Suggestions for aircraft and/or carrier game rules?

are there any sets of rules out there for carrier or aircraft games?

i’ve decided to start a game as a hobby and to practice my programming skills. so far i made a bunch of classes set up and have no rules to make the game do anything. it’s going to be a carrier fleet vs carrier fleet game, since i don’t see many of those and i was always fascinated by the wwii pacific carrier battles.

while it would be fun to make up a system, i don’t want to waste a lot of time for a combat system that will probably suck and i would have to recode to try and make it work. i figure someone must have thought of making a carrier game before and done the hard lifting.

my goal is to have something playable (for me at least) come out of it where you have to make decisions like when to land planes returning from a strike (land now and you risk decks full of planes, land them last and you risk losing battle damaged and low on fuel planes plunging into the sea).

Just play Carriers at War by SSG and rip off everything they do. Or, better yet, just play Carriers at War instead of wasting your time programming your own version.

There’s a new version coming out soon from Matrix as well:

I second the suggestion for Carriers at War. Not sure when the remake comes out, but a collection of Carriers, Carriers II, & the Construction Kit is available here. Despite the amateur web design, the business was legitimate two years ago when I bought this as part of my early 90s PC game collection. I think the web design was identical back then as well.

Gee I wish Soren would have just played Civ II rather than “wasting his time” making a newer version of Civilization.

While not exclusively carrier based, uncommon valor is very good:

Slightly OT, but I surely wish there was some remake of Carrier Command. Great game I used to play a lot when it came out like 16 years ago…


Decide what you’re going to include in the game–it can’t be just carrier on carrier; give them a raison d’etre. Here’s what I’d think you’d want:

  1. Search and search rules.
  2. Ship types–in order to have carriers attacking, you’ll need them…plus surface ships that aren’t carriers.
  3. Abstract surface combat. Doesn’t need to be detailed, just make it so that if a CV group runs into a battle group, it’s bad for the carriers.

On 1., I’d make it so that players will want to do the bulk of their searching via ground-based aircraft. Now you have objectives for enemy carriers, and a reason why they’d need to carry HE and AP munitions, and a choice for the player to make. Ground bases can be worth victory points if a player can knock them out, and they can also be airfields which can launch search planes which can also be lethal if they spot carrier TF’s.

On 2, I’d keep it fairly basic: CV, CVL, BB, BC, CA, CL, and DD-class ships. If you want a little more detail in #1, you can add TR to it, and require players to land a certain weight in TR to “capture” an enemy base; this again gives CV’s targets to hit and protect.

On 3, keep it simple. Make the carrier ops your detail area, and leave it at that.

I’ve played a bunch of carrier games on computers and boardgames. (Yaquinto Games’ “CV”, which was a huge Midway campaign game, is maybe the single best wargame I’ve ever played.) I’d love to see something in this genre again soon.

I went Googling for nostalgia, and found this: Carrier Command 2007.

This is the first I’ve heard of it. Concept art is all there is on the website. It looks OK, but less colorful than the original (the Amiga version, at least).

EDIT: Also, someone’s been working on an OpenGL remake for over four years.

The old boardgame Flat Top ( might provide some inspiration also. It’s been a long time since I played it, but I remember the game to be both fun and well designed.

(!) I was looking around for ages for remakes ages ago and didn’t stumble across the OpenGL project. Oh so bookmarked. I’m a bit skeptical about the 2007 one, wouldn’t be the first project with a pretty website and concept art that, at some point, will be put on hold.


1942:Pacific Air War had a simple but pretty nice strategic layer. You directed carriers around the pacific in real time, set up search patterns and so on.

The Harpoon tabletop rules would work good. They are not carrier details specific, but then I not sure how much detail you are looking for.

For miniature wargames rules check:
Just click on the WW2 tab on the left, there are a decent amount of simple free aircraft/ naval rules there.

For boardgames check:

Hope that helps

Ah, Carrier Command. My favorite game on my Atari ST. Heh, I remember it came with an audio cassette tape that you were supposed to play on your stereo while playing in order to get a better atmosphere. Not that it was needed, as the game was pure brilliance. RTS + FPS FTW.

Which reminds me, we need a sequel to the “modern” Battlezone.

(Sorry for the derail.)

great guys, thanks! time to start reading.

triggercut, thanks for the tips on ground based plane searching. i had an image in my mind from the ‘midway’ movie where the us has midway based pby planes doing a 180 degree search arc mapped out on their big board…