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"Sniper" re-write and "Assassin"

 Post subject: Re: "Sniper" re-write and "Assassin"
PostPosted: Wed Mar 06, 2013 8:32 pm 
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IIRC the original intention was for “Sniper” to be purely a shooting ability; the current wording makes much more sense in that context. However, as lists were developed, a significant number of people wanted to use “Sniper” during assault to provide other weapons and skills, which is where the difficulties start to arise.


That may well have been the intent (indeed, I'm pretty sure it was), but it's not what got written down. People using it as a weapon ability when it isn't is kind of misguided (though useful, I think), but it's always technically been usable in assaults.

Moving it into the "weapon ability" category would seem a good first step if we were to crack open the rulebook.

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Assuming that the effects in shooting are understood and accepted, the main issues are how Sniper should work in assault, how hits should be allocated and what limitations should apply. It is over the limitations that I think our views diverge most, as you seem happy to have none, while others (myself included) would prefer to restrict the ability to appropriate targets – if practical.


The thing is that, for better or worse, restrictions on target types don't exist in assaults in Epic. And you can rationalize most sniping effects that would be effective against infantry being effective against tanks as well. The few that can't probably shouldn't have Sniper in assaults.

This is a long way to go to make anti-heavy infantry units, frankly.

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Hit allocation has proved contentious in the past, especially in CC. The problem being that applying hits to targets "in range" can be defined both as 'in base contact' and also 'in the assault' because the actual combat is fluid with troops from both sides being intermingled. Here I suspect we will need a new FAQ to define what is meant. My preference would be to allow units with both "Infiltrate" and "Sniper" to allocate hits within the assault as they could move through enemy troops to attack the desired target. Otherwise, IMO CC Sniper hits should be restricted to enemy in Base Contact - but YVMV.


I'd restrict them all to base contact, on the assumption that they're going to be resolved first. Sniper, Sniper MW, Normal Hits, MW Hits, basically.

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 Post subject: Re: "Sniper" re-write and "Assassin"
PostPosted: Thu Mar 07, 2013 10:55 am 
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Simulated Knave wrote:
Ginger wrote:
Assuming that the effects in shooting are understood and accepted, the main issues are how Sniper should work in assault, how hits should be allocated and what limitations should apply. It is over the limitations that I think our views diverge most, as you seem happy to have none, while others (myself included) would prefer to restrict the ability to appropriate targets – if practical.

The thing is that, for better or worse, restrictions on target types don't exist in assaults in Epic. And you can rationalize most sniping effects that would be effective against infantry being effective against tanks as well. The few that can't probably shouldn't have Sniper in assaults.

This is a long way to go to make anti-heavy infantry units, frankly.
And this is where our view diverge slightly. Firstly, I presume that you are happy with the principles outlined so far, so most units only get to have "Sniper" when shooting, and I don't think we have a problem where a weapon is specified as shooting with MW. Which leaves us with the likes of CC 'power swords' and claws etc.
Here, using 40K as a guide, these CC weapons are nasty against infantry, but fairly innocuous against armour. So they do *not* have the same effect against the different target types. And while restrictions on target types don't currently exist in assaults in Epic, I do not see the problem with introducing this for "Sniper" - given that we are also infering and restricting the range of the ability from the weapon stats.

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Ginger wrote:
Hit allocation has proved contentious in the past, especially in CC. The problem being that applying hits to targets "in range" can be defined both as 'in base contact' and also 'in the assault' because the actual combat is fluid with troops from both sides being intermingled. Here I suspect we will need a new FAQ to define what is meant. My preference would be to allow units with both "Infiltrate" and "Sniper" to allocate hits within the assault as they could move through enemy troops to attack the desired target. Otherwise, IMO CC Sniper hits should be restricted to enemy in Base Contact - but YVMV.

