Monday, 28 February 2011

Rules Lawyering: Line of Sight

As you may have noticed, today's post has a significant titular difference from those that precede it. Why? 'Cause today I feel like being an asshat, is why. This post will be petty. nitpicking, and - of course - entirely correct. It contains the sort of rules lawyering I only ever apply in practice if it's my own models that are affected.

Sunday, 27 February 2011

Rules Conundrum: The Kustom Force Field

Here we go again. This post has been inspired by Fester's article here. Arctic Circle thing indeed. Don't get me wrong, I like his articles. I just don't agree with his (or to be fair, the seemingly most common) interpretation of this rule.

Let's get to it, then. The Kustom Force Field.
"A Kustom Force Field gives all units within 6" of the Mek a cover save of 5+. Vehicles within 6" are treated as being obscured targets." (Codex: Orks, p. 34)

So, vehicles are obscured. Let's see what that means, shall we?
"If the target is obscured and takes a glancing or penetrating hit, it may take a cover save against it, exactly like a normal model would do against a wound (for example, a save of 5+ for a hedge, 4+ for a building, 3+ for a fortification, and so on).
[. . .]
If a special rule or a piece of wargear confers to a vehicle the ability of being obscured  even if it is in the open, this is a 4+ save, unless specified otherwise in the Codex." (Big Black Book, p. 62).

So, we need to check if the special rule 'specifies otherwise'. Back to the Codex we go. What have we here? "[A]ll units within 6" of the Mek [get] a cover save of 5+". Are vehicles treated as units?
"A unit will usually consist of several models that fght as a group, but it can also be a single, very large or powerful model, such as a battle tank [. . .]" (BBB, p. 3)

There's further evidence on page 5, if you want it. Vehicles, whether alone or in group, count as a unit.

So, what's my point, then? The Kustom Force Field (or KFF) gives all units within range a 5+ cover save. It makes vehicles obscured, which only tells us we need to apply this rule to vehicles. Targets that are obscured because of a piece of wargear have a 4+ save only if the wargear doesn't state differently (or if it's also obscured for some other reason, obviously), which the KFF does. It confers a 5+ save, and it doesn't matter if you're a Grot or a Battle Wagon.

Following Fester's argument, I'm a Swede, and obviously subject to the Arctic Circle thing, but hey, I feel I make a cogent argument.

So that's my take on Kustom Force Fields. Ta for now.

Wednesday, 23 February 2011

Campaign thoughts

My club has, over the last few years, run four separate campaigns for 40k, the last of which I organized. Suffice it to say, mine fell flat on its face. I think, however, that I've a theory as to why.

Lack of focus.

All these campaigns have run on the principle of having a narrative, and assigning a winner. I think, that after a few times, something needs to be changed. Okay, so it's a bit more complicated, but that'll do for now.

So I've decided to shake things up a bit. The next campaign will forego the narrative bit entirely; it will, in essence, be a tournament spread out over several months (to accomodate everybody's schedules, more than anything). I will do some meddling with the basic scenarios (bringing the two tables up to six, for a total of thirty-six possible combinations), but will otherwise leave things as they are. I will also encourage lists ofg a more competitive nature than are usually seen.

And where does this leave the narrative aspect? I'm glad you asked. And the answer is, 'down the road'. See, I'm also planning on a real campaign, with a map and four or six players, in which i can go nuts with weird rules and scenarios, without balance being such an issue. But more on that later (hopefully). I've got school work to do. Toodles.

Monday, 14 February 2011

Meta matters

Okay, so there's been some talk (ah-huh-herm) about the importance of the so-called metagame going on lately. Both locally and in the world of international electronic opinion-spreading (blogging). I, being the lost little kitten I am, will not be left out.

What is the metagame, then?

Well, depends. Some consider it to be something contained within the realm of the game itself, that is, it is something created in the interaction of the rules themselves. The cheapness and effectiveness of unit transports in 40k is a common example. Others, however, consider the metagame to be an expression of what is popular in a particular area, be it localized in a town or even a single club, or considered in larger scale. In this sense, one could talk of an American metagame, a British metagame, or for that matter an East London metagame.

It is with the second definition that this post is concerned. After all, the rule-meta is being analysed ad nauseam in every strategy blog.

Why is it important to acknowledge that there is also a local meta to be considered (because I believe it is)?

Let's talk about my club. My club is, some of the more competitively oriented blogs would claim, 'stuck in 4th' (okay, honestly, I think elements of it are stuck in 2nd, but hey). The notion of mech has not taken hold, the two most frequently encountered armies are Orks and Chaos Space Marines, ans special characters are viewed with suspicion. I could go on about things that make the local meta of my club different from that of the blogged-of America.

What this means is that some things that are absolutely mandatory (or near enough) when gaming in the American meta, are next to useless, or at least a lot less useful, in ours. A lot of the time, a melta gun is just a short ranged Space Marine killer, since the only armoured target is a Dreadnought that was rendered irrelevant in the first turn. Another army has no Rhinos but two Land Raiders. What are you going to do with those fifteen autocannons?

The point is, the local meta influences what is important in a list. And the local meta can be determined by other things than popular army choices; what terrain is commonly used, what is frowned upon (admit it, some choices get the stinkeye at your club too) and so on.

And for those of us who rarely venture outside of our own gaming group, this is the only scene in which to play. I'm convinced there are a lot of us.

That'll be it for now. I might edit this post as I think of more stuff to say, though...

Sunday, 13 February 2011

Being Incarias

This, then, will be my introduction.

I'm a Swede. English is not my first language, but thanks to a decent educational system and personal preference, I believe I speak, and more importantly, write passably in English.

