups and 4 sub groups
The United Kingdom has 18 naval groups and 2 sub groups

This allows for plenty of strategy, planning, and action without overwhelming the player. Each country also comes with their pool of escorts, transports, oilers, and landing craft. So now I have a decent scale of navies set up for the game. Next I had to incorporate a naval system within the 2 week game turn time frame that avoided moves from the other player as a reaction.  I asked what do navies do?

#1 Invade an area
#2 Support an invasion or area
#3 Engage the enemy
#4 Protect supply in an area
#5 Attack a supply lane
#6 Convoy attacks

All these scenarios except #6 always take place near land, with few exceptions, and involved conflict naturally due to some other action going on. The key to getting players to engage was giving importance to controlling the sea. The solution was the following…

All fleets have 3 levels of unit supply so they can stay out a sea for a while.
Supply Oilers are available to replenish fleets at sea if it runs low.
A fleet has 2 operation points.
A fleet can move 24 hexes per operation point.
It takes an operation point to perform an action such as moving, invading, or attacking.

I implemented a reconnaissance system within the game based on how close you were to territory you controlled. Enemy fleets close to your controlled territory are easy to find. Enemy fleets away from your territory are harder to find. Two fleets in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean have a small chance of finding each other. The Hunt for the Bismarck demonstrated what it took to find 2 ships at sea. To my recollection that was the only time fleets fought in the deep sea away from any land mass in World War 2. You just didn’t have fleet combat in the middle of nowhere out in the ocean except in convoy warfare. So if naval combat was to be mostly fought over sea control near land what would it exactly control? The answer was air space, supply, and invasions.

Air Space and Supply
Overseas supply is limited depending on port sizes and how close a unit is to a port supply stockpile. Supply can be interdicted and escorted just by being within 4 hexes of the target port by naval units and 8 hex or less by air units. So it is important to keep an air unit in Malta as the Allies and keep air units in the central Mediterranean as the Axis.

Night Missions
I also introduced night missions into the game. Fleets can perform night missions within 6 hexes of their position as long as they start the turn in a port with full operation points. Night missions reduce recon levels and make the fleet immune to air attack. With night missions players may still try to engage enemy fleets with surface combat. The inspiration for night missions came from the destroyer supply runs of the Tokyo Express in the Pacific.

Zones of Interception
The operation point system gives players the option to move twice, attack twice (rare), move and attack, or attack and move. A player could set his fleet up to move and attack on their turn as long as they were within 24 hexes of the areas they want to protect. They can instead move long distances going a full 48 hexes but can’t attack another fleet. This means positioning in the Mediterranean is important. Keeping the Italian fleet at Trieste to protect it from British carriers means you can’t move and fight. While placing it at Taranto allows you to move and attack while leaving you vulnerable to a British move and attack from a carrier force. Scapa flow is an excellent place to port fleets to intercept German raiders coming out of Kiel. But as the German player you can move up the coast or Norway to port in Narvik and move out from there. With operation points and recon levels naval warfare becomes a game of cat and mouse in the European theater.

Naval Groups and Fleets

Groups are a formation of support ships around larger ships. Fleets are a stack of groups in one hex. Any number of naval groups may be in a port of any size. Fleets out at sea are limited to 9 groups with 3 carrier groups maximum. Submarine groups and naval groups may not stack together at sea. Groups are automatically resupplied when they are in port. Groups automatically repair 1 strength per turn in ports size 5 or higher.

Surface naval groups have 3 attributes that determine how well they do in surface naval combat…
Strength – how many hits they can take
Defense – the ability to resist hits
Surface – the ability to inflict hits

Carrier groups are the only groups that act as an air unit. Carrier groups come with a separate air strength component of 10. Air strength is repaired as the carrier group is repaired. The cost of a carrier’s air strength is part of its repair cost. Carrier groups can do all the missions that a land based air unit can do.

Submarine groups are unique among the surface naval groups. Although weak in surface combat they have a range of 5 to attack fleets compared to a range of 1 for patrol, cruiser, and battle groups. This represents the ability of the sub to cover an area, shadow a fleet, and call for reinforcements. Sub groups also have a chance to surprise another fleet when they attack. Sub fleets may not be attacked by surface fleets when in and surrounded by all ocean hexes. A player can place a submarine fleet in an area and get 2 attacks off at an enemy fleet within its 5 range. Submarine fleets involved in combat also have better targeting than surface fleets.