I'd restrict them all to base contact, on the assumption that they're going to be resolved first. Sniper, Sniper MW, Normal Hits, MW Hits, basically.
And this is where we have to be carefull. The current process pools all the 'normal' CC and FF hits together and these are allocated by the defender front to back. Sniper hits are allocated by the attacker. The order of these two allocations is not stipulated, though the current FAQ allows the Attacker to choose. IIRC this is quite deliberate, because in some cases the attacker may want to double up hits while in others he may want to force the hits to be spread out. So with this in mind, requiring CC Sniper hits to be placed on B-B targets seems to work (normal hits can be allocated to the same target or not as noted above).

How do you feel about allowing CC Infiltrate+Sniper hits to be allocated elsewhere like FF Sniper hits? The argument here being that this represents individual figures passing through the enemy, which basing etc makes physically impossible to reproduce on the table.


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 Post subject: Re: "Sniper" re-write and "Assassin"
PostPosted: Thu Mar 07, 2013 2:51 pm 
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Just my opinion of course, but Ginger I think you're too far down the road of "realism". When you're defining specific rules for combinations of special rules (like infiltrate and sniper when in CC) you know you've gone too far, surely?

Here's the thing: normal troopers should be rubbish against tanks in CC, but they're not. Likewise, macro weapons are macro weapons - Epic simply does not distinguish between ant-personnel MWs and anti-armour MWs. There's no doubt, the level of detail applied to allocation of hits etc in assault is basic (and arbitrary). That is certainly frustrating when you can't represent a unit or weapon type that you want, but TBH I think it's better to accept a significant level of abstraction rather than create complicated rules.

Personally I think it'd be better for the FAQ to simply clarify that sniper does not apply to assaults. But if you absolutely have to have it, and have to have CC sniper too, the only clarification I would add would be:
"Hits from Assault Weapons with the Sniper ability may only be allocated against units in base contact".

IMO starting to distinguish between target types (inf/armour) is taking it too far. I understand you want it to be "accurate", but the baseline is not accurate, it's abstract - shooting distinguishes unit types, assaults don't. For me, there's no significant reason to change how assaults work just for a few obscure units.

With regard to allowing infiltrating CC snipers to be able to hit things in FF, I'm not sure why this complexity is even needed? Isn't the point of infiltrate to help them get into base contact with the things they want (i.e. ignore ZoC, double move)? It seems like a perfect synergy to me already: infiltrate to get into BtB with the target, sniper to force hits to be allocated to them, AND with a -1 save to boot.

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 Post subject: Re: "Sniper" re-write and "Assassin"
PostPosted: Thu Mar 07, 2013 4:18 pm 
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Other than me preferring allowing Sniper in assaults, what Kyrt said.

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 Post subject: Re: "Sniper" re-write and "Assassin"
PostPosted: Fri Mar 08, 2013 3:29 am 
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Kyrt wrote:
Here's the thing: normal troopers should be rubbish against tanks in CC, but they're not. Likewise, macro weapons are macro weapons - Epic simply does not distinguish between ant-personnel MWs and anti-armour MWs. There's no doubt, the level of detail applied to allocation of hits etc in assault is basic (and arbitrary). That is certainly frustrating when you can't represent a unit or weapon type that you want, but TBH I think it's better to accept a significant level of abstraction rather than create complicated rules.
I understand and accept the point about abstractions. However, there are a number of aspects that are being missed here, which add up to a significant opportunity for enhancing list designs - where appropriate.

If we are to use "Sniper" in assault, the range of the ability is dictated by the weapon. This allows us to distinguish between CC and FF attacks and works exactly like all other extra attack definitions; and as such there seems to be little problem with this approach.

Specifying the target type of the weapon is crucial IMO because it reduces the power of the attack to the same power level the weapon has for shooting making it much more appropriate. It also introduces a usefull increment between 'standard' and 'Macro' weapons. For example
  • The Tau could make use of this to represent their superb close-range firepower etc. and this might have been one way to help balance Fire Warriors.
  • Or a trivial example that is currently being debated; if WraithGuard having MW in assault is deemed too powerfull, we could give them an AP "Sniper" weapon for assault purposes.
      (Note I am not advocating this, merely using it to illustrate the point.)

