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Author Topic: Squadrons and loosing coherency.  (Read 1889 times)

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Offline Daemon_Primarch_Lorgar

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Squadrons and loosing coherency.
« on: March 23, 2016, 03:02:23 PM »
Hello all!

We just had a pretty interesting situation in one of our games that we didn't really know how to resolve concerning squadrons and dropping out of coherency. So basically the rules says:

"If a ship drops out of formation, it no longer counts as part of the squadron until it moves backto within 15cm of another ship in the squadron. A ship which is out of formation must be moved back into formation as soon as possible, and it may not use special orders the squadron uses until it has done so"

But what happens if you have 4 ship in a squadron and 2 of them moves out of coherency with the others while still remaining within 15cm of each other? Which ships are then out of formation, can't use special orders and later have to be moved?

It also says:
"Individual ships within a squadron can manoeuvre freely within the standard movement rules, as long as they stay in formation"

But it says nothing about how it moves when it is not possible to move into formation? And how is the remaining of the squadron supposed to move, are they forced to move towards the out of coherency ship, or can they move freely?

And how does Brace for impact work in these cases?

If anyone could bring any insight to these questions then it would be very appreciated :)!

Offline Bozeman

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Re: Squadrons and loosing coherency.
« Reply #1 on: March 24, 2016, 04:23:47 AM »
After scouring the 2010 update, the main rulebook, the 2002 annual, and even going so far as to find the old 2007 FAQ, I can find no concrete ruling.

However, if I were the manager of a campaign and this scenario came up, here's how I'd deal with it.

The main rulebook clearly states that a squadron must be an unbroken CHAIN:

Quote from: BFG Main Rulebook, Pg 37
Each ship must be no more than 15cm from another ship in the squadron so that the whole squadron forms a continuous chain with "links" of up to 15cm between each ship.

Bold above mine.

Because they specifically mention the word "chain" then a squadron of four consisting of two "chains" of two that are more than 15cm from each other is not in coherency (as they are not a continuous chain).

However, within each pair, the chain is continuous.  With three escorts in a chain and one out, it's obvious where the "squadron" is.  However, in this case it is not.

In my opinion, the owning player decides which pair of escorts constitutes "the squadron" and which pair is "out of coherency."  The pair that is "the squadron" uses special orders, etc. normally.  The pair "out of coherency" does not benefit from special orders until they get back into coherency by making a continuous chain with "the squadron."

Also my opinion, the player could not change their mind as to which pair was "the squadron."  If they want special orders, get back into coherency!

In the case of a squadron of five that split into a pair and a trio, I'd say that the trio was "the squadron" as they constitute more of the squadron.

In a case where a character was embarked on one of the ships of the squadron (such as an Ork Warlord from the Ork Clanz list or a captain from the Battlefleet Cadia option) the escort on which the character is embarked is "the squadron" as the person giving the orders is right there!  In this case, a lone escort with the character would benefit from special orders, and any other escorts in the squadron would only benefit if in a continuous chain with that specific escort.  If that escort was removed for any reason, default to the opinions above.

Once again, the above calls are MY OPINION ONLY and do not hold the weight of the Main Rulebook, Armada, or the 2010 update.

Offline Bozeman

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Re: Squadrons and loosing coherency.
« Reply #2 on: March 24, 2016, 04:48:49 AM »
It also says:
"Individual ships within a squadron can manoeuvre freely within the standard movement rules, as long as they stay in formation"

But it says nothing about how it moves when it is not possible to move into formation? And how is the remaining of the squadron supposed to move, are they forced to move towards the out of coherency ship, or can they move freely?

Once again, I could find no concrete call.

Quote from: BFG Main Rulebook, Pg 37
A ship which is out of formation must be moved back into formation as soon as possible, and it may not use special orders the squadron uses until it has done so.

Because this ruling says nothing about the part of the squadron that is actually in coherency, they may move freely, and indeed could move in a way to keep the other ships out of coherency if desired!  However the ships out of coherency MUST try to move into coherency and cannot use special orders until they do so.

And how does Brace for impact work in these cases?

Because Brace for Impact is a special order, the ships out of coherency would not be able to make Brace for Impact saves if the squadron is on Brace for Impact.

Oddly, I think that according to what I see in the 2010 FAQ, they could make the TEST if someone shot at them.

Imagine our Escorts in two pairs again.  One pair is "the squadron" and the other pair is "out of coherency."  A cunning enemy targets the "out of coherency" pair.

Quote from: FAQ 2010, Pg 3
Brace for Impact special orders can be taken ANY time a ship faces taking damage before the actual to-hit result is rolled...

Because these out of coherency ships are indeed ships, and could indeed take damage, the squadron is entitled to a test.  However, even if passed, the out of coherency ships don't benefit!  Imagine the current leader of the squadron seeing his squad-mates about to come under fire.  He tries to get them to follow orders, but distance and confusion prevent his orders from getting through.

Hope this helps!

Offline Xca|iber

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Re: Squadrons and loosing coherency.
« Reply #3 on: March 24, 2016, 06:15:15 AM »
This is a fascinating issue, and one that I'll probably spend the next few afternoons dissecting. That said, I think Bozeman has pretty much covered the major points, and come up with a fair solution (probably the same solution I would use if it came up during a game).