Note: minor countries, Soviet, and Italian submarines -1 surface for submarines

Attacking Ports
Surface fleets and submarine fleets can attack other navies in port.  Every port comes with defenses of naval guns, minefields, and spotters. The larger the port the more defenses it has. The largest size 9 port has 3x the defenses of the smallest port. The defenses open fire on enemy ships trying to attack the ships in port. Ships in port that reduced to zero strength have a good chance of just bottoming out in port and not sinking staying at one strength point. Ports provide repair (size 5 or higher), supply, and protection. I wanted to give ports importance in the game.

Fleet or Raid Mode
Fleets may be placed in two different modes. Fleet mode is normal mode that allows fleets to attack other fleets and perform actions. Raid mode puts the fleet into evasion mode and they can’t initiate attacks or invasions but they have a lower reconnaissance level at sea. This mode is primarily used by transport fleets not wanting to be found, subs, and raiders.

Invasion Support
Fleets can supply and provide offshore bombardment for invasions offensively or defensively. A fleet in a hex with a land unit will support it the land unit in the hex vs attack and when it attacks. A fleet can supply its hex and the 6 hexes around it with limited supply. This is all part of the sea control incentive that operates within the naval system. Large invasions vs tough defenses have to be carefully planned to succeed. This was a challenge when designing the A.I. for the game as that is the hardest thing for an A.I. to do.

Surface Naval Combat
One of the more predominant features of the naval combat system is target selection and critical hits. In surface combat non-capital groups tend to take the damage. In a carrier attacks the capital groups tend to take the damage. To better simulate the randomness of naval combat I introduced a critical hit model to the game. Any hit can increase up to triple in damage during a combat. Combined with luck and a missed defense check it is possible for a patrol group to beat a battle group, although incredibly rare. This really adds flavor to the game, a little excitement, and unpredictability. It also makes it important to have a more balanced fleet when entering combat to absorb losses.

In surface combat surface damage is simply exchanged with checks to critical hits vs defense and targeting is fairly spread out between all the ships with some luck involved.

Land Based Air or Carrier Fleet vs Carrier Fleet Combat

In any form of air to sea combat only air factors vs anti air factors are used. CV fleet vs CV fleet exchange air attacks and resolve the combat using naval air factors. The sequence is that any air strength points attacking a fleet are subject to being shot down by part of the carrier force’s fighter part of their compliment then anti-air guns. Once air strength points survive this they can proceed to try and do damage to the opposing fleet. In air to sea combat attacks are focused primarily on carrier groups, then battle groups, cruiser groups, and other groups in that order. While these seems to be a lot of complication in how air to sea resolves under the hood players just need to worry about their fleet strengths, positioning, and composition.

Submarine vs ships

Submarine combat is slightly different that normal surface combat. Submarines are primarily used to attack convoy lanes. They are fairly weak in surface combat but have several advantages. Submarine fleets have a chance to attack an enemy fleet before they attack back. They also target capital ships more than other ships during combat. If a fleet has a carrier or battle group which is less than 50% strength there is a very high chance that till be the attacker’s target. It is important to escort fleets with patrol groups. Submarines can only be attacked by carrier or air units if they are in an all sea hex surrounded by all sea hexes. If submarine fleets are near a coast any fleet can attack them. This represents submarines getting too close to shallow water and operating in too close of an area that it is easier to find them.

Convoy System

This is the easiest part of the naval system. Resources are automatically shipped across trading lanes using merchant marine. Players may place escorts in these lanes via the trade menu. Enemy players may place sub fleets in the lanes. It automatically calculates the Battle of the Atlantic for you. Choosing how to fight the naval strategic warfare is positioning and composition.

The tricky part was measuring out to balance escorts and convoys. Reading Michael Gannon’s great book Black May gave me excellent insight into how to make it work and give players decision points in the strategic warfare aspect of the game without it becoming tedious.  In the book it details that mostly tactics and formations were the critical element in protecting convoys with a specific number of escorts. Anymore would be a waste, any less leave a hole in the defense. So this is approached two fold.

1 escort can protect 10 merchant marine at optimal capability.
A maximum of 10 escorts can defend vs a convoy attack but a player may put more than 10 escorts in a lane.
Escorts in a lane can defend the convoy vs any number of convoy attacks.

At the start of the 1939 scenario the United Kingdom will be faced with a decision as each of their convoy lanes feeds into others. They don’t have enough escorts to fully protect all the lanes. They have to decide if they want to maximize capability to protect all lanes vs maximizing capacity to protect few convoy lane. Later in the war when France falls and close sub bases to the Atlantic similar choices will have to be made again. As for the Axis their choices will change. Early on, or if the Allies do not build enough escorts, they might approach a strategy of spreading out their submarines to different convoy lanes. Later in the war when escorts have completely protected convoy lanes and Allied escort advancements are impacting submarine fleet strengths at an alarming rate it might be more prudent to concentrate sub fleets to spread damage out and focus on one convoy lane. On top of all this players must consider what naval assets they want to buy as they are limited by the number of shipyards in use they have.

