Skip to Content

Hidden Movement Where BOTH Sides Are Hidden

15 replies [Last post]
Ark1t3kt
Ark1t3kt's picture
Offline
Joined: 09/12/2017

How It Works:

I'm envisioning a 5-on-5 skirmish game where two players simultaneously and secretly write down the orders they want their units to take. (Think Scotland Yard, Specter Ops, etc...) Players are notified whenever one or more of their units has line of site on the enemy figure(s). They can then shoot at them, stab them, etc... The objective of the game is to kill all the opposing units in a certain number of turns.

"But how is this possible?", you ask.

There is actually a third player (a powerful AI/god depending on the theme), whose objective is to prevent the two warring players from killing each other. If neither player wins in the allotted number of turns, then the AI/god player wins. This third player is also omnipotent, and knows where all the units are at all times: After writing down their orders, the two warring players pass them to the third player who then notes the moves on his personal board and makes another note on the order sheets if a unit has line of sight. The order sheets are then passed back to the two fighting players.

The third player can affect the game in a myriad of important ways by playing cards that literally change the landscape (build walls, destroy them, etc...) and generally mess with the two warring players.

Therefore, the advantages of the third player are threefold:
- Makes a hidden movement mechanic where both sides are hidden possible
- Naturally balances the game since they will try to impede the player who is about to win
- Prevents the two warring players from camping out and not doing anything, because they have a time limit to destroy each other

Questions:

Have you ever heard of another game with hidden movement where both sides are hidden?

What do you think of the idea in general?

Is having a strictly three-player game too cumbersome?

Ark1t3kt
Ark1t3kt's picture
Offline
Joined: 09/12/2017
P.S. What about the theme?

P.S. What about the theme? Sci-fi or fantasy?

cloa513
Offline
Joined: 07/13/2017
Sure why not- here is

Sure why not- here is additional ideas- It is the 23rd Century and AI Terrabit has become the sole AI at the international war level (China and US think it is two AIs but it is a distributed network which is really one but an internal conflicted one) They pass their messages through it to their soldiers on the ground. Terrabyte is not in a simple situation it is conflicted with itself- it wants to gain effective control of the world but has a primary side which says to follow the leadership of the US and China. Both US and China suspect Terrabit is falling from their control they think it take 10 turns to happen and it will just end up being the other side who getting control. Two players play as China and the US and one as Terrabit.

Ark1t3kt
Ark1t3kt's picture
Offline
Joined: 09/12/2017
Great Idea!

Great idea!

This is exactly the kind of vibe I was going for, seems like a really interesting theme...

questccg
questccg's picture
Offline
Joined: 04/16/2011
Hmm... Some ideas

If it's Sci-Fi or Modern Era... With the use of Radar you could know the SIZE of the advancing opposition. Like 5 units or 3 units, etc. But you would never know the exact nature of each unit until you encounter the opposing party.

So it's "partial" information ... not 100% hidden.

What this amounts to is moving cards which are not yet revealed. All opposing players see that a party of 5 "cards" is advancing... When those units get in range, you simply flip them over and then the combat can begin.

This is probably easier to achieve than total "hidden" information.

Anyways there are other possibilities too. This is just one concept.

Cheers!

Update: Also you could have "Ghost" units which serve as decoys to make the party look like there are more units.

And you could have BUILD rules: 500 points per party. This kinda makes it more fair for all players. Each unit has a point value and you choose units based on the purpose you want...

Plenty of "good stuff"!

Ark1t3kt
Ark1t3kt's picture
Offline
Joined: 09/12/2017
Lots Of Good Ideas!

Partial information is definitely interesting, and I plan to allow players to take certain actions that reveal some information about the enemy. However, I am really interested in doing a total hidden movement system fundamentally, because I basically want to see if it's possible. (I've never heard of another board game where BOTH sides are hidden.)

In terms of build rules, you read my mind: I'm definitely planning on allowing players to build customized forces with different equipment, maneuvers, and the like.

