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Level 7 [Omega Protocol]» Forums » Rules

Subject: At the risk of beating a dead horse.... (LOS and cover) rss

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Frank Jones
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I do not understand why the LOS rules and cover rules need to be A) confusing and B) illogical.

The the following example, by some twisted logic, the target is both IN line of sight and does NOT have cover, despite the fact that the target is obviously COMPLETELY obscured from the attacker's view.



Line of sight is just that: a LINE. a STRAIGHT line.

What would be so bad about the following rule:

LOS: If an unobstructed line can be drawn from the attacker's square through any part of the target's square, then LOS exists.

Cover: From the corner with attacker's greatest visibility, draw the two lines necessary to encompass the target in the triangular area formed by those two lines. Is any part of that area obstructed by a wall? If so, the target has cover.



This is easy to use and does not require drawing lines or removing figures from the board.

As it stands now, in the following case, no LOS exists: (The spacing is messed up. Consider it a grid with x values 1 and 2, and y values 1 through 7. The target is at (1,7) and the attacker is at (2,1). The Walls are at (1,2) and (2,6)

7 T -
6 - W
5 - -
4 - -
3 - -
2 W -
1 - A
0 1 2

A represents attacker. T is the target. W are walls (single square pillars, in this case). the dashes represent unoccupied non wall spaces.

The attacker can clearly see the target. In fact, his view of the target is barely obscured. Yes, because he has to use crooked lines to determine whether see can see something that is RIGHT IN HIS PLAIN LINE OF SIGHT, he ends up NOT having LOS. [Edit: As noted later in this thread, this example is a bad one, since there are numerous paths from "A" to "T" that do not go through either wall pillar: N-NW-N-N-N-N , or N-N-NW-N-N-N, etc. SO, disregard this bad example. The rest of this thread remains useful, though.]

THIS DOES NOT MAKE SENSE. Why does the attacker have to draw two crooked lines, each of which passes through one of those pillars?

I mean no disrespect here, especially to Will, who has developed an awesome game that I play many times a week, but I find the answer of "Because that's how the rules are written" to be unsatisfactory, especially when some apparently problematic rules were changed in the errata. Well, nothing seems more problematic to me than the top figure having LOS and NO cover while the bottom figure doesn't even have LOS.
 
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chris thatcher
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Yeah, those LoS rules are just nonsensical.
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Frank Jones
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Tariff wrote:
Yeah, those LoS rules are just nonsensical.

What do you think about my suggested alternative method?

I have color diagrams drawn out to clarify any confusion with the method.
 
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Dan Manning
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I'd like to see your drawings. I think you're probably on to something here. I always thought it was a little odd the way it worked and I'm sure we're done it wrong a few times while trying to stick to the rules.
 
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Frank Jones
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dophin26 wrote:
I'd like to see your drawings. I think you're probably on to something here. I always thought it was a little odd the way it worked and I'm sure we're done it wrong a few times while trying to stick to the rules.

I will gladly share my drawings here. (Click the image to display as "large") (Please open the image in a separate window or even print it out so that you can look at it while reading the written explanation. The amount of writing may make it seem complicated, but it isn't. The drawings alone will probably be sufficient for some people without even needing the written part.)

Black = Wall / pillar / column (obstruction)
Green = gun "aura"
Pink = Target
Blue = attacker
Pencil Circle (might not be easy to see) = point of origin of shot ("firing point")
Pencil lines (except for #3) represent the bounds of the gun's aura.

Rules:

1) LOS is simple. Can any part of the attacker "see" any part of the target? In other words, can you draw a line from attacker to target that passes THROUGH part of the target (note that the line must pass THROUGH, and therefore create a segment with some non-zero area. In other words, grazing a corner or overlapping an edge do NOT count as passing THROUGH, since a point and a line have ZERO area. If this is unclear, see addendum).

2) COVER: Can the attacker, from a chosen corner of his own square, "see" the ENTIRE target? If he can only see PAR of the target, then the target has cover. To determine this, draw from the firing point the TWO lines needed to FULLY encompass the target. Those two lines will form a triangle with the firing point as the vertex and increasing in size as it expands outward.

If a wall obstructs any part of that green aura from fully encompassing the target, then the target HAS COVER.


That's it. Simple, easy, and logical. Any LOS or cover situation can be determined by eyeballing it; n need to remove figures or actually draw lines. For situations that are close, such as example 3, maybe you might need to get out a simple straight edge and place it perpendicular to the game board, which should not be a major issue.



Explanations of diagram:

Scenario 1) blue is hiding behind a wall. There is no reason why that wall should obstruct HIS OWN SHOT. He is hiding behind it while Pink is standing out in the open. Blue fires from the top right corner of his own square (essentially "peeking" around the corner to fire, not unlike countless scenes from movies), and has a clear and unobstructed path to the pink target. There's no reason for pink to have cover. It's a point blank shot with nothing in the way. (Conversely, if Pink were to shoot at blue, Blue obviously has cover. Even if pink were firing from the bottom right corner, he could barely see Blue, let alone get a clear shot.)

Scenario 2A) Pink is NOT adjacent to the wall, but so what? The wall is clearly interfering with a clean shot. The wall prevents blue (firing from the upper right of his own square) from seeing the lower left 25% of the pink target, as evidenced by the fact that the green "gun aura" misses that portion of the pink square.

Scenario 2B) Same positions, but now the target is firing back at the attacker. Here, blue fires from the bottom right of his own square, and the result is similar to that of scenario 1. From the firing point, the black wall is NOT actually obstructing any part of the pink target square. Pink has no cover.

Scenarios 3, 4, and 5: Print them out and try the green gun aura for yourself if you wish.

Scenario 3) Both blue and pink have LOS, but BARELY. If in doubt, use very basic geometry. If pink fires from the bottom right of his own square, and his line goes down 1 left 1, it will just sneak past the lower right corner of the black wall, and after moving a total of 3 down and 3 left, it will be 1 unit height above the top left corner of the blue target. SO, by "lowering" his shot (and thereby making the line steeper), he can clearly "see" and hit part of the blue target. And vice versa, since any LOS from one will obviously work both ways. The penciled line marked "LOS" is one example of an infinite number of lines that can connect the two figures. Obviously both have cover.

Scenario 4) Blue has no cover, for the same reasons mentioned in scenarios above (pink fires from upper right corner). Pink DOES have cover; Blue can barely see pink and can only see 1/8 of the pink target.

Scenario 5) Quite clearly, both blue and pink have cover. Firing from bottom right of his own blue square, blue cannot even see half of the pink target. Pink, firing from bottom right of his own square, and firing downleftward at a 45 degree angle, can bisect the blue square, meaning he is only able to "see" half the blue square, even though blue is not adjacent to the wall. And why should that matter? It would obviously be a lot easier for pink to shoot blue is that wall were not there, and isn't that the point of cover? Notice the key difference here in scenario 5 from the other scenarios: The two figures are TWO spaces away from each other on the horizontal axis, which causes the wall to be in the way for both of them. If Blue were standing one square to the right, the wall would not be providing him any cover because his entire blue square would be exposed to pink's bottom right firing point.

 
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Frank Jones
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ADDENDUM

Just to demonstrate that my method still blocks LOS when it obviously should be blocked.
 
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Al Mann
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AronFJenks wrote:
I do not understand why the LOS rules and cover rules need to be A) confusing and B) illogical.

The the following example, by some twisted logic, the target is both IN line of sight and does NOT have cover, despite the fact that the target is obviously COMPLETELY obscured from the attacker's view.



Line of sight is just that: a LINE. a STRAIGHT line.

What would be so bad about the following rule:

LOS: If an unobstructed line can be drawn from the attacker's square through any part of the target's square, then LOS exists.

Cover: From the corner with attacker's greatest visibility, draw the two lines necessary to encompass the target in the triangular area formed by those two lines. Is any part of that area obstructed by a wall? If so, the target has cover.



This is easy to use and does not require drawing lines or removing figures from the board.

As it stands now, in the following case, no LOS exists: (The spacing is messed up. Consider it a grid with x values 1 and 2, and y values 1 through 7. The target is at (1,7) and the attacker is at (2,1). The Walls are at (1,2) and (2,6)

7 T -
6 - W
5 - -
4 - -
3 - -
2 W -
1 - A
0 1 2

A represents attacker. T is the target. W are walls (single square pillars, in this case). the dashes represent unoccupied non wall spaces.