This creates a very simply system to use while giving the players control over how to use it without spending a lot of time on the mouse.

A great deal of testing was put in to make sure this is a balanced system. Fleets shouldn’t get destroyed too fast or be impossible to kill. The critical hit system puts a healthy dose of anxiety and excitement that no fleet is ever 100% safe. I wanted players to have some planning in fleet organization and a chance to deceive the enemy. I also had to put some limitations to balance it all out while incorporating the realism of managing a large task force at sea. The system was also developed to take into consideration the Pacific Theatre for future release.

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Re: WarPlan
« Reply #6 on: July 23, 2019, 12:05:22 AM »
WarPlan Dev Diary #4 - Production


With the production system I examined the materials and facilities that were critical to war during that time period.

Then I thought about the complexity of making that system work that let players have options with minimal management. In Commander Europe at War they had manpower and oil which everyone seemed to like. It made players consider their options in unit balancing between oil, production, and manpower. So I decided to incorporate a similar system in WarPlan.

While oil truly only affect the Axis and manpower is a very difficult thing to balance it adds flavor to the game.


Steel production – During WW2 this was the single most important material to the construction of military forces. Steel is simply represented by production. Steel built ships, tanks, and guns. Production generation is simple a function of supply levels along a rail line and trade routes. I didn’t want a complex system of tracing resources to factories like in World in Flames. While it can be coded I wanted a system that kept it simple for players to understand and not worry about. If you are in main supply and can trace a rail line to the capital you get the resources. If you are in port supply of any kind and can trace via rail, convoys, and ports you can get the resources.

Oil – Allows oil dependent units to move and attack. It is also a limitation and gauge of what oil dependent units to build and how many.

Oil Silos – This is the limitation on how much oil a country has available in any one turn regardless of its production. During storage different depreciations occur in the form of oil going bad, storage capacity becoming deteriorated, inefficiencies, transport accidents, etc. This also represents part of the Allied supply problems late in the war.
Manpower – The group of able men to fight in the war. If manpower falls below 50% of maximum manpower available the default experience for a country starts dropping. Manpower capacity is 30x the manpower production of a country. Cities with a production or moral value generate manpower.

Logistics – How many units your economic system can supply in the field. Different units have different logistics costs. Ships are the most expensive, infantry the least expensive. This also contributes to building balanced forces.

Shipyards – A country’s capacity to build ships. This was a limiting factor for some countries during the war and is required for balance. Battle and carrier groups cost the most shipyards. Simple naval assets like landing craft cost very little per unit. One simply can’t just automatically build the Plan-Z naval force in 1939 or the USA’s great carrier force of the Pacific in one year. A player has to plan and time the resources he needs. Shipyards are an support asset that can be built.

Strategic Resources – These are all those other things that make production easier. Coal for trains, bauxite that converts to aluminum for planes, grains for food, rare metals and phosphates for explosives and parts. Since these are modifying elements to production that make things more efficient I simply made them add 1% to the total economy. They represent an area of these resources and all a player needs to use them is to have the area in supply. The Ukraine has an agriculture strategic resource in it for example.

Specialty points –Production guides how many specialty points a country gets each turn. When 100 points are accumulated a player can place a specialization of his choice on a land unit. Specialization represents special attachment units, training, and equipment. Think of snow fighting, elite forces, the massive rail guns Dora and Schwerer Gustav, or a special attachment of mobile tank destroyers. I thought this was the best way to make a unit special and give each country a little flavor without making it a chore. There are 6 specializations players can buy for their unit: infiltrator, engineer, winter combat, heavy artillery, elite, and tank destroyer.

Economy Utilization – The conversion of consumer industry to military production. You multiply resources by the multiple and that is the total production in the far left column item Production under Economy. This represents the ramping up of production from 1939 to 1945.

Upkeep – This column tells you how much production you are using to repair and maintain units this turn.

Stockpile – This is the remainder after production – upkeep. This is the amount you use to create new units.
Repair/Upgrade – Players may set how much of their production they want to dedicate to repairing, reinforcing, and upgrading units in play. The game does all this automatically. With each unit reinforcements/upgrades can be turned off or on. A unit can also be given priority to get reinforcements and upgrades. When a unit has priority it gets the allotted production before any other unit.

All together this production system is simple but gives just enough for players to think about.

