Home Forums General Game Design Brain storm session: Hiding unit strength

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  • #140603
    JozisTinMan
    Participant

    I need some brainstorming help from the collective here.  In my WW2 rules I am fiddling with, a unit can be in one of these states: (yes I borrowed from Fire and Fury)

    1. Fresh
    2. Worn
    3. Spent
    4. Destroyed

    I want to indicate unit state using markers on the table BUT I want to stick to the following criteria:

    • Fresh and Destroyed are easy, either no marker or a smoke puff
    • I want to indicate Worn and Spent so that the opposing player cannot tell which it is.  This is so an attacking player knows he did some damage to a target unit but not how much until he renders it combat ineffective. (This fog of war is important for my rules, it prevents the attacker from optimizing his attacks the next turn and adds uncertainty)
    • I do not want to use a roster or any off table accounting
    • I have a 3d printer so can design and whip up any kind of custom marker I need (within reason)

    I have some ideas, but I know the creative collective here will think of some good solutions

    Thoughts?

    http://jozistinman.blogspot.com/

    #140609
    Nathaniel Weber
    Participant

    Something as simple as a shell crater, with a letter written on its underside (W or S), could work.

    #140632
    JozisTinMan
    Participant

    And… why did I not think of that?  I think I am going to draw some simple pictures of the setup options I am considering and see what folks think.  stay tuned

     

    http://jozistinman.blogspot.com/

    #140670
    Phil Dutré
    Participant

    I agree. If you want to have a status marker with hidden information, simply write something on the underside.

    If the hidden informatin should be hidden to both players (i.e. neither players know the exact status), you could as well generate it when you need it.

    Tiny Tin Men Blog: http://snv-ttm.blogspot.com/
    Wargaming Mechanics Blog: http://wargaming-mechanics.blogspot.com/

    #140671
    Patrice
    Participant

    Interesting question…

    I would suggest a thin piece of card or paper, with a letter (or colour etc.) underneath. And put it under a casualty figure (or shell crater as above) when needed. So the opponent would not be able to recognize details of the figure (or crater) as permanently associated with a peculiar information.

    …If there is no off table account at all, however, I don’t see how you would prevent someone to cheat and lessen the damage (but that’s another problem).

    If you want to have a status marker with hidden information, simply write something on the underside. If the hidden information should be hidden to both players (i.e. neither players know the exact status), you could as well generate it when you need it.

    Yes that’s another solution …and that would answer both questions. The exact damage would be unknown to all, till you need it and it is revealed. A kind of Schrödinger’s damaged unit…

    http://www.argad-bzh.fr/argad/en.html
    https://www.anargader.net/

    #140673
    deephorse
    Participant

    What is happening to a unit to make it worn, spent or destroyed?  And how are you hiding this process from your opponent?  Are you calculating the damage that his fire has upon your unit but not telling him the outcome?  This sounds like a road that I wouldn’t want to go down.

    Play is what makes life bearable - Michael Rosen

    #140679
    hammurabi70
    Participant

    What is happening to a unit to make it worn, spent or destroyed? And how are you hiding this process from your opponent? Are you calculating the damage that his fire has upon your unit but not telling him the outcome? This sounds like a road that I wouldn’t want to go down.

    It could have some interesting applications.

    A squad rolls 10 dice when firing less one die per marker.  When the enemy makes a bayonet charge the defender rolls to see what the exact effect has been of the incoming fire.  That is a crude approach; no doubt others would be able to refine it.

    #140703
    MartinR
    Participant

    I’ve been using hidden markers for years. I just make them up out of steel paper stuck to card with the values on the underside, and the bases have a small strip of magnabase on the back they they stick to.

    Even if the combat results are known at the time, the players almost immediately lose track of the state of the opposing units as they just see a load of identical inverted counters. So just make up three states in this case, for Fresh, Worn and Spent.

    What is really funny is that sometime players lose track of the state of their own units….

    "Mistakes in the initial deployment cannot be rectified" - Helmuth von Moltke

    #161583
    Stephen Holmes
    Participant

    This may help you.

    I tried to create a game where the owner and opponent didn’t know a unit’s status once it started taking casualties. It isn’t easy and I doubt there’s a perfect solution.

    What I did was record the “shots” against each unit, and only rolled the saves when the unit entered or left close combat.

    This allows a unit that’s taken a lot of fire to close with the enemy, but you only know whether it was shot to pieces, or largely unaffected as the cold steel comes into play. Likewise you record melee successes, but only roll the saves after one side or other breaks off.

     

    If that sounds interesting, you’re welcome to give it a try.

    Two things I learned while developing this.

    Where a unit has been thoroughly “mullered” a big number of shots are enough to destroy it with fire alone.

    Avoid rules where units exert a significant zone of control – because it’s embarrassing to have been pined by a unit that wasn’t really there.

    #161602
    Phil Dutré
    Participant

    What I did was record the “shots” against each unit, and only rolled the saves when the unit entered or left close combat. This allows a unit that’s taken a lot of fire to close with the enemy, but you only know whether it was shot to pieces, or largely unaffected as the cold steel comes into play. Likewise you record melee successes, but only roll the saves after one side or other breaks off.

    I also experimented with this mechanic, but discarded it again. Players like it when they know the impact of their firing or attacks on the enemy, right after when they roll the dice. Only resolving it sometime later detaches that impact from the action.

    Tiny Tin Men Blog: http://snv-ttm.blogspot.com/
    Wargaming Mechanics Blog: http://wargaming-mechanics.blogspot.com/

    #161603
    Guy Farrish
    Participant

    Phil Barker’s ‘The Sharp End’ rules for modern asymmetric warfare use a similar mechanism – the active player rolls to see if his shooting appears near enough to be dangerous, hit the target or force them to take evasive action and any successful dice are placed next to the target.

    In the enemy players turn any of his units attempting actions with shooting dice by them roll the dice to see whether the shooting has killed them, restricted their actions or had no effect. At the end of the turn any enemy who have not attempted an action but have shooting dice by them resolve these before the end of the turn.

    This avoids ‘ghost’ units wandering around but keeps a level of uncertainty. Of course it loses the immediacy of the dice result – but not for too long and a bit of deferred gratification is a good thing isn’t it?

    You could easily combine this with inverted markers that don’t reveal whether the hit unit is killed, suppressed, neutralised or just laying low until a friendly checks them out or they do something, if you want to extend the uncertainty. Not relevant in horse and musket games perhaps but extremely useful for any ’empty battlefield’ 20th/21st century warfare I would have thought.

     

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