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A Proposal for the Inclusion of Paper Belles: Plans, Procurement, and Belles

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Hello Captains,

      Today we will be discussing a rather complex topic, a massive mental hurdle not only regarding the game's lore, but also balance and implementation. A topic so tenaciously stubborn to crack that nobody I'm aware of has actively attempted to create a working system even though the BCS team has expressed an interest. That topic is Paper Belles, and we will be discussing my attempt to create a system which provides a foundation for inclusion into Victory Belles proper.


What is a Paper Belle? 

The exact definition is subject somewhat to personal interpretation. For my purposes, a ‘Paper Belle’ refers to ships under any of the following conditions:

  • Laid Down/Under Construction
  • Ordered, but not laid down.
  • Under design.

With the results of the January QnA it was confirmed, much to my relief, that ships that were at least launched are not considered to be ‘Paper Belles’ – and nor should they be considered as such. You’re a bit out of the realm of being on a sheet of design paper by that point, no?

      As you can see, there are three separate categories displayed. The first, or those that were laid down and under construction, would represent ships such as the H-39. Ships like H-39 have reached the finalization point in their design process or have at least been finalized enough to begin construction. In all truth, these vessels should no longer be considered ‘paper’ as they have moved into the next stage of creation, but I would prefer to include their category based on the aforementioned QnA of this past January.

      The second category encompasses designs that have reached the point of finalization or “close enough” that allows for material to be gathered and construction to begin per order from a higher authority. These vessels were never laid down despite their advanced stage of planning, whether that be due to the resource situation of the nation, a competitive design has succeeded it, or a litany of other reasons.

      Finally, the third category is for those designs which vary somewhat from rough sketches with little information up and to vessels which so much information and detail associated with them that you begin to wonder how they haven’t ended up being ordered. This level of the creation process is what I consider the absolute minimum for Victory Belles. However, attention must be given to the designs of this category as not all have the information available to qualify them for consideration. However, they are NOT COLLECTIVELY napkin scribbles, fake, or ‘not real’. These are typically labels given by people who cannot seem to tell the difference. However, professionals have standards - more on this below.

      All in all, "Paper Belles" are the vessels that 'never were' even including vessels that had their construction started but had not launched before being broken up and scrapped. Paper Belles face unique challenges unlike their fully built and completed counterparts and it will take some serious time and research to construct their personalities and their designs. They present a real challenge. It's been stated before that the Dev Team is "up for the challenge", and how low they can go on this category list will ultimately determine that.


What is the Intended Goal?

In a similar sense to some prominent combat vehicle titles, I see Victory Belles as as having the potential to give life to ships that haven't seen service, completion, or even construction. As it would turn out, Black Chicken Studios has created a beautifully lore-friendly framework for me to utilize within their universe/metaverse in which the course of and priorities in the war can be altered. This is the cornerstone from which I will create my system.

Coming directly to the question itself, the goals are (in no particular order) as follows:

  • Create a system which can be dropped into Victory Belles without too much extraneous effort or alien appearance, making use of or building upon pre-existing functions.
  • Set a standard that ensures that all Belles submitted for inclusion meet at least the minimum standard for equipment, statistics, and personality.
  • Rig the system in a way that allows for the maximum number of Belles of all categories of completion can be considered for inclusion.
  • Attempt to include designs from alternative time periods, if possible.
  • Use historical precedent where possible.

      Quickly, before we continue, I'd like to acknowledge BCS's continued adherence to, for lack of more appropriate terms, historical accuracy and precedent. Despite the unrealistic situation of the Belle-verse they continue to uphold a strong "method to the madness" approach, and this is something that - to me - is worthy beyond simple admiration. Where other titles of this genre would simply drop all the serious work, thousands of hours and years of research and development to make another typical gacha idol game with a fleet motif and some surface-level Wikipedia allusions to the history of the vessels, Victory Belles staff have stuck stubbornly to "hewing close to history" where they can, even against practicality. This is what sets Victory Belles out from the other competitor titles as something truly special, in essence a work of art unlike anything else. 

