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How do you usually play terrain & LoS in your local area?
LoS: Abstract, Infinite Height 31%  31%  [ 23 ]
LoS: Abstract, Highest Element 4%  4%  [ 3 ]
LoS: Abstract, Height Values 3%  3%  [ 2 ]
LoS: Physical 11%  11%  [ 8 ]
LoS: Hybrid 8%  8%  [ 6 ]
LoS: Other 0%  0%  [ 0 ]
Density: more than 40% 5%  5%  [ 4 ]
Density: 30-40% 31%  31%  [ 23 ]
Density: 20-30% 7%  7%  [ 5 ]
Density: Less than 20% 0%  0%  [ 0 ]
Total votes : 74

Local Terrain/LoS Rules & Terrain Density - a Survey

 Post subject: Local Terrain/LoS Rules & Terrain Density - a Survey
PostPosted: Sat Mar 25, 2017 9:27 pm 
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As a terrainaholic (both making it and how it affects gameplay), the recent discussions about how different areas play terrain in EA are fascinating.

So I thought it was time to find out exactly how different areas play terrain and LoS, and at the same time get a bit of a feel for how dense player's tables are.




Question 1 (answers 1-6)

For terrain/LoS, as far as I can see there are three main approaches:

Abstract
The whole area of terrain blocks LoS beyond 10cm in/out/through, regardless of where terrain elements (trees, buildings etc.) are on the terrain base. This then has three subsets:
Infinite Height - as commonly used at EpicUK events, all terrain areas are infinite height so block LoS to pretty much anything other than Flyers or popping up Skimmers.
Highest Element - similar to the above, but the terrain area is as high as the highest terrain element, so an area of scrub and bushes that are 10-20mm high will be 20mm high, allowing taller War Engines or units on hills and tall buildings see over the top.
Height Values - areas and units are all allocated heights, letting units see over based on those relative values.

Physical
If you can see it, you can shoot it. This is probably the closest to the written rules, where only physical items block LoS, allowing units to draw LoF through the gaps in ruins etc.

Hybrid
Some mix of Abstract and Physical, for example using physical LoS with extra restrictions for woodland, or extra rules for who can see through lower gaps in areas.

If I've missed out some major variations, please make sure to say so! ;D




Question 2 (answers 7-10)

Density
The terrain guidelines for the tournament scenario allow for a huge variation in terrain density - taking the maximum guideline size of terrain areas of 30x30cm (ignoring hills up to 60cm for now) you get a full 50% table coverage. At the other extreme, if the terrain areas are 15x15cm and you stick to 12 areas on a standard table you're looking at 12.5%

So question 2 - how much terrain do you generally play with?




I'll also dig out some photos of example terrain items that can be used to explain how everyone plays specific situations.

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 Post subject: Re: Local Terrain/LoS Rules & Terrain Density - a Survey
PostPosted: Sat Mar 25, 2017 10:43 pm 
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1) Abstract, infinite height. Used to play TLOS, but the abstract approach is (to me) much easier.

2) About a third of the table has some sort of terrain, but some of it is transparent (lakes, roads, etc).


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 Post subject: Re: Local Terrain/LoS Rules & Terrain Density - a Survey
PostPosted: Sat Mar 25, 2017 10:53 pm 
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Something that was raised in the other thread that I wanted to hear more about:

What do different groups mean when they say 'infinite height'?

I have played in a few tables where we have used infinite height and it's a pretty common houserule. However I've always assumed that although those trees were considered 'as tall as an emperor titan' and no ground based troos can fire over, however skimmers and support craft can pop up over it.

In the other thread :

Alf O'Mega wrote:
I'd be interested to know at what point you start being able to see over terrain, so disregarding the restriction of only being able to see 10cm into area terrain. So Titans can potentially always do this, providing they are actually tall enough. Infantry, or anything really on hills? Leviathans? Knights? Super heavy tanks? Trygons? Popped up skimmers?



StevekCole wrote:
Alf - I don't think it would skew results massively but it would have a bearing on how competitive certain units are. This is probably best seen in Scorpions and Overlords appearing to be very popular and competitive choices in Aussie tournaments whereas they're relatively uncommon in the UK. Again - not saying one is better or worse just different!


This makes me feel that skimmers and support craft cannot pop up over infinite terrain in some groups? Correct me if I'm interpreted this wrong


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 Post subject: Re: Local Terrain/LoS Rules & Terrain Density - a Survey
PostPosted: Sat Mar 25, 2017 11:03 pm 
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no, at EpicUK events, we play that skimmers and support craft can pop up and see over the terrain but they are an exceptional case

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 Post subject: Local Terrain/LoS Rules & Terrain Density - a Survey
PostPosted: Sat Mar 25, 2017 11:04 pm 
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In the UK its usually played as too tall for anything ground based to see over but you can pop up and see over it. That would apply to the entire terrain feature. Obviously, all the usual pop up stuff then applies so popped up unit needs to be closer to the terrain feature than the target unit in order to see it etc

My point was more that when a game is played where you can fire through the gaps between buildings as opposed to using area terrain then that definitely helps units like overlords and scorpions who can pop up over large pieces of terrain and shoot down fire corridors in terrain rather than just have their LOS blocked by a second piece of terrain.

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 Post subject: Re: Local Terrain/LoS Rules & Terrain Density - a Survey
PostPosted: Sat Mar 25, 2017 11:45 pm 
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So i only really included popped up skimmers in that list because they are something that actually has a rule that allows them to see over terrain. I guess what I was getting at is how that is or might be managed when you start adding units that don't have that kind of written rule. As kyuss says, and I kind of expected, skimmers need to be an exception.

