Woodland Heroes Brings the Fun of Battleship-style Strategy Gaming to Facebook

Woodland Heroes from rookie Facebook developer Row Sham Bow combines cutesy anthropomorphic animals with a strategy game akin to the classic Battleship board game. The game officially launched late last month.

According to our traffic tracking service, AppData, Woodland Heroes currently enjoys 130,000 monthly active users and 10,000 daily active users.

Woodland Heroes casts players in the role of a male or female raccoon person that must do battle with the evil Bear King’s army to make the forest safe again for all animals. The core gameplay loop has players building combat units out of a workshop and then leading these units into turn-based battles to earn resources to spend on building more combat units. New unit types unlock as the player levels up and the difficultly of battles increases as the player progresses through the main story toward a boss fight with the Bear King. An energy gauge restricts gameplay sessions by depleting each time the player moves a unit across the world map or each time the player attacks an enemy during the combat phase.

Combat is carried out between machines places along grids of squares with each machine occupying more than one square in various configurations of squares. The player can see where they’ve placed their own units, but cannot see where on the opposing grid the enemy has placed theirs. In order to find and destroy units, players select squares of the grid to target with their machines at the beginning of their turn.

If the player has successfully targeted a square containing an enemy unit, that square reveals some battle damage, hinting at the machine’s actual location. Once the player has struck a majority of squares that contain an enemy unit, the entire unit is revealed and can be destroyed once all of its squares are hit. An additional “hint” element comes in the form of a enemy unit list that the player can view to determine how many and what configuration of squares on which the enemy units are placed. Players can repair their own units that take damage during combat using either Facebook Credits or coins, the game’s soft currency. Once destroyed, a player completely loses that unit and must rebuilt it from the workshop during the non-combat phase of the game.

Social features include the standard gifting and Wall-posting functions of most social games. The most compelling feature, however, is the Visit ability where players can fight any of their friends’ impending battles with the Bear King’s armies. The catch is, the guest player can only use one unit to take out the enemy — but the combat doesn’t cost the guest player any energy. If successful, the player can choose to take a reward of in-game currency or leave behind a marker that gives their friend a combat advantage for that battle when they choose to play it. There is no player versus player mode planned for the game that we know of.

Woodland Heroes monetizes primarily through the sale of energy — which can only be gifted by friends or bought with Facebook Credits. Special combat units can also be purchased with Credits and certain units can only be repaired during the combat phase using Credits while other units can be repaired using coins, the game’s soft currency.

Speaking to Inside Social Games, Row Sham Bow CEO Phil Holt says the game isn’t finished “by a long stretch.”

“We launched with a small set of features expecting to deal with initial performance problems that most new games face,” he tells us. “This team has a lot of experience with supporting live features and live games, so I think we were well prepared for launch. We’re continuing to address the first-time user experience flow to optimize for retention. This is our current area of focus.”

Row Sham Bow formed in Orlando, Florida from a team of ex-EA Tiburon developers. The studio secured a $3 million first round of funding from Intersouth Partners.

You can follow Woodland Heroes’ progress on Facebook using AppData, our traffic tracking service for social games and developers.