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Zombicide: Black Plague» Forums » Rules

Subject: Crowz movement rss

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Jeroen Timmermans
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We came across this particular situation last night and we wondered what your take on this would be:



The red cross marks the position of two Murders of Crows, blue the noisiest zone, which would become their designated target. The way we played it, is that there's two possible routes to their target, namely through the green marked room and the purple marked room, so they would split, one moving two spaces to the left and then into the green room, and the other moving two spaces to the left and then into the purple room.

Your thoughts?
 
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Conan Meriadoc
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I guess those Crowz are flying low and breaking into houses through windows, rather than flying above the roof. Seems correct to me.
 
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Angelus Seniores
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that looks correct to me.
 
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Chuck Hurd
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Agreed. Looks right to me. We have not tried out our Crowz yet. I'll know to watch for this kind of split.
 
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I agree with everyone that you handled this situation correctly.

I have a more complicated case for people to consider, and it's not clear from the rules how to properly handle it.

Consider a 3x3 tile with the following layout:

C00
000
00X

C = A single Crowz figure
0 = An empty space
X = The noisiest space

In this case, there's actually 6 different paths the Crowz could take to get to the X.

C11
001
00X

C20
022
00X

C00
333
00X

C00
440
04X

C00
500
55X

C60
060
06X

However, there's only two unique ending positions for those paths (A and B):

C00
00A
0BX

So the question is, do you end up with 6 Crowz (3 on A, 3 on B) or 2 Crowz (1 on A, 1 on B)?



The relevant rule about splitting on page 24 of the rulebook says the following (emphasis mine):
Quote:
If there is more than one route of the same length, the Zombies
split into groups of equal numbers to follow all possible
routes.


The bolded part makes me think the answer should be 6, but it seems rather ridiculous. That's how we played the last time we used Crowz. It turned out to be super fiddly and is the reason why we don't play with the Crowz anymore.
 
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Chuck Hurd
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They will split at C, and then not again, until potentially their next activation. They only get one Action per activation. Either Move or Attack. Once they start moving they do not split again during that activation.
 
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Jorgen Peddersen
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Crowz have a special rule:

Crowz rules wrote:
If there is
any splitting required when determining their
target Zone, split the group, but no additional
splitting can occur during their movement.


This definitely makes it clear why there aren't 6 Crowz at the end.

In fact, the statement from the rules seems to indicate that the Crowz would not split at all in the given examples, as there is only one target Zone. You could potentially choose which one of the paths they take.

Determining the possible final Zones it can reach on the way to the target Zone (as you are doing above) also somewhat fits within an alternate interpretation of the rule. Thus, I'd go with whichever you prefer.
 
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Chuck Hurd
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Clipper wrote:
Crowz have a special rule:

Crowz rules wrote:
If there is
any splitting required when determining their
target Zone, split the group, but no additional
splitting can occur during their movement.


This definitely makes it clear why there aren't 6 Crowz at the end.

In fact, the statement from the rules seems to indicate that the Crowz would not split at all in the given examples, as there is only one target Zone. You could potentially choose which one of the paths they take.

Determining the possible final Zones it can reach on the way to the target Zone (as you are doing above) also somewhat fits within an alternate interpretation of the rule. Thus, I'd go with whichever you prefer.

@Jorgen - Are you suggesting that crowz are held to a different splitting rule than other zombies? It doesn't seem like you would and if you're not, then they would have to split at C even if there is only one target zone, as long as there are multiple equal length paths to get there.
 
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Jorgen Peddersen
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Carcking wrote:
@Jorgen - Are you suggesting that crowz are held to a different splitting rule than other zombies?

I am suggesting that the above statement can be read that the Crowz deal with splitting in a way that is more akin to Necromancers and Abominations than to other Zombies. There is a difference, as the Crowz will definitely split when there is more than one target Zone.