The attacker can clearly see the target. In fact, his view of the target is barely obscured. Yes, because he has to use crooked lines to determine whether see can see something that is RIGHT IN HIS PLAIN LINE OF SIGHT, he ends up NOT having LOS.

THIS DOES NOT MAKE SENSE. Why does the attacker have to draw two crooked lines, each of which passes through one of those pillars?

I mean no disrespect here, especially to Will, who has developed an awesome game that I play many times a week, but I find the answer of "Because that's how the rules are written" to be unsatisfactory, especially when some apparently problematic rules were changed in the errata. Well, nothing seems more problematic to me than the top figure having LOS and NO cover while the bottom figure doesn't even have LOS.

I think there was a misunderstanding of the rules here.

It's true that in the original rules (any number of diagonals in the same direction) the first example shows LOS to the target, but the errata explains that two or more consecutive diagonals is illegal unless the only shortest path is nothing but diagonals. These errata'ed LOS rules prevent almost all "magic bullets" from mucking up the logic in the game. All of the shortest paths in the first example use two consecutive diagonals, so no LOS is established to the target.

In the second example, it's true that two of the shortest paths pass through walls, but nothing in the rules say you have two use only two shortest paths to determine LOS or cover. I count six shortest paths that are all six spaces in length, and only two of them go through walls. There are four that don't pass through walls, as a diagonal movement can be made anywhere in the in the middle (2,2 to 1,3; 2,3 to 1,4; 2,4 to 1,5; 2,5 to 1,6) before making up the rest of the distance in straight vertical lines. Since a shortest path moves through a wall and the target is adjacent to that wall, the target still has cover. Note that if the target was one space closer to the attacker then the wall in 1,2 would not provide cover to the target since it is not adjacent to the target and the wall at 2,6 would no longer be in any of the shortest paths.

I don't think the LOS system (post-errata) is illogical. Personally I like it a lot. The only criticism I have is that I do think that it's not intuitive to a lot of people, and even one person in my game group has a hard time wrapping his head around it. He usually plays Recon so he can stab things and not worry about LOS.

So is it A) confusing? I don't think so, since it's just a series of if-then statements to determine the answer to these questions, but the number of people who make mistakes using the LOS rules suggests I'm in the minority on this one. I will admit it takes some getting used to because this is a pretty unique set of rules, not because they are inherently confusing.

Is it B) illogical? Definitely not. When applied correctly it adds another layer of consideration to the simulation of hitting a moving target that is represented with a stationary figurine. The "curving" of bullets are actually the figures leaning from/into cover, and targets gaining cover even when it looks initially like they shouldn't show the target moving temporarily from its primary location to a nearby space in the area and using terrain to the best of its abilities.

It really just comes down to what you personally find to be acceptable and "logical" in representing an action. There are plenty of games in which something didn't make sense to me, but others thought it was a really clever way of bringing out the flavor of a game. I'm not sure if any clarifications of the rules will change anyone's mind about the LOS rules since this really is a "your mileage may vary" kind of situation. So if changing the LOS rules makes the game better for you, then I sincerely agree you should change them. The game has so much going right to keep LOS from ruining it.
 
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Frank Jones
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daishi_no_zaagu wrote:


I think there was a misunderstanding of the rules here.

It's true that in the original rules (any number of diagonals in the same direction) the first example shows LOS to the target, but the errata explains that two or more consecutive diagonals is illegal unless the only shortest path is nothing but diagonals. These errata'ed LOS rules prevent almost all "magic bullets" from mucking up the logic in the game. All of the shortest paths in the first example use two consecutive diagonals, so no LOS is established to the target.


Okay, but the errata LOS rules do NOT prevent going straight, diagonal, straight, diagonal, etc. That's absurd, and it results in absurd situations.

daishi_no_zaagu wrote:


These errata'ed LOS rules prevent almost all "magic bullets" from mucking up the logic in the game. All of the shortest paths in the first example use two consecutive diagonals, so no LOS is established to the target.


Yes. almost all. My suggested method prevents ALL such magic bullet scenarios. It uses ONLY STRAIGHT LINES, not lines that veer back and forth using various diagonal rules.


daishi_no_zaagu wrote:

In the second example, it's true that two of the shortest paths pass through walls, but nothing in the rules say you have two use only two shortest paths to determine LOS or cover. I count six shortest paths that are all six spaces in length, and only two of them go through walls. There are four that don't pass through walls, as a diagonal movement can be made anywhere in the in the middle (2,2 to 1,3; 2,3 to 1,4; 2,4 to 1,5; 2,5 to 1,6) before making up the rest of the distance in straight vertical lines. Since a shortest path moves through a wall and the target is adjacent to that wall, the target still has cover. Note that if the target was one space closer to the attacker then the wall in 1,2 would not provide cover to the target since it is not adjacent to the target and the wall at 2,6 would no longer be in any of the shortest paths.

Please forgive my confusion here, but which example are you referring to when you refer to the "second example"?

daishi_no_zaagu wrote:

I don't think the LOS system (post-errata) is illogical.

So, instead of choosing a firing point and shooting in a straight line, we examine anywhere from 2 to 6 "shortest paths" (none of which are actually shortest paths, since they use bendy lines instead of a direct straight line), and if even one of those passes through a wall, the target gains cover, even if the target is standing unprotected wide out in the open? And that isn't illogical to you? I mean, picture a corridor like one in a hallway of an office building. Someone is hiding behind a corner, and a target is walking down the corridor toward the hiding person. You think it makes sense for the person walking down the corridor to have cover just because he is standing next to the wall? The wall isn't in any way obscuring the shot! Assuming the attacker can lean out and shoot from behind the corner (which we are, otherwise he wouldn't be able to shoot at all), he has a point blank unobscured shot at the target. The "line" that grants "cover" to the target goes directly into the wall behind which the attacker is standing. Why would we draw a line from the attacker DIRECTLY INTO THE WALL HE IS HIDING BEHIND? Why are we punishing the attacker for hiding behind a wall when the target is out in the open?

daishi_no_zaagu wrote:


Personally I like it a lot. The only criticism I have is that I do think that it's not intuitive to a lot of people,

That's because it is illogical, and doesn't follow any reasonable rules of either geometry or real-world logic. It makes no logical sense to check for cover by analyzing multiple non-straight "lines" and seeing if one of them passes through a wall. This silly method results in people gaining cover when they are obviously standing out in the open unprotected, but it prevents cover from a pillar that is very obviously obstructing a clear shot (because of a pointless technicality that you have to be adjacent to the interfering wall to gain cover).



daishi_no_zaagu wrote:

So is it A) confusing? I don't think so, since it's just a series of if-then statements to determine the answer to these questions,

To me, requiring a series of "if then" statements to determine something that can be done simply with two straight lines, that is the very definition of "confusing," or at least, "more complicated than necessary."


daishi_no_zaagu wrote:
but the number of people who make mistakes using the LOS rules suggests I'm in the minority on this one.

Score another point for "confusing" then. It need not be confusing, and yet people are making mistakes. With my method, there shouldn't be any mistakes, because it relies on one simple question: Is any part of the target blocked by a wall?"

daishi_no_zaagu wrote:


I will admit it takes some getting used to because this is a pretty unique set of rules,

This is not a compelling justification for using the rule in question.

daishi_no_zaagu wrote:


Is it B) illogical? Definitely not.

Perhaps we have to agree to disagree, since I do not believe we have the same definitions of "definitely" and "illogical."

daishi_no_zaagu wrote:


When applied correctly it adds another layer of consideration to the simulation of hitting a moving target that is represented with a stationary figurine. The "curving" of bullets are actually the figures leaning from/into cover, and targets gaining cover even when it looks initially like they shouldn't show the target moving temporarily from its primary location to a nearby space in the area and using terrain to the best of its abilities.

That is an extremely convoluted justification, and the very nature of its convolutedness indicates to me that the rule being justified by this convoluted explanation is, in fact, itself overly convoluted. I mean, if we are to use this interpretation, all sorts of other rules would need to be adjusted.


daishi_no_zaagu wrote:


It really just comes down to what you personally find to be acceptable and "logical" in representing an action.

