View Full Version : using a calculator to "guess" distances?

Saethiel

26-04-2010, 17:52

I saw someone using a calculator to triangulate guess/charge distances in a tournament this weekend. I was just wondering if this was common practice? is it ok to do in a tournament?

The funny part is it wasnt working very well for him, he kept guessing like 22.38 inches and being way off. Personally I dont think it should be allowed. unless you had some kind of mental/visual impairment that prevents you from doing basic math/estimate distances, I dont think you should use a calculator.

It's basically cheating. You're using a tool to influence your guess. The whole point of guess range is it being a guess. If you can do trig in your head, that's one thing, but using a calculator is at the very least unsportsmanlike. Though I'd pry let my opponent do it in a timed tourney, since he'll be wasting pry 5 minutes or so just putting in the numbers, fine by me.

NeoMonolith

26-04-2010, 17:57

Guessing isn't really guessing.

Everyone who regularly plays with cannons and other 'guess' weapons will tell you this.

grumbaki

26-04-2010, 18:02

...I guess. I've done it long enough that my cannon shots usually are on target (though after a hiatus the first few shots, not so much). But I've never tried to do any calculations in my head, nor have I ever tried to watch my opponent's tape measure to see how far his units have moved. It is just too much work.

And yes, I play Empire and Dwarfs, so I have to do guess quite a lot.

Commissar Vaughn

26-04-2010, 18:07

*sigh* Thats modern education is it ? Needing a calculator for numbers up to what? 48 at most?

I blame parents/videogames/the daily mail/etc...

;)

Mercules

26-04-2010, 18:12

*sigh* Thats modern education is it ? Needing a calculator for numbers up to what? 48 at most?

I blame parents/videogames/the daily mail/etc...

;)

Uh, huh... That "number" depends on the angles involved between the measurement you have and the measurement you want. ;) Some of those numbers are going to contain a rather large number of digits and not just the 2 digits you think they might have.

Even so you don't need a calculator. A roughed out equation can be done in your head and give you, more or less, a pretty close, "guess".

Using a calculator is fine, and should be faster than sitting there doing rough numbers in your head, so I would applaud my opponent using a calculator.

Its just smart and it should speed things up. Trigonometry is a beautiful thing.

P.S.

For full disclosure I have both used a calculator and seen one used against me.

Aren't they just using a calculator to generate a hypotenuse from two other guesses (the lengths of the other sides of the triangle, or, god forbid, one side and the angle!)? If this is the case, they're still using guesswork, so I wouldn't mind that much.

Of course, it would probably be a lot easier if they just guessed the hypotenuse from the off :D.

I would find use of a calculator acceptable only if the war machine crew were modeled to have an abacus and be drawing a triangle in the sand of their base whilst posed in a manner that appears in the middle of a heated argument.

gork or maybe mork

26-04-2010, 18:44

Tbh, its games workshop's fault for making a battlefield in nice 24' by 24' segments, making guessing range very easy, as you reduce the guess to "how far is their unit from the clearly visible line which is X inches from my cannon"

dragonlancr

26-04-2010, 18:45

Soon Iphones will read microchips build into each rank and file troop and a downloadable app will be able to judge the distance the models have moved multiplied by the amount of turns divided by the distance of the gaming table to tell the player not only if he can or can not make the charge, but who he should charge with what troops.

And this will all work from the player's pocket, only slightly vibrating after reading the player's brain and computing what he's thinking with what the reality of the software's winning combination is.

All sarcasm aside, I would frown upon the use of a calculator in a supposed fun, tabletop game with humor, slight role-playing, and the rolling of dice. In a tournament I can *see* sort of how this would make its way, but that's why I don't play in tournaments, especially big ones. It brings out the most unsportsmanlike people and the fun is drained away at the thought of winning a gaming hill. ... No seriously, the *one* tournament I did play, I won first place and won a gaming hill and lost all my friends in the process. :)

pointyteeth

26-04-2010, 18:45

I would find use of a calculator acceptable only if the war machine crew were modeled to have an abacus and be drawing a triangle in the sand of their base whilst posed in a manner that appears in the middle of a heated argument.

