Saturday, 5 February 2011

Triffles (6) - A lookout

The last Triffle made mention of an ambush, and an ambush might need a lookout.



           a perceptible signal /             observation devices /         
          movement                      provisions / a pastime

\             /

a lookout

              \

                                                 a concealed approach /
                                                  secret passage  



In wargaming this could be represented by a set of say half a dozen counters placed by a defender, most being dummies, but one marked on the side facing down; as enemy forces approached within a certain distance of each, the counters would be flipped, and if the mark were revealed, the defender could bring on reinforcements within a given distance of that point. Balance? Why the obsession with fairness? Is it war or not?

In roleplaying the failure to spot a lookout could increase the number of monsters in the next encounter, or allow an imminent trap to be set or sprung with greater accuracy.

In writing we might be most interested in the character and mood of the lookout, whether he or she was distracted, and where that passage leads.

2 comments:

Von said...

Very reminiscent of Space Hulk's 'blip' system, which was deliberately unbalanced as a counter-balance for the forces involved - the Terminators could outshoot the Genestealers, but the Terminators' player had no idea how many Stealers were actually on the board, only of roughly where they were amassing.

Porky said...

Yep, I'm a huge fan of tabletop counters, especially for bluffing. They're a useful mechanism for getting much more information on the board, and can easily be turned into models in their own right. ArmChairGeneral is putting out some counters for When the Navy Walked, and they're perfect for a more complex game like this, especially if decisions need to be kept secret.

Space Hulk really is a brilliant example of how they can add uncertainty, especially with the number of genestealers per non-dummy blip varying.

Sticking with GW, you probably remember the strategy cards in second edition 40K - some of those used counters too, and second edition was big on them in general. The early Epic also used order counters, and the late '90s rewrite used stand-up markers to show the disorder caused by incoming fire.

If you haven't seen it already, Galaxy in Flames updated the strategy cards idea for fifth edition here

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