Quote:
It doesn't seem like you would and if you're not, then they would have to split at C even if there is only one target zone, as long as there are multiple equal length paths to get there.

It can be argued that the multiple equal length paths are ignored, as that is splitting during their movement, it is not splitting when determining their target Zone. It can also be argued that the two paths create two target Zones as they can't reach the real target Zone.

I'm saying go with the method you prefer and let's not bother getting dev intent (as we will probably get an unsatisfying response given past experience).

I choose to play that they will partially split based on the places they could end up so that the above examples match my method.
 
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Chuck Hurd
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Clipper wrote:
...and let's not bother getting dev intent (as we will probably get an unsatisfying response given past experience).

Well, you are dead-on with this statement. Unfortunately.

I haven't played with the Crowz yet but as I think on it now it does seem like they would split every time they activate - either to multiple target zones or following multiple equal paths to one target zone.

Unless they have a direct orthogonal orientation with the target zone they will split if you follow the letter of the splitting rule. Hmmm, I hadn't considered that. It would make survivor positioning relative to crowz and noise making extremely critical to keeping the crowz population down.

In anyones' experience do the crowz get way out of hand if you follow the letter of the rule?
I might have to try some solo games before introducing the group to these.
 
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Clipper wrote:
Crowz have a special rule:

Crowz rules wrote:
If there is
any splitting required when determining their
target Zone, split the group, but no additional
splitting can occur during their movement.


This definitely makes it clear why there aren't 6 Crowz at the end.

In fact, the statement from the rules seems to indicate that the Crowz would not split at all in the given examples, as there is only one target Zone. You could potentially choose which one of the paths they take.

Determining the possible final Zones it can reach on the way to the target Zone (as you are doing above) also somewhat fits within an alternate interpretation of the rule. Thus, I'd go with whichever you prefer.


I disagree that it is clear. I believe the designers probably didn't intend for the situation to result in 6 Crowz, but I think a strict reading of the rules supports that interpretation. Again, I'll quote the relevant rules from pg 24:

Quote:
Zombies move 1 Zone toward their destination Zone by taking the shortest available path.

If there is more than one route of the same length, the Zombies split into groups of equal numbers to follow all possible routes.


So based on those two sentences, here's my interpretation. Before the Crowz even move, you have to find the shortest path from point C to point X. That length is 4. You then have to see if there are any other paths of the same length. In this case, there are 6 different paths of length 4 from C to X.

Once you have determined this number is 6, you immediately split the single Crowz figure into that many figures. THEN you move each figure 3 spaces along along each of the 6 paths. Under this interpretation, the splitting isn't happening during each step of the movement. In other words, I'm NOT doing

Split -> (Move x1) -> Split -> (Move x1) -> Split -> (Move x1).

Rather, I'm doing

Split -> (Move x3),

which is consistent with the bolded sentence, and also consistent with the rule you quoted:

Crowz rules wrote:
If there is
any splitting required when determining their
target Zone, split the group, but no additional
splitting can occur during their movement.


Again, the splitting is happening once up front, not during each step of the movement.

Now, I could buy the argument that since the Crowz move in chunks of 3 spaces at a time, the three paths that end up at space A are essentially all equivalent (likewise for the three paths that end at B) and the details of the individual steps they took to arrive there don't matter. It's like how in chess there's technically two ways for a knight to end up on the same square: two spaces forward then one to the right is equivalent to one space to the right then two spaces forward.

With this interpretation, you could argue there are effectively only two paths from X to C (one ending on A, one ending on B), so you would only do a two-way split up front before the movement. While this interpretation seems more reasonable to me from a gameplay perspective, it is extrapolating a little bit beyond what is explicitly discussed in the rules. I'm always leery of doing that, even though in this case it is probably unlikely the designers wanted you to end up with 6 Crowz.



 
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Carcking wrote:
Unless they have a direct orthogonal orientation with the target zone they will split if you follow the letter of the splitting rule. Hmmm, I hadn't considered that. It would make survivor positioning relative to crowz and noise making extremely critical to keeping the crowz population down.

