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"Idea for double blind Fog of War" Topic

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Gauntlet19 Sep 2022 10:45 a.m. PST

I typically play ww2 games with ~40 blind markers per side where only about a third of them represent actual units.

One of the issues with double blind games is that if opposing blinds meet up.. how can you tell whether to reveal or not without giving the opponent information?

I propose a solution..

Each player receives a deck of cards numbered to correspond to their blinds. Number on the backside, the front side has check boxes (vehicle, infantry, tank). So at the start of the game you check the boxes on the cards relating to your actual units and hand the deck to the enemy.

The enemy only looks at the front side of cards once they come into view of their own units, they can do so subtly at the start of each turn so it is not known which of your units have been seen until they are fired upon.

This would also be done even easier using the Google spreadsheet phone app but I know many people wouldn't like that.


Theron19 Sep 2022 1:37 p.m. PST

The way I do this is I say blinds cannot get closer to each other than a certain distance. To advance closer (or shoot speculatively) you need to have an actual unit on the table. And that unit can trigger ambushes from enemy hidden units.

I suppose this does not answer your question how to do this without revealing information. My way of doing it does require you to reveal information.

I could also see some kind of spotting roll to determine if you can see any activity in the blind without getting closer. Obviously if your is blind empty then you wouldn't be able to make that spotting roll.

Stryderg19 Sep 2022 7:32 p.m. PST

This is open to blatant cheating, but:
Player M is Moving a marker
Player W is not (he's Waiting his turn)

Player M moves his marker within spotting range of W's marker.
W secretly picks a number between 1-6.
M rolls 1d6. W reveals his marker if his secret number was rolled.

You might change that to picking 2 or 3 adjacent numbers depending on the terrain, defensive measures (like camo netting) or how slow of a game you want. ie. M might pick 1,2 or 2,3,4.

If M doesn't roll the secret number, he doesn't spot W's unit and doesn't give up the fact that he may be a blind marker. On W's next turn, he can try to spot M's unit, or pull back, still without revealing himself.

The only down side I can see is that you might have a blind marker spotting an actual unit. Chaulk that up to partisans, lack of noise discipline, or just dumb luck.

UshCha20 Sep 2022 1:18 a.m. PST

So just to check. Player 1 has say cards A,B,C…… and Player 2 has cards 1,2,3……….

So player 1 moves up to to card Number 3 and attempts to spot. I he is sucessful then he gets to look at Players 2 number 3 card. However when he looks the card up he has to show his card is not a balank.

Seems OK to me. Proably more of an overhead than I would want but it most certaily that is personal prefrence and it looks very workable,.

Personally we only hide units that are stationary and only ever about 1/3 are blinds. Mainly because in reality there only limited sensible positions for dummys. Daft placed cards are no threat even if they are real.

Big Red Supporting Member of TMP20 Sep 2022 5:19 a.m. PST

Blinds are either scouts/small recon units or actual unit(s).

If blinds from both sides come within spotting distance, the non-moving side rolls to spot/reveal what the moving side's blind represents either a unit or a scout. Then the moving side rolls to spot/reveal the stationary blind with appropriate penalties; not moving, in cover, etc.

There are four possible results:

1. Stationary blind spots/reveals the moving blind.
2. Moving blind spots/reveals the stationary blind.
3. Both blinds spot/reveal enemy blinds
4. Neither side spots/reveals enemy blinds.

Depending on how much stuff you want on the table, you can make small scout stands for infantry forces or place an appropriate recon vehicle for motorized/armored forces in place of the revealed blind.

With such a large proportion of your blinds representing recon units you can use appropriate tactics to scout out the enemy and screen your own forces and intentions.

Gauntlet20 Sep 2022 6:11 a.m. PST


Yes overhead is my only concern but it shouldn't be too much if you don't have a lot of dummy blinds. Still, may not be worth the risk of seeing something that players disagree was in Los.

