Main BP2 rulebook v Epic Battle rulebook

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  • #187337
    East Norfolks
    Participant

    Hello all

    I’ve recently got a copy of the A5 Epic Battle (EB) rules and compared them to the main Black Powder 2 (BP2) rules that I already have and noticed a few differences that are really confusing me, as follows:

    Visibility.  The diagram on p39 of EB shows visibility being measured from any point on the frontage of the Leader model.  The diagram on p45 of BP2 shows it from the centre point of the Leader model and the narrative states “from the centre of the unit’s front rank”.

    Range.  Measuring distance in EB on p40 and the first diagram on p41 now says to measure from the closest point of the base edge of the Leader model to the closest point on the enemy base.  The BP2 rules on p46 again says “from the centre of the unit’s front rank”.

    Quarters.  P16 of EB says to bisect quarters and the diagram seems to confirm this.  However, with the suggested bases sizes this give much wider front and rear arcs and much narrower flanks.  In BP2, to be fair it was always unclear as the narrative also says to bisect corners but the diagram on p24 clearly shows quarters determined by 45 degrees.  I have always played the latter as it seems to make more sense – surely the term “quarter” implies four “equal” sections?  Also, how would bisecting corners work with artillery?  My artillery happen to be on quite deep bases – it would seem strange to therefore have a narrower front flank just because of this rule.

    Field of Fire.  The FoF diagrams in BP2 always showed a simple arc.  The EB rules show an arc on the sides of the FoF and then a (mostly) flattened off centre section (except inexplicably one diagram at the top of p43, which I assume is just an error).  I think this actually might be an improvement.  I never really understood the FoF being measured “from the centre of the unit’s front rank” in BP2 – how does that work with a long line formation for instance?

    Not clear target.  This is not so much a difference but I just never fully understood the rule when an enemy unit is partially obscured (third/fourth diagrams on p47 of BP2 and second/third diagrams on p43 of EB).  What determines it being “half visible”.  Is it the frontage? The whole base edge?  The total area in range (I assume it is this)?  Also my first question above is relevant here, as it might impact how much of the enemy unit is clear.

    Sorry if the above is long-winded.  I really don’t think of myself as “rules lawyer” at all and I’m always reasonable and generous to my opponent when playing a game.  I also accept that the above differences might well be quite small and not impact gameplay that often.  Nevertheless, these ambiguities really frustrate me in BP – I wish they would just be clear and precise so we don’t spend ages trying to work out what the actual rule is.

    Any help of comments on the above would be hugely appreciated.

    • This topic was modified 2 years, 2 months ago by East Norfolks.
    #187339
    Garry Wills
    Participant

    Thanks for posting this, I wondered what the differences were. I have too many 15mm already to divert to Epic. Anyway regarding your question, I would have thought a leader model was the same in all formats, it is the leader model that determines visibility not a leader base, so in a 13.5 mm model of 5 ish mm wide, it cuts down the options. The leader model in BP is supposed to be at the centre of the frontage of the unit, so this difference shouldn’t be real.

    Field of fire (i.e. front quarter) and range are two different things, the front quarter is measured from the edge of the units, and I agree 45 degrees is the only sensible approach, while range is measured from the leader. I don’t have BPII with me but BPI is clear on this.

    On unclear targets there are two different things to notice. Firstly if a target is less than half in the field of fire, it is an unclear target automatically. Secondly, if a unit is partially obscured by terrain or friendly troops as measured from the leader model then it is also an unclear target. In the latter case, the visibility is determined by the leader model or centre of the front rank as normal. The importance of the leader model is that we need to ensure that the majority of the unit can fire because it fires with all of its dice. To make the game flow it avoids the situation where, for example, a three base epic standard unit gets three musketry dice which can be fired independently.

    Hope this helps

    Garry

    #187341
    East Norfolks
    Participant

    Many thanks Garry – as always, very helpful.

    Also, I just realised that (somewhat ironically!) I was not precise enough in my own language.  When I referred to “Leader Model” I meant “Leader Base” i.e. one of the four bases of a standard unit in EB, not the actual leader mini figure itself.  Nevertheless the differences remain and EB still refers to Leader Base numerous times rather than the center of the front rank.

    Unfortunately I’m still really unclear on how range and FoF interact.  For instance, if an enemy column approaches a line from one side but is still clearly in its front quarter, the way the angles work can mean the enemy unit could be, for instance, 19″ as measured from the centre of the line but as close as 13″ when measured from the front corner of the line (using 45 degree rule).  Is this in or out of range for shooting?

