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View Full Version : Area Terrain vs. True Line of Sight... which do you prefer?



PatchOnMyShoulder
09-02-2011, 05:44
If this has been done as a poll before I apologize (I checked and didn't see it), but in two threads today I saw it mentioned and something I notice is while I see people who dislike it, I rarely see anyone who defends it as the better way to have gone.

I myself dislike it, but I've never put much thought into it beyond it slowed things down when GW said they wanted to speed them up (old system, base on terrain = in terrain, new system, get to model level = pain in my neck... sometimes literally)

Thought I'd get some opinions here.

PatchOnMyShoulder
09-02-2011, 05:49
Let me also note I'm not saying their isn't some value to True LoS... just off the top of my head I don't see much that makes it superior to what you can do with Area. Having just generally gone with whatever any game says I've never pro'd/con'd them both in any depth before.

ehlijen
09-02-2011, 05:50
Is there meant to be a poll question here?

There is a strong case to be made that the TLOS being introduced so soon after GW released a lot of very spiky Cities of death buildings is some kind of conspiracy to blind all wargamers in the world.

But I like TLOS. Yes it can be abused, but so could area terrain. And lets' not pretend area terrain was without TLOS elements. We did have the infamous rhino sniping after all (ie a rhino could be parked in front of a devestator squad to only leave it LOS to the enemy squad's sergeant/attached IC/specialist so any wounds had to be put on that model.

And the new system isn't devoid of area terrain either. Base of infantry in terrain = in terrain.

The 4th ed mix of TLOS and area terrain rules could easily be abused by model placement. The 5th ed mix almost always requires that the abuser actually remodel his units. Ie it takes a lot more effort and commitment to abuse the rules which hopefully discourages those not dead set on doing so.

PatchOnMyShoulder
09-02-2011, 05:54
Is there meant to be a poll question here?


It's showing up for me at the moment at the top, is it not showing for you?

Radium
09-02-2011, 06:04
I prefer a mix. Things like woods etc should block line of sight to whatever is beyond but with purely TLoS this is impossible.

Lothlanathorian
09-02-2011, 06:05
I would argue that, because of the wounding rules, 'True Line of Sight' isn't. And the 'model's eye view' has been around for forever. I don't remember much about 2nd, but I know it's how it worked in 3rd. I skipped 4th. The only difference is 'Area Terrain' was just 'Terrain' back in 3rd, otherwise, it pretty much all works the same way.

Either they are in terrain or they are not, if they are, they get a cover save. Nothing new there. Either you can see the guy/unit you want to shoot at or you can't. Nothing new there, either. The only difference now? If your Sgt is the only guy I can see, he doesn't have to be the one removed. So no lascannon sniping.

And, just in case I missed something, what exactly is the question asking? Do I prefer that, if there is a 'terrain base' with only two trees on it, then you only get cover if you are behind one of them as opposed to between them/on the 'area terrain' base?

adreal
09-02-2011, 06:08
Ah area terrain, what fun it was, having a daemon prince sit behind a piece of whatever with a defined base, not being shot, them warp tiem, move and kill, and hide behind more terrain.

How is that fun for anyone?? Chaos would be boring, and the other guy just dies.

Dark eldar would be horrendous if we still had area terrain

Dwane Diblie
09-02-2011, 07:24
I think everything as it is with two exceptions. It can be hard to hide a vehicle in aria terain and so it should be but it should still get some for of protection even if it is reduced from the cover provided to infantry. After that everything else should get full cover saves from area terrain given that even MC can Dodge, Duck, Dip, Dive and Dodge. Sure if a MC is hiding in a realy low crater he cannot hide but in a tall forrest?

riotknight
09-02-2011, 07:36
I prefer a Hybrid of both based on model and/or type.

Woods as area terrain makes sense, because if you have a bunch of trees on the field it makes it really annoying to move through. Then again, I prefer playing on Cities of Death terrain tables

Jind_Singh
09-02-2011, 07:54
I like area terrain in the sense that if someone bases their city ruin on a base, yes - the entire base gives cover to whatever unit inside - unless it be a vehicle in which case it physically needs to be hidden enough to get cover. But woods blocking LOS? No - as otherwise it'll place too much importance on terrain and could really ruin the game - skulkers advancing in the comfort that the woods will protect them!

