Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Advanced Assault Shenanigans Part 2

So in recent post, I showed some of the ways in which difficult terrain rules can be used creatively in an assault. An anonymous troll informed me I was wrong, I invited reasoned debate and mchmr6677 decided to step up with this great rejoinder:
"As opposed to anonymous, I will actually state why your interpretation is flawed.

The first sentence of page 36 under "Assaulting Through Cover" states "If, following the rules for moving assaulting models, any model in an assaulting unit will have to..."

This rule specifies that you must check before any models are moved to see if any of the additional models will be required to move into terrain (i.e. are within 6" of a model that they must try to base). You don't start the charge first and then see what happens."

Ah, a good point with citation! That's the kind of response I like.

However, I still have to disagree. Yes, that rule does state that the unit has to take the relevant terrain test before moving. It also says that this test can cause the assault to fail if the closest model is not in range.
But it does not say anything about checking range, being forced to charge into difficult terrain, nor otherwise supersede the rules as laid out on page 34. For that matter, the rule explicitly says "...moving assaulting models (see page 34), and model..". So the rules laid out on page 34 must be followed.

What the page 36 rule does is set up the timing of things. If there's an option, the choice to take the difficult terrain test MUST be done when moving the closest model. So yes, you're correct that there's no starting the charge and seeing what happens... and that applies both ways. If you forget or opt not to take it, you can't change your mind later.

That make sense? The control over taking that difficult terrain test is always in the hands of the assaulter, for good or ill.

Also, I feel it should be said that some of these are the nicest rules to apply, just that they are the rules as written. In the name of fairness and sportsmanship, you should let your opponent be aware when they make a mistake in the timing, but I wouldn't hold them to it. (Well, unless maybe it is Ard Boyz and they're being a prig.)

Some examples:As a last item, the "Banner Contest" has 38 votes, but only 5 people have commented in the thread to win a free set of sculpting tools. What, don't you guys like free tools? Get to 20 comments and I'll throw in a Limited Edition fig! (I know I have a couple floating around...) Cheers!

UPDATE: This is obviously a hot topic as I've seen the debate raging on several forums... There's the "Measure First" side that says you have to check for all models in the unit before moving. Then there's the "Movement Rules Apply" crowd that says you should have control.
I'm of the latter school. Why? Because of something like this:Technically, the "Measure First" interpretation would hold true even if there was someone in charge range from a DIFFERENT UNIT, per the Multiple Assault Rules.

I prefer "Movement Rules Apply" as it is quicker and, I believe, more realistic. If someone's running for a thicket to get away from me and I catch them before they get there, why would the thicket slow me down???
Is either side intrinsically right or wrong? No. It's a coin toss unless we get a FAQ about it. Both versions have some ways that the rules can be abused. 99% of the games you play, this shouldn't ever become a problem.


  1. Although the commentary was a little confusing, the diagrams were excellent.

    Thank you very much for these very helpful articles (and the helpful comments too).

  2. I checked this out on a link from BoLS (great article title btw). The way it's laid out in the diagrams is the way I understand the rules and have played them since 5th Ed came out.

  3. I believe that you are incorrect. The second paragraph in the section on page 36 for Assaulting Through Cover says:

    "Remember that the assaulting unit must try to engage as many enemies as possible- no holding back to avoid the test!"

    Under the rules on page 34 you have to try to get into B2B with a new opponent while maintaining coherency as the first proirity.

    In your third and 5th examples you might be able to avoid going into the terrain but not with the charges you have drawn. You would have to do some creative movement where the guys closest to the difficult terrain moved to get into B2B with the enemies farthest before moving the other assaulters closest to the one who moved first. These guys will then not be able to reach B2B at 6 inches who are in cover so the can be moved into B2B with the guys already in B2B. Order of moving matters which is annoying.

    In your last example you are just totally not correct. When following the assault rules, the second guy would clearly be moved in a way to ask for a terrain test. If you did not roll one already you would have to roll one and see if you assault actually fails and you have to go back to your initial positions.

  4. I must again concur that you are still incorrect, Dverning.

    The first line under "Assaulting Through Cover" states this exactly:

    "If, following the rules for moving assaulting models (see page 34), any model in an assaulting unit will have to go through difficult or dangerous terrain as part of its assault move, the unit must take the relevent terrain test before moving."

    Now, what does this mean in context?

    First, ANY model which will move through terrain triggers a test, not just the first.
    Second, whether a test will be needed is checked on a model by model basis.

    Ok, how do the rules on 34 interact then? The bullet points state the following:

    1. Each model must end its move in coherency with a model that has already moved.
    2. Models must move into base contact with new members of the unit which is being assaulted.
    3. If no new models can be reached, move into base with a model that has already been based.
    4. If basing is impossible, move into engagement range.
    5. If engaging is impossible, just stay in coherency.

    Now, you have argued that the rules for movement and terrain allow a loophole to form by keeping models that would be in assault range from entering cover. I disagree mightly with this assertion.

    Page 36 tells us that we must attempt to do what page 34 states, and that if while attempting to do this, ANY of our models would enter terrain, we must take the test. Because of these two rule sets, we check each model before any model is moved to see if any of them must enter terrain.

