Fog of War change

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Fog of War change

Postby super_dipsy » 11 Nov 2017, 11:01

Within the next 24 hours we will be making a change to Fog of War game play.

As usual, although this is relatively minor, it is a change to the way people are playing and as such is worthy of an announcement in its own right. But this is a bit complicated, so if you are NOT a FoW player I would just skip the rest of this announcement! :D

Ever since its inception, there has been a small level of unfairness in FoW games. Fog of War does not show you much information at all for game history, only your own orders for each phase. It shows no maps in the history. This is justified because FoW is supposed to be hard ;) . HOWEVER it has often been raised that this opens up an unfair difference for players. The only time in FoW you see the map is the map for the turn you are playing. Once that phase is processed, you only see now the map for the new phase. This is fine provided you actually get to see every phase, but with finalizing it is quite possible that you may miss a Retreat and even a Build phase without missing an actual 'turn' (ie where you had an action). So people who happened to get in the game during for example the Retreat phase can see the map showing the retreating unit (assuming they can 'see' it of course!) but someone missing the Retreat phase never gets to see that information.

A scenario demonstrating the problem. You enter Orders and then go away, returning to discover that there has been a Retreat phase that you missed. There is now a foreign unit adjacent to one of yours that you can now see. Was this unit moved there during the Orders phase? Or was it a unit that was forced to retreat and retreated there? You have no way of knowing, but anyone else adjacent to the areas does know as long as they saw the Retreat phase map. Obviously, if a unit is moved into the territory during a move phase that has a whole different set of implications than if it ran there after an attack.

So what we are going to do is to provide a limited set of history maps for FoW. Hopefully keen FoW players will not feel this makes things too 'easy', because they are going to be severely limited! The way it works (hopefully!) is that when you go to Order History, you will see not just your orders but the map for each of the previous phases up to the last Orders phase. The logic is that if you NMR you deserve what you get, so assuming you don't then you will always see the Orders phase map. Therefore, once you play an orders phase all previous phase history maps are erased. But up to the point the Orders phase finishes, you can see any preceding Retreat or Build phase map. This allows you to see any maps you did not have the chance to see before, but only until the orders phase finishes.

This change will not be retrospective. In other words, if you have had some phases complete before the change goes up, there will still be no history for them. But once the change is made, any new phases finished will have history stored up to the execution of the next Orders phase. I hope that makes sense!
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Re: Fog of War change

Postby Woolgie » 11 Nov 2017, 13:06

An excellent compromise on the situation. Personally I would like to see the order history and map from the start of the game (obv just for your own units and visible regions) but this is a nice step forward.

Good work!
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Re: Fog of War change

Postby ColonelApricot » 12 Nov 2017, 01:09

Been looking forward to this one! Avoids fiddling with the finalization options and removes silly tactical factor that disadvantaged certain time-zones.

A great outcome for us FOW aficionados! Don't worry, FOW is still hard (especially with Versailles and PPO!). Now... can we have escalation Versailles?

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Re: Fog of War change

Postby NoPunIn10Did » 13 Nov 2017, 22:38

ColonelApricot wrote:Been looking forward to this one! Avoids fiddling with the finalization options and removes silly tactical factor that disadvantaged certain time-zones.

A great outcome for us FOW aficionados! Don't worry, FOW is still hard (especially with Versailles and PPO!). Now... can we have escalation Versailles?

..CA


Escaversaillation?
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Re: Fog of War change

Postby NoPunIn10Did » 13 Nov 2017, 22:48

super_dipsy wrote:Ever since its inception, there has been a small level of unfairness in FoW games. Fog of War does not show you much information at all for game history, only your own orders for each phase. It shows no maps in the history. This is justified because FoW is supposed to be hard ;) . HOWEVER it has often been raised that this opens up an unfair difference for players. The only time in FoW you see the map is the map for the turn you are playing. Once that phase is processed, you only see now the map for the new phase. This is fine provided you actually get to see every phase, but with finalizing it is quite possible that you may miss a Retreat and even a Build phase without missing an actual 'turn' (ie where you had an action). So people who happened to get in the game during for example the Retreat phase can see the map showing the retreating unit (assuming they can 'see' it of course!) but someone missing the Retreat phase never gets to see that information.


Out of curiosity, was the decision to make all previously-seen maps done for technical reasons or for difficulty reasons?

If it's the latter, then the difficulty is really a question of who screenshots their current maps and who doesn't. I'm not sure that's a good reason to exclude the maps.