@Big Red

Yeah I have done something similar to this and it worked, my only gripe was that if blinds are considered foot scouts, their speed needs to be limited to foot speed. This means your blinds can never masquerade as anything faster.

If dummy blinds are considered "nothing" then they can have any speed the player considers appropriate for their strategy. Obviously if you move a blind at the speed of a recession vehicle, it's obviously not a tank or infantry, but the opponent still doesn't know its real.

Little Red20 Sep 2022 7:09 a.m. PST

Yes, the foot scouts would have to have twinkle toes and happy feet!

However, due to fog of war, the opposition could have misunderstood the actual position or a delay in reporting could make it appear that the scout moved a lot faster than plodding.

It could also depend upon setup. Some blinds, especially the defender, might be further onto the table and not have to move at all.

Personal logo etotheipi Sponsoring Member of TMP20 Sep 2022 7:44 a.m. PST

We don't use that high a ratio of canards (false indicators). That said, we do use a reveal roll at spotting distance similar to Big Red.

1-3 Stationary chit revealed
4 Both chits revealed
5 Moving chit revealed
6 Neither chit revealed

This gives an advantage to the active unit.

We also allow shooting at chits to reveal. The chit is always revealed, but (if a real unit) it gets a reaction shot at the shooter, which is adjudicated first. Then the shooter gets a shot with a mild penalty. We feel this sufficient risk for that type of behaviour on a battlefield.

Gauntlet20 Sep 2022 8:52 a.m. PST

The reason that dummies need limited speed is that you shouldn't be able to just rush them into the enemies line and see everything without risk of losing units.


It surprises me that you would give the moving unit a spotting advantage?! They should be much easier to see than a concealed unit.

I have allowed recce by fire in the past but it seems flawed since you should have to fire at every possible location not just the ones with blinds on them.

Personal logo etotheipi Sponsoring Member of TMP20 Sep 2022 1:26 p.m. PST

They should be much easier to see than a concealed unit.

Yes, but unless you're executing some nightmarish written orders-simultaneous movement system or dropping dozens of state markers on the board, the turns represent concurrent time slides. Generally, an enemy unit doesn't move on my turn, but that's an artificiality of a turn system rather than the idea that the enemy is standing still.

The advantage is given to the unit that chooses to actively look for and identify the enemy as opposed to the one focusing their efforts elsewhere.

seems flawed since you should have to fire at every possible location

You already have the artificiality of the chits on the board, so that has changed this from "I don't know where the enemy units are." into "I have narrowed down possibilities of where the enemy units are."

I didn't mention it, but firing always reveals your unit. Part of that is minimizing overhead (more status markers) to keep an honest player honest. The other part is that shooting this type of weapon (and many others) is not really a stealth activity.

I did once have a game with triangular prism shaped markers for units. One face (facing your opponent) had what you could easily know, the second had what a little ISR told you about the unit, and the third had the full monty reveal. It allowed for canards (OPDEC and enemy ISR failures) and misidentifications (wrong info on side one or two).

Wolfhag21 Sep 2022 10:05 a.m. PST

This is what I do:
In a meeting engagement units start with no LOS. Formations are in a column, not tactically deployed. Before the game, each side plots the course and speed (generally 12-15kph) they will take. A formation moving at 12kph moves about 200m/minute. It's easy for both players to determine when there is a mutual LOS to react to. This is when the game starts and only units with a LOS are put on the table at this point. Other units are put on the table as a mutual LOS is determined. Since they are in a column it is easy to track movement.

After a mutual LOS units can attempt to communicate the situation to other units to change direction or deploy tactically out of their column.

Recon units move ahead of the main body and move from one concealed position to another and cannot be spotted over 200m if concealed and static. Ideally, recon units spot the enemy first without being spotted themselves giving themselves a tactical initiative.

In a movement to contact scenario the defender secretly deploys using an off board map (no blinds). Using 15 second turns, each attacking formation of up to 5 units can select a location for recon by fire. Any units 25m to either side of the spot can be effected. The result can be No Effect, chance of causalities, chance of causalities and target exposed (camo blown away exposing the unit), or the defender fires back. Defenders with overhead cover will be pretty safe.