      With full respect to this level of commitment, I've made it my penultimate goal to respond in kind by attempting to create a system that isn't foreign among the various other features - to say, something that feels completely natural within Victory Belles. This, while also making accommodations for the goals I set out for myself. The four major goals in question with do not necessarily need to be all met, or even met to the fullest degree, as this is simply my interpretation - my path - for this system's implementation, that being is to fully utilize it for maximum Belle inclusion. That doesn't mean I haven't set realistic limitations, of course.


Setting the Bar

So where does the baseline for inclusion actually rest? What qualifies or disqualifies a design under this system? With some exception, “Under design” ships provide the bar for what’s acceptable. They should at least include a detailed plan of the vessel with associated physical measurements such as length, beam, draft, and various displacement measures. Personally, I would not allow a plan without that critical information to be allowed to set the bar. The less that needs to be made to fill in the gaps, perhaps, the better. Though before I continue, I want to state that not every design that did not make it to construction is a "pie-in-the-sky" holistically unrealistic design, created only to tickle the fancy of naval architects and design offices. Before the reaches of Project 24, A-150, and H-42/43/44, most ships under design were serious proposals or are preliminary designs leading to a finalized design that was produced. In several cases there are designs that have been finalized and ordered but due to a lack of resources, surrender, or a close in the war they weren't laid down/completed.

      This system wasn't intended to allow for napkin designs - a "napkin design" being, as I view it, a design generally lacking critical baseline information such as dimensions, weight, sometimes even line drawings. And while it would ultimately be up to BCS and what the community's submissions can provide to dictate what makes it into the game, I would like to re-emphasize that – at least under my system - only ships that can at least largely fill out Belle statistics will really be considered in this system. Just because some ships lack information that has not been scrounged from archives yet does not mean that they are the napkin designs we are trying to avoid here. Careful consideration must be given and thoughtful action taken before confirming or denying potential ships.

      With this in mind, one could expect to see vessels like USS Montana, HMS Lion, and the “O”-class battlecruiser of Germany but not something such as, say, Project 1111/13 (RN design), “Costanzo Ciano” cruisers (RM design), or the latter part of the H-class battleship designs (KM design).

      This level of commitment extends to the types of equipment that these Belles will be armed with as well. Follow precedent. If a country is known to have issues with electrically-powered gun mounts, take that into consideration in regards to a new mount that might not have had shipboard testing done. If there were issues found during testing in reality, be sure to include those as well. By this way powercreep can be avoided in large.


A Proposal for the Inclusion of Paper Belles: Plans, Procurement, and Belles





Providing the Backdrop: Core Lore Galore

A thousand years ago, in a previous iteration of this proposal, I had chosen Foreign Contract Construction (such as the Ufficio Progetti of Ansaldo's design office and other designs meant for foreign countries) as the historical precedent from which to build off of. But as it would turn out it did not survive the meat grinder of my mind. Instead, a slightly different proposal has arisen.

      During wartime, countries typically do not have the resources to spare. Especially not for giving away or selling ships, of which are required for use by that navy hence why you do not see warships typically being constructed and sold to other nations during wartime. In fact, the opposite is true. In most instances, vessels being built for other nations are appropriated or have their construction stopped altogether. Instead, if you want a vessel to emerge from paper into reality in the Victory Belles universe, you will have to be willing to settle for the fact that it won't be coming into your hands directly.

      This means taking action as "the Captain" by way of utilizing your resources to support construction projects of other nations. Although you are not directly building the ship yourself, you are providing the opportunity as well as the necessary resources to have the ship built and completed in a timely manner. Who you chose to provide this opportunity to is ultimately up to you, and you can still play neutral by sponsoring multiple nations across the Axis and Allied side. 

      In short, you get to be a third party with variable neutrality that provides the means to producing ships that otherwise would not have existed, and being able to do so in a timely manner. You utilize Plans provided by nations or obtained yourself and forge a contract for construction where you will provide materiel and manpower and the host nation will construct the ship in the hopes that it will spawn a Belle for the war against the Morgana.



