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Subject: Idea for "Fog Of War" rss

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Clay Stone
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I was sitting thinking when this pop into my head regarding "Fog Of War".

The idea is for the game to have generic counters for each side that will be placed on the map. You will move these counters around the map instead of your true unit counters. These generic counters will cross reference with a chart that is off map and hidden from your opponent that will have the real units on it. By doing this your opponent has no clue of the size of your units. He or she will not even know how many are in the stack since your real units are on a off map chart and all they see is the generic counter.

During the fighting you will then bring your units onto the map or even onto a battle chart where both players will then do their standard battle rolls.

I think this can be a nice Fog of War. Now the generic counters can be nicely designed to represent each side.


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Jeb
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There are a number of games that have a variance of this method of hidden units.

Red Star rising does not even show the units combat rating ... You 'place' the rating on the unit during combat.

Other games have off map displays. You place a unit on the board and put the actual units in a holding box.

Other games just have a hidden side and a ratings side.

What works best depends on the system.
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Robert Wesley
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That had been 'accomplished' countless times already, and yet another can provide additional examples as well as this one: Europe Aflame cool
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Clay Stone
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I see.

But my idea is to apply it to games already out and if it can fit the system, like The Battle for Normandy, It Never Snows, etc...

What you will need to do is have off map charts made to put your troops on and also generic map counters to represent your troops.

Me, i'm going to try this out on The Battle for Normandy and see how it plays out.


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Robert Wesley
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While these can not be too 'generic' as they required a Unit ID too, to further distinguish one from another upon your chart(s). Actual 'Commanders' will also be capable and astute enough to determine overall MASS for plenty, since "displayed numbers add up" through their "being there" visually. Depending upon the scaling-used-i.e. Unit size, overall Game-scaling, etc.-then that also is a determination for considerations. Too many already haven't *grasped* this thoroughly as they continue to avoid, or even "gloss over", such.
 
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Jeb
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claystone wrote:
I see.

But my idea is to apply it to games already out and if it can fit the system, like The Battle for Normandy, It Never Snows, etc...

What you will need to do is have off map charts made to put your troops on and also generic map counters to represent your troops.

Me, i'm going to try this out on The Battle for Normandy and see how it plays out.


...


That should work fine.

You can also do what OCS does which is very simple yet surprisingly effective and simply do not allow players to view anything under the top counter ...
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Sean Norman
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That, or you can simply buy or create your own counter sleds
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marc lecours
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its a good idea. Especially when there are dummy counters as well that represent a rumor but not an actual unit.

Checking a chart, or a holding box is time consuming and not much fun. So your method would be best for games with not many units (or rather not many stacks of units). This would be perfect for naval games with only a few ships, or pre 20th century operational games with only a few stacks moving around, or with tactical games with only a few units.

One variant solution tried by several designers is block games. Where you only see your own units. Great for 2 player games.
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Tuukka
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PQ-17: Arctic Naval Operations 1941-1943 uses a force display, where you put on your actual units. On the map there is only one block for each task force, convoy or wolf pack and there are also dummies. That way a block can be a single torpedo boat, a task force with battleships and carriers or nothing. You can reconnoiter with planes, submarines and ships which makes your opponent to reveal variable amounts of information about the composition of the force.



Similar system is in use in Advanced Squad Leader with units stacked on cloaking display and only single counter for each stack on the map plus dummies. This is used mainly in night scenarios.

Europa Series uses also force displays where you place your units and use only a headquarter counter on the map. It's for stacking purposes but could be used for fog of war easily.

Tornio '44 has the same system as europa series but force display is printed on map, so it is not as easy to use for fog of war.



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Pelle Nilsson
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The Franco-Prussian War did exactly this in 1992 (as did the other games following it in the series). Each player has an off-board hidden sheet with boxes where you place the actual units. On the map are just markers. But some markers, instead of representing one of the hidden boxes, is just a cavalry screen (sort of a dummy, but more thematic and it can have some effect on play more than a dummy usually has).

Before it A Simplified Wargame in 1922 had a map where you put pins with a number on. Hidden off-map each player has the contents of each unit written down (if I remember correctly that meant number of infantry, cavalry, artillery for each). You see the enemy units, but have no idea what each contains. I don't remember if you could have completely empty/dummy armies, but I guess you could make some with just a few infantry or cavalry to act as dummies/screens. Interesting game, but I never played it (or heard of anyone playing it).
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Clay Stone
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GROGnads wrote:
While these can not be too 'generic' as they required a Unit ID too, to further distinguish one from another upon your chart(s). Actual 'Commanders' will also be capable and astute enough to determine overall MASS for plenty, since "displayed numbers add up" through their "being there" visually. Depending upon the scaling-used-i.e. Unit size, overall Game-scaling, etc.-then that also is a determination for considerations. Too many already haven't *grasped* this thoroughly as they continue to avoid, or even "gloss over", such.



I would have the generic counter be let's say "the iron cross" for Germany with a number on it. The number will ID the units that are off map.
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Andreas Krüger
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Or you use the actual units but print them on blocks, so you can see the back but your opponent cannot. You can mix in dummies, and put "hints" on the side your opponent can see. (Which is the idea of block wargames and has also been done often).
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claystone wrote:
I see.

But my idea is to apply it to games already out and if it can fit the system, like The Battle for Normandy, It Never Snows, etc...

