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EA Rules Revamp - same rules, but easier to use

 Post subject: Re: EA Rules Revamp - same rules, but easier to use
PostPosted: Mon Oct 29, 2018 3:06 pm 
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MeBrainBeDrained wrote:
@DoomKitten - putting aside what you believe I advertised as being in or out of scope, is it some implication of the term 'house rule' that worries you? Or do you fundamentally object to the principle of adding asides that suggest workable ways to close gaps in the source material?


What I expected to fall out of the project was not a reinterpretation of the ruleset, but a cleaning of language and an improved clarity to aid everybody in playing the same way. Right or wrong, the historical document that presents the historical rules are as official as we have them and while I'm very, very in favour of the idea of house rules (hi, split fire on titans!) I think we have a vital responsibility to, for the sake of continuing to propagate the play of this game we all love, keep the core rules the same no matter where or who we play. Once that core is accepted/learned/understood, then house rules can grow from that, *as* house rules that grow, improve or 'fix' the core. Your work has enormous potential to improve the uptake of the first, but as was aptly demonstrated by Thinking Stone and I, any change in the words also carries a great potential for misunderstanding and misinterpretation. Including house rules alongside the text, even blatantly marked up with flashy lights, makes this potential difficulty worse.

I'm impressed by the depth of the effort involved here and want it to be a useful document, but what I "fundamentally object" to is the inclusion of house rules that may potentially introduce confusions between groups when they play. I think it's unnecessary and can very easily be it's own companion work - a format I wholly approve of, and would love to read. I know that can be incredibly clearly marked and easily collapsed/hidden in a non-paper format, but I've seen simple house rules bloom into widely misunderstood accepted rules in other games from far less. Also, I love dead trees on my desk far too much, so there's that.

I love house rules, I love discussing variants, but for the purposes of teaching people to play the game (which is where I now find myself, as terrifying a prospect as that might be to many people), house rules need to be kept so far away from the specific rules documents. I want to use these documents to aid in this teaching role, so any mentions of house rules within them creates potential issues, hence why a non-variants edition is preferable. Perhaps it's only me that has this concern because it's only me (or my friends) that have this issue, and perhaps it's irrelevant to what you are actually doing with the document. Or, just maybe it's worth considering, because this has a lot of potential to get people playing, at a time when GW is newly releasing something vaguely related to Epic.


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 Post subject: Re: EA Rules Revamp - same rules, but easier to use
PostPosted: Wed Oct 31, 2018 11:50 am 
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My thoughts on a few points that stand out to me:

Doomkitten wrote:
What I expected to fall out of the project was not a reinterpretation of the rule set, but a cleaning of language and an improved clarity to aid everybody in playing the same way.
Of course, your expectations may not always be in line with my aims, stated or otherwise. But as it goes, I think we agree here since I contend that I have indeed '[cleaned] language and improved clarity'.

However, I think it'd be a fools errand to expect everyone to play exactly the same way in all respects. I reckon the best you can hope for is to achieve enough common understanding to minimise differences between groups of players. Beyond that, people just have to be grown-ups and compromise where they disagree or have different solutions for gaps. But in general, yes I agree that rules that are easier to digest and consult can only help to encourage more agreement.

Doomkitten wrote:
split fire on titans
Now that would be a true house rule. It wouldn't offer a solution to a gap in the rules, rather it would directly contradict actual stated rules and interfere with established game mechanics (for example, you'd have to think long and hard about game balance given the extra Blast markers that would result because of 'split fire' plus 'coming under fire'). This is quite different to offering potential solutions for some actual gaps in the rules that can be frustrating, particularly for new players.

This makes me think that to some extent we're getting side-tracked with the semantics of 'house rule' versus 'some other term'.

Doomkitten wrote:
Including house rules alongside the text, even blatantly marked up with flashy lights, makes this potential difficulty worse.
I just don't see it, sorry. I haven't changed the actual stated source rules and as long as deviations or additions to the source are clearly marked so we all know they are 'optional' and 'not official' I don't see the problem.

