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Line of sight and Empty hexes


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#1 Boamvndvs

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Posted 21 July 2012 - 01:16 AM

Hi all,

I just had my first game despite owning the Battlelore game for several years. It was fun! But now I have some questions. Do you agree with my rule interpretation in 2) and 3) below? And can anyone answer the question in 3)?

1) (Line of sight). As I read the rules, if you are in a hex with terrain that blocks line of sight, you can't use ranged attacks from that hex (since the imaginary line from the center of the firing hex to the center of the target hex intercepts the firing hex, and the firing hex contains an obstruction). Hence you can't use ranged combat from Wooded Terrain (fair enough), but also not from Ramparts or Strongholds. Can this really be true? It would mean, for example, that the Standard Banner archers on the Ramparts in the "Assaulting the Tourelles" battle can't fire, but can be fired upon (since the terrain in the target hex doesn't matter).

2) (Line of sight). You can use ranged attacks out of an Elevated Terrain hex, since Elevated Terrain does not block line of sight from "contiguous Elevated Terrain hexes of the same height", and the hex itself is such a hex. Hence you can stand arbitrarily deep inside a clump of Elevated Hexes and fire into the surrounding lowland (since the surrounding Elevated Terrain hexes do not block line of sight from your viewpoint), but archers in the surrounding lowland can only fire at you if you on the outermost Elevated Terrain hex of the clump (since the terrain in the target hex doesn't matter, and there then is no Elevated Terrain between them and you). This contradicts example B and D from the "Official Battlelore Line of Sight Examples" that  found on the net (I don't know how official they are). Also, in those examples the wording "units have LoS" is used, insinuating that line of sight is a symmetric relation, i.e. that if A has LoS to B, then B has LoS to A. The example of a unit in a Wooded Terrain hex bordering some Countryside Terrain shows that is is not the case: these archers can't shoot out of the forest, but they can be shot at.

3) (Empty hex). In my rule book on p. 66 about Loremaster' Landmarks it says that "Each Landmark must be place on an Empty hex", Empty even with capital E as if it was a name, but I can't find the definition of "Empty hex". Does Empty hex mean Countryside Terrain, or could it be for example Wooded Terrain unoccupied by any units?

 



#2 awayputurwpn

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Posted 21 July 2012 - 06:04 AM

Boamvndvs said:

Hi all,

I just had my first game despite owning the Battlelore game for several years. It was fun! But now I have some questions. Do you agree with my rule interpretation in 2) and 3) below? And can anyone answer the question in 3)?

1) (Line of sight). As I read the rules, if you are in a hex with terrain that blocks line of sight, you can't use ranged attacks from that hex (since the imaginary line from the center of the firing hex to the center of the target hex intercepts the firing hex, and the firing hex contains an obstruction). Hence you can't use ranged combat from Wooded Terrain (fair enough), but also not from Ramparts or Strongholds. Can this really be true? It would mean, for example, that the Standard Banner archers on the Ramparts in the "Assaulting the Tourelles" battle can't fire, but can be fired upon (since the terrain in the target hex doesn't matter).

2) (Line of sight). You can use ranged attacks out of an Elevated Terrain hex, since Elevated Terrain does not block line of sight from "contiguous Elevated Terrain hexes of the same height", and the hex itself is such a hex. Hence you can stand arbitrarily deep inside a clump of Elevated Hexes and fire into the surrounding lowland (since the surrounding Elevated Terrain hexes do not block line of sight from your viewpoint), but archers in the surrounding lowland can only fire at you if you on the outermost Elevated Terrain hex of the clump (since the terrain in the target hex doesn't matter, and there then is no Elevated Terrain between them and you). This contradicts example B and D from the "Official Battlelore Line of Sight Examples" that  found on the net (I don't know how official they are). Also, in those examples the wording "units have LoS" is used, insinuating that line of sight is a symmetric relation, i.e. that if A has LoS to B, then B has LoS to A. The example of a unit in a Wooded Terrain hex bordering some Countryside Terrain shows that is is not the case: these archers can't shoot out of the forest, but they can be shot at.

3) (Empty hex). In my rule book on p. 66 about Loremaster' Landmarks it says that "Each Landmark must be place on an Empty hex", Empty even with capital E as if it was a name, but I can't find the definition of "Empty hex". Does Empty hex mean Countryside Terrain, or could it be for example Wooded Terrain unoccupied by any units?

 

1) That's wrong. You can indeed make ranged attacks originating from hexes that block LOS. You can't attack from behind such hexes (I.e. if the hex is interposed between the attacking unit and the intended target) but there's nothing in the rules preventing you from attacking from wooded terrain, strongholds, etc.

