Modules for Block Games Such as Rommel in the Desert

I am new to Vassal and have been trying to figure out how you “hide” and “reveal” the blocks in both Rommel in the Desert and Asia Engulfed. I have played the ADC version of Europe Engulfed. In that version, the unit value was always visible to the owning player but when you accessed the unit, it would indicate whether it was hidden to your opponent. By right clicking on one of the info bars of the unit, you could unhide or hide the block.

I read the notes for Rommel but still can’t figure how to hide the blocks from my opponent. Asia Engulfed has no notes so I’m also having trouble with it as well. Any help would be much appreciated.

It sounds like you need the Mask trait. Take a look at the help for Mask in the piece property editor.

  • M.

2009/3/30 SLouis < (>

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Are you trying to build a module or just play one?

I will assume you are just trying to play it. My comments apply to Rommel in the Desert and most of the other block games from Columbia or Worthington.

There is a “flip” or “hide” button on the toolbar for your units. Press it and all your units will hide (i.e. stand on edge facing you). The visual notation for this varies from module to module, but generally a unit adopts a darker 3D border, and sometimes there will be a mark on the unit’s face. There are also hide buttons in the unit pool windows and on the battle boards.

When you start a new game, all units will be lying flat, face up, so you must press your hide/flip button at least once to start.

To reveal a unit (lay it flat), right click it and select the appropriate menu item. This is a toggle; it will hide or reveal the unit each time you select it.

The hide buttons in the battle boards are also toggles because it is convenient for them to be so. The hide buttons in all other windows only hide; they do not reveal.

You might notice hide/reveal buttons for solitaire play. They usually only work if you select Solo as your side. In solo mode, the other buttons I’ve been talking about don’t matter. You can use the solo hide buttons to toggle between showing or hiding (blank backside) each side’s units. If not playing solo, ignore these buttons and menu items.

When playing these block games, there are several preferences you should enable (File/Preferences/General).

  1. Auto-report moves. The chat window will tell you whenever blocks move and their path. (This will be automatic in the next Rommel version.)
  2. Moving stacks should pick up non-moving pieces (I prefer this behavior.)
  3. Opponents can unmask my pieces. This lets your opponent reveal your blocks. It really speeds up play in PBEM but is unnecessary in real-time.

Here is what I did with the Rommel in the Desert Module.
(1) Chose the campaign scenario and the Allies.
(2) After the map is displayed, I clicked on “start logfile.”
(3) Accessed the Allied OOB. Right clicked on each start unit and then clicked flip over for each unit. A little mark shows in the right top corner of each unit after my clicks. I assume this is to show that they have been flipped to face down.
(4) Placed them on the map
(5) Clicked on “end file”.

(6) Opened the module again and chose “load saved game” and chose the saved game from above. Goes directly to the map not allowing me to choose Allies.
(7) Clicked on the forward button until all Allied units appeared on the map. Had to click a number of times before any units appeared as obviously each of my clicks in (3) above constituted an action.

Allied units all appear face up and not hidden.

What am I doing wrong?

On a related note, in the Asia Engulfed module there is no “flip over” button so haven’t a clue how you face up and face down blocks in that one.

From your reply, it sounds like there will be a revised module of Rommel in the Desert. As a suggestion, under properties, it should indicate whether the unit is face down or face up.

Thanks for your help, hope you can set me straight on this.

Nothing. You have created a log file of yourself doing a turn. Then you have loaded your own logfile and replayed your own turn, ending up in exactly the same position as when you ended the logfile.

This is exactly what is supposed to happen. What where you expecting?

Your opponent, however, will see something different. They will be asked to join the game as the opposing side and will not see the allied units you have flipped over.

If you want to pretend to be your opponent and see what they see, you have to change your password in Preferences → Personal before loading the log file so that Vassal thinks you are someone else. Side selection is keyed to password.


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You do not need to click on each unit to hide it. There is a button to do all of them at once on the toolbar. The mark on each unit tells you if it is hidden. If you feel insecure about it, press your flip button on the toolbar each turn.

I do not plan to update Rommel in the Desert any time soon.

Brent is correct. Your password is your key to seeing your units. If you want to pretend to be your opponent, change your password under Preferences.