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Subject: Double Hidden Movement rss

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D. Fox
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A design challenge:

I am currently designing an asymmetrical 2p game in which I require hidden movement on both sides. The mechanic that I need help with is in the occasion that BOTH sides secretly end up on the same space, a game effect is triggered.

Think Letters from White Chapel where Jack the Ripper is moving in hidden fashion, but if the player controlling the constables had pre-planted land mines secretly on some of the spaces, which would obviously be hidden from Jack. Thus, should Jack secretly step on one of these spaces, the mine goes off - surprising both players, damaging Jack and alerting the constables to his location.

The only way I can figure of handling this mechanic would be through an app for a smart phone. As I do not have the technical ability to develop an app, but would like to test the mechanic for the game, does anyone know of a readily available software package that would let me test this. I was thinking of Microsoft Excel, perhaps. For example, if there was someway that the "Constable Player" could pre-enter the locations of the landmines in a spread sheet that was hidden from the "Jack Player." Then, the "Jack Player" logs his moves (unseen by the "Constable Player") on the spreadsheet. Should he enter the pre-determined "landmine location" number, the cell goes bright red, thus letting him know he stepped on the land mine. At this point, he would have to reveal this occurrence to the "Constable Player" as well as the location in which the mine went off and thus where he was. But perhaps you cannot program Excel to perform this action to even test the effect.

Does anyone have any other ideas how to pull this off or, even test the effect?

Thanks all -
 
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Daniel Reid
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I think this could be done with a google spreadsheet.
Both (all) users can log into their own gmail account and access a shared spreadsheet. I would suggest "protecting" a range of cells, and designate a specific cell for input for each player. The protected cells keep track of when the same values occur at the same turn number. I might play with it in a bit. I don't have the time atm, though I would like to give it a shot.

Edit: On second thought, I'm not sure how to do it without both players seeing it while its being entered.

Are you wanting this to be an application that each player has, or do you want it to be hotseat style?

Edit Edit: Its possible to lock a whole sheet to a specific user. So, I think this is doable.
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Philip Kitching
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If you want to try this, why not add a third person as an umpire?
The players tell the umpire their moves and the umpire tells them what they see.
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Bob Zurunkel
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Pencil and paper?
 
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dave bcs
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The war game solution would be to use inverted counters and dummies that are removed if exposed. In an asymmetrical game, the onus could be placed on one player to reveal first. Otherwise a search action with varying degrees of intelligence given using a numerical search value and a search table or card deck.
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PJ Cunningham
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Place a board between the players. Place identical blank tokens on all board spaces. At the end of their turn, a player sets a screen in front of them, such that they cannot see the board. The next player takes their turn (adjusting or replacing tokens, etc), then moves the screen to their own side of the board, hiding it from their eyes. Continue alternating in this way, possibly with occasional unscreened turns to resolve conflicts/transfer knowledge.
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Kent Reuber
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You need a Feldmachink!

http://perfectcaptain.50megs.com/feldmach.htm
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T. Dauphin
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kentreuber wrote:


Now that's an interesting device!
Thank you.

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T. Dauphin
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I'm confident that Excel is capable of doing this, but I haven't got that far in my Excel education to be able to tell you how to make it happen.

I will link this to the Blindly into the Fog of War Guild, because there is some expertise there, and maybe somebody there can give you some ideas.
Good luck.


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Kent Reuber
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tanik wrote:

kentreuber wrote:


Now that's an interesting device!
Thank you.



In the old days of miniatures campaigns, a grid of matchboxes were used. For example, see http://theminiaturespage.com/boards/msg.mv?id=58794
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Mike Smith
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Not sure what game you are doing specifically, but Captain Sonar has hidden movement for each team. Granted it is not a true hidden movement mechanism.
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D. Fox
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Thanks all so much for your input / advice. As ever, I've already learned a lot - most of which is that others, as I suspected, have also contemplated this and come up with some ingenious ways of tackling it.