True. To me, bullets fly in straight lines. They don't zig and zag. A person standing next to a wall in a corridor doesn't suddenly become protected just because the shooter ducks behind the corner. That is logical to me. Requiring multiple zig-zagged lines to not go through a wall? That's illogical to me. If a shooter has two sight lines originating from a point, and those lines fully encompass the target, I cannot fathom why that target would have cover just because he happens to be diagonal to a wall pillar that has no effect on the shooter's actual line of sight.

daishi_no_zaagu wrote:
So if changing the LOS rules makes the game better for you, then I sincerely agree you should change them. The game has so much going right to keep LOS from ruining it.

Well, of course. My friends and I obviously play with my LOS and cover rules. But that doesn't mean the LOS rules can't ruin the game. For example, there has been discussion of a "FrankJones" vs. "Shnar" matchup, which I think would be fun, since he and I seem to be the two most avid players here, and he thinks the overseer can win and I think the overseer has no chance. But, if we cannot agree on LOS rules, we won't be able to play.

I, for one, do not understand why so many people seem married to the "rules as written." There has already been a lengthy errata, so obviously numerous "RAW" were incorrect and needed to be fixed. Maybe some of the current RAW will be similarly adjusted in the future. If it is plainly obvious that a rule can be improved (and I am not referring to LOS or cover or any particular rule here, just speaking in general), why not do so? Again, if someone tells me that we "must" use a flawed rule "because that's the way it is written," I would find that very unconvincing and rather frustrating. What's wrong with creative tweaking of flawed rules?


And Will, if you're reading any of this, please know I mean no offense or disrespect. I love your game and I play it multiple times per week. I think it's awesome. But that doesn't mean I don't think a few key points can be improved upon. It has already been discussed that the commandos might need fewer kit points when using a 5 commando team. I find it odd that sometimes people embrace rule changes for the better but other times obstinately stand behind the mantra "That's the way the rules are written."

 
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Frank Jones
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Correct me if I am wrong on any of this:

Using the rules as written,

The W16 clone has cover but the X16 clone doesn't. How is that logical and non-confusing? They're both sitting ducks with no real cover. If the commando takes cover by moving from T16 to T15, and the clones stay exactly where they are, why do the clones suddenly gain cover because of the Commando hiding behind the pillar?

If a sniper hides himself behind a barricade at the top of a hill, positioning himself to fire on anything below, is there any reason why the sniper's own barricade would provide cover to a target standing NEXT to (not behind) the barricade?

Meanwhile, the clone at W18 has no cover, despite the fact that the wall at V18 actually does shield half his figure from the commando at T15.

Worse, if we then moved the clone to W19 (assuming it is no longer a wall space), the commando has LOS? Even though he cannot actually see the clone?
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Frank Jones
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Member "J V" made a seemingly identical suggestion some months ago. He explains it very succinctly:

"One corner of your attacking square to ALL SPOTS within the targets square. IF there is any spot in which the line crosses an obstruction, the target has cover. If you can't trace the line to any clear spot at all, they have no LOS. "

What could be easier, clearer, and more logical than that?

(This is the same system I advocate, he just phrased it more succinctly).

He also added the following similar clarification to ensure that an obstruction directly between two figures does in fact block LOS:

"The enemy does not have cover if the line runs along or merely touches the edge of a wall or other square that would otherwise provide cover."
 
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Frank Jones
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The Errata LOS eliminated the use of consecutive diagonals (unless ALL the lines are diagonal).

But that creates other problems:

The shortest path here is 4, but it uses multiple diagonals in a row without using ALL diagonals, therefore it is NOT a valid shortest path, and thus the shortest path is 5.

So, the path shown is valid and provides LOS, even though the commando obviously cannot see the clone!

Also, there is nothing simple, clear, or elegant about this situation. One cannot easily determine LOS or cover with a quick glance.

But with the method I advocate, you could, in one step:

1) Can you draw a line from the shooter to the target. No. The end.

Perhaps the errata needs an additional errata: "You cannot make a trapezoid shape by putting a diagonal between two perpendicular orthogonal directions."

But then we'd have an errata to an errata and the issue would be murkier than ever.

Sometimes simple is good.

What are the actual objections to the "Can you draw a line from attacker to target?" I haven't really read any; instead, I just see posts of, "I like the original (or errata) LOS rules." Okay, but why? What advantage do they have over the simpler rule?
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Al Mann
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When I mentioned your second example I was referring to the diagram in your original post that looked like this:

7 T -
6 - W
5 - -
4 - -
3 - -
2 W -
1 - A
0 1 2

Before I continue let me clarify that the point of my reply was not to attack your group's LOS rules. I only wanted to point out that the diagrams in the original post didn't actually disagree with your point that the commandos should or shouldn't have line of sight. I am not a blind adherent to rules as written (I have never used the explanation "because that's what's written" as a justification to anyone I've played this with) and I do appreciate your latter posts which do illustrate some issues and allow for a more thorough discussion since they do objectively show some issues with the LOS rules. My intention was simply to ask for a better example of LOS problems and later illustrate why I prefer a set of rules, advocating, as you mentioned "to agree to disagree." I apologize for not making this more clear and appearing belligerent, so I'd appreciate it if there was a little less snark in any further discussion. (Please pardon my sensitivity if I misinterpreted your attitude in the reply, it is difficult for some [myself included] to grasp these things over the internet after all.)

Line of sight rules that use simple, straight lines approach combat from the point of view that when the trigger is pulled, time stops or slows down as the game focuses on the shot and the bullet(s) is traveling along a singular trajectory and either strikes or misses. From this point of view, of course RAW LOS makes no sense. Again, I am not saying that straight line LOS is absolutely wrong, I just feel it is different from how others interpret the game's mechanics.

Going straight, diagonal, straight, diagonal is definitely a problem if we interpret these shortest path lines as the actual paths of a bullet. The reason why published rules make sense to some players is that we don't interpret it as a path of a bullet, rather it's establishing the killzone for a burst of gunfire. The bullets can travel anywhere inside this area of shortest paths. Just as the paths of the bullets are not well defined, the positions of the attacker and the target are not always defined, and every combat roll represents anywhere from a single burst to characters taking multiple bursts between bouts of ducking behind cover or checking for enemy positions. This is a possible explanation for why characters could be seemingly in cover while not actually behind cover or suffer a cover penalty when attacking. After all, hiding behind a corner and firing isn't easy, as the angle at which one holds one's gun while trying to fire at enemies that are close to the wall the attacker is hiding from will force the attacker to suffer some inaccuracy. You may think that rules need to be adjusted in order for me to accept this interpretation, but I humbly disagree. There's no need to make further rules to fit the images in my head that I use to justify the action in the game. The rules already cover pretty much anything I care to worry about in a combat miniatures board game,and if everyone is satisfied with their own interpretations for how the rules represent the action in this or any game, then we shouldn't get into arguments about how much it needs to be adjusted to fit a personal interpretation of the theme.

I know this can seem convoluted, as you pointed out, but not everyone thinks so. To people who prefer the RAW, it is not because that is what is written, it's because what is written fits what we believe was the intention of the game. Many miniatures games like to use various straight line methods and there is nothing wrong with that. One reason I like Level 7:OP so much is because this is a unique set of rules that eschews the simple straight line method in lieu of a system that emphasizes relative positions and all the possible exact positions of a unit in a given time span. It's been said that combat effectiveness for police and soldiers isn't about having the best aim, it's about effectively using terrain and finding cover. I am not saying that straight line systems don't take these into account, they just approach them a different way that seems to emphasize clear paths and relatively stationary targets, because again, that systems emphasizes the momentary trajectory of the bullets.

I think it's awesome that the RAW seems to be going for a different feel. I believe that the creators were trying something different with combat in this game, and I want to play the game in this way. It is unique, it's a little kooky, but it works for me and I find it simple enough as do most of the people with whom I have played the game several times. (Again, not a value statement on people who prefer a different way.) The designers decided to create a system that simulates combat in a different way, and I want to play that way because this method sparks my imagination. It's not because I'm a drone, it's not because I'm a stickler for the rules- well, I kind of am- but because it's exciting to me.

As to why I tolerate allegedly illogical plays, usually it's because it's not very illogical to me. Again, it's about how you approach the scope of the game's time intervals and sense of relative positioning. But I also just feel focusing too much on the ultimately arbitrary abstractions of combat fit or don't fit could be better spent planning my turn.

