Tuesday, 23 March 2010

Rules Check 1...2...1...2...

An excellent HULKSMASH by MAURICIO HERRERA. Check out Mauricio's work at DeviantArt. Reproduced without permission, will be removed on request.

Have you ever had a game where you've got the rules right all the way through ... where you just missed things, or your sub-conscious did a special on you, and you realised that you spent most of the game moving and firing everything at the enemy ... I have, many many many times.

I wouldn't call it out and out cheating (although I know some movement fudgers who practice the above as art forms...) but somehow our little brains get 'set'. We end up fighting against the dying of the light over the most obvious and bizarre interpretation of a clearly written rule...

... Weird innit?

Now my approach ... it should be said, is to be fairly pedantic about the rules. I'm a bit of a stickler for sticking to them. I want to win on the merits of my tactics and armylist and its exploitation ... as well as some lucky dice rolls. I generally let the grey areas slide for the ease of play ... and importantly I'm more about having fun than winning... but is that's true, why do I commit the above sins? Perhaps its the inner HULK ... creating a better playing environment through the subversion of my subconsciousness. A case of 'HULK CHEEEEAT!'. Maybe?

Here's a selection of some of those 'rules' arguments or hypocrisies that beggar belief:

Firing Ordnance Weapons

In an effort to improve my '5th Edition' gameworthyness (and because I've read all my codeci 10 times over now), I've started rethumbing through the main rule book. In a moment of shock I realised that I'd been cheating in the last 'n' games (where n is the number of games that I'd been cheating in)... when a vehicle fires an ordnance weapon it can fire NO OTHER WEAPON THAT TURN (NB: Even defensive weapons are unable to fire ... Pg 58)! The exception is the Leman Russ ... that can fire its main weapon AND one other weapon. I'd been dakka dakka-ing away quite happily with everything I had!

This makes a huge difference to the way I play and the options I usually roll with. As an Imperial Guard Player it also gave me a huge advantage to shoot everything (dah?). I think what had happened was my 'cheat-HULK' had got the movement rules confused with the ordnance rules (easy to happen if you are green and a bit thick) ... and assumed the 'not firing all weapons' was down to the movement and not the huge massive great Demolisher Cannon firing...

Clearly, my reanalysis of the rules makes for some interesting thoughts, and makes tanks like the annihilator and punisher leman russ (let alone the no-cover-save variant) much more tempting....

Infantry Cover Saves

This one is weird. I ended up on the wrong side of half the club over this one. And even when the rule was read objectively and digested, I had a number of 'unconnected' gamers arguing against the very rule.

The rulebook clearly states "When any part of the target model's body (as defined on page 16) is obscured from the point of view of the firer, the target model is in cover." So if the toe of my rough riders is hidden behind a piece of hill - they get a 4+ cover save. This caused absolute uproar ... but I'm right (I know I am ... CHEAT-HULK says I am!)

The rulebook then goes on to say ... "This is intentionally generous, and it represents the fact that the warrior, unlike the model, will be actively trying to take cover..."

This is different from the 50% of the unit in cover ... or Monstrous Creatures and tanks gaining cover saves (50% or more of the unit hidden by the way ... I checked it ... I know, I'm too kind!) but somehow people couldn't disconnect the actual 'true line of sight' from the metaphoric 'model'.

50% of a unit in cover

This one also throws up weird 'HULK CHEAT!' moments. I have 75% of a unit obscured behind a wall (don't panic HULKERS, it a solid and relatively high wall!) then that unit has a 4+ cover save. Yes? Yes! If 51% of the unit is in cover ... then they all get a normal cover save!

If you can't decide (ie its exactly 50/50, or you can't count to 10) then you may 'choose' to forgo your proper cover save for one with -1. IE 5+ instead of 4+. My fellow club members had apparently adopted this as THE RULE (HULK) ... rather than taking it as guidelines for adoption based upon mutual consent. Even the rulebook is fairly fluffy, indicating that this option is .... 'faster (albeit less precise)' ... so a good option?


Barrage Weapons

This one I get big time. Barrage weapons fire indirect, so the cover save is dictated from the centre of the template, NOT the firing position (ie through the trees on the way in). If you can see the target AND are firing indirect, you gain BOTH the templatie explodie benefit AND the minus BS to hit reduction.

