Difference between revisions of "Zone of Control"

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Revision as of 20:21, 16 September 2011

The ability of game elements to affect the functionality of those adjacent to them.

Regardless of it a game is real-time based or turn-based, it is often impossible for rules to accurately reflect how combatants can react to each others' actions. Having combatants extend a Zone of Control - the ability to affect other combatants abilities if they are next to each other - is one way to abstractly handling the one should be able to notice and hinder enemies from acting right next to oneself.


Being a military concept, it is not too surprising that Wargames such as Axis & Allies: Battle of the Bulge and World War 3 are the primary users of Zone of Control. Other games that adopted the use of Zone of Control include several installments of the Civilization series and Bloodbowl, the later which uses Zone of Control to make throwing and catching the ball more difficult if opponents are nearby. It also lets players try to tackle those that try to run pass opponents.

Using the pattern

The two main design choices for creating Zone of Control in a game are what generates them and what their effects are. Zone of Controls typically spread out from Units, and more rarely from Avatars, but letting Territories create them can let them exist independently from these or spread out from Installations and other stationary game elements.

The effects of a Zone of Control are most often linked to either Combat or Movement. For Combat, this is typically providing advantages to friendly Units or disadvantages to hostile ones. A Zone of Control typically affects Movement by imposing Movement Limitations, e.g. forcing Units to stop if they enter a Zone of Control (e.g. Civilization V), requiring higher Movement costs, or allowing attacks if one passes through multiple Zones of Control (e.g. Bloodbowl). Some effects can be seen as a related to both Combat and Movement, e.g. not being allowed to retreat into enemy Zones of Control and being eliminated if this means retreat is impossible.

Being able to ignore the Zone of Control of some types of Units can be a Privileged Abilities to other types of Units


Zone of Control is most commonly a way to let Avatars or Units extended agency beyond the exact physical location they have in a Game World. In this, they can be seen as a way to modify Area Control.

As they often affect Combat or Movement, Zones of Control create a need for both Strategic and Tactical Planning; the former for determining which areas are generally good to extend these from and the latter for how to handle or place them in any current situation during gameplay. The use of Zone of Control in any game is likely to significant raise the importance of any Choke Points present.


Can Instantiate

Movement Limitations

Can Modulate

Area Control, Avatars, Choke Points, Combat, Movement, Units

Can Be Instantiated By


Can Be Modulated By

Privileged Abilities

Possible Closure Effects


Potentially Conflicting With



New pattern created in this wiki.