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Hidden Movement ---feat. some or all players?

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ArkhamArkhiver's picture
Joined: 12/08/2018

I'm currently in the process of ideating on my Arena Shooter card game. I'm trying to implement hidden movement to represent stealth.

(For thematic purposes, to paint a picture in your mind, the arena is a semi-virtual matrix-construct that can change on the fly. Think of the arena from the Hunger Games. Super high-tech future, but rather than being a dystopia, the setting is that this arena game is the sport of the future. The players are playing as characters who are themselves players in the game arena.)

Forward: Each player begins the game with their Identity card (the character they choose), their personally customized deck they built, and a smaller deck of cards that represents the various locations or Maps the arena is made of. The players take turns arranging the cards in a grid based on the number of players i.e. 3x3, 4x4, 5x5, etc.

The players place their Identity card and Deck in front of them and the game is almost ready to being. Players also have a tiny Identity card that acts in place of a miniature. If anyone is familiar with Fantasy Flight Games' Arkham Horror LCG, they use a very similar setup for their Scenarios and Campaigns. The idea of a mini-player card is borrowed directly from that amazing game.

What I realized from playing AH: LCG was that the mini-player card can be effectively concealed beneath the Location cards. Thus the idea of 'hiding' your mini-player card as a representation of stealth was born. The difficulty I'm having however, is that multiple players could all gain stealth - hiding their cards beneath a Location, usually their current one - but that they could move around stealthily i.e. without revealing their mini-player card.

That is my predicament. I feel like I've come up with a neat way of representing stealth (literally hiding this mini-card beneath a normal-sized Location card) but then I want to allow players who do opt for this strategy to move around without revealing their position without raising issues of cheating. Please note, unlike some games like Letters From Whitechapel or Fury of Dracula which feature 1 hidden player vs 3+ searching players, in my game some or all players can engage in hidden movement from the others. Of course, certain cards will let players check Locations and potentially find or reveal an enemy. But I feel like there needs to be some rule or mechanism in place to prevent players from becoming hidden and then in subsequent turns (whilst hidden) cheating by moving to an illegal Location, as per the Location allows.

I was considering having players write down their path as they move from Location to Location, but that solution irks me. I want all the gameplay to be done with cards and dice and other tokens, not require pencil-and-paper.

Input desired.

john smith
Joined: 06/26/2017
I've had people who looked at

I've had people who looked at ideas say that the design looks to be exploitable through cheating. My simple solution was to recommend that a player whom has discovered they have been cheated not to play with dishonest people in the future. Saves allot of headaches for the designer and the players.

ArkhamArkhiver's picture
Joined: 12/08/2018
Actually, thinking more on

Actually, thinking more on this, I'm leaning toward requiring players to play at least one card per turn to the map (all cards played this way are face-down), and must be at their location or a location they could legally move to. They must follow this rule even if using stealth.

This does a few things: it forces players to play cards, thus building the board state, which allows players to capitalize on cards they or other players set down as well as bait someone into picking up a trap card; it allows players to mask their position if using stealth, while still leaving clues as to their location; it forces the game to its conclusion, as cards in my game are your health (hand) and energy (deck); and it creates an interesting information gathering gameplay dynamic - having cards that let you peek at the face-down cards is powerful, and face-checking other player's cards creates an interesting risk-reward setup.

X3M's picture
Joined: 10/28/2013
Visible stealth

Even some video games use this concept. I too!
In starcraft you know that there are stealth units around. But even their position is visible to the player. But the units in the game itself cannot see that stealth unit.

So, while a piece is moving around in stealth. All players know where it is. A detector is needed for progress. This is how my game works with the various levels of stealth.

Another idea. Which was impractical for my game. But might work for yours. Have the stealth move visible. But, as a cross. Your grid consists of squares. Have 2 crosses avaiable for one stealth unit.
The stealth unit will be on the table under the cross, it can be in one of the 5 locations. It will not be moved around any more until detection. On the grid itself will be an empty cross. Players can test each of the 5 places on that cross. And the stealth player needs to be honest about this. Either way, cheating will be noticed for sure.

For increasing stealth, you could even apply a "north" to this cross. So that you can change directions as well. Just to create confusion.
Stealth is known at an accuracy of 20% with this method.

The same can be done with a square of 2x2 or 3x3 etc.
It might be a hassle, so perhaps limit it to 1 per player. Also, stealth units will not notice each other. That is a rule that you need to apply if you choose this method.

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