Would a sniper behind a barricade have blocked line of sight? Would it "give cover" to its target when firing behind the barricade? In real life, of course not. In this game, which really can't be held as a perfect combat simulation, the answer is probably "Sure, barring some new rule for barricades", which would actually be pretty cool. It's the same reason the commandos can't use the rough terrain or debris markers as makeshift cover, even though it makes tons of sense. The designers didn't think of that or did and left them out for simplicity's sake, but you should not let that stop you from making those rules changes.

Just please understand why some people will say the game doesn't need a solution for something that does not personally bother them. I don't have any real advantage over a straight line system other than it's closer to the designer's intention, which has a different feel and somewhat different theme from a straight line system. So mechanically, yes, it's simpler. But that doesn't mean that the RAW are not also simple in their own right.

I found your last two diagrams to be particularly interesting. The first one has a blatant example of why someone would find the cover rules to be imperfect and unsatisfactory. I'd like to offer an explanation,though. At the risk of sounding convoluted, I would imagine the clone touching the wall (W16)has a benefit of actively staying close to the corner and therefore have a better sense of how well covered it is, leading to less needless exposure to enemy fire. The far clone (X16) has a more difficult time of distinguishing its distance and angle from the corner and the gunman and is therefore more likely to lean or run out a little too far and risk taking a hit. This is all a matter of thematic interpretation and not really going to get us anywhere, since what makes sense to me will not always make a whole lot of sense to others, but I personally find it a sufficient explanation and not a leap in logic given the interpretation that these figures are constantly moving and able to make use of some nearby terrain features based on distance.

The really problematic point is whether the shortest paths have to be legal in their diagonal movement, as illustrated by your first diagram with the clone theoretically in (W19) and the clone hiding behind the pillar in the second diagram. I never noticed this interpretation, and I think you're 100% correct; By the strictest interpretation of RAW, this makes magic bullets almost an inevitability in many situations. That's why I feel like there must have been a mistake when they set about writing the errata and forgot to write in something about how if all absolute shortest paths by counting spaces regardless of legal use of diagonal lines makes line of sight impossible, then it should be a no-go. This allows the RAW to remain relatively simple as one would hope it was intended to be. Is this bending the rules? It depends on one's belief in the rules writers being infallible in their explanations. (The need for an errata put that to rest.) But even if this is rule-bending (I don't think so, since I don't think the designers intended for the rules to be as ridiculous as you say they are), I never said I was totally against tweaking the rules. I just don't see the need for such a drastic overhaul.

So in summation, I'm not arguing the rules you and others have proposed are inferior. Far from it, they work just fine and everyone should use the rules that fit the group they play with. By the same token, please understand that some people like the errata's fix and might enjoy the game because of a different interpretation of the game's abstractions that make logical sense and are willing to forgive the occasional oddball LOS (I've only seen a couple in two years of playing this game) for the chance of playing with a unique set of rules that are far from being objectively confusing or illogical.

On a side note, I'm quite envious you can play this game multiple times in a week. I'm lucky to pull this one out more than once a month.

I wish you even more enjoyment with it this week as well.
 
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daishi_no_zaagu wrote:
When I mentioned your second example I was referring to the diagram in your original post that looked like this:

7 T -
6 - W
5 - -
4 - -
3 - -
2 W -
1 - A
0 1 2

Before I continue let me clarify that the point of my reply was not to attack your group's LOS rules. I only wanted to point out that the diagrams in the original post didn't actually disagree with your point that the commandos should or shouldn't have line of sight. I am not a blind adherent to rules as written (I have never used the explanation "because that's what's written" as a justification to anyone I've played this with) and I do appreciate your latter posts which do illustrate some issues and allow for a more thorough discussion since they do objectively show some issues with the LOS rules. My intention was simply to ask for a better example of LOS problems and later illustrate why I prefer a set of rules, advocating, as you mentioned "to agree to disagree." I apologize for not making this more clear and appearing belligerent, so I'd appreciate it if there was a little less snark in any further discussion. (Please pardon my sensitivity if I misinterpreted your attitude in the reply, it is difficult for some [myself included] to grasp these things over the internet after all.)

Line of sight rules that use simple, straight lines approach combat from the point of view that when the trigger is pulled, time stops or slows down as the game focuses on the shot and the bullet(s) is traveling along a singular trajectory and either strikes or misses. From this point of view, of course RAW LOS makes no sense. Again, I am not saying that straight line LOS is absolutely wrong, I just feel it is different from how others interpret the game's mechanics.

Going straight, diagonal, straight, diagonal is definitely a problem if we interpret these shortest path lines as the actual paths of a bullet. The reason why published rules make sense to some players is that we don't interpret it as a path of a bullet, rather it's establishing the killzone for a burst of gunfire. The bullets can travel anywhere inside this area of shortest paths. Just as the paths of the bullets are not well defined, the positions of the attacker and the target are not always defined, and every combat roll represents anywhere from a single burst to characters taking multiple bursts between bouts of ducking behind cover or checking for enemy positions. This is a possible explanation for why characters could be seemingly in cover while not actually behind cover or suffer a cover penalty when attacking. After all, hiding behind a corner and firing isn't easy, as the angle at which one holds one's gun while trying to fire at enemies that are close to the wall the attacker is hiding from will force the attacker to suffer some inaccuracy. You may think that rules need to be adjusted in order for me to accept this interpretation, but I humbly disagree. There's no need to make further rules to fit the images in my head that I use to justify the action in the game. The rules already cover pretty much anything I care to worry about in a combat miniatures board game,and if everyone is satisfied with their own interpretations for how the rules represent the action in this or any game, then we shouldn't get into arguments about how much it needs to be adjusted to fit a personal interpretation of the theme.

I know this can seem convoluted, as you pointed out, but not everyone thinks so. To people who prefer the RAW, it is not because that is what is written, it's because what is written fits what we believe was the intention of the game. Many miniatures games like to use various straight line methods and there is nothing wrong with that. One reason I like Level 7:OP so much is because this is a unique set of rules that eschews the simple straight line method in lieu of a system that emphasizes relative positions and all the possible exact positions of a unit in a given time span. It's been said that combat effectiveness for police and soldiers isn't about having the best aim, it's about effectively using terrain and finding cover. I am not saying that straight line systems don't take these into account, they just approach them a different way that seems to emphasize clear paths and relatively stationary targets, because again, that systems emphasizes the momentary trajectory of the bullets.

I think it's awesome that the RAW seems to be going for a different feel. I believe that the creators were trying something different with combat in this game, and I want to play the game in this way. It is unique, it's a little kooky, but it works for me and I find it simple enough as do most of the people with whom I have played the game several times. (Again, not a value statement on people who prefer a different way.) The designers decided to create a system that simulates combat in a different way, and I want to play that way because this method sparks my imagination. It's not because I'm a drone, it's not because I'm a stickler for the rules- well, I kind of am- but because it's exciting to me.

As to why I tolerate allegedly illogical plays, usually it's because it's not very illogical to me. Again, it's about how you approach the scope of the game's time intervals and sense of relative positioning. But I also just feel focusing too much on the ultimately arbitrary abstractions of combat fit or don't fit could be better spent planning my turn.

Would a sniper behind a barricade have blocked line of sight? Would it "give cover" to its target when firing behind the barricade? In real life, of course not. In this game, which really can't be held as a perfect combat simulation, the answer is probably "Sure, barring some new rule for barricades", which would actually be pretty cool. It's the same reason the commandos can't use the rough terrain or debris markers as makeshift cover, even though it makes tons of sense. The designers didn't think of that or did and left them out for simplicity's sake, but you should not let that stop you from making those rules changes.

Just please understand why some people will say the game doesn't need a solution for something that does not personally bother them. I don't have any real advantage over a straight line system other than it's closer to the designer's intention, which has a different feel and somewhat different theme from a straight line system. So mechanically, yes, it's simpler. But that doesn't mean that the RAW are not also simple in their own right.

I found your last two diagrams to be particularly interesting. The first one has a blatant example of why someone would find the cover rules to be imperfect and unsatisfactory. I'd like to offer an explanation,though. At the risk of sounding convoluted, I would imagine the clone touching the wall (W16)has a benefit of actively staying close to the corner and therefore have a better sense of how well covered it is, leading to less needless exposure to enemy fire. The far clone (X16) has a more difficult time of distinguishing its distance and angle from the corner and the gunman and is therefore more likely to lean or run out a little too far and risk taking a hit. This is all a matter of thematic interpretation and not really going to get us anywhere, since what makes sense to me will not always make a whole lot of sense to others, but I personally find it a sufficient explanation and not a leap in logic given the interpretation that these figures are constantly moving and able to make use of some nearby terrain features based on distance.

