06 July 2011

GameTalk - False Positives

False positives in games - detecting a threat where none actually exists - are rarely modeled in games. In the training realm, it's because they're rarely useful in getting trainees to learn the right lessons. In commercial games, it's just hard to do.

What are your thoughts on false positives in wargaming? Important enough to include? Useless in the flow of the game? Too darn fiddly?

By: Brant


Guardian said...

I don't really have an opinion on this, but I have to say these "GameTalk" posts are sheer brilliance. You should seriously compile all of this into a book about game design.

-- Guardian

EastwoodDC said...

I'm glad to see you are still thinking about this. :-)

How false can it be? Is the false report of something that is not there at all, or is an inaccurate report of the truth?

More to discuss here, I think (more later).


Anonymous said...

Important enough to include?
YES, very much so.

Useless in the flow of the game?
NO, not necessarily.

Too darn fiddly?
MAYBE, depending on how it's built into the system, and that's a big part of the reason why they are not included in wargames.

Concern over this goes back a long way in wargames - I vaguely recall a discussion of the very old SPI Borodino game (1972) where in the historical battle, some Russian cavalry appeared on the French flank out of some woods, triggering a movement towards it by an entire corps to deal with what they thought was a threat to their rear but was in fact just some scouts. That corps' absence affected the course of the battle. The game design would/could not account for this; at most there might be some kind of idiot rule taking a corps unusable for a turn or something like that. Anyway, this is just one example.

Scott T said...

Don't the Panther games (published by Matrix) model this? You'll see an enemy unit which might disappear. Or the unit will show as armor but it's really just a bunch of cooks with pistols.

I think it's really cool.

Brant said...

Dan - tell you what... write me an extended column that I can post here, and we'll make that part of our 'column exchange' deal from Origins :)

Dan Eastwood said...

Working on it already. :-)

Anonymous said...

FYI..the solo Patton's Best by Avalon hill used "false positives" on the battleboard. When entering a new combat zone, player rolled to see what enemy units were in same zone. Player then pulled a random counter for each and placed on board at designated location. The thing is: each counter had a "true" side and a "false positive side", the f-p side being played first. So all tanks were placed (and played) as Tigers, and all AT guns were placed and played as 88's. Only after the unit was properly spotted by the player was it's real identity revealed (counter flipped over).

Made for some very hairy encounters, especially in the early M4 "Ronson" versions of the Sherm.


Jack Nastyface

Chris said...

You know how I feel about it, Brant. Straight-forward strategy and tactics are fine, but you rarely know all of the facts and you have to make a risk analysis based on what you have.