Michael NA
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We played SoB for the first time last night and this question came up.

Hellbats (and the harbinger, because yay for hard enemies on the first mission) have an ability (Flight) that include the text "and change target each turn"
P. 26 of the rules state that enemies don't change targets after they have engaged one.

The two rules go against each other to our way of reading, so we assumed that since it was a specific ability tie to the Hellbats they broke the rule in the rulebook and changed targets every single turn regardless of them being engaged or not.

But how is it actually supposed to be played?


Also in regards to the Harbinger, it's "Bringer of Death" ability states it is trigger at end of a fight round, but we couldn't find the definition of a fight round anywhere.
What is it?
We ended up assuming it was at the clean-up step of each turn so basicly just after we got healed from the Saloon Girl.
Reason was, if it was just after the Harbingers turn and it spawned Hellbats, it would go into a loop where only the Saloon Girl got to activate because of her Initiative, since ambushing Hellbats start a new turn meaning the Harbinger had a 33% chance of denying 3/4 of the party their turn every single turn and that seemed unreasonable.
 
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Njorl
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Flight (as well as some other abilities) over-ride the rule. I believe that there is a caveat in the rulebook to support the cards over-riding rules.

End of round signifies after all figures have activated. Some abilities like the Saloon girls Comforting presence have been errated to be end of round.
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Angelus Seniores
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the flight rules mean that you simply redo the targeting selection each turn instead of only when appropriate;

ie normal enemy;
-during its activation it selects a random target it can reach, which it will move to and attack
-following turns it keeps attacking the same target until the target dies or moves away,then it will again go to step 1 to find a random target.

-with flight rules, each turn the enemy will retarget a random target within reach to attack regardless if his previous target still lives.



in the game you have 2 types of situations, either you are in a fight with enemies on the board, or you are not in a fight but explore instead.
depending the situation the heroes have some choices/limits, ie you cant explore/scavenge while in a fight. thats also why the appearance of enemies will immediately end the turn to start a fight turn, but for the rest fight or non-fight turn plays out almost the same.

a fight lasts from the moment enemies appear, till the moment all enemies have been killed or heroes die/ran away ending the adventure.
a fight turn just means a turn that happens while you are currently in a fight. so this ability doesnt apply outside of a fight.
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Neil Edmonds
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Fights get a little bit tricky about turns, specifically the Hold Back the Darkness roll.

The usual turn order is:

1.)A hero activates and ends their movement at the edge of a tile to "look through the door". The hero can't scavenge because their action is looking ahead through the door.
2.) A tile is placed with an Exploration Token.
3.) Once all the remaining heroes have activated, moved, and possibly scavenged, the Exploration token is revealed. If it's a fight, monsters are placed. If it's an Encounter or Growing Dread card it's resolved per the adventure rules - some adventures may require immediate activation of Growing Dread cards, but the general rule requires adding it to the Growing Dread stack.
4.) The turn ends and a new turn starts where the heroes must Hold Back the Darkness before starting the fight.
5.) Once every figure has activated during the fight, that fight round is over and the heroes start a new fight round with a Hold Back the Darkness roll.

The one wrinkle is that sometimes you will fail a Hold Back the Darkness roll at the start of a turn. This moves the Darkness on the Depth Track, and may result in drawing a Darkness card. If the Darkness Card reveals an ambush, you'd place the figures in an ambush configuration and go through the fight round normally. You don't end the turn and immediately do a Hold Back the Darkness roll because you would have skipped an entire turn of hero activations.
 
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Michael NA
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Thanks Njol, excatly what i needed to know

Angelus, nice, you filled in the remaining blank, thanks mate

Neil, i'm not entirely certain you read my post since I don't see the relevance of your answer, but thanks for being supporting even so
 
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well, neil further clarified that in that particular situation (enemies appearing during the hold back the darkness roll), the appearance of enemies doesnt end the turn but instead the turn continues as a fight turn.

its an exception, so you are aware of it.
 
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Ken H.
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Couple more questions. I know how I handle these, but I wonder how others do:

1. In an ambush, you set up the Hellbats around their chosen targets, then usually they also go first. Do you have them immediately choose new target? Or stick with their current targets, since they literally just picked them. I usually leave them as is on Round 1 to reduce fiddlyness.

2. Assume a two hero game. One hero kills all the Bats attacking him. The second hero still has 4 Bats around him. The bats go next. Do all 4 bats change targets to attack the 1st hero, or do they spread out among available targets, meaning two of the bats don't change target?

In other words, does "always change targets" take precedence over the rule that each monster attacks the hero with the fewest current attackers?

3. As a follow up to the previous, if a Bat is trying to change targets but all other targets are fully surrounded, does the bat stay on its current target, or does it huddle up around a different target even though it can't reach?



 
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sounds fine, i would handle them the same way.
 
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Ken H.
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Angelsenior wrote:
sounds fine, i would handle them the same way.


Of course now that you responded, I realize I didn't even say what my answers would be, except for #1 (don't change targets on Round 1 of an ambush).

#2: For me, "spread out among available targets" takes precedence over "always change targets". It seems more like a chaotic flock of bats this way.

#3: If other targets are fully surrounded, then the bat should NOT try to switch.
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Joe Price
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Rubric wrote:
Couple more questions. I know how I handle these, but I wonder how others do:

1. In an ambush, you set up the Hellbats around their chosen targets, then usually they also go first. Do you have them immediately choose new target? Or stick with their current targets, since they literally just picked them. I usually leave them as is on Round 1 to reduce fiddlyness.

