Cast Iron Life - A World at War

Below is a preliminary walkthrough of the basic gameplay. This is still in development and can change at any time. Select any thumbnail image to see the full graphic in a new window. The images shown in the mockups are not gameplay images, just mockups. Once the initial framework is developed, we'll be looking for artists to replace these preliminary images with quality graphics.

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Opening Screen

The game opens with a splash screen and setup options. If the player loads a saved game, the engine loads with that game. Otherwise, the player is faced with the following choices:

  • Timeframe: Determining the makeup of the world, the available units and technologies, this is also where a custom designed scenario would show up. For the initial version of CIL, we will only be working on 1860 (The American Civil War).
  • Scale: Determining how much of the world is in play. This option may depend on the timeframe, as there isn't much reason to play North America during World War I. Other scales to consider would be: The Far East and Europe & Russia. For the initial version of CIL, we will only be working on North America.
  • Nation: Determining which nation the player controls, dependent on timeframe and scale. For the initial version of CIL, we will only be working on the United States and the Confederate States.

Initial Overview
The player is presented with a text description of the time and the units at his disposal before his first turn. Since every turn starts with a supply phase, it is best to start games one turn before any action, so that the player can gain his bearings before getting started on military matters.

Turn Sequence
Each turn simulates a 3-month season. The game will simulate some effects of a season by increasing movement costs and certain areas on the map will be designated as "Severe Winter" areas, so that winter spent in these areas by troops low on Gear can cause casualties. This feature would not matter much in the scope of the initial version of CIL but will come into play when simulating war in Russia. For the sake of simplicity, Food production will be static. Effects of a season on battle can be found in the Combat Sequence doc.

  • Event Phase:

    There is a chance at the beginning of a nation's turn that an event will take place affecting that nation. Events are randomly generated and an initial table can be found in the docs section. Apply events immediately; they last for the duration of the turn, unless stated otherwise.
  • Tech Phase: Each tech field is rated in Technology Points (TP). If these TPs are higher than the necessary amount for an advance, the nation receives that advance.
  • First Production Phase:

    • The player is awarded Production Points (PP) equal to the total number of PP in his regions and cities times the Infrastructure rating of his nation.
    • The player is awarded Food equal to the total number of Food in his regions times the Agriculture rating of his nation.
    • The Player is awarded Machine Parts, Oil, Gear and Ammo equal to the total number of Machine Parts, Oil, Gear and Ammo in his regions and cities times the Industry rating of his nation.
  • Purchase Phase: The player can buy units spending PP. The units are dragged and dropped from various type boxes, showing their availability. The player can also buy Upgrades, which can be applied to any newly purchased units or stored for use on existing units. For each unit or upgrade purchased, the corresponding tech field gains 1TP. If the unit or upgrade is the most advanced unit or upgrade available, than the player gains an additional 1TP in the corresponding field.
  • Supply Phase:

    Machine Parts, Gear, Food, Ammo and Oil are stored on a national basis. If a supply depot or city is captured, than an appropriate percentage of this is also awarded to the player that captures this supply depot or city. During the supply phase, a player is given the option to create new supply depots and disband old ones. Later in the game, supply depots also represent field strips for aircraft. Available commands are:
    • Create Supply Depot: A supply depot can be created in any friendly territory within 3 hexes of a city at a cost of 5PP. It can be created in any friendly territory beyond 5 hexes from a friendly city at a cost of 15PP. After the invention of aircraft, it can be created in friendly territory that is cut off at a cost of 50PP.
    • Disband Supply Depot: This can be accomplished on any supply depot that is not cut off, it removes the supply depot from the game.
    • Oversupply: This command gives the selected army up to 150% extra supply for this turn, depending on available stocks. This can only be accomplished on an army within two hexes of a friendly supply depot or city.
    • Forage: This command costs Action Points on the part of the selected army and provides it with some supply, depending on the regions and cities around it.
  • Effects of Supply: An army automatically and at no cost in PP to the player receives the following supply at the beginning of this phase:
    • In friendly territory and within three hexes of a city or supply depot: 100% (Of it's share of available supplies)
    • In friendly territory but out of range of a friendly city or supply depot: 75%
    • In enemy territory (cut-off) but within range of a friendly city: 50%
    • In enemy territory (cut-off) but within range of a friendly supply depot: 25%
    • In enemy territory (cut-off) and not in range of a friendly city or supply depot:0%
  • Supply and Units: A unit's supply determines its Effectiveness. Effectiveness is a modifier which determines a unit's actual attributes. 25% of Effectiveness is Morale and 25% is Rest (A generic value that can be increased and decreased through combat and movement). The remaining 50% is related to a unit's supply. Effectiveness can be as low as 10% (Due to poor supply, poor morale and no rest) and as high as 200% (This would be a fully oversupplied unit (+50%), with the finest leader (+25% from the leader's Morale bonus), that had won a string of battles (+25% due to morale bonuses from victory). Anytime a unit's rating dips beneath 10%, that unit is subject to desertion rules, detailed later, and any time a unit's effectiveness rises above 200%, it is still considered 200%.
  • Cost to oversupply: If a player wishes to increase a unit's supply, whether oversupplying it or not, the player must pay PP for the additional supplies. This is assuming the player has enough supplies to perform the action. Cost to supply units located in an army that is:
    • In Friendly territory and within three hexes of a city or supply depot: 1PP per 100 supplies.
    • In Friendly territory but out of range of a friendly city or supply depot: 1PP per 50 supplies.
    • In Enemy territory but within three hexes of a friendly supply depot or city: 1PP per 20 supplies.
    • In Enemy territory but out of range of a friendly supply depot or city: Cannot be supplied.
  • Movement and Combat Phase:

