Hill 70

In this game you take on the role of Major Gause, an officer commanding a battalion of infantry in the Imperial German Army, in Lens, France, 25th September 1915.

You make decisions based on the problems the Major Gause encountered.

Your mission is to defend the German positions against a British and French assault.

One game should take 15 minutes.

Click here to play: Hill 70

Background Notes

If you want to play the game, click the link above and off you go.

What follows below explains my reasons for making the game and something about the history of the story.

Teaching

I am a teacher of Computer Science and Game Design. This next year I intend to teach a unit entitled “Computer Game Story Development”. To do this I have chosen to work with an application called Twine that enables the designer to create Interactive Fiction games.

The best way to teach something is to learn how to do it first and then to teach it.

The Game Design Process

I looked through my folders of game ideas and found an idea for a decision based solo card game. I had read an excellent account of a defensive action and was inspired enough to make some game design sketches. The subject suggested itself as being reasonably suitable to an Interactive Fiction game. There are relatively few major decisions to take, and they are mostly reactive – for example receiving orders from higher command.

I think I might have bitten off more than I should have done for my first game. I had to consider not only the storyline and all of its branching lines but also about time passing. Each branching choice seemed to create yet another chapter where I had to keep track of time and bring back to one of the chokepoints I wanted all players to come back to. I tried to limit myself to three major game factors, but found I had to add more and more variables to control other things.

I have learnt a lot about how not to plan and write an IF game; next time I will make a storyboard and plan better!

Historic Background

Many of the things in the game are based on actual recorded incidents. Some are “made up”. For example the decisions about what formations or deployments to make are based on the regimental history. The delivering of “coffee and hot bread rolls” is made up, but I think not unrealistic.

By the very nature of IF some of the decisions taken will be different from the historic outcome. When this occurs I have to “make up”  reasonable stories of what might have happened.

Several players have commented on wanting to know more about the background. I am resisting getting too involved in this as my motivation for making this game was to learn how to make a game. I have supplied further reading material and links.

The Battle of Hill-70 – A Canadian Operation, 1917

There is a separate operation, in 1917, by the Canadian Corps, know as “Battle of Hill 70“. Searches will often bring up that Operation, rather than this “incident” in the Battle of Loose campaign.

World War 1 – the unplayable war

I have designed several games set in the First World War (1914 – 1918). I inspired by the attitude amongst wargamers – back in the early 1990s – that it was a war you could not design games for.

I think trench warfare lends itself very nicely to IF games. There is a lack of easy communication, of isolation from the bigger picture and of having only a few, but crucial decisions, to take.

Bibliography

Wynne, Captain G C. (2011) “Landrecies to Cambrai: Case studies of German offensive and defensive operations on the Western Front 1914-17” Solihull: Helion.

Committee of Imperial Defence. (1928) “Military Operations : France and Belgium, 1915: Battles of Aubers Ridge, Festubert, and Loos” London: Macmillan.

Baker, Chris (2018) “The Battle of Loos. (part of the ‘The Long Long Trail’ series of webpages)”. [viewed: 31 August 2018] [Online] Available from: https://www.longlongtrail.co.uk/battles/battles-of-the-western-front-in-france-and-flanders/the-battle-of-loos/

Unknown. (2018) “Königlich Sächsisches 13. Infanterie Regiment Nr.178″. [viewed: 31 August 2018] [Online] Available from: https://sites.google.com/site/souchez1915/allgmeines This site is mostly about the 2nd Battalion of the 178th Infantry Regiment, and in particular about one of soldiers who died in the action.

The Interactive Fiction Database (IFDB)

I have added the Hill 70 game to the IFDB