Things to Buy

Players use production, logistics, shipyards, and manpower to purchase military units. Each unit costs some of each. Each unit performs better in some situations than others. Infantry is better vs urban, tanks are better in the open clear terrain. Air power allows flexibility. But players will hinder themselves if they overbuild in a single category in ways they might not even realize.

There is only one unit in which I made small due to the theatre, Marines. Players can consider them annoyance units more than anything. Marines are special units to capture resources on unguarded hexes like rangers or special forces. Marines are tougher than normal infantry divisions but cost more in logistics and production.

I added one more category of units called support units so players always have a place to spend extra production. The support units are part of the abstract system within WarPlan to make things easier for players while providing a level of decision for strategy.

Support units include Transports, landing craft, supply oilers, supply trucks, air transports, shipyards, coastal defense, airfields, anti-air guns, merchant marine, and escorts.

Transports – Each strength of a unit requires a transport point to move across the ocean. They are not expended upon use.

Landing Craft – Each strength of a unit a player wants to invade with or disembark along a coastal hex requires a landing craft point. These points are expended upon use. They represent the smaller landing ships, planning, organization, coordination, and all the inefficiencies associated with this kind of military operation.

Supply oilers – They are used to resupply fleets at sea. They are an expendable item. They do not increase effectiveness of fleets.
Supply trucks function in the same way for land and air units. Supply trucks not only increase unit supply but increase effectiveness. With the use of many supply trucks players can over supply a unit for 3 consecutive turns placing that unit’s efficiency over 100%. One function I created is that HQs can supply all the units around them in one shot to keep things simpler for players. Supply trucks add a use for spare production points late in the war. Once place to use them is in the North African campaign for the Axis. Once they reach El Alamein their supply lines are at their limits. They need to continue increasing supply to the Afrika Korps to continue attacking. This can be done by fleet and supply trucks.

Shipyards – Increase the capacity to build more naval units

Coastal Defense – Increases the defense of a clear hex that is land and has some water.

Airfields – Allows planes to occupy places they normally can’t due to terrain. While this is rarely used in Europe it will be important in the Pacific scenarios coming soon.

Anti-Air Guns – Upto 6 can be placed in any hex. They shoot incoming aircraft with a 16% chance to kill a strength point.

Merchant Marine – These are used to transport resources across the oceans. This is what the Axis are trying to sink in mass quantity in the Battle of the Atlantic

Escorts – These represent sloops, corvettes, and destroyer escorts protecting convoy lanes specifically vs submarines. They scatter upon encountering surface and carrier fleets as they are not equipped to engage them in combat.

I wanted to make production simple and thoughtful at the same time. I didn’t want players just clicking away units they want to build because a force pool says they have X number of units to build. I didn’t want to limit them to historical armies. I wanted to give them the power to choose with a benefit and a cost. I want players to try different build strategies for countries depending on their overall strategy yet not have it gamey or exploitive. It will be an open ended thinking process that depends on a player’s goals. If Germany wants to build a large fleet… they can at the cost of an army. If players want to try an all land power with no air power…. they can at the cost of inflexibility. If they only want to build air superiority units as their air force… they can but they will be lacking on land. Experiment away.

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Re: WarPlan
« Reply #7 on: August 05, 2019, 11:30:13 PM »
WarPlan Dev Diary 5: Supply system

Supply System

There were many variations I went through in trying to determine the best supply system for the game. I thought about doing supply as a board game which is basically a black and white system, you are in supply or you are not. But that didn’t address realism problems as well as I liked. I thought about a complex robust system of supply that the player manipulates and manages. But that format would be a new mechanic that players might have a hard time accepting and anyways who wants to do supply each turn. Instead I examined supply systems from all the computer games of the genre, read a little on logistics, and designed something familiar to all computer wargamers. The supply system allows for operational action and strategic planning where sea and air control becomes paramount.

Supply Sources

Supply Stockpiles – These are stored supplies that represent food, uniforms, helmets, ammunition, spare parts, etc. Each strength point of a unit uses 1 supply stockpile per turn.

Main Supply Sources – All players have main supply sources from production producing urban resources. They provide unlimited supply stockpile to units each turn.
Main supply sources provide unlimited supply for units. Port supplies provide limited supply for units in the form of supply stockpile. Port supply and supply stockpile are limited by two factors, the size of the port and the distance from the port.

Port Supply Sources – Each port size value yields 20 supply stockpile. 1 stockpile supplies 1 strength point of land or air unit. Any unit within 10 hexes of a port pulls from the stockpile to keep it in supply and gets effectiveness recovery equal to the supply level of the hex they are in. If there is not enough supply stock pile it tries to pull from another port. A unit that pulls stockpile from a port 11-20 hexes away uses 4 supply stockpile to supply 3 strength of unit. A unit 21-30 hexes away uses 2 supply stockpile to supply 1 strength of unit. If there is not enough stockpile a unit gets a fraction of effectiveness recovery of what is there. If a unit is in a supplied hex but there is zero stockpile remaining it will only have its supply level replenished by not its effectiveness.

