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feintstar
16-06-2007, 10:08
OK, so I've recently been reading the Art of War by Sun Tzu, and I've noticed the amount of emphasis that is placed on deception as paramount in warfare. Also, a huge amount of emphasis is placed on the concept of attacking your enemy's plans, and of psyking your opponent out. Now in Tabletop wargaming, the opportunities for decieving your opponent are fairly limited. You might have a group of transports behaving aggressively that are actually empty, or other such tricks, but ultimately, you can still see your opponents models that are on the table, and you know what their abilities are (assuming that your a gamer with more than negligable experience.)

Therefore, in 40K especially, tactics usually take a back seat to army selection, and intricate knowledge of the rules. But what if you couldn't see your enemy? What if you could actually lay ambushes?

Suppose you have a 6x4 foot board. Lay down terrain, then divide the board into 6inch by 6inch squares (this is easier for those of us with modular tabes). Now grab two peices of graph paper, one for each player, and create scale battlemaps based on the 6" squares. Both players deploy their forces as pencilled in symbols on the paper.

Next, there is an arbiter. This is a significant flaw in my idea but I don't see a way around it. Once the symbolic units are deployed on the papers, the arbiter rules which ones are in LOS of their opponents, and which are not. Units in LOS of their opponents' are then deployed (as are tanks and heavy vehicles, in LOS or not). Units in cover may make cover saves to avoid being detected by their foes, (a very interesting game dynamic for such things as pathfinders in heavy cover) and if successful, are not deployed. Infantry units out of LOS are not deployed at all either. Infiltrators are deployed at the same time and in the same way as the rest of the army. This may result in the infiltrators being deployed to the same 6" square as their opponents... :evilgrin:

Hidden units may still move on the grid map, (which is assessed by the arbiter to ensure that movement is not overenthusiastic, or impossible due to a lack of space (too many men crammed into a region) but if they are ever within LOS of their opponents during that move, the Arbiter will order the models to be deployed onto the table into the position that they are occupying/moving to on the map. During the game, when units approach a hidden enemy (i.e. one outside LOS) they are still detected (and immediately deployed) if their foes move to within their initiative spotting distance, a la the sentry rules. This also allows for bonusses for having psykers, auspexes, or acute senses.

The moment a unit makes an agressive action (shoots or assaults) they are immediately deployed. Jump pack units may use their ground movement to avoid detection, but jumping into the sky makes you visible, and they are then deployed. (?exception Warp Spiders?) Once deployed, units are never undeployed for moving out of LOS.

Other interesting miscellanea might include - Camo Nets for IG vehicles- Camo netted tanks might be able to not be deployed until they move. Night fighting - until you are detected by spotting distance, you are NOT deployed, unless you shoot or make aggressive action. This also applies for special units such as Grey Knights' Shrouding, Stealth Suits, Harlequins' veil of tears etc.

I'm actually quite enthusiastic about this idea. Apart from the obvious necessity of an arbiter, I think that games like this would be infinitely more interesting and tactical than conventional 40K. The opportunities for deceptive manuvers, freaking your opponent out, ambushes and hideous blunders all make for a more nail biting and desperate game, with more crushing victories and apalling defeats.

Army selection might also become a very different thing - scouts might be used for such novel roles as - scouting! And fast vehicles would be used for finding the opponents, like in real life/fluff. Meanwhile, skills such as Light infantry would become vastly more useful, and often neglected wargear such as searchlights, camo netting and auspexes would become a desperate necessity. Effort would be spent in neutralising your opponents scouts, thus concealing your plans while discovering your opponents' plans.

Anyone got enough spare time and curiosity to try this? Any ideas that might add to it? Any criticisms?

obithius
16-06-2007, 11:03
Hi
there was a TV show on a while ago called 'a game of war',in which they re-enacted famous battles on the table top. What they were doing to make the fog of war more realistic was to use 3 tables(!),one for each player and one for the referee.The enemy models were placed on the table only when th eref. decided they could be seen,and the only person who could see the whole table was the ref. himself.
So that's the ideal,but how could that be represented on one table?Probably like you said,keep written maps of all the forces,and have a third party deploy everything as and when it's seen.
Incidentally,once we used to play quite regularly where each player deployed behind a curtain which was lifted just before turn one.Good fun!I even remember GW showing you how to use a row of boxes if you didn't have a curtain!
Chris

fracas
16-06-2007, 11:55
alternatively instead of a hidden map use unit markers and add a few dummy markers (based on strategic levels, +1 for a military commander or some other aspect of the list)
marker models are either infantry, jump infantry, walker, bikes, or tanks
the marker-model move on the table top as usual but once they are identified, then they are revealled and the actual army models replace the marker-model. all actual models must be placed within 2" and around the marker-model

obithius
16-06-2007, 12:02
Another good idea,rather like the blip counters in Space Hulk.

biggreengribbly
16-06-2007, 13:53
Can you imagine the insanity of constantly deploying/undeploying units as LOS shifts? Sounds to me like far too complicated an idea to ever work.

