Under the Hood 2: Think Turn-Based

Turn-based games were among the first I used to play back in the 1980s (when I still had a full head of hair and PCs had 20MB hard drives), and for a long time I resisted the temptation of RTS games.

But then in 1998 something happened which changed my view of real-time games forever - Dune 2000. I had played other RTS games before, but I think it was the connection to the books which made this game more attractive than others. There was a harsh review on GameSpot, which is interesting retrospectively as the style of game reviews has changed a lot since then. Over on Metacritic there are a handful of retrospective positive reviews characterized by nostalgia. Those of us who did play Dune 2000 aren't teenagers anymore. 

So turn-based tactical games looked more and more old-school and reserved for niche studios and titles. That wasn't to change until the 'Rise of the Indies' reawakened turn-based tactics and many other genres, which AAA studios would not have touched with a barge pole during the previous decade or even longer. So while I love a lot of real-time games I was always attracted by the possibility to being able to stop the action and plan my next moves.

Battle Grid Designs

Battle Grid Designs

The Great Whale Road is utilizing and updating some of the mechanics found in classic and current turn-based games. While the role-playing and exploration game runs in real-time, our combat system is a cross-over of turned-based tactics and some of the card-based mechanics used in trading card games. We have hexagonal grids and combat happens in turns while characters, equipment and abilities are managed as cards. On top of this we started to experiment with MOBA-esque mechanics and I am sure that we will try more things and discard others over the months to come. 

There are a few reasons why we went with a combination of turn- and card-based game mechanics for the combat system. Firstly we want to make combat between two ship crews a tactical event beyond a basic attack/board/flee button selection. Secondly we already use cards to represent characters and equipment in the game, so reusing them in combat was the most efficient solution for a small team like ours. On a personal note I enjoy the flow of most turn-based tactical or card games. The adrenaline rush of online FPS is one thing, winning a well planned tactical skirmish while being able to have a coffee or a drink is another - an older gamer's creature comforts.

- Joachim