- Nick Thomadis
The Playing Modes
In the final release of Ultimate Admiral: Dreadnoughts, there will be two game modes: “Campaign” and “Naval Academy”. In this article we are going to provide a brief explanation of their main aspects.
The Naval Academy
This is a quick-battle mode, where you can play specific battle scenarios vs an AI opponent. Selecting a mission brings you to the briefing where you must select an option to boost your ship design. Options are usually a technology upgrade combo or additional funds. Next, you are sent to the Ship Design Interface to design your ships. After completing your preferred design your ships deploy to battle.
The missions progress in difficulty and complexity and are intended not only to entertain but also teach, in practical terms, the various ship design aspects and their effects in combat. You unlock battles as you win them.
The Campaign (Not yet available)
In the campaign you participate in an ongoing naval arms race and try to overwhelm your opponents by maintaining economic and technological superiority. You fully manage the fleets and naval construction programmes of the following nations that are available with their historical borders from the Imperialism Era to the Interwar Period (1890-1930+):
Empire of Japan
The campaign is set in a global scale over a complete map that includes all countries of the time period (minor nations are not playable). On this huge strategic board, you can recreate historical events such as the Russo-Japanese War and the World Wars, or delve into “What if” situations, such as China prevailing in the Sino-Japanese war and becoming a major naval power.
Significant political events can include rebellions and the change of a government from Monarchy to Democracy. Your naval strength will play a crucial role in all those events, but most importantly in military engagements, since the control of the seas may cripple your opponent via naval blockades, secure your army’s supply lines and open up opportunities for naval invasions.
Your Role in the Campaign
From your position as head of the admiralty you do not have direct control of the national government, but you can influence the course of actions, either by sharing your opinion in random political events or by strengthening the naval power and prestige of your nation. Each nation has its strength and weaknesses. For example, some countries will begin with much stronger naval facilities and greater economic power than others, but the randomization of technological advancements and events in each campaign session ensures that the final dominant power is going to be always unpredictable.
Being the chief admiral of your nation gives you complete power over naval construction programs and policies. It will be your responsibility to manage the naval budget and allocate it wisely between technological research, crew training, shipyard development and ship building. You will also move your fleets across the global map and decide which sea regions to reinforce. Global tension may rise dangerously and cause wars that will involve your country. So you must make sure that your fleet is always ready for combat and in maximum efficiency.
Fighting Naval Battles in the Campaign
The global map is divided into sea regions on where you deploy your ships. Depending on the provinces you control on those waters, you have to keep your naval strength in a minimum safety level or else economic efficiency will deteriorate and you may even face rebellions in unruly colonies.
During wartime, your fleets will engage enemy forces that are stationed in the same sea region via the Battle Generator System. This system generates missions by evaluating several strategic factors, affected by fleet composition, ship operational range and naval techs. In those generated missions, which vary from small convoy raids to major fleet actions, you can take part and directly control your ships against the enemy.
Winning these naval battles is crucial, not only for the war effort but also for your career. If your are defeated many times, your naval prestige may fall so low that will cause your dismissal by the government.
Submarine and Anti-Submarine Warfare
Submarines will have a special function in the campaign. Expensive to research, submarines sacrifice funds that could be spend on other warship technologies. However, once they become available, each campaign turn you will have the power to sink enemy merchant or military ships without any opposition, unless the opponent has sufficient Anti-Submarine-Warfare(ASW) technologies.
You control submarines by deploying them on the map and choosing their rules of engagement. During wartime, their effect is calculated per turn according to the strategic situation on the map. Similarly, the ASW ability of your ships is auto-calculated according to the amount of destroyers, depth charge equipment, submarine mines, torpedo nets and several other technologies currently researched.
Submarines can open Pandora's Box for the side that chooses an unrestricted warfare policy. An accidental sinking of a neutral ship may drag other nations into a war against you.
Like submarines, mines will have a special role in campaigns. Mines will need special research to become truly effective but will be a constant threat for ships even at the lowest technological levels.
Minefields will be automatically generated near your shores during a war, and the same will be done by your enemy. Ships that operate near heavy minefields may be struck by mines leading to damage or even complete loss. Minesweeping will be the basic counter-measure, progressively clearing enemy mines. Other potential counter-measures would be to design your ships strong enough to withstand mine damage or to have the necessary sensors to avoid them.
The end of a war will see minefields only slowly cleaned out, still capable of causing damage to ships of any side and possibly raising tension between countries.
World Wars, Alliances and Treaties
Diplomatic complications and alliances may entagle several major nations in a war with each other, creating a World War. Such a cataclysm will bring about land battles all over the world between the rival countries. As chief admiral for your nation, you will not directly control events on land, but you will be in full charge of the navy, and the role of the navy will be crucial, because blockades and successful convoy raids can completely cripple the opponent’s economy and progressively reduce his ability to support his fleet and armies.
Victory points are measured during wartime and when one side gains an overwhelming balance of points, then a peace treaty is signed that can result in war reparations, exchange of provinces, ceding of ships or naval treaties that limit naval construction programmes (like the 1922 Washington Naval Treaty that followed the First World War).
At the moment of writing, several of these campaign features remain a work in progress. As features are implemented in the game, we will present more details about how everything is going to function.