As interesting as the Feldmachink and stack of matchboxes are, I think I need something a bit more accessible. And most of my playtesting will not have access to a referee or umpire, as simple and perfect as that solution is.

Placing face down chits on every location and having player 2 (the player laying the traps) look away as player 1 (the player moving in a hidden fashion) flips them over in the spaces which he is moving to check for traps is a possibility, but obviously it becomes cumbersome for one of the players to be constantly looking away from the board. Plus the board I'm designing has a massive number of spaces on it - which would make for a very long and tedious set up to add chits to ever space before each game.

Some more clarification: Only player 1 will actually be moving in hidden fashion. Player 2 will NOT be moving in hidden fashion, but rather will have laid out some hidden traps in advance of player 1 moving. Since player 2 will not know where player 1 is moving, he cannot trigger the traps himself. And since player 1 cannot reveal where he is moving, he needs to know if he hits a trap without revealing where he is, move after move. Thus, getting back to the automated spreadsheet idea (if this is even feasible) both players would not need access to it throughout the game. Once player 2 has pre-generated the locations of the traps, then player 1 logs his moves, waiting and watching to see if one of them trips a pre-established trap. So only player 1 needs access to the spreadsheet for the game. Again - this is assuming there is a way to do this through spreadsheet.

Thanks again for the brainstorming, education and fantastic discussion!
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Brendan Riley
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"Life is more fun if you play games." - Roald Dahl
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Now that you've described it -- could you use a bingo card with slideable windows? Player 2 puts an x on the spots where the trap could be, closes all the windows. Then Player 1 can just open windows to check if there's a trap.
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Benj Christensen
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Rather than bringing tech into the mix, could you use tokens?

At setup, which is when I assume Player 1 would be marking those locations, they place a number of tokens face down on the board. They all have identical backs, but most of them are have blank faces and the others have the traps.

When Player 2 lands on one of them they have to flip it, revealing if it's a trap or a blank.

You could also work into the rules that it plays similar to Clue: Museum Caper where the secret player doesn't effect the board until after their turn is done. So if they move through the trap space they don't flip the token until they've marked their full movement and are somewhere else on the board, only having to do something different if the token they flip is a trap.


Just a couple of ideas. Hope they help.
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D. Fox
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wombat929 wrote:
Now that you've described it -- could you use a bingo card with slideable windows? Player 2 puts an x on the spots where the trap could be, closes all the windows. Then Player 1 can just open windows to check if there's a trap.


This would work. Unfortunately, the physical game board over which the movement would occur would be so large that to have a bingo card able to be held by Player 1 to represent the board would not be feasible. The game board grid will be something like 30 x 30. But the similarity of this to a massive game of bingo is spot-on. Except that instead of the target values being randomly generated, they are purposely generated and pre-determined. Thanks!
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D. Fox
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BenjChristensen wrote:
Rather than bringing tech into the mix, could you use tokens?

At setup, which is when I assume Player 1 would be marking those locations, they place a number of tokens face down on the board. They all have identical backs, but most of them are have blank faces and the others have the traps.

When Player 2 lands on one of them they have to flip it, revealing if it's a trap or a blank.


Just a couple of ideas. Hope they help.


Yep - I've considered this as well. And it might be the mechanism that I have to go with. It's simple, non-tech and will work. There are just some downsides which make it less appealing:

1) On a very very large board (30X30 spaces), this is a lot of tokens to place out in advance of the game.

2) With so many free floating tokens on the board, it could detract from the look of the board AND be subject to easy disruption if the table gets bumped (less concerned about the latter consideration - but still)

3) Player 1 needs to look away or somehow be blinded every single time Player 2 flips a token to check if his hidden movement has triggered a trap. Will this become tedious play after play? I might just have to playtest it to find that out....

Thank you!

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D. Fox
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Cyclodog wrote:
wombat929 wrote:
Now that you've described it -- could you use a bingo card with slideable windows? Player 2 puts an x on the spots where the trap could be, closes all the windows. Then Player 1 can just open windows to check if there's a trap.


