Secret Resources

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Resources that at least one players is unaware of concerning existence or specific details.

In many cases, players do not have complete information regarding resources that exist in games. These resources are Secret Resources in one sense or another due to this until all players have been provided the information.


The identities of one's pieces in Stratego are a form of Secret Resource in that game, as it the positions of one's ships in Battleship.

Many Computer-based Roleplaying Games and FPS Games contain secret areas with Secret Resources. Examples of such games include the Fallout series, the Elder Scrolls series, the Doom series, and the Half-Life series.

Until others have performed sufficient scouting activities, the specifics of one's base in the Warcraft series and Starcraft series are Secret Resources. When playing on new maps in these games, the location of most Resources in the game worlds are also Secret Resources.

Using the pattern

Secret Resources are constructed by introducing Imperfect Information or Uncertainty of Information regarding Resources. This may be through their placement and diegetic knowledge about them in Game Worlds or about abstract Resources. Providing Fog of War that covers Resources is one way of doing the former while having Hands of Cards is one way of doing the latter. Enabling players to having knowledge about Secret Resources is one way to provide Privileged Abilities in games.

Secret Resources can be used to provide additional benefits to performing Reconnaissance goals.


Secret Resources make players have Limited Planning Ability and give them Gain Information and Game World Exploration goals as long as they are at least aware of that they might exist. They may constitute Easter Eggs in Game Worlds, although not distinct ones unless the Resources they constitute are very rare or unique. Secret Resources can create Asymmetric Information as long as some players have knowledge about them but others do not.


Can Instantiate

Asymmetric Information, Easter Eggs Gain Information, Game World Exploration, Limited Planning Ability

Can Modulate

Game Worlds, Reconnaissance, Resources

Can Be Instantiated By

Hands, Imperfect Information, Uncertainty of Information

Resources together with Fog of War

Can Be Modulated By

Privileged Abilities

Possible Closure Effects


Potentially Conflicting With



An updated version of the pattern Secret Resources that was part of the original collection in the book Patterns in Game Design[1].


  1. Björk, S. & Holopainen, J. (2004) Patterns in Game Design. Charles River Media. ISBN1-58450-354-8.