Plans and Where to Find Them

Lore and Explanation

Within the context of the lore of Victory Belles, although every country stands to gain by the production of ships - particularly since Belles are manifesting on them, turning even the lowliest pawn into a queen by comparison - the world technically exists in a state of war and even neutral nations are ramping up their own production. This leaves little capacity to offer the INPF vessels to fight the Morgana, much less attempt to construct vessels for them.

      Hence where the basis for the Plan System comes from. The Plan System runs on your dedication to various nations, and the more you assist certain nations the more open they will be with you in providing larger and more secretive plans. But things aren't free, and you must put in your effort as well, or else the opportunity will dry up. The player is a supermassive storehouse for manpower and materiel, but while the opportunity can be created for countries to begin laying down their projects with your adventures against Morgana ongoing, there is no guarantee these countries could ever complete them in a timely manner over the course of the war without assistance. Although you may not be building the vessel yourself – that would dampen the whole nationalism thing to some degree, no? – your assistance might be required to allow some of your bigger projects to be completed preferably before 1946. The more the merrier.

      With the vessel complete, it will be ready for service in that nation. You could easily decide to build only for Germany, or maybe you support the Axis as a whole, or perhaps you want to maintain neutrality and attempt to assist a variety of nations.

      Governments across the planet and the INPF are jointly motivated and stand to gain from the production of ships, particularly since Belles are now manifesting aboard them. Despite what benefits the presence of Morgana seemingly provide to each side, they are at best a double-edged sword and even to the dullest of leaders this should be obvious. Regardless of if a Belle manifests aboard a ship you sponsor or not, that government obtains a new vessel under their flag, sponsored by the INPF, which will ultimately go on to fight the Morgana almost regardless due to Morgana prevalence on the seas.

Obtaining and Utilizing Plans

      To acquire Plans there were some interface changes and menu additions I had in mind. Firstly and most importantly is the addition of national borders on land. This will allow captains to keep up with the status of the land war, even if it remains a backdrop to the naval action underway. At this time, land is land - there are no borders. Meanwhile on the ocean the only "borders" that exist are in the form of operational areas. This needs to change to not only keep up with the land war (even if it's the backdrop to the main event) but to make countries selectable in much the same way as you would select an operational area on the sea.

      Once you've selected a country it will pull up a menu regarding that country. For the purposes of this proposal it will really only display things regarding Paper Belles, but this could be expanded upon for other purposes and display other information. In these new dedicated menus, you conduct all matters regarding constructing a Belle within that country. The donation of resources, Diplomacy, and viewing the construction progress of that ship. Most of these things will have a refresh timer where the host nation expects you to make your delivered goods or else construction "stops" until you fulfil your side of the deal, so to say. The menus themselves are a representation of another country's dockyard/port similar to how DRY DOCK represents your own port. Perhaps it will come with its own docks/slipways where the vessel under construction can be displayed or additional docks bought with amounts of Diplomacy or even Prestige.

      Also present within these menus is a tab dedicated to Plans available from that country. In Victory Belles, Plans provide a description of the ship. It would provide a blurb of the statistics or perhaps actual design specifications from which to draw conclusions from. Plans would be kept in the Inventory, and when viewed display a stat card similarly to a piece of equipment. There would be an additional option to display the Belle Equipment page to garner a better idea of the equipment and weaponry that would come attached to the vessel when it is completed. Even though you wouldn’t be able to view the Belle in a similar vein to those you haven’t Rescued yet, you would at least get a better feel for what you intend to spend your resources and time on.

      Plans are available for Diplomacy, but first you have to unlock them by acquiring a certain amount of Victory Points. You aren't shown the larger and more exclusive plans (such as those for heavy cruisers, battleships, and carriers) until you have adequately "proven" your commitment, in a sense. You start out with basic designs at the destroyer and early light cruiser level, just as you do grinding Vestures for Rescues. You don't get to go straight for the big girls. The player doesn’t start the game earning Battleships as Belles, hmm? Though you do get a bonus for aligning with the Axis, Allies, or Comintern. 

      You can also find Plans in the Store and as Drops in Campaigns or even in Events. For the Store, it largely consists of out-of-era vessels and other oddities which would not typically be in the main Plan lineups of various nations. They are also purchased for Diplomacy, but due to their outdated or stranger nature would require much less Victory Points. In another version of this proposal, you would be able to build these yourself in the Dry Dock. Plans could also be available as Drops for completing a Campaign map or within Bundles found in the Shop. These skip the Diplomacy cost, but are rather rare finds.