What I would like to see though is a variation in the blanket 4+ cover save!

True line of sight works fine in 40k - more so than in Warhammer - to the point were I associate TLOS with 40k!

Gingerwerewolf
09-02-2011, 10:17
What I would like to see though is a variation in the blanket 4+ cover save!

Thats my Hatred. I know they say, "Its deliberately generous" but come on! If Im on a bit of rubble, there's 50% chance that I wont be killed? If there are ten guys 100m in front of me and they've gone to ground while I stand to advance I enjoy a 50% chance of not being hit?

Give me a break!

In all the games Ive played in 5th, every model has got a save of 4+ against shooting attacks because of the rediculous cover system.

Oooh someone struck a nerve there I think ;)

Lord Damocles
09-02-2011, 10:42
The current line of sight/cover save rules work fine as they are (sans everything being 4+).

A lot of people seem to view previous systems with very rose-tinted glasses.

DeeKay
09-02-2011, 10:48
Since playing Warmachine (heresy I know but bear with me) I have come to accept that TLOS only really works in-game if each model has a stat for its size. Otherwise, people model for advantage (prone guardsmen seem popular) which is IMO ridiculous. Making cool models usually handicaps that player? Whatever happened to promoting all aspects of the hobby?

Area terrain is great to represent things like forests and ruins so long as you are clear beforehand regarding its boundaries. I must admit I'm still a fan of removing squad members from out of cover if the majority of the squad is in it. It makes sense that the guys in the open get torn apart first.

With regards,
Dan.

Thud
09-02-2011, 11:22
Not a big fan of TLOS, but it's nothing I get really up in arms about.

Nezalhualixtlan
09-02-2011, 11:35
I prefer a mix. I like TLoS, but for some pieces of terrain like woods you want models to be able to move through, it doesn't make sense to have the piece be so filled you can't use it to put models in. So, I think it makes sense the way the current edition plays it, with infantry getting generous saves behind or in it, and MCs/Vehicles requiring more strict coverage. With Buildings/ruins it's easier to get full coverage, and I think that's fine too. Basically I like the way it is now in 5th Ed.

Chem-Dog
09-02-2011, 12:00
For me TLOS really just boils down to the simple mechanism of "Is there terrain anywhere between where the bullets come from and where they're going?"
Yes- Cover save.
No- No cover save.

Might be because me and the guys who I play aren't generally that hardass about it, one of the most common phrases you'll hear at our tables is "Am I getting a cover save from that?"

One thing it has done is made template weapons much more desirable (imho) but generally, I preferred area and size classifications to terrain, they just needed to be refined, rather than abandoned.
But again, we're fairly relaxed about it, so I didn't suffer many of the horrendous effects we hear about.

Bunnahabhain
09-02-2011, 12:05
Neither.

Area and size classifications. Not just simple area terrain, and most definitively not true LOS- it just doesn't work at this scale and model count.

Archibald_TK
09-02-2011, 13:12
If this has been done as a poll before I apologize (I checked and didn't see it), but in two threads today I saw it mentioned and something I notice is while I see people who dislike it, I rarely see anyone who defends it as the better way to have gone.
To be frank, I never hear anybody complain about TLoS at the shop, or the local GW, or independent tables. On the other hand as soon as I step into English speaking forums I see people whining about it all day long. It's probably that due to the game having been less present/popular in our country than in the US/GB in the previous years, we also have less veterans so that means less people who remember how things were before and promote it.

Personally I enjoy buying and building scenery knowing that thanks to TLoS what I build has an impact on the game. Look at my sig and check the Chaos scenery for example, the right one with the ruins and the crater. Depending on your position the ruins pillars align in such a way that they fully block LoS like if they were a single huge wall. It's quite interesting to use it during a game. If everything was area then I would not bother and invest an absolute minimum amount of work and money in scenery. I consider that going full area is not suited for a game that size, or any 30mm game for that matters.