    Now, it should be noted that several tricks do exist to get around this issue.
    First, by clever movement, one can set-up so that no model could reach an opposing model in terrain.
    Second, again by clever movement, now in the assault, one can move the models in such a way that only models outside terrain are able to be charged. This can be accomplished, of course, because only the closest model must move against a particular enemy model. Other models can be moved in such a way that they prohibit other models in the assaulting unit from reaching base with models in terrain.

    In closing, I think that what you are trying to accomplish with your incorrect interpretation of these rules is more then capable of being accomplished legally, it just takes skill and planning to do it.

  5. @Angelic_Despot: Complex rules debates are always a little confusing, especially when there's no obvious answer. Thus my use of diagrams. Glad the visuals helped.

    @Tim: Cheers for the visit and comment. Hope to see you around again!

    @eriochrome: Honestly, I used to play that way. But after a good think on it, I changed my mind. Why? Simplicity. Either you test or you don't. It happens before any models move, so you don't have to guess where their "original" spot was. It happens before models move, so "creative" movement order tricks don't come into play. It happens before measuring, so there's no pre-measuring involved to see if you want to take the test or not.
    Heck, I may be totally wrong and GW may issue a FAQ against this method. But I can say that it plays a LOT smoother and quicker, especially when there's a tricky assault. Plus, it really forces people to play a cleaner game with how they move and position their models in relation to terrain.

    @mchmr6677:The problem with "check each model before any model is moved" is that you're forcing a pre-measure and you MUST test if there's any enemy in range even if you move not to engage them. Creative movement order doesn't do anything against this method. (See example updated above.)
    OR... you can move each model individually up until a check is required, which if then has to be checked for failure against a range that cannot be easily re-measured because the closest model ALREADY MOVED. Then if failed, every model in the assault has to be pushed back to wherever they started? It's a great mechanic in theory, but is hogwash in practice.
    As I said to eriochrome, I used to play by the second method and got real "creative" with order of movement tactics. But after I gave it a good think, the whole process seemed flawed, especially when there was a complex assault or guys with long assault ranges like Cavalry. So I tried out this method and have been amazed at how much smoother and easier it is.
    Eh. I'm happy to agree to disagree, but also welcome any other feedback.

  6. There is a difference between presenting something as the way the rules work and presenting something that you think is better than the rules.

    Are the rules clear? Yes.
    Is the implementation in practive annoying? Yes
    Does that allow you to disregard the rules? No
    Can you propose a House Rule to Change it? Yes, but it is still a house rule and should be presented as such.

    The real problem is that the assault movement rules are so flexible and allow for plenty of variation. Those should be changed more than the assault into cover. Something which essential has step wise chain of who moves and more fixed destination would be better.

    Your counter example picture is a horrible example since it is clear that a terrain test is not required.

    Your houserule actually goes the wrong way in the grey areas. It takes the cover advantage away when in doubt instead enforcing it. The person in cover is supposed to have an advantage. It is not a excuse for your unit to try to avoid engaging as many opponents as possible which is in assaulters favor since it will both limit the defenders attack back and pull them out of cover from the response move.

    If you cannot clearly see that you can meet all the assault movement rules without the terrain check you should roll the terrain check.

  7. There is a difference between presenting something as the way the rules work and presenting something that you think is better than the rules.
    It seems you took my words and made a nice left turn. Let me state this clearly:
    These are not house rules. These are the rules as written in the 5th edition codex.

    Do the Movement rules state that DT tests are optional? Yes.
    Do some groups choose to ignore this because it isn't clearly spelled out in the Assault section? Yes.
    Does the "Measure First" method match older editions better? Yes.
    Are the older editions flawed, clunky and prone to error? Yes.
    Is the "Measure First" method flawed, clunky, and prone to error? Yes.
    Is there still a grey area between the two sides? Obviously.

    I'm not saying your interpretation isn't viable, just that it isn't valid nor supported by the CURRENT rules. The interesting thing about this debate is I've heard both sides from people all over the world. That's an awfully large "house" to blithely dismiss.

    Also, why should the advantage go to the person in cover when they can't bother to put the unit fully in it?

    So yeah, sounds like this will be a nice "agree to disagree" topic until we can get a FAQ. But I still challenge you to try the other side sometime... it parses the rules check just as well and plays much smoother. :-)

  8. Except you are ignoring the specific sentence in the rules for assault into cover on page 36:

    "Remember that the assaulting unit must try to engage as many enemies as possible- no holding back to avoid the test!"

    Assault Moves are not like normal moves. In a normal move you are totally free to decide whether to enter into terrain. Assault moves have a lot more in common with compulsory moves. Can a unit that is falling back stop infront of some dangerous terrain so they do not have to roll for wounds? Can a unit under the affects of the Rage special rule stop at the edge of difficult terrain or dangerous terrain?

    No, the rules that movement forces them in. Same here.

    Your last 2 examples from the post both ignore this specific rule as drawn.

    The Multiple assault one has 2 guys attacking someone out of cover when either of them could reach a new model in cover so must attempt to.

    The Crimped movement one is just completely violates this rule where everyone but the first model is required to try to enter the terrain.