I won't rule it out entirely for the future, but in principle I don't want to create a separate document because I want information at the point of need, not in yet another separate place. As a new player it was hard enough to unpick the messy writing of the main rules and make sense of the worst bits, without then having to also flick back and forth between different sections, errata and FAQs... and then still feeling the need to consult discussion threads on the Internet. I just wanted to get on and play with a minimum of frustration.

I believe the 'straight rewrite' part of my efforts has made the rules a lot easier to get along with, but a little more is needed to help close annoying gaps that the source texts left open. I decided to share this project with the community, but ultimately this project is for newbies first (especially my friends and I) and everyone else second — and newbies need these extra suggestions the most, even if they decide on a different solution in the end.

I'm hearing that you're generally supportive and that you appreciate the effort — thank you. But for now, whether I call them 'house rules' or something else, I think we're going to have to agree to disagree on additional information in EA Rules Revamp. Sorry! Ultimately, when I'm playing the game and I run across a gap in the rules I find it just too annoying not to have a convenient and workable reference suggestion, at the point of need.

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 Post subject: Re: EA Rules Revamp - same rules, but easier to use
PostPosted: Wed Oct 31, 2018 1:17 pm 
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I have sympathy with both sides of this argument. The ‘rewrite’ should not alter the sense of the original rules, but I also understand the desire to add ‘suggestions’ to cover those gaps in the original rules without FAQ or other guidelines.

As a compromise, could these suggestions be placed in a link to allow easy reference whilst removing them from being inline with the rules?


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 Post subject: Re: EA Rules Revamp - same rules, but easier to use
PostPosted: Wed Oct 31, 2018 3:55 pm 
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Ginger wrote:
As a compromise, could these suggestions be placed in a link to allow easy reference whilst removing them from being inline with the rules?
In principle, yes that's a sensible option for a compromise solution — thanks for suggesting it. In practice, I don't like it because it'd still mean an artificial barrier that needlessly forces the reader to navigate away from the immediate context.

Besides, in this instance I'm just not persuaded that there is actually a problem — so I see no reason to engineer a different solution.

Frankly, I think my current approach keeps the integrity of the original rules just fine per my stated objectives, while leaving room for the project to benefit from being a little less 'conservative' in other respects.

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 Post subject: Re: EA Rules Revamp - same rules, but easier to use
PostPosted: Thu Nov 01, 2018 1:06 am 
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I think I kinda agree with DK - but then this is all just feedback, we don't control you. For me it is a fairly abstract but ultimately (in my experience of normative and non normative standardisation processes anyway) quite important concepts of trust and authority. Basically when someone reads a document they don't know what went in to writing it, and lack the context of this discussion to know that you have worked hard to stick to the official rules. House rules and personal interpretations have a very low uptake rate, due to the aforementioned authority issue and also a bit of 'not invented here' syndrome. So to see them in the document might signal to some people that the document is just a person's idea of how the rules work and thus hinder its impact. Personally I do think the implementation is a good compromise, though I will admit I was disappointed to see them included. In any case it would be good to minimise them to where they are actually necessary.

And that is the only direct suggestion I would make: IMO the one about sniper actually is not necessary. It is really only because of this thread that I think you felt it necessary to add it, but in reality the way to play it is actually defined in the rules and those rules are not ambiguous. The rules say:

1. Normal hits are allocated by the defender front to back, and you cannot allocate a second hit to a unit until all have been allocated one.
2. Sniper hits are not allocated that way, instead they are allocated by the attacker to any unit in range as they see fit, and the normal restrictions on allocating to units that have already been allocated a hit do not apply
3. Sniper hits can be allocated either before or after normal hits.

That's it. That normal hits follow the normal rules is obvious, and the distinction between sniper and normal hits is made in the FAQ purely to clarify that yes, you can use both, and no, you don't pool them separately like MW.