+1

imo, its supposed to be guessing. If you do the math in your head, it at least looks like you're guessing...and if you land the shot, you look brillant too :D

Lord Shadowheart

26-04-2010, 18:58

I once knew soemone who knew the exact length of their arm, fingertip to elbow, who used to lean on the table and work out guess range weapons that way :)

amysrevenge

26-04-2010, 19:00

Up next: GPS-enabled bases, so you know to the millimeter where all the minis are.

More seriously though, if you're doing Pythagorous sqrt(a^2 + b^2) = c on a calculator, you're missing the point. If you are estimating both a and b and then calculating c from those guesses, the estimation error propogates through the calculation and you end up with a bigger variance in your result than if you just estimate c in the first place.

(Unless you have some sort of edge in estimating a and/or b I suppose, such as the 24" grid mentioned above.)

MrInsomniac

26-04-2010, 19:02

I once knew soemone who knew the exact length of their arm, fingertip to elbow, who used to lean on the table and work out guess range weapons that way :)

This person is a modern day Prometheus.

kardar233

26-04-2010, 19:08

I once knew soemone who knew the exact length of their arm, fingertip to elbow, who used to lean on the table and work out guess range weapons that way :)

That's an ancient trick; IIRC, Alessio Cavatore brought his Skaven to a GT and very suspiciously made all of his range guesses. I think he confessed after.

White Dwarf said I could.

nzdarkelf

26-04-2010, 21:08

Yip, and wasn't it a boring article!

Mercules

26-04-2010, 21:31

I once knew soemone who knew the exact length of their arm, fingertip to elbow, who used to lean on the table and work out guess range weapons that way :)

Roughly 12" from the bone in my wrist to the start of my elbow. My foot is the same. It's useful when you are hammering Tar Paper onto a roof and want to place nails more or less every 12". ;)

Yip, and wasn't it a boring article!

At least the pictures were pretty...

Malorian

26-04-2010, 21:45

Hell, I've been called a cheater because I used to work for Subway (thus dealing with a lot of 6 inch and foot long measurements).

Alltaken

26-04-2010, 21:58

Hell, I've been called a cheater because I used to work for Subway (thus dealing with a lot of 6 inch and foot long measurements).

Major LOL! I tried to nbo fruition using measurment reference with my hand. A certain part of my finger was supposed to be X inches as seen from a certain distance. Wasn't to effective as "guessing" my eyesight seems to be better at that.

they should just scrap guess range.

I have almost exactly a 9" handspan, so can very very easily guess ranges if i want to. For obvious reasons... i don't.

Using a calculator still requires you to know the other ranges, assuming we're going with trig here. If you're a dwarf, and haven't moved at all, that's very possible (24" tables, sitting 6" on and place a unit x inches away), but not really possible in the normal scheme of things.

McMullet

26-04-2010, 23:04

I once knew soemone who knew the exact length of their arm, fingertip to elbow, who used to lean on the table and work out guess range weapons that way :)

I use a similar system - a thin strip of metal with distances marked on in inches. I simply compare the distance I want to the strip of metal, and base the guess on that. It works OK.

it's coming this way!

26-04-2010, 23:18

Hell, I've been called a cheater because I used to work for Subway (thus dealing with a lot of 6 inch and foot long measurements).

I just laughed out loud :p

I feel that the element of "guessing" is part of what makes Warhammer what it is. If you were supposed to be able to look at the board and know exactly how far everything was going to be able to move, we'd be playing chess.

Either you can crunch the numbers in your head or you can't. Personally I'm the latter, and just taught myself to eyeball the distance... I'd go ahead and say the use of an external tool like a calculator to help you in your "guess" is unsportsmanlike.

Even so you don't need a calculator. A roughed out equation can be done in your head and give you, more or less, a pretty close, "guess".

Yeah. A²+B²=C² isn't really required for the small scale stuff on the board :')

If you are shooting at something diagonally that's somewhere along the same line as something straght across, just overguess by an inch for each 10" range band its in. So if it's first turn and you are shooting at a unit ~10" next to something straight across, guess 25*+2=27" or so in case of a stonethrower, around 20-22 for a cannon :p

If you can't guess something around 10", work on that first, guessing distances somewhat accurately consistently accurately (:p) is like, half the game for most armies.

I would find use of a calculator acceptable only if the war machine crew were modeled to have an abacus and be drawing a triangle in the sand of their base whilst posed in a manner that appears in the middle of a heated argument.