The Last Step: Getting That Belle

Ultimately, to finally obtain your new Belle, you will have to make a push for Vestures from which you can then Rescue the Belle, just as any other ship. This entire system is all a means to a well-known end. In this proposal I would allow players to grind Vestures alongside constructing the ship, but if you really wanted to make the players suffer, they can still grind Vestures after the ship reaches completion and awaiting the Vestures required for "Rescue".

      In all reality, no nation will ever give you their new cutting-edge ship - unless, of course, they intend to be getting it back very soon - so it's up to you, the Captain, to get new ships the only way possible. Theft. Once you've Rescued the Belle, she's yours to command. The end.




Thanks for reading.

      I wanted to do something more extravagant but I promised myself that I would finish this thing tonight - no ifs, ands, or buts. I've been on this since November of last year, though the idea stretches back months before that - so I am way overdue for this. I had a lot of ideas swirling around in my head but it was very difficult to settle on the "right" path, a serious problem of mine outside the first spontaneous burst of inspiration. Refining is hard. 

      The reason I worry so much about this is largely because I worry about the game as a whole. To say that I want to see it succeed is something of an understatement as I see a ridiculous amount of potential within the game. It has its flaws (some of these may be personal gripes, but others are just the facts) but there's definitely something big here. I want to see Victory Belles take every opportunity to widen its scope with new and creative avenues. It will take an open mind and creative flexibility, especially if one is attempting to bend a concept to the lore without making too many compromises and leaving the concept as a hollow, dull shell of what it could have been. In a sense, it's an issue of a challenge.

      Speaking of challenges, I think my next proposal will be a refined proposal for the 1940-41 HSF/Scapa Flow-Skagerrak event. It's just one of those ideas you know is far too big to just simply let lie. See you all 6-8 months later when I've finally figured it all out.

      Regardless of all that, I hope that maybe this was inspirational in some way to someone, even if I'm too late with my input. I spent way too much time on this.


Oh, before I forget.

The images used in this, top to bottom:

- Flottentorpedoboot 1941 Series 2.

- Italian light cruiser ETNA.

- Swedish carrier design from 1946.



 Honestly have no idea where this is actually supposed to be put on the Forums so I'm making a gamble









Random copy/pasted bits from earlier iterations of the proposal. Didn't organize these at all. May they provide further inspiration.





Historical Precedent: Design Requests and Foreign Contract Shipbuilding

A practice stretching back hundreds of years, done typically for countries with less power, experience, or industrial capacity: the process of a nation contracting another to construct and provide warships was and is not uncommon even to this day. Today, export designs are a favorite study of most of your above-average modern naval history enthusiasts, of which actively study this phenomenon (as many of my South American naval enthusiast acquaintances do) or have at least aware of the study.

      During the period that Victory Belles takes place, this practice is in full swing. Countries, although largely pre-and post-war due to the economic demand of the war, were still very much interested in reviewing foreign designs and considering ordering vessels, and so hundreds These provided enough pertinent detail to give a "buyer's pamphlet" or an overview which was typically enough for prospective foreign governing bodies or leaders to make their decision from. Generally critical information is included, such as size and displacement, speed, range, etc.

      One of the better-known instances of this practice is the Ufficio Progetti series coming from Ansaldo's design office in Italy. A series of domestic and export designs were created with my favorite being the UP39, a destroyer leader design for the Soviet Union which in my mind embodies the whole concept. One can still find (and order) the 10-odd page set of line drawings and specifications provided to the USSR on the official Russian archive site. It demonstrates a proof of concept in a similar vein to that of the Soviet destroyer Tashkent, built in Italy to a largely Italian design and delivered to the Soviet Union – or perhaps the dozens upon dozens of ship designs of British origin for countries all over the world.

      I say all of this to reinforce that if a country has the ability, and if you're willing to pay for it, they will build a warship for you based on plans they provide. Combine this with the ability of the individual player to change the construction priorities of countries and overall outcome of the Victory Belles metaverse war and you begin to see what this proposal is about.

