Switch Theme:

Wargame Design Discussion: Detection Mechanics  [RSS] Share on facebook Share on Twitter Submit to Reddit
»
Author Message
Advert


Forum adverts like this one are shown to any user who is not logged in. Join us by filling out a tiny 3 field form and you will get your own, free, dakka user account which gives a good range of benefits to you:
  • No adverts like this in the forums anymore.
  • Times and dates in your local timezone.
  • Full tracking of what you have read so you can skip to your first unread post, easily see what has changed since you last logged in, and easily see what is new at a glance.
  • Email notifications for threads you want to watch closely.
  • Being a part of the oldest wargaming community on the net.
If you are already a member then feel free to login now.




Made in us
Napoleonics Obsesser




MN

Greetings Designers,

As we move into more modern and Sci-fi combat detection seems to be a more relevant idea or thought process.

For example, in the Hammer's Slammers universe, firepower has become so powerful that no one tries to fly an aircraft because once detected a MBT or Artillery can accurately bring down a plane in seconds.

Some genre's seem to thrive on detection more than others such as Space navy, sub game, etc. Let's talk a bit about how to do detection right in a game and how to do it wrong. Feel free to swap ideas, talk about games that did it well, games that did it not so well, Genre's that need detection, etc.


Do you like Free Wargames?
http://bloodandspectacles.blogspot.com/ 
   
Made in us
God-like Imperator Titan Commander




Halifax

The entire genre of 'Block Games' seems to be about this:

https://boardgamegeek.com/boardgamefamily/6137/block-wargames
   
Made in gb
Longtime Dakkanaut






So this is about having hidden units for the enemy to try and find, or establish what they are?

Space hulk does it well with the radar blips, each representing 1-3 genestealers which are revealed either when the terminators see them, or voluntarily in lieu of moving/attacking. Adds a good edge to the game - is that 3 genestealers in there, or 9?

Dystopian Wars had a submarine with an "Echo Generator", which gave you 3 templates to place instead of the ship. You could pick which one you were each time someone shot at you, and if you decided to be there, you stayed there.

Infinity, what little I played of it, featured 2 tiers of stealth - one (IIRC) was to have 3 blips to show potential locations of the unit, and the other was pure invisibility - write down where your guy is standing on a piece of paper and only reveal it when you wish to start using him.


I was throwing the idea around for a zombie game, where the scary fast monstery zombies (like lickers from resident evil) would be replaced with a token when the other players lose sight of them. Each turn, a token is added, and after so many are added, the monster can be placed anywhere. At any point the monster can be replaced within X" of the markers - 6" from 1 marker, 12" from 2, 18" from 3 and so on. If a player moves so they can see the tokens again, they are removed and the monster (or a token) is placed somewhere within range (the old creepy noise over there, something falling over over here, and such) and the process starts again. so if you want to survive, keep them in sight!

I suppose an old-fashioned example would be battleships! I don't know if that system could be added to a wargame though!

Orks in 8th, W/D/L
3/0/1 
   
Made in us
God-like Imperator Titan Commander




Halifax

One of the few things probably more effectively done via play-by-mail.
   
Made in us
Longtime Dakkanaut





I like Infinity's marker state. One thing I think would be interesting is making the opportunity to detect something be a roll that's trying to get under the distance the model moved so that you could improve your chances of not being detected by moving slower.
   
Made in us
Napoleonics Obsesser




MN

Anyone recall how 40K first made use of Dark Eldar Mandrakes. Three models that you could move however you want, and once revealed the unit was placed with one, and the other two removed.

Battlegroup uses some sort of spotting roll with modifiers.

Blucher uses blinds

Edit: I have also seen a "deep strike" style mechanic used where the player can place the model anywhere on board once it enters play/is detected, but it then scatters. usually, deployment is a choice or forced by an opposed detection roll.

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2019/09/25 15:22:22


Do you like Free Wargames?
http://bloodandspectacles.blogspot.com/ 
   
Made in us
Napoleonics Obsesser




MN

What are players opinions about seeing where a model is located, but needed a dice roll in order to target/spot said model for shooting/attacking purposes?

Does it ruin the illusion of "detection"?

Do you like Free Wargames?
http://bloodandspectacles.blogspot.com/ 
   
Made in us
Legendary Master of the Chapter






 Easy E wrote:
What are players opinions about seeing where a model is located, but needed a dice roll in order to target/spot said model for shooting/attacking purposes?

Does it ruin the illusion of "detection"?