On the other hand I also consider that only TLoS is a miss. Some scenery, especially natural settings like woods shall be area terrains. It would add one additional tactical aspect to the game that is currently missing (and make more sense IMO). So I voted for a mix depending on the terrain.

ColShaw
09-02-2011, 14:16
The models and terrain are both representative. I understand the rationale behind TLOS, but I think it leads to some very silly situations. I feel that the 4th Ed terrain rules were better than the 5th Ed ones, but could still have been improved.

AlphariusOmegon20
09-02-2011, 14:28
I'm afraid I'm in a minority.

I think 7th Ed. Fantasy got it right when it came to woods. (the infinitely tall trees thing was stupid though) If a stand of woods is small and can be seen though, then you can see through it to target something. However, if it is a very thick stand, you're not going to be able to see anything in it or on the other side of it, due to it blocking your LOS, until something gets within a certain distance of the edge of those woods. That means even though you may know something's there, you can't target it because you can't see it. (I personally think an exception should be made for indirect firing vehicles though. They should always be able to target anything because of the way they fire. They just lob rounds in and hope they hit something.)

Xarian
09-02-2011, 15:45
I like TLoS except for the situations mentioned above (the old "3 trees representing a woods" thing) - it's just not practical to model an entire copse or put in the appropriate amount of bushes, especially if you expect models to still be able to sit on them without tipping over. When I've played, sometimes we take a bean-shaped piece of cardboard, put a tree on it, and say "this is woods - it grants XX cover save and blocks LOS to units behind (but not within) it", but still use LOS for things like ruined buildings and craters.

Relating to models, though, I really dislike the "model's eye view" thing. The static pose of a model is only supposed to be an abstraction of the fluidly moving creature - they should not get LOS bonuses or penalties for how they are sculpted or posed (referring to infantry - vehicles are a slightly different matter due to size and scattering). Case in point is the "crawling Wraithlord", which is just ridiculous all around.

Venkh
09-02-2011, 16:25
I hate being shot through windows or through tiny gaps between LOS blocking terrain. It is almost impossible to hide anything on the tabletop these days, even when using the big GW buildings.

So im not a fan, I prefer abstract rules. I want them back.

Vaktathi
09-02-2011, 19:02
For the most part I prefer TLoS. Area terrain often leads to simply *way* too much LoS blockage, and encourages lazy terrain making/use.

I remember 4E boards with their felt mat "forests", which were visually ugly and were the absolute most abstract things you could ever use for terrain, and you'd have no LoS farther than 24" anywhere on the board, allowing fast skimmer or assault based armies to engage with little or no danger until they were poised to strike. I remember many games in 4E where I wouldn't get to shoot at anything, because all the area terrain blocked LoS, until my opponents army was entirely in rapid fire/assault range. This wasn't an issue of too much terrain, it's that just Area flat out blocked too much LoS.

I find that most times there's a problem with TLoS, it's that people don't have proper terrain. Yes, it can be an issue, terrain is time consuming to make, but it's not something that is wrong with the rules.

That said, yes forested terrain needs some level of abstraction if you want to be able to move models through. And yes the current TLoS ruleset has some issues, putting a krak rocket through two windows on a ruins 30something inches away to hit a barely visible target happens, and is silly. I still feel though that TLoS as a whole works much better than the old area terrain rules that just choked off way too much LoS and lead to sloppy/crappy terrain.

Bunnahabhain
09-02-2011, 19:38
Area terrain, with height/size classifications.

Size classifications allow things like fences, hedges, barrels etc, to offer varying levels of cover, without blocking LOS.

They also allow cut in terrain to work properly- nicely modelled up craters, trenches etc are all well and good, but unless you're prepared to fix a table in one layout, you can't really cut them in.

Of course, you also need to add size classes to models as well.
Grots and swarms
Standard infantry
Large infantry- Ogyrn/lictor size
Small MC/Vehicle- trukks etc
Large MC/Vehicle - russes etc

Go to ground, and you count as one size smaller for cover+ LOS purposes. Clearly vehicles can't do this.

