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Offline Zenithfleet

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Boarding actions - multiple ships and modifiers
« on: March 19, 2015, 08:40:49 AM »
G'day all,

Having played quite a few games with Orks, some aspects of the boarding action rules are bothering me. Because Ork fleets rely on boarding as an important tactic, I want to be sure I know what I'm doing--and that I don't unfairly interpret the rules in my favour!

If anyone could shed some light on the issues below, that would be much appreciated. (I'm using standard BFG rules with FAQ2010.)

Apologies if these have been answered elsewhere--I did look around but couldn't find definitive answers.


1. Multiple-ship boarding actions


1a. If multiple ships are involved in a boarding action, how do you deal with the boarding modifiers (blast markers, special orders, crippling) if not all the ships on the same side are affected?

For example, two Kill Kroozers (not squadroned) board a Lunar. One of the kroozers is on special orders. Does the Imperial player get a +1 for this even though only one of the two Ork ships is affected?

Conversely, if one Kroozer is on special orders and so is the Lunar, do both sides get the bonus (thus cancelling out) as they would in a one-on-one boarding action? Or do the Orks get the +1 bonus and the Imperials get nothing because the Orks have an unaffected ship involved? Or would you dice off / flip a coin for it?
 
1b. Similarly, how do you deal with multiple boarding actions in which one (but not all) of the ships on one side are crippled?

For example, if a Kroozer boards a crippled Dauntless (ignoring boarding values and turrets for the moment) it gets a +2 modifier. If a Kroozer boards a crippled Dauntless and an intact Lunar at the same time, does the Ork player still get the +2 bonus? (Mysteriously gaining a big advantage against the Lunar because it happens to be next to a smaller damaged ship?)

What about the reverse situation, in which the Lunar is crippled but the Dauntless isn't?

(Possibly you would compare the starting hull points of the ships involved and only apply the bonus if the bigger ship is the crippled one?)


2. Shooting at ships about to be boarded


2a. If your ship moves into contact with an enemy with the intention of boarding them in the end phase, can your other ships fire on the enemy ship in the shooting phase to 'soften it up'? (I would assume yes, but just checking in preparation for the next question!)

2b. Are any blast markers caused by this placed in the usual way (i.e. touching the bases of both the boarded ship and the ship doing the boarding, as for ships that are massing turrets or combining ordnance when shot at)?

Or are the blast markers placed only touching the enemy ship's base, so that the boarding ship will get a +1 modifier for 'enemy ship touching blast markers' in the end phase?

On the one hand, it seems logical that if your ship has already moved into touch with the enemy, the blast markers must be placed touching both bases.

However, if so, it seems very unlikely that you'll ever get the +1 modifier for 'enemy touching blast markers' in boarding actions. Most of the time, the enemy will have moved away from any blast markers in their own turn, and on your turn you'll move into touch before you can shoot them with other ships. If you do shoot, both ships will count as having blast markers and their modifiers will cancel out.

(I'm in favour of placing the markers only in contact with the enemy ship, so that you can soften them up and weight the randomness of a boarding action in your favour if you make sure to bring some supporting fire along... but as a Chaos and Ork player I'm obviously biased!)


3. Grappling together

3a. If the boarding action is a draw, and the ships grapple together, can they be targeted on subsequent turns by shooting from other ships?

If so, should the hits be randomised between the ships (similar to shooting into hand-to-hand combat in some editions of 40K, on the assumption that the ships are locked together and effectively a single large target)?

3b. What about ordnance? Presumably attack craft could direct their attacks at one ship, but torpedoes and orbital mines would be random. (We once had a drawn combat between two Ork kroozers and a battle barge, which led to strike cruisers circling the scene lobbing bombardment cannon fire into the melee and a stray orbital mine adding to the confusion...)


4. Teleport attacks in boarding actions

4a. Can ships involved in a boarding action make teleport attacks in the end phase (against each other or other ships)?

Do they perform this before or after resolving the boarding action?

4b. Can ships grappled together after a drawn combat make teleport attacks in subsequent turns? (We allowed this in the kroozer vs battle barge encounter mentioned above, so the Terminators could lead several desperate teleport raids on the kroozers that had latched onto the Marines' ship. Not that it helped...) 

Phew. Thanks for your help.  :)

Offline RayB HA

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Re: Boarding actions - multiple ships and modifiers
« Reply #1 on: March 19, 2015, 02:28:47 PM »
Hey Hey,

Boarding actions have some really 'horrible' rules in BFG, only a drastic overhaul would make me happy.   ;D

Modifiers are applied for the entire side as a whole, no modifier is taken twice. So if you boarded with multiple ships and one of them was crippled that's your crazy choice!