I think it does ruin it a bit.

at least in the case of most modern games night vision and infrared detection is a a thing and that isnt dependent on distance really. more of the counter measures taken to defeat detection in the first place.

edit: it shouldn't depend on a random roll but rather what kind of gear they have or how they have set up or ambushed.

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2019/09/25 15:45:40


 Unit1126PLL wrote:
 Scott-S6 wrote:
And yet another thread is hijacked for Unit to ask for the same advice, receive the same answers and make the same excuses.

Oh my god I'm becoming martel.
Send help!

 
   
Made in us
Yellin' Yoof on a Scooter





 Easy E wrote:
What are players opinions about seeing where a model is located, but needed a dice roll in order to target/spot said model for shooting/attacking purposes?

Does it ruin the illusion of "detection"?


It ruins the illusion for me. Even if a player can't shoot a non-detected unit, he could still respond via positioning/facing an enemy that he shouldn't know is there.
   
Made in us
Painting Within the Lines




Seattle, WA USA

 Easy E wrote:
What are players opinions about seeing where a model is located, but needed a dice roll in order to target/spot said model for shooting/attacking purposes?

Does it ruin the illusion of "detection"?


Depends on the genre, I think. Sci-fi where you may have movement detectors (a la Aliens), space ship games where you can detect a "subspace anomaly, which may be a cloaked ship", and so on having a counter out in the position (or approximate position) isn't immersion breaking, to me.

Dark Ages setting where you have no way of knowing what's behind that building if it's sitting there being quiet, not as much.
   
Made in us
Awesome Autarch






I don't play a ton of games with detection mechanics, but I do like them...ONLY when they're elegantly and simply involved. A lot of WW2 games feature a "spotting" mechanic which I like. Some games you roll a D20 or 2D20, and have to equal or beat the distance to the target (i.e. closer is way easier to spot). The better games include being easier to spot if you move, move fast, fire a gun, etc. Some games are nice in that you can shoot at a unit even if you don't spot it - simply because you're pretty damn sure something is in the barn up ahead...but you'll only hit on 6's or only produce pinning fire, vs. accurate, casualty-infliction.

I like stuff like Dropfleet Commander, where a ship has a basic signature (depending on size). This signature is the distance at which it is detected. This signature increases from gun fire, damage, and maybe burning engines? So a tiny frigate might have a 4" signature, but adds 6" for firing, so any ship within 10" can see it, etc. Clever and very simple.

In 40K 2nd edition you could actually hide (i.e....something you'd probably want to do often in a wargame). In fact you could start your whole side hidden on Turn 1, which prevented an Alpha Strike (rare in those days anyway). Units with sensors I believe detected at double Initiative range, and anyone spotted at Initiative range or something. You gave up your position if you ran, or shot, etc. Units with Sensors were Space Marines, Aspect Warriors, etc...so it added a lot and made you feel a little cooler than the Guardsman or Ork who were lacking that stuff.

I really enjoy some of the modern games (Skirmish Sangin I think?) where you have a gridded simple map for the game, and before conflict really kicks off the asymmetrical baddies are moving around on a map until they get within a certain range of the normal military, etc. If you're using a normal size table, it becomes much easier to do this. You can grid a 6x4, and you only reveal baddies if you move into an adjacent square, etc. Or you can call in a drone to scan a square or two. The gridded map makes it easy to layout the terrain appropriately too so when you place stuff you can be pretty accurate.


 
   
Made in us
Napoleonics Obsesser




MN

Yes, I recall hiding in 40K 1st and 2nd edition. Once some one got within Initiative distance, any hidden models were automatically detected. It made the stat just that much more worthwhile.


I have been playing around with space naval, and instead of making them WWII Naval in space I was thinking it might make more sense to make it more Cold War Submarine warfare in Space. Hence the question.

Do you like Free Wargames?
http://bloodandspectacles.blogspot.com/ 
   
Made in us
Pewling Menial





Superior, Wisconsin

There's also the Dropfleet method of detection, where you're aware of where everything is, but the activity of your target and your own scanning capabilities determined how long your range is and the ability to fight and target your enemy

There is no Overkill, only "Open Fire," and "I need to Reload."
When someone tries to kill you, just kill them right back. 
   
Made in gb
Longtime Dakkanaut






I prefer detection when you as the player are unaware of what it is you're not seeing.

It's very difficult to both allow one player to have their models on the table (thus cementing their positions) and to have the other player not see them. It's not an easy mechanic to use!