Oh, I am totally making that model for at least one of my cannons.

lol i would call it cheating. So is using marked tables though the modular GW one is awfull for it. The one at the store here lets you get every hit with cannons and you know when to use MM spells.

Gorbad Ironclaw

27-04-2010, 08:36

#shrug# With a little bit of practice you can usually get your guess range weapons virtually spot on anyway so I don't really see the problem with it. In fact the whole guess range thing is a little needless IMO.

RCgothic

27-04-2010, 08:50

Mental trig isn't too bad. Just memorise Cos for every 15 degrees up to 90, and if you need anything more specific then interpolate. You will rarely need Tan or Sin, though Sin is just the reverse of cos.

Here's a rough table of degrees vs cos(degrees), and my in-game approximations of that number for multiplying/dividing.

0 100 0 0

15 97 0 0

30 87 1/10 1/10

45 71 3/10 4/10

60 50 1/2 1

75 26 3/4 4

90 0 1 N/A

So if the table is 48" across, and my unit is 6" in, the enemy's is 12" in, and there's an angle of roughly 45deg between them, then the true range is 30" divided by cos45, so add an additional 4/10ths to get a true range of 42". I'm much better able to judge distances this way than by a pure guess.

I use a similar system - a thin strip of metal with distances marked on in inches. I simply compare the distance I want to the strip of metal, and base the guess on that. It works OK.

well unless he has notched inch markers into his forearm, it's not really that similar. yes, it gets sketchy for distances that are close to exactly 1 "arm length", but for long distances, "hmm that looks about 2.5 arm lengths" he is still guessing.

also, people use "known distances" all the time when "guessing". you know the width and length of your own units. you know where you deployed your units in relation to the board edge. you know the minimum distance between opposing units at the start of the game. and on top of that, you are allowed to measure during the movement phase, meaning that you can combine known measurements in your guess.

Commodus Leitdorf

27-04-2010, 13:50

That seems...silly.

I mean it's not that hard to guess distances anyway. It takes alittle practice but once you get it down you can hit a dragon between the eyes from anywhere (Just ask the people I play against...they know first hand what I'm capable of :))

I would call that straight up cheating. If he wants to get out pen and paper I might let him do it but with a calculator? No sir.

Desert Rain

27-04-2010, 16:34

I would probably consider using a calculator cheating. I have done some calculations in my head though ;)

Orodreth

27-04-2010, 17:11

Using common sense or looking at the surrounding board is one thing. But I think a calculator just seems one step too far.

Lord Inquisitor

27-04-2010, 17:29

Up next: GPS-enabled bases, so you know to the millimeter where all the minis are.

More seriously though, if you're doing Pythagorous sqrt(a^2 + b^2) = c on a calculator, you're missing the point. If you are estimating both a and b and then calculating c from those guesses, the estimation error propogates through the calculation and you end up with a bigger variance in your result than if you just estimate c in the first place.

(Unless you have some sort of edge in estimating a and/or b I suppose, such as the 24" grid mentioned above.)

Usually this is the case however. You know how far from the edge your unit is (as you deployed it) and you should know how far forward your enemy unit is from his edge if you're paying attention to his deployment and moves, so the vertical side of the triangle can be very accurately guessed, even without a grid on the board. The horizontal distance is a bit more tricky, but it's usually easier to mentally divvy up the board into halves and quarters and guess from there than it is to make a straight horizontal guess. For a long shot, pythagoras can indeed make guessing very accurate. I have to say, anyone that actually can calculate the square root of 27^2+13^2 in their head has my respect and deserves to hit my unit!

I have to say back when I used guess ranged weapons I simply got very good at eyeballing distances but I have been coaching a friend of mine to use his war machines like this as he seems to be absolutely terrible at it. Even without working things out to three decimal places on a calculator, simple patterns like 3^2+4^2=5^2 can help out quite a bit if you find the enemy about 3' forward and 4' to the side.

As for actually pulling out a calculator... That does seem fishy, but I'm not sure if it should be disallowed or not.

puppetmaster24

27-04-2010, 17:40

i don't care if it is cheating or not.

he is the type of person i don't play with.

Malorian

27-04-2010, 17:43

I seem to remember a WD battle report (40k but back in the day where they had to guess too) where the artillery commander of one side premeasured the distance to certain points on the board and then used that list to help him with guesses during the board.

