Sunday, 8 July 2018

Depth levels for underwater games

I've always had a slight fascination with underwater games, and this culminated in our AquaZone setup during Crisis 2009.

One of the challenges of doing underwater games - irrespective of the actual setting - is to keep track of the various depth levels for swimmers, divers, animals, etc. Just as in air wargames, depth (or height) can be an important factor in conveying the feeling of the particular game. Although many air and underwater games do away with depth (as we did in our AquaZone games), adding depth provides an additional level of gameplay.

However, the main problem is how to represent it on the gaming table. Various solutions exist: some form of bookkeeping on a roster sheet, putting markers next to figures, putting figures on telescoping stands (usually radio antennas, but see also our patent-pending Lego solution here), ... The complexity of doing so often leads to the elimination of depth or height on the wargames table, although the games tend to become more cinematic in nature when doing so.

So, I was pleasantly surprised when I saw a solution on the Chirine's Workbench blog, that still requires bookkeeping, but at least makes it intuitive to use and see. I have copied the picture below from the blog.

(Image from Chirine's Workbench)
At each corner of the table, there is a depth gauge, 6 different levels, and color-coded. Markers in the same color are put next to each figure. That's it.

Now, you might wonder, what's so spectacular about this? Isn't this the same as using numbered depth levels, and put a numbered marker next to each figure? Yes, it is. But somehow, by using colors, and using the depth gauges at each corner, visualizes the various depths much better. I might probably use the same idea in one our future AquaZone games.


  1. Interesting and intuitive. You'd have to define the terrain depths as well.

    1. That could be a possibility, although I do think that would complicate matters.