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"Alien: Isolation and Stealth in Wargames" Topic

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Slow Oats31 Mar 2020 1:28 p.m. PST

My brother just recently bought Alien: Isolation for the Nintendo, and after playing it for a day or two I'm positively hooked. It's a first person horror game based on the Ridley Scott film, and it feels every bit like the source material. It's very tense and very fun.

One thing my brother told me that I found very interesting is that the alien is not controlled by only one AI. The monster itself has an AI that tells it to wander around and kill something if it sees it, but there's another AI over it that knows where the player is and "nudges" the monster in that direction. This combination is what gives the game its cat-and-mouse feel, making the alien actually search for you rather than just wander around until it sees you.

I was wondering if anyone had thoughts on this concept in miniatures games? Units or characters that operate on fixed "AI's" that the player must then nudge towards hidden enemy units.

Personally, I plan to use it in Fear and Faith. The bad guy will act in a set way each turn, but each time the good guys roll a failure on an activation, they make noise and give the bad guy player free actions to track them down with.

Personal logo Dentatus Sponsoring Member of TMP Fezian31 Mar 2020 1:40 p.m. PST

Zombicide uses a noise mechanic. Certain actions, numbers of actions = noise counters which draws Zombies to that location. That's my only real encounter with that idea.

Personal logo Extra Crispy Sponsoring Member of TMP31 Mar 2020 2:52 p.m. PST

In "Pity the Living" my zombie rules, they are drawn to both noise, blood and brains. So biggest "draw" within 12" is where they head. So shooting your buddies and skedaddling works as teh zombies will stop to feast on the bodies….

John Leahy Supporting Member of TMP31 Mar 2020 3:05 p.m. PST

Two hour Wargames rule set ATZ also uses a mechanic that adds are drawn too.



Eclectic Wave31 Mar 2020 3:33 p.m. PST

U-Boot the board game uses a app on a PC or phone to play with the game. The app controls the surface ships. If the players rig for silent running, the app turns the microphone on for the phone/PC and if the players are too loud… The surface ships find you.

Stryderg31 Mar 2020 4:08 p.m. PST

ATZ does a pretty good job of this and keeps it simple. Noise attracts zombies, you roll randomly for where they appear. Then you hope you activate first so you can react to them. It really feels like they popped up out of nowhere and have been hunting you. You just get to see the ones that get up close.

Slow Oats31 Mar 2020 4:09 p.m. PST

Extra Crispy, do you have a link to your rules? I googled them but all that would come up was some Harry Potter quote.

Thanks John, I just got THW Swordplay and was thinking about this kind of thing using their mechanisms.

I thought U-Boot looked quite interesting, Eclectic Wave. I think app-integration is certainly a great way to do stealth and other hidden information in games. I really like the microphone thing, too. I was thinking about ways to do stealth without apps, though, simply because I can't program one myself. Any chump with a pen and paper can write their own rules!

Stoppage02 Apr 2020 2:40 a.m. PST

Why not the other way? Use an A-I mechanism to draw the player to the zombies?

You could set it in an underground vault and decorate the armoury/store/PPE with zombies and other hazards.

Slow Oats02 Apr 2020 9:10 a.m. PST

That's very interesting Stoppage. I'm not sure how I feel about drawing the player towards the bad guys (be they zombies, aliens, slashers, etc.), but the idea of using AI for the hider also is a good one, and one I hadn't thought of. After all, in hide and seek scenarios like Alien the hider often doesn't know where the seeker is either. By putting both on AIs and having each player try to coax their units in the right direction, you can simulate that mutual uncertainty and have those moments of "oh hell, I rounded a corner and ran right into him!"

Stoppage02 Apr 2020 3:22 p.m. PST

simulate that mutual uncertainty

To be able to create that effect for the players would be magic!

Levi the Ox03 Apr 2020 6:25 p.m. PST

I think one of the most important parts of a "hide and seek" system is the "white noise" it generates. The possible threats that turn out to be nothing: dummy blinds, mistaken sounds, false reports. With those the tension will go through several cycles, rising and falling as each potential threat approachs and is identified, much like how protagonists in horror media will often find a mundane explanation for one clue just before encountering another, more horrific one.

Slow Oats04 Apr 2020 2:46 p.m. PST

That's a good point Levi. Problem is, I have a hard time figuring out how to create that white noise without getting too complicated. Maybe there's a simple solution I'm overlooking?

Levi the Ox05 Apr 2020 10:20 a.m. PST

I'd suggest blinds concealing random units, some or many of which turn out to be nothing at all. That way neither your units nor you the player know what is there. If you want a little more control than true randomness, perhaps add a "tension" track of some kind, where the first couple of blinds are guaranteed to be nothing or only minor threats, but each blank revealed applies a +1 modifier on future rolls.

For a sci-fi horror, something like, when a blind is spotted, roll 1d6, adding +1 for each blind that has already been revealed:
1: Nothing.
2: Nothing.
3: Nothing.
4: Injured crewmember.
5: Infected crewmember.
6: Monster youngling.
7: Monster.
8: Monster.
9: Monster queen.

Obviously substitute with whatever horrifying things you want to game with!

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