Stellar Relic

Tag - Rule the Waves

Floating Follies: Rule The Waves AAR Part 1

from Puck Magazine, September 1909

Rule the Waves is a game about building, maintaining, and commanding a great navy in the age of the dreadnought. In peacetime, you design, construct and deploy your ships, handle your budget, respond to events, play politics, and exert some influence on other areas of policy. In times of war, you do all this and additionally play out the naval battles yourself in the tactical layer.

I initially wanted to review this game for Stellar Relic, but Tim Stone already said almost everything I would say. Here’s an abbreviated version of my review: I love this game dearly. The best way to explain why is to write up a playthrough and show you some of the amazing emergent storytelling that this 1990s-looking oddity can produce. That’s what this is.

So! What nation shall we play? There’s a lot to choose from – all the European Great Powers of the turn of the century, plus Japan and the USA. The two included “custom nations” are Spain and the Confederate States of America.

Nation Select: Germany

I’ve gone with Germany. A game of Britain would be too easy. France and Italy are fun but I’ve played them a lot, and I’m a little tired of the Mediterranean. Austria-Hungary’s economy is too weak to be much fun. Germany, now… large economy, good technology, research advantages galore. It should be a challenge, but not an insurmountable one. I’m excited to see how I might stack up against Russia or the UK.


Tirpitz? No, we’d like Grossadmiral von Howell, please. I check the “manual build of legacy fleet” box and go for it.

Worth class Battleship

Every nation obviously has to begin with a navy when the game starts – it’s not like someone came up with the idea of putting guns on boats in January 1900. Normally, this “legacy fleet” is automatically designed and generated by the AI; “manual build of legacy fleet” means I get to throw it together myself. As technology unlocks, I’ll be able to build better ships, but the legacy fleet is limited to baseline tech. Above is me designing the current pride of the Imperial German Navy: the Wörth-class battleship. I’ll go more into ship design in the next post, but for now, it suffices to say that it’s not as complicated and terrifying as it appears.

Starting Navy

Here’s what the High Seas Fleet looks like I’m done: a core of six pre-dreadnought battleships (“B”), five armoured cruisers (“CA”), eight light cruisers (“CL”), and a hungry pack of 500-ton torpedo boats. They’re all fairly reasonable, balanced designs for their tonnage. Nothing crazy yet! This is just the legacy fleet. Oh, and I threw some cash at building bigger docks, too, so I can construct larger vessels in the future.


There’s a research component to the game, as well. I bump up my budget to the maximum 10% and prioritize ship design, armour development, and damage control, while deprioritizing submarines and a few other subsystems. This is a bit of a gamble, but I’ve decided to focus on Germany’s strengths. The Kaiser’s fleet will be tough.


The world of Rule The Waves is broken up into various zones. The vast majority of the German fleet is in Germany, of course, but I do in fact own colonial possessions that need protecting in Africa and the Pacific.


I decide to build up my defenses in the Pacific, improving the base in the Caroline Islands. I don’t expect to get in a war with Japan or the US (the great Pacific powers), but it’s nice to be prepared, and I can use the Carolines as a base for long-range raiders on other powers.

So: most of my preparations are done. I’ve advanced the game a couple of the monthly turns at this point, and since I’m not constructing any ships right now, the German Navy is flush with cash. I’ve got a decent battleline, I’m improving my bases, and with the benefit of hindsight, I’m ready to jump on any breakthrough in ship design.

In September 1900, my first three key technological advances are made.


With these research improvements and a massive $76 million budget surplus that needs to be spent, I decide it’s time to build the next generation of German battleships. And maybe start poking the Russians a little. I suspect a nice, easy war with the Tsar will help my the Imperial Navy’s prestige immensely. My intelligence budget is jacked up to the maximum and a wave of German spies are dispatched to the Slavic empire.

I have no idea how stupidly arrogant I’m being. Join me next time to find out!

Screenshot Saturday: Wide Open Spaces


Videogames are confusing, beautiful, complicated messes, and the best way to convey that is through screenshots, whether they are beautiful, informative, or goofy. Each Saturday we bring you one screenshot each from a game we played. It’s Screenshot Saturday.

WoW is not a dirty word dammit

Dave: A few weeks ago, my wife decided to restart her World of Warcraft subscription. We have both played WoW since 2005 (off and on) and both have fond memories, particularly of vanilla WoW and The Burning Crusade. Our constant return to (and subsequent departure from) the game speaks volumes of its nostalgic power. This time, I didn’t resubscribe along with my wife – instead I decided to hop on her account and make a character to run through Elwynn Forest and Westfall. It may be 10 years since we started playing, and the visuals are a bit different now, but those old spaces still hold a certain comfort.

Rule the Waves

Thomas: My current addiction is Rule The Waves. It’s June 1919; France and Austria-Hungary are at war, with French troops on the defensive in Tunisia as a naval war rages in the Mediterranean. Just west of Corfu, the French battlecruiser Duquesne spots and engages the Austro-Hungarian Taurus-class battlecruiser ArethusaDuquesne takes a 12 inch shell to the engine room early in the battle, slowing her, and the destruction of her aft turret makes attempting to escape futile. She turns and fights, and the war hangs in the balance.

All this fantastic narrative and technical complexity springing forth from a game that looks like it was designed 20 years ago. I love it.


James: Far Cry 4 has a lot of problems. The overall structure of the game is unsatisfying, the sidequests are repetitive, and the balance is thrown out the window the moment you get a silenced sniper rifle. Despite it all, though, there is one thing Far Cry 4 does extremely well: beautiful wide-open landscapes. The nation of Kyrat is extraordinarily beautiful, with lush vegetation, towering mountains, and clear blue lakes. It may be difficult to recommend Far Cry 4 on the strength of its mechanics, but it’s (almost) worth playing for the vistas alone.