If your interpretation were so, then you wouldn't be able to make ranged attacks from any square that your ranged unit is in, since units also block LOS.

2) Yeah, just give the rules another read-through. LOS is meant to be fairly simple and straightforward: if you can draw a line between the center of unit A's hex and the center of unit B's hex with no obstruction, they have LoS. The "first hill in a set of contiguous hills" is an arbitrary designation: the "first" hill is whichever hill hex your LoS "line" (originating from the middle of your given unit's hex) comes into contact with first.

3) Countryside terrain, no units, no other tiles can be there. That's IIRC, and how I've always played it. Pretty sure it's in the rules somewhere or possibly the FAQ :) but it makes sense. I would take "Empty hex" to mean literally, physically empty.



#3 Boamvndvs

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Posted 22 July 2012 - 07:15 AM

Hi Awayputurwpn,

1) You have a point. Without thinking about it I have assumed that a unit does not block its own line of sight. I could of couse make a similar assumption about Storongholds and Ramparts: that they are built in a way so as not to obstruct the line of sight of their occupants. Or I could do as you suggest: completely ignore obstructions in the firing hex. The difference between the two methods is whether it is possible to fire out of a Wooded Terrain hex. The reason I have taken the terrain in the firing hex into consideration is because of the quite precise sounding definition in my rule book: "To check for line of sight, imagine a line drawn from the center of the hex containing the battling unit to the center of the hex containing the enemy target. This line of sight is considered blocked if any hex (or part of a hex) intercepting this imaginary line segment contains an obstruction." Maybe it should not be "any hex", but "any hex (not counting the hex of the battling unit)". I assume this is what you propose?

2) I understand that the rules are meant to be simple and straight forward, I am just trying to understand them. From your wording "they have LoS" I can understand that in your interpretation of the rules, line of sight is symmetric, i.e. if unit A has LoS to B, then B has LoS to A. I don't understand your "first hill" comment. Where is "first hill" mentioned?

I would like to know what you think of line of sight in the following example, and why.

Let us consider a string of hexes lying on a line next to one another: hex 1, 2, 3, 4 and so on. Let's say that unit A is in hex 1, and unit B is in hex 4, i.e. there are two unoccupied hexes between the two units. Let's assume that hex 1, 2 and 4 are Elevated Terrain, and that hex 3 is Countryside Terrain (we could say that unit A is deep inside some hills, and unit B is situated on a lone hill). What do you think about line of sight?

My rule book reads: "An Elevated Terrain hex blocks line of sight, except from contiguous Elevated Terrain hexes of the same height". If I take this rule literally, unit A has LoS to unit B, but not vice versa. This is because the Elevated Terrain in hex 2 does not block LoS from hex 1 (since hex 1 is a contiguous Elevated Terrain hex of the same height as hex 2). Maybe the wording should have been: "An Elevated Terrain hex blocks line of sight, except BETWEEN contiguous Elevated terrain hexes of the same height", but this would make it impossible to fire from Elevated Terrain into neighboring Contryside Terrain (such as from hex 2 to hex 3), unless of course - as you suggest under 1) - we ignore obstructions in the firing hex.

3) I agree that this must be the answer.



#4 toddrew

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Posted 24 July 2012 - 01:59 PM

Boamvndvs said:

 

I would like to know what you think of line of sight in the following example, and why.

Let us consider a string of hexes lying on a line next to one another: hex 1, 2, 3, 4 and so on. Let's say that unit A is in hex 1, and unit B is in hex 4, i.e. there are two unoccupied hexes between the two units. Let's assume that hex 1, 2 and 4 are Elevated Terrain, and that hex 3 is Countryside Terrain (we could say that unit A is deep inside some hills, and unit B is situated on a lone hill). What do you think about line of sight?

My rule book reads: "An Elevated Terrain hex blocks line of sight, except from contiguous Elevated Terrain hexes of the same height". If I take this rule literally, unit A has LoS to unit B, but not vice versa. This is because the Elevated Terrain in hex 2 does not block LoS from hex 1 (since hex 1 is a contiguous Elevated Terrain hex of the same height as hex 2). Maybe the wording should have been: "An Elevated Terrain hex blocks line of sight, except BETWEEN contiguous Elevated terrain hexes of the same height", but this would make it impossible to fire from Elevated Terrain into neighboring Contryside Terrain (such as from hex 2 to hex 3), unless of course - as you suggest under 1) - we ignore obstructions in the firing hex.

 

The rule is meant to be taken literally - as long as hills are contiguous (unbroken chain of adjacent hill hexes) there is LOS between any two hill hexes amongst those contiguous hexes - barring any other obstruction (usually another unit, but could also be some complicatedly placed terrain).  In your example there would not be line of site from hex 1 to hex 4, nor from hex 4 to hex 1.  In both cases hex 2 would block LOS.

