Steve Jackson Games Forums

Steve Jackson Games Forums (http://forums.sjgames.com/index.php)
-   The Fantasy Trip: House Rules (http://forums.sjgames.com/forumdisplay.php?f=101)
-   -   For SJ, where's the Move and Defend and option? (http://forums.sjgames.com/showthread.php?t=163721)

RobW 09-06-2019 04:09 AM

Re: For SJ, where's the Move and Defend and option?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Steve Plambeck (Post 2283389)
Another problem seems to originate with a minor mistake in AM. Technically the Defend option should have been duplicated in section II. of the LIST OF OPTIONS, just as Dodge was duplicated.

Yes, this is exactly what I was referring to in a message above. In Advanced Melee there is a contradiction relating to Defend, either the list of options has an error, or maybe just maybe in creating the list of options SJ actually wanted to make Defend unavailable to figures moving 1/2 MA. We had always assumed the list was in error but eventually played with another group who assumed the list was correct and the text was in error. :)

RobW 09-06-2019 04:21 AM

Re: For SJ, where's the Move and Defend and option?
 
Thanks Steve Plambeck for the historical review.

It seems to me, if a group were to ever write a set of "tournament" or "hard-core" rules -- that is, a set of boardgame quality rules for combat -- the first thing would be to go back to the basic AM turn structure, where actions are organised only by distance moved. It's logical and clear (except for the small contradiction about Defend!).

The second thing would be to dispense with this entire, pointless, "declaring" of options during movement business.

I get the impression that most everyone on the forum play this way anyway.

Skarg 09-06-2019 01:45 PM

Re: For SJ, where's the Move and Defend and option?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Steve Plambeck (Post 2283389)
... Being Engaged takes away two options: Dodge and Charge.

Yes, though that makes me question the significance of this, because what does it mean to say you can't Charge when Engaged? It seems to me that's confusing and/or wrong if meant to mean anything other than that in the context of fighting a single figure, if you're already Engaged to them at the start of a turn, you're probably not going to be able to Charge them that turn. But clearly in order to charge them, you are going to need to Engage them, etc., and the definition of Charge Attacks is about going from non-adjacent to adjacent. It seems misleading and unclear and again to put an asterisk by Charge.

So, given that the very clear Changing Options rule does clearly say that the ONLY "requirement is that the figure must not have already moved more than the NEW option allows." and also lists Dodge as available for all figures who moved 1/2 MA or less, I think the asterisk there is more of a "engaged figures probably aren't going to Dodge" than that they strictly can't.

But having said all that, I also don't really mind not being able to Dodge while Engaged. I think we tended to assume that anyway...

Although, especially in a roleplaying context, I tend not to want to prohibit any action that it seems like would be possible. Though I might consider giving a bonus to hit to adjacent foes whose target is dodging. I notice though there are some players who think it makes sense you can't dodge while engaged, and others who (from a realism perspective) think defense ought to allow both Dodge and Defend at the same time. From a realism perspective, I can see both arguments and don't personally favor either.


Quote:

Originally Posted by Steve Plambeck (Post 2283389)
I'm looking at the 5th edition of Melee, dated 1981, and shocked to notice the wonderful CHANGING OPTIONS paragraph wasn't included!

Someone did a nice comparison of the changes in every printing of Melee and Wizard, and noticed that there were some clear clumsy mistakes in later printings, reverting to pre-Wizard wordings. My take away is that Howard Thompson was not very good with rules details, and that (IIRC) the 4th and 5th printings of Melee are best not used as sources unless someone's really used to those printings and likes them.


Quote:

Originally Posted by Steve Plambeck (Post 2283389)
Another problem seems to originate with a minor mistake in AM. Technically the Defend option should have been duplicated in section II. of the LIST OF OPTIONS, just as Dodge was duplicated. Each section was for how far you'd moved, not Engagement status, so options you could take moving up to half MA had to appear twice, once there and once on the list for having stood still, or moved and/or shifted 1 hex (because those "moves" also didn't exceed 1/2 MA). Forgetting to replicate it mattered less back then, because Defend was singled out as something you could pick after moving 1/2 MA in that wonderful CHANGING OPTIONS paragraph. If someone looks at or only remembers the LIST OF OPTIONS in AM, but is otherwise following the text in the new ITL, they might well come away thinking the rules say you can't pick Defend against jabs or if moving more than a Shift, or that you can't change options between Dodge and something else -- yet those things aren't true, they are just artifacts of how the rules have been spread out and edited across multiple times and texts.