For small skirmish games, it could be an option to have "noise" tokens (representing interference on the scanners) and actual model tokens, where one player can flip over any tokens within X" of their model - noise is just nothing, and is removed, but there could be a model in there.

You could also use it as FOW (Fog of War) and have it that after a certain length of time, the fog clears - remove all the fog tokens and leave the model tokens.

It would mean that tokens have a set movement, and if you shoot, you will reveal your location, but if you can then fade into the fog again, and return to token form, the opponent needs to keep an eye on which token they are.

Orks in 8th, W/D/L
3/0/1 
   
Made in us
God-like Imperator Titan Commander




Halifax

Writing down position works much better when it's on a grid or hexmap.
   
Made in us
Awesome Autarch






Yep, and the map would ideally be very spot-on with the terrain placement. Also, goes without saying that this kind of thing relies much more on your opponent being a normal adult, and not someone trying to twist every rule and gain an advantage by "accidentally" setting up their stuff as advantageously as possible, etc.

It's worth noting it's obviously immensely easier to do mechanics like this if you indeed have a table or board with visible or noted hexes/squares. While I love normal wargaming, there's a huge benefit to actually having a hexed or squared table. It takes soooo much nonsense out of a game.

 
   
Made in gb
Dakka Veteran






Cheltenham, UK

A problem I've had with Infinity's marker state approach to Camouflage and Hiding is that it means that lovely models often never get to the table or, when they do, they arrive and quickly leave agan (either dead or back into the marker state ASAP).

Whilst this works mechanically, it fails aesthetically and our hobby is, first and foremost, an aesthetic one (and Infinity is more aesthetically pleasing than most in terms of its model range!).

My preferred approach is to begin on the assumption that model placement doesn't necessarily represent where a soldier actually is but, rather, where evidence suggests that it might be. This preserves the fog of war and gives players the same sense of risk and uncertainty that soldiers must themselves deal with: is that shadow behind that bin an enemy combatant? Is that where I saw the muzzle flash, or was that just the sun glinting off a window? That guy advancing down the street - is he patrolling, or just a local CIVPOP trying to get home?

If you embrace this sense of uncertainty it makes other things make more sense:

"I'm two inches away and shooting with an HMG - how did I miss??" Well, you didn't miss. You just engaged the wrong thing, because your opponent's behaviour fooled you.

That's just standard "shoot to hit" stuff.

When you get into actual concealment and detection mechanics you then get to decide exactly how difficult it is to be sure of where any given target might be. A target with no form of concealment is easy to identify: that guy at the front of the building with an AK? Yeah, he's a target. But a target with high concealment is much harder to identify: that shape on the roof over there... is that a sniper position?

Now you can get to the meat of the mechanics. You can take steps to clarify your knowledge and improve the chances of hitting the target accurately, or you can take a literal shot in the dark and hope for the best. Which one you decide to do will depend upon your tactical situation.

   
Made in us
God-like Imperator Titan Commander




Halifax

It would be interesting to have a 'target' number that depends on some things like the inherent stealthiness of the model and its position on the board (in cover, further away than other models, etc) that would determine whether it's hit/addressed by an attack.
   
Made in us
Awesome Autarch






Yeah, that would basically be Dropfleet Commander style, which is elegant and makes sense.

 
   
Made in gb
Dakka Veteran






Cheltenham, UK

*cough*Horizon Wars*cough*


   
Made in gb
Longtime Dakkanaut






IIRC units in 40k used to have to roll to see how far they could see when night fighting was in play, so something like that to represent the fog of war, combined with a units Stealth, which would reduce the distance.

Even removing the random and having spotting distance and stealth skills would be an option.

EG spotting distance of 24"
Stealth skill of 6
if a unit is shooting, marked or on fire units can double their spotting distance when targeting them
Units can use scopes etc if they do not move to increase their spotting distance.
Scopes could even have min & max spotting distances which make them ineffective at close range.
EG a scope can be used, you can spot units at 12-30" range and have +1 to hit.
stealth of 10 would reduce the max range to 20" when targeting them.

More of an overall mechanic really but one which could work with stealth. It would also allow smoke to be used on enemies (a target of smoke has a spotting distance of 6" and a stealth skill of 12, for example).

Orks in 8th, W/D/L
3/0/1 
   
Made in gb
Dakka Veteran






Cheltenham, UK

I have the same problem with "spotting distances" as I have with absolute ranges.

"Oh, you're 24 inches away? I see you just fine."

"Oh, you're 24.5 inches away? What Orks?"

