Monday, July 12, 2010

Inferring distances.

by Ishamael

Hey wankers, it's been a while since I've posted, and that's mainly because I'm enjoying my summer break. So eff off!

Today I'm going to give my thoughts on a major change in the Warhammer Fantasy ruleset that has been gestating in my mind. That thing is the ability of players to pre-measure everything in the game! Now, initially I was ambivalent towards this game mechanic, borderline against it, yet there are a ridiculous number of simple mental tricks one can use to gauge distance without even needing to pick up a ruler. So, we'll break this into two sections:

What does this mean for the new player?

When I started this game I could not eyeball distances worth a shit. It made games an exercise in my own idiocy, and whenever I played against someone that had played for some time, I was outclassed because he could just eyeball that charge range, or guess how far away my models were. This mechanic levels that playing field, and encourages new players to play even more because they don't have to worry about eyeballing distances on the battlefield. Now, what about vet players, those guys that have played long enough that they can whack baby seals with distance the whole game.

What does this mean for the experienced gamer?

I've already mentioned how longtime players can just gauge distance by looking. What this means for them is that within the Fantasy rules they don't have a huge advantage over the young 'uns when playing. Knowing precisely how far it is until you hit the enemy's lines, how far to guess with your artillery dice, all that jazz is now balanced by the other fellow's ability to just measure that. So, what'll vets do? Pre-measure as well! Everybody wins, and just about the only people that won't use this tool will be a bunch of random "old school" players that find it sacrilegious that this is in the game. Burn those players, they just don't want new guys to have an equal playing field.

This is just a quick overview of this new mechanic for Fantasy. I find no problems with it, as everyone gets to start the game on a level playing field with guys who've played the game longer than some of us have been on this planet.

"Hey! You mentioned inferring distance, explain!"

Alright alright, here I'll highlight a couple of nice tricks for knowing whether or not one is in range depending on where one is on the board. First one is something I try with my Pathfinders. In Spearhead or Pitched Battle deployment, my Pathfinders take a nice advantage of the 24 inch gap between players. For the purpose of quickly explaining, we'll assume Pitched deployment. So, my Pathfinders have a 36 inch gun, and I have a 12 inch deployment zone. I know the table is 48 inches wide. If they deploy at the 12 inch mark, I can hit just about anything on my opponent's deployment zone. Yet, what I tend to do is set them up at the 6 inch mark, which gives me a 42 inch total threat range. I can hit his front line, and it buys them a turn of enemy movement to them, after going through the Kroot of course.

Here's another one, but this requires a bit of math. Assuming I have a Hammerhead in one corner, and my target is in the other corner, can I feasibly guess that I'm within range? One might intuit "yes", but let's be sure.

Epistemology! "What do we know?"

The board is 6 feet by 4 feet, broken down into 72 inches by 48 inches. The table forms a right angle, and I'm firing on the hypotenuse, so this calls for the Pythagorean Theorem:

a squared + b squared = c squared, where c squared in the hypotenuse of a right triangle, a is the short edge, and b is the long edge.

So, now we plug in our values. I'm going to go ahead and square 'em.

2304 + 5184 = 7488 - Now, we need to take the square root of our sum.

The square root of 7488 is (rounded) 86.53 inches.

So, I'd be out of range with my 72 inch Railgun! Good thing I knew that before the game even started!

So, in this short article I've touched on the pre-measuring mechanic in Fantasy 8th edition, and even some minor tricks available in 40k.

Now you know, and knowing is half the battle!

Yo, Joe!


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