Naval Supply Sources – Fleets can move to a coastal hex, use beachhead supply, and supply units on the coast. Naval supply recovers their unit supply level and gains each unit +6% effectiveness. While this helps units stay in supply it is inferior to having units in main or port supply.

Map Supply Level – This indicates the quality of supply given on the map. As long as a main supply source traces through undamaged rail it stays at a maximum supply level of 9. On hexes that are not rail this number gets reduced by the motorized movement cost of the hex. A road removes terrain movement costs. Once a hex is zero supply level it is no longer in supply. Supply levels directly affect how much efficiency a unit recovers a turn. Each supply level recovers 2% per turn.

So what does this represent? When off a rail line supplies need to be driven by trucks or walked by horses. Fuel will be spent driving, rations will be spent supporting the supply convoy, spare parts will be used to repair the supply truck. The farther you go the less you get.

Headquarters – An HQ that has a supply level of one or more will increase all supply levels within its command via controlled hexes that by moving it can reach by +1. This means even hexes out of range of the original supply line can be increased. HQs can’t chain together. HQs also offer an effectiveness recovery bonus of +4% for any unit within its command range of 5 hexes. So while units can operate without an HQ it is better if they have one supporting them just for supply and effectiveness recovery purposes.

Hex Control – If an enemy unsupplied hex borders a friendly supplied hex the control converts to the player with the supplied hex that borders it at the end of each turn.

Unit Supply

Units have two factors that are affected by their supply status. How long they can stay out of supply and how effective their fighting power is. If their unit supply level gets low movement is affected. Once their supply runs out their effectiveness starts taking reductions. Many turns not being in supply affects their health.

Unit Supply Level – Units can stay out of supply for 3 turns before serious lack of supplies penalties occur to the unit. Supply trucks can increase a unit’s supply level to 4 if they start in main supply. Supply air drops maintain their current level of supply of at least 1.

Unit Effectiveness – Supply directly impacts how much effectiveness recovery a unit gets. This represents spare parts, food, fuel, fatigue, and moral in one attribute. Map supply levels and HQs modify how much is recovered. The percentage of effectiveness the unit has is a direct modifier to its combat factors.

Supply Trucks – The use of a supply truck on a land or air unit already in map supply increases their unit supply level by +1 and increases their effectiveness by +6%. You can go over 100% for a maximum of 110% effectiveness over 3 turns of the unit doing nothing but using supply trucks. A player can’t use a supply truck with a unit not in supply. Supply trucks are expended upon use.

Oiler – When a naval unit is at sea they are in an out of supply state. A naval unit with a zero unit supply level can’t attack and defends at 50% its effectiveness. The resupply button uses an oiler supply consumable and replenishes the fleet’s supply level to maximum. Oilers are expended upon use.

How does this work to mimic real logistics?

With this system I can resolve a common concern wargamers have on how to handle North Africa supply for the Axis or D-Day supply for the Allies. The number of ports you control and the distance from those ports affects the effectiveness recovery of units overseas.

For the Allies invading France is as much about getting a foothold as it is getting ports. Now Cherbourg and Antwerp have importance. The type of units the Allies have on the ground in France have importance.
For the Axis the North African Campaign can’t be won just by brute force. Positions like Crete and Cyprus are important for long range strikes, sea control, and a supply source for air units. The Allies have better port supply than the Axis in that theater but on the border of Egypt and Libya is no man’s land where each port becomes vital.
Units also have different supply costs. Any oil dependent unit will cost 10% more supply stockpiles to supply overseas. This means armor, mech, and air units take more supplies than just infantry type units.

Naval Unit Supply and Oil Use

Naval units are unique in WarPlan in how they are supplied. A fleet at port simply gets supplied. While fleets use vast quantities of oil to operate in WarPlan they only use oil when out at sea regardless of their actions. Land and air units use oil when they move and when they attack. Submarines have 5 unit supply level and can go up to a 7 unit supply level if they have long range submarine advancement. All other naval groups have a 3 unit supply level. In naval supply being at zero unit supply means that fleet can’t attack another fleet and will defend at 50% their combat firepower but can still move.

How is port supply stopped? How do I supply invasions?

