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Hordes, the Battlegrid and Close Combat?


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#1 Tarkand

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Posted 26 June 2010 - 05:01 AM

Alrighty.

What I like about this system is the representation it makes of close quarter squad-combat.

In Rogue Trader, we use a battle-grid, and it makes stuff like having the Arch-Militant lay down suppressing fire, pinning a target in order to have the Missionary creep around and engaged the pinned in close combat a joy to behold.

But I'm having a bit of a problem with the concept of hordes in this.

You see, Horde work great when dealing with 'long range' entrenched fire fights... you describe that there's a 100 guys in the city blocks in front, you guys take cover and you trade shot, throw grenades and so forth.

However, replicating the above example of using suppressing fire in order to pin down a target and get in close combat, things start to breakdown... how many members of the Hordes are suppressed? How many are actually in close range of the missionary? He's obviously not fighting all 100 of them at the same time, since they are split up between several buildings and floors.

How do you even represent a Horde on the board in close combat? Isn't somebody wildly charging and getting in CC with it actually 'inside' the Horde? I suppose that you could just 'free style it' once you're in CC and ignore the battlegrid and with a GM who is also a good storyteller, he maybe able to describe everything in a cool enough fashion that you won't mind... but still... I get the idea that he'd basically wade in there and slice people up, trading blows and everything... but you more or less lose the entire complexity and tactical level of combat, positioning and so forth and just devolve to throwing dices back and forth as soon as you get in close combat (Doubly so since parrying/dodging are out of the equation).

In short, there seems to be a bit of a dichotomy here. By default, Hordes represent an abstract concept (Much more so than fighting against 'normal' opponents)... but the abstractness goes from 5 to 11 when one goes from ranged combat to melee combat.

Any ideas/tips on how to deal with this? Especially from people who have ran Final Sanction...?

 

 



#2 Court Jester

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Posted 26 June 2010 - 05:49 AM

 We didn't use miniatures or a gird... just a healthy amount of imagination. We still had sneaking and suppressing fire and assaults all at the same time. I guess it is just a case of stepping up the amount of narration involved in combat, less game and more story.



#3 bogomips

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Posted 26 June 2010 - 02:48 PM

If you feel the need to place the mob on a meter by meter battle grid consider just filling every available space around the space marine in question with an enemy, possible two deep deepending on the size you envision the mob to be.

 

Admittedly when the space marines strike back you may have to get creative on how you thin the enemy ranks.



#4 Cifer

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Posted 26 June 2010 - 11:43 PM

 I'd assume there will be some rules for this kind of thing once the actual game comes out...

Specifically, the suppressing of hordes isn't handled at all right now. Of course, one could simply assume that using Full Auto on them will partly diminish the Magnitude of a horde because some of them are suppressed and in need of a new set of pants.



#5 MILLANDSON

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Posted 27 June 2010 - 12:00 AM

Cifer said:

 I'd assume there will be some rules for this kind of thing once the actual game comes out...

Specifically, the suppressing of hordes isn't handled at all right now. Of course, one could simply assume that using Full Auto on them will partly diminish the Magnitude of a horde because some of them are suppressed and in need of a new set of pants.

Rules will likely be there, but none for how to use minis, I'd guess, since none of the other 40k RPGs have.


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#6 lordsneek

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Posted 27 June 2010 - 02:32 AM

Well, you could just use a single imperial guard miniature for a horde and say that every square around them has members of the horde in it and just use the miniature to represent where the horde "begins". Though you should re-scale the grid to something larger then a meter and re-scale how long a round is from 5-6 seconds to about 1 min so that the PCs can move more then 1 square on the re-scaled grid map.



#7 Xenoviel

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Posted 27 June 2010 - 07:58 PM

I am hoping to use a battle grid for Deathwatch, so representation of hordes is going to be something that I'll have to work out. Perhaps they'll include a convenient methodology in the rulebook, but barring that, you could simply represent the horde with say... one mini for every 5 magnitude it currently has? Remove minis as the magnitude decreases, and move a few of them around to represent the horde's movement? Obviously, without more information on hordes, this is completely arbitrary, but it's an idea.



#8 borithan

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Posted 27 June 2010 - 09:03 PM

MILLANDSON said:

 

Rules will likely be there, but none for how to use minis, I'd guess, since none of the other 40k RPGs have.

Actually, the previous games explicitly state that the combat rules were designed with the possibility of using miniatures in mind. P.194 of the Dark Heresy rulebook has an info box about using gridded maps with miniatures. There are no seperate miniatures rules because there is no need for them, the rules already allowing for them. However, the horde rules are a much more abstract representation of things than previously (they did have the "have 1 guy represent 10 mooks" suggestion in Rogue Trader, but that seemed to be a deliberate simplification to make it easy to continue to use a grid map).

