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Subject: Help me understand LOS with elevations. rss

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Mark Buetow
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The LOS rules involving elevation are little sparse in Combat Infantry. I'm used to Combat Commander where the "pancake" model is used. Here are the rules pertaining to elevation in CI and then I've got some examples to ask about.

Quote:
LOS is always blocked by higher ground between the firing unit and the target, but see Bombardment 6.6.


Quote:
6.41 Elevations

Relative elevation can be critical for Line of Sight. Most map terrain is at level Ø, but higher levels exist, separated by slopes.

Slopes may create blind hexes in the "shadow" of a hill. Measured in hexes, lower targets must be further (or equidistant) from intervening blocking terrain; higher targets must be closer (or equidistant).

Higher units may always fire over adjacent units that are lower.


The first rule above seems to suggest that LOS is *not* reciprocal. That is, a unit that is lower can't shoot at a higher unit. But the Elevation rule suggests that's not the case, and they can see each other. This gives rise to some doubts that I'm interpreting the rules correctly regarding the intent of elevation effects. Help me out...

Example 1

This one is pretty easy. LOS is blocked from the American squad to the German squad *and* vice versa because the hill is higher than both units. Correct?

Example 2

LOS is clear from the American to the German unit, because the German unit is equidistant from the blocking terrain (farm) compared to the American unit. Likewise, the German could fire up at the American. Correct?

Example 3

LOS is blocked because the German unit is closer to the blocking terrain than the attacking unit. Likewise, LOS is blocked from the Germans to the Americans because the Americans are not closer to the blocking terrain than the Germans. Correct?

Example 4

I'm pretty sure this is a clear shot from the big hill down over the cliff, but I'm not entirely sure why from the rules. My reasoning is this: The hex between the units is blocking terrain (because it's higher than the attacking American unit. But since it's equidistant from that hex compared to the German unit, there is LOS. Correct?

Example 5

Ok, this one is the hardest one. Because according the rules, as in Example 4 above, there is blocking terrain between the two units (the hex between them is higher than the American unit. Yet they are equidistant to that terrain so a shot is possible. Correct? Or is the shot only possible for the German unit? According to Diagram 4 in the rulebook, the American unit in my example could not shoot at the German but the example seems to imply that American unit could shoot at the German if it were in range. (See Diagram 4 and the unit by slope "C."

If this were Combat commander, I could definitely and quickly answer these LOS questions but, again, to me the elevation rules in CI are little ambiguous, unless I'm missing something obvious. Let me know what you think of each example and please add your rules interpretation to help me out.
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Mark Kwasny
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As you say, example 1 is pretty clear - they cannot see each other.

Example 2 has a different issue - the woods hex side in the hex with the US unit blocks LOS except to an adjacent hex (the IMPORTANT note in 6.4 says to ignore terrain within the hexes of the firing unit and target unit, but the hex sides can block LOS).

But if you remove the woods hex side for the sake of the discussion, then yes, I would agree, the two units can see each other because the blocking terrain is equi-distant between the two units.

In example 3 (again ignoring the woods hex side), the farm blocks LOS between the two units because it is closer to the lower unit.

In example 4, I would say the cliff hex side in the US unit's hex will block LOS. It is higher than the US unit, and is closer to the lower unit than the higher unit. This is the "shadow" they were talking about in rule 6.41.

Example 5 has the same result. The higher hex is equi-distant between the two, but the higher slope in the US hex is closer to the lower unit, so the LOS is blocked (again, I think this is that "Shadow" in effect). This also conforms to Diagram 4 on page 7.

That at least is how I would interpret the rules.
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Mark Buetow
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mvkwasny wrote:


Example 2 has a different issue - the woods hex side in the hex with the US unit blocks LOS except to an adjacent hex (the IMPORTANT note in 6.4 says to ignore terrain within the hexes of the firing unit and target unit, but the hex sides can block LOS).

But if you remove the woods hex side for the sake of the discussion, then yes, I would agree, the two units can see each other because the blocking terrain is equi-distant between the two units.

In example 3 (again ignoring the woods hex side), the farm blocks LOS between the two units because it is closer to the lower unit.


Good catch on the woods in the hexside; thanks for disregarding it for the example.

Quote:

In example 4, I would say the cliff hex side in the US unit's hex will block LOS. It is higher than the US unit, and is closer to the lower unit than the higher unit. This is the "shadow" they were talking about in rule 6.41.

Example 5 has the same result. The higher hex is equi-distant between the two, but the higher slope in the US hex is closer to the lower unit, so the LOS is blocked (again, I think this is that "Shadow" in effect). This also conforms to Diagram 4 on page 7.

That at least is how I would interpret the rules.


After reading your interpretation, it sounds correct. I think I was forgetting that hexside terrain also blocks LOS. I don't think this is different than other tactical games but it's phrased a little bit differently.

If you play enough tactical WWII games, you bring certain assumptions to a new game and you hope clear rules will make you disregard them as you learn the new system.

