<a novref=true text=@key href=pattern-reconnaissance.html>Reconnaissance</a>


Patrolling a known area in the game world to detect changes.

The goal in Reconnaissance is to get more information about changes happening, or having happened, in a specific place or area. This forces the players to collect information of the whereabouts of the enemy by moving units in the area. Often the game provides special units for this purpose with fast movement and possibility to notices enemy units as longer distances.

Example: Typical examples of the pattern can be found in strategy games where the units have information only about the other units near them. For instance, Sid Meier's Civilization require player to continue moving their units within already explored areas since the movement of enemy units are not detected unless they are near a unit or a city.

Example: In the board game Space Hulk, the player playing space marines can detect the presences and location of the enemy genestealers in the spaceship but not there exact number, which may make Reconnaissance missions necessary to find where enemy buildups are taking place.

Using the pattern

The possible reasons for Reconnaissance goals are many: locating Enemies that move and are not on Game State Overviews; finding Renewable Resources that would otherwise be Secret Resources due to bad or non-existent Game State Overviews, maintaining Area Control over areas that are too large to completely watch from one positions; or to do Attention Swapping between different areas of gameplay.

Designing Reconnaissance goals consists of defining the area that has to be searched, how heavy the Fog of War is, what if any game elements can be detected, and the means a player has to observe them. To make the goal have the Right Level of Difficulty, the game space that is to be search is usually not too large and many times a specific route is specified, i. e. making use of the Traverse pattern. What game elements can be detected can either be predetermined or be under the control of other players. The Right Level of Difficulty can be modulated by making use of Progress Indicators thatreveal the percentage of detected game elements or by having Game State Overviews such as maps providing Imperfect Information. The creation of Strategic Locations that provide good opportunities for observation can achieve similar results.

Players have to notice presences in the game area, similarly to Guard, but to notice any previous presence can make use of the Memorizing pattern. In the latter case, this can be supported by having many moveable game elements in the game space that may have been moved, by making uses of Traces, or by letting players set Deadly Traps or Alarms.

Similar to Guard, Reconnaissance is a goal that may never be completed if there are no enemy game elements to detect.


Reconnaissance is a special case of Gain Information relying on the Uncertainty of Information of the location or existence of Enemies, and has Stealth as its Preventing Goal. Reconnaissance requires players to regularly move game elements in order to find Enemies or the Traces of their presence; this can be seen as a combination of the Guard and Gain Information goals. Reconnaissance is also a Continuous Goal as it should be performed as long as there is a reasonable risk that enemy units have not be detected in a given area. Reconnaissance goals of Enemies that are performed through static patterns can require players to perform Rhythm-Based Actions to avoid detection.


Instantiates: Continuous Goals, Gain Information, Traverse, Stealth

Modulates: Rhythm-Based Actions, Secret Resources, Guard

Instantiated by: Attention Swapping, Fog of War, Renewable Resources, Area Control, Enemies

Modulated by: Deadly Traps, Strategic Locations, Traces, Alarms, Game State Overview, Secret Resources

Potentially conflicting with: Game State Overview