Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Double Blind Wargaming?

This is a fun, and somewhat different than usual, wargaming experience.  I have seen (and participated) in games that used this concept in several ways.  These include:

Double Blind Setup - a sheet or screen is set up on the tabletop - both sides then set up their units, up to the screen, anywhere on the table.  Can lead to exciting and hilarious results, usually results in a great game.

Double Blind Throughout - both sides have some information hidden from each other.  This could be from using generic markers for units; from not having units on the board (using hidden map movement); or from using dummy markers/units to do feints.  This can be generally very exciting, although it is handled best with a referee.

Double Blind for some players - This one was done best, years ago at the old Hampton "Campaign Headquarters" store (a great wargaming shop, if there ever was one), during an extravaganza Kursk game.  The game was talked about for weeks and involved most of the regulars at the shop.  The tactical moves and combat were done on an extremely large wargaming table (I think it consisted of a 6x12 and two 5x9s) by tactical commanders on both the German and Russian sides.  However they had to act under orders from their respective commanders - who were sitting in another room with just paper maps, pizza, and beer.  Every other turn the German C-in-C could get updates from his tactical commanders (and then mark up his map, and issue orders, dedicate artillery, etc).  The Russian C-in-C was limited to every third turn.  It was great.  A lot of vodka was consumed that night by the Russian side (I was a Russian infantry commander).

What are your experiences, and what would you like to see ODMS try out in this area?  Please comment...


  1. Double Blinds are great. We did an Axis and Allies one at the "Guns of August". Would want to play Axis and Allies any other way now.

  2. My most memorable game to date was a late 80's double blind with referee game of Squad Leader. We used three separate tables each with it's own set of maps and counters - your throughout option.

    We set up according to the limited intelligence we were given. My Russian reinforced company was tasked with a night assault on a German held village. I set up a simple attack plan, lit a Sobranie and cut them loose. I would like to say all went according to plan and I crushed the fascists with minimal casualties, but in fact it was a nail biter all the way with my Ivans blowing through the German positions only to take fire form the rear from by-passed positions. I won in the end but that was nothing compared to looking at the master map a games end and seeing how tangled up the positions really were.

    Nothing like it for great game play.

  3. A twist on Dbl Blnd for Napoleonics is the "drop box" game. Troop delpoyments of equal value/size are placed in covered boxes, say three per side by the host for a six man game. These can be completely blind or marked as "Inf Heavy", "Cav Heavy" "Milita" "Grenadier" etc indicating the general nature of but not the details of what's in the box should you desire to give the players a "peak" at what's inside. After chosing sides each player picks a box (roll off for first dibs). Players then place their box on the game table, usually in the reverse order the boxes were picked (roll off for which side gets the honors) alternating between sides. Drop locations should be at prominent terrain features or entry points (the host should # or designate these in some fashion for clarity). If you have six players you want to have 8-10 eligable drop points, some of which will overlap (by taking one, you block out another player from another adjacent drop point/feature within the minimum distance. Placements must be at least a set distance apart (say 18" - distance varries with the rules your using and size of table, out of inf fire range, charge range, but perhaps in long range arty). Then players open their boxes, deploy their troops within a short radius of the feature (4-6") and you're set to start! Typically we've seen one end fights a "delay" or economy of force trying to survive until main attack can crush the other sides delaying unit. Swirling battles...driven by stratigic use of the terrain when setting your box down. Every games different...usually lots of maneuver so not your usual "set piece" Napy battle!