Now I thought that was down right cheating... but GW did it... in a GW article...

ZeroTwentythree

27-04-2010, 20:03

Aren't they just using a calculator to generate a hypotenuse from two other guesses (the lengths of the other sides of the triangle, or, god forbid, one side and the angle!)? If this is the case, they're still using guesswork, so I wouldn't mind that much.

Exactly!

well unless he has notched inch markers into his forearm, it's not really that similar.

I can see the sensational news articles blowing it out of proportion: "Warhammer turned my child into a cutter!"

Maybe a tattoo alternative?

RCgothic

27-04-2010, 20:26

I have to say, anyone that actually can calculate the square root of 27^2+13^2 in their head has my respect and deserves to hit my unit!

Root of 898, which is as close to 30" as matters, though it did take me a moment that would have been uncomfortably long, and root of 900 is about as easy as they come.

Woodsman

27-04-2010, 22:02

Exactly!

[/B]"

Maybe a tattoo alternative?

Sounds a bit like prison break...

lower stakes and less reward, but awesome nonetheless.

The calculator bit is stretching sportsmanship pretty far in my opinion. If I caught an opponent laying his arm out to guess distances, he might pull back a bloody stump. Figuratively speaking of course.

Grand Warlord

28-04-2010, 04:11

I am with Todosi on this one, I have taken the time and impatience to figure out how to guess pretty decently. It's a rite of passage :)

Guessing isn't really guessing.

Everyone who regularly plays with cannons and other 'guess' weapons will tell you this.

Exactly, guessing is mainly a thing for young generals/new players. Once you get used to it (shooting cannons and mortars) and become more familiar with the playing surface and how to calculate relative distances, it less a matter of guessing and more a thing of doing quick, simple math in your head.

Still, those damned dice do act up all too often! I've had so many :wtf: moments in many a game. :p

Even without calculating, a simple formula is really handy : 3²+4²=5²

For the initial measurement, you just have to remember the distance between the units and the deployment zone limits. When you move, you can use the length to calculate the distances, and the shooting phase is a great way to verify your calculation.

Math Student here! You cant use "Pyt" formula here it will **** it up for you unless your warmachine is face in a dircet 90 decree triangle pyts formula only works for a 90 decre triangle... If you want the right formula for a random Triangle

You need the formula for Cosinusrelations C^2=a^2+b^2 - 2*a*b*CosC..

I could prove the formula for you but i would take up some space..but if are you wondering over why you "pyt" formula do not work its becouse you are useing a formula for a 90 decree Triangle

RCgothic

28-04-2010, 08:16

Using that formula would probably be a detriment. Compared to the standard pythagoran theorum using sides alligned to the board edges, you're now having to guess two sides and an angle, whilst the sides are less easily guessable compared to the case when they're alligned with the edges. You could allign the short sides with the edges, but then C becomes 90', cosC becomes 0, and the entire thing reduces to pythagoras, so there was no point using the modified formula.

chromedog

28-04-2010, 08:21

I once knew soemone who knew the exact length of their arm, fingertip to elbow, who used to lean on the table and work out guess range weapons that way :)

I think we know the same guy. :D

I used to do this. My forearm to tip of middle finger is 18".

I can also do 6" or less on my hands.

I used to work in a ceramic tile factory. We made stuff in 3", 4", 6", 8", 12" and 18" sizes. After a while, I could just look at something and 'know' how large it was, though.

Basic Pythagorean geometry in your head is easy. You know two sides and an angle. You can guess most others off this.

Are you people for real? You're seriously gonna try and make us believe you calculate stuff like that when you (*coughcough*) play? I know what 8" are (it's the one thing to know, realy), so I just add as many 8" sections as needed in my head, and that's pretty much it. And it works like a charm, even if it's boring as hell.

I feel that the element of "guessing" is part of what makes Warhammer what it is. If you were supposed to be able to look at the board and know exactly how far everything was going to be able to move, we'd be playing chess.

Yeah, totally, if you remove range guesses, Warhammer is exactly like chess, it's the one defining factor (for those who lack a sarcasm detector for da interwebz posts, it should be all the way in the red with this comment).

RCgothic

28-04-2010, 08:39

Well, squares and squareroots are time consuming, but you can do a basic h=a/cos(Theta) easily enough if you use some approximations for 1/cos.

