Thursday, 17 May 2012

Rules Conundrum: 1" Apart

I've been playing some Warhammer Fantasy lately. The system has seen a slight upswing down at the club, and combined with the rerelease of the Empire, this has got me interested again.

However, this has had me look into the Fantasy ruleset again (about a year since I played last) and a few things have popped up. Which means I've actually got something to write about. Yay!

The 1" Apart rule was introduced into Fantasy along with such luminaries as pre-measuring, true line of sight and random charge ranges. Each of these are a post's worth of discussion just waiting to happen, but of the four mentioned here, the 1" Apart rule causes the most rules grief (as opposed to balance or playstyle grief).

Quote (from the Little Big Red Book, p. 13):

"Whilst moving, a unit is not allowed to approach closer than 1" to another unit, friend or foe, or impassable terrain."


"[. . .] this rule does not apply to the charge moves discussed later. [. . .] Occasionally, a unit will have approached to within 1" of a unit it did not charge as a result of moving into contact with a unit it did charge. This is perfectly acceptable, although players may wish to nudge the units further apart to maintain a suitable degree of clarity."

*Deep breath*

So, where to start? Let's first just take the last sentence to mean that you're allowed to nudge units apart, not that you're allowed to wish you could, when in fact you can't. Which units should be nudged? By what method? Simply straight away, the shortest possible distance, or even player's choice? The offending unit (the charger) or the offendee (the non-charged unit)? What if both units are in combat, only not with each other?

This might seem tiny, but in a game that's all about the angles, a nudge of half an inch sideways might mean the difference between a successful charge and a failed one. Not to mention the all-important General and Battle Standard Bearer bubbles (nudging either may well upset very carefully laid plans). And so on.

Ah, well.

What about approaching (which is a badly chosen word, to begin with) another unit (or impassable terrain) while not moving? While, for example, being moved. Is it okay then? Or when pivoting a warmachine in the Shooting Phase?

And once you're there - by means of charges, for example - what then? Let's say you multi-charge a unit, and wipe it out in the second round of combat. Your units are now likely stuck, side by side, crammed together in what is, essentially, an illegal position. But the nudging rules above don't really apply. Do they?

What about subsequent turns? Can the two units stay like that, close together? It's not like they're really "approaching" to within 1", now is it? They're just out for an intimate stroll, with the Halberdiers from one unit daintily holding hands with the Flagellants from the other.

Am I bitter? Not really.

I'll just give you one more example of the rules not being thought all the way through, and then I'm done.

Two friendly units are placed with a two-and-a-half-inch gap between them. The army these units belong to also includes Night Goblin Fanatics. These are merrily spinning around the battlefield, when one finds its way into one of the units.

The Fanatic's move takes it into the middle of on unit. Fine, it'll move until it comes out the other side, and stop an inch beyond the now somewhat messed-up unit. But it cannot move within 1" of the next one, nor is there any room in the rules for it to move on through that next unit; it hasn't moved into contact with it. The rules for Random Movement stipulate that a model moving by such means stops 1" away from friends. The rules for Fanatics say 'place the Fanatic 1" away from a unit it's savaged'.

And recursion occurs.

It makes my head hurt.

There are a bundle other more or less obscure examples I could raise. I'm not gonna. Head hurting, and all.

I'm aware this has been a less useful post than normal. Such is life.


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