If you want 40k with 'fog of war' go play DOW.

Fathoym
16-06-2007, 14:06
Can you imagine the insanity of constantly deploying/undeploying units as LOS shifts?


He did mention that once a unit was deployed it would not be un-deployed after moving out of line of site.



If you want 40k with 'fog of war' go play DOW.

I'd just like to point out that the above is a bad argument. DOW is nothing (i mean NOTHING) like table top. The OP has obviously put alot of hard thought and effort into producing a theory as to represent a vital aspect of war that, as of yet, has been almost completely left out of the game.


@OP - I think the idea is a great one, but it obviously needs play testing and a firm rules base. Try it out sometime and let us know how it goes.


_

biggreengribbly
16-06-2007, 14:40
okay, you caught me, I read half of it and thought "is this guy trying to tabeltop-ise an RTS or what?" so only skim-read the rest of it.

But your definition of my 'bad arguement' is based on the assumption that I was in fact referring to playing a table-top game. I shall expand my sentence thusly: "If you want to play a game in the setting associated with the tabletop wargame Warhammer 40,000 with a functioning representation of the effect known as 'fog of war', my advice would be to go play the Real Time Strategy Computer game Dawn of War."

better? Beecause as far as I can see, his idea will just cause players to go through a lot of extra effort, bog the game down significantly, and cause a bucketload of trouble and petty arguements for very little addition to the game to the point neither play really does anything for fear of what enemy unit might be 'over there'. or they just go as normal, throw everything out first or second turn, revealing all their units except maybe th dd reserve, and then all you have is a game with 'hidden deployment'.

LostTemplar
16-06-2007, 14:45
There's actuallya simpler, nice idea... as stated before, use markers. Reveal when hese are spotted. simpler, can't be bull****ted! I would, however, sugest markers for all models in a unit, rather than one marker per unit. i'd also sugest markers for differently armed models, as in, numbered markers fro everybody, plus a piece of paper to tied down with...

EarlGrey
16-06-2007, 14:59
It's a very interesting idea, and can easily be used for some brilliant moments ("Aaargh! Where did that Carnifex come from?").

However, like the above poster says, it'll really bog the game down and lead to all sorts of trouble. A 3rd player may not always be easy to come by, and would they want to be a "referee" (a rather mundane role)?

The way I always thought about it was that in the far future there are readily available scanning devices (psychic power, binoculars, or whatever) that allow for the "God like knowledge" of the enemy's position.
Jamming devices, or Arnie style mud covering (see the film Predator) may be able to fool these things and thus allow for the hidden setup rules.

So, in all, the current way of working that removes the "Fog" does make sense. Certainly with the small scale battles usually played with 40K. Although, if it could be implemented in a easy, no hassle way for much bigger games, then it would make for something quite interesting (world wide jamming, Tyranid Shadow in the warp, scanner failure, etc).

Remember, Sun Tzu didn't have the option of orbital bombardment. :)

chaos0xomega
16-06-2007, 15:35
Take it from someone who has played lots of 'fog of war' games, it doesn't quite work in 40k. I think fog of war should be reserved to campaign games(both on and offf the actual campaign map), and naval wargames(where it is a very important factor, and vessels are fitted with radar systems etc. to actually make it all work right). The battlefields in the typical 40k game are way too small to warrant fog of war. Most of the units placed will usually start the game within LOS of eachother anyway, so there really is no point to introducing the game mechanic. The only place it would work would probably be a cityfight board.

feintstar
17-06-2007, 01:39
Hmm, thanks for the responses guys.

I actually had a self criticism bit that i edited out later cos the post was too long. :) You've added a few flaws I hadn't thought of, but not too many I guess.

