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"Who uses Blinds?" Topic

14 Posts

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Nick Stern Supporting Member of TMP14 Mar 2024 8:53 a.m. PST

IMO, I find the use of Blinds in the Lardies games frustrating, time consuming and ultimately unnecessary. I hate the way they clutter up the game table with bits of cardboard. They seem out of scale with a tabletop game, more suited to a campaign map game. There are other ways to employ hidden movement and spotting in a game, especially if you are using a GM.Please tell me what I'm missing.

Personal logo Sgt Slag Supporting Member of TMP14 Mar 2024 10:59 a.m. PST

Back in the early 1990's, I saw a convention game where the players each sat behind shields, looking at miniature game boards with their unit markers in their hidden positions, while the referee had a full-sized game table between the two players, wherein he moved miniatures that had been "spotted," and were clearly visible to both sides. It was a very realistic way of portraying the "fog of war."

I understood the concept, but when I came back two hours later, almost nothing had been revealed on the tabletop, and very little action had occurred! To me, it was an epic failure: terribly realistic, perhaps; not fun, at all, for either side, as nothing really happened for hours… The players were wrapping it up, as I watched and listened. They had other games to get to, and, like I said, very little had happened in the time allotted -- they did not seem terribly happy about the experience.

When I wrote my own Army Men rules set, I employed numbered figure markers (A0-A9,…, F0-F9, two colors for two sides) for individual figures and vehicles (1:1 figure-to-man ratio game). The players can put out plenty of extra markers, to mask what is/is not real. Once "spotted," the markers are either removed, or replaced with the appropriate figure/vehicle. Players get to employ subtle psychological warfare in choosing how many dummy markers to deploy, and where, how fast to move them across the tabletop, as well as what to threaten with them… I've seen it used to very great effect, more than once, in several games played.

Hidden movement markers work well enough, without bogging down the games: owning players measure, and move all markers, as desired, according to max. movement rates for each figure/vehicle represented, but still unknown by the enemy; enemy players get Spotting die rolls based on distance, LOS, and who is spotting (infantrymen or vehicles with limited viewing ports).

I want something playable, and fun. The more detailed the rules are, the slower the game play is, and that saps my fun out of the game (YMMV). LOL! Cheers!

martin goddard Sponsoring Member of TMP14 Mar 2024 11:10 a.m. PST

Dummy/blind counters probably help with realism.
The problem comes when rules have spotting mechanisms.
Can dummy counters spot things ?

I am not keen on dummy type counters (just my opinion) as I want to put out my nice figures for both players to enjoy.
Moving troops from one place to another can easily take the place of dummys. ie failure to know what is where.


Personal logo Sgt Slag Supporting Member of TMP14 Mar 2024 11:20 a.m. PST

I rationalize dummy counters as being potential enemies closing in. Paranoia can be a rampant thing on the battlefield.

Can dummy counters spot? No.

Typically, I have not seen players deploy entire groups of dummy counters, I've only seen them used to mask the true size of a group encroaching. I would not allow entire groups of dummy counters, as that would be too gamey, for me. I have allowed 6 counters to only have one figure within their group -- the lone figure can make noises which suggest there may be more than one person out there (paranoia effect).

If a dummy counter gets a spotting check on an enemy counter, I would cover for the spotting player by having them roll for that counter, with a failed result. It's not too complicated to keep up a ruse.

In playing my Army Men rules since 1998, it has never been a real issue. Cheers!

nnascati Supporting Member of TMP14 Mar 2024 3:49 p.m. PST

Agreed, one of the reasons I'm not a fan of the Lardies games.

TimePortal14 Mar 2024 9:04 p.m. PST

At gaming shows, I have seen blinds used for the conventions.
The biggest was a Tarawa game. They used radios during the Historicon show.

I have also seen WW2 skirmish town actions at other shows.

doc mcb14 Mar 2024 9:48 p.m. PST

I did rules for dummies for a fantasy skirmish system. Use figures which may or may not be real. When opposing "dummies" see each other, their players reveal whether they are real. Two reals, put both on table. Two blanks, remove both. One real and one blank, blank is removed. Real is NOT put on the table but the opponent now knows there is something there.

Fast and it works.

Martin Rapier15 Mar 2024 12:59 a.m. PST

I use blinds sometimes, in a big game they are a much faster way of doing "hidden" movement, although map deployment works fine for attack/defence situations. I've never been a fan of piles of dummy counters though, too much stuff to move around.

I have occasoused dummy units though (marked on the underside to indicate which are real). Time to use all those Tiger IIs…

advocate Supporting Member of TMP15 Mar 2024 4:03 a.m. PST

By no means all of the Lardy games use blinds. I tend not to use them, but in principle I have nothing against them. I see them as a kind of 'pre-game' which resolves deployment in a slightly more interesting way than just lining up on opposite sides. I can only remember "Principles of War" that used them (apart from IABSM).

ChrisBBB2 Supporting Member of TMP15 Mar 2024 6:03 a.m. PST

The use of Combat Patrols in 'O' Group is a clever alternative.

Eclectic Wave15 Mar 2024 8:02 a.m. PST

Double blind systems can make a very exciting game, but you have to have the right scenario to make it work. Large scale battles, will never work well, nor will having game boards with lots of empty space. Players will be so paranoid that they move achingly slow and nothing happens. These problems can be mitigated by adding spotter units, fast units whose job is to get into trouble. A double blind game with fast spotter units can be really fun. Or very small terrain board, a skirmish game with a limited map board but lots of terrain. One of the best double blind games I ever saw was a double blind game of Sniper set in a small town. Another was a double blind wild west game set in a small town. Note the word SMALL. Lots of terrain with blind spots, but not much space to traverse. And both games had well defined objectives that the players have to reach.

Personal logo miniMo Supporting Member of TMP15 Mar 2024 8:03 p.m. PST

I use a classic 1970's set-up blind for OGRE games. Made some fancy ones to bring to conventions foot high red velvet on curtain rods! They allow simultaneous blind deployment, and are then removed before play begins.

Personal logo McLaddie Supporting Member of TMP18 Mar 2024 10:35 a.m. PST

The big square blinds used by TFL are clunky to say the least. They attempt to cover the area any units would occupy when placed on the table. I have found they don't work well. JMI. I like the Patrol marker system for CinC, but that isn't hidden movement.

Some of the issue is scale. We are using a 60 yards to the inch scale. That means that 26 inches is a mile. There are lots of Napoleonic and more modern military tables for sighting ranges. In a flat landscape, infantry will be identified no further than about 33 inches or 2000 yards.

What we do is take the flag stand for our brigade-sized units, infantry and cavalry [our scale for the Napoleonic period], add several as 'dummies' using other flag stands, so we never have to create 'dummy units' though we have made blocks too. With a cube to indicate whether each unit stand is in column [placed in front] or deployed in line [cube in back of the stand] everyone knows what formation and general footprint each 'hidden' unit has.

Now, it is true that the opposing player can see the movement of the troops 'in general', but that was often the case in reality. Dust, noise and possible reports from civilians would indicate troop movements. We tend to have a lot of dummies. We also will have infantry stands represent cavalry too before the reveal.

What this does is make cavalry scouting and skirmish lines far more meaningful. Those become points of engagement too. Hidding units behind obstructions also becomes more interesting. It does involve more mechanics/rules to accommodate the process.

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