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GameTalk talks Fog of War

More on this later in the week, but you gotta go to the MYTHICAL FRONT PAGE™ to find it

Surprised we haven't seen Cyrano pop up in here yet :)

I am doin' stuff over here... ;)

There's a lot of really solid ways to manage this these days, but, for my faves:

1:  Computers.  Really that simple.  They're the best managers of FoW out there.  Obviously within this there's a lot of different approaches, but these slabs of silicone have brought FoW in a way that our ancestors could only have dreamt of.  Within the PC universe, I'd give high marks to the CM series (I know..shocking) which, depending on the settings you choose, can show you all your opponent's forces, some of your opponent's forces, or, if you're a real masochist, some of YOUR forces depending on whether you've managed to maintain adequate C2.  Moreover, under limited FoW, your opponents appear first as sound contacts and only gradually are assessed and better identified.  The classic example of this was in CMx1 where tanks would be identified as Tigers for some time before being properly classified as something much smaller.

There are, obviously, other fine examples, notably the ramp-up of information based on LoS evident in the HPS/JTS games as well as the HITS system used so well in SoW.

2:  Human Double-Blind:  Play a Kriegsspiel or some variant of it (I'm fond of both Reisswitz and  "The Flight of the Eagle" by Pratzen Editions) and learn what a cloud of unknowing surrounded historical commanders.  There is no gaming experience better and worse than staring at a map and screaming at an umpire "are you SURE that my scouts haven't reported back" only to be told in the de-brief that he took a wrong turn at a four-way intersection and is currently headed for the coast.

3:  Blocks -- Grant Dalgliesh would punch me square in the nose if I didn't offer praise for the simple genius that is the use of blocks to create FoW.  This is in best evidence in the classic Columbia Game "Napoleon".  I commented to Grant that the story of block gaming strikes me as one of those moments in history when somebody did something simple -- tipped a block on its edge -- and changed the topography of the hobby forever.

4:  Cards:  It's on my list because of my love of both the Command and Colors series as well as the games of the Too Fat Lardies, but, in both cases, I certainly understand the argument of those who believe they introduce too much randomness in their quest for Fog of War...



We often do hidden setups for our table top games. Usually the defender will mark his units on a paper map and not place figs on the table until they've been spotted by the enemy. It's more time consuming, but it makes for more realistic play.

For me, the Untried Unit system, first used in SPI's  Panzergruppe Guderian (or was it Invasion America by a few weeks?), is the most effective use of fog of war I've played with. With neither side able to "do the math" until forces are committed, it's far and away the best way to add a bit of uncertainty. And in the case of PGG, it was part of a system where the vastly different methods of fighting used by the Sovs and the Germans was brought into STARK relief.  Truly a great system.

Dummy units has never really created much confusion, the few times I've used them. Either you don't get to use enough of them to make a convincing feint, or they never seem to draw the enemy to make a bad decision. Who knows: maybe I just never used them correctly...


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