More importantly, if we do not specify the target type of the weapon, this boosts the power of “Sniper” in assault very significantly, to the point where it is almost as good as a MW attack and would be completely OTT – which completely defeats the object of the exercise. Not only could infantry destroy tanks, but they would excel at it with weapons that would not remotely match the power of their 40K equivalents.

And note, this isn’t just my idea; I was following the excellent suggestion made by Jimmy earlier in this thread, though IIRC it was also suggested some years ago.

Kyrt wrote:
Personally I think it'd be better for the FAQ to simply clarify that sniper does not apply to assaults. But if you absolutely have to have it, and have to have CC sniper too, the only clarification I would add would be:
"Hits from Assault Weapons with the Sniper ability may only be allocated against units in base contact".
I think that FAQ might be necessary

And finally, consider the notion of combining “Infiltrate" a bit of a ‘brain-fart’, Ok? ::)


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 Post subject: Re: "Sniper" re-write and "Assassin"
PostPosted: Fri Mar 08, 2013 10:22 am 
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I really can't see the point of this, I'm in total agreement with kyrt, sniper should be a ranged attack ability only, if you want to represent it in CC, then use an existing rule to represent it, I personally think First strike works perfectly well at representing a sniper plugging someone in the head before they even think about joining the engagement

right now the engagement process is the most abstracted part of the game, grunts with lasguns can blast holes in titans and gargants, it's also very simple and quick to resolve, work out total number of hits, apply them front-to-back, make saves, count up casualties, work out res, roll off, apply hackdowns and move on with the game, applying rules like sniper and the new 'assassin' simply complicates matters and really doesn't add anything to the game, there are enough rules (first strike, infiltrator and others) to give specialist troops an edge in combats without slowing the game down, they don't have to accurately represent the actual abilities of the troops in question (heck, having 8 different flavours of aspect warriors is pushing the boundaries of granularity as it is) just make them a bit better as their fluff and background describes

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 Post subject: Re: "Sniper" re-write and "Assassin"
PostPosted: Fri Mar 08, 2013 12:38 pm 
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kyussinchains wrote:
I really can't see the point of this, I'm in total agreement with kyrt, sniper should be a ranged attack ability only, if you want to represent it in CC, then use an existing rule to represent it,

+1 from me as well.

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 Post subject: Re: "Sniper" re-write and "Assassin"
PostPosted: Fri Mar 08, 2013 12:54 pm 
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I've been following this discusion, but have been hesitant to join. I think I've made up my mind now though.

I'm in favor of making sniper a weapons ability (which I guess it has already become), but making it available to normal shooting and (small arms)/FF only. Bascially keeping it a shooting only ability.

I do however think we sould have some kind of rule for powerweapons and I don't think making sniper available to CC troops is the way to go. To complicated/ugly.

I'd rather see a completely new rule then doing the CC sniper. Something along the lines of "infantry in base contact with a unit armed with a powerweapon(or whatever name) suffers a -1 to any saves they take during an assault."

It would of course apply to hits done by other units from the same unit. But like people above has stated assault are already very much abstracted so I think it's fitting, and it would be less effective than giving them some sort of inf MW attack only that has been discussed in previous related topics (like howling banshees). It would be simpler.

It's just a suggestion. And I know we're a conservative community when it comes to adding rules. So a completely new rule is probably not very likely...

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 Post subject: Re: "Sniper" re-write and "Assassin"
PostPosted: Fri Mar 08, 2013 2:47 pm 
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Onyx wrote:
kyussinchains wrote:
I really can't see the point of this, I'm in total agreement with kyrt, sniper should be a ranged attack ability only, if you want to represent it in CC, then use an existing rule to represent it,

+1 from me as well.
Guys, the point is that the current "Sniper" rule is not clear. While the original intention may have been for ranged shooting only, RAW it allows the ability to be used in assault, and there are a number of units that already make use of this.

