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"Models and Terrain Interaction" Topic

10 Posts

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561 hits since 23 Sep 2012
©1994-2014 Bill Armintrout
Comments or corrections?

Whirlwind24 Sep 2012 10:43 a.m. PST

Thinking back, I've spent much time in many games trying to sort out how troops and terrain interact. Nothing show-stopping, but stuff like if three-quarters of a base is in the wood, is the whole thing in the wood, or the physical mechanics of how troops fight in built-up areas – and are the model buildings 'real' for LOS purposes, and do troops in buildings have flanks – that kind of thing. Do game designers spend enough time explaining how this kind of thing should work in games, or is it purposely left a bit vague as most gamers terrain set-ups will be a bit different?


Personal logo Extra Crispy Sponsoring Member of TMP24 Sep 2012 11:05 a.m. PST

When I run a game or write rules I am specific. In general I ask all terrain to have hard edges and treat the entire area as that terrain. I also specifically state – you must be clear about locating your troops. Otherwise terrain is always in your opponents favor (so 3/4 of the base in the woods is clear terrain – if you want to be in the woods go all the way in).

leidang Supporting Member of TMP24 Sep 2012 12:08 p.m. PST

I generally make play on the edges of terrain exact and then play wholly inside the terrain feature abstraced.

So if mutliple stands are all fighting in the woods I treat it as a single large combat if possible.

I'm with EC on specifying exactness for the edges.

Angel Barracks Inactive Member24 Sep 2012 12:53 p.m. PST

I place all my terrain onto tiles.
If a figure is on a tile of trees, then the figures is in cover regardless of if it is actually behind a tree model.
It is on the tile and therefore it is in the terrain.

Same with BUA, all buildings go on tiles, even if your figure is on the edge of a tile with a building on it counts as being in the BUA as it is on the tile.

It is a bit 'boardgamey', but it works well.

striker824 Sep 2012 1:08 p.m. PST

I never liked hard rules defining things like that, terrain tends to vary to much in how it's laid out and built. I've seen wooded terrain that covers a good bit of table that made it impossible to get a small unit fully inside it and I've seen small houses that a vehicle and troops could fit in. It's just silly to think a rule set can cover every way terrain can appear on the table.

That's why i prefer to have an agreement with the people I'm playing instead of relying on a rule set on how each terrain element will be handled pre game. It doesn't take long and after a while you only have to debate new terrain since everything else has been agreed to previously

Wartopia Inactive Member24 Sep 2012 1:23 p.m. PST

This is a very annoying problem in games with multiple stands/figures in a unit. For example, many small unit/tactical games in which a team, squad, platoon, or company is composed of multipl stands/figures separated by a number of inches. With some figures in LOS and some out or some in one type of cover and others in a different type how do you judge LoS, concealment, cover, etc.?

Different systems have different solutions and in every case the rules text grows with each edition since the problem is complex by its very nature.

We've taken a different approach and now treat the individual stand or team as a single element or lowest level unit. Much simpler!

MajorB25 Sep 2012 12:47 a.m. PST

We've taken a different approach and now treat the individual stand or team as a single element or lowest level unit. Much simpler!

Isn't that what most rules do anyway?

Personal logo Martin Rapier Supporting Member of TMP25 Sep 2012 2:24 a.m. PST

"Isn't that what most rules do anyway?"

Command Decison had some convoluted mechanics to distribute hits to groups of elements, some of which were in cover and some of which weren't. It was partly a function of the combat system.

I also favour clear delineation of terrain features as it reduces 'misunderstandings' and of course using a grid to regulate movement eliminates all the in/out of terrain arguments completely.

Yesthatphil25 Sep 2012 2:37 a.m. PST

I, too, prefer zonal games for more modern periods … I find shooting at/from … moving between … defining cover … by areas a clearer system, and it also helps when you get to area fire weapons (MGs HE etc.) ..

I like squares for this as military maps are gridded (so the translation from briefing to table is smoother) but I accept that hexes are attractive both in the perceived coherence of distances and in the smart readymade components that are available these days.

Elenderil25 Sep 2012 3:42 a.m. PST

For historical games at battalion level or above so that manouver units are large bodies of men I use one system and for Skirmish level I use another. It really depends on what the target is. If it is a single person then I treat them as being in , partially in or out of the cover provided by the terrain, building etc. The cover reduces visability of the target and the chance to hit and some hits may be invalid depending on the hit location which may be safely behind a brick wall etc. I always ran umpired skirmish games to allow this level of detail.

For larger battlefield actions I tend to work on the basis that a unit will not allow its formation to be disrupted so will tend to move at the rate of the roughest terrain any part of it is within, or crossing over until the entire unit is clear. Skirmishing formations still need to maintain some integrity but are less effected by rough terrain. This if any part of a formation is in terrain that causes command and control issues the unit has to take the impact of any modifier, that should cause players to make clear decisions about exactly where to place their units. As for fire effects I turn it on it's head if any portion of the unit is in the open then the unit counts no cover bonuses or only partial cover bonuses.

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