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Need a Sumarine Mechanic

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Sarge
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Hi Guys, new to the board, and love it!
I am looking for a mechanic that would simulate submarine warfare in a tactical naval game. I don’t really like anything I’ve come up with thus far. The unit needs to be hidden and move about the board. I have tried to put the piece on the board, but have it “invisible” meaning it cant shoot, and no-one can shoot at it. The problem with this is that then the enemy player “knows” its on the board and tries to avoid it, understandably. Also tried the “dummy” unit routine, and the multiple marker cover-up scam, both still weak. I’m really against any off-board note taking, as part of my spin on this well worn genre, is that there is no math, and no writing. Bridging the gap between the simulations out there and the more abstract.

Am I missing something really cool? Or is this just to hard to pull off?

Thanks for a great community, I’ve found a new hangout.

scifiantihero
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Joined: 07/08/2009
You could . . .

. . . use a mechanic like the Fellowship in War of the Ring. 'Moving' a sub wouldn't really move it, but keep track of how far it might have moved on a chart/table/somewhere. Players would have to divert resources to try and discover where it is every time it 'moves.' Then you have a chance to use them to attack anywhere in the movement radius if they aren't discovered.

Depending how central submarines are to the game, and how many you have, this might be clunky or too much work, but if you've played that game or want to research it a little, it could provide some inspiration.

1805: Sea of Glory also is a decent example of fog of war movement in a naval game. I haven't read about that one as much, though.

:)

Pastor_Mora
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Free Rider Rule

I allow subs to pop up wherever they want and attack (well, there are some restrictions). Off course, when they have established their position, they can suffer retalliation from anyone in range. If they are not blown into pieces by the end of turn, they vanish as hastly as they appeared. This is how I picture it works in real combat.

This mechanics has two effects:
1) Flagships are forced to be surrounded by an escort perimeter
2) Subs tend to pick the isolated ship outside the convoy
3) Subs remain a potential threat of power to the enemy fleet much more powerful than what they really are. Meaning a single Sub can get a whole bunch of escort groups (say 4 destroyers each) pinned down aside (say 2 to 4) different flagship convoys, because it could be around anyone! If you do the math (16 to 1!), Subs pay out just by being alive and around there.

I don't know what type of board or cards layout you are dealing with. Maybe that could help out to guide the answers.

Keep thinking!

mwhelehan
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Joined: 02/25/2010
honor amongst gamers?

I say it's a good idea to keep the sub on the board at it's last known location (at least that known to the opponent).

If you don't want notes, the player of the sub must keep track in his head. Hopefully there is no subterfuge nor mistakes. Once the sub resurfaces the opponent may challenge the player to show her how the sub moved while it was submerged. If it does not add up there should be penalties (sub is actually in the wrong location due to miscalculation). But this may slow down the action of the game.

I think that the best way to do it is to keep a map/notes on the side to speed up challenges. Besides, real subs have to plot their own courses.

InvisibleJon
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"Potential area" and magnets...

Let's start with the second part of my title: Magnets

I'm pretty sure I saw this kind of question (or something similar) a while back on BGDF. One of the answers was to use magnets. Imagine a board that's magnetic, with the submarines underneath and the ships on top. One of the actions a ship can take is to scan for subs. To do this, you take a magnet that's in a little plastic chamber and pass it over the sections of the board where you suspect a sub may be. When the captive magnet passes over a sub's magnet, it'll flip (or stick, depending on the polarity and facing of each magnet).

Potential area: Magnets require a lot of construction and other funky details. I think you could take bits from the previous posters and create a "potential area" effect. A potential area effect mechanic could have four components:

1) Subs can appear almost anywhere: Start with the "subs can appear anywhere" mechanic.

2) Opponents can define areas where a sub is or is not: Add in the "opponent can scan an area and verify (decide?) that a sub is or is not in that space."

3) Some effects will tell you the general area where a sub is, but not its specific location: Include a sub "field disc" that indicates that indicates that a sub is somewhere in that field. (Kind of like knowing where a particle is in quantum mechanics.)

4) A submarine can have a known location: If there's a sub marker on the board, that's the sub's specific location.

I like the idea that your opponent can use some effects to create a field where the sub can not start. The combination of (1) and (2) could work pretty well, I think.

larienna
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I don't see what is the

I don't see what is the problem, you just write the coordinates of the sub on a piece of paper and that is it. Or if you do not want to use pen and paper, you could use 2 set of cards (X and Y) that gives you the coordinate of your sub.

I also have a small sub game idea too and I have not seen any technical problems so far. In my game, one player plays a fleet and the other player a sub. You can play with more than one player if you have multiple sub fighting the same fleet or multiple players controlling the fleet.

Maverick 3RD
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Joined: 03/03/2010
Well hello there.