Now, I have never ever played on a board configured as below, but one could take a literal interpretation that there would be LOS from hex 1 to hex 4 (and vice versa), but I do not think that was the intention of the rules.

 



#5 Boamvndvs

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Posted 27 July 2012 - 10:15 AM

When I take the rule literally, I get LOS from hex 1 to hex 4, but not from hex 4 to hex 1, because in the hex 1 to hex 4 case the exception ("An Elevated Terrain hex blocks line of sight, except from contiguous Elevated Terrain hexes of the same height") implies that hex 2 does not block line of sight from hex 1. I think I start to understand the intention of the rule however. It should read: "An Elevated Terrain hex blocks line of sight, except BETWEEN contiguous Elevated Terrain hexes of the same height" (and I feel tempted to drop 'contiguous').

Nice example with the circle of hills. I agree that it was probably not the intention of the rules to allow LOS in that case. I feel tempted to drop the contiguousness criterion. Its relevance must be based on an assumption of a space between hills being larger than indicated by the hexes. Otherwise it doesn't seem realistic that blasting a hole in a ridge should block line of sight from one end of the ridge to the other.

Also I will agree with Awayputurwpn to ignore the terrain in the firing hex. This is to obtain a symmetric LOS, i.e. if A can see B, I want B to be able to see A, and if the terrain in the target hex doesn't matter (which is explicitly stated) and we are free to switch firing and target hex when determining LOS (by symmetry), we can see that the terrain in the firing hex can't matter either (just switch direction such that the firing hex becomes the target hex, and conclude that the terrain in that hex doesn't matter). If this is the intention of the rules, I just wonder why only the irrelevance of the terrain in the target hex is explicitly stated.



#6 toddrew

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Posted 27 July 2012 - 02:17 PM

I don't want this to devolve into an argument about semantics, but correctly or incorrectly, I see no difference between using the word "between" or the word "from" when talking about LOS from (or between) two contiguous elevated hexes of the same height (and currently all elevated hexes [hills and cliffs] are of the same height).  Take any two hexes, if there are hill hexes between those two hexes, those hill hexes block LOS unless the original two hexes are also part of a chain of contiguous hill hexes.  That is both the stated and intended rule.

 

It is not meant to be complicated, it is intended to be simple, just as all interpretations of C&C rules are intended to be.  LOS situations can get complicated - the above "contiguous" example, for example - but usually it is fairly easy to come to the correct ruling, and barring that, come to a ruling that all players involved can agree upon.

Currently in the game there is no LOS situation that is not reciprocal.  If there exists LOS from Hex A to Hex B, then there exists LOS from Hex B to Hex A.  That could change with the addition of new terrain and unit types or with special scenario specific rules, but has not as of yet.



#7 Boamvndvs

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Posted 28 July 2012 - 01:50 AM

Since we are discussing rule interpretation, I think it is difficult to avoid semantics.

I consider "from" a word that involves direction, and hence I believe the exception as stated would apply to lines of sight going in one direction, but not the other. To me

"LOS from two contiguous elevated hexes of the same height"

and

"LOS between two contiguous elevated hexes of the same height"

is not the same. In the first case I would actually think the author was writing about two lines of sight (from the the two mentioned points to some third point). In the second case the talk is clearly about one line of sight, from one point to the other or vice versa, since the "between" word tells me that LOS should be understood in a non-oriented sense (the word "from", on the other hand, gives me the impression that LOS is an oriented line segment).

I think you are right about the intended rule, and I think you formulated it nicely.

I believe the rules as stated are not symmetric (LOS from A to B implying LOS from B to A). Symmetry is something you have to add yourself using common sense to arrive at the right interpretation. You have probably done that automatically, and this is why you haven't found any rules that are not reciprocal.

All in all I think we agree on the intended rule, but I don't think the symmetry is stated in the rules, on the contrary there are several places that led me to believe that the intended rules were asymmetric. (The hill exception with LOS "from" and the explicit mentioning of terrain irrelevance in the target hex).



#8 toddrew

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Posted 28 July 2012 - 04:49 PM

Not avoiding semantics, just don't want to get lost from the original question of LOS - yes, from does imply direction, and there is a natural direction as the ranged attack is being fired from one hex to another.  For the example we are discussing, it doesn't matter which direction one goes in, the rule has the same end going from 1 to 4 or from 4 to 1: Hex 1 and Hex 4 are not contiguous hills, therefore any hill hex between them will block LOS.  This is the intended affect of the rule, and the way this LOS rule operates, it always ends up being reciprocal - it isn't possible for Hex 1 to be contiguous with Hex 4 without Hex 4 being contiguous to Hex 1.  More generally, in all instances to date for the game, if there is LOS from one hex to another hex, there is also LOS from the latter hex to the former hex.  Great terrain ideas and unit abilities to bring exceptions to that, but hasn't officially happened yet.