      However, the previous paragraphs are only to provide a historical foundation, a precedent, from which to further justify this proposal. In the end, there are nearly no nations that would turn down assistance in building warships – especially when they are at war, even more from an allied entity, and penultimately because the vessel that is constructed they trust will be used for their ultimate benefit, even if they do not directly control it. Even if it did spawn a Belle, there’s not a lot of chance that a Belle would “remain” with that nation, as the player has been amassing an armada of vessels regardless of their nations so far. So whether or not the design is tailored to a foreign nation or a vessel intended for that country’s service, being presented with, contracting, and ultimately receiving that vessel for yourself is not anywhere near fantasy. Less so if you created the opportunity and then proceeded to assist in its construction, at least with manpower and material (as I will further discuss below).


Obtaining Plans: Path 2, Drops

The Shop should not be the only place to obtain Plans. By completing Campaigns, players could receive Plans as a drop just like any other Vesture or piece of Equipment. But that’s not all; there’s something of an idea I would like to attach to this:

      Another one of the Goals I made for this Proposal was “attempt to include designs from alternative time periods, if possible”. Drops would be the means to this end. Plans attained from drops, although having their origins in another nation, are fully in the hands of the player when gathered by winning Campaigns. Although the designs are not the most modern, cutting-edge, or viable by the time period that Victory Belles occurs, they do provide a pathway to some real interesting designs or oddities from the pre-war period that would typically not be constructed. The type of ships you would expect to see stretch back to WWI, although they could go further back.

      This sort of suggestion only exists to further the scope of Victory Belles and provide a unique attraction to some of the naval nerds that love this game. They’re “fun ships”, in a sense. You’d construct them for the same reason a nation might construct something like Amerigo Vespucci or the reason you, the player, might level her and R&D her cannons to max. For the latter it doesn’t make any sense, but does it really matter? I think we all know – can all agree – that unless you’re seriously tryharding there’s no serious difference between choosing Stewart or Mahan. Being Belles, both have a viability…and maybe you kind of think 2D girl Stewart is really just too cute to resist putting in your lineup despite being a floating antique. Just think a little about what’s being said.

      This suggestion may make more sense within the context of scaling and collectability. It’s possible that this could be used to provide new players an introduction to the system as they would not have the kind of Diplomacy or Victory Points required in most cases at low HQ levels. New players can enjoy the system early on and, if they wanted to, older players have a whole new host of candidates to add to their floating harem while nerds like me lick their phone screen in intense desire.

      As before, these designs would not be the sort accepted for contract construction, leaving the process of constructing the ship to the player. It cuts down the restrictions imposed by Victory Points and Diplomacy, although it may be a tad draining on resources and perhaps may even take a Dry Dock slot for a period of time. They need to be built somewhere, after all. I would not expect construction times to take anywhere near as long as contract vessels and could be rapidly completed with the use of Prestige.

      Ultimately this is just a bit of an idea that has popped into my head. In a sense you could technically achieve a similar result through raising ships and repairing them, though this limits the scope to vessels that were constructed and then sunk rather plans for vessels. I understand that the main focus is for ships of the WWII era, but I wouldn’t entirely disregard the thought nonetheless.


it should be delivered to your hands. Withholding the vessel runs that country the risk of losing the player’s support and creating an incident – not that the country would ever have to worry, given that said player had and would be fighting for the country anyhow - and not to forget that it was the player who had created the opportunity in the first place. From there it would serve the INPF against the Morgana…or perhaps against other nations, directly or indirectly. Either way, the player and by extension the INPF is provided with another weapon to combat the Morgana threat and the government that provides it will have had part of it built for them and perhaps even a Belle to come with it.


- and the only catch being that the vessel must serve with the INPF for the duration of the Morgana conflict. Thus, the larger force of Belles and ships, the faster the Morgana are defeated, the faster their new superpowered ship falls back under that nation's control. It would appear to behoove nations to submit plans almost regardless of the status of the player – so long as the player hasn’t acted directly against them in the World War.



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