The really problematic point is whether the shortest paths have to be legal in their diagonal movement, as illustrated by your first diagram with the clone theoretically in (W19) and the clone hiding behind the pillar in the second diagram. I never noticed this interpretation, and I think you're 100% correct; By the strictest interpretation of RAW, this makes magic bullets almost an inevitability in many situations. That's why I feel like there must have been a mistake when they set about writing the errata and forgot to write in something about how if all absolute shortest paths by counting spaces regardless of legal use of diagonal lines makes line of sight impossible, then it should be a no-go. This allows the RAW to remain relatively simple as one would hope it was intended to be. Is this bending the rules? It depends on one's belief in the rules writers being infallible in their explanations. (The need for an errata put that to rest.) But even if this is rule-bending (I don't think so, since I don't think the designers intended for the rules to be as ridiculous as you say they are), I never said I was totally against tweaking the rules. I just don't see the need for such a drastic overhaul.

So in summation, I'm not arguing the rules you and others have proposed are inferior. Far from it, they work just fine and everyone should use the rules that fit the group they play with. By the same token, please understand that some people like the errata's fix and might enjoy the game because of a different interpretation of the game's abstractions that make logical sense and are willing to forgive the occasional oddball LOS (I've only seen a couple in two years of playing this game) for the chance of playing with a unique set of rules that are far from being objectively confusing or illogical.

On a side note, I'm quite envious you can play this game multiple times in a week. I'm lucky to pull this one out more than once a month.

I wish you even more enjoyment with it this week as well.

Upon reflection, I did get a bit defensive and snarky. Apologies to you and the forum.

You make an interesting point with regard to the explanation for moving targets and bursts of fire and whatnot. I can see your point of view. I'll probably continue to play with my friends using our adjusted rules, but I will also familiarize myself with the intricacies of the errata RAW for instances in which playing a PFB game or even an in-person game with others who use the errata RAW.

I'll need to look over my diagram that you were referring to when I have more time (I am heading out for the afternoon). I was lazy with that diagram and tried to use text letters instead of setting it up on an actual board like the other diagrams, and so it may not have come out right or I may have made a mistake.

I am lucky to have a good friend who lives nearby and has free time after work, so we can play often. We have managed to get in a few games with other friends as well, but most often it is me (5 commandos) vs. him (overseer). We have worked our way through mission 6.

We are really hoping to get more input regarding mission 6 because so far we have yet to see Chronos survive past turn 3.


Let's assume for a moment that I weer to adopt the errata RAW for LOS and cover (It's possible I may warm up to them over time because I do like your lengthy and interesting explanation). Do you think it would be a good idea to slightly modify them in the way I mentioned? (no "trapezoids" to weave back and forth around a blocking pillar. This could be accomplished by stating: "all diagonals, whether consecutive or not, must be in the same direction, and the same goes for orthogonal moves." So, legal would be S, SW, S, SW, S, S. But illegal would be S, SW, W, SW, S, W, W - which would be used to zigzag back around two different wall pillars).

One main reason I want to tweak the rules as written is that I truly believe the overseer has no chance against a coordinated 5 commando unit. I think the cave in has too many restrictions. I think the "only two clones at a vent" has too many restrictions, especially since overseer might not get a s2nd vent or a gate for a few turns.

I think the discarding adrenaline requirement is rough for the overseer, since he cannot always do anything useful on his first couple of turns, especially with no cave in on some missions. I think being able to open doors from one space away from the actual door (by virtue of being adjacent to the "door tile" even if not adjacent to the door itself) is an extra advantage (and very illogical, since that space has to be walked through using a movement point, and one cannot pick up a flashlight when similarly one space away).

If any overseer does not think these rules are too restrictive, I certainly don't mind using them, since they all favor the commandos, which is the team I would want to play.

Anyway, thanks for your thoughtful reply. I requested an explanation better than "Because that's the rule" and you came through with a thought-out and interesting one. I appreciate that.

I want to set up some PBF games. Would you be interested? So far it looks like we may have several people interested.
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daishi_no_zaagu wrote:
When I mentioned your second example I was referring to the diagram in your original post that looked like this:

7 T -
6 - W
5 - -
4 - -
3 - -
2 W -
1 - A
0 1 2


I forgot to reply to this.

Yes, you are correct, this was a terrible example on my part, since, as you noted, LOS only requires ONE of the possible shortest paths to be unobstructed. So, disregard that example. My apologies.
 
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I'm flattered you would invite me to join in a play by forum, by I don't trust myself to stay dedicated enough to finish it. ^^;

While I still prefer the RAW, the straight line rules you gave don't offend me at all. If an overseer insisted we used those rules I would not be opposed to them, though if I was overseer I would strongly insist that the game be played as close as possible to RAW. I agree that the Overseer is at a disadvantage against competent large commando squads, though I've found that the rules as written tend to help the Overseer, since they generally force commandos to come closer or come out of hiding for better shots and allow the often heavily melee-dependent forces of the overseer to easily hide or take cover.

AronFJenks wrote:
Let's assume for a moment that I weer to adopt the errata RAW for LOS and cover (It's possible I may warm up to them over time because I do like your lengthy and interesting explanation). Do you think it would be a good idea to slightly modify them in the way I mentioned? (no "trapezoids" to weave back and forth around a blocking pillar. This could be accomplished by stating: "all diagonals, whether consecutive or not, must be in the same direction, and the same goes for orthogonal moves." So, legal would be S, SW, S, SW, S, S. But illegal would be S, SW, W, SW, S, W, W - which would be used to zigzag back around two different wall pillars).

I believe the LOS rules in the rule book describe those same rules:

Level 7 [Omega Protocol], Rules p.14 wrote:

The shortest path is the one using the fewest number of spaces... Count each space between the attacker and the target as well as the target space. When counting spaces for the shortest path, you can use any number of diagonals as long as they are all in the same direction.

The errata later added restrictions on diagonals, of course, but even before trapezoids were illegal. But I looked into your orthogonal restriction, which sounds good on paper.

I tried putting the figures on the boards and counting it out to see if they were both valid shortest paths by moving the target figures long the paths you described and counting out the spaces between attacker and targets. The first example was indeed a valid shortest path. The second example, however uses seven steps to reach a target that has a shortest path of six lines. There are a couple variations to drawing out a six-space path, but one example is SW, W, SW, W, SW, S. The path you disapproved of in the second example is already nullified by the rules by it own inefficiency (using seven when six would do), and if the pillars the player was trying to snake around are in the way of the six-space paths then it won't work. For instance, all the shortest paths of six spaces for the second example require the immediate south west space to be clear for them to work. The reason why orthogonal movement is not already restricted is the same reason why it sucks that figures are only allowed one diagonal movement, it's an inefficient way of moving on a square based grid and almost always ends up with more spaces than the real shortest path.

Remember, we're not counting the shortest clear path, we're counting the shortest path period. The restrictions on diagonals coupled with the inefficiency of orthogonal movement is what usually keeps shots from getting too crazy, though obviously crazy shots will be made in rare cases. (Rare in my experience, at any rate.)

This has been an enlightening conversation though. I never thought of this as a balance issue before this discussion. Since you get more play time with this game than I do, I'm sure you've seen more examples of bizarre shots I'll trust they occur with some frequency, and your one player commando squad probably had a lot of practice finding ways to hit you unexpectedly. I've decided I'm going to start keeping track of crazy shots in my future games and see if I can find a pattern in how the RAW gets exploited, like who gets hurt by them the most and what what types of shapes were made, though I fear my group is not very creative when it comes to trick shots. ^^; Maybe I'll start to understand the balance concerns better.
 
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On second thought, maybe explicitly restricting orthogonal movement to one direction would be a good start. Generally broken diagonals and a single orthogonal direction are all it really takes to legitimately get to the target, so why allow different orthogonals in the first place? At least it might make things simpler for new players.
 
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daishi_no_zaagu wrote:

I found your last two diagrams to be particularly interesting. The first one has a blatant example of why someone would find the cover rules to be imperfect and unsatisfactory. I'd like to offer an explanation,though. At the risk of sounding convoluted, I would imagine the clone touching the wall (W16)has a benefit of actively staying close to the corner and therefore have a better sense of how well covered it is, leading to less needless exposure to enemy fire. The far clone (X16) has a more difficult time of distinguishing its distance and angle from the corner and the gunman and is therefore more likely to lean or run out a little too far and risk taking a hit. This is all a matter of thematic interpretation and not really going to get us anywhere, since what makes sense to me will not always make a whole lot of sense to others, but I personally find it a sufficient explanation and not a leap in logic given the interpretation that these figures are constantly moving and able to make use of some nearby terrain features based on distance.