If it's the former, maybe we could see a record of map information (opponents' units seen and so forth) added to the orders history. I am fine with not listing other units' orders, but it would be valid to know that I saw A Kiel belonging to Russia in Fall 1903.

I like this change, but I'm still wary of being excluded from seeing one's own record. It seems rather inconvenient to yield an advantage to those who save all that data externally (instead of having it fully encompassed in the game itself, as with a non-FOW game).
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Re: Fog of War change

Postby super_dipsy » 14 Nov 2017, 08:07

NoPunIn10Did wrote:
super_dipsy wrote:Ever since its inception, there has been a small level of unfairness in FoW games. Fog of War does not show you much information at all for game history, only your own orders for each phase. It shows no maps in the history. This is justified because FoW is supposed to be hard ;) . HOWEVER it has often been raised that this opens up an unfair difference for players. The only time in FoW you see the map is the map for the turn you are playing. Once that phase is processed, you only see now the map for the new phase. This is fine provided you actually get to see every phase, but with finalizing it is quite possible that you may miss a Retreat and even a Build phase without missing an actual 'turn' (ie where you had an action). So people who happened to get in the game during for example the Retreat phase can see the map showing the retreating unit (assuming they can 'see' it of course!) but someone missing the Retreat phase never gets to see that information.


Out of curiosity, was the decision to make all previously-seen maps done for technical reasons or for difficulty reasons?

I don't really understand what you are asking. I think you are asking why the maps are not included in the history anyway? If so, the answer is that is the way it was designed I think, and certainly when it comes up as it does now and then that decision has been the consensus of FoW players. If I remember the arguments right, your own orders are maintained as a history because it is already sent to you in the phase emails. Apart from that, I believe the main argument is that it is part of what makes FoW a variant that rewards work. Obviously you can screenshot the map each turn, but if you do not then you do not have any way to get them back. So people who can be bothered to do this will have an advantage over those that can't be bothered. The reason we added the limited history is purely because in a situation where you miss a phase in which you had no action, you could not choose to screenshot the map even if you could be bothered.

It is easy to change this, but if we want to do so it should be discussed in Suggestions. I know when it has come up before the balance has been to leave it as it is. But it may be that current FoW players now think differently. I don't know.
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Re: Fog of War change

Postby Guns of Brixton » 14 Nov 2017, 17:20

I agree completely with NoPun. I had always assumed that the Order History for your own views was unavailable in FoW because it took too much memory to store 7 different versions of each turn. If it's just there to give an advantage to people who play the variant a lot over those that are trying it out for variety then it's yet another reason why the All-Games ratings are unnaturally skewed vis-a-vis the Standard ratings (weren't we going to have the standard ratings be the default for the stats page by the way?)

But seriously, taking a screen-shot is an easy solution once you know to do so and I started doing that the 2nd or 3rd time I played FoW, but it's not a skill or a reward for "hard work", it's just a thing that gives experienced players of the variant an advantage.
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Re: Fog of War change

Postby NoPunIn10Did » 14 Nov 2017, 17:30

super_dipsy wrote:Apart from that, I believe the main argument is that it is part of what makes FoW a variant that rewards work. Obviously you can screenshot the map each turn, but if you do not then you do not have any way to get them back. So people who can be bothered to do this will have an advantage over those that can't be bothered.


I can move to the Suggestions forum, as you say, but I will make the point that this seems to be the wrong way to go about adding difficulty to a variant. Being "bothered" to screenshot the current state of the game at every turn is the type of "work" that feels out of place in Diplomacy and board games in general.
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Re: Fog of War change

Postby diploguy » 14 Nov 2017, 18:26

Yes before seeing the other responses I'm thinking why not just make screen shots? I agree that the difficulty should be within the confines of the game and not on "extra-curricular" activity. Maintaining map history throughout the game is thematic. You're reviewing the battle reports from your field commanders. It's something every nation would have on hand I'm sure.
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Re: Fog of War change

Postby diploguy » 14 Nov 2017, 18:30

NoPunIn10Did wrote:Being "bothered" to screenshot the current state of the game at every turn is the type of "work" that feels out of place in Diplomacy and board games in general.


Agree. It's the same logic that I apply when playing Acquire. The rules don't officially say if stock holdings is public knowledge. I always play that it is because the game shouldn't be about who takes notes better or who has a better memory.
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