The following may not be necessary to be said, but I just want to be sure that I am not coming off as heated in the least about any of this   I truly want everyone to be playing by the same rules (unless, of course, one intentionally wants to play by different rules :) ).  There are probably some prior discussions about this very topic on these forums, but here are some links back to some topics on the old Days of Wonder BattleLore forums that you may find of interest:

This one addresses the exact point you are bringing up

More discussion about LOS, also some interesting insight into what people thought of the game and its direction back in 2007

Wait, can archers even shoot out of the woods that they are in?

 



#9 toddrew

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Posted 29 July 2012 - 01:46 AM

Also, reading back through this thread, just wanted to make sure it was clear that in the same example there is no LOS between Hex 1 and Hex 3.  From either direction Hex 2 blocks LOS as Hexes 1 and 3 are not contiguous Hill hexes.



#10 Boamvndvs

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Posted 07 August 2012 - 06:21 AM

Hi Todrew,

 

The exception reads:

"An Elevated Terrain hex blocks line of sight, except from contiguous Elevated Terrain hexes of the same height"

My understanding of this is that the contiguousness criterion is between the Elevated Terrain hex first mentioned (that might block line of sight) and the firing spot hex (the hex that the line of sight is "from") (hex 2 and 1 respectively in the example). The end point of the line of sight is not mentioned (unless we replace "from" with "between").

Hence, hex 2 does not block (any) line of sight from hex 1 (since these hexes are contiguous). In particular hex 2 does not block line of sight from hex 1 to hex 4.

Or, using the wording in the exception:

An Elevated Terrain hex (hex 2) blocks line of sight, except from contiguous (to hex 2) Elevated Terrain hexes of the same height (as hex 2), and hex 1 is such a hex.

Hence hex 2 does not block line of sight FROM hex 1 (to wherever), and since neither hex 3 or 4 does so either (hex 3 is Countryside Terrain, and the terrain in the target hex never blocks line of sight), we have a line of sight from hex 1 to hex 4.

I agree that your interpretation must be the intended rule - that the contiguousness criterion should be applied to the starting and the end points of the line of sight - but in my opinion this is not what is stated. The stated rule asks us to check whether the potentially blocking hex and the firing hex are contiguous Elevated Terrain hexes (hex 2 and hex 1 in the example).

After this discussion I think I understand the intended rule, and my only point left is that I don't think it is properly stated.

Thanks for the links! I will look into them.



#11 Boamvndvs

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Posted 07 August 2012 - 07:35 AM

Interesting links Todrew. I had tried to Google my questions, but I had not found all this. It seems the "shooting out of the woods" issue has been settled officially by the following post (from your last link):

"To appease your friends, you can now consider all the above answers official:


The terrain hex from which a unit is shooting forth does not come into effect any more than the terrain hex it is shooting into.

All that matters are the terrain hexes (and units) that are strictly in between the attacker's hex and the target hex.

This being said, I am indeed afraid rules lawyering will not be conducing to a fun experience with this game.

Eric @ DoW"


I hate the comment about "rules lawyering". As if it was done for fun. In my opinion "rules lawyering" is inevitable for players with a logical bent, and I think that covers a large proportion of wargamers. So I wonder what the sales department thinks of this insult.



#12 Dale Hurtt

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Posted 07 September 2012 - 06:18 AM

Boamvndvs said:

Eric @ DoW"

I hate the comment about "rules lawyering". As if it was done for fun. In my opinion "rules lawyering" is inevitable for players with a logical bent, and I think that covers a large proportion of wargamers. So I wonder what the sales department thinks of this insult.

I too hate comments about rules lawyers. I generally avoid ambiguous rule sets or those that ask you work out a mutually agreeable solution to situations they should have covered.

As for the insult, well Days of Wonder (DoW) does not sell it anymore …

Dale



#13 awayputurwpn

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Posted 12 September 2012 - 05:28 PM

I think the (rather poorly articulated) statement was meant to convey that players should try play by the clear intent of the rules. 

Players with a "logical bent" should approach the game from a consistently logical standpoint, and be  reasonable in their interpretation of the rules. Using the minutiae of the rules to come to conclusions that are in opposition to the actual game rules in their full context is illogical. It muddies rules that are otherwise perfectly clear in their intent.

This is why rules-lawyering has such a bad connotation. It prevents enjoyment for the majority of people involved, and when a game becomes unenjoyable, what's the point of playing it?






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