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Old 08-20-2018, 07:09 AM   #1
tbeard1999
 
Join Date: May 2013
Location: Tyler, Texas
Default Shifting Rule and Pivoting

I'd like to lobby for a modification of the shifting rule and the inclusion of a pivot option. These modifications are more relevant to larger (i.e., the roleplaying game) than to smaller arena games.

SHIFTING

Currently, an engaged figure may shift one hex, but he cannot break engagement. To allow combats to be more fluid (and to make winning initiative a little more valuable), my group always allowed an engaged figure shift one hex, even if it broke engagement. However, the figure had to remain engaged with at least one opponent.

That always played well for us. Once, we went back to the rules as written and my players did not like it.

If that seems too fluid, you could allow a "counter-shift": one enemy figure that becomes unengaged BY THE SHIFTING FIGURE can shift into the hex the friendly figure vacated. If the enemy figure breaks engagement, then allow a friendly figure to counter-shift. And so on. We never playtested this idea, so I have no opinion (yet) on how it affects the game.

PIVOTING
Currently, a figure that moves second can move into the side or rear hex of an enemy figure and the enemy figure cannot turn to face him. In many (most?) - cases, that's an absurd occurrence enabled by the TFT sequential movement system. Sorta like "panzerbushing".

I propose that figures be allowed to change facing ("pivot") after the last side moves, if an enemy figure started in the front arc and moved into the figure's side or rear hex. This does not count as movement and does not cost any movement points.

This would prevent the unrealistic occurrences, yet appropriately penalize a figure who turns his back to an enemy (or is surprised by an enemy).
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Old 08-20-2018, 08:12 AM   #2
zot
 
Join Date: May 2018
Default Re: Shifting Rule and Pivoting

Quote:
Originally Posted by tbeard1999 View Post
I'd like to lobby for a modification of the shifting rule and the inclusion of a pivot option. These modifications are more relevant to larger (i.e., the roleplaying game) than to smaller arena games.

SHIFTING

Currently, an engaged figure may shift one hex, but he cannot break engagement. To allow combats to be more fluid (and to make winning initiative a little more valuable), my group always allowed an engaged figure shift one hex, even if it broke engagement. However, the figure had to remain engaged with at least one opponent.

That always played well for us. Once, we went back to the rules as written and my players did not like it.

If that seems too fluid, you could allow a "counter-shift": one enemy figure that becomes unengaged BY THE SHIFTING FIGURE can shift into the hex the friendly figure vacated. If the enemy figure breaks engagement, then allow a friendly figure to counter-shift. And so on. We never playtested this idea, so I have no opinion (yet) on how it affects the game.

PIVOTING
Currently, a figure that moves second can move into the side or rear hex of an enemy figure and the enemy figure cannot turn to face him. In many (most?) - cases, that's an absurd occurrence enabled by the TFT sequential movement system. Sorta like "panzerbushing".

I propose that figures be allowed to change facing ("pivot") after the last side moves, if an enemy figure started in the front arc and moved into the figure's side or rear hex. This does not count as movement and does not cost any movement points.

This would prevent the unrealistic occurrences, yet appropriately penalize a figure who turns his back to an enemy (or is surprised by an enemy).
By my reading, you CAN break engagement as long as you remain adjacent to figures with which you are engaged. This would allow you to shift from a front hex to a side hex, which would break engagement.
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Old 08-20-2018, 08:20 AM   #3
Chris Rice
 
Join Date: Dec 2017
Location: London Uk, but originally from Scotland
Default Re: Shifting Rule and Pivoting

"PIVOTING
Currently, a figure that moves second can move into the side or rear hex of an enemy figure and the enemy figure cannot turn to face him. In many (most?) - cases, that's an absurd occurrence enabled by the TFT sequential movement system. Sorta like "panzerbushing".

That's not entirely true. If I have to move first and just stand there like a lump of meat then I think I should expect to be flanked by the opponent who moves second. But I have other options:

A) I can move to engage the opponent and "pin him in place." As long as I engage him directly (i.e. he is in my middle front hex) the most he can do on his turn is shift to my left or right front. He can't get to my side or rear because he is engaged and can only shift one hex.

B) I can move away from the opponent so that he can't reach me and attack or reach me to the side/rear, or reach me at all, depending on what I wantto do.