Yep. There's a similar SNAFU with Charge too - q.v. the thread here with yet another huge back-and-forth trying to use the Options lists to override the definition of a charge attack, and convinced they are right... sigh.

As I've written several times in other threads, I think the options list (all versions - best is in Advanced Melee) has a fundamental flaw in that it is trying to explain what options are available combining movement and engagement and tend to be worded from the perspective of the start of the turn, before movement. But while that may be useful for new players learning the game, or for planning your turn in typical situations, it fails to take into account that situations change throughout the turn, including engagement status, and that really mostly people decide what to do when their time to ACT comes up.

Melee's and Legacy's options lists are written as if players are going to declare an action at the start of their Movement, which sure you can think about what you expect, but the situation can and often does change quite a bit during enemy movement and as actions happen. Even in Legacy it is mentioned that figures are allowed to change their selected option, but unfortunately the framing of the rest of the options list gets many players thinking in terms of pre-declaring, not just anticipating likely actions for later.

All of the combat examples however demonstrate what the actual sequence of play generally is, given that changing options is allowed, roughly:

* Initiative

* Movement (move your figures - generally no one declares an option unless they want to broadcast their intent)

* Action (as each player's time to act comes up, they say what they do (usually for the first time) and do it)

Steve Plambeck 09-06-2019 08:18 PM

Re: For SJ, where's the Move and Defend and option?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by RobW (Post 2283392)
Thanks Steve Plambeck for the historical review.

It seems to me, if a group were to ever write a set of "tournament" or "hard-core" rules -- that is, a set of boardgame quality rules for combat -- the first thing would be to go back to the basic AM turn structure, where actions are organised only by distance moved. It's logical and clear (except for the small contradiction about Defend!).

The second thing would be to dispense with this entire, pointless, "declaring" of options during movement business.

I get the impression that most everyone on the forum play this way anyway.

You're welcome!

And for having 42 years of TFT manuals spread out side by side open to their OPTIONS list last night, I forgot to check one! I did not look as the new edition of Wizard in the Legacy box.

But I did today, and lo and behold.... the CHANGING OPTIONS paragraph is missing there too. I half expected to find it, knowing that the new texts began as scans of the the old texts, and that paragraph was in Wizard from the very beginning in '78. And it had to originate with Steve Jackson -- that was before other Metagaming editors had touched or even seen the 1st edition of Wizard rules.

SJ only knows how that paragraph, which did carry forward into Advanced Melee, has become subsequently lost. I think we're all agreed it's still legal to change options after movement!

hcobb 09-06-2019 08:36 PM

Re: For SJ, where's the Move and Defend and option?
 
New Wizard rulebook page 6: "During a turn, a player may change his mind about a figure’s option, as long as that figure has not yet acted, and that figure did not move too far to allow it to take the new option."

Tom H. 09-06-2019 09:43 PM

Re: For SJ, where's the Move and Defend and option?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by hcobb (Post 2283585)
New Wizard rulebook page 6: "During a turn, a player may change his mind about a figure’s option, as long as that figure has not yet acted, and that figure did not move too far to allow it to take the new option."

That rule follows right after this one:
Quote:

The options available to a figure depend on whether it is engaged or disengaged at the moment its turn to move comes.
These two sentences are key to the new edition.

However, it would have gone a long way to averting the confusion if two words had been precisely defined:
  1. acted
  2. move
acted: meaning activity taking place in the Actions stage.
move: meaning activity directed to a figure at any time.

There is one reason I was so thrown off learning Melee (before Wizard or In The Labyrinth, naturally).
Melee never identifies an Actions stage (like the other two games), instead calling it the Combat phase.
That made it very difficult for me to infer that "acted" referred exclusively to actions taken during the Combat phase.