    When the player is done with the supply phase, they can move their armies, engage in combat and make any strategic changes.
    • Movement of armies and fleets costs action points (AP), the amount depending on terrain. Each terrain tile is considered to be either civilized or uncivilized, meaning it has some form of decent roads facilitating travel or it is unimproved wilderness.

Civilized/Uncivilized Plains:

08 AP / 10 AP

Civilized/Uncivilized Hills:

11 AP / 15 AP

Civilized/Uncivilized Forest:

11 AP / 20 AP

Civilized/Uncivilized Desert:

15 AP / 20 AP

Civilized/Uncivilized Swamp:

20 AP / 30 AP

Civilized/Uncivilized Jungle:

20 AP / 35 AP

Civilized/Uncivilized Tundra:

25 AP / 30 AP

Civilized/Uncivilized Mountains:

30 AP / *Impassible


05 AP


08 AP


15 AP

* Unless we implement Mountain Infantry, in which case an army made up entirely of Mountain Infantry requires 25AP to move.

    • Combat:

      Adjacent armies and fleets can engage in combat at a cost of 10AP. When combat is declared, both armies can request reinforcements. These are units from other armies added to the army at a time depending on the distance. Reinforcing costs the reinforcing army 10AP and if it does not have enough AP to reinforce, it cannot reinforce.
      • Adjacent: Reinforcements appear during the first day of the battle, on engagement 2 (25%), 3 (25%) or 4 (50%).
      • 1-2 Hexes: Reinforcements appear during the first day of the battle on engagement 3 (25%), engagement 4 (25%) or the second day of the battle, on engagement 1 (50%).
      • 3 Hexes: Reinforcements appear during the second day of the battle, on engagement 1 (25%), engagement 2 (25%) or engagement 3 (25%).
      • Farther than 3 hexes: Cannot be reinforced, unless the reinforcing army resides within 1 hex of a friendly city and the battle takes place within 1 hex of a friendly city, in which case it is considered rail movement and the previous ranges can be doubled. There is no reinforcing that can take place between armies farther than 6 hexes away.
      Each additional day of combat costs 5AP. An army that has been attacked loses 5AP for the first day and 3AP for each subsequent day of battle. Combat resolution is explained in the Combat Sequence doc.
    • Strategic Actions:

