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Subject: Need Help with Rules - LOS and others rss

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Jack Bennett
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the thing i've noticed about these rules is that they are obviously from 1984, and i'm having some trouble figuring them out.

does anyone know of a quick rules summary or guide that might help me understand how the system works. i think i can figure it out reading the rules book, it's just gonna take some work.

also, i'm confused about almost every LOS rule. the rule booklet is very technical and hard to follow at this point. rules about apertures confuse me, but the main problem i'm having is on page 28, 8/2. the booklet reads:

"If LOS enters a hex that is a higher elevation than both sighting hexes, the LOS is blocked."

easy enough.

however the next paragraph reads:

"Elevation changes themselves do not block LOS."

does that not completely contradict the first rule? the picture shows two hexes with a line drawn between them, and the line enters an elevation change (or at least i'm assuming that's what that is, there's no explanation as to what on the board designates what) and LOS is clear.

in any event, the LOS rules are hanging me up the most at this point.

help appreciated.
 
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Eric Lund
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Re:Need Help with Rules - LOS and others
does anyone know of a quick rules summary or guide that might help me understand how the system works. i think i can figure it out reading the rules book, it's just gonna take some work.

I haven't seen a quick rules summary if there is one. But that sounds like a good idea. I might try putting one together next time I review the rules to play a session.

"Elevation changes themselves do not block LOS."

When the manual says "elevation change" it means that the boundary between two adjacent hexes are at different elevation levels. The LOS is not automatically blocked just because it crosses that boundary. Elevation change does not (in Ambush-speak) refer to changes in elevation over a longer distance, it only refers to hex boundaries where the actual slope occurs. If a boundary doesn't have an embankment or crest, then it's a gradual slope and does not (by itself) hinder LOS.

"If LOS enters a hex that is a higher elevation than both sighting hexes, the LOS is blocked."

This rule is referring to a hill blocking your view. If an intervening hex is higher than both the sighting hexes, it blocks LOS. An intervening higher hex has two elevation changes: the slope up, and the slope down. It's this combination that blocks your view.

Put another way, the "elevation changes" passage is saying that a single slope "by itself" does not block LOS, but that two slopes in combination will block LOS if the intervening hexes are higher than the sighting hexes.

the picture shows two hexes with a line drawn between them, and the line enters an elevation change (or at least i'm assuming that's what that is, there's no explanation as to what on the board designates what) and LOS is clear.

The picture is lousy and in greyscale -- pull out the actual color map the example refers to. If you take a look at W12 on map A you'll see that it's a cover hex and has nothing to do with elevation. Between X12 and W12 is gradual drop of elevation -- that in itself does not block LOS. Also, cover in a hex provides cover, not concealment, so cover hexes do not hinder LOS either.

As an example of elevation blocking LOS between two sighting hexes, look down at V12 and Y12, still on map A. The line travels through W12 and X12. W12 does NOT block LOS, but X12 does. X12 is higher than both the sighting hexes.

in any event, the LOS rules are hanging me up the most at this point. help appreciated.

I'd recommend you not worry too much about LOS for your first session. Use your best judgement, which will be correct most of the time. If you think LOS is blocked it probably is.
 
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Crusher Crancko
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Re:Need Help with Rules - LOS and others
scriptorum (#449470),

Nice clarification and also I would like to see a good Rules Summary. Good point!
 
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Alan Kaiser
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Re:Need Help with Rules - LOS and others
crusher100 (#449605),

I think one of the reasons you don't find rules summaries for a lot of these old war games is that it would be a huge amount of work and what you would end up with is something like a 10-15 page 'summary'! That's not much of a summary. The problem is that the rules are rather dense and are full of exceptions. It is very hard to summarize something like this.