For example:

Theta h=a/cos(theta)

0 a

15 a

30 1.1a

45 1.4a

60 2a

75 4a

90 N/a

This does start to get a bit inaccurate above 45', but then you can just start from the other perpendicular distance, simples.

Woodsman

28-04-2010, 09:01

I'd probably sigh.

Surely no-one takes it that seriously?

TheDarkDaff

28-04-2010, 09:05

The calculator bit is stretching sportsmanship pretty far in my opinion. If I caught an opponent laying his arm out to guess distances, he might pull back a bloody stump. Figuratively speaking of course.

Or at least a severly red arm from those wonderful whipping sticks GW give us for just such occasions.

Yeah you can use pythag, if you know how long and wide the board is (sort of), you can calculate the distance from and between just about any spot.

Key: + = Unit, &= cannon

.............................+

.............................*

.............................*...1ft (B)

..............&********

...................2ft (A)

(sorry about the dots)

C squared = A squared + B squared

C squared = 2ft squared + 1 ft sqaured

C squared = (square root) 5ft

C = 2.24ft

This is boring, sad, time consuming, suspicious looking, and perhaps cheating. Teh point is to guess, and really, do you think the Empire (or dwarsf) have come up with Pythag and can use it to calculate how far away a target is, whilst being shot and snarled at by some angry _______________.

True if you place your warmachine in a direct angle to the table edge then you can use Pythargoas. However if useing Cass is ok I would go for the Cosinusrelations and place my thrower in a strategic nice position and just pinpoint his units..

Well I was just answering why some ppl where hitting off the mark when useing cass its becosue they are useing the wrong formula becouse they forget "pythargoas" is only used for a 90 Decree triangle.

Spiney Norman

28-04-2010, 10:40

Hmmm, so judging by these responses, I guess a lot of people here would be against the use of a note book to keep track of how far your opponent moves their units and the ranges measured for magic/shooting units each turn? Not that I would ever do anything so obvious as intentionally stand a wizard with a magic missile spell next to my catapult you understand ;)

I don’t use a calculator, but I can see the appeal. I usually run approximated values through my head using pythagorus’ theorem to inform my distance guesses, and I’m pretty accurate most of the time.

I wouldn’t frown on using a calculator, about the only thing that’s not on where guess range is concerned is actually using some kind of instrument to physically measure the distance, whether that is a ruler, tape measure, or your own body parts.

This is boring, sad, time consuming, suspicious looking, and perhaps cheating. Teh point is to guess, and really, do you think the Empire (or dwarsf) have come up with Pythag and can use it to calculate how far away a target is, whilst being shot and snarled at by some angry _______________.

Not at all the point, but a warmachine crew would know from experience how far a shot would go at any given elevation of the cannon barrel, or any given weight for the catapult shot. Suffice it to say I would assume the crew have methods for working out how far to shoot their machine, I think its one of the Empire helstorm crewmen who carries some kind of bizarre sextant-like instrument that is presumably for siting distances for firing the machine. Its entirely representative anyway, I don't at all have a problem with people using maths to better their shot.

Jind_Singh

28-04-2010, 17:32

lol, who needs a calculator when I saw this one Empire player do a valid move but it smacked of cheating!

He took the crystal ball for one of his characters, and enemy must reveal all secrets within 24".

In his movement phase he would gallop forwards with the character and do a 24" sweep to see what secrets he could find out. The cheating part was his cannons were placed behind the character start with, so he knew how far he galloped, and his 'guesses' were amazingly accurate! Needless to say the character was singled out for a quick death after which his 'guesses' were not so accurate!

Malorian

28-04-2010, 17:38

lol, who needs a calculator when I saw this one Empire player do a valid move but it smacked of cheating!

He took the crystal ball for one of his characters, and enemy must reveal all secrets within 24".

In his movement phase he would gallop forwards with the character and do a 24" sweep to see what secrets he could find out. The cheating part was his cannons were placed behind the character start with, so he knew how far he galloped, and his 'guesses' were amazingly accurate! Needless to say the character was singled out for a quick death after which his 'guesses' were not so accurate!

I wouldn't all that cheating.

Sneaky yes, but not cheating.

Oh, I am totally making that model for at least one of my cannons.