In anyones' experience do the crowz get way out of hand if you follow the letter of the rule?
I might have to try some solo games before introducing the group to these.


That was my experience, which is why I abandoned using them. Splitting became a nightmare to keep track of any time the noisiest zone wasn't orthogonally oriented to the Crowz, let alone the cases where there were multiple zones tied for noisiest. It was way more trouble than it was worth for us.
 
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Jorgen Peddersen
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If the 6 Crowz case isn't an example of splitting during movement, it's difficult to define what is.

Even if we take normal splitting during movement (i.e., we activate the Crowz three times as if they were a Walker), you would end up with 4 Crowz total (as the paths through the center square will not result in new Crowz).

The rule is clearly written to limit splitting, so you can guarantee they didn't write that rule to result in even more splitting!

Normal Zombies also don't count all the paths. If the above situation where generated (via buildings or whatever) with a Walker, it would only split into the first two Zones of movement on that first activation, despite there being 6 paths. Thus the concept that the rule is telling us to just find the possible end-points is a plausible one.

 
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Clipper wrote:
If the 6 Crowz case isn't an example of splitting during movement, it's difficult to define what is.

Even if we take normal splitting during movement (i.e., we activate the Crowz three times as if they were a Walker), you would end up with 4 Crowz total (as the paths through the center square will not result in new Crowz).

The rule is clearly written to limit splitting, so you can guarantee they didn't write that rule to result in even more splitting!



Here's an example where the Crowz rules limits splitting:

X00C00X

In this case, you have two zones tied for noisiest. Let's assume it's a straight line between both X's with no obstructions in between. The Crowz rule tells you to split only once up front before the movement, so you would end up with:

C00000C,

i.e. the single Crowz figure in the middle splits into two, which move in separate directions.

Now lets look at the same setup with a single Wolf. I'll use 1 to represent a single Wolf, 2 to represent two Wolfz, etc.

Initial position:
X00100X

After first activation:
X01010X

After second activation:
X10201X

After third activation:
1020201

So in the case with the Crowz it is a 2-way split, and in the case of the Wolfz it is a 6-way split.
 
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Jorgen Peddersen
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You are wrong about the final movement of the Wolfz. It wouldn't create two pairs of two, it would just be 1 each. So you would have 4 total. The correct final pattern is:
1010101

My bad on the above, you were correct. I forgot the new Wolfz from the exteriors.

I still think you missed my point, though. If the Crowz acted like normal Zombiez and got three activations instead of 1 activation of 3 movement (so again, like Wolfz), the correct method for your original example is:

100
000
00X

First activation:
010
100
00X

Second activation:
001
020
10X

Third activation:
000
002
02X

So the total number is 4, yet your interpretation of the rule is saying there would be 6. You are using a rule intended to reduce splitting to end up increasing it. This cannot be the intended effect.

The interpretations I can see as correct are you end up with one Crowz figure per Zone, or even that you choose which Zone to put the Crowz figure into without splitting it. I find the 4-Crowz and 6-Crowz solutions to be invalid.
 
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Clipper wrote:
Normal Zombies also don't count all the paths. If the above situation where generated (via buildings or whatever) with a Walker, it would only split into the first two Zones of movement on that first activation, despite there being 6 paths. Thus the concept that the rule is telling us to just find the possible end-points is a plausible one.


I'm not necessarily disagreeing with you, but can you point to a specific statement in the rules that asserts that?

Thinking back on my own plays, I think I've played normal zombies the way you describe. In other words, for determining the number of different paths to the noisiest zone, we only did splitting when the zombies were about to move off of a branch point.

