Campaign module with concealed armies/scouts

Hi all.

I wonder if anyone can help with this: I am currently working on a campaign map idea to generate terrain for tabletop wargames. This as an alternative to throwing dice and randomly plonking down hills and forests on the battlefield.

The idea is this: two armies, represented by two counters, and several scouts, also represented by counters, enter at opposite ends of a campaign map, with a square grid. Initially all one side’s scouts and army are invisible to the other side. Scouts, however, who enter the same square as the opponent’s army, see that army (which remains visible thereafter) but are not themselves revealed to the opponent. An army that enters a square occupied by an opponent’s army reveals that army and is itself revealed. The square occupied by the 2 armies becomes the battlefield: the terrain indicated in it is replicated on the tabletop, and the orientation is decided by which side the second army entered the square.

Scouts do not reveal other scouts.

The idea is to find and track the opponent’s army, whilst avoiding revealing one’s own army until one has found the right terrain to give battle.

Question is: how does one do this in VASSAL? I’m grateful for any advice.

This sounds like a fairly complicated setup you’ve got going on here. At best I can offer some guidelines for how you might do things.

Okay. So first thing’s first - you’re going to have to set up Player Sides and the Strategic Map will have to include a Rectangular Grid; you’ll need to include some kind of identification for each square of the grid, something VASSAL handles easily.

Your Army pieces will need the Basic Piece, Restricted Access, Delete and Invisible traits for sure - Restricted Access to prevent the opponent from accessing the piece, Delete to remove it from the game in the event it is annihilated, and Invisible to hide its position from the opponent.

f you have a set number of armies, you’ll want Global Properties for each - then they’ll need to include Trigger Actions to check to see if they’re occupying the same space as an enemy force (scout or army) and a Set Global Property command that will change their status from Invisible to Visible. Of course, if I understand the tactical significance here, you’re not going to want a player to know when one of their armies has been detected.

A second set of Global Properties could be used to track the previous position of a piece - this gets updated every time the piece moves to a new location, again with a Set Global Property/Trigger Action set of traits (the Trigger Action checks to see if the piece’s current position is the same as what’s been recorded) - in the event of an encounter, that information can be used to determine which direction the army entered the square from.

A “Can Rotate” trait may then also be added to change the orientation of the army when it enters the tactical board.

That’s all I’ve got off the top of my head; might give you a start on what you’re doing. Sounds like an interesting project.

Thanks for these pointers.

It’s a bit simpler than you suggest: there is only one army per player (though it would be nice to have more than one). Armies are not annihilated. They do that to each other in the actual battle, fought on the tabletop once both enter the same strategic square which decides terrain.

I have tried this with two counters on a physical map (both sides of course see the other’s counter) and it works well. There is some faffing until both players decide which square they will accept for the battle, but the strategic pre-game takes no more than about 10 minutes or so. Makes the actual battle much more fun.

Let me play around with what you’ve suggested and come back with more questions - if you don’t mind answering them. :slight_smile:

I don’t mind answering at all; helps the both of us gain experience with mod building, the way I see it.

I don’t know if you need to return to the strategic board after the battle,
but you might get some ideas about how to manage counters and a battle
board by looking at Compass Games “Silent War” module: …

On Thu, Sep 12, 2013 at 12:58 PM, capi3101 wrote:

I don’t mind answering at all; helps the both of us gain experience with
mod building, the way I see it.

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