The order can technically affect the outcome, so interpreting 'before or after' to mean 'it doesn't matter' is factually erroneous - it is not about whether sniper hits can double up (they can!), it is only about which units end up getting hit by the normal attacks. Which, again, only matters because sniper hits have a -1 save. But it almost never makes a real difference to the play so it really isnt a problem that needs a house rule solution. Any issue with that sequence is theoretical because it very rarely causes a player to even have to think about it, and even if it were to come up, the rules define how to resolve it already. We simply explored in this thread some of the possible consequences of failing to observe the rules, ie accidentally making normal hits behave like sniper hits, and addressed some of your original misunderstandings about what sniper meant arising from words like 'allocate'.

From your last post on the matter it still seems that you have a little confusion on the specificity of the terms. There is no game concept of 'allocating attacks' as distinct from allocating hits - attacks are not hits, allocation is concerned only with hits, and the sniper rule is firmly about a simple replacement of the hit allocation rules for hits that are produced by sniper attacks. It makes more sense in game because of the way you roll for shooting - ie you roll all your attacks from all your weapons, count the number of hits, THEN allocate. You do have to track which hits came from special weapons, but allocating attacks makes no sense per se. The sniper rule is therefore not about rolling a sniper attack against a specific unit and then seeing whether you hit (which I can understand one may expect), you simply roll to hit with all your weapons as normal and then choose who you want your successful hits to be allocated to.

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 Post subject: Re: EA Rules Revamp - same rules, but easier to use
PostPosted: Thu Nov 01, 2018 5:35 pm 
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Kyrt wrote:
Basically when someone reads a document they don't know what went in to writing it, and lack the context of this discussion to know that you have worked hard to stick to the official rules.
I see what you mean, and I tried to cover this at https://thehobby.zone/resources/ea-rules-revamp/Content/Introduction/AboutThisPublication.htm. Ultimately, the proof is in the pudding, as they say.

I appreciate the 'trust and authority' issue but I'm not sure there is much I can do about that beyond doing my best to be as open and as consistent as I can be, and taking feedback on board.

Of course, as you allude, I don't actually have to bother, since it is really no skin off my nose if no-one outside my group uses EA Rules Revamp. But I choose to engage like this because:
  • it seems churlish not to share the fruits of my efforts
  • it seems like a nice way to give back to the community and just maybe encourage a few more new players into the game, which feels good
  • I'm not the all-knowing oracle and while I can have a good go at most things it helps to have other viewpoints that may improve the project in ways I wouldn't have thought of

Kyrt wrote:
House rules and personal interpretations have a very low uptake rate, due to the aforementioned authority issue and also a bit of 'not invented here' syndrome.
I can believe that. However, for me the overriding factor is that I personally found/find it very frustrating when my opponent and I ran across a gap that caused us to pause mid-game and spend 10 minutes discussing how we thought we should resolve it in the 'best and most consistent' way (not just in the moment, but also for future reference).

I would've loved to have a workable suggestion to get on with, right there where we needed it, even if we decided to do it a different way later.

So really, I like to have these additions to speed the game along where we'd otherwise stall and say "oh, what did we decide last time, can you remember?"... so short of some 'aha!' moment that makes me change my mind, this is how it'll be. Don't like it? Skip over it, no harm done — it's why I used asides instead of tampering directly with the rules as I could've done if I were thinking only of my group. This is indeed the compromise.

Kyrt wrote:
In any case it would be good to minimise them to where they are actually necessary.
I'm inclined to agree since it won't be a big hardship not to include actual 'house rules' and we're really talking about something else here. Though of course we won't all agree on what is or isn't 'necessary' so ultimately it'll still come down to my preference of course. :-D Though as you can see, I do strive to take feedback on board and no decision is irreversible.

Kyrt wrote:
IMO the one about sniper actually is not necessary. It is really only because of this thread that I think you felt it necessary to add it, but in reality the way to play it is actually defined in the rules and those rules are not ambiguous.
Mostly this was why I added it, yes. The very fact we get into conversations like this could be proof that these things aren't necessarily as unambiguous as you think... except that in this instance I think I may now finally see what you chaps are getting at... and where my brain went wrong :-D

I must've gotten this one back to front in my head somewhere (hey, I'm only human, it'd be amazing if I didn't do this somewhere!). For some reason, I had it in my mind that you have to choose your targets for Sniper attacks before you roll to hit. Ergo, logic dictates that you'd have to 'allocate attacks' before you have any actual hits to allocate. (It isn't unusual for this sort of mixup to happen in technical writing, and for me to have to unpick it and tidy up the terminology and/or fix the underlying logic.)

