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Subject: Spotting rules for double-blind game? rss

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Andrew Laws
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Let's say that you were considering refereeing a double-blind game of combat commander at a con, how would you handle spotting?

I'm thinking that units in clear terrain should be automatically spotted by enemies so long as they have clear line of sight.

What happens if units are occupying a wooded hex that is in LOS of an enemy? should they roll for spotting? But then the player will know that there is 'something' there.. but there should be some risk of being seen, it's unrealistic that troops could occupy a wooded copse 60m away from the enemy and be completely unnoticeable.

I was considering using the random hex notifier from ANY trigger card (sniper, event, whatever) for revealing units in cover but within LOS. However that doesn't take account of cover, as units in a wood should be harder to spot than units in a field. U-oh, but fortifications ruin any system based on cover; a bunker on a hilltop is plenty visible, good cover or no.

What if the spotting unit is broken? Should only good order units be able to spot?

etc. etc. and on and on.
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Dom Rougier
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I'd be tempted to just keep it simple and play it straight - anything in line of sight is represented on the table, regardless of cover. Anything not in line of sight is not.

(This could well sound patronising - I know you understand Combat Commander far better than I do!)

One of the issues with doing this for Combat Commander is that if you introduce more dice rolls, you're messing with many interlocking systems, including the game clock. It could be done by rolling actual dice, but that's inelegant, and alters the game.

In my mind, keeping this as simple as possible would actually be preferable - it's a fantastic game as it is, so messing with the fundamentals seems unwise to me.
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César Moreno
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what about:
* units in the open: always, automatically spotted
* unit in terrain with cover > 1 (buildings, fortifications, forests...). You can see the bunker, but no idea if it's abandoned or if a HMG is hiding inside...)
-always spotted if adjacent
-always spotted by leaders
-always spotted if they fire
-always spotted if affected by any kind of random event or sniper
-can't be spotted by broken units
-unbroken squad or teams can detect activity, but cannot precisely determine what kind of unit is making those noises (maybe use a '?' chit from Fighting formations??)

I'd like to give this a try but lately I solo most of my games...
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Brent Pollock
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You could jerry-rig (pun intended) the Panzer spotting rules.
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Andrew Laws
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NoMasOvejas wrote:
what about:
* units in the open: always, automatically spotted
* unit in terrain with cover > 1 (buildings, fortifications, forests...). You can see the bunker, but no idea if it's abandoned or if a HMG is hiding inside...)
-always spotted if adjacent
-always spotted by leaders
-always spotted if they fire
-always spotted if affected by any kind of random event or sniper
-can't be spotted by broken units
-unbroken squad or teams can detect activity, but cannot precisely determine what kind of unit is making those noises (maybe use a '?' chit from Fighting formations??)

I'd like to give this a try but lately I solo most of my games...


I think this is a pretty good start. I would probably leave out 'spotted if affected by random event or sniper' and 'always spotted in cover by leaders' as a leader on a hill would be like some kind of all-seeing god. I might keep random hex spotting in some way ("Oh christ! what's that over there?!")

Now what about the problem of how to use hidden mine/hidden wire cards?
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César Moreno
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Quote:
Now what about the problem of how to use hidden mine/hidden wire cards?


Maybe the player can secretely designate several hexes, (kind of arty pre-spotting) when he draws a "hidden mine/wire". He should tell a number of mined hexes to the referee, and if the enemy steps in one of those hexes he plays the action. No idea what could be a fair number of predesignated hexes. If the defender choses to do this, he can not voluntarily discard or otherwise play this card.
 
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Brent Pollock
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HarlemMimeSchool wrote:
Now what about the problem of how to use hidden mine/hidden wire cards?


Well, one adage of defending the position is that mines and wire that are not covered by firepower are not of much use, so you could just restrict it to observed unit movement. Another option is to ask for a short-list of hexes/postures that they think they're likely to wire/mine (any unit attempting to exit the map, for example).
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Paul Carlson
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If the referee uses a third deck to randomly select hexes it would not interfere with the flow of the players' decks.
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César Moreno
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WBRP wrote:

Well, one adage of defending the position is that mines and wire that are not covered by firepower are not of much use


Yet sometimes they are the only way to block an avenue of advance when you lack firepower or have no LOS there.
 