Flaw Counterarguments:
Who wants to be a referee?
How often have you watched an interesting game of 40K unfold between a pair of your mates? And how much more interesting would every game be with this mechanic and your god's eye view? You can cackle inwardly with appreciative machiavellian-ness as one friends army is cleverly baited into a horrible crossfire... That player will hear your laughing and freak out even more... I'm a DM in my DnD time, and I don't see it as being too onerous a responsibility, And it isn't a vastly different responsibility anyway. Further, if there were 2 games running at once, players could adjudicate their respective friends' games.

Scanners, psykers, orbital spy sattelites and sensor nets:
Regardless of the technological sophistication that warfare attains, there will always, ALWAYS be an equally sophisticated series of countering strategies. Vs psychic detection of enemy - psychic hoods. Vs Orbital sensornets - camelioline, camo netting and cloud cover (not to mention contested control of space) - against scanners, jammers. Sun Tzu didn't have orbital bombardment, in fact he didn't even have cavalry, but the principles of warfare are remarkably timeless.

Markers:
I hadn't thought of this, and i like it, being a slightly simpler and less syrupy solution to the problem, but still leaves me with a feeling that I would never be able to ambush my opponents, nor would I ever blunder into a well laid trap - I could never feel my heart palpitating in terror while I wonder "Where IS HE?!!!")

Too Long/time consuming
Actually, I wonder how much more time it would take. After all the deployment phase takes a while anyway, and ultimately, the deployment phase is what is being made to last during the first 3 turns. Extra time wasted would actually be the nail biting of players trying to figure out what to do next. In my opinion, that might actually be a good thing. It might break the flow, but would it break the flow any more than Deep Strike? After all, it is effectively the same thing.

Won't Add much to the game
Ultimately this depends a lot on the players, the terrain, and the army composition. Absolutely Cityfight would be the most obvious and effective place to use this mechanic, while on more "normal" tables it might be a little superfluous. Nonetheless, it could be used in conventional games, should one have the imagination (and a large enough/high terrain table perhaps) to make it work.

Too small scale
Actually, I originially concieved of this for Epic. But then I thought, hang on, there are flyers in Epic. And You couldn't really hide 400 infantry with tanks in a forest as easily is you could hide 15 men. I still think there is room for this (much more limited however) in Epic, but I think it might be a more devestating mechanic in 40K. I have a 6" square 40K table, and with 1500 points or LESS, I think the mechanic "could" be used a LOT.

Too much bickering
This depends on the maturity of the players. If you see the point of 40K as to win, then maybe this isn't for you. But if you're in for the sake of producing a warfare narrative, a story, in a sense, then this really is for you. There shouldn't be too much bickering with an independent arbiter. his word being law, and the dice settling disputes which are too problematic...

fracas
17-06-2007, 05:03
markers allow some sense of surprise, especially with the use of ghost markers
sensors and anti-sensors will likely result in "something moving over there" feel, though it may not be anything there at all

the trap is the game itself though isn't it?

Lindworm
17-06-2007, 11:03
It's an interesting concept, but it would be fairly difficult to incorporate effectively. I also think that 40k lends itself more to battles in which both sides know where things are or should be from where they are not... so "fog of war" generally need not apply so heavily.

Tzu Sun's book focuses more on a preferance for blitzkreig and tactical reasoning than anything. It seems to be transferable to most RTS computer games very easily though.

notsoevil
17-06-2007, 15:00
This is the future.

Guns shoot far.

Monitoring equipment sees far.

When your models are on the table, they've already firmly established who is who and what is what. Hell, you're less than 4 feet from each other on the table and that's approximately 288 feet (less than a football field) from each other in scale.

Want something like this for ambushing and such, give appropriate stealthy units rules for such. But Fog of War just doesn't fit.

GreenDracoBob
17-06-2007, 19:45
I wanted to do something like this, too. Your idea, or the markers idea, added a lot more mystery than my idea, though. Really, a lot of units out there are cool ideas, if a fog of war would be used in the game. Otherwise they either have conflicted purpose or just aren't good. The fog of war also adds usefulness to cover. I'm not sure if it really needs more, but it does in my gaming group.