The really problematic point is whether the shortest paths have to be legal in their diagonal movement, as illustrated by your first diagram with the clone theoretically in (W19) and the clone hiding behind the pillar in the second diagram. I never noticed this interpretation, and I think you're 100% correct; By the strictest interpretation of RAW, this makes magic bullets almost an inevitability in many situations. That's why I feel like there must have been a mistake when they set about writing the errata and forgot to write in something about how if all absolute shortest paths by counting spaces regardless of legal use of diagonal lines makes line of sight impossible, then it should be a no-go. This allows the RAW to remain relatively simple as one would hope it was intended to be. Is this bending the rules? It depends on one's belief in the rules writers being infallible in their explanations. (The need for an errata put that to rest.) But even if this is rule-bending (I don't think so, since I don't think the designers intended for the rules to be as ridiculous as you say they are), I never said I was totally against tweaking the rules. I just don't see the need for such a drastic overhaul.

So in summation, I'm not arguing the rules you and others have proposed are inferior. Far from it, they work just fine and everyone should use the rules that fit the group they play with. By the same token, please understand that some people like the errata's fix and might enjoy the game because of a different interpretation of the game's abstractions that make logical sense and are willing to forgive the occasional oddball LOS (I've only seen a couple in two years of playing this game) for the chance of playing with a unique set of rules that are far from being objectively confusing or illogical.

On a side note, I'm quite envious you can play this game multiple times in a week. I'm lucky to pull this one out more than once a month.


I appreciate your thorough analysis of my diagrams. (I shouldn't say "My" because I borrowed them and made slight adjustments in MS paint).

It might seem pointless to discuss all this, but I only recently discovered the PBF option, and I really would enjoy playing people online using that feature.

But rules would need to be agreed upon.

In the 2nd diagram (with the clones at W16 X16 and W18), I will state the following:

Though it isn't how my friends and I play, I would be okay with playing with a rule that grants cover to the W16 and the X16 clones.

Similarly, I can live with the clone at W18 not having cover (though that truly does puzzle me why he wouldn't have cover, even when using your interesting idea of simulating figures in motion and leaning and ducking and hiding and whatnot).

Where I get confused is the hypothetical clone at W19. I honestly cannot figure out whether that clone would be able to be attacked by the commando. Would the commando have LOS? Would the clone have cover? I would be very frustrated if I moved a clone to W19 only to have him shot by that commando. I would have a difficult time playing under rules that would grant LOS from that commando to a clone at W19 (and the RAW might not even do that, I just cannot tell, because I find the "shortest path but you cannot use two consecutive diagonals" to be very confusing and counter-intuitive).

Similarly, in the other diagram where the clone is being a pillar AND there is a wall nearby, I would be very annoyed if the commando shot that clone.

I understand why the errata rules added the "cannot use two diagonals in a row unless it's only diagonals" (actually, I DID understand it, but now I cannot recall exactly what the problems were; I just recall there were problems). But, the errata rule created new problems, which is that sometimes you cannot MAKE a shortest path without making a trapezoid shape.

I strongly believe the trapezoid path should be outlawed. But, that creates a new problem: If you cannot use consecutive diagonals, and you cannot make a trapezoid, there will be numerous instances where you cannot draw a path at all, even if both figures are out in the open nowhere near walls.

Possible solutions:

1) Go back to the original rules, but make a different errata modification that fixes the original problem in a different way than the banning of consecutive diagonals.

2) Your proposed idea: "That's why I feel like there must have been a mistake when they set about writing the errata and forgot to write in something about how if all absolute shortest paths by counting spaces regardless of legal use of diagonal lines makes line of sight impossible, then it should be a no-go."

The question is, are there scenarios where this would create new problems? I haven't had time to thoroughly examine this yet.

3) What about a combination of philosophies? I think that could be easy and would please both sides of the debate:

LOS AND cover (hypothetical rule):

PART A) "it must be possible to draw a straight line from ANY part of the attacker's square to ANY part of the defender's square."

I know that doesn't fit with your "moving figures" philosophy [I included those quotation marks to prevent the sentence from being a grammatical mess; there is no intent of sarcasm or mockery in my use of the quotes], but I think it's important that people be able to place their figures in a way that blocks LOS, and in a way that is easy to determine at quick glance.

PART B) "Once LOS is determined, use the errata rules for determining cover." This would fit in with your philosophy of figures in motion, and I think it addresses my main gripe: My main gripe isn't so much about cover, but about granting LOS in examples which really should not allow LOS. I can live with the fact that the errata rules grant cover in situations where I don't think cover should exist.

After all, an issue of "cover vs. no cover" affects the range defense by one unit. But "LOS vs. no LOS" can dramatically affect the game if one person expected his figure to be safe and ends up getting shot at.

Side note: I'll research this myself, but can anyone refresh my memory on what the problems were with the original LOS/cover rules (the ones that allowed consecutive diagonals even if not all spaces were diagonals)? Was it a problem of creating blind spots that shouldn't exist? Providing LOS that shouldn't exist? Difficulty in implementation? I cannot remember.

 
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daishi_no_zaagu wrote:
I'm flattered you would invite me to join in a play by forum, by I don't trust myself to stay dedicated enough to finish it. ^^;



AronFJenks wrote:
Let's assume for a moment that I weer to adopt the errata RAW for LOS and cover (It's possible I may warm up to them over time because I do like your lengthy and interesting explanation). Do you think it would be a good idea to slightly modify them in the way I mentioned? (no "trapezoids" to weave back and forth around a blocking pillar. This could be accomplished by stating: "all diagonals, whether consecutive or not, must be in the same direction, and the same goes for orthogonal moves." So, legal would be S, SW, S, SW, S, S. But illegal would be S, SW, W, SW, S, W, W - which would be used to zigzag back around two different wall pillars).

I believe the LOS rules in the rule book describe those same rules:

Level 7 [Omega Protocol], Rules p.14 wrote:

The shortest path is the one using the fewest number of spaces... Count each space between the attacker and the target as well as the target space. When counting spaces for the shortest path, you can use any number of diagonals as long as they are all in the same direction.

The errata later added restrictions on diagonals, of course, but even before trapezoids were illegal. But I looked into your orthogonal restriction, which sounds good on paper.




daishi_no_zaagu wrote:

On second thought, maybe explicitly restricting orthogonal movement to one direction would be a good start. Generally broken diagonals and a single orthogonal direction are all it really takes to legitimately get to the target, so why allow different orthogonals in the first place? At least it might make things simpler for new players.


True, I forgot that the rules do state that all diagonals must be in the same direction. But, the flaw there is, you can simply use orthogonal moves in different directions to perform the exact type of path that the "all diagonals must be in the same direction" rule was trying to prohibit.

By which I mean, NE - E - SE violates the "diagonals must be in the same direction" (a good rule, since it prevents the use of a trapezoidal path), but, on the other hand, E - NE - N would NOT violate the "same direction diagonals" rule, yet it makes the exact same trapezoid shape that could be used to zig-zag around a pillar. (the two trapezoids would differ slightly in size, since one would have a base of 2 SQRT[2] and one would have a base of 3, but the point remains.

As you noted though, perhaps we could also outlaw "divergent orthogonals."

The problem though is this: If we eliminate
A) consecutive diagonals
B) diagonals in different directions, and
C) orthogonals in different directions

we will create situations in which a figure cannot shoot another figure despite being well within range and having no walls or obstructions nearby.

Would it work to say the following?:

"when examining a shortest path, it is okay to use ONLY ONE divergent line ['divergent line' being defined as any diagonal OR orthogonal that is perpendicular to one already used] and ONLY at the end of the path to reach an otherwise unreachable figure. Furthermore, if that divergent line creates a trapezoid that goes around a wall, then it does not grant LOS."

daishi_no_zaagu wrote:


This has been an enlightening conversation though. I never thought of this as a balance issue before this discussion. Since you get more play time with this game than I do, I'm sure you've seen more examples of bizarre shots I'll trust they occur with some frequency, and your one player commando squad probably had a lot of practice finding ways to hit you unexpectedly. I've decided I'm going to start keeping track of crazy shots in my future games and see if I can find a pattern in how the RAW gets exploited, like who gets hurt by them the most and what what types of shapes were made, though I fear my group is not very creative when it comes to trick shots. ^^; Maybe I'll start to understand the balance concerns better.