    Also, presumably FoF itself must have a max range?  For instance, in a different scenario, if the enemy column approaches the line broadly from the front and its leading base is say 17.5″ from the centre of the line (i.e. just in range) but most of the rest of the column is more than 18″, I always assumed that it would be “in range” but “not clear”.  Have I understood this correctly?

    Thanks again

    #187343
    Garry Wills
    Participant

    BP is pretty clear that the only range that matters is the distance between the leader model/centre of front to the closest visible base of the target. If this distance is in range, the whole of the firing unit and the whole of the target are in range. The rules explicitly states this.  The best way to picture it, for muskets, is the 18 inch semicircle from the leader miniature/centre of the front, will intersect with the 45 degree angles on either flank as shown in the attached cartoon. However the rules, at least in BPI are explicit that most of the target can be out of range but will still count as a clear target provided it is within the field of fire as defined by the flanks and provided part of it is within range. Consequently, the unclear target definition only applies on either flank. As ever the confusion arises when too otherwise clear rules intersect.

    In your example the column is out of range because the 18 inches is measured from the centre of the front of the line.

    Regards

    Garry

    #187345
    Big Al
    Participant

    Further to what Garry has said, the centrepoint of the unit frontage is generally used if your units are based a little differently. If you have, say, six bases each consisting of four figures, you will probably find that you do not have a central figure. So, using the unit’s front centre makes more sense. If, like me, you have six bases consisting of six figures, you may find that there is a central figure. I don’t think it matters, that much.

    As to the angles for quarters, Warlord’s decision to use bases with such a long frontage really skews things. The 45 degree angles make a lot more sense. With most people. Having armies on 40x40mm bases, it fits in conveniently and even in the original BP1 rulebook, it is shown as a 45 degree angle – I say that because all of the u it’s in that particular version were based 6 figures on a 45x40mm base, the same as my own armies of that time. They were based for the rules In The Grand Manner, A’s was most Napoleonic players before BP. The 45 degree angle comes about because of the 90 degree corner of every rectangular base.

    Regarding the Not Clear Target, there is a third thing that Garry has failed to mention and that is units in Open Order or Skirmish formation. It really only means that you can ignore it as the closest target for shooting purposes. You will do that at your own peril. You have to decide whether or not that unclear target is a threat to your unit’s safety!

     

    So Far as I am aware, BP2 was the revised edition. This means that both the large format and A5 books should be the same. I know that Rick has not made any other changes to the rules than was in the large format book and Warlord are unlikely to make such changes for fear of criticism and loss of sales. Personally, I stick to the large format book, not least because I can see the print! The A5 book is all but useless, as far as I am concerned. I won’t say that I don’t need to refer to the book, but I don’t need to very often and for the sake of comfort, I am quite happy to tote the bigger book around. Besides the size of the print, the A5 is a thick paperback which doesn’t stay open as easily!😄

     

    #187346
    Garry Wills
    Participant

    Big Al, ‘failed to mention’, I think you will find, I thought it was irrelevant to the discussion. All the best Garry

    #187347
    Big Al
    Participant

    Fair enough, Garry! I just thought it worth adding.

    #187348
    Garry Wills
    Participant

    Definitely Alex, there are surprisingly few people who have actually read the rules.

    #187349
    Big Al
    Participant

    That is certainly true! There are way too many who just watch video tutorials or learn by playing with someone who has done that. Misinterpretations are one thing, but not reading the rules and then declaring something as being the rules is something else.

    #187354
    East Norfolks
    Participant

    Thanks guys – really appreciate the input.

    I agree with a lot of what you say but I do think that EB has “changed” the rules, at least in respect of range measurement.  As per the diagram below from p41 of EB, it is clearly being measured from the corners of the Leader Base.

    That said, this thread has really helped me refine my thoughts and I will basically follow most of what you have both said  as below (and ignore EB).

    Visibility.  Measured from the centre of the formation frontage.  Centre of Leader Base or Leader “model” will do as well but I really like the centre of the formation frontage approach – much more consistent.

    FoF.  Flanks to be measured using 45 degrees.  Also, the unclear target rule for partial targets is only relevant on the flanks.  I don’t have BP1 but this was a bit a revelation for me – I was always unsure about enemy to your front being clear/unclear with only a small portion in range.  Will now always treat as clear (obviously assuming no other factors are relevant such as narrow gaps etc).