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Confusion Under Fire
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As movement is meant to be simultaneous, I would suggest a secret die roll at the end of each player turn and use this to determine if units in cover can be spotted or not. Maybe the die roll has to be equal or higher than the cover value. I think making this bit quick and simple is best as you can get bogged down in all sorts of modifiers, unit size, pinned, suppressed, range etc. Also you do not want to get into the position of having 2 units in a hex, one spotted and the other hidden as this messes up firing and takes you further away from the original CC rules.

There is another problem not mentioned which could occur quite often in double blind CC. A unit may move into a hex not seen at the start of his movement and therefore enter a hex containing an enemy unit which is not allowed in CC. In this situation do you just stop movement for the unit? What about a move order given to several units, when do you let them know they have "bumped" into the enemy? Can the attacker play action cards? etc.

What about units that exit the map for VPs but are unseen by the opposing player? Do you add the VPs on immediately or at the game end? If immediately then the opposing player will know something that he should not be aware of. If you leave it to the end of the game then a player may be shocked, he thought he had a comfortable win when in fact the other player has won because he exited 20+ units off the map edge.

I would love to hear how the game went and wish you all the best.





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Confusion Under Fire
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HarlemMimeSchool wrote:
U-oh, but fortifications ruin any system based on cover; a bunker on a hilltop is plenty visible, good cover or no.



Allow the pillbox to be spotted but not the units inside until they use a fire order
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Andrew Laws
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HarlemMimeSchool wrote:

Now what about the problem of how to use hidden mine/hidden wire cards?


I'm so dumb. Obviously a double-blind game will require each player to have their own map. A hidden wire/mine action simply allows them to place a mine or wire on their map, ready for unsuspecting enemies to blunder into, enforced by the referee.
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El Comandante
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NoMasOvejas wrote:
what about:
* units in the open: always, automatically spotted
* unit in terrain with cover > 1 (buildings, fortifications, forests...). You can see the bunker, but no idea if it's abandoned or if a HMG is hiding inside...)
-always spotted if adjacent
-always spotted by leaders
-always spotted if they fire
-always spotted if affected by any kind of random event or sniper
-can't be spotted by broken units
-unbroken squad or teams can detect activity, but cannot precisely determine what kind of unit is making those noises (maybe use a '?' chit from Fighting formations??)

I'd like to give this a try but lately I solo most of my games...


That's a good start but it may not reflect the chaos specific to CC.

1) When a group of units are activated for an order, to see if they spot units with cover, I would "throw dice" from a third deck (no triggers) which result would only be known by the referee :
[dice + activating leader bonus +1 per overstacking spotted unit - cover - hindrance -1 per suppressed/broken activated units]
If > 7, spotted.
If 7, sighting/question mark marker in the hex.
If 6, sighting/question mark marker in one random adjacent hex.

I would keep the "always spotted if fire / adjacent".

Units in cover which are not activated during one turn would be unspotted.

or

2) when a leader is activated, the umpire throw dice from his own deck for each unspotted enemy unit in cover, adapting the usual mortar method : distance in hex + hindrance + cover. Multiply the two dice on the revealed card, it has to be strictly superior.
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Mike Smith
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What about a half-way state between fully hidden and off-map (out of line of sight) and fully seen (in the open, or after firing or moving in cover but in line of sight)? When in cover in line of sight not within a specified distance of the enemy (3 hexes?) but not having moved or fired you would be "camouflaged" - able to be targeted but precise details of what is there unknown and with the concealment modifier automatically.
Or something similar...
Seems smoother and more elegant than some of the above suggestions. The camouflaged state, without the totally hidden state, would fit nicely into a normal, non-doubleblind game.
 
