View Full Version : Synapse

11-02-2007, 16:24
I'm a bit confused by how Synapse works (cause I'm just learning the rules), so could someone please help me understand the rules for Tyranid Synapse?

11-02-2007, 23:16
It's quite a bit different (weaker) than 40k synapse, so it can be confusing.

At the start of each of your turns, you have to determine something very important: your ships will either be acting instinctively or be under synapse control.

Determining Synapse Control
You determine this independently for each capital ship and escort squadron. If the squadron is further than 45cm from the nearest hive ship, then it is outside synapse control and will automatically act instinctively. If the squadron is within 45cm then you can roll a test to overcome instinctive behavior and exert synapse control on that squadron for that turn.

So if your entire fleet is grouped around your hive ships, you will probably be rolling synapse control checks for every last capital ship & escort squadron in the fleet. Even hive ships have to make the test! Once you've made the test, though, you don't have to roll any more checks for those ships no matter what special orders you put them on. They're absolute slaves to your divine will.

Also, remember that synapse control rolls count as a command check, and that failing a command check means you are not allowed to take any more command checks for that entire turn. This means that as soon as you fail a test, you are forbidden from rolling any more tests for the entire fleet and all the rest of your ships will go instinctive. So before you make any rolls, determine which ships synapse control is most important for, and roll those first so you don't lose them when some worthless escort squad decides to ignore mommy's orders.

Now then, your gut instinct may be to roll for all your biggest ships first. This is often a good idea, but it's still important to keep in mind what the ships will do if they go instinctive - often the instinctive behavior for their situation will be exactly what you want them to do anyway, so taking a command check for them isn't too important. Even a lowly escort is a damn sight smarter than your average gaunt and will usually know how to do something worthwhile on its own. When you first start out, it will be time-consuming to figure out what each of your squadrons wants to do instinctively, but with time you'll be able to survey your entire fleet with a glance and recognize the ships that will something silly unless you intervene.

Instinctive Behavior
So then, what happens if they go instinctive? To find out that, you turn to the chart on page 82 of Armada, start in box #1, keep answering the yes-or-no questions until you hit a Yes, and then complete the action associated with that Yes.

Your ships first check to see if they're going to crash into something that doesn't look delicious. If not, they start looking for food: Is it close enough to eat right now? Is it depressingly far away? Has that sneaky food gotten behind them? If they don't find food any of those places, they'll get pissed off and see if they can shoot anything. If there's nothing to shoot, they'll make themselves combat-ready by reloading ordnance. If their bays are full, they'll just resentfully plod straight forward hoping that something comes their way.

Now then, there's a few important things to note about the chart:

1) As long as you fulfill the requirements of the chart, you can have your ships do any other things you like. For instance, a ship on behavior #6 (reload ordnance) can still move and shoot however you please - he just can't go on any other special orders.

2) It's very bad to fall off the chart. Ships that do that will just move ahead at half speed. Since Tyranids almost always want to close with the enemy, moving ahead at half speed wastes precious time. Many people will try to put at least one attack craft or torpedo launch bay in each of their important ships & squadrons, and keep firing it so that they'll never slip past #6 on the behavior chart. Remember - a ship that has to reload ordnance gets to turn and move normally. A ship that slips past #6 can't move its full distance, and can't even turn. This can be especially dangerous if the ship or squadron leaves synapse range facing away from a hive ship - a smart enemy will simply scatter away from him and let him float helplessly off the table. Giving the important vessels ordnance will keep this from happening.

3) Your ships have a blind spot between maximum firing distance and 90cm in front of them. Enemy ships in that middling distance won't elicit any behavior from your ships, so it's important to get synapse control over those guys and get them to All Ahead Full to close the gap.

4) Be careful with behavior #5 (lock-on). Your ships check to see if the enemy is in their firing arc before they move, but cannot fire until after they move (and in BFG, a ship on lock-on orders always has to move forward some). This will sometimes mean your ship takes lock-on orders only to see his movement leave the enemy outside of his firing arc.

Does that help any?

13-02-2007, 14:31
Thanks for that - only one slight teeny weeny problem: "if one hive ship fails a command check this does not prevent another hive ship attempting to use synaptic control"
So says the the special rules...

13-02-2007, 17:39
Ah, good point. So losing a synapse roll doesn't necessarily instantly doom the rest of your fleet. It just prevents that hive ship from attempting to control any more vessels. Unless of course it's purchased a reroll of its own. :p

So yeah, taking a 2nd hive ship can be good insurance against losing control. It's also helpful when facing a nova cannon firing line. I haven't yet seen my 6-spore, 14-hit mega-hive taken out in a single turn of nova fire in a 1500 point game, but it *has* gotten crippled before turn 2, which scares me just enough to take a 2nd hive in games >1000 points. He's usually just a little guy with batteries, one launch bay, and no other upgrades to avoid cutting into my escort numbers too much.

13-02-2007, 18:35
When you say Mega-Hive, does that involve any extra biomorphy-things for the Ship - cause I'm thinking about boosting the ships speed a bit - 15" isn't really that fast... Maybe just a small boost would help. Or is there a better one?

14-02-2007, 00:06
The extra spore cysts are a no-brainer for hive ships at least. A 6-shield, 6-turret ship is very difficult for conventional weapons to damage and is completely immune to bomber waves. (Fighter-supported bomber waves have a small chance of doing something, but it's not much). For something like a hive ship that you know is going to be taking a lot of fire, they're very useful.

After that it's up to you. Extra hits are always nice to have, but they're not quite as good a deal as the spores. Drone Link & Mega-Spore Mines seem pretty expensive for what they do. The others are all viable options for what they do, though a lot depends on how you equip your hive. Carrier hives have little use for Tenacity (no weapons) or Adrenaline Sacs (will always be on Reload Ordnance so won't have a chance to AAF).