Simple, easy, plenty of variety, and doesn't penalise modelling. It also requires you to have the terrain modelled- yo need to be able to see if it is man height scrub, or a 40 foot tall woodland, so you can't just have a felt mat woodland....

Souleater
09-02-2011, 19:48
Prefer Area terrain.

It makes life a lot easier for gamers to get into 'Okay, this green fuzzy felt is a forest until I can make or buy one.'

Plus TLOS really isn't as the game promptly demands abstraction - okay, so you killed those three guys even though you couldn't see them?

TheMav80
09-02-2011, 19:59
Area Terrain still exists guys. Now you can just see through it.

Dyrnwyn
09-02-2011, 22:38
Area Terrain still exists guys. Now you can just see through it.
One of the things I liked about 4th over 5th, is that area terrain mattered. It mattered if you had a position on a hill overlooking a plain, it mattered if you were silly enough to deploy with three forests surrounding your unit. Terrain created interesting and unique boards with different fire lanes. These days, with area terrain as it is, if I mistakenly deploy my unit there... big deal. I grant the enemy a 4+ cover save, but I can still shoot. Which isn't a big deal if the enemy has a better armor save or my weapons don't have the AP to beat their armor. Boards no longer feel unique to me, all that has changed is the position of where the clouds of cover granting mist are.

I was hoping that 5th would expand size categories the way that Bunnahabhain describes. I was sorely disappointed.

TLOS is one of my bugbears, and combined with their changes in editions in 40k and Fantasy, GW has lost the majority of my buisness. TLOS, Running, and Kill Points drastically reduced the effectiveness of my Tau. I built Orks and Grey Knights, then found that TLOS and Kill Points still annoyed me, and missions were largely bland compared to the more distinct missions and complexity levels of 4th ed. I turned to Fantasy, built Wood Elves, and then got slapped with 8th ed's changes, which made combat skirmishers terrible, TLOS handled even more poorly than in 40k, and mages being incredibly battle tipping. I'm out - I'll play against my friends occasionally, or in a special scenario, but my heart's just not in ordinary play of any of GW's main games in the current environment.

insectum7
09-02-2011, 22:44
Area Terrain still exists guys. Now you can just see through it.

True for infantry, however determining cover for vehicles is more involved than it needs to be and leaves too much room for argument. Things are much faster if you use area/size terrain for vehicles as well.

That your own troops can block line of sight is really irritating as well. I'm fine with them giving cover, but spending time to scootch models around to make sure that everyone can actually fire is a pain in the *** and slows things down. I shouldn't have to worry about the exact positioning of each model. I'll probably try to get a house rule through my local group about it.



One of the things I liked about 4th over 5th, is that area terrain mattered. It mattered if you had a position on a hill overlooking a plain, it mattered if you were silly enough to deploy with three forests surrounding your unit. Terrain created interesting and unique boards with different fire lanes.


I agree with this as well. Though one can sort of get the same effect this edition by making a different style of terrain instead of forests. (like a stone henge, or a forested stone henge... or something) I did like that forests blocked LOS while still allowing things to move through it. I guess decent ruins could work, but I don't like how they look as much as a more natural setting.

Terrain in 4th was easy.

TheMav80
09-02-2011, 23:36
So you guys had no terrain that actually blocked line of sight in 4th? It was all just some sort of nebulous area terrain?

That is just odd to me.

Dyrnwyn
10-02-2011, 00:08
So you guys had no terrain that actually blocked line of sight in 4th? It was all just some sort of nebulous area terrain?

That is just odd to me.

We had some of it. Each table tended to have a big piece of terrain or two - cliffs, a single building, a couple of bunkers, a pair of storage tanks. But by and large, the rest of the terrain in our FLGS was felt forests with enough trees to put two trees in each forest, and a few ruin bases with the corners of each building placed on the base. When 5th came out, we got alot more area terrain, in the form of ruin bases with ruined corners to place on the edges.

