Game Influences (2/6): WeeWar

This is part two in a series on games that influenced my design for a web game.

WeeWar is a turn-based strategy game for 2-6 players. Starting a game is as simple as choosing a map and recruiting opponents. Each base you control earns you money to spend producing units. You advance across the map and win by smashing enemy units and wresting control of all the bases.

The core of combat is fairly rock-paper-scissors: infantry beats tanks, tanks beat vehicles, vehicles beat infantry. You manage your flow of units to the front to bring the right weapons to bear without ceding ground (and, hopefully, fighting on favorable terrain). Artillery units can decimate opposing units but are weak and must keep their distance. Air and sea units add further complexity.

WeeWar battle{.alignnone .size-full .wp-image-681 width=”754” height=”530”}

WeeWar’s mechanism for taking turns is very nicely done. You and your opponents don’t have to be online at the same time for the length of a full game because you get 24 hours to take each turn. If both you and your opponent are online at the same time and taking turns promptly you can play most maps in under a half-hour. But anytime that your turn comes up you have a full day to make your move, so it can play like correspondence Chess where you and your opponent alternate moves once a day. You could play several games at once and only play when you have fifteen minutes free to take your turns.

WeeWar is like a perfect translation from board game to the web (though it appears to be based on the Game Boy game Advance Wars). The interface is crisp and responsive, it’s easy to arrange games and chat with your opponents. The web browser just falls away and only the game matters, a sign that knows how to use its medium to its fullest. The genre couldn’t be more different from web games like Ikariam.

Instead of building up a long-lasting empire or RPG character, you’re in standalone games that each last a few days, nothing carries between battles. It’s a bit of a downside, too: there are no persistent relationships you can form with other players besides adding them to a friends list to see when they’re online. When you finish a game, there’s no mechanism at work to draw you back to the site to play again.

WeeWar (besides being fun to play) inspired me to break from the mold. I hadn’t considered the medium and genre separately, so my designs were all very derivative and uninteresting. I decided to try to find a balance between the long continuity of Ikariam and the short sessions of WeeWar because each is a different kind of fun and a incentive to play.

Next, I’ll talk about a role-playing game called Tactics Ogre.