I think there's a lot of material to work from in regards to this concept. I'll post again once I've done some initial playtests.

let-off studios
let-off studios's picture
Offline
Joined: 02/07/2011
Decoy Units

questccg wrote:
Also you could have "Ghost" units which serve as decoys to make the party look like there are more units.
Excellent suggestion! Two computer games that execute this quite well are the real-time military combat game R.U.S.E. and the turn-based fantasy tactical game Chaos Reborn. If you're interested in seeing the potential of decoy units, both of these games are worth researching. Chaos Reborn is much more tabletop-game-like, but both have their merits.

Ark1t3kt
Ark1t3kt's picture
Offline
Joined: 09/12/2017
I will definitely check those

I will definitely check those games out! Yeah, I think decoy units are really cool. I also have ideas for equipment/abilities that allow you to determine the general location of enemy units, silent weapons that give no indication of a units location when they are used, and traps that reveal a unit when it moves into that space...

Any and all ideas are welcome, I'll start working on a prototype this weekend...

FrankM
Offline
Joined: 01/27/2017
No vibility easier than no line of sight

If the goal is to keep both players blind, it sounds like a mechanical solution would allow just two players. Imagine something like Battleship boards, but actually back to back. A player is notified if moving into a space that's occupied on the other side (simplest idea: same-polarity magnets inserted into a non-magnetic board, player feels resistance trying to place token, obviously something more robust is called for in a production game).

Blundering into an opponent causes combat, simulating thick fog or pitch darkness.

Players would be using mirror images of the map, but that's fine for most scenarios.

Figuring out lines of sight in such a system poses considerably greater challenges. Trusting the player to accurately place zillions of I-can-see-here tokens is not going to work.

So I don't think this idea would address your game idea directly, just throwing something out there in case it inspires someone else.

questccg
questccg's picture
Offline
Joined: 04/16/2011
Inspired by Clue!

I know it's like: "How does Clue factor into a game with Units?"

Well I'm being pretty "creative" and loose with my thoughts. I am imagining those Yellow "Kraft" Envelopes (No this has nothing to do with Death of a Travelling Salesman...) in which you would place the hidden information of your 5 unit composition (into the envelope).

Then using ONE (1) Mini as the Leader of your faction, when the two (2) Leaders are in "line of sight", say one is on the Top of the Mountain and the other is on the Bottom, the rules that the envelopes are each opened and the units revealed to the opponent.

It's pretty simple... And you may need to ADD rules (for "line of sight") but this could work pretty good IMHO.

We'll see if anyone else has suggestions towards implementing "Hidden" parties among a battlefield.

That's my contribution...

Update #1: Why I like using the envelopes (I guess all you really need is a separate deck with 5 cards)... is because it seems VERY "thematic". Like these are your "attack plans" and so they need to be kept confidential in an envelope just like all secret information.

But I guess you could get away with just a SEPARATE deck of 5 cards that a "hidden" from your opponent. And use a "Leader" mini to position the squadron relative to your opponent. Once one (or both) of the parties comes within "line of sight", you reveal the opponent's configuration of units...

Something along those lines.

Update #2: To increase the unpredictability of the battle, aside from the 5 unit cards, you could add WEAPONS and ARMAMENTS in that "surprise" deck. And you would REVEAL "weapons" only when they are FIRST used against your opponent.

This adds another LAYER of unpredictability.

When you spot the enemy (Line of Sight) that's one thing... But you are not certain how well prepared they are (with what weapons). Then as the attacks (combat) proceeds, you can reveal the weaponry used by each player's forces.

Something like that could be neat.

questccg
questccg's picture
Offline
Joined: 04/16/2011
Another idea

This is an ASIDE... Mostly because you're not certain about the setting for your game. You can ignore my ramblings - they are just random thoughts that came to me while re-reading your OP.

I was thinking more of something like "Counter-Strike"... Where you are a General maybe in some dystopian world where there are two parties at war. Rather than just have "hidden" forces, you draw up "Battle Plans" and choose a target somewhere on the opposing Player's territory.

The idea is to put together a series of "Actions" that allow one player to plan his strategic strike with Cruze Missiles and Air Raid Bombers, etc. Something like an attack unknown to the opponent until it's time to execute the orders.

Now again back to "Clue", now if there were "Counter-Strike" actions the opponent can try to PREDICT the attack, move his ground forces out of harms way, and let the bombing occur but fail to win any additional territory...