This would work. Unfortunately, the physical game board over which the movement would occur would be so large that to have a bingo card able to be held by Player 1 to represent the board would not be feasible. The game board grid will be something like 30 x 30. But the similarity of this to a massive game of bingo is spot-on. Except that instead of the target values being randomly generated, they are purposely generated and pre-determined. Thanks!


Actually, looking up the Avalon Hill game, Midway, I'm seeing some private player boards that COULD work in bingo-card like fashion to represent the overall board. Maybe this is the way to go?

http://www.boardgamegeek.com/image/3021701

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PJ Cunningham
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Also for ideas you may want to check out the various methods in which no-referee double-blind play is handled in some wargames.
http://www.boardgamegeek.com/geeklist/18692/wargames-secrecy
http://www.boardgamegeek.com/geeklist/1483/double-blind-land...
http://www.boardgamegeek.com/geeklist/18128/games-can-be-pla...
http://www.boardgamegeek.com/geeklist/4614/principles-strate...
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Metäl Warrior
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Use a codebook, i.e. cryptography.

The minelayer sets mines at grid coordinates B5, C9 and F17. She has a codebook provided with the game which has a dozen pages, each page listing every available coordinate and its corresponding random codename. So Page 7 obfuscates B5 by turning it into the word "hare," C9 "turnip," F17 "headphones." Page 8 turns the same coordinates to entirely different words, and so on. She writes down the words hare, turnip and headphones on a piece of paper and keeps it secret.

Now, she gives the codebook to the other player and tells which page to use. As the other player enters a coordinate, he reads the obfuscated coordinate out loud: "hummus, airplane, stars, book, hare" KABOOM!

Due to the large number of coordinates and pages, and random nature of codenames, it is infeasible for the minelayer to memorize all the words and coordinates, so the minelayer doesn't know hummus means B2, airplane means B3, etc. She only recognizes the words she wrote down, so will know the location of the other player only when he enters one of those coordinates.

Bonus points for making the codebook part of the theme.
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Benj Christensen
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That sounds pretty awesome actually.
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D. Fox
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Jaffeli wrote:
Use a codebook, i.e. cryptography.

The minelayer sets mines at grid coordinates B5, C9 and F17. She has a codebook provided with the game which has a dozen pages, each page listing every available coordinate and its corresponding random codename. So Page 7 obfuscates B5 by turning it into the word "hare," C9 "turnip," F17 "headphones." Page 8 turns the same coordinates to entirely different words, and so on. She writes down the words hare, turnip and headphones on a piece of paper and keeps it secret.

Now, she gives the codebook to the other player and tells which page to use. As the other player enters a coordinate, he reads the obfuscated coordinate out loud: "hummus, airplane, stars, book, hare" KABOOM!

Due to the large number of coordinates and pages, and random nature of codenames, it is infeasible for the minelayer to memorize all the words and coordinates, so the minelayer doesn't know hummus means B2, airplane means B3, etc. She only recognizes the words she wrote down, so will know the location of the other player only when he enters one of those coordinates.

Bonus points for making the codebook part of the theme.


I need to spend some time wrapping my head around this but on the surface think this is absolutely brilliant. I am going to put this together to playtest and will report back the results to this group.

Thank you for an excellent and most thematic suggestion. This actually DOES fit quite well with the theme of this game. I don't want to reveal too much right now, but will in due time. Thank you again.
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Metäl Warrior
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Cyclodog wrote:
I need to spend some time wrapping my head around this but on the surface think this is absolutely brilliant. I am going to put this together to playtest and will report back the results to this group.

Thank you for an excellent and most thematic suggestion. This actually DOES fit quite well with the theme of this game. I don't want to reveal too much right now, but will in due time. Thank you again.


You're welcome When I first saw your question I immediately thought about hash functions or public key cryptography. After further thought, there's a fairly simple paper-based version that doesn't require computation for your problem.

Curious to see how it works in playtesting!
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