Concealed Content >> When Game Pieces Filter Information
Jay Little
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An innovation that seems to be seeing more and more use in games is developing clear components/materials that can overlap other components and create filtered information. The information you see -- and which impacts gameplay -- is filtered by the stacked components.

I thought this was a relatively recent development, but then I found a few games that include this element among some of my older titles. There are a variety of ways the filter can be applied -- but for the purposes of this GeekList, I'm looking at elements that overlap and only what you see from the "top down" view is relevant to the gameplay at the moment.

Some games also trigger false positives for this sort of filtered information. At first glance, a game like Java or Upwords may seemed to apply, but you're really only looking at the top piece in individual stacks/areas and not entire sets of information that get filtered over several levels/depths. Hopefully with the few examples I provide, you can get a better feel for what I'm looking for.

Surely there must be more than just the few I stumbled across... So help me out!

What other games feature information filters?
How does the filtered information influence gameplay?
Is this content filter a gimmick, or a legitimate game element?
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1. Board Game: Filthy Rich [Average Rating:6.38 Overall Rank:2889]
Jay Little
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Eden Prairie
Minnesota
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I was really impressed with the three ring binder and clear card protector sheets used in Filthy Rich. Players launch business billboards in the form of cards that get placed in the pages.

During the game, the pages flip back and forth, effectively covering up previously placed billboards. Thus, billboards on the topmost sheets filter information by covering up billboards on the bottom sheets -- so only a portion of larger billboards on lower pages get seen at a time.

A very clever element, which has some interesting wrinkles on gameplay and decisions. Unfortunately, the rest of the game was a bit clunky, and doesn't quite live up to the cool factor of the binder.
 
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2. Board Game: Last Starfighter: Duel In Space [Average Rating:5.40 Unranked]
Jay Little
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Eden Prairie
Minnesota
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This is one of the "old time" information filters I was talking about, and features an element that I'm sure has been used in other games -- I just can't think of any of them.

Before playing the game, you need to assemble the "combat wheels" used during play. The bottom circle is filled with a series of numbers and colors. The top circle has a series of windows and notches cut out of it.

As you position yourself to attack, you turn the top circle to represent your facing relative to your opponent, and the the windows on the top wheel filter the numbers/colors on the bottom wheel to reveal combat modifiers and other information.
 
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3. Board Game: Gloom [Average Rating:6.36 Overall Rank:1444] [Average Rating:6.36 Unranked]
Jay Little
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Eden Prairie
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Now we start to get into the newer games where the next level of innovation hit by developing clear cards that stack/overlap as part of the gameplay experience.

In Gloom, information appears along different parts of the border of the cards, so as you develop a stack of cards, the combination of printed/clear space on the cards creates a filtered stack of information relevant to gameplay.

 
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4. Board Game: Hecatomb [Average Rating:6.35 Overall Rank:4004]
Jay Little
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Eden Prairie
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I really wish I had the opportunity to try out Hecatomb at GenCon, as it also features clear cards played to overlap each other and stack effects through a very visual filtering system. Since I don't know anything else about the game itself, I'll c&p this snippet from the game entry, which speaks to this element's use in the game:

"Hecatomb's unusual stacking mechanic gives the game a three-dimensional feel. Five-sided Hecatomb cards depict a variety of horrid creatures, from terrible beasts and demons to crazed shamans. Cards feature four clear edges, with scores for power and abilities on the fifth edge. Players can create frightening creature hybrids called Abominations by stacking cards on top of each other. Each Abomination combines the powers and special abilities of all the creatures used to assemble it. The clear edges allow players to see the total power scores and abilities of up to 5 cards stacked together."
 
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5. Board Game: Blokus 3D [Average Rating:6.81 Overall Rank:882] [Average Rating:6.81 Unranked]
Charles Hasegawa
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Chandler
Arizona
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6. Board Game: Cranium Zigity [Average Rating:5.32 Overall Rank:15034]
Hammock Backpacker
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Columbus
Ohio
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In Cranium Ziggity you must stack transparent cards to match/assemble items that show through to add up to 11, spell a word, complete the puzzle, or match musical instruments.

The first to get rid of their cards wins. Played a short game with my son a while back. I don't think we were playing right but I think the transparent card aspect fits this list.
 
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7. Board Game: Punch Cards: Wasted Lands [Average Rating:4.32 Unranked]
Chris Kice
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Shorewood
Illinois
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Punch Cards is played by stacking two character cards front to back. The numbers that show through are your attack values.
 
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8. Board Game: Titan [Average Rating:6.95 Overall Rank:794]
Matthew Goddard
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Toronto
Ontario
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The stacks for your army would only show how manu units may be in there, not the strength. Keeping track of them all in a 4 player game became quite difficult!
 