This is a good idea, and I recommend everyone try to keep track of "odd situations." It's difficult for me, since I always play with the "straight lines" method, but I try to jot down anything if I spot it.

Hypothetically, we could set up a visual database of all possible situations, with captions stating whether there is LOS and/or cover.

 
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I thought of something else weird:

A commando with range 9 (The CMS with "accuracy) can shoot a target who is 9 spaces in a straight line, yet cannot shoot a clone who is 6 diagonals away, even though the clone 6 diagonals away is closer.

Although that bothers me a bit, I cannot think of a practical solution, at least, not with the current equipment.

One possible idea would be to have several different "range auras", each of which would resemble the napalm donut, but with a bigger radius depending on the range. Then, the donut would be placed with the attacking figure in the center, and he can shoot anything that is touched by the donut.

That actually works with a rogue clone and the existing napalm or gas grenade donut. Place the donut with the rogue clone at the center, and the donut highlights the 8 spaces within the rogue clone's range.

This would require at least 6 donuts (I think the possible ranges for attacks in this game run from 4 through 9), and would be a hassle in a crowded game area. Of course, the donut could me made very thin, so that the outer edge is only as thick as necessary for it to not fall apart.

But, I don't think the range rules really need tweaking, at least, not yet...
 
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AronFJenks wrote:
True, I forgot that the rules do state that all diagonals must be in the same direction. But, the flaw there is, you can simply use orthogonal moves in different directions to perform the exact type of path that the "all diagonals must be in the same direction" rule was trying to prohibit.

By which I mean, NE - E - SE violates the "diagonals must be in the same direction" (a good rule, since it prevents the use of a trapezoidal path), but, on the other hand, E - NE - N would NOT violate the "same direction diagonals" rule, yet it makes the exact same trapezoid shape that could be used to zig-zag around a pillar. (the two trapezoids would differ slightly in size, since one would have a base of 2 SQRT[2] and one would have a base of 3, but the point remains.


The thing about that particular trapezoid is that there is a shorter path of two spaces. They are consecutive diagonals, but since that's the entirety of the path it's the official shortest path. Perfect trapezoids with divergent orthogonal movement in this game always end up with a shorter direct diagonal path.

AronFJenks wrote:
As you noted though, perhaps we could also outlaw "divergent orthogonals."

The problem though is this: If we eliminate
A) consecutive diagonals
B) diagonals in different directions, and
C) orthogonals in different directions

we will create situations in which a figure cannot shoot another figure despite being well within range and having no walls or obstructions nearby.

AronFJenks wrote:
A commando with range 9 (The CMS with "accuracy) can shoot a target who is 9 spaces in a straight line, yet cannot shoot a clone who is 6 diagonals away, even though the clone 6 diagonals away is closer.

I wasn't quite able to visualize your statement so I again felt compelled to check this out on a board just to see what it looked like:


This is an image showing the LOS rules with errata. Rifleman is in the lower-left corner (I chose him because he's obviously the coolest) and the scientist is in the bottom right corner taking notes at the console. To save space only half of the commando's firing range is shown, but it's symmetrical of course. The most surprising thing I discovered from this experiment is that with errata there is a blind spot that inexplicably shows up in the corner between the bulk of the legal paths and the allowed "diagonal only" path. This is obviously an unintended consequence of the errata, since before the "fix" everything up to the end of that upside-down pyramid would have been a legal LOS. I must admit, even as someone who loves the official rules this made my head spin, but as an overseer I personally would allow a commando to take that shot, as the LOS rules were invented to make blocking terrain and cover a major feature in combat but there's nothing that would logically block the shot any more than the weapon's full range straight ahead.

The game's firefights tend to happen in cramped quarters and claustrophobic hallways, so situations with open terrain like that don't happen often, but looking at the mission book there are a couple places where a commando could be cheated out of an otherwise clean shot, such as a commando in Mission 5 firing deep into tile 3B from tile 2A.

AronFJenks wrote:
Would it work to say the following?:

"when examining a shortest path, it is okay to use ONLY ONE divergent line ['divergent line' being defined as any diagonal OR orthogonal that is perpendicular to one already used] and ONLY at the end of the path to reach an otherwise unreachable figure..."

At the moment I feel simply making an exception (though I usually hate that word) for open field targeting is good enough, but I like how this last proposal seems to clear things up in a way players can reference while still remaining generally faithful (in my opinion at least) to the spirit of the original rules set. I'd like to try that rule out in my next game and see how how well it fits or how different it might be. This thread has made me rethink my position on how straight-forward the rules are. I feel like the rules are logical enough (examples presented notwithstanding) but I'm starting to better understand where people are getting confused on how they work.

I'd also like to point out it's rather cool of you to develop a set of rules more in line with the RAW despite the fact you already had an alternative set of LOS rules that doesn't need to reference them at all. You've obviously put a lot of thought into how to simplify and possibly salvage them for your group. If these simpler LOS rules work out for me, it might make things easier for me to play this game with new players and still enjoy my "moving figures" interpretation. By the way, no malice was detected when you used those quotes. Further discussion on this topic has shown me you're not someone who enjoys seeking out conflict through insults.
 
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daishi_no_zaagu wrote:


AronFJenks wrote:
A commando with range 9 (The CMS with "accuracy) can shoot a target who is 9 spaces in a straight line, yet cannot shoot a clone who is 6 diagonals away, even though the clone 6 diagonals away is closer.

I wasn't quite able to visualize your statement so I again felt compelled to check this out on a board just to see what it looked like:




This is an image showing the LOS rules with errata. Rifleman is in the lower-left corner (I chose him because he's obviously the coolest) and the scientist is in the bottom right corner taking notes at the console. To save space only half of the commando's firing range is shown, but it's symmetrical of course. The most surprising thing I discovered from this experiment is that with errata there is a blind spot that inexplicably shows up in the corner between the bulk of the legal paths and the allowed "diagonal only" path. This is obviously an unintended consequence of the errata, since before the "fix" everything up to the end of that upside-down pyramid would have been a legal LOS. I must admit, even as someone who loves the official rules this made my head spin, but as an overseer I personally would allow a commando to take that shot, as the LOS rules were invented to make blocking terrain and cover a major feature in combat but there's nothing that would logically block the shot any more than the weapon's full range straight ahead.

The game's firefights tend to happen in cramped quarters and claustrophobic hallways, so situations with open terrain like that don't happen often, but looking at the mission book there are a couple places where a commando could be cheated out of an otherwise clean shot, such as a commando in Mission 5 firing deep into tile 3B from tile 2A.


Hmm. Now I am confused, because, if I am understanding your diagram correctly, one of us has been making a serious error with regard to range, and at this point, it's just as likely to me as not. I thought range for weapons followed the same rules for calculating the distance a commando could move to using his foot speed. In other words, only one diagonal allowed. In which case, the "range chart" would look like this (using the same range of 8 that you were using):




Both shades of blue are used to establish the boundary of the range.

It's still symmetrical, as you noted, but there aren't really "blind spots," so much as there are mathematical oddities (The red square is a true distance of 7.07 units away yet is out of range, whereas the yellow squares are a true distance of 8.06 and ARE within range.



Explanation of calculated distances, just in case anyone is wondering where I got those weird numbers from):
Using the pythagorean theorem with the length of the side of 1 square set to "1":

red square: (5*Sqrt[2]) = 7.07 (approx)
yellow squares: (sqrt[65]) = 8.06 (approx)
 
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daishi_no_zaagu wrote:
AronFJenks wrote:
True, I forgot that the rules do state that all diagonals must be in the same direction. But, the flaw there is, you can simply use orthogonal moves in different directions to perform the exact type of path that the "all diagonals must be in the same direction" rule was trying to prohibit.

By which I mean, NE - E - SE violates the "diagonals must be in the same direction" (a good rule, since it prevents the use of a trapezoidal path), but, on the other hand, E - NE - N would NOT violate the "same direction diagonals" rule, yet it makes the exact same trapezoid shape that could be used to zig-zag around a pillar. (the two trapezoids would differ slightly in size, since one would have a base of 2 SQRT[2] and one would have a base of 3, but the point remains.


