Suggestions- Terrain Placement Rules

TopsyKretts

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What about using the same content NCE has? We don't have to reinvent the wheel here. And it doesn't have to be perfect. Any battlefield used in NCE should be perfectly usable for YCE.
 

Al_Weeks

Gang Champion
Honored Tribesman
Dec 22, 2014
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Bristol
IMO this discussion should be considered one of the most important objectives of the NCE project.

Understanding and complying with proper terrain deployment literally makes or breaks this ruleset, and a lot of the common wisdom about the game (especially re: balance) is inherently tied up with terrain issues. An example would be the OP reputation Van Saar has; on a board with limited sightlines, tons of available scatter cover, and elevated positions the low-Initiative Van Saar will need to consider navigating the gang loses most of its perceived edge.

For me, the essential requirements are:

-- recommending a variety of terrain types:
* LOS-blocking and movement blocking (eg. walls)
* LOS-yielding but movement-blocking (eg. chain link fence)
* LOS-yielding and movement-yielding (eg. a small stack of crates)

-- recommending a minimum of two "height levels," and preferably 3

-- recommending an extremely dense layer of "transit points" (eg. ladders, lifts, stairs and bridges or walkways) applied over top of the main layer of elevated structures

-- recommending a dense final layer of scatter terrain

-- discouraging elevated terrain in deployment zones, to some degree (this one is complicated by scenarios the use diffuse deployment throughout the board instead of edge deployment, though)

-- my hottest take: a player should be allowed to end a model's move "mid-air" if it's on a ladder or lift (but not if it;s, say, free-climbing a wall). It's too difficult to assault an elevated position right now, and this would help a little bit.
Love this.

How would you apply this advice to a ZM battlefield (although I've always found these a little easier to balance.

I would recommend that although the tallets terrain not start in any player deployment zone, that paths to the higher buildings are available in both (maybe with one closer to one side, or an easier route, to make the choice of sided more meaningful.

Also I love your bullet pointed format, if we can condense a good set of terrain guidelines into that sort of format it will be easier for players to follow.
 

Thorgor

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Oct 12, 2015
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Maybe there are other over-arching questions that should be answered first:
  • How is the type of game determined (ZM / SM)?
  • How is the scenario determined
  • Is the scenario determined before or after the battlefield is set up?
 

JawRippa

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Mar 31, 2017
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The problem with Van Saar lies mainly in the fact that they get a really strong upsides without much of a downside. Ballistsic skill is good no matter how close or far the enemy is, same as their built-in undersuit; armour is always good no matter what. I don't think that terrain set-ups would solve much unless with them you'd enforce a rule to pretend that some terrain are in fact perfectly LOS blocking terrain despite there being holes and whatnot.

Not everyone has access to ZM, so I'd say let people use SM instead of ZM, but force smaller battlefield size.

From my experience, going on the second-third floor is punishing unless you have a really long range gun. You especially don't want to be stuck there as melee fighters, as pins may result in you falling down as you approach your targets... In general, traversing battlefield feels very sluggish, while drawing LOS and shooting is pretty simple. This rant probably belongs to movement discussion though.
 
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KA7777

Ganger
Jan 19, 2018
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Love this.

How would you apply this advice to a ZM battlefield (although I've always found these a little easier to balance.

I would recommend that although the tallets terrain not start in any player deployment zone, that paths to the higher buildings are available in both (maybe with one closer to one side, or an easier route, to make the choice of sided more meaningful.

Also I love your bullet pointed format, if we can condense a good set of terrain guidelines into that sort of format it will be easier for players to follow.
I have, somewhat shamefully, never played on a ZM battlefield. My gaming group is spoiled when it comes to terrain, so we default to SecMec out of a combination of tradition and wanting to use all the scenery we've spent time building/painting. I can't offer much commentary on ZM play (although I've spectated numerous matches of ZM on Tabletop Simulator, and my impression is that your statement is accurate -- it's more likely to "self-balance" than a SecMec setup is).

The problem with Van Saar lies mainly in the fact that they get a really strong upsides without much of a downside. Ballistsic skill is good no matter how close or far the enemy is, same as their built-in undersuit; armour is always good no matter what. I don't think that terrain set-ups would solve much unless with them you'd enforce a rule to pretend that some terrain are in fact perfectly LOS blocking terrain despite there being holes and whatnot.
Their downside is low Initiative -- when they get into a shootout from elevated positions a lot of them are going to be falling off ledges, which can be disastrous (since it can both wound them and take models out of position/isolate them).

BS is tied with T as the most valuable characteristic, so you may still be correct that they don't have much of a downside... but the effect of their low I stats quickly becomes apparent when you take them for a jaunt on a board where they don't have any choice but to travel walkways, roofs and ledges.
 

Petitioner's City

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Nov 15, 2017
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I'm not sure about that @KA7777 - honestly their poor initiative is easy to avoid though Wargear (grav chutes, especially) or just being smart. They just have the armour and weapons to ensure they don't even need to hide up high - and 2+ with blast, rapid fire plasma, or other nasty things usually on at least 4+ armoured bodies does tend to see them survive even what you describe.
 

Galtarr

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Mar 1, 2017
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Just a small thing. We allow elevated deployments but with the limitation that deployment distance is measured from edge of board. I.e. ground level at edge. So if allowed to deploy 12" that can be 12" forward at ground level or 12" straight up ( usually no terrain right on edge). 12" at 45 degrees means if you want height you have to sacrifice some board depth. And hopefully it restricts getting a perfect sniping point out the gate.

In hindsight 6" giving a max 6" up would have been better or even max 6" deployment so limiting height even further. Anyway I suggest either denying vertical placement or restricting like this. I think we may have insisted infiltration units did so at ground level but I forget.
 
