Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Some Vehicle Movement Ideas

I recently got into a discussion with Stelek and Local Ork over on YTTH about tanks, play time, and improvements that could be made to how they work on the table. Which churned up a bunch of ideas within me for how tanks, wheeled vehicles, skimmers, and walkers might work in our game. I figured I'd bring those ideas over here for discussion. Vehicles are something that's not going to be worked on for the first alpha release in a few weeks. But we do need to start thinking about them now.

I said:
"A tank, at speed, would have zero problems crossing the length of a table in one turn. But tanks are slower than infantry when they get into confined spaces and have to maneuver carefully. Ever see a big dog chase around a little dog that’s slower, but can cut corners faster and duck through gaps in bushes or furniture? How fast can you drive a car in a parking garage? Same principle.
So if you’ve got a tank on a little gaming table, it should be relatively fast when moving straight, but slow when it has to turn. While the infantry are slower when moving straight, but faster when terrain is in the way. A vehicle’s advantage shouldn’t be speed, but durability and firepower. While your little Iron-Man marines are the perfect mix of speed and armor for a firefight. Faster than infantry (even without rocket packs), and with decent armor, but without the maneuvering problems of large vehicles in confined spaces."
To which Local Ork replied:
"This reminds me movie about Preston Tucker – his WWII armored car prototype was too fast!
Yes. Too good.

(On the other hand, his turret from this baby was used for several bombers and boats.)
Being fast in combat isn’t good thing apparently. Most tanks don’t get over 50 MPH on flat terrain.
Also 40k does not picture wheeled/tracked vehicles movement well (or “at all”). Unless Ork Trukks can turn their wheels sideways to pivot in place I call bullshit. Tanks are less affected but if there is no penalty for taking turns (even 1″ per each change of direction) this is more so-so approximation."
And I said:
"...tanks are only essential for fast movement/play in 40K because of the scale of the battles, and the sloppy rules that make infantry both slower and much more tedious in comparison.
Designed in a more interesting, realistic way, infantry would only be slower on straight runs. But faster elsewhere.

Once you start turning that tank, it should have trouble keeping up. It shouldn’t just be able to stop on a dime either once it’s built up some speed.
Tanks should be able to turn in place (assuming they’ve got the clearance to do so), but you’re right. Wheeled vehicles should have to move a minimum distance before they can turn.
And if you’re doing that, then vehicles are no longer the ‘pivot & move’ go-to choice for speeding up play. Infantry suddenly become the “just turn and go” easy option. While vehicle movement would require a little pre-planning. Lest you get stuck and have to back out of a corner."
Stelek added:
"SandWyrm, you will literally never convince me that infantry heavy armies can be moved as fast as tank heavy armies. It’s simply not possible. Are you going to dumb it down so it’s like Dust? Let’s see how successful that game is. Oh, right, it’s not.

10 tanks move in 2 minutes.
180 infantry models, just moving them takes three times as long.
That’s why people hated 4th edition (and hate 6th).
You can’t finish a game in under 2 hours."
Then I said:
"Yes, under similar rules, 5-10 models will take longer to move in general than just one. No argument there. From a 40K standpoint, that assertion is sound.

But my point, as someone who is re-writing the game, is also that tanks and other vehicles *shouldn’t* move just like infantry. Done right, moving a tank should take a good fraction as long to mentally/physically do as moving a squad of troops. It should also move in a noticeably different way to a wheeled vehicle, or a skimmer. Not just in a one-can-hop-over-the-other way, but in how they turn and treat the terrain they’re crossing.

Thinking Out Loud:


Must pay 1/2 movement to turn up to 90 degrees.
Must have room to turn.
Harder to immobilize when crossing difficult terrain.
If they are immobilized by terrain, can test again next turn to get unstuck from the terrain.
If moved At The Double the previous turn, must move at least their normal movement before turning this turn.

Wheeled Vehicles

Must move at least 1/2 movement, forward or back, before it can turn 90 degrees with the other half.
Easier to immobilize on terrain.
Once immobilized by terrain, it stays that way for the rest of the battle.
If moved At The Double the previous turn, must move at least their normal movement before turning this turn.


Can cross low terrain freely, but might hit trees or buildings.
Must drift at least half of it’s movement in the direction it moved last turn.
After drifting, a skimmer can move/turn at it’s full Movement.


Moves like Infantry.

A bit slower when crossing terrain, but can’t be immobilized. Easy!

And if you think nobody would go for something like that, I submit X-Wing/Wings of War for your consideration. Or the generally positive attitude of most 40K players towards how Fliers move. Yes, it would bog down a 2000 point 40K game to move 10+ vehicles this way. But that’s not the level that a properly scaled 40K should play at. For a 1000 point game, with only 2-3 vehicles, it would be fun, interesting, and add a lot of character that 40K simply doesn’t have right now."
So there's a bunch of ideas for us to chew on. Basically:
  1. Let's have only 1-3 vehicles on the table at our optimal 1000-point level. Maybe 5 in a dedicated list for vehicles.
  2. Let's actually make each type move differently on the table. With the upper limit for the time required to move them being how long it takes to physically move 9 infantry. So that there isn't this giant delta in time spent moving one versus the other.
I can also sum it up with this video from one of the Appleseed movies:

Tanks: Big, hard to kill, powerful. With very limited movement.

Infantry: Agile. Can go anywhere.


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