    Range.  Also measured from the centre of the formation frontage.  I’m still unsure what p46 of the BP2 main rules means by “with a slightly longer range to the unit’s centre” though.  This seems to imply that the 45 degree flank angles should be 18” for range but this is then measuring from the corners not the centre, so will ignore this sentence.

    My only remaining question is on the Unclear Targets again.  When a unit is partially in your FoF to the flank, what determines “less than half” ?

    Finally, I’m not sure if the last comments are directed to me but I can assure you that “not reading the rules” is not my problem – I have read every line of these rules so many times it is making my head hurt!

    Thanks again

    #187356
    Garry Wills
    Participant

    My comment was certainly not directed at you, my first comment expressed my gratitude for your pointing out these differences. A lot of players only use the QRS and this leads to a lot of misunderstandings. The EB diagram you shared is clearly inconsistent with the core rules. I tend to interpret ‘less than half’ in terms of frontage. Columns are difficult since they occupy more depth than they should. I am not sure about p46 of BPII as I don’t have mine with me, however the ‘measure from the leader’ can often mean that some miniatures are shooting from distances that are technically out of range. Again the KISS and quick principle is applied so that we always fire with full dice.

     

    All the best

    Garry

    #187357
    East Norfolks
    Participant

    Thanks Garry – all clear now I think.

    Just to complete the discussion, attached is a pic of the “FoF” in EB.  Implies, I believe, 18″ measured from any point on the formation frontage.  How this is consistent with the same rules saying to measure from the leader base is beyond me.

    Anyway, as mentioned I’m going to ignore all this and stick to the main BP2 rules!

     

    #187359
    Big Al
    Participant

    Quote “My only remaining question is on the Unclear Targets again.  When a unit is partially in your FoF to the flank, what determines “less than half” ?

    Finally, I’m not sure if the last comments are directed to me but I can assure you that “not reading the rules” is not my problem – I have read every line of these rules so many times it is making my head hurt!”

     

    For Unclear Targets, draw the “Quarter” line from your unit to the enemy unit. It should be obvious whether at least half of the unit or less falls into the front quarter or the flank quarter. The diagram on page 62 shows you what I mean.

     

    Garry’s comment was certainly not aimed at you. After all, you gave comparisons between the two versions of the rulebooks, showing that you have been reading them.

    No, both Garry and I answer a lot of questions about the rules and 8 do so about the Hail Caesar Rules, too. It is evident from the questions that are asked, some repeatedly, that some people don’t read the rules, but either refer to the QRS or have watched some YouTube tutorial or other and then can’t remember what they have seen. It also doesn’t help when said video tutorials include rules from the supplements, claiming them to be the actual rules, whereas they are, in fact, merely suggested rules that may or may not have an impact on the main rules. Often, these are applied by the video creator as his/her preference, but the sources are not highlighted. This causes problems when the player cannot find reference to it. Effectively, they are learning someone else’s interpretation of the game and are unable to distinguish whether something is causing imbalance or not.

    #187360
    East Norfolks
    Participant

    Thanks Al

    I guess on the Unclear Targets I’m basically asking whether to assess “less than half” on frontage or area, as there may theoretically be some situations where the frontage is less than half but clearly the mass of the unit is within the FoF.  However, I accept it is quite a pedantic point I’m making and I should probably just take the common sense approach – and p62 certainly could help when its a tight call.

    Appreciate all the knowledgeable comments from you both – I’m sure it can be frustrating explaining this multiple times but it certainly helps a relative newcomer to BP2 like me get a much better understanding of the game.

    #187361
    Big Al
    Participant

    Look, as I have said before, all Unclear Target does is excuse you from shooting at the closest target. As you know a unit is forced to shoot at the nearest target. If that is considered an Unclear Target (and remember that your opponent and you can agree the condition) then you can target the next closest instead. However, there is a risk involved. If that closest target is mostly in your flank quarter and counts as an unclear target, do you really want to ignore it for something else? If you ignore it, it might charge into your unit’s flank during your opponent’s turn. So, it may be better to shoot at it. It may become shaken, which would prevent any flank charge, or it could become disordered, which would also prevent the flank charge. It could suffer both disorder and shaken, which would really crimp your opponent’s plans for that unit.

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