Friday, December 31, 2010

How in the H#@L do Ruins work in 40K?

by Spaguatyrine

So as the February Tournament Season is coming and I am getting ready to knock some heads and hopefully represent this blog and Space Wolf players well, I cannot help but ask this question....How in the H-E-#-L does this rule get so...... abused. I have seen players use ruins to benefit themselves and hinder their opponent. THAT is another post.

The 2 areas I see that often cause so much problems tend to be:

Ruins as area terrain for infantry, walkers, etc models.
Ruins as difficult terrain for vehicles.

As written:

On page 13 of the rulebook it states, "You should discuss all such terrain features with your opponent before the game and agree exactly what everything counts as and where boundaries of terrain features lie. When the game is underway, it will be harder to discuss it quite so impartially."

Also on page 77 of the rulebook it states, "As with any type of tabletop terrain, it is worthwhile discussing with your opponent what effect each different structure will have before the battle begins. This need not be a time consuming process; in fact it will probably only take a few minutes, and each structure can be as complicated or as straightforward as you and your opponent wish it to be. There is no right or wrong way to choose how your buildings and ruins work-they can even behave differently in different games!"

On page 83 it states, "Should troops be able to move through walls if there is no door? That's really down to what you and your opponents decide. It's perfectly acceptable to assume the combatants on both sides have brought plenty of cutting tools, acidic disintegrators or naked ferocity to muscle their way through any wall ..."

So to ask a few questions of you:

*Do you allow for infantry models, walkers, etc. to move through ruins as the 3rd bullet point states? If not what do you allow, and why? 

*Can vehicles move through any ruins?  Could they move through ruins similar to the pictures in this post?

*How much time do you spend on being particular about terrain, discussing do's and don'ts?



  1. The red writing is really hard to read against the yellow/tan background.

    I always discuss what each and every bit of terrain means before the start of the game; usually it's just, that block of foam is a steep hill so difficult and dangerous, that folder is area terrain, etc.

  2. Red Fixed.

    I always play that any model can move though any ruin unless we agree on something else before the game begins. It's the best default position to take.

  3. I play as follows.

    1) In a tournament setting ruins are area terrain. They provide a 4+ cover save to non-vehicle models regardless of whether or not they are concealed at all that's the beauty of area terrain. They are difficult terrain for things that are affected by difficult terrain and dangerous for things that treat difficult as dangerous. It's just easier than specifying unit types to say it that way. The 50% rule always takes precedence for vehicles and cover. If the ruin is on a base the ground level is considered area terrain if not then the area terrain starts on the second level. As far as moving through walls there are not restrictions to any unit type. That's how they work by RAW. Oh and Beats, Bikes, non-skimmer vehicles and such can't move up and down levels in ruins. Of course in a tournament setting players can agree before the game begins to treat terrain however they want. In the case of an argument as a judge I always go back to RAW for rulings regardless of what may have been agreed upon because chances are as a judge you probably didn't hear what the agreement was. Sucks but you have to have a standard for making judgment calls.

    2) In friendly games and such I discuss it more in depth because I think a fully intact wall should hinder movement and that ladders and such should be used to go up and down levels. It's all stuff that adds to the game and makes it more enjoyable in my opinion. I also don't always treat them as area terrain. That's all in the beauty of playing a game for fun with friends. As long as everyone knows before the game starts.

  4. I/we generally play that most ruins don't have to be entered any particular way, so you can go through walls and such. Just like other area terrain where you can pass through trees and such. Vehicles can also enter/pass through like other area terrain. Really, "ruins" rules could just be renamed "multi-level area terrain" for the most part - a bunch of trees with branches big enough to stand on could work the same way.

    I think the big "issue" is how to handle something that doesn't fit all the way in. Decide that with your opponent/group, and apply it when it comes up that a model would end up halfway through the solid wall, be it infantry, bike, or tank. Put it as close as possible but play with the "real" position? Stop it just short of the obstacle, and require enough movement to clear it to proceed?

  5. Nice comments.

    So 'Devil's Advocate', If one player says his Rhino can bust thru the 2" thick ruin building to contest the objective on the last turn, but the opponent states there is no way a little Rhino can break thru something that thick....

    What would you rule?

    at Sircarp,

    So you would let tanks bust thru ruins, and models to move thru ruins even tho there aren't doors or windows?

    Next question in succession, do the ruins which are often looked at as swiss cheese, actually block line of sight.....? :)

    I am suprised more hasn't been said on Drednoughts. By RAW, dreadnoughts can break thru any ruin and climb levels in Ruins, if they can fit, which is an issue in almost any ruin.

  6. Heh, any particular game you're thinking of? ;)

    Yes, I would let a tank break through a 2" thick wall, unless something else is agreed on first.

  7. No,

    I said Rhino!! I am thinking of another game.

  8. Heh heh, sounds like there's some history there eh?

    Standard is as described above. All terrain is area terrain unless agreed otherwise. All terrain is dangerous but traversable to vehicles. Simple.

    If there's a terrain piece that doesn't lend itself to the general rule then I aim to get a clear exception before the game starts. A good example would be an intact building with no entry point. I'd probably want that to be impassable rather than area terrain.