I know, I know this is not REALLY "Hidden" Parties as per your original concept. It's more like a "plan & execute" type of scenario where the target is chosen much like in Clue (Location, Squadron, Strike Type) given a three-some of plans... But you do this until you "kill" the General of the opposing army. I'm thinking there is something with this train of thought... Again different from your idea. But still relative to hidden information (in a different context).

Like say you chose "The City of Numera", "Beta Squad", "Air Bombing"... and your opponent figures out ONE (1) out of the three (3) aspects the attack is foiled. I'm still unsure about the "deducing" part... But what if there could be MULTIPLE "targets" sort of like divide and conquer.

"The City of Numera" could have tunnels beneath the city making it a difficult (TARGET: 8 points). The lower the Squadron the HIGHER their efficiency (Beta: +6 points). And "Air Bombing is relatively effective (Air Bombing: +4 points). Therefore the ATTACK PLANS are 10 vs. 8 defensive points.

Sorry ignore my ramblings... They had me side-tracked with some kind of other game with hidden information... But not about "units" battling, more like "Strikes" and "orders"! And commandeering an army using secret battle plans.

Back to the OP...

Note: I think I was reading into @FrankM and his whole "Battleship" talk... Kept me thinking about "how to execute orders & battle plans". Anyways neither here nor there.

Ark1t3kt
Ark1t3kt's picture
Offline
Joined: 09/12/2017
Wow

Wow, you guys definitely have a lot of great ideas...

Using a system similar to Battleship is interesting, but yeah, my idea does pretty much revolve around a line of sight mechanic, so this could be tricky...

@questccg: Your 'secret battle plans' idea is fascinating, but it probably belongs in a different game. If you ever develop that game, send it over my way for some blind playtesting!

X3M
X3M's picture
Offline
Joined: 10/28/2013
I never got further then this idea

But maybe you can build upon it.
By looking at Stratego. You can device some fair designs of units.

The main rule is:
Every piece is equal in worth.

Then, there is no fog of war regarding the location of pieces.

But there is fog of war regarding which piece is used.

While I for my own game would loose the differences in unit costs. I would gain something like line of sight.

If you know that your piece has the line of sight on another piece. Then you can reveal this. And look at the other piece.

Stuff like observers and watch towers can now be used in the game. None combat entities will reveal their locations.

Ark1t3kt
Ark1t3kt's picture
Offline
Joined: 09/12/2017
Hmm

Hmm, seems like a pretty solid idea...

...I'll let you know if I end up doing something similar!

Fri
Offline
Joined: 09/06/2017
Fri's not completely thought out idea

You can adjust this idea to fit your theme as needed, but I am going to explain based on the concept terrain. Terrain would be represented by tiles. Each tile would have the terrain type on one side an blank on the other. Each terrain type could have modifiers to how fast it can moved through, how well reconnaissance can be performed from it and attack/defense stats. The play area would be represented twice. (Once for each player.) During the set up of the game each player will receive a map of their territory. Behind a blind they would layout a tile representation of this map. Then they would flip each tile to its blank side. The players would then switch sides and append their territory to the existing map. (Either with tiles again or by just laying the map down).

I assume that there are unit/character that try to destroy each other. Each turn each unit/character can perform one three different actions: reconnaissance, movement and attack. Reconnaissance would be performed by looking at the tile you are on or the surrounding tiles. This could be modified unit/character abilities and terrain type (Like you can see further on hills). You can reveal what terrain type on that tile. You would also ask your opponent if there was an unit/character on that tile. (Using letters an numbers like a chess board.) Movement occurs on the private boards, when you move on to a unknown terrain type you get to see what it is. Also if the enemy has successfully "reconnaissanced" your location you must tell them which direction you moved to. Attack is self-explanatory.

One thing that this does not address is that two enemy units/characters could be on the same space and not know it. I guess with the right scale this could make sense or it could be announced by your omnipotent player. Not really sure how the omnipotent player would fit into this tangent.

Fri
Offline
Joined: 09/06/2017
a double blind system

Apparently the movement part of this generically called a double blind system. Seems that some war games have done it. I found this over at BGG:

https://boardgamegeek.com/geeklist/1483/double-blind-land-warfare-wargames?

Syndicate content


forum | by Dr. Radut