January 12, 2017

True Hidden Characters, Lands of Ruin Command Console V.0.18

A new version of the Lands of Ruin Command Console is now availabe in Google Play Store for Android



Version 0.18 adds the first version of hidden characters feature to the game.

This is one of the major features we have been talking about for a long time. Internally, we have been testing hidden characters over a year. This first public release brings the very basic form of hidden character to the game.



Concept of true hidden characters

One of the features in tabletop gaming the Lands of Ruin team have felt most strongly about is the lack of true hidden characters. While some games have tried to find ways to implement hidden characters using cameras, tokens etc means we feel that all of these means fall short from creating the right type of excitement, tactical options and gameplay.

If your opponent knows that there is a hidden sniper on the table the system has already failed. Even worse if your opponent knows approximate location or even exact location but has to pretend that their team doesn't.

The lack of good implementations of true hidden characters on tabletop gaming is not surprising. There simply is no easy way to make it work properly without making the gameplay suffer. Luckily we don't have the same limitations. Technology to the rescue!

Secret deployment

Players who bring hidden characters into the battle deploy them only on their Command Console app. Your opponent will never know if you have a hidden sniper or not until you open fire with it or it gets detected.

The lack of certain information allows interesting possibilities for mind games. Can you make your opponent believe you have a hidden sniper when you don't have one? Can you keep them secret long enough to spring a perfect ambush?

A character with Infiltration skill can be deployed to the battlefield before the game starts. To do this simply drag your infiltrator to the location you wish them to be during the pre-game phase.

Automatic detection

There's no such thing as perfect camouflage. Your hidden characters might get detected earlier than you'd like.

But wait! How can we roll for detection without letting your opponent know that there's something to roll detection for?

This is the second key point of our implementation using technology. The Lands of Ruin Command Console app knows where our hidden character is. It also knows where your enemies are. Hence, it can roll for detection automatically in the background and only alert your opponent about your hidden character when they're detected.

Each character has a camouflage rating that is derived from the gear they wear (large items lower the rating and special items, like camouflage cloak, improve it). Each character also have a detection value which describes how aware they are of their surroundings. This can be improved by skills and equipment.

Once a turn (at the start of your Action Phase) the Command Console app secretly rolls a die to determine if any characters in the same map section as a hidden character detect the presence of them. This roll takes into account the camouflage and detection values mentioned above. In case of a successful detection the detecting player is notified and the hidden character is marked as detected on the map.

Asymmetric Information -> New Gameplay Opportunities

It is worth noting that when your opponent detects your hidden character you won't be told. The information is provided to your opponent without your knowledge.

The detecting player can then at any point reveal the hidden character and force the owning player to bring the miniature on the table.

Letting your opponent force you to place your hidden characters in table is not a good idea. Any character revealed by the enemy are suffering "surprised" effect for the next two turns making them easy targets and not able to move.

Note that while at some times it is clear exactly where the character is in some cases the battlefield has multiple levels, walls etc that are not part of the map in the app. In these cases the owning player gets to place the miniature to the level / side of the wall he choses. Think of this as the revealed character dashing into cover or jumping down/up in desperate move after realised that they have been exposed.

A revealed character can then immediately be targeted for attacks like any other character on the battlefield.

Springing the Ambush

Hitting your enemy with a devastating sniper shot at the critical time is, of course, the goal of a hidden sniper. To spring your ambush simply assign shooting (or any other action you'd like) like you would for any normal character. When your action phase comes you will place the character model on the battlefield and execute your action normally. The Command Console app will automatically remove your hidden status when you perform any actions. Naturally, when it is you who reveals your hidden sniper the "surprised" effect is not added to them and they can act normally in the following turns.

It is worth noting that hidden characters cannot move. If you do not have targets available and you want to move your hidden character you must first reveal them. You can always assign "Reveal" action to your own hidden character allowing you to place the model to the battlefield and continue using them as any other character for the rest of the game.



Outlanders

Outlanders are the masters of guerrilla warfare therefore no other tribe would be a better example for utilising hidden characters and ambush tactics.

Out plan has always been to release a new tribe of characters with new major features. Hidden characters is the first one we're releasing and Outlanders are accompanying that.

For now we have added an additional character, Outlander Scout, to all beta testers. This new character can be added to your tribe from the tribe management interface in the app. More Outlander characters will follow soon.

These characters will also be included to ALL digital pack or higher KS backers when we move beyond the initial free testing phase.



Feedback

We're constantly looking for feedback from our players. Please don't hesitate to contact us if you run into problems!