      Complex national activities are handled in an abstract manner in CIL. The player has some control, using the strategic interface. The world is separated into Regions and Superregions (States or provinces, terminology depending on the nation). When accessing the Strategic Warfare map, the player can adjust levels of warfare outside the scale of armies and tactics, as well as receive information relating to the state of their nation. Units removed from Strategic activities are placed in the Purchased Units and Upgrades pool and can be placed at the end of the turn.
      • Interdiction: Gives information and allows for some adjustment to naval forces assigned to interdiction.
        • Privateers - For each PP spent on privateers, there is a 1% chance of a bonus ship for one turn.
        • Blockades - Number of naval units assigned to blockading. Each ship reduces the value of an enemy coastal city bordering friendly waters by 3PP (Max of 10PP).
        • Mine-laying - Number of naval units assigned to mine-laying. Effectiveness increased with higher naval tech Mines. It costs 20 Ammo per ship per turn.
        • Restricted/Unrestricted Warfare - Yes/No. No will result in a higher amount of tonnage but with adverse diplomatic effects.
      • Commerce:
        • Convoys - Number of naval units assigned to convoys. Each unit reduces the amount of tonnage sunk during a turn.
        • Blockade Runners - PP lost or gained by blockade running. Each blockaded port can provide 0-2PP, determined randomly.
      • Patrols: Patrols decrease fog of war in a player's nation.
        • Aircraft - Number of air units assigned to air patrols. Air units assigned to patrols also increase chances for a strategic bombing attack to take casualties before any combat.
        • Naval - Number of naval units assigned to patrol friendly coastlines. Naval units assigned to patrols increase the chance for an enemy fleet to take casualties when in a coastal hex.
        • Troops - Land units assigned to patrols.
      • Garrisons - Land units assigned to garrisons. Spread evenly among fortresses and occupied enemy cities.
      • Intelligence - Shows possible enemy army locations and provides the player with actions to provide further information.
        • National Survey - General information on an enemy nation.
        • Spy - 5PP to receive information on an enemy army, city or region. 33% chance of failure, 33% chance of success, 33% chance of misinformation (50% too much or too little)
      • Strategic Attack - Any bombers, rockets and artillery assigned to strategic attacks can be used to bomb cities, armies and fortresses. The enemy player is given the choice to defend and reinforce, and combat can be resolved normally.
      • Annex - A command allowing the player to declare certain occupied enemy regions to be an official part of their nation. If the player selects more than one region, they are given the option to name the new superregion. Occupied regions provide only 50% of their PP and supplies and are not improved during the Improvement Phase.
      • Diplomacy:
        • Declare War - Open hostile relations with a nation.
        • Armistice - Offer to end hostilities with a nation.
        • Peace Treaty - Offer to end a war with a nation.
        • Alliance - Offer to enter into an alliance with a nation.
        • Trade - Offer to give upgrades, PP and supplies to a nation for upgrades, PP and supplies.
      • Research - The player can spend up to 20PP on research, each point gives them 10TP to spend on the various fields of research (Maximum of 50TP per field per turn).
  • Fortification Phase:

    The player can choose to build or upgrade any fortifications.
    • Arming and garrisoning fortifications - Players can drag naval upgrades and specific units onto a fortification from the purchased units and upgrades pool.
    • Building and upgrading a fortification - Players can purchase and place one level of fortification per hex. The maximum level of fortification is determined by the fortification tech tree.
  • Placement Phase: The player can place purchased units. Any units or upgrades not placed in armies are added to the Strategic Pool.
  • Improvement Phase: Any unspent PP are automatically spent on improving the player's nation, as follows:
    • Up to 30PP randomly assigned to various tech fields. Each PP is worth 15TP.
    • Up to 30PP randomly assigned to various regions. Each region is rated in actual production, optimal production and potential production. Actual production is what a region produces in PP each turn. Potential production is its maximum possible PP value. Optimal production is half of potential production.
    • For each 3PP assigned to a region, the region's actual production is increased by 1. These points are randomly assigned first to regions with actual production less than optimal production. These points are not assigned to occupied regions.
    • Up to 30PP randomly assigned to a nation's attributes. For each 10PP, a nation's Infrastructure, Agriculture or Industry is increased by 1%.
    • Up to 10PP assigned randomly to cities. Cities are rated in the same manner as regions in the supplies they produce and are assigned improvements in the same manner. For each 1PP assigned to a city, its actual Ammo, Machine Parts or Gear is increased by 5.
  • Second Production Phase: The player is awarded points and supply according to the same manner as the First Production Phase.
  • Control, Housekeeping: Hexes are checked for ownership. Units with a Gear of 3 or less in a Severe Weather hex during Winter have a 5% chance of taking a casualty. All units under 10% effectiveness have a 50% chance of taking a casualty as a deserter.

Victory Conditions
Nation specific, each nation has a National Morale, lowered by 2% per battle loss and raised by 3% with each victory. Each nation would have a different threshold for suing for peace, a la Germany during World War I. Some nations would have a lower threshold (Russia for example) but would suffer more grievously if they reach this threshold (Read civil war). Occupying the capital would be a major hit to National Morale.

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Below are more concept images for Cast Iron Life.

3D Hex Globe