If you read the naval system post you know that ships and planes can interdict most supply shipments into a port by controlling the seas around the enemy port. At the same time supporting navies can send ships to the area to protect those same supplies. Invasions are done in a similar fashion, by sea control. Players can use ships on the coast to supply units on the beach or within 1 hex of the fleet location as if those units are at a map supply level of 3. But time is short as the supplies these units are getting are not as good as units in main or port supply.

In the Pacific theater you will see more use of the naval supply run to island groups under enemy air attack. A player can even do the Tokyo Express sending closer fleets on night missions to supply land units.

So how does this compare to reality? Usually the largest effect is a lowering of the recovery of effectiveness for units. For example the Italian navy actually delivered most of its supplies to the North African forces and technically performed exactly what it was supposed to do during the war (Struggle for the Middle Sea: The Great Navies at War in the Mediterranean Theater, 1940-1945 by Vincent P. O'Hara). The times they did fail usually had to do with the specific supplies they were shipping like needed fuel or tanks that by chance got sunk. The port stockpile reduction due to naval interdiction is reflected in effectiveness recovery levels based on port stockpiles. As a side note Malta is of some importance in WarPlan as it is 8 hexes away from Tripoli and a naval base. Placing a tactical support air unit in Malta and a submarine will affect supplies to Tripoli. Since Tripoli is far from Egypt supply cost is doubled so every interdiction is critical to Axis forces.

As for the Allied invasion of France in 1944 they still have to protect their supply lanes. A negligent Allied player might find a fleet or 2 of subs impacting their port supply just enough to cause stockpile problems near the front.
With this supply system players need to think about their overseas supply situation more carefully protecting vulnerable lanes and attacking enemy supply lanes. It simulates the complexity of logistics in a way that can be balanced for fair play and easily understood. In beta testing players are enjoying how the ebb and flow of the North African campaign is working. I think this is one of the more interesting aspects of the game that allows players to think about naval and air strategies that intertwine along with supply situations without overwhelming them. The intricacies of logistics combined with the game mechanics will make for very good play.

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Re: WarPlan
« Reply #8 on: August 19, 2019, 02:44:55 PM »
WarPlan Dev Diary #6 - Research and Diplomacy


In most games like Hearts of Iron or Civilization research is a key component as part of the game toward victory. I decided since WarPlan is a wargame that research will have a minor function but give players some operation options. Since the focus of WarPlan is thinking about strategy and not empire building I thought this approach was best in keeping with a historical recreation. In my education of WW2 military history I came across many situations in which technology was not the main factor in determining the outcome of a battle but experience. The story of Ilmari Juutilainen came to mind. A Finnish ace that for most of the war flew a Brewster Buffalo B-239 plane vs the Soviets. The B-239 was considered largely obsolete when Finland entered the war. For me this showed the man was more important than the machine. So research was set as a feature of the game not a main function. This analysis also extends to tactics and experience. By 1942 the Royal Navy had the U-boat force defeated more through the realization of formations and group effectiveness than technology. These were the conclusions found in Black May by Gannon. I wanted to keep WarPlan focused on military and logistical strategy like a chess or poker game without a single element of the game impacting all battles all at once.

To compensate I gave players options that allow for a greater unit variation. The variations are small but have a long lasting effect on losses and effectiveness over time. This is important because the measurement of victory in WarPlan is not only survival but how long you hold territory. A country with a higher technology level in tanks impacting a year’s worth of combat would misalign the balance of play. So every unit has at least 2 research fields it can gain that have minor effects over the long term.

Research years increase abilities slightly for a unit. While they are not critical if you are a year or even 2 years behind they are important enough not to ignore. If you enter 1944 with 1939 interceptor aircraft you are going to have problems in air to air combat.

The research system is kept very simple. Players just get research centers they can distribute as they please to the fields available. Combat can potentially lower the amount of days it takes to get to the next year advancement for land, air, and naval forces. More research centers are gained by eureka moments based on a country’s production. There is a maximum amount a player can invest in a category and each year makes achieving success in that category more difficult. In exchange players may place 1 addition point per year advancement in a category.

If a player feels a unit and its technology are not viable at a certain time during the war they can sell that unit for production and manpower to create a new unit with another technology.

Some have asked why I did not include industrial production as part of the advancement tree. The reason is that for me this is an absolute decision. You must always place points in it. Failure to do so critically changes the late game by the size of its effect. Even a 5% difference in production is the difference of a balanced frontline and a crumbling one. So all production increases run through the economic multiple as detailed in the production diary to give a nice steady realistic feeling of industrial capacity.

Advancements on units work in a couple ways. Upgrades automatically happen as time goes on. Players can turn off or on reinforcements and upgrades on a unit. They can prioritize a unit for reinforcements and upgrades.