In 4th, if I wanted to have an interesting and unique battlefield, it could be forested, mountainous, ruined, savannah, desert, trenches, anything. Now to have the same effect, all the terrain has to be fully modeled, which looks pretty, but drastically limits available options to basically cities or cliff faces and rocks everywhere. Any other environment demands lots of area terrain and feels like playing on a slightly different place on Bowling Ball IV, and I dislike the fact that in order to have a fun gaming experience, I am expected to own studio quality terrain.

TheMav80
10-02-2011, 01:16
Oh, I have had the cities of death terrain since it came out. I had some scratch made forests (using model christmas trees I bought at Walmart the day after Xmas for real cheap), but replaced those with the GW ones.

Now I own most of the GW terrain they have released and find that gives me a good selection of terrain. Which I do think is important for an interesting game.

The CoD buildings block LoS past them and the forests provide area terrain. Mixed into that we have fences and low walls and hills and craters. The Bastions and Warhammer Fantasy house are used as enterable/destructable buildings with fire points.

If you find the GW prices too much you could scratch build any of this stuff for pretty cheap. I find the new rules vastly superior to the old ones.

Dyrnwyn
10-02-2011, 01:39
Terrain talk
Look, I know that GW's CoD terrain looks good. I also know it takes up too much space for me to physically store it at the moment. It also, by and large is too big/fragile for the store to use/keep it. Even if I personally had room for it, I'd have no way to transport it to where I game, as my personal transport is a motorcycle, and frankly, the manufactorum is not going to fit in my saddlebags. That's the primary sticking point for simply having good, firelane blocking terrain.

However, you seem to have missed a big point on my last post, which is to say that if you don't want to play your battle as occurring on a foggy day on planet bowling ball, you are left with either scratch building some big mountains/buildings, or buying CoD buildings. I can't break up firelanes with area terrain in any meaningful way, which means forest/countryside/jungle battles are right out. Ruined cities can mix in some ruins with buildings, but again, that's a big terrain investment.


If you find the GW prices too much you could scratch build any of this stuff for pretty cheap. I find the new rules vastly superior to the old ones.
Yeah, I do find the GW prices too much. It's really the least of my problems though - if I really wanted to have a cityscape, I'd papercraft some out of cardstock, or buy some of that vacu-form stuff from Amera. But that doesn't fix the fact that forests are no longer a viable place to fight in. They're relegated to patches in the mountains or cities. It doesn't change the fact that TLOS is wonky in 40k, and seriously borks Fantasy.

In some cases I can agree with you - both 8th ed Fantasy and 5th ed 40k have improved in many places over their previous editions. However, lots of 'improvements' have been made that cause serious invalidation to area terrain, skirmishers, even to the detriment of entire armies (Necrons, Wood Elves). Overall, some are far worse than TLOS, but TLOS is no small thing.

lanrak
10-02-2011, 11:11
Hi all.
Actual 'true line of sight' can only be used if EVERYTHING on the playing are is at exactly the same scale.

In 40k the horisontal scale and vertical scale are different by a factor of about 5, terrain and scenic items can be of any apropriate size.
(Even the minatures are heavily abstracted.)

So the ONLY sensible way to deal with these abstractions is to use a rules that acomodate them.
If models and terrain are given a 'hieght -size' then this takes the abstractions into account , and allows for simple rules...like most other TTMG use...:rolleyes:

TTFN

Shab
10-02-2011, 12:45
I voted area terrain. There was a phrase that we used to use in previous editions, it was called "fire lane". Back then shooty units had to be carefully deployed to cover as much ground as possible, and as assault units tried to approach by shielding themselves behind forests and the like, shooty units would frequently have to redeploy and react to that. It made for an interesting game. Compare that to fighting today's IG. You can't hide anywhere, they can see you everywhere, they can reach and shoot you everywhere, everyone and everything gets a 4+ cover save. Boring.