An alternative and perhaps more punishing solution would be to say that if you cannot tell which ships are out of coherency (that is, if the squadron is divided into multiple, equal sized groups), then all the ships are out of coherency and subject to the out-of-formation rules. This might make it simpler to resolve in gameplay terms (since all of the ships would have to move to get in formation with at least one other ship in the squadron), but would also render the squadron extremely vulnerable if the situation occurred.

Either way, good catch on the ambiguity here.

EDIT: For the moment, my solution follows what Bozeman said. To put it formally, I wrote up the Squadron Coherency rules to say the following (bold on the added part):

Quote
If a ship is forced to break formation, it no longer counts as part of the squadron until it moves back to within 15cm of another member. If a squadron breaks into multiple groups, the one with the most ships is considered the ‘main body’ of the squadron that the others must rejoin. If there is no such group, simply nominate one until a larger group is formed or the squadron regains coherency. Any ships out of formation must move to rejoin the squadron as soon as possible, and cannot benefit from the squadron’s special orders until they have done so.
« Last Edit: March 24, 2016, 08:42:34 AM by Xca|iber »
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Offline Bozeman

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Re: Squadrons and loosing coherency.
« Reply #4 on: March 25, 2016, 01:32:30 AM »

An alternative and perhaps more punishing solution would be to say that if you cannot tell which ships are out of coherency (that is, if the squadron is divided into multiple, equal sized groups), then all the ships are out of coherency and subject to the out-of-formation rules. This might make it simpler to resolve in gameplay terms (since all of the ships would have to move to get in formation with at least one other ship in the squadron), but would also render the squadron extremely vulnerable if the situation occurred.


OOG.  Yeah, that is a punch in the reproductive organ of your choice.  However, it might be warranted if people misuse squadrons and intentionally keep parts of squadrons apart.  However I don't see that happening, except possibly with transports.  After all they're so easy to kill that putting them out of fire arc could keep them alive for another turn...

Offline Xca|iber

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Re: Squadrons and loosing coherency.
« Reply #5 on: March 25, 2016, 06:55:51 AM »

An alternative and perhaps more punishing solution would be to say that if you cannot tell which ships are out of coherency (that is, if the squadron is divided into multiple, equal sized groups), then all the ships are out of coherency and subject to the out-of-formation rules. This might make it simpler to resolve in gameplay terms (since all of the ships would have to move to get in formation with at least one other ship in the squadron), but would also render the squadron extremely vulnerable if the situation occurred.


OOG.  Yeah, that is a punch in the reproductive organ of your choice.  However, it might be warranted if people misuse squadrons and intentionally keep parts of squadrons apart.  However I don't see that happening, except possibly with transports.  After all they're so easy to kill that putting them out of fire arc could keep them alive for another turn...

It's funny you would mention that, because I was discussing this strange rules ambiguity this afternoon and a glaring problem with "choose which group is the squadron" came up. Imagine the following scenario: You have a squadron of 7 escorts (the example was an Ork squadron, but this can also work with a squadron of 4). They are arranged in a triangular formation with two ships at each point, and one ship in the middle holding coherency together, like so:

Quote
                   [^].....[^]



                        [^]


[^].....[^]                   [^].....[^]

...and the center ship is destroyed by a precision Nova Cannon shot. Now you have 3 equally sized groups, none of which is clearly the "body" of the squadron. So we decide that the front pair of ships is the "squadron" and the other groups have to form up with them. However, when you go to move them, you decide to use Come to New Heading orders on the squadron. Since we've decided that the front pair is "the squadron," only they get the benefit... which you then use to place them in a position that the other four ships cannot reach. They can reach each other, however, leaving us with a pair out front and a group of four ships behind, out of coherency. Now we've got a situation where suddenly the larger portion of the squadron is not actually "the squadron" and not benefiting from special orders. On the other hand, we cannot simply switch which group is considered "the squadron" once a larger group has formed, since the two ships out front would suddenly cease benefiting from CtNH, which is obviously ridiculous because they used the extra turn already, while they larger group would get the penalty in the shooting phase despite not having actually done anything with the orders.

Now we can simply say that the determination of the "squadron body" is only made at the start of each turn, and you simply maintain that choice through the turn, but that can end up feeling unintuitive, especially when there's a lot of action on the table (e.g. opponent tries to go after the vulnerable front pair only to be told that, no, they will actually benefit from bracing). So it's a bit of a headache no matter what you do.

In this case, calling all of the ships "out of coherency" and forcing them to all try to get back near one another helps us because it prevents the special order weirdness and discourages players from trying any of these odd shenanigans (as you said in your post).

Obviously, this is an extremely academic issue at this point. It's a very niche case that I can't imagine most players have ever even seen. Nonetheless, it's good to think about things like this because if it does come up, it's good to understand the ins and outs of potential solutions. Being consistent after picking one is the important part, of course.
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Offline horizon

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Re: Squadrons and loosing coherency.
« Reply #6 on: March 26, 2016, 09:10:58 PM »
The abuse potential is quite low in such situations. So most solutions will just work fine.

As a rule of simple I would call the vessels in front the lead-squadron to which the others must catch up.