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TopsyKretts

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From my experience, going on the second-third floor is punishing unless you have a really long range gun. You especially don't want to be stuck there as melee fighters, as pins may result in you falling down as you approach your targets... In general, traversing battlefield feels very sluggish, while drawing LOS and shooting is pretty simple. This rant probably belongs to movement discussion though.
This is key. But not necessarily solved by guidelines for setting up terrain.
 

pathatrick

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If the players set up a balanced table none of this would matter. I get the feeling most of you are playing on light terrain boards. High towers and walkways allow for melee characters to sneak across the bottom.
 

TopsyKretts

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-- my hottest take: a player should be allowed to end a model's move "mid-air" if it's on a ladder or lift (but not if it;s, say, free-climbing a wall). It's too difficult to assault an elevated position right now, and this would help a little bit.
That would be an excellent chance for GW to release ladders which could fit small templates to carry a regular fighter base. While that's not the case, this is something that doesn't fit well with the physical aspect of the game and requires additional book-keeping or tokens.
 

Petitioner's City

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We don't have to surpass NCE here. We want something better than GW come up with, not necessarily something better than NCE. Was terrain placement ever an issue for NCE? If not, it shouldn't be in YCE either.
I just mean that in the "modern meta" it might be a tad unsatisfactory - it depends on what you think encourages fairness, or if that even matters...?

"The players roll-off. Starting with the highest scorer each player takes it in turn to place a piece of terrain, either a ruined building structure, a connecting walkway, barricade, etc. It is suggested that the terrain is set up within an area 4' x 4' or slightly smaller so that the gangs start off a reasonable distance apart." (Gang Fight, Ambush, Caravan,The Hit)

"The players roll-off. Starting with the highest scorer each player takes it in turn to place a piece of terrain, either a ruined building, walkway, barricade, etc. It is suggested that the terrain is set up within an area 4' x 4' so the gangs start off a reasonable distance apart.

Once you have placed the terrain you must place D6+3 Loot counters on the table to represent items of value. Each player takes it in turn to place a counter. Roll a D6 to see which player goes first. Loot counters must be placed more than 8" from the edge of the table and at least 4" away from each other. Note that the counters are placed before deciding which edge the gangs will play from, so it is a good idea to put the counters
towards the middle of the table." (Scavengers)

" The players roll-off. Starting with the highest scorer each player takes it in turn to place a piece of terrain, either a ruined building, a connecting walkway, barricade, etc. It is suggested that the terrain is set up
within an area of roughly 4' x 4'.

Once the terrain is set up the defender places a Loot counter to represent a hoard which the gang has collected ready to take back to their main settlement.

The defender also places the Water Still piece which represents the collecting vanes of a vapour trap, a device that extracts water from the atmosphere. The defender can place the loot anywhere on the table, and can place the water still on the top surface level of any building. He must place the loot and
water still at least 12" apart and at least 12" away from the table edges. These are not necessarily going to play an important part in the game depending on which mission the attackers roll." (Hit and Run)
Also as much as I am with you on loving the past, it is not the only model, nor even necessarily the right one - I was surprised when I looked at 1995 and NCE how open these instructions were. Of course what helped was the ubiquity of the card set versus the variety of terrain people might have now. How do you ask people to build boards of 3d SM - taking turns to place one corner, wall or platform at a time? (That could work...)
 

Heart of Storm

Gang Champion
Mar 8, 2019
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..how prescriptive are you planning to make this? As I feel this can come uncomfortably close to telling people how they should play their game, and I don't see that going down well.

People use the cover they have, we've alternated between flatter boards, and ones with multiple levels, they both have their relevant merits and drawbacks and I'd be disinclined to adopt a ruleset that told me I *had* to use one or the other.

In terms of how we play, we've generally adopted the "one player sets up, the other chooses their deployment" for matches that use a starting board edge, otherwise its one sets up and the other has the right to adjust for other boards - does it need to be more than a set of guidelines (try not to have open sightline across the board etc)
 

TopsyKretts

Hive Guilder
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Did the "modern meta" play NCE 3-4 years ago, or even today? If so, what did they do then?

It's been a while since I played competitively at tournaments, but as far as I remember, terrain is pretty much pre-defined by organizers who are up to date with the latest rules/balance and can place terrain accordingly.

Also, an annual local tournament that attracts some 100+ players (mainly 40k/AoS/9th age) have loads of boards and terrain stored. The same stuff is, as far as I know, used every year, throughout multiple editions of those games. So I don't imagine large tournaments have much room to make fundamental changes to the stock of terrain?
 

Thorgor

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how prescriptive are you planning to make this? As I feel this can come uncomfortably close to telling people how they should play their game, and I don't see that going down well.
It's the very nature of rules to provide a framework within which players are free to play however they want.
Do you just bring whatever miniatures you have in your collection, put them on the table and move them however you wish, or do you follow the rules when it comes to gang building, deployment or the action phase?
Why should battlefield setup be treated any differently?

n terms of how we play, we've generally adopted the "one player sets up, the other chooses their deployment" for matches that use a starting board edge, otherwise its one sets up and the other has the right to adjust for other boards
That's the kind of things we need to actually be rules. All that matters is that both players are happy with how the battlefield is set up and that it doesn't unfairly advantage one over the other. We don't need to micromanage how tall each building should be, etc. (but we can and should provide guidance and examples)
 

TopsyKretts

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It won't really be a problem. Either it will be brilliant and add value, or it will be useless and can be ignored at will. Either way is fine by me. As long as it's not equivalent to the disaster GW made.