The reason that most of the games that use this sort of feature, which is not really a new idea, are small, is that the overhead for checking the actual strengths to be used in combat is significant. Especially if you have combats involving multiple stacks, you'll be checking the same counters again and again over the course of multiple turns. It can get old pretty quickly.

Quote:

Me, i'm going to try this out on The Battle for Normandy and see how it plays out...

It should play out fine if you have no problem spending much of your playing time checking out the counter references.

It will have the instructive and amusing effect (usually pointed out as a factor missing from most fog of war designs, but often present in the real world) that you're never quite sure of the strength of your own side's units as you're moving that side. (Unless you spend even more time checking out units before you move them.)
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Zen
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claystone wrote:
I was sitting thinking when this pop into my head regarding "Fog Of War".

The idea is for the game to have generic counters for each side that will be placed on the map. You will move these counters around the map instead of your true unit counters. These generic counters will cross reference with a chart that is off map and hidden from your opponent that will have the real units on it. By doing this your opponent has no clue of the size of your units. He or she will not even know how many are in the stack since your real units are on a off map chart and all they see is the generic counter.

During the fighting you will then bring your units onto the map or even onto a battle chart where both players will then do their standard battle rolls.

I think this can be a nice Fog of War. Now the generic counters can be nicely designed to represent each side.



Already done. There are several "Flags of Valour" modules for WW2, ACW and modern available if you so choose to use them.


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Eric Brosius
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Also see Campaigns of Napoleon System: Days Series.
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Confusion Under Fire
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Blocks do a very similar thing and if you have blocks of the same size which represent units of different sizes then you could say it was exactly what your trying to do. I think your idea might be hard to organise your units. Multiple looking back and forward to see which unit is which. I think blocks may be a better solution.
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Clay Stone
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I do understand the looking back and forth to figure out your units, but here is how i would set it up.

I would have a chart that had 20 boxes vertical with 10 boxes horizontal to fit on the page. So each "row" would represent the counter on the map and would have a number in the beginning of that row to represent the which counter on the map. You will lay out your units on those boxes. One unit per box. So if you stacked 3 in your units you would take up (3) boxes going across. This way its easy to read what is in your stack. And you would do this for all your units.

I think by keeping the units laid out on the chart instead of stacked on a chart helps with looking at your units.


I know blocks have this down pack somewhat, but i don't play with blocks and so I was hoping to come up with something for "counters" which is my thing.


Edit: Think about games that you are playing your opponent and he/she is coming at you with these big stacks or you are trying to plan attack moving your big stack. Doing something like this where you just have (1) counter on the map allows you the freedom to fool players into moving their units the wrong way.


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So how much space would these charts take for, say, It Never Snows? (Which I believe is one of the games you mentioned you wanted to play that way.)
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Nick West
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Kevin Zucker's Napoleonic series does most of this via having only leader counters on the board with all the force counters off map.

There is an optional rule, at least in Napoleon at Bay 1814 from memory, for blank counters being placed over the leader counters so even their identity is hidden until scouted and identified.
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David Janik-Jones
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Blocks. Combined with keeping some forces hidden off-board (ala Bulge 20).
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T. Dauphin
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When you convert a game without hidden components to one with, you might want to consider including some sort of intelligence gathering methods. Commanders relied on resistance reports, aerial surveillance, patrols etc to get some idea of the size and make up of the enemy.
This doesn't have to be too complex. It could be as simple as applying "Intelligence Points" to chosen locations at the beginning of every (2,3...) turn(s), then compared to a die roll to see what info is available.


I've linked this to Blindly into the Fog of War Guild, btw, where you can find other, previous discussions on the topic if you're interested.

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notquitekarpov wrote:
Kevin Zucker's Napoleonic series does most of this via having only leader counters on the board with all the force counters off map.

The problem is that this works for Napoleonic times where you assume all the army assembles in a hex or two for a battle. In a WW2 situation where you have an extended frontline, this would mean deploying the counters out every time, so we are talking a different sort of effect with considerable extra overhead (and loss of individual unit movement). I think blocks (or individually flipped counters with generic side and perhaps type indicators on the back) are really the only way to get the effect the OP wants at this scale.

Quote:
There is an optional rule, at least in Napoleon at Bay 1814 from memory, for blank counters being placed over the leader counters so even their identity is hidden until scouted and identified.

The Deluxe edition simply had generic counter backs for the leaders so you could just flip them over.
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claystone wrote:
I was sitting thinking when this pop into my head regarding "Fog Of War".

The idea is for the game to have generic counters for each side that will be placed on the map. You will move these counters around the map instead of your true unit counters. These generic counters will cross reference with a chart that is off map and hidden from your opponent that will have the real units on it. By doing this your opponent has no clue of the size of your units. He or she will not even know how many are in the stack since your real units are on a off map chart and all they see is the generic counter.

During the fighting you will then bring your units onto the map or even onto a battle chart where both players will then do their standard battle rolls.

I think this can be a nice Fog of War. Now the generic counters can be nicely designed to represent each side.


...


If you will enjoy the game more even though you will constantly have to cross reference this chart, go ahead. But consider this:

1. The game was playtested and presumably balanced without your chart.
2. The effects of FoW are often represented in a non-obvious way, e.g. by giving each side a generous movement allowance. Well-designed board wargames don't try to mimick computer wargames.

A better system, IMO, would be not to allow the opponent to inspect your stacks. I think the OCS series uses this rule.
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