When boarding you can only board one enemy ship, you can't initiate a boarding action against multiple enemy ships. (they'd be too far apart)

If Teleport attacks are otherwise allowed, the boarding ships can H&R each other (assuming their shields are down, they have equal or less hits etc...).
 
Placing blast markers is as if the boarding ship weren't there, so place the BM inbetween the firing ship and the target. If this touches both bases it affects both ships, if possible it's best to board past the enemy ship (note, they could ram you in the following turn if it's not a draw).

Shooting at boarded ships is fair game IMO, no randomisation. However this might leave you with your shields down in the following turn. Torps are a pretty crazy idea, unless you have fighters on CAP on your ship.

Hope that helps,

RayB HA
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Offline horizon

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Re: Boarding actions - multiple ships and modifiers
« Reply #2 on: March 19, 2015, 03:44:46 PM »
Thanks for answering Ray.  :)

Offline Zenithfleet

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Re: Boarding actions - multiple ships and modifiers
« Reply #3 on: March 20, 2015, 01:11:30 PM »
Fantastic! Thanks Ray. That helps a lot.

Boarding actions have some really 'horrible' rules in BFG, only a drastic overhaul would make me happy.   ;D

I gather the BFG boarding rules were pretty much a straight port from Epic 40,000. I don't mind the clunkiness too much since they don't happen all that often (unless you're Orks or Tyranids). Though strangely enough I find it much harder to pull off a close assault in 3rd ed Epic than a boarding action in BFG...

Modifiers are applied for the entire side as a whole, no modifier is taken twice. So if you boarded with multiple ships and one of them was crippled that's your crazy choice!

OK, so if one of my ships is on a blast marker or on special orders and the other isn't, the enemy gets the +1 bonus. Fair enough. I suppose you could conduct the boarding actions separately (as in FAQ2010) if that looked like a better option.

My main worry was about the crippled thing, but you've neatly answered that below...  :)

When boarding you can only board one enemy ship, you can't initiate a boarding action against multiple enemy ships. (they'd be too far apart)

Hmm, now that's interesting! Everyone I've played with so far has assumed you could board multiple enemy ships at once (e.g. by taking on three closely grouped escorts with one big-base battleship). I once clobbered a bunch of system ships this way... However, you're right that the distances would make this a silly idea, just like collisions not happening unless you try to ram.

The most glaring issue I had with the boarding rules as I learned them was the idea of boarding two capital ships at once, one of which is crippled, in order to gain a big bonus. But if you can't actually do that... problem solved!

Is this written down anywhere officially (er, apart from a HA member's post, that is)? I'm quite happy with the ruling, but would like to point it out to others.  ;)

If Teleport attacks are otherwise allowed, the boarding ships can H&R each other (assuming their shields are down, they have equal or less hits etc...).
 
Placing blast markers is as if the boarding ship weren't there, so place the BM inbetween the firing ship and the target. If this touches both bases it affects both ships, if possible it's best to board past the enemy ship (note, they could ram you in the following turn if it's not a draw).

Just what I wanted to hear!  ;D

Shooting at boarded ships is fair game IMO, no randomisation. However this might leave you with your shields down in the following turn. Torps are a pretty crazy idea, unless you have fighters on CAP on your ship.

No worries. We'll probably keep going with our house rule that grappled ships (after drawn combats) count as a single target, tumbling along locked together, so hits are randomised. Just because it seems more fun that way. With torps, I was thinking more of unfortunately aimed accidents... or Orky recklessness...

Anyway, I'm relieved to know that the two battlecruisers I boarded in my last game were indeed legitimately crippled. My opponent is now paranoid about letting Orks get too close and insists I build him an Avenger to keep his ships safe.  :P

Offline RayB HA

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Re: Boarding actions - multiple ships and modifiers
« Reply #4 on: March 21, 2015, 12:45:13 AM »
Hey hey,

In the rulebook (just checked to make sure) it only ever says boarding a vessel in the singular. But you're right it isn't made clear.  :-[

I'd say the assault rules for Epic are way better than boarding in BFG. A single roll off is an ugly way to determine a result of such importance. Also I hate the way the ships can't damage each other in retaliation, only 1 ship gets hurt.
Another thing that urks me is how the boarded ship doesn't break stride, it is perfectly fine to act as if nothing happened in the following turn, (perhaps something as token as a ld modifier would quell that, or half firepower...).

