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Getting lost while exploring

6 replies [Last post]
Joined: 03/11/2017

I've been looking around (at board games and video games) at mechanics that simulate getting lost for the player.

The typical approach (e.g. in Wilderness) involves
a) interrupting the player's turn (slowing them down),
b) forcing a random move away from the player's destination.

However, typically a game has a static map with your position on it being pretty evident – the only uncertainty is about the future: what comes next? What will the next room / tile bring?
Subsequently, getting the "not knowing where you are" feeling through game mechanics is something that I have not seen around. Has anyone seen any good examples of getting lost in games? Any ideas?

Joined: 04/08/2012
Check out

The mechanic you can check out is from Zelda from NES.

The forest area for Dungeon 6 or 7. It's been awhile. But anyways
the forest picture is stagnant while you try to figure out the correct path to the dungeon.

Another example:

What using the scramble picture idea.
There are video games where you snap a picture and the program rearranges your photo and you have so many tries or minutes to put it back together.

In a board game you can do the same thing, draw the dungeon with 25 rooms The outer room of the maze or dungeon stays the same but the middle 9 rooms can shift 36 different positions making the character or party get lost. You show the party the untouched photo but rearrange the 9 middle rooms. Every time the party finally gets to one of the rooms, the other 8 rooms shift accordingly.


Joined: 01/27/2017

To paraphrase AD&D, there is "lost" and "hopelessly lost." Someone merely "lost" can backtrack to a known point, but someone "hopelessly lost" is unmoored from any landmarks.

Getting "lost" is relatively easy, the player has an encounter or skill check yet fails to reveal the new tile.

Getting "hopelessly lost" probably entails moving the player into the fog of war and reshuffling at least one or two revealed tiles.

Of course, this could have an impact on other players.

Rick L
Rick L's picture
Joined: 08/22/2016
Since a board game shows your

Since a board game shows your player token, you can't "lose" track of where it is on the board. So if you want to simulate "lost or hopelessly lost", think of variations on what FrankM posted above - moving other things on the map. Rearranging tiles is one thing. Removing tokens that indicate the positions of places or landmarks, removing tiles of the map and reshuffling them into a draw stack.

Just some ideas, but the idea of changing things on the map would of course affect all players, and probably only makes sense if it's a cooperative game. Otherwise, an opponent getting lost and removing "explored" tiles or place markers would affect you as well.

questccg's picture
Joined: 04/16/2011
General impression of a "lost journey"...

I think IF you wanted to design a "Dungeon Crawl" where the tiles are always TEMPORARY ... meaning you put down 3-5 tiles and then as you move forwards, those tiles get removes and new ones appear - giving the impression of being in a real labyrinth ... and then for certain, that sort of game would REALLY have a "lost" type of feeling because there is NO going "back"...

Only FORWARDS and ambiguously in a "no certain destination" (the "lost" type of exploring...)

Was this something like this you were thinking of???

Joined: 12/18/2008
Captain Sonar

Captain Sonar has a unique spin on becoming lost. Your Radio Operator is responsible for finding the opponent and keeping track of their position. Through tactics, a team can become "lost" to the opposing Radio Operator by using "Silence" mode and moving up to 4 spaces in any direction. The Radio Operator now is unsure where the opponent is and must try to find them again.

Supafrieke's picture
Joined: 02/22/2015
Not specifically in a game,

Not specifically in a game, but 2 ideas; one adapted...

(1) Similar to Relic Runners, players could lay down trail markers and be allowed to move along that known path fairly easily. Getting lost could involve randomly moving/removing marks from the tail so that the player is unable to "find" his way back to the places he wants and must re-explore the area to establish known trails. This assumes players will want to return often to places they have already visited, a common thing in Relic Runners.

(2) Assuming players have hands of cards for some reason... Add to each card in one corner only, a symbol showing some landmark. (I'm thinking hex map and 6 landmarks, one for each direction). If a player is lost, he she must rotate some number of cards (possibly at random) so that he can no see those landmark symbols and therefore loses the ability to take move actions that are based on that location. The player must spend time identifying the landmarks in order to move that direction again.

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