So if initially we had

B0000
10B0X
B0000

B = Closed off building
0 = Empty spot
1 = Single Walker
2 = Two Walkers
X = Noisiest spot

one activation later we would end up with:

B0000
01B0X
B0000

and two activations later we would have:

B1000
00B0X
B1000

Now I'm beginning to question this. Instead, I could see it being the following after the first activation:

B0000
02B0X
B0000

and then the after the second activation we end up with the same as before:
B1000
00B0X
B1000

The end result after two activations is the same, but the zombies split one turn earlier in the former case. This could have a pretty big impact on the game in general. Hmmm...


Quote:
If the above situation where generated (via buildings or whatever) with a Walker, it would only split into the first two Zones of movement on that first activation, despite there being 6 paths. Thus the concept that the rule is telling us to just find the possible end-points is a plausible one.


Perhaps then this is the right interpretation to go with. It prevents the 6-way Crowz split I discussed, and it prevents the early splitting of the walker example above. It's too bad the rulebook isn't clearer about this.
 
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Jorgen Peddersen
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Yeah, we have received official rulings that splits later in the path are not considered. You only consider the Zones they first move to to determine how much they split. Hence, the branch-points are the only ones you care about.

I agree that it is most logical to consider end-points when including Crowz in the mix. It makes things consistent and is easy to understand.
 
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Chuck Hurd
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QuantumNinja wrote:
With this interpretation, you could argue there are effectively only two paths from X to C...

I think you have to consider and determine if Zs will have to split only in leaving their start zone on each of their actions. In otherwords, ignore any potential splitting they might/would do along the way of their Move action. Only consider what they have to do to leave their starting zone. If there are two paths off their starting zone then split two ways. After that initial split then you have the situation similar to Aboms and Necros where you have to decide which way they move.

So, to the OP, I would say the crowz do not split. They can leave their starting zone at one edge of the zone - so no splitting. After that you have to decide which way they will go - either to the purple or green X.
 
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Clipper wrote:
Yeah, we have received official rulings that splits later in the path are not considered. You only consider the Zones they first move to to determine how much they split. Hence, the branch-points are the only ones you care about.


Ok, I must have missed that official ruling. I check this sub-forum from time to time, but that one slipped under my radar.

Quote:
I agree that it is most logical to consider end-points when including Crowz in the mix. It makes things consistent and is easy to understand.


Extrapolating a bit from this official ruling, I think it indirectly confirms this behavior for the Crowz. If it's only the number of unique final positions after a single activation that determines how many figures a single Walker splits into, then I would think that same principle should carry over to the Crowz.
 
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Carcking wrote:
QuantumNinja wrote:
With this interpretation, you could argue there are effectively only two paths from X to C...

I think you have to consider and determine if Zs will have to split only in leaving their start zone on each of their actions. In otherwords, ignore any potential splitting they might/would do along the way of their Move action. Only consider what they have to do to leave their starting zone. If there are two paths off their starting zone then split two ways. After that initial split then you have the situation similar to Aboms and Necros where you have to decide which way they move.

So, to the OP, I would say the crowz do not split. They can leave their starting zone at one edge of the zone - so no splitting. After that you have to decide which way they will go - either to the purple or green X.


Hmm, I hadn't thought of that interpretation, but I understand where you're coming from. My recent interpretation is different from yours in the sense that you're looking at the number of ways to step off the starting zone, whereas I'm looking at the number of unique ending positions. In the case of zombies that only get 1 movement per activation (i.e., everything but Crowz), these two interpretations give you the exact same answer. But for the special case of Crowz which get 3 movements per activation, these two interpretations can lead to two different answers.

Personally, I like my interpretation better, if for no other reason than that it preserves the spirit of the splitting rule (minimize the number of choices players have about how the zombies move). It leads to the same 2-way split solution to the OP's original scenario, which has a nice symmetry to it. And it also leads to only a 2-way split in my earlier 6-way split example, which also provides a nice symmetry and has the advantage of not being absolutely ridiculous from a gameplay perspective.

