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Idea for Hidden Information/Movement Mechanic

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DarkDream
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Joined: 12/31/1969

I was working on an idea of a board game for World War I where planes were scouting the enemy and taking pictures. The playing field would be hex squares with hex tiles covering the squares. The hex squares would have a side showing general terrain with the other side a letter and number.

When the plane would take a picture, the hex tile the plane is under would be turned over to reveal to a code, for example, "A1".

The opposing player would have a square location grid (not hidden) with the columns labeled by letters (A-D) and the rows by number (1-4). Thus cell "A1" would be the top left most cell. On the square location grid a unit chit would be placed. So if the plane reveals, "A1" and there is a unit chit on it then the plane revealed the location of that unit. If the code has no unit on it, then the tile is either replaced (if the code revealed never had a movement pass through it for movement -- see below) or another random hex tile is placed on top of it.

On setup, both players would randomly pick a bunch of hexes with different codes on the bottom. They would then place them on their half of the board and look under the tiles to get the codes so as to place their units on the grid. As the tiles are randomly distributed, just by looking at the location on the grid would not reveal where a unit is.

I think this works fairly well for non-moving units.

Now to move a unit, the active player would need to peek at the tiles surrounding where the unit is located on the map to get the code for the direction want to move in (assume units only move to one adjacent square). Then whatever code it is, on the location grid another chit of the same unit would be placed on that cell. This is to prevent cheating, so at the end of the game all movement can be proven by revealing all the tiles and showing on the grid that the unit moved from one adjacent square to another.

Now an interesting thing of this, is that if a unit has moved and a picture is taken to reveal a tile, it could reveal a code of a unit that has passed through (not currently there). I guess this would work as you can usually see fresher or older movement tracks.

One problem I see with this is the "peeking" element of having to peek to see what adjacent hex is a code of a unit which can give the units position away. Instead of hex tiles maybe blocks or something like that so the owner player can see the codes all the time, and the opposing player cannot.

This mechanic can be used for a lot of things, maybe submarine movement or other types of hidden movement.

What do you guys think? Do you see any fatal flaws with this? Any suggestions for improvement?

--DarkDream

wombat929
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Joined: 04/17/2015
Cool idea

this is a cool idea, but the issue of having to peek is indeed a problem. What if the game had a vertical setup, like CONNECT FOUR.

On the player's side would be transparent pockets. The player could use two-sided chits that show the unit OR show things like tracks if the unit has moved.

On the opponent's side are little doors with coordinates on the outside of the door.

When they pick the spot to look at, they open the door and they can see the chit in that space (or the tracks, or whatever). This would mean one less chart to refer to and would solve the peeking problem. It would also be a complicated build and not an easy game to distribute.

But it would be COOL.

Alternately, could you do this with two boards, hinged, with windows in the top board? The bottom board would have the troops, the top board would have the windows and some way to hold the cards in place. Perhaps for a prototype you could use BINGO cards, the kind with sliding windows?

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