However, I see now that you just roll to hit with all your Sniper units and then pick the targets (allocate) for any Sniper hits you get (subject to the usual targeting rules — line of fire, etcetera) either before or after the target player has allocated the normal hits in the usual way. This makes sense and doesn't imply 'allocating attacks', and it makes Sniper even more vicious and flexible than I thought. With this turnaround, have I finally got it right?!

I still don't see how there would ever be any benefit for the attacker to allocate Sniper hits before the target player allocates regular hits, as he might as well wait until he has the full information about where the normal hits are allocated so he can 'optimise' use of the Sniper hits?

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 Post subject: Re: EA Rules Revamp - same rules, but easier to use
PostPosted: Fri Nov 02, 2018 12:11 am 
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Yup that's right :)

And yep agreed all others can do is give our input, it's up to you what you do with it.

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 Post subject: Re: EA Rules Revamp - same rules, but easier to use
PostPosted: Fri Nov 02, 2018 10:53 am 
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MeBrainBeDrained wrote:
I still don't see how there would ever be any benefit for the attacker to allocate Sniper hits before the target player allocates regular hits, as he might as well wait until he has the full information about where the normal hits are allocated so he can 'optimise' use of the Sniper hits?


if closest unit is a character with a 6+ save you might want to guarantee its death by allocating a sniper hit before regular allocation

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 Post subject: Re: EA Rules Revamp - same rules, but easier to use
PostPosted: Fri Nov 02, 2018 2:10 pm 
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ffoley wrote:
if closest unit is a character with a 6+ save you might want to guarantee its death by allocating a sniper hit before regular allocation
Not as I understand it. We seem to be saying that you can 'double up' Sniper hit allocations wherever you like, and normal hit allocation is independent of this.

So, I can't see that there is any benefit to allocating Sniper hits before normal hits when it won't affect how you can allocate.

If you're saying it does affect how you can allocate in some way then you seem to be contradicting the conclusions we've just come to (and making it needlessly complex IMHO).

If indeed you think it works differently, please spell out the procedure in clear steps with reference to the stated rules, so we can see your contradiction in full context. Otherwise it is hard to compare and contrast and see your point.

Kyrt wrote:
Yup that's right
Of course, doing this way around without 'allocating attacks' does mean that as the attacking player you have to be extra mindful of cover. I mean, just like normal shooting, if any units you might want to allocate Sniper hits to are in cover, you have to decide whether you will apply -1 to hit before you roll the dice.

Otherwise, you lose the option to apply Sniper hits to those units and you may be disappointed when you realise your error.

Nothing wrong with this, it's just something to remember. It could easily trip you up when you're not thinking about it because most of the formation is not in cover and you're not applying -1 to hit for your normal shooting — so you just don't think of it for Sniper attacks which break the usual flow of events.

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 Post subject: Re: EA Rules Revamp - same rules, but easier to use
PostPosted: Fri Nov 02, 2018 3:11 pm 
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from what I understand...

assume your'e shooting and you have made one sniper hit and one regular hit. There are only two units in range, both have a 6+ save but the front one is a character.

Option 1. You choose to allocate sniper hits before regular hits. This allows you to put a sniper hit on (and guarantee to kill) the character and then the regular hit must go on the other unit.

Option 2. You choose to allocate sniper hits after regular hits. The character must then take the regular hit and you will probably choose not to risk overkill so you will allocate the sniper hit to the other unit.

Option 1 is optimal for the attacker

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 Post subject: Re: EA Rules Revamp - same rules, but easier to use
PostPosted: Fri Nov 02, 2018 3:30 pm 
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ffoley wrote:
from what I understand...

assume your'e shooting and you have made one sniper hit and one regular hit. There are only two units in range, both have a 6+ save but the front one is a character.

