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05-26-2016, 10:39 PM
#11
Joined: Oct 2008
Posts: 4,430
Curry: Inevitably, review...

Mutton: If you can't stand this format, please go outside, take a deep breath and come back and read

Curry: I think @Stronsay has done a great job giving the great things regarding Carrier Battles for Guadalcanal (CB4G)

Mutton: ...actually digital wargaming in general

Curry: I cannot say for Android, irrc, digital implementation of old-school naval wargames like CB4G is rather rare. If anyone finds something close, please let me know.

Mutton: The game is about naval battles taken place in Pacific year 1942 (with one in 1943), which marks the new ear of dominance of air power in naval battles. Before that, sea battles were mostly engaged using big guns where ships of each side could see each other.

Curry: The game covers all the major battles taken place around the area around Eastern New Guinea to the Guadalcanal, starting with Battle of the Coral Sea which most consider this as the first real air-naval battle in history.

Mutton: ...and the "bonus" scenario for Battle of Midway...yeah!

Curry: This game appeals for all who wish to play naval commanders re-enacting tactical naval battles, not limited to WW2. The game is complex but automation frees the player from all the underlying, tedious micro-management, focusing on making the tactical decisions instead.

Mutton: The developer has the mindset of broadening the appeal, so when you first start the game, it forces you going through a step-by-step tutorial. Each tutorial topic focuses on one particular element of the game. Another great arrangement is that you can practice in tutorial battles.

Curry: And when you have done the tutorials, you can go into the big world of actually battles. There are six historical scenarios. For now, you can only play as US against the AI playing Japan.

Mutton: Each scenario is provided with historical backgrounds plus scenario notes. Another nice touch is that the starting position for Japanese is varied and so is the size of forces available. The makes the game less repetitive.

Curry: Another thing the developer adjusts is the length of the battle: most actual battles featured lasted over a week but the game reduced them to 3 days.

Mutton: It is understandable and does not affect the enjoyment of game: nobody really wants to sit there, waiting for enemy to appear with nothing much to do for a couple of game "days".

Curry: The heart of the game is air battle. You assign planes from airbase, or from aircraft carriers if they are available, to different missions: Combat Air Patrol (CAP) is defending friendly airbase/carrier against any air attacks. Search is locating enemy ships, this is important because the enemy ships are hidden by default.

Mutton: and there is a term for that "fog of war"

Curry: And even if you spot the presence, the details of the enemy ships are not immediately reveal to you. If you keep on "spotting", you grain more details about what the enemy force is made up of: how many ships are there? What classes are there? and so on

Mutton: Of course the last mission type is air strikes. Each airbase or carriers can prepare for strikes at 2 different targets the same time.

Curry: All the operations are done by drag-and-drop and buttons. And the UI is very clean and consistent, with major option buttons on the left and command buttons at the button. The buttons are responsive too.

Mutton: Thank goodness it was not Tiler...

Curry: As for the AI, it is very good, it knows how to use night cover to do landing when your air power is absent, and re-arrange its carriers to do multiple-axis strike.

Mutton: ah, what Curry means making air strikes coming from more than one direction and at different time so the attacker can get tactical first strike advantages

Curry: And move damaged ship away from your attack. Timing your attack is crucial: an carrier is most vulnerable when its flight deck is arming airplanes. A hit on the deck cause major fire and explosion and the game reflects this

Mutton: As in Battle of Midway historically. Oh, please bear in mind the AI does not make the same mistakes as its historical counterpart!

Curry: I run this on my iPad Mini 2 with latest iOS and it is very smooth

Mutton: except there was once a hangup after submitted the turn and another time, a crash to Spring Board

Curry: I also find a bug, in one game, my search plane suddenly changed from a US diver bomber icon to a Japanese dive bomber icon. It landed later back to my carrier and later participated an attack on Japanese ship...

Mutton: The game also seems to either skipping/abstract the effects of cloud cover, "localized" foul weather. Not to mention omitting entirely New Caledonia base which is as important as bases in mainland Australia during that period

Curry: I can't help but thinking Carriers At War was flashier and gives you more control over damage control, which is automated here.