I think what you're doing takes away some of that "chess-like" decision making. That's fine if it's what you want, but it's not the way the rules are written which I think give a more meaningful choice as to whether to move first or second.
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Old 08-20-2018, 08:24 AM   #4
tbeard1999
 
Join Date: May 2013
Location: Tyler, Texas
Default Re: Shifting Rule and Pivoting

Quote:
Originally Posted by zot View Post
By my reading, you CAN break engagement as long as you remain adjacent to figures with which you are engaged. This would allow you to shift from a front hex to a side hex, which would break engagement.
Well, I was conflating "adjacent" and "engaged". But I don't think that distinguishing them really changes my point:

Assume that 2 figures, A and B, move first and engage Al (all in his front hexes). A is in Al's left front hex, B is in his center front hex.

Under the current rules, Al cannot shift in his movement phase, since he will no longer be adjacent to A or B if he shifts.

I am lobbying to allow him to shift one hex even if it breaks "adjacency". And if that makes it too fluid for your tastes, you can allow A or B to occupy the vacated hex.

Funny thing is that we started playing that way because I misread the rule (for years). When I finally figured out that I was doing it wrong, we started complying with the rule as written. And my players hated it. So did I; it made the combats far more static.

Last edited by tbeard1999; 08-20-2018 at 08:35 AM.
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Old 08-20-2018, 08:34 AM   #5
tbeard1999
 
Join Date: May 2013
Location: Tyler, Texas
Default Re: Shifting Rule and Pivoting

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Rice View Post
"PIVOTING
Currently, a figure that moves second can move into the side or rear hex of an enemy figure and the enemy figure cannot turn to face him. In many (most?) - cases, that's an absurd occurrence enabled by the TFT sequential movement system. Sorta like "panzerbushing".

That's not entirely true. If I have to move first and just stand there like a lump of meat then I think I should expect to be flanked by the opponent who moves second.]
Well, I didn't say it was *entirely* true; I said that in many, perhaps most, cases it produces an absurd result.

And I don't know why you'd expect to be flanked by an opponent, particularly when you are not engaged. In real combat, we do not freeze while our enemy moves around us. The turn sequencing is an artificial game construct. My proposal mitigates the wholly artificial tactics that a sequential movement inevitably enables. (The rule is actually lifted from my miniature rules "A Fistful of TOWs").

And, it still allows you to realistically pin opponents. If figure A engages in X's left front hex (for instance) and figure B engages in his right flank hex, X can pivot to face B, but will be exposed to a flank attack from A.

Quote:
But I have other options:

A) I can move to engage the opponent and "pin him in place." As long as I engage him directly (i.e. he is in my middle front hex) the most he can do on his turn is shift to my left or right front. He can't get to my side or rear because he is engaged and can only shift one hex.

B) I can move away from the opponent so that he can't reach me and attack or reach me to the side/rear, or reach me at all, depending on what I wantto do.

I think what you're doing takes away some of that "chess-like" decision making. That's fine if it's what you want, but it's not the way the rules are written which I think give a more meaningful choice as to whether to move first or second.
That may be true, but I still think it enables wholly artificial tactics. I don't like that, especially when the fix is incredibly simple and intuitive.
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Old 08-20-2018, 08:49 AM   #6
Chris Rice
 
Join Date: Dec 2017
Location: London Uk, but originally from Scotland
Default Re: Shifting Rule and Pivoting

Of course it allows artificial tactics; it's a game played on a hex-grid. It's not meant to be a detailed simulation of real combat, assuming that something of the sort could be achieved anyway, which is doubtful.

I'm also not convinced that always allowing figures to turn to face opponents improves the "game" in any way, in fact, it's likely to be a detriment to decision making.

It's possible that there are subtleties to what you're proposing that aren't immediately apparent to me, but they make it a different game to the game I'm used to playing.
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Old 08-20-2018, 09:23 AM   #7
Rick_Smith
 
Join Date: Apr 2014
Location: Coquitlam B.C.
Default Re: Shifting Rule and Pivoting

Quote:
Originally Posted by tbeard1999 View Post
... SHIFTING
Currently, an engaged figure may shift one hex, but he cannot break engagement. To allow combats to be more fluid (and to make winning initiative a little more valuable), my group always allowed an engaged figure shift one hex, even if it broke engagement. However, the figure had to remain engaged with at least one opponent. ...
Hi Ty,
I quite like both of your suggested rule changes. Comments below.

