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"DIY game design" Topic


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741 hits since 20 Mar 2021
©1994-2021 Bill Armintrout
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Wolfhag20 Mar 2021 7:59 a.m. PST

I've been corresponding with a gamer who just published a WWII tank board game I purchased and after asking him some questions about his gaming experience and design this is what he wrote back:

Thank you for your positive feedback on my game.

I made my first tank game in 1979 when I was in high school, a miniatures game. I became a type I diabetic and hence was on insulin shots. Well, a 14-year old boy having access to insulin syringes immediately thinks of ways to have fun with them, so I made flame throwers out of them (fill with gasoline and shoot through a candle, range of 6 feet). I then designed and made tanks out of metal sheets and used the flame thrower/syringes to hit/kill the tanks (flame thrower burns on the metal tank, heats the metal, and plastic sprue inside sticks to the bottom – hence a kill). I made up rules on the kills, guns, movement, artillery, paratroops, etc and designed the armored metal models around the class of armor they were – light armor had open hatches while the heavy tanks had spaced armor with carboard insulation between the 2 "plates". All design features affected the the flame's ability to melt the sprue inside. Light tanks got 1/2 syringe while medium and heavy tanks got 1. Heavy long range guns got 2 syringes and you physically shot from half the range. For IF you aimed the flame thrower at the target, closed your eyes and shot. It was a really neat game, structured rules and special affects with literally burning tanks and burnt out tanks littering the battlefield (mom's back yard – I had a VERY understanding mom). I hope this doesn't freak you out lol.

From my flame thrower game, over the years I have modified the game and turned it into a table top board game, and then redesigned it using historical facts. My first version of the game you have was an utter failure (2 years ago). I made my own because the tank game games out there were either too simple or the shot resolution was way too complex and time consuming. I think I have a simple easy system that captures what I think tank games should be.

I have the actual scale and turn time frame of my game. However, this data is buried deep inside several of my data crunching Excel Spreadsheets and at this point not sure where to find them. I do remember that a vehicle's distance for one turn is = its speed in MPH/10 (a M4 speed is 25MPH/10 = 2.5 rounded to 3 squares). The actual gun range and how far a vehicle can move started with playability – I know from playing that I wanted a gameboard that could fit on a table top but had enough spaces to provide for maneuver and strategy and that could have several mini-battles taking place at once. From these parameters I determined that a regular tank should have a range of 6 spaces and move 3 (as a baseline). From these play parameters I backed into the actual feet-per-square and calculated the time for each turn. Looking at a gun's rate of fire modified for the time it takes to adjust aim, each gun actually takes several shots in one turn. I found that resolving several shots for each gun each turn really bogs the game down, so I combined the several shots into one using statistics on combining the total shots. In other words, if shot #1 has a 10% chance of hitting and shot #2 has a 15% chance of hitting, then "one" game shot represents the 2 combined shots: 10%+(100%-10%)*(15%)=23%. Once I had determined the actual scale and turn time period I set a standard move and range. From these standards I set all other equipment and vehicle speeds. Hence, the actual conversions have pretty much been buried in time.

This is probably more than what you were looking for.

BTW: I have also made many other board games since when I got an interest in a game of a certain subject but there were none out there, I made my own:

- global power 1900-2000 – 1/3 military, 1/3 economic power, 1/3 politics (US, GB, France, Germany, Russia, Japan) – developed a min-version of Risk and play tested with my friends prior to jumping in a developing the actual game

- ww2 war game – global scale

- ww2 airplane game with real 3d – you really feel the maneuvers of your planes – VERY simple and really fun

Thank you for your interest and encouragement :)

I started out with rubber bands and lighter fluid can to "squirt" the flamethrower at 1/72 scale tanks. We "graduated" to 1/32 scale Tamiya tanks and BB guns reinforcing and repairing the armor with plastic styrene sheets. My favorite tank was the Russian T-55 because the BB's always bounced off the turret leaving a mark. I miss the good old days.

Wolfhag

DisasterWargamer Supporting Member of TMP20 Mar 2021 10:18 a.m. PST

My father got me started with Marx and MPC World War II – besides the rubber bands and cannons with toothpicks – we occasionally used tennis balls inside and outside the house. On a very rare occasion we would add fire crackers to our outdoor battles…

Thinking the 4th of July is coming up and its been a lot time since I have seen what a good fire cracker can do to a 1/32 tank or two – much less the poor infantry men following…

PJ ONeill20 Mar 2021 10:34 a.m. PST

What my adult mind says is that it is a bad idea to let 14 year olds play with syringes.

Wolfhag20 Mar 2021 11:44 a.m. PST

PJ ONeill,
You are probably right. My wife is still waiting for me to mature into adulthood. I think she only keeps me around because I still like to "play doctor".

Wolfhag

Personal logo Bashytubits Supporting Member of TMP20 Mar 2021 7:27 p.m. PST

Ha! I placed Revell battleship kits in the pool and shot them with a bb gun to simulate naval gunfire. My parents would have killed me if they had caught me, but I didn't share this story with them, some things your family doesn't need to know. My whole family did watch the 1/6 scale V-2 rocket I built, then launched when I was 13 though, now that was an event! My sister still talks about that. The person you spoke to wound up designing a game, who would have thought that, hehe. My demented antics merely led me to history and 3D printing.

Gwydion10 Apr 2021 5:53 a.m. PST

Yes, Airfix models and figures, started with matchstick firing artillery via BB and the .177 pellet gun up to the one hit one kill air rifle.

Oh the humanity!

Oh the cost and the waste now I think of it! frown

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