Mutton: I recall you yelling and leaning over the chair, back then, while watching the bombs and torpedoes running towards a ship...

Curry: I think most people will complain about the lack of ability to play the Japanese side.

Mutton: And single player only.

Curry: But the developer says the above are noted and may be present in the future updates.

Mutton: To sum up: CB4G captures the feeling and the essence of board wargaming. The presentation is minimal and very well done. Timing plays critical factor to winning the game which may not be aware by the player at first.

Curry: That's it! Thanks for reading.

Mutton: Over and out!

(Edit
Curry: One more thing! If you are learning the rope, try the "Bismark Sea" scenario first, the only 1943 one. Not only it is easy to manage with fewer units to deal with, the US force has superiority over the Japanese forces making it easy to win

Mutton: should have use Allied instead of US, right?
)

The Unofficial Touch Arcade's Captain Slow(TM)

Honestly, I was never terribly good at games. - Finch (PoI S2E16)

Last edited by currymutton; 05-26-2016 at 11:07 PM.
05-26-2016, 11:21 PM
#12
Joined: Aug 2009
Location: With Carmen Sandiego
Posts: 889
What a great post Curry! That is very informative.
Thank you

Game Centre I.D - Scarypharaoh

05-26-2016, 11:30 PM
#13
Joined: Oct 2008
Posts: 4,430
Quote:
Originally Posted by scarypharaoh View Post
What a great post Curry! That is very informative.
Thank you
Thanks for your appreciation, when most find my style odd and TL;DR

Omitted another point the rule book is accessible both in game and from Main Menu, which is very important for a complicated (mobile-wise) game like this.

The Unofficial Touch Arcade's Captain Slow(TM)

Honestly, I was never terribly good at games. - Finch (PoI S2E16)
05-27-2016, 01:58 AM
#14
Joined: Aug 2015
Posts: 526
Thanks to both Curry and Mutton for the entertaining and informative review . Thanks also for replying to my question about fighter escorts in the game forum. I've now found the relevant section in the advanced rules covering this.

I've also had a couple if crashes to desktop; but not too inconvenient as the game state was saved.

I've been defeated in the Coral Sea scenario yet again and have restarted. This time I'm transferring some spare long range bombers from Townsville on the Australian coast to Port Moresby to assist in defence against invasion. Will also try keeping Yorktown and Lexington carriers closer together so that if one is damaged or sunk, then airborne planes can return to the other.

I note your comments regarding the Bismark Sea scenario so may try that next.
05-27-2016, 02:26 AM
#15
Joined: Apr 2015
Posts: 391
Thanks for the review - I had just read over on PT. They are never TL/DR material!

I had bought straight after PT article, but have had busy eves so not had a chance to get stuck in yet past tutorials. Looking forward to it!
05-27-2016, 03:12 AM
#16
Joined: Oct 2008
Posts: 4,430
Thank you for all your kind words!

A couple of remarks:

About searching and spotting: it is vital to locate Japanese vessels before they spot you. If you send out enough planes, say 6 or more, the larger the search circle will be. But if the plane you choose does not endure enough, it will return to the airbase/carrier before sunset and unlike CAP, they do not seem to relaunch. Most of the time, the dive bomber will be your obvious choice as scout planes, but I find the P-40 (of endurance 22) and Beaufighter (endurance 26) are alright choices.

Also occasionally there are watch towers reporting back enemy sighting. IIRC, their locations are not shown on map, very much unlike the game Flat Top. They are nice additional source, but you cannot entirely rely on them to watch things out for you.

After you are done with Bismark Sea, I suggest you try Midway, not because it is famous, it also has less thing to manage: just 1 base plus 3 flat tops. Note that Midway has oil limit so use it wisely. The most important thing to watch out for, especially for you history bluffs, the AI does not quite make the same historical mistakes and quits after you blown its flat tops out of water, not only it will try to sneak in the TRS at night, it also try to mix its big-gun capital ships with your flat tops -- just bear in mind that even those WWI-refitted dreadnoughts are extremely deadly to your, well, just everything...