Recon by fire against camouflaged armored vehicles and anti-tank guns with armored shields can be detected when machine gun tracers bounce off them differently than random ricochets would.


UshCha22 Sep 2022 10:08 a.m. PST

I was thinking again about this approach and realized there is no perfect solution. We did use something similar but what ended up was a game where much of the time was taken up by blinds chasing blinds as neither side wanted to admit there side was a dummy. Its definitely personal preference whether this counts as an interesting diversion or just tedious. What is did mean was that the game did not Finnish in it's allotted time frame and that in the end, in our perception, it did not make for an interesting game, and in the end did not usefully represent fog of war just tedium. In any time marching solution the speed of resolution of the problem is critical ( Think DEEP Thought and the answer to life the universe and everything).

We, on that basis scrapped the idea. However most of are games are like the real world, some measure of attack/defense, so having the defender hidden and the attacker on board to us was a suitable compromise. Even better when the defenders position is only marked on a map so no blinds are present.

But again this is not practical unless both players are honest and have an in depth understanding of the rules so they can layout a defense easily on a map. In addition it requires attackers who can evaluate terrain without any hints form blinds. If they cannot the game again fails on excessive computational time, basicaly the becomes overl;y cautious and fails automaticaly as he is not ablke to make acceptable progress.

I would love to hear how you get on when you have chaosen, for you, an appropriate methodologhy and how well or otherwise it came up expectetions and comaparison with reality.

Andy ONeill23 Sep 2022 11:15 a.m. PST

Duplicated tables and a referee used to be popular at the local club.
Quite a lot of work for set up and the referee.
You need duplicated scenery so two of everything.
Having a referee means you can have quite simple rules.

It adds in some unexpected ways.

One being added friction.
Turns were simultaneous.
For many years the tables were in separate rooms.
The players of a side would agree a set of actions.
The ref would enter the room and each player out a team would describe what their figures/units were to do.
No discussion or intervention from another player was allowed.
It was common to find a player describe somewhat different orders to the plan.
It was not unusual for orders to be substantially different.
Added to the challenge.

Gauntlet23 Sep 2022 11:47 a.m. PST

Uscha, if both players avoided confrontation, that sounds like a failure of objectives. In my scenarios, the attacker has a time limit so they will spend some time doing recce but they won't dilly dally.

Andy, that sounds fun but way too much overhead. It's easier to use software for LoS than have to duplicate the entire set up. But even that gets annoying once half the pieces are on the table and you have to move your units both on the table and on the computer.

What I've done the most is have blinds and just tell the opponent when they need to reveal one. It's not ideal but it's still way better than not having FoW. And it doesn't really slow down the game.

Without fog of war, you might as well remove all of your panzerschreks and PAT'S from the game since they will never be in range of armor.

UshCha23 Sep 2022 1:47 p.m. PST

Gauntlet – just like some real battles victory conditions cannot always be met in the required timescales.

It is for each to decide there optimum solution.
To me no hidden units makes for a poor game. For us the ultimate is to have the defender marked on a map and not allowed to move until he can see some enemy on the board or he is seen. If its recce then seeing the unit on table adds little as the defender cannot move until it is seen and says nothing of where the main force will appear. It's a compromise and the type and level of compromise also depends on the players. To some players an empty board with no dummies is too intimidating, too many options for them to feel unstressed. Dummies help them focus.

Wolfhag24 Sep 2022 4:44 a.m. PST

It is for each to decide there optimum solution.
To me no hidden units makes for a poor game.

Absolutely but terrible for photo ops.

For us the ultimate is to have the defender marked on a map and not allowed to move until he can see some enemy on the board or he is seen.

Yes. That's how ambushes work. We use a Limited Intelligence rule. All units should be under some type of standing order and able to execute an Immediate Action Drill when a mutual LOS is established with the enemy. You need a reason to move. Attackers are normally under a "Movement to Contact" order so can continue to move towards the enemy until contact is made.