Bah! I'll rant all day if I let myself.  :-X

Cheers,

RayB HA
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Offline Zenithfleet

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Re: Boarding actions - multiple ships and modifiers
« Reply #5 on: March 21, 2015, 02:41:45 PM »
Ray, while replying to your post with a rambling digression into the history of Epic, I had a minor lightbulb moment. Bear with me...

I'd say the assault rules for Epic are way better than boarding in BFG. A single roll off is an ugly way to determine a result of such importance.

Do you mean 4th ed Epic (Armageddon)? 3rd ed Epic 40,000 had a single roll-off, with modifiers for blast markers, number of psykers, etc. The losing side was broken and had to retreat.

Despite the various ways you could 'stack the deck' with modifiers to tilt the odds in your favour, the dev team were aware that this system was very random. They included Fate cards (many of which gave you a re-roll) mainly for this purpose.

Much later on, when Jervis was developing Epic Armageddon, he briefly flirted with rolling two dice and using the highest result (like Tyranids in BFG). This apparently ironed out a lot of the randomness. As Jervis says:

Quote from: Jervis Johnson, 'Epic Evolution II', Epic 40,000 Magazine #8, p6
Several of my [Epic Armageddon] testers were very worried that close combat [in the 3rd edition system] was too random, and that a single dice roll could decide the game. We tried giving each side a limited number of re-rolls to use in close combat, but this didn't really seem to cure the problem. Then one of my playtesters suggested that we allowed each player to roll two dice for close combat, but only use the dice that rolled highest. At a stroke this made close combat much more predictable, and also placed greater emphasis on attacking an enemy formation that had first been 'softened up' by fire and had received plenty of BM's. 

As it turned out, in the final version of the Epic Armageddon rules, Jervis went with a different method of resolving close combats entirely. However, that two-dice method is one I've been considering as a house rule for 3rd ed Epic.

In fact... (lightbulb moment incoming...) could rolling two dice and discarding the lowest work for BFG too?

It wouldn't be a proper overhaul or new way of resolving boarding, but it would be a 'quick fix' to make boarding results more predictable. This might encourage tactical play in the same way Jervis reportedly found it did for Epic.

There would just need to be some alternative extra-special boarding rule for the Tyranids so they keep their razor-sharp edge. Maybe they force their opponent to pick their lowest die rather than their highest? Or they themselves get to re-roll?

Also I hate the way the ships can't damage each other in retaliation, only 1 ship gets hurt.

At least you can do criticals whichever side you're on. (The winner/loser critical chance table is another inheritance from 3rd ed Epic - you can win a close assault but lose most of your troops in the process.)

In my one and only game against Tau so far, I boarded a Merchant with a Styx. Not only did I fail to do more than scratch the paint, they somehow snuck a stealth team aboard and blew up my shield generator. Talk about adding insult to (lack of) injury...


Edited to add: After looking through the Epic Armageddon rulebook, I think I should clarify the differences between the close assault rules in 3rd and 4th ed Epic for anyone confused about what I'm talking about.

In Epic 40,000 you added up all your assault values and worked out your modifiers (like boarding values in BFG), then diced off to see which side won. The loser received blast markers according to the difference, in the same way that you lose hits in BFG. Then you worked out which units got killed, much like the chance of scoring a critical hit in a BFG boarding action.

Epic Armageddon is the other way around. You work out which units get killed first by rolling individually to hit. No need to add up assault values or anything like that. Then, if anybody's left alive, you do the dice-off with modifiers, to decide who won.

From Jervis's comments in Epic 40,000 Magazine issue #9, it seems that some players disliked all the adding up they had to do in Epic 40K, which is why the mechanics were flipped around for Epic A.

Having recently tried out one of the old GW 'hex-and-counter' style wargames (Battle for Armageddon), which involves not only adding up values but comparing ratios, I suspect the 'maths requirement' in Epic 40K close assaults (and in turn BFG boarding actions) is a legacy of that era of game design. That would be roughly when Jervis came up with the Heresy rules system, which was eventually hauled out of the cupboard and dusted off for the Epic 40K release.

There's less maths burden in BFG than there is in 3rd ed Epic because you usually just compare boarding values of single ships, rather than having a dozen or so units to add together on each side.
« Last Edit: March 22, 2015, 03:35:30 AM by Zenithfleet »