Beppo1234
10-02-2011, 13:56
to solve many problems, I did away with 'area terrrain' on my board all together. No large based terrain that a model can actually stand on, other than hills and buildings.

mainly the forest stuff. To be honest, the larger your 'base' of trees, the more of a pain in the ... it is to store away, transport, or protect. So all my trees and bushes are now individually based on either 35mm bases, 50 mm dreadnaught bases, and 2 monstrous creature bases. But they are all fully packed. I find that this solves a lot of the issue with the rules. Basically, I changed my approach to modelling my terrain, to make judgement a little easier.

Xarian
10-02-2011, 16:36
I voted area terrain. There was a phrase that we used to use in previous editions, it was called "fire lane". Back then shooty units had to be carefully deployed to cover as much ground as possible, and as assault units tried to approach by shielding themselves behind forests and the like, shooty units would frequently have to redeploy and react to that. It made for an interesting game. Compare that to fighting today's IG. You can't hide anywhere, they can see you everywhere, they can reach and shoot you everywhere, everyone and everything gets a 4+ cover save. Boring.

Right, the abstract LOS rules favor infantry - which, ultimately, is what 40k is about (even IG uses a lot of them). With the newer LOS rules, it heavily favors shooty units or units that move really really ridiculously fast, so you get more mechanized, gun line, and "alpha strike" lists compared to the traditional "balanced" lists.

I prefer terrain to be tactically useful - not just eye candy. There needs to be some sort of balance between true LOS and area terrain.

thoughtfoxx
10-02-2011, 17:22
The models and terrain are both representative. I understand the rationale behind TLOS, but I think it leads to some very silly situations. I feel that the 4th Ed terrain rules were better than the 5th Ed ones, but could still have been improved.

Agreed. Scenery and miniatures are an abstract representation of reality. Having anything 'true' is simply nonsensical.

That said I grudgingly have to admit that it works ok. At least the rules are pretty clear. I just think that the generic 4+ on everything leads to blandness and favoritism for Low arm armies.

Give me area terrain, levels AND overwatch please!

HAMMERSTACHE
10-02-2011, 20:38
Honestly, I love TLOS compared to area terrain- I honestly don't know how people can't get out of LOS to units, but I'm guessing the big problem is a lack of or sparce terrain that is endemic in many stores.

Now, I play all fast lists, (SM bikers, Deldar, etc.) And I've been able to get by on tables that were even rocking relatively tiny hills and fantasy buildings- If you can't find somewhere, ANYWHERE you can hide at least half of your bikes/skimmers in 1,500 points, you probably need more terrain and/or doing it wrong. It also gives a good bit of survivability to vehicles being fired on/against rather then the stupid "you can't see my LR) mechanic.

Even then, the 4+ save is pretty much a nice balancing mechanic that add survivability/durability to infantry units- forcing people to pour ST6+ weapons into a HW squad or negating low AP against infantry firing out of a building keeps them useful in even mech heavy environments.

Finally, as a point of immersion, honestly, TLOS actually is a bit better- 40k is by no means an accurate representation of combat, but in most modern engagements, the shooting starts far before we can actually see anyone- thanks to modern logistics and, well, basic common sense (the enemy is in that building, let's fire at it!) tossing rounds/ordinance in the general direction of something will achive results- you won't hit much, but with high ROF you are going to hit something. This is even easily achived with .50cals- which, depending on whatever writer is writing at the time, the same strength as a lasgun. :P

The way I see it, TLOS is simply representative of the KNOWLEDGE that you know someone is where your firing- if you see a single head popping out of a building, your not going to wait untill they are completely out to fire, your going to riddle the building with weapons, which is in many cases of 40k, 20mm self-propelled armor piercing grenades from a small-arm. If you know a land raider is behind a forest, you will pour your fire THROUGH the forest- in both cases, it won't be that effective, thanks to the cover and inaccuracy of the fire (4+ cover save) but it will do something. Area terrain always irritated me because of this- we're in the 40th millenium, but we can't even realize there is a big bad target covering behing a copse of tress, and we certaintly can't pour massive barrages of fire to repel it even through stuff. Also, I think the problem becomes less and less as the 5th edition codici roll out- they are all built with TLOS in mind.