    Saying that a wall is too thick in the middle of a game defies page 83 and is trying to cover your own tactical errors.

  9. Going through the walls of ruins is something I totally endorse, "mouse-holing" is a standard urban warfare tactic (and is so cool).

    Ruins rules aren't clear and there doesn't seem to be a common perception of how they should work. Something that really screwed me over recently was an opponent insisting assaulting troops needed to have enough movement to scale a level AND to move up get their base onto the parapet in order to be able to assault troops on a higher level (rather than just reach the opponent's base).

    Personally, I feel the game is too short to add extra constraints onto movement. Difficult terrain rolls already can make terrain like ruins a tarpit so I don't like the idea of adding any more rules that slow movement.

  10. @Korona,

    You bring an intersting point on Ruins. If 5 scouts are covering a second level of a ruin and there isn't any other space for a model to stand can you assault them. I have had a particular player state no because you cannot get into base, but since it is a simulated area, wouldn't rolling a 3 on a difficult terrain test to assualt give you the assault.

    Another quirk about ruins. Since Calvary cannot climb ruins, if the top of a calvary model can actually touch the base of a model on a second story ruin, can it be assaulted. An example would be the Canis Model or a bloodcrusher model that can actually touch a base with it's body. I know the answer, but again with Ruin's being so vague, it is always good to make sure of the consensus.

    @GDMNW, I like your example of a an actual building to answer questions.

    So the line of sight question anyone?

  11. Agree with everyone else.

    As for LoS - you can see through, you shoot - firing through pieces of Area Terrain is clearly defined in the BRb as the same as firing through members of a unit. But you can fire out up to 2" without providing cover. :P

  12. I would let a vehicle move through a ruin wall; a tank can smash through an intact building easily, a ruin should be even easier. I would say yes for troops as well, the difficult terrain roll should represent their attempts to break through walls via grenades, shooting, clawing, etc. This explanation does lose some momentum when you wonder why their buddies in the squad next to them can't simply use the hole they left behind, but I think I prefer the rules remain simple than account for everything.

    Line of sight is another issue entirely; I play it pretty simply, if you can see it you have LoS. If someone places a squad such that the walls of a ruin keep me from seeing them using TLoS rules, then I can't shoot at them.

  13. Firing from area terrain is as follows. Greater than 2" and you are granting a non-vehicle target a cover save. Beyond that its always true line of site. So even if you are within 2" of a wall but can't see throught it you can't shoot.

    Not all terrain is area terrain. Area terrain is a type/category of terrain. All ruins are area terrain though. Buildings are completley different than area terrain and ruins. Buildings are a whole other beast unto themselves.

  14. I always count ruins as area terrain and you can move through any part of it even if a wall or object is in the way, the object or wall only helps to show it is a ruin but can block LOS of course. I also sometimes make jumping walls or such dangerous terrain if they want to to show them punching or blasting thier way thru some dangerous ruins.

  15. In my experience, the standard is 4+ cover, difficult for infantry, and dangerous for vehicles (but traversable for both).

    It's the quick and dirty way to get a pick up game rolling.

    That said, how do I plan to run the ruined buildings I'm putting together from the Sector Imperialis?

    WYSIWYG, friends. There will be ladders (makeshift or otherwise) to use to climb up.
    Doors are free to be used by whatever, if it can fit (and for particularly tall models, I'm assuming they know how to duck... so long as an entryway is at least half the size of the model, it's fair game).
    Broken open windows/walls are difficult terrain to get through, closed are closed.
    Vehicles must find a big enough doorway (unlikely, but possible) or find a broken open section to enter.

    This is for friends and such, who want to get into a more in-depth game (terrain wise). I think terrain in general is largely ignored, especially now in the world of "it's a 4+". The options are nearly limitless... old books have tons of ideas on different types of terrain. You can look to things like cityfight or planetstrike for more ideas. I think good terrain (not just pretty) can make the game more dynamic, and take it to the next level.

    On a related note, what about skimmer transports? Can they drop cargo off on levels above the first? They're allowed to use templates on any level, but would you let me drop off some DE Warriors on top? Hrrmmm...

  16. I too have the question whether cavalry can assault models on the first floor.

    It says in the ruins section that distance is measured between the head and base of models.
    It also says that if there is no room to put models they still can assault.

    A guy used this in a tourney to assault my guys with his thunderwolves.

    What is the general opinion on this? anyone?

  17. This is something my group has struggled with. We actually treat the ruins as WYSIWYG in that a wall is a wall and not deformable. Therefore even a land raider would have to drive around. It has been a big debate though since we argue about dreads and terminators jumping through windows.

    That is the only drawback of having a good gaming group, we become so inbred with out houserules that probably none of the eight of us is fit to play outside the group anymore :p

  18. the main problem with ruins is that in the rules they are abstract for movement, but concrete for shooting. this is why there are so many different ways for people to play them as different groups have preferred levels of battlefield abstraction that they prefer.

  19. I think that it is stupid that Bloodcrushers can climb into different levels of ruins but Thunderwolves can't! Yes I am whining!


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