2. Assume a two hero game. One hero kills all the Bats attacking him. The second hero still has 4 Bats around him. The bats go next. Do all 4 bats change targets to attack the 1st hero, or do they spread out among available targets, meaning two of the bats don't change target?

In other words, does "always change targets" take precedence over the rule that each monster attacks the hero with the fewest current attackers?

3. As a follow up to the previous, if a Bat is trying to change targets but all other targets are fully surrounded, does the bat stay on its current target, or does it huddle up around a different target even though it can't reach?


For me, the answer simply lies in the idea that "targeting" is the process of distributing the models according to the rules. That is basically distributing the models evenly, ensuring that every monster model that could possibly get into combat of their choice does and randomizing what remains with the assumption that simple randomization doesn't short change the monsters (so if the closest is the only monster to reach the farthest hero, it will always get allocated to that farthest hero and not stop early and block everything else).

So "change target" to me mean they do their targeting again with all the caveats mentioned above. To me, that answers all but your first question, but just to be clear, based upon my views, here are my answers:
1) It kind-of, sort-of, makes a difference. We don't bother as in most cases, the distribution will be exactly the same. They ambushed, so there was no question of distance. The only thing remaining is whatever random distribution occurs, which will still be random. So why bother?

2) The bats change target. Redo the targeting rules. That means they'll evenly distribute again.

For the follow up, each monster group acts as a whole - if you worry too much about individuals, the game takes much longer. But again, "retarget" for me means run the targeting rules again, so there is no precedence for me to worry about.

3) Since it's following the targeting rules again, each monster needs to reach some hero. So if only one hero has open spaces for monsters, that hero gets all of them each time until something opens up.

Thematically, I envision the retarget ability as a monster that is always moving, whether flying or slithering. Bats aren't just hovering or walking on the group, they swoop around. When they "stop", that's just where they are at that point in combat to attack before flying around again. They're still monsters, so they're aiming to attack *something*. If one target is inaccessible, they take whatever is open.

This works for things like the serpentmen who slither all around, and never stop moving - this also explains the shield defense for me as well. If they're moving around and you strike at one that is "next" to another, you don't quite know if you're attacking one or the other and both (or more) had a change to get their shields in the way.

One last bit, for us, we want the game to have some difficulty - having monsters hanging around "because" doesn't help. We also want the game to move quickly, so we focus on easy ways to manage lumps of things. Taking too much time to analyze monster actions can really slow things down. The simple-ish targeting rules of always make contact as evenly as possible means less time we spend figuring out where any given monster goes. Can one reach? Great, that person is a target, distribute them out. Only so many spaces? Fill those slots and then see what's left (well, assuming you don't block movement, but we also move the entire group as a whole assuming the mass deals with inconsistencies - after all, a monster is a monster (mostly) so who care exactly which one goes where - the distance thing is to manage wounded monsters as consistently as possible without taking more time than necessary).

And after that wall of text... zombie
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Ken H.
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rpvt wrote:
And after that wall of text... zombie


I appreciate the wall of text.

You are interpreting "always change targets" to mean "always follow the targeting rules as though you have no current target".

I think that is effectively how I was handling it, only without clear reason of why.

I do have one big difference from you though. I've always played that the closest monster (any monster, not just hellbats) picks a random target within range. If this bit of randomization causes a bottleneck that prevents other monsters from reaching a target, then so be it -- the heroes got lucky.

From watching play videos, I think your method is actually more common. That is, just split the monsters among the heroes, without moving them one at a time, and without allowing random chance to block any paths. While I agree that would be quicker (and also raise the challenge level), I just don't prefer it. I like the little bit of unpredictability that comes with moving them one at a time with potential random side effects.
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Klutz
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I just want to point out that assigning targets to individual ennemies randomly can sometimes be worse for the heroes than spreading them out evenly.

If the closest ennemies target the closest heroes, and the furthest ennemies can only reach the closest heroes, you can have 1 or 2 heroes that get completely swarmed, and possibly KO'd before any of the heroes can react.
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Angelus Seniores
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what i meant before, you indeed redo normal targeting, considering all possible targets even the one they just attacked.

with the hellbats, given their range and flight rule, the first ones will rarely cause a bottleneck unless they are really at almost max range of their targets (which wouldnt happen in an ambush).

i would say check first if a bottleneck is possible at all, otherwise dont bother for detailed checks.

another thing to keep in mind is that they could also reposition during their retargeting for allowing other enemies to get closer to the heroes (following the rule to move them as far as possible when positioning them)
 
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Joe Price
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KevBelisle wrote:
I just want to point out that assigning targets to individual ennemies randomly can sometimes be worse for the heroes than spreading them out evenly.

If the closest ennemies target the closest heroes, and the furthest ennemies can only reach the closest heroes, you can have 1 or 2 heroes that get completely swarmed, and possibly KO'd before any of the heroes can react.


I definitely agree. For the sake of speed and the common case though, we don't look to see, especially because most of the maps are too small for this to be a major issue and we regularly take care not to expose that option unless we really mean to. It can still happen anyway because of distance, other monsters or even kill patterns. Mostly what happens is that after the first three or four (rarely five) monsters fill the gap, the rest just hang out and watch. (Hey, look at Fred there! Go Fred! Oh, wait, now it's Sasha. Go Sasha! Hey, look, a hole! Whee!)
 
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