And don't forget to add a Master Engineer kicking some clueless bloke (if Imperial)!

"Schmidt! Ya klutz!"

Seriously, that would be a really nice conversion project.

I wouldn't all that cheating.

Sneaky yes, but not cheating.

I agree... all's fair in war and luv. The player didn't break any rules, but such a stratagem is one bound for quick terminations after the first two attempts. Don't know if it was worth it, points-wise, but not illegal in the least.

Are you people for real? You're seriously gonna try and make us believe you calculate stuff like that when you (*coughcough*) play?

When using guess range weapons I:

1/ Guess

2/ Do a quick sum, using terrain and known distances to calculate

3/ If they don't match think about it some more

Generally I trust my instinct and go with the guess, sometimes the 5 seconds it takes to do the maths highlights an error.

Personally I'd like to see guess range go, it should be the a Goblin, Dwarf etcs accuracy that decides how good the weapon is not my ability to guestimate.

Or at least a severly red arm from those wonderful whipping sticks GW give us for just such occasions.

The irony of this is that if you hit him in the right way, you'll leave a series of lines every inch down his arm. Removes the need to measure it in the first place :D

Lorcryst

28-04-2010, 20:37

I fail at math. And it's even worse with trigonometry. Blame the math teacher that fed us a spreadsheet of formulas without explaining what they did or how to prove them ...

Still, when I use Rock Lobbas or dwarf cannons, I don't need math : my first shot is a wild guess to "get the range", and the others are guessed from there ... with a table 48" wide, it's not hard anyway.

The calculator guy is way to serious for me ... next step is what, a computer that rolls random numbers instead of dice ?

There's a certain appeal to doing things "old fashioned", with only your brain, dice and a tape measure to work with, IMHO.

I once knew soemone who knew the exact length of their arm, fingertip to elbow, who used to lean on the table and work out guess range weapons that way :)

finger to elbow 18-19 inches (depends on which finger), pinkie to palm 6 inches:rolleyes:.

Knew somebody who did it and basically smacked him because it's generally cheating. After that me and my gaming group made jokes about it.

Still it really ain't hard to guess ranges. As in real warfare with cannons, the first shot is always a ranging shot after that you just have to remember how much each unit moves, guess general distance from other units and with experience you will learn a lot.

Using a calculator? Sure, I'll frown upon it, but if it makes your life easier, why not, as long as you don't use your measuring tape. Take notes? That's just smart. Soldiers manning cannons probably did the same back in the day and nobody said they were cheating :P .

lol, who needs a calculator when I saw this one Empire player do a valid move but it smacked of cheating!

He took the crystal ball for one of his characters, and enemy must reveal all secrets within 24".

In his movement phase he would gallop forwards with the character and do a 24" sweep to see what secrets he could find out. The cheating part was his cannons were placed behind the character start with, so he knew how far he galloped, and his 'guesses' were amazingly accurate! Needless to say the character was singled out for a quick death after which his 'guesses' were not so accurate!

That is a round about way of doing it if the unit was within the scan range - he could have just asked for the range from whatever unit was in the to the cannon. After all, it specifically says they have to reveal *everything* else they are not normally obliged to reveal. Then you can ask them things like "What do you intend to do with this unit next turn" and "How does this unit figure into your strategy for the game" and so forth. Of course, some people will just lie to you, but if someone is going to cheat then they are going to cheat and there is not much you can do about it. Some people are just cheaters.

I would approve to someone using a calculator just because it makes warhammer even geekier.

~PrometheuS~

29-04-2010, 13:27

This person is a modern day Prometheus.

I here my name :D

Anyways its a guess, so yeah id be wonder wtf is wrong with the dude i was playing if he pulled out a calculator....

Fair enough you can gather what info you can like distance a unit moved etc, and add it up, but using a calculator to do so is just sad

Arkfatalis

01-05-2010, 13:34

The calculator guy is way to serious for me ... next step is what, a computer that rolls random numbers instead of dice ?

Bizarely I was at a mates house playing Warhammer and none of us had dice so we just used the dice game on my phone. The one where you shake your phone and the dice randomly roll. We weren't using artilery dice as it was only a 500 point game , but still.......

So, someone is nerdy enough to play Warhammer, but not nerdy enough to use the Thaggy Theorem in his head?

For shame. Fie on his maths teachers.

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