This question is about the board game "Strange Synergy" by Steve Jackson Games - it's a rather complex game so if you are not familiar with it, please ask for clarifications before attempting to answer.

There are many questions that rise as the result of using the power "Invisibility", and as I don't like the "popular" house rule of "remove from the game any power that raises tough questions", I would like opinions about how to solve the questions that were raised. The "Invisibility" power has these properties:

  • The miniature is removed from the board and instead the player has to privately record the location of the character.
  • The invisible character "is not an obstacle"
  • If another warrior guesses where the character is and fires at its location, the character may be hit. The invisible character is also susceptible to any area or "line" effects.

The problems are:

  • If a warrior shoots another warrior (not line effect - just standard targeting), and an invisible character is in the line of sight - are they hit? My guess is that not because an invisible character "is not an obstacle" while obstacles prevent warriors from targeting each other.
  • If a warrior moves through a location where an invisible character is located, do they have to stop, resolve "bumping" or in any other way become aware of the invisible character? My guess would be that the answer is no because an invisible character "is not an obstacle".
  • If a warrior moves and stops on a location where an invisible character is, does any effect happen as a result?
  • If a warrior shoots another warrior that is on the same location as an invisible character (using a power with no area or line of effect, such as the "Pistol"), is the invisible character hit?
  • Can an invisible character, in its move, move through a location where another character is standing?
  • Can an invisible character, in its move, move to a location where another character is standing?
  • If an invisible character becomes visible in the same location that another character holds, what happens? I would expect at least normal "bumping" to happen but - the character that was invisible can't immediately move off (as "bumping" resolution requires) because it just used its entire turn to become visible. Also the rules for the "Intangible" power which behaves similar to "Invisible" in regard to not being an obstacle, say that if the character becomes tangible in the same location as another character, both characters die immediately.

I would appreciate any opinions, even from people who haven't played Strange Synergy (though do ask for clarifications for things you are not sure about, in that case).


1 Answer 1


Obstacles block line of sight and movement and Invisible characters are not considered obstacles, thus people can attempt to move and shoot through spaces containing invisible characters, as they don't "know" the invisible character is there. But that doesn't mean that characters won't affect the results of that action. I believe the "not an obstacle" is there to resolve any situations like "Well you're aiming at Garbonzo, but Invisible Sinistra is in the way so you can't".

Invisibility isn't Intangibility (as you're aware). Characters cannot occupy the same locations normally, and just because one of them is Invisible doesn't change anything. I don't remember if there's anything in the rules that say you can't choose to run into someone (thus forcing a "bump"), but I play like that can happen. So as soon as the Invisible character's square is entered, the "bump" gets resolved as normal, and then the active player's turn continues.

Similarly, as Invisible people are subject to burst attacks and line of effects, I say they suffer the brunt of any targeted effects that were going to pass through the square they occupy to get to the intended target.

But honestly, we just take out Invisibility and Intangibility because we feel it unnecessarily prolongs the game...


At the end of the obstacles section there is a clarification for thrown gadgets which says "Nothing may be thrown through a warrior's square". While this is in the obstacle section (which an invisible character is not) the phrasing of the paragraph leads me to believe it doesn't matter. Rather than saying "Nothing can be thrown through a square with an obstacle and Nothing can be thrown into a square with a permanent obstacle." they specified warrior. However, this doesn't cover ranged attacks from non-gadgets that attempt to pass through an invisible character, such as Zorch Ball. I would say that these other attacks don't "need" to travel in a straight line, so the invisible character gets bypassed.

Ranged attacks are aimed at specific squares rather than warriors. In the ranged strike section, it specifically says that two warriors occupying the same square do not block each other from ranged attacks. So if all involved warriors could be subject to the attack, all of them get attacked.

The rules say that permanent obstacles and living warriors are obstacles. Warriors cannot move into or through a space occupied by an obstacle. Invisibility says that this warrior is not an obstacle. Therefore other warriors can move into and through the invisible warriors space. But the other warriors are still obstacles, so the invisible warrior cannot move into or through their space, at least not without causing a bump. While this doesn't make much sense, that's how it's written.

Then there's the problem of reappearing. Since Intangibility specifically mentions the case where an intangible warrior appears in a space that another warrior occupies and Invisibility doesn't, this means either they forgot about this possibility for Invisibility or they didn't intend for it to happen in the first place. First, occupying the same space as another warrior shouldn't prevent an invisible warrior from appearing; there's no basis for that.

So there's a couple ways to resolve this

  1. Use the same thing that intangbility does and kill both characters.
  2. Make both characters resolve a bump and make one/both of them resolve random movement
  3. Don't allow this situation to happen in the first place and make bumps occur when any two non-intangible warriors attempt to move into the same space.
  • One problem I have with this solution is that it takes a very narrow look at "not an obstacle", and I don't see how reading "not an obstacle" as "people can move through the square occupied by the character" is wrong. Also, I think comparing this power to Intangible is warranted, as they have similar effects and as I believe the game to have been developed with power balance in mind, one should read the powers as having about the same functionality. Taking your interpretation removes a lot of functionality out of invisibility, making it only useful for a long-range sniping character. comments?
    – Guss
    Commented Oct 18, 2011 at 6:13
  • Well, if you allow other characters to occupy the same space as Invisible characters and move through Invisible characters, there's no reason not to allow the Invisible Character to willingly move through them. And if you allow them to take that action, then why can they occupy the same space as a character, but not a stationary obstacle? They're both 'obstacles'. Commented Oct 18, 2011 at 14:34
  • 1
    And do you allow the Invisible Character to be specifically targeted by single square attacks, or only by area effects? Because then we'd have a Character that can ignore all obstacles on the board and do any sort of attack they want and only be affected by area effects. Which makes Invisibility significantly more powerful than Intangibility, because there is no reason to not stay Invisible forever as there are no drawbacks. Commented Oct 18, 2011 at 15:00
  • your points are interesting. Regarding moving over real obstacles, the card has no mention of this, but as Intangibility specifically allows that, I guess it could be argued that you can't do that because it is not specifically allowed. Regarding attacks on the location of the invisible character - that is indeed the major question here: Obviously this is allowed and can hit the character when the attacker specifically tries to hit an invisible character - as it says so on the card. But if an attacker tries to hit a visible character that shares its location with the invisible one, what then?
    – Guss
    Commented Oct 18, 2011 at 15:34
  • 1
    The top right column on page four states 'In the rare case where two warriors occupy the same square, they do not block each other from ranged strikes.' Commented Oct 18, 2011 at 16:32

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