The thing about that particular trapezoid is that there is a shorter path of two spaces. They are consecutive diagonals, but since that's the entirety of the path it's the official shortest path. Perfect trapezoids with divergent orthogonal movement in this game always end up with a shorter direct diagonal path.


My apologies for my lack of clarity. I did not mean for those paths to be the entire path, but rather, parts of a longer path that were connecting two squares that are NOT on perfect diagonals with each other.

In those cases, a path (perhaps of length 5) that contains NE-E-SE would be invalid, because the diagonals go in different directions, but a path that contains E-NE-N would not be a violation (since it is the orthogonals that go in different directions), even though it makes the same trapezoid.

Granted, one can perform "E-NE-N" faster by just going NE-NE, but again, that is not allowed under the errata rules unless the entire path is NE.

So, in the diagram below, the official shortest path from clone to commando is 5 (using the errata rules) because we cannot go NW-NW-NW-W.




So, we need to take any one of the many paths of length 5, all of which require a trapezoid to go around the pillar that the commando is hiding behind. There are more than 3, but I highlighted three of them. all 3 are valid shortest paths, and none of them go through the wall. So, LOS would be granted, but does that make sense? if LOS requires a trapezoid to go around a pillar, it should not be LOS. (note that many of the drawn shortest paths DO pass through the pillar, so the commando DOES have cover, but that isn't the issue I am looking to address with this specific diagram.)

Here is another problem: How many "valid shortest paths of 5" ARE there in my diagram? I think there are upwards of 16. Isn't that enough of a nightmare scenario to warrant asking, "should we use this method?" And if the clone were one south and one west, there would be at least twice as many shortest paths.

Again, this is why I think it makes the most sense to do the following:

1) LOS: Simple straight line; can one square "see" the other square.
2) COVER: Original LOS rule, allowing multiple consecutive diagonals, thus resulting in a true "shortest path (or paths)" that is easy to visualize and easy to examine.

The reason the errata was added was because of LOS, not cover, right? The problem was that the original rule of allowing consecutive diagonals permitted LOS with a 135 degree angle going along a wall and then around corner (W-W-W-W-SW-SW-SW-SW or something like that). But this method would NOT use that flawed path for LOS, only for cover, which I think would work, because for cover, using multiple diagonals consecutively would grant cover when it SHOULD grant cover, and it wouldn't REMOVE cover when cover SHOULD exist.

EDIT: My admittedly biased view is that the most sensible way is my previously diagrammed method with the "gun aura." But if it is wished to use something more similar to the RAW, I think the above two step procedure makes the most sense.
 
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daishi_no_zaagu wrote:


I know this can seem convoluted, as you pointed out, but not everyone thinks so. To people who prefer the RAW, it is not because that is what is written, it's because what is written fits what we believe was the intention of the game. Many miniatures games like to use various straight line methods and there is nothing wrong with that. One reason I like Level 7:OP so much is because this is a unique set of rules that eschews the simple straight line method in lieu of a system that emphasizes relative positions and all the possible exact positions of a unit in a given time span. It's been said that combat effectiveness for police and soldiers isn't about having the best aim, it's about effectively using terrain and finding cover. I am not saying that straight line systems don't take these into account, they just approach them a different way that seems to emphasize clear paths and relatively stationary targets, because again, that systems emphasizes the momentary trajectory of the bullets.

I wanted to add one more thought to this.

I like what you said about simulating a war zone with figures moving around and gunfire everywhere and such.
But, one could make the case that my suggested method for LOS and cover DOES actually accomplish this. Here is the case.

First, a few facts:

1) A commando figure takes up just about an entire 1x1 square.
2) The guns have ranges from 5 to 8 (can be extended to 10 if the CMS uses "accuracy" and "optical upgrades")

Next, a stipulation that I hope we can all agree on:

3) A typical commando is probably not more than two feet in "width."
4) Any military weapon similar to the ones used in the game will have a range significantly longer than 10 feet.

In other words, the short range guns in this game (The Recon's gun and the Rifleman's M501) have a range that is 5 times the width of a commando. That is a rather anemic gun, so the only reasonable assumption is that the squares on the gameboard actually represent length and width significantly larger than the length and width of a commando, and that the squares and commandos are the same size for pragmatic purposes only. (smaller commando figures would be difficult to use, and larger game squares would require a really large dining table, since the game already takes up my entire table once we have everything set up and all the pieces and tokens strewn about).

This assertion (that each square on the game board actually represents an area significantly bigger than the area of a commando), though fairly obvious by the reasons mentioned above, is further supported by the likelihood that the mission maps are almost certainly bigger than "20 commandos wide" by "25 commandos wide."

So, in conclusion, when a commando is "standing fixed" on a given square, he is actually, hypothetically, "in motion" in/on/within that particular area represented by a 1 inch square, and the same goes for a target clone. Which is where my straight lines method comes into play. For LOS, my method grants LOS if any part of the square on which the commando is scrambling around on can see any part of the square on which the target is scrambling around on.

For cover, the commando can again scramble around on his area, choosing to fire from the point of greatest visibility, but, since the clone can also be scrambling around on its own square to maximize its own cover, then cover is granted if even a small portion of the target square is obscured by any obstacle.

If you think of each 1 inch edge on the board representing an actual length of 4 feet, then even my "straight lines and 'fixed position'" method would still simulate the attacker and target scrambling around in areas of 16 square feet each.

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AronFJenks wrote:


Hmm. Now I am confused, because, if I am understanding your diagram correctly, one of us has been making a serious error with regard to range, and at this point, it's just as likely to me as not. I thought range for weapons followed the same rules for calculating the distance a commando could move to using his foot speed. In other words, only one diagonal allowed. In which case, the "range chart" would look like this (using the same range of 8 that you were using):




Both shades of blue are used to establish the boundary of the range.

It's still symmetrical, as you noted, but there aren't really "blind spots," so much as there are mathematical oddities (The red square is a true distance of 7.07 units away yet is out of range, whereas the yellow squares are a true distance of 8.06 and ARE within range.



Argh! You're absolutely correct about this! I can't believe I missed that! blush I've been measuring figure distance and LOS at the same time!

Playing this way didn't break the game for my group. It's still one of our favorites. I just feel really stupid because now I can't actually say I like the rules as written until I actually play with rules as written. This might have given me a slight edge as the Overseer since the battles were at longer distances and may have scared some of the commandos from sprinting forward as much as a shorter range would have allowed.

Everyone feel free to disregard any or all of what I have said up to this moment. ^^:
 
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daishi_no_zaagu wrote:
AronFJenks wrote:


Hmm. Now I am confused, because, if I am understanding your diagram correctly, one of us has been making a serious error with regard to range, and at this point, it's just as likely to me as not. I thought range for weapons followed the same rules for calculating the distance a commando could move to using his foot speed. In other words, only one diagonal allowed. In which case, the "range chart" would look like this (using the same range of 8 that you were using):




Both shades of blue are used to establish the boundary of the range.

It's still symmetrical, as you noted, but there aren't really "blind spots," so much as there are mathematical oddities (The red square is a true distance of 7.07 units away yet is out of range, whereas the yellow squares are a true distance of 8.06 and ARE within range.



Argh! You're absolutely correct about this! I can't believe I missed that! blush I've been measuring figure distance and LOS at the same time!

Playing this way didn't break the game for my group. It's still one of our favorites. I just feel really stupid because now I can't actually say I like the rules as written until I actually play with rules as written. This might have given me a slight edge as the Overseer since the battles were at longer distances and may have scared some of the commandos from sprinting forward as much as a shorter range would have allowed.

Everyone feel free to disregard any or all of what I have said up to this moment. ^^:


Meh. I wouldn't go that far. Even if you were using gun range slightly incorrectly, that doesn't really have too much effect on the in-depth analysis we have both been doing with regard to cover and LOS. I still think your contributions to the LOS and Cover discussion has been valuable. It made me re-examine my own position and analyze possible methods I hadn't previously considered.

As we speak, I am nearly finished with a "comprehensive guide to all the cover/LOS issues and variations" which I plan to make into a single, large thread for ease of analysis and discussion. I really like the idea of considering each gameboard square as being representative of a lager area, such as 4 feet by 4 feet. This is an idea I would not have thought of at all if you hadn't suggested the idea of attackers and targets moving and firing in motion.
 
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