Option 1. You choose to allocate sniper hits before regular hits. This allows you to put a sniper hit on (and guarantee to kill) the character and then the regular hit must go on the other unit.

Option 2. You choose to allocate sniper hits after regular hits. The character must then take the regular hit and you will probably choose not to risk overkill so you will allocate the sniper hit to the other unit.

Option 1 is optimal for the attacker


Okay thanks. This is what I thought you were getting at. However...

The way I understand it is that no matter what, the normal hit will go on the front one. You can choose to put the Sniper hit on either unit, either before or after the normal allocation - makes no difference.

I don't think the rules actually dictate your method. And as I say, think you're over-complicating it if you decide that the allocation of normal hits must affect the allocation of Sniper hits. I see no reason or benefit to make it that complicated.

In brief I think we're actually saying:

1. Attacker rolls all dice to hit for all shooting (normal, Sniper, MW).
2. Target player allocates all normal hits as usual.
3. Attacker puts Sniper hits wherever he likes subject to usual limits of line of fire, etcetera.
4. Target player makes save rolls and remove casualties.
5. Target player allocates MW hits, makes saves and removes casualties.

Simples.

You could do step 3 before step 2 instead, but there is no benefit to that in this method because the target player will still allocate normal hits as if there were no Sniper hits allocated.

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 Post subject: Re: EA Rules Revamp - same rules, but easier to use
PostPosted: Fri Nov 02, 2018 7:06 pm 
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Not quite.
As Kyrt said above, Standard hit allocation starts from front to back, placing a hit on the next unit without a hit. If Sniper hits are allocated first to the front units, they merely displace ‘Standard’ hits to the next eligible unit.

It is the choice of the firing player when and where to place Sniper hits, so the timing can make a difference.

The intention behind ‘Standard’ hit allocation is to spread hits evenly, and this also applies where they occur in conjunction with a barrage weapon; the barrage weapon is fired and each unit under the template is checked separately to see if it is hit, then the other weapons are fired and hits allocated, front to back, to those units that escaped the barrage.


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 Post subject: Re: EA Rules Revamp - same rules, but easier to use
PostPosted: Fri Nov 02, 2018 9:15 pm 
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Ginger wrote:
Not quite.
As Kyrt said above, Standard hit allocation starts from front to back, placing a hit on the next unit without a hit. If Sniper hits are allocated first to the front units, they merely displace ‘Standard’ hits to the next eligible unit.

I really think this is needlessly over-complicating it.
  • We know that 'normal' hit allocation and 'choosing' targets for 'Sniper' hits are different operations
  • We know that these different operations are performed by different players (normal hits are always allocated by target player, targets for Sniper hits are always chosen by the attacking player. Even the word allocate isn't even used in the main Sniper rules text, only in the FAQ which tends to be more loose with terminology anyway).
  • We know that advanced rules over-ride core rules where appropriate.
  • The rules don't say anything about 'Sniper hits displacing standard hits' - I can see how you could think that way, but this 'displacing' business seems like over-analysis and an imposition of a little too much of the core rule detail on the advanced rule (see over-ride point above).
So why make it any more complicated than it needs to be?

Also, you've only explained your interpretation of the 'before' option - what do you believe should happen in the 'after' option? Do you think this more complex 'before and after is meaningfully different' interpretation adds anything important to the game that is lacking in my simpler interpretation?

I'm honestly not trying to be antagonistic, I'm trying to see why you'd make it any more complicated than it has to be. I've agreed that I got the first part of this Sniper thing back to front and you've all opened my eyes there. Yet, might you chaps be over-interpreting this side of it?

Ginger wrote:
The intention behind ‘Standard’ hit allocation is to spread hits evenly, and this also applies where they occur in conjunction with a barrage weapon; the barrage weapon is fired and each unit under the template is checked separately to see if it is hit, then the other weapons are fired and hits allocated, front to back, to those units that escaped the barrage.

That's one way of doing it, but again I have an interpretation that is simpler and faster - and arguably closer to the wider spirit of the rules. That is, you can play barrages closer to the 'standard' allocation method by batch rolling and allocating like you do with 'standard' shooting.