Most advancements increase combat ability, some increase operation points or range. Some of the advancements above increase maximum supply or ranges in the case of air units. Upgrading a unit costs 10% of its 1939 cost per year of advancement. This means a 1944 large infantry corps is 50% more expensive than a 1939 infantry corps.

There are 17 different advancements representing research into different improvements of unit armament and doctrines.

Assault – Increases the firepower of infantry type units in a balanced method for offense and defense.

Anti-Tank – Increases the firepower of infantry type unit’s defense giving up some offense capabilities.

Breakthrough – Mechanized and armor units gain extra operation points at the sacrifice of firepower and armor.

Heavy Armor – Mechanized and armor units gain more firepower and defense.

Interceptors – Focuses on increasing air to air combat ratings of air superiority groups.

Escort Fighters – Focuses on increasing range of air superiority groups.

Fighter Bombers – Focuses on increasing bombing capabilities of air superiority groups.

Close Support – Focuses on increasing tactical ratings of bomber groups.

Strategic Bombing – Focuses on increasing strategic ratings of bomber groups.

Naval Air Training – Focuses on increasing naval air ratings of bomber groups.

Sonar & Electronics – Focuses on increasing anti-submarine ratings of bomber groups.

Large Warships – Greatly increases surface combat ratings and defense for battle groups only. No other group type may use this advancement.

Warships – increases surface combat ratings for any type of naval group.

Carrier Operations – Increases naval air ratings for carrier groups. No other naval group may take this advancement.

Convoy Escort – Increases anti-submarine ratings for any naval group.

Attack Submarine – Increases surface and defense for submarine groups.

Long Range Submarine – Increases the maximum supply for submarine groups to 5 at the expense of firepower and defense.

The advancement system is a different way to do research but I think it gives a good flavor to the game. Instead of saying I have level 3 fighters a player says I have 1942 fighters. Looking at what the next year will bring an incentive for achievement. With some air groups a new year advancement brings significant range increases like in escort fighters. Advancements are loosely based on historical improvements to units over time. The idea came from when I asked a group of wargames if they liked yearly increments followed by force pool additions like in World in Flames or level increases with a dynamic force pool like in Hearts of Iron. They said a little of both and so this system was born as a combination of both recommendations. Dynamic force pool with yearly advancements technically rated on levels that read as years.


Of all systems in the game diplomacy is the least important aspect. It is only included in WarPlan because players like it and it is optional. World War 2 is a unique situation balanced by forces and alliances that create an end game that we can predict, measure, and adjust for. When some of these forces change it can greatly impact the game.

Scenarios like Finland never going Axis or Italy joining the Allies can drastically change a game. Spain joining the Axis dramatically shifts the balance of power in WW2 or Turkey allowing Germany to pass through its lands to attack Baku.

I highly recommend not playing with diplomacy in the base WarPlan scenarios. Many nations have set adjustments in their entries depending on how the Axis or Allies perform based on history. Shifting these historical situations through the manipulations changes the experience enough to unbalance the game. With that said I still included the diplomacy system in WarPlan so players can get creative if they wish. So if you want to see a lot of “what ifs” turn on the diplomacy system.

Each turn players have a chance to get influence actions based on their political influence level. Other countries resist based on their political influence level. With the War Panel players can declare war, negotiate a peace, influence a country, or intimidate a country. The latter two are part of the diplomacy system while the former two are always a part of the game.

Loyalty – This is the alliance the country favors. Influencing countries that share your loyalty is easier than those that do not.

Entry Level – How far along is a country toward an alliance based on their loyalty. Entry level also directly impacts the production of that country as a percentage of their current production levels from resources and the economic multiple. A country can only declare war when their entry level is 100%.

Alliance – Which alliance are you part of? Axis or Allies. When a country reaches 100% entry they join the alliance that is their loyalty. It doesn’t mean they are at war but are now capable of declaring war.

Declaring war is exactly what it is. When you declare war your minor allies also declare war on the enemy.

Neutral major countries can do everything a non-neutral nation can except declare war on another country.

Negotiating a surrender is forcing a country to surrender. France and Italy are both capable of having a forced surrender placed on them. The UK, USSR, and USA can’t be forced to surrender. Negotiating a surrender is based on the number of strategic locations that have production or morale you capture. In most cases it is production locations. In some instances it is just important cities with manpower. For example France is willing to negotiate when enough cities are taken which might or might not include Paris. But Paris is has a huge impact on negotiated surrender because it has a high production. This gives options for the Axis on how to attack France. Just because a country wants to negotiate a surrender doesn’t mean a player has to accept it. Any country will fight until all of their production and manpower cities are captured before they automatically surrender. In France’s case this includes their colonies.

