Focus On: Nanowar

by Stephen Fluin 2009.06.07

For individuals who have played Konquest, NanoWar will be a real treat. NanoWar is a game with two players who control a series of planets by occupying them. Each player starts with a given number of units on their starting planet. The game is played by choosing to send some of the units from the starting planet to another planet, either the player's own, an unoccupied planet, or the enemy's planet. Each planet that a player controls generates more units for the player. The game is over when either player runs out of units (in travel as well as on planets).

Why is it fun?

The game is fun because there are a lot of decisions being made that either attempt to respond to or preempt the enemy player's actions. For example, you can choose to empty one of your planets in order to take over a nearby planet with more force, but you leave yourself temporarily open to attack. You can try to coordinate an attack from many planets, and leave them all slightly open to attack, or you can completely abandon one of your planets temporarily.

Comparison with Konquest

Although Konquest and NanoWar are virtually the same game, there are several differences in implementation and gameplay.

  1. Konquest is turn-based, NanoWar is real time.
  2. Konquest allows multiple players, NanoWar is limited to 2.
  3. Konquest has hidden motion between planets, whereas all units are visible in Nanowar. This is an interesting point because Konquest forces players to try to reverse engineer the sizes of the enemy forces in motion, as well as attempt to predict their destination. There is a lot more strategy to this in Konquest, which lends itself well to being turn based, and the ability to quickly respond to enemy movements in NanoWar is a critical part of gameplay.
  4. NanoWar allows online multiplayer, Konquest is local-only. Local multiplayer can get tricky when using Konquest because you have to go away, or at least look away while the other local players take their turn. On the other-hand, the multiplayer functionality in NanoWar was broken when I attempted to use it today.
  5. Konquest is open source and is a desktop application, NanoWar is a closed source web application.