Leftenant Gashrog
17-06-2007, 20:19
i've not read Sun Tzu.. but infact i've contemplated using the exact same rules for grid movement! certainly it wouldnt be enjoyable by the 'to hit modifiers are too complicated' crowd, but i definately think i would enjoy it (alas i only game with one guy so havent been able to try it out)



Actually, I originially concieved of this for Epic.


actually Space Marine 1st edition included rules for hidden infantry (it specifically said vehicles were too big to hide) ~ it even had some rather snazzy hexagonal hidden counters with some space marine silhouettes in green fog, alas they couldnt move (at least there wasnt any mention of them moving, but they could accidentally left it out like they did the Blast rules..)

InquisitorNiels
17-06-2007, 20:21
I think this would be something to use if you want, if you think it will slow things down too much dont use it.

I think its a rather cool idea be able to set traps, or fall for them :evilgrin: Maybe if it was just used for certain units, or only units in cover. So you would set up your army normally, then any units (scouts and what not with the rule) would be set up via paper...both players get the same map as well as the third party. You select where you want to deploy your units then hand it in to the GM(thats what I will call the third party), he/she then checks to see if any of the units are in contact with each other.

If two units both set up in the same set of woods then the GM rolls to see who find who first...a round of CC happens (before the game starts), who ever spots who gets a bonus of some sort (+1 I/A what ever is fair). Now if one unit wipes out the other then the unit can stay hidden, if someone survives then both units are set up normally. The unit that won the fight has control of the terrain the other starts out side of it closer to their depoyment zone.

Units hidden in such a way would be safe from attack until someone runs into them, or they attack. This could allow units to lay in wait to launch an assult, or set up a cross fire.

linvus232
17-06-2007, 20:54
This might have been my imagination, but I seem to remember a little-used scenario rule from the last edition 40k called 'hidden set-up?' If memory serves it was a sort of way of hiding traps and your troops from enemies by representing them with markers, in certain scenarios where they might be concealed?

chromedog
17-06-2007, 22:37
You got that right. I used that tactic against a friend who would often deep strike most of his army in (damn chaos and their daemonbombs).

It was worth it, just for the look on his face as he DS'ed his termies (khorne berzerkers) 12" in front of one of my (freshly revealed) vindicators.

Just re-instate the 'hidden setup' rule. If both sides use a hidden setup, you'll need a third party to arbitrate things (like RT wanted, in the dim,dark fog of memory) and that just needlessly complicates things.

Nurglitch
17-06-2007, 22:42
"Fog of War" isn't just about a literal fog that obscures combatants and interferes with their ability to spot and attack each other. Here's the wikipedia entry on it, as a place to start (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fog_of_war).

GreenDracoBob
18-06-2007, 01:19
I know that Fog of War doesn't mean a literal fog, but it is a term naming the lack of information on the battlefield. It may not be a fog, but you still don't know where the enemy is. It's not usual for commanders to set up in plain sight of their opponents and update them on where their movements.

Nurglitch
18-06-2007, 07:27
Thank the Emperor for the Iterators...

If you're going to implement 'fog of war' in Warhammer then you're going to need some way of loosening the control that a player has over their troops. There's already some rules covering this, such as the Tyranid Synapse rules, the Black/Blood Rages, the target selection rules, and so on. But Warhammer is missing stuff like blue-on-blue, double-blind, momentum, communication, and tactical awareness. My point is that the 'fog of war' isn't just about knowing where the enemy is, it's about uncertainty. If you're going for consistency then you should also try to better represent all of the uncertainties of the battlefield and not just uncertainty about the position of the enemy.

fracas
18-06-2007, 11:52
Thank the Emperor for the Iterators...

If you're going to implement 'fog of war' in Warhammer then you're going to need some way of loosening the control that a player has over their troops. There's already some rules covering this, such as the Tyranid Synapse rules, the Black/Blood Rages, the target selection rules, and so on. But Warhammer is missing stuff like blue-on-blue, double-blind, momentum, communication, and tactical awareness. My point is that the 'fog of war' isn't just about knowing where the enemy is, it's about uncertainty. If you're going for consistency then you should also try to better represent all of the uncertainties of the battlefield and not just uncertainty about the position of the enemy.

good point
this can be added by doing a leadership test before you move any unit. you can add mods as necessary
shooting though should be automatic.

Carlos
18-06-2007, 15:02
In an age of highly evolved space bugs with heightened senses of smell, all powerful psykers who can sense peoples minds, orbital fleets who can view small details on a planets surface and scouts with technology that makes them blend into the scenery as well as high-tech IR scanners you will have no idea where your enemy is.....