If its recce then seeing the unit on table adds little as the defender cannot move until it is seen and says nothing of where the main force will appear.

Also a concealed defender must choose between firing at the the recon unit and giving away his position to the main body or waiting until they come into LOS. A good tactic is to have a recon units concealed in a treeline and then have one or two advance towards expected enemy locations. The British and Americans in NWE should have expected enemy locations plotted/TRP to get an immediate artillery barrage on the enemy without the need for spotting rounds.

To some players an empty board with no dummies is too intimidating, too many options for them to feel unstressed.

Yes, reality sucks. Personally. I don't like blinds. A pre-battle briefing would give you the expected locations of the enemy.

Idea for abstracting pre-game recon and intel:
The defender marks where his hidden units are. If the attacker is conducting a planned assault he can place a certain number recon markers in the FEBA representing intel gained from patrols and a certain number behind the FEBA representing EW, air and photo recon. If it is a hasty assault he can only place them at the FEBA. Any units within a certain distance of the markers are known to the attacker or put them on the board.

During an assault suspected enemy locations would be under a suppressive artillery barrage or screened by smoke.


UshCha24 Sep 2022 11:39 a.m. PST

Wolfhag, Absolutely, but terrible for photo ops???? You might as well say its not suitable for eating fish and chips it would be equally irrelevant, certainly to us.

Surely the whole point of an FEBZ is to keep the recce out so the enemy has no clue.

Wolfhag24 Sep 2022 3:51 p.m. PST

Fish & Chips! Blah! I prefer Cadillac Margaritas (Cuervo 1800) with salt on the rocks with shrimp tacos. MMMMM good.

Let me clarify: I was referring to the people who like to put everything they own on the table. I've worked with ones where it was a sacrilege to have hidden units. I don't agree but I respect them and understand why. Their work is normally outstanding and worthy of photo journalism. It's not historical and just not me. It's not a criticism, just a a personal observation.

Surely the whole point of an FEBA is to keep the recce out so the enemy has no clue.

Yes, but that's what a recon in force is all about, getting past the FEBA to scout out the MLR and fighting for information.

Later in the war the Germans armed their armored cars with a 75L24 and 75L48 rather than 20mm guns to have enough power to get through the normally lightly held skirmish line. The US in NWE replaced their M5 with the M24 Chaffee with a short 75mm gun.

The US also had what can be considered mobile "combined arms" recon units with mortars, mech infantry and light tanks to handle almost any situation.

Because of the large scale of models used (> 6mm) it's hard to simulate on a 6 foot table and not much fun for most players. Attacking recon vs screening recon is a very interesting game in itself with ambushes, cat and mouse and hidden tactics but not desirable for balanced scenarios and hidden tactics for most miniatures players. Like I said, "most" from my experience. Any game starting with a "balanced" scenario is immediately non-historical except in a few cases IMO.


UshCha25 Sep 2022 11:58 a.m. PST

To be fair the originator was already outside the Must have figures on the table crowd. Those guys are so far from my sort of game they may as well be playing football as I have nw interest in either so can make no useful comment.

I agree that attack /recon games are, a how shall we put it, like "warm" English Beer an acquired taste.

However the main game can make assumptions (i.e as a boundary condition for the game) as to what recon is available to either side so it dose not stop a scenario starting with minimal to no information at Engagement Area level.
To be honest we rarely play anything but attack defense games. Points system "balanced games" have for many years ceased to be of interest generally to me, but its what you like that counts, not what other folk play.

Gauntlet25 Sep 2022 8:11 p.m. PST

I mostly play attack/defense but I usually give the attack ~2x the points. Of course it won't be "balanced" but it's balanced enough that we don't know who will win.

Andy ONeill26 Sep 2022 7:12 a.m. PST

We've also used several variations of fuzzy placemen. Players have representative markers on table initially and there's recon/encounter mechanisms decide who deploys what how far from their markers.

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