Now, they may give explicit rules on how to use hordes with a grid map, but I wouldn't be surprised if they didn't. FFG games looks to be less bothered about catering to miniatures based rules for RPGs than Black Industries was. That's not meant as a criticism, and totally understandable, just things seem to have been getting more abstracted and consequently more difficult to do with a board and a fixed scale (part of this has meant being able to do bigger things. Its kinda hard to find the space to do a large battle with hundreds of guys if 1 square is equal to 1 metre, even if you have horde rules to streamline the combat). I wouldn't be surprised if it will be up to GMs to come up with suitable rules. A suggestion from myself would be 1 figure for every point of magnitude (though many non-wargamers will simply not have that many figures... and even many wargamers will not have enough of certain types of figures), and then have them scattered across the area the horde occupies fairly evenly, with the ones furthest to the edge deliniating the edge of the horde. Remove one figure for every magnitude removed. Movement would be conducted with the outermost guys, and then just shuffle the inner guys to somewhere sensible looking.

Don't know how effective that would be, and as I said it would be limited to those with enough figures, markers or whatever, but it would allow use of a board. I don't think it would be at all practical with hordes totalling more than magnitude 40 at any one time (though having a larger ratio of magnitude to figure would fix that, if involving more bookkeeping). It would also allow players to focuss on certain parts of a horde to try and shape where it is going. For example, say one of them is injured, and they don't want the horde to reach that guy in close combat. The other players could say they are concentrating on those closest to the threatened PC, so the GM removes figures closest to hime first. This now means the horde has to take longer to reach him (which they may never do if the fire is heavy enough), or change its behaviour and go after the other players.

Absolutely no idea how to handle pinning. As others have suggested, I suspect this is at least partly integrated into the hordes' magnitude losses. However, the pinning rules don't feature at all in Final Sanction, so it may just be they thought them too complicated for the intro-game.

 



#9 Nojo509

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Posted 28 June 2010 - 07:06 AM

What do you call the RT space combat rules that use squares if not rules for minis?

Back to Hordes and tactical combat. I imagine you could "peel off" part of a horde, reducing it's magnitude, and fighting the bit you peeled off in tactical style if you wanted to. I could see this as more useful for using Horde rules in DH & RT than DW. I imagine DW space marines vs. horde like armored knights charging into peasant millita.  *All* your combat is mass combat against hordes. The tactical stuff comes out against the big boys. Genestealers and the like.



#10 MILLANDSON

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Posted 28 June 2010 - 09:20 AM

Nojo509 said:

What do you call the RT space combat rules that use squares if not rules for minis?

When does it talk about minis? The corebook never really mentions them, from my reading of it. It covers Void Units, but those are abstract distances that can be as far at the GM wants them to be. It's still all predominantly set up for narritive combat.


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#11 talsine

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Posted 28 June 2010 - 02:33 PM

Honestly, i would use the Hordes rules for large fights where a grid would just get in the way, give characters bonuses for decribing their assualts and defenses, ala stunting from Exalted if you've played it, and let them go at it. Break out the grid when its small groups of big names, your genestealers, harliquiens, Nobz, etc.



#12 Tarkand

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Posted 28 June 2010 - 04:56 PM

That's a sensible option Talsine.

Problem is I'm afraid it devolve into:

'I attack' /roll dice, tallies damage

'It lose 1 Magniture, Ok, it attacks' /roll dices, tallies damage.

Repeat.

Yeah, you can be verbose, and add bonus for stunts and all that stuff... but quite frankly, that's only fun if the fights are fast paced. Whittling down a magnitude 40 (or more!) is going to get boring unless all of you guys are very good at improv... and Final Sanction has a LOT of Hordes.

 



#13 talsine

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Posted 29 June 2010 - 03:07 AM

Have you tried the hordes rules in play? A Heavy bolter can hit the 25% mark in 1 round with good rolls, and if a whole group opens up with auto fire its pretty much a lock to hit that first will check, maybe the second. Even with lots of hordes, if paced well, it shouldn't be an issue. Hordes + command staff make for much more interesting combats than just the hordes alone, and i plan on adding that to my Final Sanction play i'm running this weekend.

 

Sure, lots of Hordes are going to be boring if its only hordes, but its up to the GM to make it interesting, give them ways other than jsut autofire to take it out, or other targets to fight, hell, even other objectives, like keeping the horde where it is, its attention on the marines, while an Inquistor and retinue sneek into a  fortress and open it up for a kill team. There are lots of options, they just aren't shown in Final Sanction, because its just a quick start.



#14 borithan

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Posted 29 June 2010 - 06:23 AM

MILLANDSON said:

 

When does it talk about minis? The corebook never really mentions them, from my reading of it. It covers Void Units, but those are abstract distances that can be as far at the GM wants them to be. It's still all predominantly set up for narritive combat.

P.194 of the Dark Heresy rulebook. And Rogue trader has very explicit fire arcs and shows how to use them with squares, which is entirely unnecessary if designed for purely using narrative combat. Yes, Void units can be entirely abstract if you want to, but no conversion of the rules is needed at all to use the miniatures. Miniatures were obviously catered to in the creation of the rules (explicitly stated as such in Dark Heresy). There have been a few more recent elements which seem less miniatures friendly, and Hordes is one of them, so it may be that Fantasy Flight have decided to move away from that with Deathwatch, but it still seems doable.