It wasn't until Skarg set me straight on these forums that I became enlightened, and I was even suspicious of his wisdom at first.

Steve Plambeck 09-10-2019 01:22 AM

Re: For SJ, where's the Move and Defend and option?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by hcobb (Post 2283585)
New Wizard rulebook page 6: "During a turn, a player may change his mind about a figure’s option, as long as that figure has not yet acted, and that figure did not move too far to allow it to take the new option."

Yes in as much it restates the first sentence of the lost paragraph, but it's not as clear as the original and stops short of the all-important next sentence:

"If you moved 0 or 1 hex, you may switch to any option you could have taken when the turn began ; if you moved 1/2 your MA or less, you may attack, defend, dodge, or drop..."

This is the only place in the rules that explicitly tells us that actions (the second part of every option -- that thing you do during the "combat phase") are really regulated by movement used and not by engagement status.

From the writer's perspective, I get it. Melee and Wizard are tactical wargames that don't read like tactical wargames. That's why we don't see things in the rules like "The Combat Turn consists of Phase I to regulate Movement and Phase II to regulate Actions." Language like that would scare people away :) The original rules appear written to appeal to a much broader audience than the narrow few of us that were playing historical wargames and conflict simulations at the time RPGs appeared on the scene. And boy, that was a good idea. Applying real tactics to FRP gaming was such a breath of fresh air. Steve Jackson is my hero -- he saved us all from the fell doom of playing D&D forever. Or in my case I'd be in a time loop defeating Wellington at Waterloo or getting myself killed at Hastings again, over and over and over. But I digress.

So among the elegant things SJ did was couple movement and actions under one heading, "options", and those into columns. To know your available "options" all you had to know was, "am I engaged or not?", and that you could tell just by looking at the hex map. Yeah, the options are really regulated by movement and other factors, but the new player doesn't have to realize that to get started. The movement restrictions are factored into the engagement status, and that saves all kinds of explanations and shortens the rules considerably.

But that creates just those situations we talk about so much in these forums like, you mean I can't Defend against a 2-hex jab because I'm not engaged? Or I can't Dodge that lightening bolt because I'm standing in the front hex of a 5 ST goblin with a dagger? :)

The revised List Of Options that came out in Advanced Melee went a long way to clarify things, especially as it also included that lost paragraph from original Wizard. But that list came with a few of its own problems. It was also harder to find things, wasn't it? Some options had asterisks and some didn't, and some had to be listed twice. And then one that was meant to be listed twice, Defend, wasn't, but you wouldn't know that unless you read that Changing Options paragraph after the table.

So it seems understandable to me that for the Legacy Edition SJ went back to the separate Disengaged/Engaged lists. But now we're back where we started, because strict interpretation of the new rules once again obscures how movement rather than engagement status is the real regulator of the actions available. And that one sentence "During a turn, a player may change his mind about a figure’s option, as long as that figure has not yet acted, and that figure did not move too far to allow it to take the new option" hasn't stopped some of the old confusion from popping up. I hope at the very least that the next edition of TFT sees the missing Changing Options paragraph restored.

Now being a glutton for punishment, I've just finished my own attempt at reformatting the options list! LOL! Hope a few people like it! Think I'd best start a new thread for that though in the regular forum. Just have to proof read it a couple more times. I'm not proposing any house rules, just a new table that's intended to reflect the current rules as written. Whether it succeeds at that I guess I'll find out :)

Chris Rice 09-10-2019 01:43 AM

Re: For SJ, where's the Move and Defend and option?
 
I must admit, we never had any problems with this back in the day. But then again, my players never bothered to read the rules and my rulings were just accepted as fact.

Has anyone been using the option cards from desks of Destiny? I printed a set off but haven't used them yet. Do they help clarify things?

Steve Plambeck 09-11-2019 01:47 AM

Re: For SJ, where's the Move and Defend and option?
 
It's completed, and I posted my own List Of Options here:

http://forums.sjgames.com/showthread.php?t=165432


All times are GMT -6. The time now is 02:13 AM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.9
Copyright ©2000 - 2022, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.