Saying that you can shift away from other people makes maneuver more possible than in the old TFT. Generally, more moving on the map is better I think. If people are fighting in tight line, you rule will have little effect, but if your lines are a bit ragged, this will make confused melees much more likely.

I can easily see why your players (after they got used to it), were unwilling to go back to the more restrictive format.

I think I will try this out as a test in my campaign.

Quote:
Originally Posted by tbeard1999 View Post
PIVOTING
Currently, a figure that moves second can move into the side or rear hex of an enemy figure and the enemy figure cannot turn to face him. In many (most?) - cases, that's an absurd occurrence enabled by the TFT sequential movement system. Sorta like "panzerbushing". ...
In my campaign, I call this a 'last second twist'. People can change their facing after movement, but they are at a -2 DX penalty for the rest of the turn for jerking around at the last minute. When it matters, those who moved first must do the last second twist first.

We have played this way for years, and it has not caused problems.

Warm regards, Rick.
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Old 08-20-2018, 09:26 AM   #8
tbeard1999
 
Join Date: May 2013
Location: Tyler, Texas
Default Re: Shifting Rule and Pivoting

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Rice View Post
Of course it allows artificial tactics; it's a game played on a hex-grid. It's not meant to be a detailed simulation of real combat, assuming that something of the sort could be achieved anyway, which is doubtful.

I'm also not convinced that always allowing figures to turn to face opponents improves the "game" in any way, in fact, it's likely to be a detriment to decision making.

It's possible that there are subtleties to what you're proposing that aren't immediately apparent to me, but they make it a different game to the game I'm used to playing.
Well, it works both ways, doesn't it? The current rules, as written, enable highly artificial tactics.

Which *I* don't like. For me, the TFT combat system is first and foremost an intuitive, fast playing system in which tactics work more or less as well as they would in the Real World. It is not chess, nor a simulation of a chess-like game.

Now I can tolerate artificial rule sequences that enable artificial tactics if the fix is overly complex or creates problems that are even more disagreeable.

But my proposed fix is ridiculously simple (and can be ignored if you don't like it).

Also, I submit that this is exactly the kind of very minor issue that a critic of TFT could blow out of proportion in a hostile review. So it might be good to address the issue as a marketing consideration.

And for the record, I've always believed that "I don't like it" is a valid reason to ditch any rule.

Last edited by tbeard1999; 08-20-2018 at 04:48 PM.
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Old 08-20-2018, 09:35 AM   #9
Chris Rice
 
Join Date: Dec 2017
Location: London Uk, but originally from Scotland
Default Re: Shifting Rule and Pivoting

"Also, I submit that this is exactly the kind of very minor issue that a critic of TFT would blow out of proportion in a hostile review."

The game has been widely played and I've never seen that as a criticism, although, to be fair, there haven't been any new reviews for many years. It'll be interesting to see if the new edition does get panned for its basic tactical movement system.

"And for the record, I've always believed that "I don't like it" is a valid reason to ditch any rule."

Absolutely. I only play the RAW if we're using miniatures and maps, and even then not always. However, there have been many suggestions for alterations to the game (I've made quite a few myself) and I think it's wise that the SJGames team have been very sparing in the changes they've made.

Nevertheless, I'd be interested to hear what Steve thinks.
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Old 08-20-2018, 10:38 AM   #10
tbeard1999
 
Join Date: May 2013
Location: Tyler, Texas
Default Re: Shifting Rule and Pivoting

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Rice View Post
"Also, I submit that this is exactly the kind of very minor issue that a critic of TFT would blow out of proportion in a hostile review."

The game has been widely played and I've never seen that as a criticism, although, to be fair, there haven't been any new reviews for many years. It'll be interesting to see if the new edition does get panned for its basic tactical movement system.
I was in a TFT Facebook group and one guy trashed it with considerable vehemence. But he couldn't give specifics except that TFT was "too old". And ironically, he was a Warhammer RPG fan (which is only about 6 years younger than ITL). Weird.

My concern is the ease with which even unfounded criticisms can propagate. Particularly from partisans of a "competing" system.

Personally, I'd stack TFT up with *any* of the RPG tactical systems that I've played. I even think it can be easily tuned to be a better sci-fi tactical system than Snapshot or Azhanti High Lightning.
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