Monday, February 20, 2012

Know Your Foe - Vehicles

By Anonymous Foodie


Whether you're a competitive player or a beer and wings type, we can all take a lesson from our favorite PSA's...

Let's face it... we all have to look up rules once in a while, but having a good grasp of the basics leads to a better game for everyone.  Given that Vehicles in general are such a large part of the game's meta, a little refresher may not be such a bad idea.  So with that in mind, let's hit a few things that will be a (hopefully) good summation for new players, and maybe a good refresher for some of the vets among us.

Vehicle Movement

Firstly, it's important to note that vehicles have two gears - forward and reverse.  Unlike infantry (or Walkers, which are far more mobile) they can not actually make any sideways movement.  Instead they are free to rotate as many times as they wish during their movement in order to change direction, and in fact can rotate in place without having counted as moving at all.  This comes into play under some other rules, but for now we'll hit the basics.

Rotate from the dead center of the model.  Not from the corner, not from wherever you happen to grab the model... the center.  There's the obvious example above of gaining extra movement, but there are some other potential hazards as well.  Again, we'll check these out later.

Vehicle Shooting

While 99% of things are measured to and from a model's base, there are some differences with vehicles.  The first being, most don't have bases.  That's easy enough... you just use the footprint of the model itself (or the base, if it has one).  For shooting, though, you both measure and check Line of Sight from the gun itself.

As a rule of thumb, a gun has the arc of fire that it appears to have.  If a gun can rotate 360 degrees and has clear line of sight all around, good job, that gun can shoot about anything.  At least, anything on the same level.  Some guns are glued in place, or don't physically move, so it's a good idea to know what they can (and can't) do.

Page 59 has a few useful pictures that I encourage everyone to look at.

Side sponsons have, typically, either a just-over-180 or just-over-90 degree arc of fire.
Hull mounted weapons (which typically are physically stuck straight forward) have a 45 degree arc.

I'm sorely tempted to make my own templates for this, because each of these leave fairly significant blind spots that people will often, without meaning to, ignore.

Also of note is the ability to shoot *up*.  All weapons are assumed to be capable of a 45 degree vertical arc.  So if you're trying to shoot at the top floor of a building you're right next to, or down a ridge that you're sitting on top of, you may be out of luck.

All the Funsies

I said we'd get to more tricksy stuff, and here it is.  I'm not going to go over everything like Ramming and such, since it's all there in the book for you and that's copywrite anyway, but I do want to touch on a few things.

Firstly, I said that the whole "no sideways" thing would come into play later, and so here it does.  Vehicles, like everything else, are still subject to the "one-inch rule".  That is to say, if you aren't assaulting, you can't come within 1" of an enemy model.  Now, vehicle like to just run through things instead of assaulting... but here's the kicker.

Rotating does not, can not, and will not ever, count as a tank shock.  Tank Shock only occurs from forward (or backward, if you're feeling particularly frisky) movement.

That is to say, kids, that if I have an infantry unit lined up 1" from your side armor but no model directly in front of or behind the tank, that unit *can not* be tank shocked. 

Some people will also get flimsy with the need to rotate on the spot in order to avoid nasty terrain.  Remember that the check must be made as soon as part of the hull comes into contact with the designated piece.  Of course, it's important to designate exactly what constitutes as dangerous terrain for vehicles.  Obviously the ruin will count, but what about the base it's on?  It may not look like much of a hassle for a vehicle, but is it meant to represent more of a smouldering, broken crater?

To go further, what is actually impassable to vehicles?  You can of course say that a Dangerous Terrain test will allow a vehicle to pass through walls and high ruins (representing the vehicle plowing through), or you may want to designate certain bits as completely impassable.  This is, of course, all up to the two (or 12) people playing, and should be agreed upon before the game starts... not as the vehicle is moving through.

 So that's my spiel for the day.  Hopefully this look into some of the basics of vehicles will be helpful - whether you're playing for bragging rights or a world cup, it's important that both you and your opponent are following the rules correctly (or at least *both* agreeing to break them!).


  1. These are some of the things I learned the hard way. Took me forever to figure out. Could be because I started off with Tyranids.

  2. This reminds me of a Warseer thread re: Dark Eldar craft rotatating on the base instead of at the center and gaining movement (imo, wrong). Thanks for bringing it here; hopefully it will help in the upcoming Open.

  3. You should do another fancy picture for Walkers and the LOS for the weapons (45deg arc) with a template weapon. I see this "fudged" a lot too. A Walker can pivot in the shooting phase (assuming it's not immobilized) to face a new target, but it can't shoot outside of the 45deg arc.

  4. Walkers are complicated enough that I figured they'd warrant their own article completely. They're often tricky for new players, and the rules seem to change subtly between editions enough that vets often get mixed up as well. I'm actually planning to make the whole thing a bit of a series... so walkers are definitely up next, and if anyone has any requests/ideas for a continuation, by all means leave a note!

  5. Something to add is that the rulebook is pretty clear that no part of the vehicle moves faster than its speed allows: Rotating a vehicle to move one corner more than 6" during combat speed is cheating.


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