So basically I think we have two broad options,
  1. Remove or change the stats of the relevant units in several lists and change the wording to be clear that it only works in shooting,
    Or
  2. Change the wording to allow it to be used as a weapon specific ability in assault as well as shooting.

Like SN, I am in favour of confirming the use of the ability in assault, not least because it is the easiest to implement (we don't change army lists or impact people's armies) and it is no harder to use in assault than in shooting (the practicalities are identical - you pool the hits and the attacker applies them to the relevant targets).

Borka wrote:
I'm in favor of making sniper a weapons ability (which I guess it has already become), but making it available to normal shooting and (small arms)/FF only. Bascially keeping it a shooting only ability.
This is also a possibility, but it would still need to be 'weapon specific' to avoid "Sniper" being overpowered. Otherwise a rifle armed infantryman would be much more likely to damage / destroy a Leman Russ tank, which is absurd.

Borka wrote:
I'd rather see a completely new rule then doing the CC sniper. Something along the lines of "infantry in base contact with a unit armed with a powerweapon(or whatever name) suffers a -1 to any saves they take during an assault."
Although I agree with the sentiment, the mechanics would be identical to what we already have. So if this ability is required in CC assault (which some dispute), it will be much easier to continue to use "Sniper" rather than creating a new rule like "Assassin".


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 Post subject: Re: "Sniper" re-write and "Assassin"
PostPosted: Fri Mar 08, 2013 4:47 pm 
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I really can't see the point of this, I'm in total agreement with kyrt, sniper should be a ranged attack ability only, if you want to represent it in CC, then use an existing rule to represent it,


Are you saying "no Sniper in CC" or "no Sniper in assaults"? There is a distinction.

If the former, OK. Arbitrary, but OK. If the latter, no, because it already works in assaults.

A rules breakdown on how Sniper appears to work, to me:

"Roll separately when attacking with a sniper unit. If they hit, the attacker can choose which enemy unit is hit from those within range and in the line of fire of the sniper unit. In addition the target suffers a -1 save modifier."

"Roll separately when attacking with a sniper unit" - "attacking" is not used exclusively for shooting. Assaults have attacks, too. Whose hits are, conveniently, allocated as in shooting.

"Choose which enemy unit is hit from those within range and line of fire". With BC weapons, range is base contact. With FF weapons, range is 15cm. Simple enough. Since the attack is made separately, one of two things would seem to happen: it's made first (in which case the range should be obvious) or it's made second (in which case you have no one to blame but yourself if you've killed everything in base contact or small arms range). An FAQ may be good for clarity, but I'm not sure there's actually an issue as such.

But what about MW hits an range stretching, I hear you cry? That's different. MW attacks are made at the same time, but allocated separately. Sniper attacks are made at a different time. Since the attack is made individually, if there's nobody in base contact you can't use your CC attack. And under normal hit allocation rules, if there's someone in base contact with you, you have to allocate the hit to them. Problem solved.

Basically, if someone tries to sneakily have Sniper CC hits stretch, they're probably wrong under the rules. Which doesn't mean we shouldn't have an FAQ anyway, just that they're probably wrong. Sniper MW attacks might still be an issue, mind.

On melee units Sniper seems to mostly be used to represent units which challenge others to single combat, or which pick out particular targets in the enemy, and that sort of thing (the Emperor's Champion is the obvious one that I can remember). I'm not sure that's well represented by other abilities, honestly. It's the "choose your target" aspect that appeals, not the armor save penalty.

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 Post subject: Re: "Sniper" re-write and "Assassin"
PostPosted: Fri Mar 08, 2013 6:01 pm 
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Simulated Knave wrote:
But what about MW hits an range stretching, I hear you cry? That's different. MW attacks are made at the same time, but allocated separately. Sniper attacks are made at a different time. Since the attack is made individually, if there's nobody in base contact you can't use your CC attack. And under normal hit allocation rules, if there's someone in base contact with you, you have to allocate the hit to them. Problem solved.