The Song of Spears
18-06-2007, 15:57
While the markers sounds neat. As soon as i start moving a marker 12" each turn i think they will guess which one is the flying hive tyrant or assault squad.

While it may be sloppy or hard to conceptualize, a drawing with a grid is likely the best way to go. and for better reference, try taking a overhead view picture of the table to then lay a grid over and hand out as the movement map.

but this would also be best used in moving and removing of units due to FoW.

And while this may take time, i wouldn't suggest it on large point games unless you and your mate were really good at it. This would however be a ton of fun for 750 points or less games.

FoW + Necron VoD = :evilgrin:

Leftenant Gashrog
18-06-2007, 17:36
While the markers sounds neat. As soon as i start moving a marker 12" each turn i think they will guess which one is the flying hive tyrant or assault squad.

While it may be sloppy or hard to conceptualize, a drawing with a grid is likely the best way to go.


i dont totally agree with that actually: the map is the best way to go if one side has no idea whatsoever where the enemy units could be, if one side has good enough sensors that it will know the rough position but not the actual identity of enemy units then the marker system is the best way to go ~ infact even if i did use the map system i would probably allow Surveyors/Auspexes etc to detect the location of enemies within 24" or somesuch (i think that was the range of Bio & Energy scanners in RT), either way if a unit acted in a way that gave away its capabilities whilst the enemy had it on its scanners then i hardly see that as being a problem

"Sir! sensor contacts! f-f-four major b-bio-masses, size indicates Carnifex or Hive Tyrant, distance 700-800 meters"
"relax son, are they moving?"
"yes Sir! a-all contacts advancing on our position!"
"are they all moving the same speed son?"
"er.. um.. oh! no Sir! contact Delta is moving almost twice as fast as the others!"
"that'll be the Hive Tyrant son, transmit the sensor data to Manticore battery A, have them calculate a firing solution and engage at the earliest opportunity"

fracas
18-06-2007, 18:59
the game rules break the unit types down into several kinds. infantry, tanks, flyers, cavalry. i would keep a separate marker for each type.

The Song of Spears
18-06-2007, 20:36
i dont totally agree with that actually: the map is the best way to go if one side has no idea whatsoever where the enemy units could be, if one side has good enough sensors that it will know the rough position but not the actual identity of enemy units then the marker system is the best way to go ~ infact even if i did use the map system i would probably allow Surveyors/Auspexes etc to detect the location of enemies within 24" or somesuch (i think that was the range of Bio & Energy scanners in RT), either way if a unit acted in a way that gave away its capabilities whilst the enemy had it on its scanners then i hardly see that as being a problem"


Ok, I agree with you to a point. But then again, if I am playing an army with very few options for flying units then what is the point of abstracting out the units? If I don’t show the other guy what options my hive tyrant has, then the whole scanner idea is kinda pointless as the other player can look across the table and see it’s a big bug, and be somewhat unsure as to its configuration, no markers needed.

Maybe with troops where it’s easy to see the different between genestealers and gaunts models, thus knowing their capabilities, then the markers might be useful…

But still… I guess you could have flying gargoyles and a flying tyrant and using the markers fool the opponent as to which is which…

I still really like this idea. Hmmm…

Can you imagine the way it would change the game? I see IG on the table with a dozen markers, and i don’t know which one is a Lemun Russ and which one is a conscript platoon…

Ok, so maybe there should be a different marker for unit types, solider marker (includes jump infantry and terminators), monstrous creature/vehicle marker…

Maybe set it up as a special option of a mission like dusk/dawn… (i.e. roll 1 = dusk/dawn, 6=FoW)

OP: fun idea!

Marker FoW idea-man: great idea!

feintstar
22-06-2007, 01:00
I gotta say that while markers are a good idea, and would certainly get us halfway, it would involve (IMO) too many new rules to incorporate.

If I want to mount an ambush, or run into one, or if I want to outmanuver my opponent completely, the only way to achive this is with dummy markers, and the the question is who gets how many dummy markers? And then under what circumstances do you reveal said markers?

If you rig a board map/grid, both players have equal opportunity for scheming and deception. Auspexes and psykers should be able to determine where your opponent is, i agree, but by the map system, it would aid primarily in the revealing of enemy units completely, rather than making them appear only as blips.

As for Fog Of War not being restricted to not being able to see your enemy, we're having a hard time incorporating this as it is, without needing yet more rules.

If I can get ppl to try it, I'll post a battle report, hopefully soon...