Thursday, June 4, 2015

Spotting the Enemy

In the interests of promoting movement in the game by making it safer under certain circumstances to move a little bit than stand still, I'm working on a spotting system that would make units easier or harder to see based on their actions during the turn. Using a variation on an early idea that we discarded for our visibility system.

How Visibility Works Right Now

So right now, there are four levels of Visibility in the game, based on how the Line of Sight test works (barring special rules for area terrain, etc.).

1) Exposed

The model is standing in the open, and the model's entire base can be seen. The model gets no Evasion bonuses.

2) Obscured

The model's base is only partially seen. +1 Evasion.

3) Concealed

The model's base can't be seen at all, but part of the model's head and/or torso can be seen. +2 Evasion.

4) Hidden

No part of the model can be seen at all. The model cannot be targeted by direct-fire weapons.

Now, My "Spotting" Idea...

In the past we've toyed with the idea limiting how far a unit that has Gone-to-Ground could be seen, based on its visibility. For GtG Concealed units, this was 6", while GtG Obscured and Exposed units could only been seen within 12" and 24" respectively. The idea being that these units were attempting to stay out of sight, so you had to be closer to target them.

An older diagram where Concealed used to be called Hidden, but you get the idea.

Problem is, Gone-to-Ground meant that a unit couldn't move. Which is a mechanic that encourages a more static game overall than I think we really want. So I'm toying with the idea of making it harder to hit moving units that don't call attention to themselves.

Considering real battles, and the logic of a certain Monty Python sketch, being able to hide by not moving is a bit silly anyway. If you're conducting an ambush, then you can hide yourself well enough before the battle to avoid being spotted. But once you pop off a few shots at the enemy, or move about in the open, they're going to have a pretty good idea where you are.

Going to Ground may make you a bit harder to hit (+1 Evasion currently), but the enemy still knows your location and can pour fire into it. Whereas if you want to sneak about, you need to keep moving through terrain that's far enough away from their position that they can't spot you easily.


The idea is that we would have an extra order/action in the movement phase called "Evade". An Evading unit would make a normal move, and gain an "Evade Token". Units with Evade tokens would be hidden at the ranges mentioned above, depending on their visibility level.
  • Exposed - Hidden beyond 24"
  • Obscured - Hidden beyond 12"
  • Concealed - Hidden beyond 6"

Losing Evasion

An evading unit would lose its Evasion token if it Ran, shot, or charged in the shooting phase, or if it was shot at by an enemy unit.

To avoid token overload, we'd go ahead and lose the hit-tracking die. Instead we'd simply reduce a unit's Initiative by one point for getting shot at by another unit, and the usual one point for the first casualty per incoming salvo. So that all you'd have next to a unit is their initiative tracking die, and maybe a counter if they are Evading, Gone to Ground, in Overwatch, Assaulting, or Falling Back.

Pretty simple I hope.


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