Chestnut Lodge Wargames Group

Online Interactive Maps (Part 2) – by Nick Luft

This is a follow on from my previous piece about using an interactive map hosted by ConceptBoard.

All the controls referred to here relate to features on ConceptBoard. I guess that these techniques will be easily recreated on other Interactive Whiteboards.

Seize Warsaw – at Virtual COW 2021

I ran a slightly modified game of Seize Warsaw at Virtual COW 2021.

I provided the Players with their own map, and counters which they can move. There was a map for Control that was to mark the real positions of all counters and units of both sides. One of Control’s job was to check their map and update the Player Map to show the “discovered” Polish units. The players were left to move their own units on their map.

After the game, in the Control wash-up, it was thought that having to hop between two maps and remember where the units were was a little too much cognitive load.

Off-the-Map” Tabs Hiding Units

I have now managed to create a Player Map that hides units from the players and enables Control to click a button to reveal them.

To do this I add all the Polish units onto the Player Map.

I work out what sets of Polish units can be seen from by the advancing German units that reach certain trigger points. These trigger points are marked on the Control Map.

I then select all the units in a “set” and “group” them (see Figure 3).

This “group” is then grouped with an off-the-map “tab”. In Figure 1 below you can see three red off-the-map “tabs” – West, Central and East.

I then select the option “Send to back” (see Figure 3) for that group and all the on map counters are placed on a layer below the map, thus hidden, and the “tab” is left off-the-map and is still visible.

Figures 1 & 2 show what this looks like on the map

Figure 1

Figure 1: Initial Player view – showing only the “off-the-map” tabs

Figure 2

Figure 2: Final Player view – showing the unit/s that were hidden and linked to the East “tab”

Other applications

I was recently an umpire in an online version of Jim Wallman’s Urban Nightmare: State of chaos .

In that game I was generating counters to be placed on the map, and also taking orders from players and then moving their units on the map. The players could only watch and not edit.

An application of the above technique would be to pre-load each turn’s random events – e.g. fires and casualties – and use the off-the-map “tabs” to hide or reveal them. For example click on “Turn 1” tab for all the fires and casualties to appear.

But it’s just a manual method

I realise that I have merely created a simplified manual system that most computer games do as standard.

However, I have not yet acquired the skills required to edit and create online interactive games. I can think of some tools I would have to learn but it will take a lot of learning.

I think “Interactive Whiteboards” provide a quick and easy way for Control to have multiple players all seeing, reacting and talking about their units and counters on a map.


Figure 3

Figure 3 – This menu is accessed by right clicking on the off-the-map tab. The menu enables Control to either hide or reveal units.

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