Friday, February 19, 2010

Advanced Assault Shenanigans

Warhammer 39,999 wrote me today with:
During my assault phase I wish to charge a unit that's in partial cover. The closest model of that unit is within charge range and entirely not in cover. All other models in the unit are in cover, but are still within 6". When attempting to charge that unit, do I need to roll a difficult terrain test?
He also attached a handy diagram to show what he was talking about:My response:
Oh yeah, that's a fun little one. There's really two pertinent rules here:
BRB, page 34, Moving Assaulting Units: "[Models] in an assaulting unit... move following the same rules as in the Movement Phase."
BRB, page 14, Moving Through Difficult Terrain, "If a unit starts its move outside terrain, the player must declare if he wants his unit to try to enter difficult terrain as part of their move. If he chooses not to, the unit moves as normal but may not enter difficult terrain."

Simply put, the choice to enter the difficult terrain (or not) is usually* up to the controlling player.

But what about BRB page 34, Moving Assaulting Units, "Assaulting units must attempt to engage as many opposing models as possible"?
Well, the counter is BRB page 34, Moving Assaulting Units, "If possible, the model must move into base contact with any enemy model within reach." If no difficult terrain test has been made, then models within the terrain are not within reach. For all intents, difficult terrain is impassable unless you opt to take a difficult terrain test.

So the way the movement would look is:Then you move the closest model. At this point you have the option to take the difficult terrain test as the movement between closest to closest is in the clear. If you choose not to, your assault move would look like this:It also is worth noting that the assaulter CAN assault a unit on the edge of area terrain without penalty, so long as they can get into base to base without entering the terrain. Remember that you can move up to and be touching the terrain, just not "in" it.
Basically, someone who wants to get the benefit of terrain had best ensure that ALL of the unit is in the terrain.

*Now why did I say "usually" up to the controlling player? Because it's not always. The specific steps of moving assaulters is that you move the closest by the shortest route, check difficult/dangerous terrain based on that route, see if the model made it and THEN move everyone else. For example:So if the closest to closest move goes through difficult/dangerous terrain, you MUST roll the check. Otherwise, the choice is up to you.

Cheers and hope this has given you some evil ideas. Check back again in a day or so and I promise I'll have the banner contest up and running!

Oh, and for one other thing, it looks like my guest articles on Space Wolf Vehicles have posted over at Space Wolves. Go have a look and tell me how I'm wrong. :-p

***Main image undoubtedly copyright Star Trek or something and will be removed if requested. The rest are crappy Powerpoints as I don't have Vassal 40k when posting from "work"***


  1. That's really how we've been playing it as well, and though I'm not 100% certain it's the right way, it's comforting to know that you interpret it the same way. I hadn't considered the implications of the last diagram though, but that's an important distinction to make.


    P.S. I didn't see those space wolf blog entries were by you. Good stuff (though I disagree with the Whirlwind being up against Predators for competition. It's more appropriate to say the predator is up against the Whirlwind... it's such a great tank). Sad to see they didn't link back to your blog though, but I bet they would if you asked nicely.

  2. Thanks for the very clear explanation.

    What happens though with the rules about defenders benefitting from cover. In your 'defenders react' diagram, most of the defending unit is in cover: does it get the advantages of being in cover?

    Or do the assaulters not get penalised because they didn't enter cover themselves?

  3. I think that's a fairly comprehensive answer sir ... nice work!

  4. I think Angelic, you miss the point. In shooting you get the benefit of being in cover if 50% of the units in terrain ... however in assault, the assaulter only getting initiative 1 unless he has assault grenades is predicated on the charger having to make a difficult terrain test ON HIS ASSAULT MOVE (Ie not normal move and not fleet) in order to be in contact with the enemy.

    Effectively, this demonstrates that the downside of large guard unit is they'll inevitably be sticking out beyond the cover and subsequently lose their 'I'm defending, I hit you first' rule...

    Sound like a job for Commissar Tighthead!

  5. @Angelic_Despot:
    Or do the assaulters not get penalised because they didn't enter cover themselves?

    Technically, cover doesn't benefit the defender, it penalizes the attacker. The key is on BRB page 36, Assaulting Through Cover, "If an assaulting unit had to take a difficult or dangerous terrain test during their assault move..."
    Because the attackers never had to test, they do not suffer any penalties from the cover. The same holds true for units that ignore difficult terrain, such as Harlequins.

    Cheers for the feedback guys!

  6. I bow to your zen like understanding of the rules, now kindly climb into this rucksack .... ;-)

  7. @Corbane: Heh. But I'm not a GW designer... wasn't that your rucksack requirement? I'm guessing there was something in here that helped your MES?

  8. wow you guys are completely wrong. thanks for posioning the community with poor rules interps

  9. @Anonymous: So I've managed to suppress my immediate urge to respond with sarcasm... barely. Would you mind sharing a more insightful response? Just saying I'm wrong and not providing any backing makes me wont to ignore you.

  10. 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 specificies 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.

  11. @mchmr6677: You make a good citiation, but the item in question actually covers timing, not option. I've posted a more detailed reply over here.