Tabletop Wargames Builder Ch 3: I See - You See
 
Hello, fellow gamers. It is currently the fourth entry of the Tabletop Wargames Builder project. So far we were discussing the structure of the game Turn and Round and how the Actions system works. Today we will proceed with the core game mechanics such as Field of View and Area Effects.

WHAT CAN YOU SEE?


Obviously your model must be able to see the enemy to charge, shoot or use abilities.


Models on the table can’t view the battlefield from above like you do, which means most of it is hidden from a particular soldier by rugged terrain, smoke and hostile formations. Usually the characters represented by your models don’t have eyes on the back of their heads either and can only see in the direction they are facing.



FIELD OF VIEW


Every model has 180° Field of View, or FoV.


  • For a model to be able to see an enemy or an object (such as a crate of salvageable equipment, a land mine or mission objective) the latter must be Inside the model’s FoV.


Example: the Barbarian can see the Wizard and the Elf while the Knight remains outside his Field of View.


Field of View is important for several aspects of the game such as spotting hidden enemy models and flanking.


Textbook tactics: Watch your six! Models striking from outside the Field of View often gain tremendous combat advantage. Be sure your troops advance in formations whenever possible, cover and support each other. 


Tip: you can mark the FoV on the side of a model’s base with paint to avoid argument whether your model is looking in the right direction, especially in cases when a model’s pose doesn’t clearly depict its facing.



AREA OF EFFECT


Field of View is the first Area of Effect you naturally come across. Now is a good time to talk about an Area concept in this game.


Area of Effect, or AoE for short, can take any form: (semi-)circular, conical, rectangular or even irregular shape to name some. This is what various Templates are for.


  • To be Inside the AoE it is enough for any portion of the model’s Base to be overlapping with the Area. A model with more than half of its base within the Area is treated as being Completely inside the AoE.


Example: A grenade (or fireball) explosion is another common case of an Area effect. It uses a circular template to mark the area. Both enemy models have their bases at least partially overlapping with the template but the unfortunate alien is Completely inside.


Depending on the case, models can suffer additional effects for being Completely inside the AoE.



FOV AND VISIBILITY


A model facing its target still may not be able to see it. Why? Because its view can be blocked by an obstacle.


Obstacles are pieces of terrain and sometimes other models that interfere with Field of View and create a blind spot. The simplest way to check the FoV altered by an obstacle is to draw a thread from any point of your model’s base so that it doesn’t cross the obstacle…



  • Models Completely inside the AoE are clearly Visible.
  • Models Inside, yet not completely, are Partially visible. They are still treated as being in the FoV, but Partial visibility grants a model the benefit of Cover.
  • Models outside the AoE are not visible at all and can’t be nominated as targets for any purpose.


Example: the Spearman is Visible to the Knight. The Elf is Partially visible. Players can’t clearly determine if the Rogue is fully or partially visible – roll a D6 to resolve this predicament.


Of course there are other ways to check Field of View such as using marker light or (as some rulebooks suggest) leaning close to the table to try to see from the model’s perspective. The latter is not recommended if you are fielding scores of pikemen with tips raised :-)


  • Enemy models can interfere with FoV if they are at least the same Size as both your model and the Target model.
  • Allied models don’t interfere with FoV.

Decide which terrain features block Field of View before placing any terrain on the table. As always the easiest way is to rely on common sense. For example, a wooden palisade obstructs FoV while a wire fence doesn’t.



TEAM VIEW


For your entire force to be aware of an enemy it is enough for the latter to be in the FoV of at least one allied model. For example, if an ally can spot an enemy model behind the corner, everyone can act as if they know it is there.




Right now the Rogue can’t see the Crossbowman. In order to charge him, he must first spend a Regular Action to move around the corner and change facing.





Then he will be able to charge the now visible enemy spending a second RA. This is not the best disposition for the Rogue because the Crossbowman can now see him as well and becomes eligible for a Reaction. He can nail the assailant with a shot or run away out of reach.




In a different case, however, an allied player’s Wizard has the Crossbowman in plain view so both he and the Rogue are aware of the presence of the enemy.


This means the Rogue can nominate the Crossbowman as an attack target from the very beginning, move around the corner and charge him as a single Regular Action as long as he has enough movement points to pull it off.


Textbook Tactics: Since the Crossbowman can only see the Wizard, but there is no one to provide a friendly Field of View around the corner, he is completely unaware of the Rogue and can’t choose to React to the charge. It is also preferable for the Green player not to risk his Wizard in a magic bolt vs. steel bolt duel and act as a passive spotter for his ally, provided that the Blue player goes before the Red.


  • If an enemy model or an object on the battlefield is in the FoV of at least one of your models, it counts as being in the FoV of all models including all allied players.