 
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Chuck Hurd
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QuantumNinja wrote:
My recent interpretation is different from yours in the sense that you're looking at the number of ways to step off the starting zone, whereas I'm looking at the number of unique ending positions.

So you would plan out all the possible splits before moving them? If one crowz would split after one step and then one side would split again on the second step, for example, you would add two crowz and then make the moves ending up in three different zones? You are essentially planning the splits they would make during their Move.

There is a line of text in the Crowz rules that I cannot reconcile with that method:
"If there is any splitting required when determining their target Zone, split the group, but no additional splitting can occur during their movement."

They cannot split during their movement. The only way this statement has relevance is if they actually are not allowed to split once they start moving, so no planning for splits. If it was intended that you plan out all the possible routes including all potential splitting then add enough crowz to fulfil all the planning, this line of text has no value, no reason to exist.

I interpret it as you split the group, if needed, from the start zone - from the start of the move.


 
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Carcking wrote:
QuantumNinja wrote:
My recent interpretation is different from yours in the sense that you're looking at the number of ways to step off the starting zone, whereas I'm looking at the number of unique ending positions.

So you would plan out all the possible splits before moving them? If one crowz would split after one step and then one side would split again on the second step, for example, you would add two crowz and then make the moves ending up in three different zones? You are essentially planning the splits they would make during their Move.

There is a line of text in the Crowz rules that I cannot reconcile with that method:
"If there is any splitting required when determining their target Zone, split the group, but no additional splitting can occur during their movement."

They cannot split during their movement. The only way this statement has relevance is if they actually are not allowed to split once they start moving, so no planning for splits. If it was intended that you plan out all the possible routes including all potential splitting then add enough crowz to fulfil all the planning, this line of text has no value, no reason to exist.

I interpret it as you split the group, if needed, from the start zone - from the start of the move.




The line of text about "no additional splitting can occur during their movement" still has reason to exist. It covers the situation I discussed here. It prevents the single Crowz figure in the middle from splitting into 6 figures, which is how a single Wolfz figure would behave in the exact same setup. The special rule for Crowz results in only a 2-way split for them.

So if you understand where I'm coming from with that particular example, it should be clear I'm not doing a check for splitting after each step the Crowz take, nor am I planning ahead for such splits before I move them off their original space.

In an effort to be more clear about my assumptions, here's my initial crack at the generic algorithm I'm assuming for how to execute one movement action for a single zombie:

1. Look at all zones in LOS to zombie's starting zone that have at least one survivor. All such zones tied for the lowest number of noise tokens become the zombie's destination zones. If at least one destination zone is found, skip to step 3.

2. Look at all zones across the board that have noise tokens (Survivors count as noise tokens). All such zones tied for the lowest number of noise tokens become the zombie's destination zones.

3. Consider all legitimate paths from the zombie's starting zone to all destination zones. For each such path, record where the zombie would end up if it were to use all of its points of movement (3 points for Crowz, 1 point for all others). Call each of these unique zones the zombie's "ending zones."

4. Place the original figure on any of the "ending zones." If there's more than one "ending zone", add an additional figure to each of them.

 
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Chuck Hurd
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QuantumNinja wrote:
4. Place the original figure on any of the "ending zones." If there's more than one "ending zone", add an additional figure to each of them.

This is planning ahead for splitting during their movement.

If a single crowz is only required to exit off one edge of its starting zone yet you end up placing more than one crowz at their "destination" zones, you are splitting them during their movement. That is contrary to the rule "no additional splitting can occur during their movement".

So by rule, the example in the OP results in just one crowz moving 3 spaces and ending in either the purple or green X.
In your suggested interpretation one crowz becomes two crowz and lands in the purple and green X. The rule as written doesn't support that.
 
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Carcking wrote:
QuantumNinja wrote:
4. Place the original figure on any of the "ending zones." If there's more than one "ending zone", add an additional figure to each of them.

This is planning ahead for splitting during their movement.

