Fog of war refers to the unknown variables in a situation. It has its origins in 19th century warfare, where a general had to maintain knowledge of enemy positions and the status of friendly soldiers. If one of your scouts failed to return with updates from the battlefield, and you didn’t send reinforcements, you could get caught in a surprise attack. Knowing your opponent’s goals and orders ahead of time could save you resources.

Games have been used to simulate war since much earlier, in the 18th century. Players training against each other for the real thing would often get to hide their units until the match began; later additions used multiple boards to maintain fog of war throughout the game. To this day, common household board often let you hide your pieces by keeping them face down or towards you. Card games operate on the same principle.”

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