I was researching online to find out any ideas for a submarine mechanic, and found this forum. What are the odds? HAHA.

Piqsid
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Joined: 02/17/2010
Use cards

Many people have advised taking notes, but the OP says he doesn't want note taking.

My recommendation would be to use cards that say North, South, East, and West on them. Define a number of turns that the sub is allowed to stay submerged, and for each turn he is submerged, play a card in front of you upside down. You need several of each cardinal direction (at least as many as turns you will stay submerged in case you want to go in a straight line). While the sub is underwater, have a different colored sub represent its last known location. On the turn that the sub emerges, flip the stack of cards over, and retrace the movement of the sub for everyone to see. This prevents any type of cheating, and forces the sub to avoid things like sonar nets and mine fields.

Plus if the ships have anti sub measures such as depth charges or some other item, you don't have to rely on the sub player to be honest when they are hit. If the ship plays a depth charge on the third turn, and when the sub's movements reveal he was within range on the third turn, then the sub takes damage.

Edit
If you are okay with note taking, check out the game Scotland Yard. It has secret movement where the hidden player has to reveal himself every few turns and the other players have to catch him.

Sarge
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Joined: 03/03/2010
WOW!

Downloaded the rules scifiantihero mentioned from war of the ring and 1805.. There might be something there.. What I am testing now, is a combo of what mwhelehan said about leaving it on the board, piqsid said about different colors, and what InvisibleJon said about the potential area, and what Pastor Mora said about free rider…. If I get this nailed down it will be all to you guys, thank you!!

If you want to know how its working out let me know

Maverick…..
Go find your own internet…

(word of explanation for board members…. Mavrick is my son who lives in another town, and I was telling him of my dilemma on the phone the day I posted this. He got online and typed in “submarine mechanic” and came directly here. What are the odds? Yeah. Just letting you know how fast google indexed this page.

InvisibleJon
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I'd certainly like a follow-up report...

Sarge wrote:
Just letting you know how fast google indexed this page.
Google is the ninja of the internet. Do you remember trying to use the internet without Google? It took a lot longer to find stuff...

Sarge wrote:
If you want to know how its working out let me know
I certainly look forward to knowing. I think it's fiar to say that everyone who participated in this discussion would be curious to know how this turns out.

Sarge
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Rough playtest model

Thanks inviso , yeah I remember loving my brand new 1400 baud modem… wow that was fast… ahem..

What it looks like right now is this….
Somewhat abstract, simple but detailed, no-where near a sim.
Hex map…
Sub…assume a speed of one hex per turn…
Markers are mini poker chips…
Example of sub making a single attack then diving to evade….

1) Sub makes itself known by shooting… a sub unit is placed in the hex he fired from.
Anti sub units (if they can get to that hex) can roll for detection 1d6 2 or higher.
A) Detected…roll for attack
B) No detection…Nothing or possibly weaker attack (testing both right now)

2) Next turn, remove sub and replace with a red marker…. now sub can be in any of the 6 surrounding hexes, (or the original hex)
Anti sub units (in that hex) can roll for detection 1d6 3 or higher.
A) Detected…roll for attack
B) No detection…Nothing

3) 4) Next turn, orange marker is placed on top of red marker, now sub can be up to 2 hexes away from original (firing) hex.
Roll for detection 1d6 4 or higher.

3) 4) Next turn, yellow marker is placed on top of orange marker, sub can be up to 3 hexes away from original hex.
Roll for detection 1d6 5 or higher.

4) On the fifth turn, a blue marker is placed on top of the yellow marker. And the sub has evaded until next attack.

8) On every subsequent turn, another blue marker is placed on the stack, with and assumed speed of one, the sub can now surface any number of hexes from the original (firing) hex equal to the number of markers on it.

Any time sub surfaces again, all markers are removed and it starts the process over. note that a typical game is only about 10-15 turns. Sub is not a central element to the game, more of a nuisance, and like in real life, the longer an anti sub unit is screwing around looking for the sub, the longer the thing he is supposed to be escorting, is without his cover, (keep in mind possible second sub). But the sub really does not want to surface right next to a destroyer either. So the interaction keeps him pinned down too.

On a successful detection, the sub driver must place a red marker on its location and the process starts from there again.

More anti sub units in hex increase detection odds, and damage on attack rolls also decreases with each turn. These are all conjectural numbers right now, we are play testing the heck out of this element.
Hope this makes sense, and hope you all can see your contribution here ….again thank you. I hope this does your suggestions justice

InvisibleJon
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Nicely synthesized!

A quick reply: You described it very clearly. It makes a lot of sense, and I suspect it'll work well. Thanks for letting us know what you decided to do. I hope you tell us how it works out. I'm really curious to know if your play testers like it.

Maverick 3RD
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Joined: 03/03/2010
Sounds like it work, we gotta

Sounds like it work, we gotta try it sometime.

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