netships: You’ll need a friend for this one

I hold games that can properly handle networking in high regard. Probably because I don’t have much faith in my networking ability, and so it still seems like black magic when a program manages to connect to another machine across the room, let alone across the planet.

For a two-player console game to connect across a network for me, I am prepared to make grand sacrifices. Such was not necessary with netships.

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netships is essentially a rendition of the classic Battleships pen-and-paper game, with the necessary network element included. Fire salvos against your opponent, and with a little luck and a little logic, you’ll destroy them before they destroy you. If you need a refresher on how the game works, I’d recommend reinstalling bs and playing a few games.

I can give you a few tips for getting netships started. First, assuming that your network is up and functioning, one person starts netships with no flags. That we’ll call the “server,” and the other person starts netships with the IP address of the server. That person we can call the “client,” but it doesn’t really matter because if all went well, that will be the last networking lingo you’ll need to know.

Both players place their ships, and this part may be a little confusing. You actually have to “draw” the ships on the grid, using the arrow keys and spacebar. You also have to plot out the proper number of ships, and when you think you have it right, you press C.

netships will check to make sure you have the requisite number of each size, and if you’re off, it will tell you how many of each to adjust by. This is probably the most intricate part of netships, but once you have done it correctly, it will never be an issue for you again.

When both players have placed their ships, the battle begins, and follows a very simple turn arrangement. While the other player is selecting, you’ll see a “Wait” prompt in the lower right, and your enemy’s selector will pan across your fleet. If a hit is scored, the attacker gets another turn.

And so it goes, to the obvious conclusion.

netships has a nice interface, straightforward controls and I can hardly complain about its networking ability. I also like the fact that you can see your enemy taking aim at your ships. It adds a sense of … drama.🙄

There’s no single-player game, which I suppose would be a drawback. But if you’re after a computer opponent, bs is the correct outlet for that.

The ship drawing stage is the only cumbersome moment, but that is quickly overcome and is never a problem after the first time. The game ends rather abruptly, and if either player quits, it’s a smash to black with no more information than the cursor prompt.

Other than that, I can’t find anything wrong with it. Grab a friend and set them down in front of your network, and start dueling. Oh, did I mention that you would need a friend for this one … ?

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