Influencing a country moves their entry closer to your alliance or loyalty.

Intimidating a country has a small change of greatly increasing a country’s entry toward your alliance or loyalty but a high chance of doing exactly the opposite.

What I like about this simple system is that players can adjust it in the editor to create some interesting scenarios. Even create a scenario that dates earlier than 1939 with major powers influencing different minor countries creating a whole new World War 2 experience.

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Re: WarPlan
« Reply #9 on: September 12, 2019, 11:03:31 AM »
WarPlan - The Norway Factor (beta mini-AAR)
Matrix Games Staff

Hi Everyone,

There have been some requests for beta tester AARs, and while we don't have any of those for you (at least not yet), the following report from our estimated tester gwgardner was just too nice not to share.

It highlights a couple of moments from his multiplayer game with another tester, Zovs, which we think show off some of the game's strengths. Here it is, directly copied from the beta forum. Enjoy:


At this scale, Warplan is the first wargame I've played where there was an actual 'realistic' battle for Norway.  One in which the battle wasn't scripted, or automatic. 

Kudos to fuzzypup for implementing all facets of operations so that such battles can happen.

Zovs initial invasion failed precisely because he had no air support, and could not prevent the British from sticking their noses in at Oslo. 

But Zov took the proper tack, and in long-term fasion built up air superiority, provided air supply to his few forces in Norway, and finally was able to do another landing near Oslo.  As for the UK, I was unable to commit sufficient air resources to Norway to hold onto it ... but the war is not over!

I'm just very impressed that Warplan's mechanics can lead to such interesting situations and resolutions.

Really the same can be said for the N. Africa campaign.

screenshot from Jan 1941, with the UK in the brief ascendant, but at the very limit of it's supply tether.  Just the threat of the DAK will probably send me reeling back to Egypt.  I don't have enough supply trucks or air support to do anything more than harass the Italians at this point.

The Warplan supply mechanics make this 'realistic' situation possible, and allows for a real campaign back and forth.  No other wargame of this scale has done that in my experience.

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Re: WarPlan
« Reply #10 on: October 09, 2019, 01:00:07 AM »
WarPlan will be released on October 24th

WarPlan, the upcoming wargame developed by Alvaro Sousa from Kraken Studios, is surely one of the most innovative titles around.

As explained in great detail in several Dev Diaries, many gameplay mechanics have been worked in a way to give you easy control of your nation and the impending War.

Supply System, Production, Politics, Military operations and many other layers are offered to you thanks to the great engine flexibility.

Your wait is over, as WarPlan will be released in a few weeks, on October 24th.

Stay tuned for further updates!

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Re: WarPlan
« Reply #11 on: October 18, 2019, 12:20:44 AM »
WarPlan Manual

As the WarPlan release is coming closer - October 24th is right behind the corner - it's time to have a closer look at its Manual.

No limited previews or sneak peek, just the full Manual is available for you to download. Discover all the details about Land movement, naval and air interdiction, Production mechanics and more.

WarPlan brings many innovations to the genre, making it a title that every wargamer would not want to miss.

Check the Manual here (PDF-Ebook)

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Re: WarPlan
« Reply #12 on: October 22, 2019, 01:37:50 PM »
While you wait for the release, have a look at the tutorials!

Only 3 days remain for the WarPlan's release, so better starting the engines. In the meantime, we have something for you.

We have prepared a series of tutorials, meant to guide you through all the details and mechanics, to give you a precise picture of how well balanced and deep the game is.

The first two tutorials to go cover the Map and the Menu.

Map and Menu - Part I

Map and Menu - Part II

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Re: WarPlan
« Reply #13 on: October 22, 2019, 01:42:41 PM »
WarPlan - 2 days to Release, it's time to look at "Movements" and "Country Management" Tutorials

2 days before the release of WarPlan and we have more tutorials to show.

This time you'll learn everything about "Movements" and "Country Management", covering how to properly move your units around the map, basic concepts about the combat and all factors to properly manage your Country within your Alliance.

WarPlan will be released on Matrix on October 24th, get more details on his official Product Page.

WarPlan Tutorial: Movement

WarPlan Tutorial: Country Management

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Re: WarPlan
« Reply #14 on: October 24, 2019, 12:20:49 PM »
WarPlan Release Stream - October 24th
October 24th

WarPlan will be released today, October 24th, in a few hours. If you want to watch closer the features of the game, you should follow our Release Stream today on Twitch, hosted by A_Gamer.

The Stream will go live at 6 PM BST / 1 PM EDT / 10 AM PDT, on our Twitch Channel. Learn more about WarPlan reading its product page.

Twitch Channel

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