Shadow Empire Snap Question #3

fowFog of war, almost better known under its acronym FOW, is a well known game feature to wargamers. One of the reasons I am designing the procedural Shadow Empire (SE) and not another historical game is that I really love FOW. Uncertainty makes me curious and adds exploration and recon gameplay. As well as providing added excitement as risks mount with the increasing count of unknowns.

My Decisive Campaigns games always had the well known recon range type of FOW, while Advanced Tactics even had a shroud of darkness. Both however limited themselves to hiding from view what the players forces could not see.

In real wars the FOW is much more extreme. For example the German army in 1939 had no sure idea how well their Panzers would do in combat… Or how good a commander their generals would actually be… Or even if the Blitzkrieg theory would actually be effective…

I am quite motivated to increase the level of FOW in SE significantly. However there is a catch… If for example you as a player are not sure if you have a good or a bad general in your service, or if your tank design is better or worse than the enemy tanks… would that not be frustrating? You’d find out eventually, but it would take combat and time to come to conclusions about what is working and what is not. Would you actually like such a level of realism / uncertainty?

How deep do you like your Fog of War?

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Big thanks for taking the time to reflect and advise VR. The feedback is valuable to me, however keep in mind that I am not designing on a majority vote basis :)

Best wishes,

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5 Responses to Shadow Empire Snap Question #3

  1. Andy Brown says:

    I’ve opted for Heavy FoW but it’d require a lot of thought. For example, few general officers would begin a war as unknown quantities. Even if they had no previous combat experience, the C-in-C would have SOME idea of what to expect from them from peacetime performance evaluations etc. Sure, they might turn out not to be able to handle the pressure once combat starts but they wouldn’t be a completely unknown quantity. OTOH, that new HEAT round you’ve just developed may not work but, if it does work, I guess you could be surprised by the armour penetration it achieves.

    I think what you describe as Very Heavy FoW is going way too far. One of the first things competitive players do with a new game is figure out how to optimise the numbers. This won’t be possible if we don’t know the rules. You could be limiting your potential market by doing this. Also, you can only vary the effectiveness of, say, anti-armoured weapons by so much before the model becomes implausible.

  2. vic says:

    Hi Andy,

    Agreed. I am fully aware if you extend FOW to your own player assets that there must be ways to clear that FOW just as you would be able to get recon on enemy hexes in lighter FOW models.

    I liked your remark: “One of the first things competitive players do with a new game is figure out how to optimise the numbers. This won’t be possible if we don’t know the rules”… as it is exactly something I was considering. It is however very far from a player wish it seems :)

  3. Chris says:

    I would prefer Heavy FOW but why not have FOW as an option at the beginning of a game unless it would require a lot of extra coding. Considering this is in the future and there will always be trade within regions maps would exist for territory not under your control so having the terrain hidden from you makes no sense.

  4. Craig says:

    Hi Vic
    If you sell the game as heavy fog I know I would buy it but not everyone would
    When discussing this I think back to the american civil war and how some of the commanders were so lost and disastrous. I think that players would have to optimize the odds not the modifiers as historical commanders had to do. Training, experience, and theory will take on a whole genuine meaning. A force may have a full division reported but it could also be low on ammo and morale and theres little to know this in the field
    recon scouts pickets and radio interception becomes crucial. all abstracts to make a game more playable are now under a microscope… sounds awesome!

  5. Jeff says:

    I like the idea of heavy FOW but I think there should be a mechanic to expend resource points to reduce the effect of it.

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