Trees and line of sight

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John Thomas8
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Re: Trees and line of sight

Post by John Thomas8 »

I always WYSIWYG my tables, if Shooter A can't "see" Target B when either eyeballed or laser-pointed, then he can't shoot at it.

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Truscott Trotter
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Re: Trees and line of sight

Post by Truscott Trotter »

my wife says it's still there, but I can't seem to see it. What to do? :o
MLB
Simples get a new wife :lol:

4th Welsh if you really do have relatives that gave their lives for their country (as I do) then you should have more respect then to use that fact in a relatively meaningless discussion about wargames rules
Pay them the respect they deserve and leave them out of this.
End of discussion from me
Last edited by Truscott Trotter on Sat May 14, 2016 1:55 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Munin
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Re: Trees and line of sight

Post by Munin »

Clearly the answer is to check the map. If the tree is not marked there, your wife is obviously wrong.

AARs always need to be read loosely. Even real AARs. Different peoples' perceptions of the same events are often wildly dissimilar.

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Re: Trees and line of sight

Post by MLB »

As a gamer and a scenario designer I've always found AARs very instructive. They've helped me improve my scenario design and to learn new rule sets. In fact one of the great things about so many forums is the discussion and analysis of game play and rules often by scenario AAR and analysis. It's how new players learn to hone their gaming skills and it helps scenario designers discover what works well and what doesn't. This analysis is often deeper and more focused on game play with board games, where as many miniatures AAR are more focused on attractive pictures of the table. However in this forum I'd like to point out Seret's site Tiny Hordes, he really has some very excellent and instructive CoC AARs.
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Munin
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Re: Trees and line of sight

Post by Munin »

Oh, don't get me wrong, I think AARs are invaluable in terms of learning how a game plays or how the rules work or what tactics are most effective. I've only written two of them for CoC so far and made sure to discuss these sorts of things in them.

But my point is that there's a certain level of detail that cannot be captured. In a board game where a piece either definitively is or is not in a particular hex/territory, or where a particular card or ability has a finite, fixed effect, this is less the case - in some cases EVERY detail can be captured and the game state can be replicated perfectly by anyone possessing the same game.

With miniatures games (as with real life) this is less the case. My tree is not the same as your tree, so when I say, "yeah, that tree blocked line of sight for the troops in the upper floor of the building," you could look at your set-up and say, "no, it didn't." That's to be expected and is totally OK.

FWIW, it's that way in real life too. Walk any battlefield. Most have been "preserved" in some state, but that preservation is almost always in a wilder state than was present when the battle actually took place. Battlefields of the American Civil War are notorious for this. If you go there now and look around, it's all nicely wooded and LOS is very broken. Little Round Top is topped by a beautiful forest now. And not a single one of those trees is older than about 80 years. On 3 July 1863, it was bald as a cue-ball. So even if you go there now, you will come away with a very different impression of the tactical feel of the battlefield than the people who fought it.

That's not to say some aspects of it can't be preserved. You can't stand in the "Sunken Road" at Antietam, look north across the adjoining field that Union troops attempted to cross time and again, and NOT think to yourself, "man, those guys were totally screwed." But minutia doesn't translate well, either in the historical record or on the tabletop. It's just a different thing than board games, and again that's OK.

And in some sense, you can use it to your advantage by playing "what if" scenarios. What if this battle took place in November rather than June and all the leaves had dropped? Might it have had a marked effect on the final outcome? Replay the scenario and find out.

sackatatties
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Re: Trees and line of sight

Post by sackatatties »

Who really cares?

Put the handbags down guys. Such BS doesn't befit intelligent conversation.

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MLB
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Re: Trees and line of sight

Post by MLB »

No one's making you read this, if you don't like the conversation don't join in.

It's been a pretty enlightening discussion for me, as I'm new to miniatures gaming and clearly there's a different mindset and a greater fluidity in how things are interpreted.

Let's be honest though, if you can't have a discussion about what constitutes what sort of terrain on a wargame scenario map, in a wargame forum, where can you have it?
Last edited by MLB on Tue May 17, 2016 1:02 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Trees and line of sight

Post by MLB »

Munin wrote: With miniatures games (as with real life) this is less the case. My tree is not the same as your tree, so when I say, "yeah, that tree blocked line of sight for the troops in the upper floor of the building," you could look at your set-up and say, "no, it didn't." That's to be expected and is totally OK.
That's not my point. A scenario map for a historical scenario will try to represent real terrain. A Normandy orchard or Ardennes forest is a reasonably known quantity. How I physically represent that on the table - a patch of green felt; a bunch of cheap eBay trees or some lovingly crafted home made replicas should not matter, what matters to the scenario is the historical context. Whatever terrain you use from your collection "represents" something, it can't replicate it anyway. So surely we say prior to play, all woods represent tall trees in full foliage that are at least two storeys high (if this is indeed how they were in this area in 1944). It matters, because the map creates the arena for the historical tactical problem to be solved by defender and attacker. Otherwise why not simply play another points based rule set with random terrain? I thought CoC was all about historical scenarios, it's what sold it to me.

It seems odd to me to try to play an Ardennes scenario and allow lines of sight over woods simply because you don't have any model trees tall enough to represent mature forest trees, but this seems to be what you are suggesting?
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Munin
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Re: Trees and line of sight

Post by Munin »

No, you're still missing what I'm trying to say. You are viewing the scenario map with the same rigor you would an ordinary board game, where zones, regions, elevations, or lines of sight are clearly and unambiguously demarcated.

What I am saying is that tabletop games do not have the same rigor, precisely because there are so many "unknowns." These unknowns start with the map itself, which may lack notations on tree height, and even if they had them couldn't perfectly model a complex 3-dimensional object like a tree (which may have voids or irregularities in density) in a 2-dimensional representation.

Furthermore, this totally glosses over the "how much of your model do I need to be able to see before I can shoot at it?" If you want that level of detail, you should look at Infinity, because it goes a long way towards addressing these issues and makes very complex terrain/line-of-sight interactions pretty clear-cut.

But the important point is that you don't HAVE to hyper-accurately represent realistic terrain on the tabletop to re-create a historical battle. Often, that recreation has more to do with the forces involved, their initial position, their objectives, and their limitations than it does the minutiae of line of sight. There are things about the historical scenarios we CAN NOT KNOW. I mean, I can know from accounts of the fighting there that "steamroller farm" in Tunisia was so-named because there was a steamroller parked in the farm-lot. But what kind of steamroller was it? Did it block line-of-sight between the farmhouse's kitchen window and the barn door? Completely or only partially ornot at all? How many men could reasonably take cover behind it?

The answer is usually, "it doesn't matter." If you're playing in the deepness of the Ardennes forest, you probably won't have buildings in the middle of the woods, so why worry about how tall or full the trees are? Instead, if the woods are assumed to be dense, then LOS is limited to a specific distance as in the rules. Or use a custom rule to represent it, like the rules for jungle fighting in the Malaya Campaign.

And this is why it's good to take a couple of minutes before each game and go over this stuff with your opponent, highlighting what counts as broken terrain or heavy going, which features block or obscure LOS, etc. And in the absence of a ruling for a specific piece of terrain, the basic rule of thumb is usually true line-of sight measured "head to head," meaning from the firer's head to the target's.

A scenario can recreate the salient features of a historical action without needing to be a 3D-perfect rendering of the battlefield.

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Re: Trees and line of sight

Post by MLB »

LOL, we're not even on the same wavelength here, best put this one to bed. I hear what you are saying but it's not what I'm arguing. Enough from me. Interesting discussion nonetheless.
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