#15 theDevilofWormwood

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Posted 29 June 2010 - 09:51 AM

One way to deal with Tarkand's problem is to breakup the Hordes.  So if you have 100 soldiers spread through the nearby city block, you could represent that with a 50 Magnitude (or 30, or 20, however you're doing your scaling) Horde, or you could break it up into smaller segments, like two 25 Magnitude Hordes, or five 10 Magnitude Hordes, or something similar.  Of course any such breakdown can extend the time it takes to play out combat, but it also can allow for more tactical options.  And it's a lot easier to represent on a combat grid.  I'm sure it's not perfect, and there's probably some quirky mathematical differences (regarding damage output, morale break points, etc etc) between a 50 Mag Horde and five 10 Mag Hordes, but in general terms in seems to address some of the issues presented.



#16 Nojo509

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Posted 29 June 2010 - 10:24 AM

MILLANDSON said:

Nojo509 said:

 

What do you call the RT space combat rules that use squares if not rules for minis?

 

When does it talk about minis? The corebook never really mentions them, from my reading of it. It covers Void Units, but those are abstract distances that can be as far at the GM wants them to be. It's still all predominantly set up for narritive combat.

Page 219, right column, 2nd paragraph: "If the combat is being fought on a grid map, you can use Diagram 8-2 and 8-3..."

If you want to argue that using a grid map to fight combat on does not imply using minis, we'll just have to agree to disagree.

Besides, what matters is that many of the players of DH and RT play on grid maps w/ minis and there is an expectation in the customer base that DW will be playable with minis as well. My guess would be the people who are attracted to a game about Space Marines would be more inclined to use minis, not less.

Note, I'm not saying the 40k RPGs *require* you to use minis, only that the rules support their use. My RT group uses minis. We used them when we played DH.. The Final Sanction game I went to on Free RPG day used minis.



#17 J-Tech

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Posted 29 June 2010 - 10:32 AM

Ok, so what are the rules for being engaged in melee by a Horde? Can a character with a ranged weapon fire into a Horde in melee? Are there penalties?

 



#18 Tarkand

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Posted 29 June 2010 - 01:24 PM

talsine said:

Have you tried the hordes rules in play? A Heavy bolter can hit the 25% mark in 1 round with good rolls, and if a whole group opens up with auto fire its pretty much a lock to hit that first will check, maybe the second. Even with lots of hordes, if paced well, it shouldn't be an issue. Hordes + command staff make for much more interesting combats than just the hordes alone, and i plan on adding that to my Final Sanction play i'm running this weekend.

 

Sure, lots of Hordes are going to be boring if its only hordes, but its up to the GM to make it interesting, give them ways other than jsut autofire to take it out, or other targets to fight, hell, even other objectives, like keeping the horde where it is, its attention on the marines, while an Inquistor and retinue sneek into a  fortress and open it up for a kill team. There are lots of options, they just aren't shown in Final Sanction, because its just a quick start.

No I haven't... but your post is making me some basic maths here...

A Devastator with a Heavy Bolter, with a BS of 50, getting +10 for Short Range, +20 for Full Auto and +20 for huge target (been told Horde work that way), he'd have 100 BS. Rolling an average 50, he's get 6 hit in. Heavy Bolter being what it is, all of those hit should do damage and thus cause magnitude lost.

6 is 25% of 20, but just short of 25% of 30 and 40... which isn't that big of an issue, because using the same bonus, your average Bolter Marine will get all 4 hit in and Grenade will usually get all 5 hit... so it's quite easy to make a Magnitude lose 10 to 20 Magnitude a round... so yeah, Horde combat may not be as long as I expected, which is kinda nice.

I guess I'll have to give it a shot and kinda wing it for the first few games.

 

 



#19 talsine

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Posted 29 June 2010 - 01:58 PM

Tarkand said:

 

 

No I haven't... but your post is making me some basic maths here...

A Devastator with a Heavy Bolter, with a BS of 50, getting +10 for Short Range, +20 for Full Auto and +20 for huge target (been told Horde work that way), he'd have 100 BS. Rolling an average 50, he's get 6 hit in. Heavy Bolter being what it is, all of those hit should do damage and thus cause magnitude lost.

6 is 25% of 20, but just short of 25% of 30 and 40... which isn't that big of an issue, because using the same bonus, your average Bolter Marine will get all 4 hit in and Grenade will usually get all 5 hit... so it's quite easy to make a Magnitude lose 10 to 20 Magnitude a round... so yeah, Horde combat may not be as long as I expected, which is kinda nice.

I guess I'll have to give it a shot and kinda wing it for the first few games.

 

The Heavy Bolter does 2 points of damage for each hit, againest smaller hordes (20 or less) its all you really need. Againest the larger ones, an extra burst or 2 from some friendlies and they are rolling. I'm not sure if i'm going to use any hordes smaller than about Mag 30 in the future because of how nasty the H. Bolter can be, kinda curious how flamers are going to work, as they are traditionaly the bane of the large groups of small critters






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