On Sight aims to differ from the classic turn-based strategy (TBS) games in that a player who has suffered losses has still a chance to win. On Sight could be compared to the classic game Laser Squad, or the more modern Jagged Alliance. On Sight is a simplified version of these two games. In these two games, the player who loses a unit has instantly less possibilities to win the game. He can't recover his previous situation but he has to work with what he has got. This same applies to On Sight but with the exception that every player has always a theoretical possibility to gain more units and possibly a dominating position in the game. This is possible because the game units never die in On Sight. They only change sides. Even with a single unit against ten opposing units, a player is still able to convert the opposing units to his side and thus obtain the dominating position.
Turning a losing position into a dominating position is not easy, though. In general practice, based on my experience in playing On Sight, it may be impossible. It depends on how carefully the opposing player plays. This makes a difference between On Sight and the classic board game Othello. In Othello, the dominating position may change radically during the game. For example, once I lost a serious Othello game even though in the middle of the game, I had about 30 units and the opponent had 3. In Othello, there is no guaranteed way of playing safe. In On Sight, there is. One could say that On Sight is theoretically more stable game than Othello.
I have had an afterthought of On Sight's way of not killing units but converting them to opposing side (the so called conversion rule). Thinking of trying to make the game not get progressively harder for a player who has lost units, the conversion rule is not necessarily any better than killing units. In fact, it may be worse. Stealing a unit from another player makes you even stronger while the other player gets weaker. If the unit just died, the killing player would not get the benefit of an extra unit.
Another leading thought in On Sight is that a simplified game structure is easier to master and thus players are encouraged to invent and use different tactics and playing patterns. In my opinion, a wide range of different weapons, armors, movement points, and other abilities only obscures what the game is really about. These obscuring factors are common in modern computer games (such as Jagged Alliance to mention just one). In contrast, such obscuring factors are practically nonexistent in games with a long tradition (such as chess and Othello). Make a guess, which has been and will be more popular, Jagged Alliance or chess? Chess is purely based on rules and simple layout. Jagged Alliance relies heavily on numeric abilities, fine tuning and graphics. On Sight aims to be more of the chess style.
Finally, On Sight wants to be excluded from the mass of obscure puzzle games. These obscure puzzle games are the ones which have no reasonable interpretation in a common player's real world experiences. These games are based on concepts such as "stack falling blocks forming lines of similar colors", or "eat away continuous areas of blobs with similar texture trying to clear the screen". Many games fall into this category. Some of them may be quite addictive, though, but none of them has a contact with reality as we know it. It may be hard for some people to understand why anybody plays these games. (I admit that I do sometimes. :-)
On Sight has a natural interpretation as a war strategy game. When a unit is converted, it is kind of shot with the exception that it doesn't die. There are parties which correspond to the opposing sides of a battle. The game board is a simplified battlefield with its rocks giving shelter on the otherwise plain ground.
On Sight could also be interpreted as a political simulation. The players actually command political parties. The units are the parties' representatives, politicians that is. The game is about dominating the political world with the party's ideology. The more units a party has and the better spread they are on the political battlefield of ideologies, the better ground the party has. Converting units means talking them over, or surrounding them with accusations from many sides so that they can't defend themselves verbally. After such a humiliation, the unit - the politician - changes party to preserve his face. The walls correspond to common assumptions and well-established cultural habits that don't change. Politicians can hide behind these facts to protect themselves and their opinions.
There may very well be even more interpretations of On Sight. This means that On Sight has common ground with the world that is familiar to us people. There are similar mechanics in war and politics as there is in On Sight.
Page updated on Sunday 2006-10-01 by Ville Nurmi