May write more after digging more other scenarios.

The Unofficial Touch Arcade's Captain Slow(TM)

Honestly, I was never terribly good at games. - Finch (PoI S2E16)

Last edited by currymutton; 05-27-2016 at 03:16 AM.
05-27-2016, 07:12 AM
#17
Joined: Jan 2014
Posts: 765
Awesome imps - thanks everyone for the insight.
I always love the curry mutton dialog. Makes me laugh.
Stronsay you nailed it with the old school cardboard war game feel without the hassles.
Bought this last night & started tutorials. I figured this is a great game to learn on a 3 day weekend.
05-27-2016, 07:24 AM
#18
Joined: Aug 2015
Posts: 526
It's a recurring decision - how many aircraft to send on search and how many to keep ready for an effective attack. I presently send 4 on search from each carrier; with some spacing between them this gives a fairly large search area. I should experiment with larger numbers.

An interesting point is raised regarding comparison with the historical events. I have only scant knowledge in this regard so I really need to download a book on the subject, and this will surely add much to my experience of the game. If anyone has book suggestions please let me know, and I'll start reading right after I finish my current book - Four Days at Waterloo - (Napoleonic tactics not being much help in Pacific fleet battles).
05-27-2016, 07:42 AM
#19
Joined: Aug 2015
Posts: 526
Quote:
Originally Posted by mzinn View Post
Awesome imps - thanks everyone for the insight.
I always love the curry mutton dialog. Makes me laugh.
Stronsay you nailed it with the old school cardboard war game feel without the hassles.
Bought this last night & started tutorials. I figured this is a great game to learn on a 3 day weekend.
Good decision mzinn. Quite possibly the best use of a 3 day weekend!
05-27-2016, 09:52 AM
#20
Joined: Oct 2008
Posts: 4,430
More mania:

1. I need to recheck how the "life point" (exact wording form rulebook iirc) is deducted, but you see here one tough TRS with life point = 2: ate 4 torpedoes and 9 bombs before being a permanent display on the ocean floor...

2. One of the devastating moment: during the Battle of Midway, the Soryu was the last standing CVA while one of her sisters was sunk and the 2 others were knocked out of action, she had 2+ planes arming on deck when my air group from Yorktown (which was also my last flat top with considerable strike power) arrived (not shown). She took considerable hit before sleeping at the bottom of the ocean

3. I got lucky and won the battle even though Midway took considerable damage (-23 life points) and with both Hornet and Enterprise down to last life point -- the final strikes from IJN did score hits but none was fatal.

Thank for all of your tips that getting both of the TFs close together works.

One thing to note that if the original mission of the flight group is to bomb a land-based target, it will not perform any attack if you switch during in-flight to enemy vessels, or vice versa. I am not sure if it is mentioned in the rule book but it is reasonable. Bombing vessels (armored targets) requires the use of armor-piecing (AP) bombs (well, soft-skinned transports are treated the same) and land targets employs high explosive ammunition (HE). Torpedo bombers hit ships with torpedo and makes bomb runs on land targets using HE bombs (sorry for being a nerd here). It is modeled as such here as well as in Flat Top. This is also one of the factors leading to the fateful decision made by the IJN commander during the Battle of Midway.

I notice there is no submarine action. Also the "ship/land" attack mode is fixed. i.e., if your B-17 always does medium level bombing only, you do not have a choice to perform high level bombing, skip bombing or mast level bombing, which Allied used the last two in the Battle of Bismark Sea.

May be I post them to the developer.

May be next time, I post a full AAR (after action report) for your comments.

In the meantime, may be, may be I should go back briefly to PACG or CoMKL for a change.
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The Unofficial Touch Arcade's Captain Slow(TM)

Honestly, I was never terribly good at games. - Finch (PoI S2E16)

Last edited by currymutton; 05-27-2016 at 10:05 AM.