If a single crowz is only required to exit off one edge of its starting zone yet you end up placing more than one crowz at their "destination" zones, you are splitting them during their movement. That is contrary to the rule "no additional splitting can occur during their movement".



I think we're coming at it from two different perspectives. You seem to be thinking of the the 3 movement points of the Crowz as 3 distinct and individual steps that are carried out in succession, like how a king in chess could move forward, forward, and right over 3 turns... only in this case, the Crowz get those 3 individual movements within a single activation.

I'm thinking of it as if the 3 points of movement are spent all at once, like how a knight in chess moves forward, forward and right all in a single movement action (or equivalently right, forward, forward).

So whereas you're thinking of the Crowz as first literally moving into space 1, then space 2, and then space 3, I'm thinking of the Crowz as essentially just jumping straight to space 3.

I couldn't find a copy of the BP Crowz rules online, but the official Zombicide site has the rules for the original game's Crowz and I think they share the same wording:

Quote:
Murders of Crows move up to 3 Zones per
Activation to reach their target Zone. Set their
target Zone before moving them. They move
to get there and don’t change their course if
a new target appears on the way. If there is
any splitting required when determining their
target Zone, split the group, but no additional
splitting can occur during their movement.
Murders of Crows still only get one Action per
Activation, either moving or attacking.


I think it's important to quote the whole paragraph, to give the full context of the rule you've been quoting. To be honest, it's not the most clearly written set of rules, but let's analyze it carefully.

"Set their target Zone before moving them" tells us something we already know... namely that we need to figure out where the Crowz are going to BEFORE moving them. Seems obvious, but this will be important in a moment.

The next sentence says: "If there is any splitting required when determining their target Zone, split the group, but no additional splitting can occur during their movement."

Here, I'm going to argue that "determining their target Zone" in this sentence is the exact same process as "set their target Zone" in the previous sentence. The language doesn't match precisely, but it's hard to argue those aren't referring to the same thing.

So let's assume they are the same. The next part of the second sentence says "If there is any splitting required when determining their target Zone, split the group..." This suggests that splitting happens at the exact same time when you "determine the target zone", which we just assumed is equivalent to "setting the target zone." And from the first sentence, this happens BEFORE movement. Conclusion: split the Crowz BEFORE moving them.

The rest of the sentence "but no additional splitting can occur during their movement", to me suggests you treat the 3 movement points as a single uninterrupted action, meaning that they don't ever stop along the way to re-evaluate new potential splits, like a Wolfz or a runner might. Hence, why I think I can get away with treating their movement like how a knight jumps 3 spaces all at once. The intervening spaces aren't really important, since the Crowz ignore them for all intents and purposes.

One last point. There's four broad things that have to happen when you move a zombie:

(1) set the target zone(s)
(2) figure out all potential paths
(3) split the zombies if necessary
(4) move the zombies

Now, the potential hole in my analysis is that the timing of (2) isn't explicitly spelled out in the quoted rules blurb. As I just argued, (1) and (3) are resolved prior to the movement in step (4). But (3) can't be done without doing (2) first, so I'm going to argue that "set their target zones" is really a condensed shorthand for not only setting the target zone, but also doing the path-planning and the splitting, all of which happen simultaneously and before figures are moved.




 
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Chuck Hurd
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QuantumNinja wrote:
...so I'm going to argue that "set their target zones" is really a condensed shorthand for not only setting the target zone, but also doing the path-planning and the splitting...

Still, in your interpretation the text "but no additional splitting can occur during their movement" has no meaning and no reason for being there. It seems you are attempting to explain around it.

I think by the rules as written the only time you split the crowz is if they have to exit their start zone across more then one of its edges. After that initial splitting determination they don't split again during their move (no matter if you're counting spaces or flying). If we follow this rule it leaves us with having to decide which way they move if they would normally split during their move...a mechanic that already exists in the rule set of the game.
 
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