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9. Board Game: Victory: The Blocks of War [Average Rating:6.34 Overall Rank:3806]
Tom Tjarks
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Crowley
Texas
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This is a classic case of information filtering. Despite the mechanics of the game, it does do a good job of "Fog of War". You know how many units are in a hex, but not the composition or strength.
 
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10. Board Game: Mind Maze [Average Rating:5.53 Overall Rank:12334]
Was George Orwell an Optimist?
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Corvallis
Oregon
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This is the first one I thought of.
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11. Board Game: Foto-Electric Football [Average Rating:5.79 Overall Rank:11901]
Terry Reine
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Pickerington
Ohio
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Here's a real old one. The offensive player selected a play sheet, the black sheets shown in the picture. This showed the runners path or the pass path if dotted. then the defense selected a sheet with defenders represented by dots. a light bulb under the table illuminated the play from below once both sheets were selected. If the defense came in contact with the runners path or the pass path they were tackled or intercepted at that point. Simple but fun. Enjoyed playing my dads old copy when I was little.
 
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12. Board Game: King Oil [Average Rating:6.02 Overall Rank:5476]
Terry Reine
United States
Pickerington
Ohio
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King Oil used three stacked disks with holes randomly in them to generate a random oil field. When holes went through all three disks it was a dry well, down to the lowest low production on up to the gusher if the top disk blocked the well device. A neat randomizing factor but that was all it contributed to the game.
 
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13. Board Game: The Mole in the Hole [Average Rating:6.32 Overall Rank:2991]
Morgan Dontanville
United States
Charlottesville
VA
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Look out below! If you haven't memorized the layout, it should be a surprise where your new path will be when the subsequent board is revealed.
 
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14. Board Game: Survive: Escape from Atlantis! [Average Rating:7.32 Overall Rank:232]
Chris Askew
United Kingdom
Pelaw, Gateshead
Tyne & Wear
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The island pieces with symbols on the bottom denoting what monster, boat or whirlpool appears when this part of Atlantis goes under...
 
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15. Board Game: HeroClix [Average Rating:6.50 Overall Rank:1765] [Average Rating:6.50 Unranked]
Chris Askew
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Pelaw, Gateshead
Tyne & Wear
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The stats in general in the clix base.

Just when will the Hulk get REALLY mad...?
 
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16. Board Game: NFL Strategy [Average Rating:6.71 Overall Rank:4563]
Troy Dawson
United States
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Fits the list to a 't'.

Fun game that captured the play-calling battle of coaches pretty well.
 
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17. Board Game: San Ta Si [Average Rating:6.32 Overall Rank:5787]
Dan Rosewater
Switzerland
Zürich
Switzerland
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False positive or true filtered information?

Players play metal tubes of varying sizes onto one of three building spaces. Added in are six thin wooden columns, which only remain visible when their tips can still be seen over the topmost edge of the metal tubes. Each player has components in a single colour, but both players can use the tubes and columns of his opponent. See and be seen - only that counts at the end of the game. The player whose building materials can be seen the most at the end of the game is the winner.
 
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18. Board Game: Pueblo [Average Rating:6.89 Overall Rank:1011]
Dave Kudzma
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Millsboro
Delaware
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This was the first game that came to mind after I read the description.

Since the points are awarded based on what the "Chieftain" can see in his line of sight, covering up your pieces is just about the name of the game.
 
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19. Board Game: Volcano [Average Rating:6.85 Overall Rank:2871]
Russell Grieshop
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Temple Terrace
Florida
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Following along with what msaya said below, I think Volcano qualifies. Each move stacks pieces on top of other pieces, which impact turns available for later turns. I play a lot of Volcano - it's quite a good game...
 
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20. Board Game: Inner Circle [Average Rating:5.38 Overall Rank:13902]
Ed Holzman
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Seffner
Florida
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As grey traces of dawn tinge the eastern sky, the three travellers, men of Willowdale, emerge from the forest's shadow. Fording the river, they turn south, journeying into the dark and forbidding lands of The Necromancer...
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The game board is constructed by stacking consecutively larger hexagonal tiles atop each other. The tiles each have several holes in them and there are a number of permutations possible by rotating the hex tiles as they are stacked. When all of the holes of the current level are filled with pawns, the hex tile is lifted off and the pawns that are not on holes are removed from play with that hex tile. This process is repeated on each level as the hexes get smaller and eventually only one pawn is left standing at the center of the game board and is declared the winner. You really are not sure where the holes are going to pop up when the levels are removed (unless you cheated while building the board).
 
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21. Board Game: Topminos [Average Rating:5.40 Overall Rank:12656]
Alfred
Netherlands
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Topminos was the first game I thought of...

"Players try to form stacks of tiles and score the visible points."
 
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