I love mortars. I use them a lot and my explanation of this rule is well versed. That said, I found myself on the receiving end of a barrage recently and was half into a 'hang on a minute...' moment when I realised what I was saying.

It doesn't feel fair. At all.

Charging into cover

Can't wait for the arguments over this one. Check out the brilliant breakdown at Maunderings of a 40k player ... this ruleset has become more important since flesh-hooks (frag grenades) were dropped in the Nid army. Now players facing nids can expect to 'hit first' when defending from cover. This gives them a significant chance of chumping the genestealers or hormagaunts before nastiness ensues. As such ... it can become a contentious area.

Simply put (as Dverning confirms) ... if you have any models sticking out of that cover, the attacker can opt to charge that model without resorting to a difficult terrain test (DTT). No DTT, no Initiative 1 - you are all kinds of red red gravy!

At this point, many players 'HULKs' will be writhing. How can this be true. Surely you must charge into and onto me in cover and therefore I should batter you down. Check out the breakdown from maunderings ... its convincing.

The Rough Rider Effect

Sometimes a rarely used unit comes along and attracts a little attention. In one game, my opponent was running Assault Marines at me. I charged in my 'one-shot' rough riders. He'd been playing alongside me in a doubles tournament and seen these guys kill termies, smurf bikers and Tau Crisis suits ... he should have known better.

PENFOLD: "Assault Marines, Initiative 4"
Suneokun: "Roughriders, Initiative 5"
PENFOLD: "But strength 3..."
Suneokun: "Strength 5"
PENFOLD: "But power armour..."
Suneokun: "Power weapons"
PENFOLD: "...in cover?"
Suneokun: "Frag grenades"

My two squads of 55pt roughriders charged 22 inches and killed 6 assault marines. The assault marines beat the rough riders, but they held them up for one more turn before being killed off. At which point my Leman Russ had zero'd them. Kaboom?

Allocating Rerolls by accident

I'll put this down (mostly) to the new tyranid codex. The codex has a lot of random rerolls and autowounds bouncing around. The rending rules are complimented by blinding venom (auto-wound on a 6 to hit), one scything talon (reroll 1's), two scything talons (reroll all misses), preferred enemy (reroll misses, but not against vehicles), special rending (deathleaper rending on a 5 or 6), impregnation (parasite cause D6 ripper bases on a failed toughness test) and so on and so on.

As Space Wolf players will attest, it's difficult to remember which dice you have to reroll and which you don't... tricky.

In one game I attributed scything talons to the parasite (who has rending claws) and forgot to autowound from all the 6's from the gargoyle charge on Pedro Kantor (they died!) ... it's awfully confusing.

Great player arguing that the tail of a Vendetta was not part of its 'hull'

This particular fraccar occured during a brilliant tournament game where my aforementioned PENFOLD and I hammered a dirty Space Marine and Guard list with our brilliant Space Marine and Guard list. Effectively it was our mortars and terminators versus their Vendettas and Smurf Bikers (filthy cheating min-max army list ... pah!).

During the game an ordnance battle cannon shot scattered off the centre of one vendetta and hit a perfect strike on the tail of its accompanying skimmer. At this point my opponent declare this a 'miss' as it hadn't hit the 'hull' of the vendetta and 'wings and tail don't count' ... hang on a minute...


The conversation that followed was bizarre and entertaining. And pulled adjacent players off their own tournament games ... it was intense. I found myself in the minority again (IT IS probably just me ... people do enjoy arguing with me ... probably cause its great intellectual fun (and not because I'm an arse ... honest!)) with my fellow gamers arguing the difference between a hull and a wing and a tail. I pointed out that there is actually no 'hull' on an aircraft. There is a fuselage, wings and a tail ... the hull refers to the whole vehicle. The rulebook bears no interest in whether you are running a tank or a plane ... they both have hulls!

This stumped everyone, but in true hulky fashion, they would not give way to the logic of Bruce Banner. We rolled a 4+, and he saved the penetrating/wrecked roll. We played on. I'd like to think that the 'Gods of fairness and equilibrium' looked kindly on my plight ... cause we hammered them to death with small arms fire and won 12/4.


We all have a little of a mini-hulk inside us ... and wargames is the perfect place to go green (better than over your job, girlfriend, car, house or children anyhow!) ... I hope the above examples have amused you and help you know.

For you are not alone. HULK.