Gaming-wise, I'm isolationist. I have a club, and for the last four years, the members of that club have been my only opponents across a gaming table. Before that, we were just a bunch of friends duking it out across the floor of my living room. Let's just say finding that club had highly beneficial effects on my gaming, as well as the inspiration to paint and model.

Why have I not gone to widen my horizons further? Laziness. It's a bother to go even to Swedish tournaments, and going abroad? Not my cup of tea right now.

As for systems, I feel I'm primarily a Warhammer 40k player, with a side of Warhammer Fantasy and a sizeable dessert of Blood Bowl. What do you mean a slave to Games Workshop? Seriously, though, those are the systems played most regularly at the club (although some of the guys are looking to run a Secrets of the Third Reich campaign which might or might not spark something) and therefore... See what I mean about laziness?

40k is, and will preumably remain, my primary system. Which, in essence makes this another in the myriad of 40k blogs out there. No matter. I've got three armies, painted up to where they're usable at up to 2000 points, at least, with more models on my table. Those armies are: Deep Striking Tyranids, Elitist Orks and rather neglected Space Marines (vanilla).

It is with the Tyranids that my focus lies at the moment. I might post a list at some point, but suffice it to say, it has three Carnifexes, a Trygon, a Hive Tyrant and an obscene amount of firepower. At 1500, that is. And no Hive Guard, Tervigons or Tyrannofexes (the last, admittedly, mostly because my project for that model is daunting and yet to be started). I hate building conformist armies, to the point where I bring stuff just because people hate it (the Tyranid army didn't really start until fifth edition, but befor ethe new codex; Nidzilla was rubbish - I had to have it).

What exactly I'll write about here, I have no idea. I mostly want my own street corner to spout gibberish at. I might go entirely unread, but that is irrelevant; the point is to have a place to write that isn't a forum or the comments field at someone else's blog. What cares the demagogue if no one answers?

That will be it for now. We'll see if anything comes of this, or if this will be the last post.


Saturday, 12 February 2011

Rules Conundrum: Ramming a Walker

So, this one has actually come up in a real, honest to Kermit, game.

Rhino A Rams Deff Dredd B. The resultant collision immobilizes both vehicles, thus leaving them in contact ( as per the rules on page 69 of the Big Black Book: "[. . .] if the ramming tank comes into contact with another vehicle, the collision is resolved [. . .]"). In the Assault phase, the question arises whether the Deff Dredd now gets to attack the Rhino in Close Combat. Coming to the conclusion that the only way this would happen was if it had assaulted the Rhino in a previous turn, we ruled no. I stick by this judgment. See page 63 "Successive Turns" for the rules applicable here.

In the Deff Dredd's assault phase, however, something seems weird. Finding no justification for anything else, we ruled that no attacks could be made, since the Dredd couldn't assault.

I maintain that this is an accurate reading of the rules as they are. I do, however, feel that there is a case to be made for the Dredd being allowed to assault. See, there's not a single sentence (as far as I can find, and I have looked) disallowing an assault merely because the model cannot move. Oh, it will most assuredly fail, since at almost all times models must remain at least 1" apart, so an assault where you can't move will leave you with no base contact.

But, as has been established, the Dredd is in base contact, so could declare an assault, not move a bit, and end up in base contact, thus being allowed to fight. Seeing how ridiculous it feels that the enraged Ork would just sit back and enjoy the view with a perfectly fine target right under its nose, I'm going to go with this second interpretation.

And that's it for now. Happy Darwin Day.

Monday, 7 February 2011

Rules Conundrum: Vehicles shooting

Okay, so, if this blog thing seems to be working for me, and I keep doing it, this'll quite definitely be a regular feature. Why? Because I like rules lawyering, that's why.

Anyway, the point here is to lift a rules issue that either lacks a clear-cut solution, or that has a solution that sort of baffles me, sense-wise (as in it makes none). Enter the rules for vehicles shooting.

In general, the vehicle rules modify some of the general model rules, but leave others intact, yes? So, if a rule isn't explicitly changed by the vehicle rules, it still applies to vehicles. This will be the basis for the argument.

Now, we turn to page 27 of the Big Black Book. In the third paragraph under "Type", there is this little gem of a sentence:

"Remember that a player can decide that any model in a firing unit is not going to fire his weapon. However, if a model does fire, it must do so at full effect"

So what are the implications? Well, first, I take the first sentence to be a simple yes/no; so, you either fire or you do not. The bit that says "it must do so at full effect" has implications for vehicles (and Monstrous Creatures) beyond simply preventing one from firing a heavy bolter at half rate, or whatever. A model that fires must shoot as much as it can.

Now, for most vehicles, in most circumstances, this matters little. Oh, so I have to fire my Storm Bolter at that vehicle I just shot with my Lascannon? Boo-hoo. Pling, pling. For some, however, the implications are dire. Point in case: the Dark Eldar Razorwing. Comes with four one-shot, large blast missiles. Can fire any and all weapons while moving 12". Has two Dark Lances.

Problem the first: if the Razorwing decides to fire its Dark Lances while it still has those missiles, they're going to be fired too, quite possibly at a target that will just shrug them off.

Problem the second: when the Razorwing fires its missiles, its all or nothing. Loose one, and the rest will follow. No shooting some now and saving some for that other large mob of infantry targets.

The same obviosuly applies to any vehicle mounted one-shot weapon (Hunter-Killers, Bloodstrikes, possibly others), but the Dark Eldar fliers are extra vulnerable due to that usually quite nifty ability to shoot full pelt at cruising speed, which means you can't even limit yourself to one weapon by moving fast.

And with that, it's Incarias out.