Except that Sniper speficially lets you ignore the normal allocation rules and put the hit on whatever you want within range - and range for CC hits is defined as 15cm by the rules. The requirement for being in base contact to make the hit is not part of the allocation rules.

Quote:
On melee units Sniper seems to mostly be used to represent units which challenge others to single combat, or which pick out particular targets in the enemy, and that sort of thing (the Emperor's Champion is the obvious one that I can remember). I'm not sure that's well represented by other abilities, honestly. It's the "choose your target" aspect that appeals, not the armor save penalty.


This is exactly what CC Sniper allows now. It's clunky, because the target doesn't necessarily get to use CC attacks back (maybe appropriate for Lictors, not so much for the Champion), and it steps on the toes of Infiltrate (which also allows you to select your target, only through movement mechanics instead of allocation mechanics).


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 Post subject: Re: "Sniper" re-write and "Assassin"
PostPosted: Fri Mar 08, 2013 6:07 pm 
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Except "range" on all assault weapons is specifically listed as "base contact" in their unit entries. The rules allow those hits to get allocated further out as part of general assaults, but that doesn't change what the range is. And Sniper contains a specific "in range" restriction. The range is base contact, thus, you can only allocate CC sniper hits to units in base contact.

You can allocate shooting hits outside their range. That doesn't change what their range is.

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 Post subject: Re: "Sniper" re-write and "Assassin"
PostPosted: Fri Mar 08, 2013 6:10 pm 
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Simulated Knave wrote:
You can allocate shooting hits outside their range. That doesn't change what their range is.


I disagree that that's what the rules say.

Are you thinking of an analogy with shooting "range stretching"?


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 Post subject: Re: "Sniper" re-write and "Assassin"
PostPosted: Fri Mar 08, 2013 6:12 pm 
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Ginger wrote:
Borka wrote:
I'm in favor of making sniper a weapons ability (which I guess it has already become), but making it available to normal shooting and (small arms)/FF only. Bascially keeping it a shooting only ability.
This is also a possibility, but it would still need to be 'weapon specific' to avoid "Sniper" being overpowered. Otherwise a rifle armed infantryman would be much more likely to damage / destroy a Leman Russ tank, which is absurd.

Yeah weapon specific. The to strong against AV would have to be addressed. It would be rater simple, we could use the current rule and just add the below sentence at the end.

2.1.14 Sniper
Some infantry units are noted as being snipers. Roll separately when attacking with a sniper unit. If they hit, the attacker can choose which enemy unit is hit from those within range and in the line of fire of the sniper unit. In addition the target suffers a -1 save modifier, if it is an infantry unit.
or something similar.
Ginger wrote:
Borka wrote:
I'd rather see a completely new rule then doing the CC sniper. Something along the lines of "infantry in base contact with a unit armed with a powerweapon(or whatever name) suffers a -1 to any saves they take during an assault."
Although I agree with the sentiment, the mechanics would be identical to what we already have. So if this ability is required in CC assault (which some dispute), it will be much easier to continue to use "Sniper" rather than creating a new rule like "Assassin".


I don't see how it's the same? With my proposal you don't, as the attacker, get to choose who the attack hits. It would not require any attacks to be rolled or allocated separately, which CC sniper would require.

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 Post subject: Re: "Sniper" re-write and "Assassin"
PostPosted: Fri Mar 08, 2013 6:36 pm 
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Quote:
I disagree that that's what the rules say.

Are you thinking of an analogy with shooting "range stretching"?


To some extent. Mostly just to demonstrate that "range" and "can be allocated a hit from that weapon" aren't the same concept.

Where do you think the reasoning falls down? We have a listed range of base contact, Sniper says "in range", we know that hits are allocated as in shooting...

And where does it say "the range of CC hits is 15cm"? It lets you allocate them to units in 15cm, yes, but it doesn't say what their "range" is (and don't you have to allocate them to base contact first, anyway?). As we know from range stretching, range and allocation aren't the same thing...

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