Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Realistic 40K Weapon Ranges

by SandWyrm


Ok, so we all know that the weapon ranges in 40K are unrealistically gimped for the sake of the game. But exactly how gimped are they? Well, I spent a good part of the day finding out just so that I could show you. Enjoy!


For the smaller guns, the 40K ranges are between 1/3rd and 1/4th of their realistic ranges. For the bigger guns... well wow!

24 comments:

  1. Just looking at it, there seems to be a pretty consistent ratio from 40k to actual 1:64. Seems the ranges don't follow the 1:64 as claimed.

    ReplyDelete
  2. They're calculated for 1:64 (28mm), but 40k models tend to be sculpted at something more like 1:48 scale.

    ReplyDelete
  3. If you'll look at weapon ranges in 40k as a logarithmic function - it will make a lot more sense.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Plenty of modern games simply assume that any weapon other than a handgun is in range of anything else on the table. It works two. But then, these games are also more realistic in terms of the chance of actually being able to hit to anything, not to mention that armies tend to break and run a lot sooner than in 40K as well.

    Basically, if you were to put realistic weapon ranges into 40K you'd completely change the nature of the game. In order to balance out these ranges, the other rules changes that would be required would pretty much result in a game that would be unrecognisabble as 40K.

    And we only need to look to the fate of 4th edition D&D to see how healthy such a radical change in design philosophy would be for the hobby.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. What games are you talking about? I'd be interested in checking them out.

      Delete
    2. "And we only need to look to the fate of 4th edition D&D to see how healthy such a radical change in design philosophy would be for the hobby."

      Radical change is not always bad. Second to third 40K was a radical shift and good for the game overall. The same can be said for 2nd to 3rd edition D&D. 4th edition may not have been popular with the established RPG crowds, but it did draw a lot of new blood to that particular hobby by appealing to the MMO crowds that never played a pen and paper system before.

      If you take a change you can win or loose. Just because one risk didn't turn out spectacular is not a reason to never take a chance ever again.

      Delete
    3. The change on how range worked in 4th ed has nothing to do with why people dislike it, nor would I call it a 'radical change'. The main cause for complaints is that it's a combat-focused system with very few opportunities for role-playing.

      That being said, that doesn't mean it's been a bad change for the system. 4th ed accomplished what it set out to do, and that was make DnD more viable for more people. Despite complaints, the number of players and fans has grown drastically from 3.5 ed.

      Delete
  5. Can you add the realistic difference in how far a genetically altered super human can throw a grenade?
    Also, how about in game vs realistic psychic power range?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sci-Fi 101: The more you base your fantasy world's rules on how real things work, the more 'real' the fantastic made-up parts will seem.

      Delete
    2. Eh, doesn't seem relevant to me. Chart looks good though.

      Delete
  6. The old fantasy book used to explain how they reduced the distances to fit the tabletop. I think they said something like 'feel free to multiply up all the distances and play in a car park'!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. My recollection is that all of the fantasy ranges were reduced by 2/3rds. Then when Rogue Trader came out, I think they just used the same range bands.

      Delete
    2. They say they cut ranges by about 4/5ths, so that 1 inch = 10 yards for weapon ranges. I don't know if that is true of their thinking for 40k but since they bothered to include it I think they did at least consider some kind of metric.

      Figuring it out is another thing of course...

      Delete
    3. Right in the back of the the old WFB rulebook from 1996, maybe 5th edition? It was the one with Bretonians and Lizardmen in the box. Appendix 2 is just a page explaining their use of scale in the game.

      Delete
  7. I tend to rationalize (some) the shorter 40k ranges by realizing that the plastic soldiers are running around and shooting, rather than sitting at a shooting bench!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Very true. I'm trying to find some data on how far troops can usually see and shoot on the move, but it's not easy. I know from World of Tanks, that both your range and accuracy suffers quite a bit when you move around. :)

      Delete
    2. World of Tanks, BTW, has a minimum view distance of 50m (31" in 40K-scale), within which you can always see where the enemy is.

      Delete
    3. The US military has done studies on this I believe. What they found out was that the majority of modern infantry fire-fights historically(Data collected from WWII and Korea) happened at no more than 300 yards. That's why the M-16 was designed to be optimal at that range or lower.

      I can't point you to the actual study, I learned this from a American Military History course I took back in college. The prof was a retired Army Lt. Col. who served in Korea and Vietnam, and he knew his stuff.

      Delete
    4. Some good info here:

      http://www.angelfire.com/art/enchanter/range.html

      Typical real world visibility tends to be about 1600 feet in most terrain. Which is 300 inches in 40K-scale. Or just over four 6-foot long 40K tables placed end-to-end.

      Most infantry, regardless of weapon, can only reliably hit targets about 900 feet away due to bullet travel times. Unless the target is unaware of the shooter and is standing still. That's 169" in 40K scale, or 2.3 40K tables placed end-to-end.

      Machine guns do a lot better, at 3x the typical rifle engagement range. But only because they can spit out enough bullets to cover every place a target might dodge to in the 1-2 seconds that it takes the bullets to get there.



      Delete
  8. Now consider the Deathstrike Missile Launcher....

    (They could add rules for artillery which is miles away off the table, working a bit like orbital strikes. But real life artillery doesn't have to worry about assaults by teleporting troops.)

    Another way of making it (sort of) work is to say that the 28mm models aren't to scale, they are just markers. After all, if you compare the size of typical terrain pieces with real hills/forests/cities, they are equally tiny, or worse. This also explains how 10 marines in power armour fit in a Rhino when it's obvious that 10 marine models won't fit in a Rhino model.

    The change to line-of-sight for targeting made this a little harder to argue, but not impossible.

    On the other hand I don't care how many shiny new flyer models they sell for 6th, a 28m scale flyer with "Supersonic" rules doesn't fit sanely on a tabletop :-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It would be kind of interesting though, if you had to choose between teleporting your Terminators onto the table, or using them to suppress enemy artillery in some abstracted off-table interference system.

      In Flames of War, when your enemy makes his air support rolls, you can sacrifice one of your own air support dice to try and intercept his aircraft. What if you could do something similar against enemy off-table artillery? Or enemy bombers that are circling overhead waiting for a target to be painted before they release a bomb from miles away? I think it would add some interesting dynamics to the game.

      Delete
    2. Take that idea a step farther. One of the primary tasks of US indirect fire systems is counter-battery fire. Radar detects the signature of enemy artillery round as they are fired, computers at a fire control center calculate the trajectory backward to determine the location of the enemy artillery pieces and automatically transmit a fire command to a waiting artillery battery. We can have 155 rounds on the way to an enemy artillery unit before their rounds even hit.

      Plug this into the game and you can have artillery duels happening completely off board. Many tactical wargames have had this feature. I think I first saw it in Arab Israeli Wars by AH. Years ago (4th edition was brand new) I thought about including this sort of thing into house rules for a campaign, but I never got it off the ground.

      Delete

Recent Favorites

All-Time Favorites