Give us an overview of the game and how it’s played.
This board game of battle field strategies has two versions: the two player version is called Two Armies and the four player version is called Four Armies. Here is how these games are played.
In Two Armies each player commands a troop of 25 game pieces: 1 Flag, 1 Army, 1 Corps, 2 Divisions, 2 Brigades, 2 Regiments, 2 Battalions, 3 Companies, 3 Platoons, 3 Engineers, 3 Mines, and 2 Bombs. To win a game, one must either capture the Flag piece or defeat all the movable pieces of the opponent player. The battlefield consists of railway tracks along which the pieces can move continuously, country-road routes along which the pieces cannot move continuously, and bases which provide shelters to pieces occupying them. On each side, the Flag piece is to be secretly placed in one of the two castle-shaped headquarters and guarded by movable troop pieces and unmovable Mines.
The game Four Armies is similar to Two Armies. Four players are playing as two opponent allies and the goal of a game is to capture the two Flags or defeat all movable pieces of the two allying opponents. This game requires a high level of cooperation and coordination between the allied players and is full of challenge and surprising outcomes due to the complexity of the involvement of four players since each player can only read the player’s own pieces and make judged decisions based on the movements of the ally and opponents.
Where did you get the idea to develop Two/Four Armies into an online playable game?
I have great passion for this game and wish to let people outside China know and enjoy it too. Internet gaming has become more and more popular. So I believe it will make the game known more quickly and effectively through making it available online.
What has been your biggest challenge in programming this game?
The programming part is not too much a challenge. The biggest challenge I face is to make it known and enjoyed by people outside China.
Let’s shift gears and talk about you. How did you get into game development?
First I like this game very much. I have played it since childhood. I basically grew up playing this game. For the past 15 years, I joined a local game club in the Princeton area in New Jersey and we have played Four Armies almost each weekend. Sometimes I got invited to local libraries and cultural events to demonstrate the game and kids often waited in line for their turns to play it. These give me enthusiasm to promote the game here. I also developed electronically refereed game sets which have been sold to nearly 20 states in US and 6 other countries all through the praise of mouth of customers. Since online gaming is now widespread, I made the current online version too for players to enjoy for free.
Tell us a little bit about your life outside of game design and gaming: family? work? other interests?
I am not a professional game developer but a mathematician. I do research on mathematical problems arising from theoretical physics and teach at New York University. My wife and I live in New Jersey and we have three college kids. Another of my great hobby besides board games is electronics. I also enjoy travel and reading history and culture.
Tell us how (and where) we can find you (social networks, BGG username, website, cons you plan to attend).
I can be reached at my personal email address: firstname.lastname@example.org
or at the website www.starletgames.com