To be honest the rules as written aren't really all that clear. On the one hand if you can see it you can shoot it, but then you can only see through 10cm of area terrain. Then if you can draw LOS from the weapon you can see over it again. The question is really at what point you can stop treating area terrain as area terrain because you can see over it, then you get into shadow zones and all that kind of stuff. I can totally understand how you would decide to treat *everything* just as area terrain when that might not have originally been the intention of the rules and how that would lead to the version of infinite height that's just been described. It reads like the intention was that some stuff would be area terrain and then you might have individual buildings, for example, that would be terrain pieces that you could legitimately see around or over.

The one sticking point I have with playing as "infinite height"™ is that it pretty much relegates hills to LOS blockers which is odd given the tactical nature of this game and the traditional tactical advantage associated with higher ground in the kind of battles that this game tries to emulate.

The fact that I end up writing walls of text every time I try to make a point does kind of evidence the fact that this stuff isn't really clear cut!!! Unless of course I'm just really bad at articulating myself!!!! I'm available for weddings, bar mitzvahs and technical document writing by the way...


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 Post subject: Re: Local Terrain/LoS Rules & Terrain Density - a Survey
PostPosted: Sun Mar 26, 2017 12:51 am 
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Those of you who voted 30% and up for terrain coverage - were you including water, roads and other terrain that doesn't block LoS?

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 Post subject: Re: Local Terrain/LoS Rules & Terrain Density - a Survey
PostPosted: Sun Mar 26, 2017 3:28 am 
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I didn't include smaller terrain features, just ones that would contribute tactically.

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 Post subject: Re: Local Terrain/LoS Rules & Terrain Density - a Survey
PostPosted: Sun Mar 26, 2017 8:05 am 
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We play with 'infinite height' for LOS purposes and aim for about 30-40% terrain density in a random mix of woodland, areas of buildings or ruins and hills. The only houserule we use is that units on hills count as 'popped up' for LOS purposes so can sometimes see (and be seen) over lower scenery. I haven't made any roads or water features yet.


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 Post subject: Re: Local Terrain/LoS Rules & Terrain Density - a Survey
PostPosted: Sun Mar 26, 2017 8:47 am 
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Locally we play terrain as raised up area terrain like ruins, jungles and woods - blocks line of sight to anything behind it, while anything inside it up to 10 cm can be seen, but get a -1 to be shot at and can claim a cover save (voided by IC weapons), although an area of terrain like a swampy bog that has low grass and water does not block line of sight as it is flat, but infantry can still claim the cover, as they are probably up to their waist trying to get through it.

As to other terrain, hills, intact buildings, bunkers, etc, we treat it as the actual line of sight from firing unit to the target unit. If you can see it you can shoot at it. Although the target may be able to claim cover.

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 Post subject: Re: Local Terrain/LoS Rules & Terrain Density - a Survey
PostPosted: Sun Mar 26, 2017 9:39 am 
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I really like that houserule of counting units on hills as popped up, that would even work for online games which is good for me! I do quite like simplicity of playing largely abstracted terrain rules - it sounds like you could just housreule titans to count as support craft and be done with it.


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 Post subject: Re: Local Terrain/LoS Rules & Terrain Density - a Survey
PostPosted: Sun Mar 26, 2017 11:57 am 
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If we wanted to allow Titans (6+DC ground based WEs?) to see over terrain then the support craft rule may be a little extreme. I'd probably try something like it but rule that it can only be used to see over one terrain piece and is blocked if the LOS crosses a second piece of terrain owing to the LOS being drawn from lower to the ground than a skimmer popping up. Also I'd maybe rule that the Titan suffers -1 to hit for a target in cover unless it's in contact with the terrain it's looking over?

Personally I feel that terrain can make such a big difference to games that reducing any grey areas in interpretation can be key, especially in a crunch moment that maybe could swing a battle one way or another. And my terrain collection is pretty 'low-lying' due to storage requirements so we're using a certain amount of imagination anyway so it helps if everyone knows how things are when making those key moves or decisions


Last edited by flyingthruwater on Sun Mar 26, 2017 12:02 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Local Terrain/LoS Rules & Terrain Density - a Survey
PostPosted: Sun Mar 26, 2017 12:00 pm 
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LoS examples to come once I've processed the images.

In the meantime, the terrain density votes are quite a shock! Could some of you link to photos of 30% and upwards coverage?

This table is around 25%:

Image
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 Post subject: Re: Local Terrain/LoS Rules & Terrain Density - a Survey
PostPosted: Sun Mar 26, 2017 12:11 pm 
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The rulebook isn't TLoS, it's a mix, it clearly describes area terrain and the 10cm in/out rule. For me its quite clear that the line of sight is meant to be used in conjunction, ie for seeing AROUND terrain (ie when not inside it). So the only point of divergence ought to be in the height.

And when it comes to height, AFAIK nobody plays tournaments with infinite height terrain, in the UK it is consistently 'terrain is as high as the highest unit' and uniformly so.

I also like the 'popped up on hills' house rule for its elegance and it's promotion of hills to a genuine tactical advantage. Have been trying to get that one into the EUK tournaments for years but even I accept it's a house rule (which we don't even use ourselves) and would alter the relative balance of armies. Would make shadowswords better :)

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 Post subject: Re: Local Terrain/LoS Rules & Terrain Density - a Survey
PostPosted: Sun Mar 26, 2017 12:15 pm 
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Kyrt wrote:
And when it comes to height, AFAIK nobody plays tournaments with infinite height terrain, in the UK it is consistently 'terrain is as high as the highest unit' and uniformly so.

For what it's worth, that's not been the case at any Epic UK event I've been to, unless I've suggested it myself during the 5m warmup. So it obviously varies even within the UK tournament scene.

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