Thanks!
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Mark Buetow
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One further example...


Move the American unit back one hex. Would there be LOS now? Both units equidistant to the slope hexside...
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Mark Kwasny
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I would say yes. The higher hex is closer to the higher unit, and the slope hex side is equi-distant in hexes from the higher and lower unit. I think that fits the rules as worded.
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Martin Gallo
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30 years of pancake terrain rules vanish...whistle
 
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Dan Poole
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Yes I am a big fan of pancake rules too when it comes to plateau effect of hex elevations

However I am confused why The German IN3 at Pont Romain cannot fire on the USA PHQ because the slope is equidistant between the German unit and the PHQ
on the hill.
 
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voynix wrote:
Yes I am a big fan of pancake rules too when it comes to plateau effect of hex elevations

However I am confused why The German IN3 at Pont Romain cannot fire on the USA PHQ because the slope is equidistant between the German unit and the PHQ
on the hill.


I don’t think it is. Measured in hexes, the infantry unit is 0 hexes away and the PHQ is one hex away. Higher has to be closer or equidistant.
 
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Dan Poole
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My bad, I was looking at the infantry unit directly above the one in Pont Romain
 
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Dave Alexander
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Silly Question Department: What are "Pancake Rules"?
 
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Mark Kwasny
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daverave2 wrote:
Silly Question Department: What are "Pancake Rules"?


Oh good, I'm glad you asked! I did not know either, and kept meaning to ask!
 
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mvkwasny wrote:
daverave2 wrote:
Silly Question Department: What are "Pancake Rules"?


Oh good, I'm glad you asked! I did not know either, and kept meaning to ask!


They are rules that assume each level of elevation is uniformly flat. Like smaller diameter pancakes stacked on top of each other.

The implication is that the farther back on the pancake you are, then you can't see over the crest edge.

So, in the last example I gave, the German unit would not be able to see the American unit no matter where the American unit is. He could only see the American if he were on the hex with the slope edge.

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Martin Gallo
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It is a simplification of the representation of elevations in many tactical systems. It allows for mapmakers to represent gradual elevation changes (over distance) below the scale of the game.
 
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Mark Kwasny
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Ok thanks! I’ve played games with LOS rules like that, I guess I just never heard that phrase before!
 
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Peter Perla
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mvkwasny wrote:
As you say, example 1 is pretty clear - they cannot see each other.

Example 2 has a different issue - the woods hex side in the hex with the US unit blocks LOS except to an adjacent hex (the IMPORTANT note in 6.4 says to ignore terrain within the hexes of the firing unit and target unit, but the hex sides can block LOS).

But if you remove the woods hex side for the sake of the discussion, then yes, I would agree, the two units can see each other because the blocking terrain is equi-distant between the two units.

In example 3 (again ignoring the woods hex side), the farm blocks LOS between the two units because it is closer to the lower unit.

In example 4, I would say the cliff hex side in the US unit's hex will block LOS. It is higher than the US unit, and is closer to the lower unit than the higher unit. This is the "shadow" they were talking about in rule 6.41.

Example 5 has the same result. The higher hex is equi-distant between the two, but the higher slope in the US hex is closer to the lower unit, so the LOS is blocked (again, I think this is that "Shadow" in effect). This also conforms to Diagram 4 on page 7.

That at least is how I would interpret the rules.


Here is what confuses me about example 5. The rule says "measured in hexes". So what does that mean? The higher Hex lies equidistant between the two units. Where does the Hex side come in?

Oh, and while we're at it, what's with the outlying buildings adjacent to Basile sur Mer? Do they make those hexes town hexes? If not, why are they there?

I set up scenario 1 and ran into so many LOS questions I had to tear it down. I can certainly make up my own interpretations, but it would be nice to see this stuff covered in the official FAQ.

Take care

Peter
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peterperla wrote:
Oh, and while we're at it, what's with the outlying buildings adjacent to Basile sur Mer? Do they make those hexes town hexes? If not, why are they there?

We're still confused by the line of sight rules after five games, so I won't answer that part of your post.

But I know this part: those outlying buildings are to show the HEXSIDE is a town hexside. There aren't enough to make the spaces town hexes, but they are enough to designate the hexsides. Which are extremely important for movement and LOS in Combat Infantry.
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Mark Kwasny
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peterperla wrote:


Here is what confuses me about example 5. The rule says "measured in hexes". So what does that mean? The higher Hex lies equidistant between the two units. Where does the Hex side come in?


As you say, the Higher hex is equidistant between the two units - one hex away from the higher and lower units. The slope hexside is also higher than the lower unit. But that hexside is one hex away from the higher unit, and 0 hexes away from the lower unit. Thus the higher terrain of the slope hexside is closer to the lower unit, and thus blocks LOS. You just have to check for higher terrain in hexes, and in hexsides.

That is what Diagram 4 is showing. Under the German turn, the 5th bullet says this. The infantry in Pont Romain cannot see the US PHQ in Harlat because the slope hexside is in the German unit's hex and thus is 0 hexes from the lower unit, and one hex away from the higher (US) unit. That is, in effect, the same example as example 5 from the original post.

I guess I have not found the LOS rules too difficult.
 
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peterperla wrote:
mvkwasny wrote:
As you say, example 1 is pretty clear - they cannot see each other.

Example 2 has a different issue - the woods hex side in the hex with the US unit blocks LOS except to an adjacent hex (the IMPORTANT note in 6.4 says to ignore terrain within the hexes of the firing unit and target unit, but the hex sides can block LOS).

But if you remove the woods hex side for the sake of the discussion, then yes, I would agree, the two units can see each other because the blocking terrain is equi-distant between the two units.

In example 3 (again ignoring the woods hex side), the farm blocks LOS between the two units because it is closer to the lower unit.

In example 4, I would say the cliff hex side in the US unit's hex will block LOS. It is higher than the US unit, and is closer to the lower unit than the higher unit. This is the "shadow" they were talking about in rule 6.41.

Example 5 has the same result. The higher hex is equi-distant between the two, but the higher slope in the US hex is closer to the lower unit, so the LOS is blocked (again, I think this is that "Shadow" in effect). This also conforms to Diagram 4 on page 7.

That at least is how I would interpret the rules.


Here is what confuses me about example 5. The rule says "measured in hexes". So what does that mean? The higher Hex lies equidistant between the two units. Where does the Hex side come in?

Oh, and while we're at it, what's with the outlying buildings adjacent to Basile sur Mer? Do they make those hexes town hexes? If not, why are they there?

I set up scenario 1 and ran into so many LOS questions I had to tear it down. I can certainly make up my own interpretations, but it would be nice to see this stuff covered in the official FAQ.

Take care

Peter


I asked Grant (one of the designers) in an email to please includes some LOS examples, particularly some with elevation, in the next version of the FAQ.

I think the simple way to check LOS is to run a string between the center of the hexes. Then ask: Is this string hitting anything that is blocking terrain? Blocking terrain can include a slope hexside. As Mark points out, in the example in the rulebook, the lower unit is 0 hexes to the slope hexside and the higher unit is one hex to the slope hexside so LOS is blocked.

I feel the wording of the LOS rules is a little sparse but the rules themselves are OK. I think there might be a few situations where LOS might be clear when in other tactical games it might not, which are more like corner cases I have to watch out for.

And remember: you can *always* shoot into an adjacent hex, regardless of terrain in either, *unless* the hexside is a hedge, then it needs to have a breach to see through.
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Peter Perla
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Thanks guys. I have been eating a lot of crow this morning after seeing so many of my uncertainties actually spelled out in the rules and examples. I completely missed that example with the slope hexside being counted as zero hexes away, despite reading the bloody thing several times. Must be getting addled in my dotage.

I thought that the buildings must have been there for the purpose of defining the hexside. But it makes things a bit confusing to someone (not us, assuredly!) with rules lawyer tendencies who might want to argue that this makes the Hex itself, though not all its sides, a town Hex. My guys in the Hex are sheltering in the buildings, of course. I presume this is not, in fact, what is desired. But I have been so wrong so often that now I am starting to wonder!

Take care

Peter
 
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peterperla wrote:
Thanks guys. I have been eating a lot of crow this morning after seeing so many of my uncertainties actually spelled out in the rules and examples. I completely missed that example with the slope hexside being counted as zero hexes away, despite reading the bloody thing several times. Must be getting addled in my dotage.

I thought that the buildings must have been there for the purpose of defining the hexside. But it makes things a bit confusing to someone (not us, assuredly!) with rules lawyer tendencies who might want to argue that this makes the Hex itself, though not all its sides, a town Hex. My guys in the Hex are sheltering in the buildings, of course. I presume this is not, in fact, what is desired. But I have been so wrong so often that now I am starting to wonder!

Take care

Peter


I bet you play some other tactical games, don’t you? You bring assumptions from how things work in those games to CI and it makes it frustrating. That’s been my experience anyway. I think the rules are all there but there’ not always on a flashing marquee.
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T Hass
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One more question on this; RE: Diagram 4 page 7 of rules. The German Mortar team CAN fire at the American PHQ unit in the Harlet farm, because the slope hex side is the second hex side out of 3 total hex sides, making it equidistant? (ie. Clear, Slope, Clear)
 
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Mark Buetow
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Thass wrote:
One more question on this; RE: Diagram 4 page 7 of rules. The German Mortar team CAN fire at the American PHQ unit in the Harlet farm, because the slope hex side is the second hex side out of 3 total hex sides, making it equidistant? (ie. Clear, Slope, Clear)


Correct. (That's a little counterintuitive to me but it's visualizing the slopes differently than in other tactical games I've played.)
 
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Alessio Mittiga
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Section 6.41 was a complete mistery to me, probably because English is not my mother tongue... and because I usually play Combat Commander.
Thank you very much thumbsupthumbsupthumbsup
 
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