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Mike Smith
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You could easily bring in totally hidden units even in a non-doubleblind game:
Any unit that is in a hex that is out of LOS of all the hexes in the enemy deployment zone at game start is hidden and off-map.
Any hidden unit that moves or fires (i.e mortars with spotters) in a position out of line of sight of all enemy on-map units/camouflage markers becomes "camouflaged" not hidden. A numbered camouflage marker is placed on map and the owner keeps the precise contents of it unrevealed (under box, behind a small screen, written down on paper etc.).
A hidden unit can give away its position and become camouflaged in order to project a LOS and thus see and reveal enemy camouflaged units moving or firing in its LOS.
I am not proposing that a you can go back from camouflaged to hidden, or from seen to camouflaged. It would be a one-way street.
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Mike Smith
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Just done the first playtest of something like the hidden/camo rules given straight above. I have developed the basic idea to account for more factors such as hindrance, movement while camouflaged, and random rolls potentially affecting hidden units. It was a 2 player game of Fat Lipki. Given the nature of that scenario it had a fairly limited effect on actual play. I chose it for a trial because of its smallness and straightforwardness. The most significant effect was that my German opponent could get a stack into the central building next to the woods while still camouflaged. This meant he automatically got the concealment bonus until I could reveal him (by creeping closer. or getting a morale check that could at least cause suppression, or by him firing). I thought it dramatically increased the feeling of realism.

I will post the rules after a few more tests and modifications.
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Mike Smith
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Done a bit more playtesting and here are the results:

Camouflaged and Unrevealed Units
Units are in one of 3 states: camouflaged, unrevealed or revealed. Revealed units are those that are on-map in the normal way.

Camouflaged Units
At set up any unit that is in a hex that is out of LOS of all the hexes in the enemy deployment zone is camouflaged and kept off-map. Each player should secretly note down on paper the position of his camouflaged units.
All camouflaged units in a hex are placed on the map in either an unrevealed or revealed state as soon as they are in any of the following situations:
• Any of them fire (revealed).
• An unrevealed or revealed friendly unit is in the same hex as them (unrevealed only if the friendly unit is unrevealed).
• Any of them move or advance (unrevealed only if the hex moved or advanced into is out of sighting range of all enemy revealed and unrevealed units).
• An unrevealed or revealed enemy unit is within sighting range of them (revealed).
• They are impacted by fire caused by a radio or mortar (unrevealed).
• The owning player voluntarily decides to bring them on (unrevealed).
Speculative fire against an empty hex that may hold camouflaged units is only allowed by mortar or radio.
Camouflaged units are not taken into account for snipers or such card effects as “nearest unit”.
No unit can become camouflaged during a scenario.

Unrevealed Units
No unit can be placed unrevealed at set up. At set up all units are either revealed or camouflaged. A unit or stack of units that is unrevealed does not appear on the map. Instead the owner places a numbered unrevealed marker on the map which acts as a place-holder for the units. The units themselves are placed out of view behind a screen with a numbered identifier. The actual contents of the unrevealed marker thus remain unknown to the enemy. A unit or units under an unrevealed marker may leave the hex leaving other unrevealed units behind, in which case the new stack created is also unrevealed.
All units under an unrevealed marker must be revealed and placed on the map in the following situations:
• Any of them fire.
• A friendly revealed unit is in the same hex as them.
• An unrevealed or revealed enemy unit is within sighting range of them.
• They are fired at with enough FP to cause any one of them to take a roll where it could be at least suppressed.
• Their hex is targeted by a sniper.
• The owning player voluntarily decides to bring them on.

No revealed unit can become unrevealed during a scenario.
A reinforcement or hidden unit may come on unrevealed if the hex where they appear is out of LOS of all unrevealed or revealed enemy units.
Unrevealed units may be fired at in the normal way. They receive the modifier for Concealment automatically, without the need to perform a Concealment action, even if revealed by that fire.

Sighting Range
Any unit in cover of 0 or less and LOS is automatically in sighting range unless the hindrance is 4 or more.
Adjacent units are automatically in sighting range.
For units in other situations use the following rule:
Base sighting range is in LOS and within 5 hexes.
Subtract a number of hexes equal to their cover and hindrance.
Add 2 hexes if they are moving.

For example, sighting range to an unrevealed stationary unit with a cover of 2 would be 3 hexes. If it were moving it would be 5 hexes.

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