One of the nice things is that the dense rules are designed to simulate reality closely so if you have a question about something and can't get your head around a rule just do what makes sense in a given situation. The LOS are a perfect example. You just need to translate what you are reading to what you would see if you looked out the window. Can you see what is on the other side of a hill? or a building? Of course not. If you look up toward a ridge you can probably see some of what is along the ridge (ie. the hex running along the ridge) but you couldn't see what is 100 yrds back from the ridge. The one thing that does help is knowing how tall things are in the game. A level 1 hill is the same height as a 1 story building or a group of trees. A 2 story building is the same height as a level 2 hill. If you are standing on a level 2 hill you can't see over a 2 story building but you could see over a 1 story building, a group of trees or a level 1 hill. The exception here is that you couldn't see the hex directly behind the feature you are looking over. This might require a long winded explaination in the rules but if you just look out your window it makes perfect sense.

There really is nothing that is going to help you understand the rules unless you have someone explain them to you. Obviously, being able to ask questions here is a huge help. At least in Ambush you can work through the rules without having to explain them to someone else! It might take some time to figure out concepts like line of sight and zones of control but once you do it will all make sense. But don't let the rules hang you up too much. If you can't figure something out just do what makes sense. This is sort of required in this game since there are some situations that will come up occasionally with the paragraph controlled german units where you will have to make a call on what a unit should do. Generally this is very rare as the paragraph book and rules do a very good job of controlling your opponents but there are some paragraphs which are 'broken', especially in some of the later expansions. Anyway, good luck with the rules and if you still can't figure out how to play the game you have just learned a valuable lesson. You will have figured out an upper limit on your ability to understand rule books and you will know to stear clear of games like War of the Ring, which has a rulebook larger than Ambush in addition to the FAQ document that is required reading to understand what you just read in the rules!
 
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Jack Bennett
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Re:Need Help with Rules - LOS and others
alkaiser (#449916),

what's interesting is that i never have had problems with rules. i read the TI3 rules when they came out and already new how to play when i got the game.

i wonder if it's the age. the way to tell rules has changed throughout the years, and i wonder if it's just the 1980's rule language here that's getting me.

in any event, thanks for the help.

 
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Alan Kaiser
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Re:Need Help with Rules - LOS and others
pusherman42 (#450143),

"The way to tell rules has changed throughout the years"

Well that is certainly true. Most rulebooks from the old wargame companies were notoriously dry and technical. There certainly wasn't a great deal of effort to try to make it easy for someone to read. On top of that , there were usually very few if any examples of play unlike most games now days.
 
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Russell Gifford
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Re:Need Help with Rules - LOS and others
On rules and 1984:

There is something about the Ambush rules (and those of other Victory games) that seems difficult or dense, and I was there when they came out. I remember I eventually just decided I'd "play it like I thought it should work," rather than try to follow their items "point by point." I guess it is a form of empirical reasoning.

Remember how Ambush came into being - it was SPI's "next game" - along with Hell's Highway, NATO, etc. When TSR "acquired" (read screwed) SPI, the designers bolted, and made a deal with Avalon Hill to create a separate company. The rules, counters and components were caught somewhere in-between SPI and AH - Redmond Simonson's great maps and player aids, but not the counters (in everything but Ambush, at least.)

The rules were a cross between the SPI case system and the layout in a dense print booklet. NATO seemed almost unfathomable, and the counters in need of a magnifying glass.

Ambush came in somewhere ahead of NATO, but still it seems unwieldy at times.

(But then again, my two favorite games are ASL and Speed Circuit - the long and the short of rules - so I'm obviously whacked anyway....)

---Russ


 
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Robert Voisin
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How the times have changed. Rules were written on the way a person would understand them in the 80's. Meaning not everything was so word for word.
Like today everything needs to be spelled out or you may get sued. Back than you didn't worry about a person falling and braking their leg on your propriety, You'd say he was a klutz and that was it. Rules we're written that you just understood how it all worked. I knew, my brother and I played this game to death when it came out. We had no problem with the rules. But today to try and re-play it's like I'm trying to read between the lines to relearn all the rules in it. It does seem a little hard to read after 20 some years.
One other problem as soon as I start that mission, Old memories come up that ruin a little of the plot.
 
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