Randomized spotting distances are almost worse for making so little sense. But I'll give it credence for things like smoke and dust that may alter spotting distance at a stroke. All the same, what makes such a mechanic good is the ability to manipulate it. So a super-stealthy unit may reduce or modify the dice another unit rolls to spot it, whilst one equipped with special Predator-style heat vision may increase or eliminate dice entirely to spot things.

Randomness in a wargame is a very good thing, but must be accompanied by the ability of the players to manipulate the extent to which they are affected by it.

   
Made in us
Longtime Dakkanaut





Along those lines, I've been pondering the value of random ranges in lieu of an accuracy check. Stealth, aiming and similar concepts then acting as modifiers to that range check.
   
Made in us
God-like Imperator Titan Commander




Halifax

I think rather than trying to simulate it, you need to figure out what's fun about stealth and building something to implement that fun on the table.
   
Made in gb
Regular Dakkanaut





Does battleships count? I guess it's not a wargame though (?)

Might sound a bit trivial, but it's just a "write it on paper" proxy really I guess.

 
   
Made in us
God-like Imperator Titan Commander




Halifax

I think Battleship counts as a wargame, if you consider the goal is to sink the other guy's fleet, and the game is about not know exactly where the other guy is. It's very much a wargame cut down to its essentials though, and why not? It takes something, the fog of war, and makes a game out of it.
   
Made in us
The Conquerer






Waiting for my shill money from Spiral Arm Studios

I like the way Infinity does most of these things.

For those who don't know, Camouflage is a tiered skill in Infinity. Each level of the skill gives a better benefit and gives all of the lower levels of the skill.

Mimetism(Camo level 1): This is the weakest level, it doesn't actually make the model untargetable, it just gives a -3 to enemy attacks.

Camouflage(Camo level 2): Enemy models suffer -6 to attacks(as well as some other specific rolls). And in addition, the model can enter or start the game in a Marker State as a Camo Token. Models in a Marker state basically need to be taken out of the state before they can be interacted with other than attempting to discover what they are. They get taken out of the state if an enemy model successfully discovers them OR they leave it by attacking or just choosing to leave it.

TO Camo(Camo level 3): The same as level 2, except the penalty to attack them is -9 and at the start of the game the model can use Hidden Deployment. Which is you pick a spot where the model is deployed, but don't have to mark or indicate it in any way other than writing down in as much detail as possible where it is. Its literally invisible unless it chooses to leave Hidden Deployment or some other rule forces it to be revealed(like the Sensor skill).


Then you have the more strange and weird levels of camo.

Ambush Camo. This skill gives you Camo Level 2, and gives you an additional effect. if you deploy as a camo token at the start of the game, you can place another camo token within 8". This camo token is nothing at all. It can't move, but if the model which it was placed with leaves the camo marker state or if the empty camo token is successfully discovered it is removed from the table. It's basically a false signal.

If a model has the Minelayer skill, at the start of the game you can deploy a mine within 8" of the model. Mines generally start the game as a camo token. There are models that have both Ambush Camo and Minelayer! Which can lead to some shenanigans.


There is another skill that, while it's not camo, it does create a similar False signal to Ambush camo. Its called Holoprojector.

Holoprojector 1 lets you disguise as a completely different model. In Infinity, if a model is not in a market state, then most of its equipment and special rules are "Open Information". IE: You have to tell your opponent what they are. Holoprojector 1 basically lets you disguise the model as another unit from your faction's army list so you can tell your opponent something completely different.

Holoprojector 2 is the same as above, except in addition to being able to disguise as another unit, you also get to place up to 2 fake models within 8" of the real one. If the model with this rule attacks or does certain other actions, the holoecho's go away. If a holoecho is hit by an attack it is revealed to be fake and disappears. The Holoecho's all move together with the actual model, so it usually revealed that there is a model with Holoprojector there, you just don't know which one is the real and which are fake until you hit the right one or it actually attacks someone.

There is also Holoprojector 3, but it doesn't give any real additional abilities, it just removes some of the restrictions on using holoprojector with certain other rules.

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2019/10/17 01:22:14


Self-proclaimed evil Cat-person. Dues Ex Felines

Cato Sicarius, after force feeding Captain Ventris a copy of the Codex Astartes for having the audacity to play Deathwatch, chokes to death on his own D-baggery after finding Calgar assembling his new Eldar army.

MURICA!!! IN SPESS!!! 
   
 
Forum Index » Game Design
Go to: