29 February 2012

GameTalk - Double-Blind Games

Note from Brant...
Today starts a run of 'guest' appearances by FoG Jack Nastyface. Yes, that's his real name, and no one ever tried to steal his lunch money at school. We say 'guest' appearances, because he's pretty good at writing these, so maybe we'll just turn it all over to him - lock, stock, and barrel. Whaddaya think? Vote Jack for Gametalk in 2012!

For most of us, our wargaming experience began with a double-blind wargame called Battleship. Since then, other great titles have emerged (Midway, Cityfight). Does the double-blind game mechanic work...or is it too much trouble for too little reward? What games did it well, and not-so-well?

By: Jack Nastyface


Matt Purvis said...

Stratego! Played against a 7 year old on Sunday. Much tougher than I remembered.

Brian said...

It's definitely worth the trouble, if you want to move beyond just pushing chits on a map. In fairness, though, I don't play these games very often because it's more effort for me to find a FtF opponent than to play the game.

But in studying this sort of design, which I do find fascinating, some games stand out besides the ones you mentioned:

The GDW series 8th Army: Operation Crusader, Normandy Campaign and Operaiton Market-Garden

The Wargamer magazine precursors/ contemporaries Clash of Steel, West Wall and Duel in the Desert

Lee Moves North - one of the earliest SPI double-blind war games (double-blind miniatures campaigns had been played for years before this)

Across the Potomac - Gettysburg campaign done double-blind.

Brian said...

Oh, and one that is a lot of trouble - too much for most hobbyists - but comes as close as one can conveniently get to a ready-made double blind Kriegspiel is NATO Division Commander.

A simplified version of this game's main systems (that had nothign to do with the double-blind bit ) came out in the Central Front series of games that appeared later in Strategy and Tactics (Fifth Corps and BAOR).

James Sterrett said...

Kriegsspiel itself isn't particularly hard to run once you have the components (which can be a pain), and is a great double- or triple- blind experience. (Triple in that you don't know much about your own forces, either.)

Are we limited to boardgames? Computer games do that double-blind thing pretty well. :)

besilarius said...

Used to do a lot of map wargaming using the methods of the Prussian Kriegspiel.
Some of the group hated the Fog of WAr, but it adds so much to the experience. You can be as immersed as you want as the commander on the spot.
The group had a pretty active group of naval gamers. They actually set up a Guadalcanal naval battle in the dark. The americans had weak flashlights, and the IJN stronger ones.
There was a moveable room divider between the two sides and after movement, each team left the room. One team came back and tried to see the enemy model ships. After they had looked, they left and the other team came in to peer thru the dark.
It was incredibly exciting and frustrating.
The american were in fear of the Long Lance torpedoes, but by luck, no one managed to spot an opponent, until in close range.
At that point, both sides launched simultaneously. The devastation was intense.

Backman said...

Well, if you would like to play a space combat game with double blind sensors rules you can try my Intercept game here:
Free, print to play, comes with an Excel based ship design system, vector movement, gravity, planetary shadow etc.