I mean, don't roll separately for every unit under the barrage (yawn!). Instead, roll for all of them at once and then allocate hits to those units under the barrage that are nearest the attacker (as usual). Then allocate any 'standard hits', skipping those that have already taken a hit from the barrage, to spread evenly as you say.

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 Post subject: Re: EA Rules Revamp - same rules, but easier to use
PostPosted: Sat Nov 03, 2018 3:07 am 
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And this is where our experience, and years of queries debated on the forum with Neal Hunt comes in. Neal was part of the team that helped create and test the rules, and (with Dave McCleod and Greg Lane) who formed the original ERC. Neal answered rules questions up to ~2012 when Dave took over. The answer on Sniper (and Barrage) is simple when viewed against the intended concept of normal hit allocation, which as I explained is intended to spread hits evenly.

What you are highlighting is actually something that was discussed many years ago around hit allocation where there are several 'types' of attack / hit that need to be treated differently. The answer is that each 'type' of hit needs to be diced for separately, any hit being put in a different pool and then handled in its own way. Personally I use different colour dice to distinguish the different types of hit.

So Sniper hits are diced for separately and allocated by the other player at his discretion, but are effectively resolved at the same time as normal hits (but with -1) - after the First Strike phase, but before the allocation of Macro hits. In a similar manner, where WE splits up FF and CC hits, or where units are fighting a shielded titan (that need to separate CC hits from FF hits) these are diced for and resolved separately.

To your question on timing, that is up to the player as to when he allocates sniper hits. The FAQ provides the key answer
Quote:
Q. Can a Sniper hit be allocated to a unit that has already been allocated a regular hit?
A. Yes.
So, Yes a player may stack up sniper hits on a unit that has already been allocated a hit if he desires, or he may decide that he wants to allocate them to units that have not yet been allocated a hit, or he may allocate the sniper hits before normal hits are allocated - though that minimises the potential impact. The only thing he may not do is to delay allocating the sniper hits until after normal hits have been resolved, as all normal hits must be resolved simultaneously.

As such, there is no real need for a 'house rule' or explanation, other than the advice to use some means to identify and process sniper attacks separately.


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 Post subject: Re: EA Rules Revamp - same rules, but easier to use
PostPosted: Sat Nov 03, 2018 3:39 am 
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MeBrainBeDrained wrote:
Ginger wrote:
The intention behind ‘Standard’ hit allocation is to spread hits evenly, and this also applies where they occur in conjunction with a barrage weapon; the barrage weapon is fired and each unit under the template is checked separately to see if it is hit, then the other weapons are fired and hits allocated, front to back, to those units that escaped the barrage.

That's one way of doing it, but again I have an interpretation that is simpler and faster - and arguably closer to the wider spirit of the rules. That is, you can play barrages closer to the 'standard' allocation method by batch rolling and allocating like you do with 'standard' shooting.

I mean, don't roll separately for every unit under the barrage (yawn!). Instead, roll for all of them at once and then allocate hits to those units under the barrage that are nearest the attacker (as usual). Then allocate any 'standard hits', skipping those that have already taken a hit from the barrage, to spread evenly as you say.
NO.

This was also debated extensively, and eventually Neal ruled that effectively each unit under the template is tested separately. The problem with allocating barrage hits from front to back under a template is that special units may escape being hit even though they were a legitimate target. This leads to all sorts of gamey shenanigans. There are two key points here:-
- Roll for each unit under the template separately from any other shooting
- Allocate barrage hits first to the relevant units, then allocate other hits following the 'standard' process.
This means that a given unit will usually only receive a single hit (barrage or standard), unless there is a lot of shooting that results in more hits than available targets.

Note, speed rolling is only an optional process in the rules; If both players agree, when shooting, roll separately for AP, AT and Macro weapons, and also use separate dice when shooting at a mixed formation that includes a WE (as they may be targeted separately from the rest of the formation). When resolving a barrage, follow the same principle; so roll separately for groups of each type of unit, with separate rolls if necessary for special units like leaders etc.


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