If _any_ part of the terrain is 3 blocks high?

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If _any_ part of the terrain is 3 blocks high?

Postby Luke_BMM » Tue Apr 22, 2014 7:59 pm

So does all of the terrain provide cover if any part of it is 3 high? Or is it the more realistic / looser but slower "If the section that's between the attacker and defender is 3 high"?

Let's say I've got a frame, within hand to hand range of a wall that's in between my frame and the attacker. One block on the far end of the wall is 4 bricks high. The rest of the wall - including the entire stretch that my frame is standing behind (which is perfectly clear in this example) - is only 2 blocks high. Does the wall provide cover?

The realistic answer is obviously no, but the simpler streamlined answer is yes.



I'm not sure which is the intent, but I was planning to go with simpler / faster / less realistic because it seems more consistent with the rest of the rules (particularly regarding line of sight and cover). Still curious to know.

Since any attack on the cover can destroy any part of the cover, it doesn't seem like a big disadvantage to count the entire wall as cover. It's a problem that resolves itself, as it's then more likely to get hit and lose pieces (which can and should be chosen from the part that's 3+ bricks high, if the attacker is trying to remove the cover), so it makes the game flow faster and doesn't dramatically influence the importance of cover... right?
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Re: If _any_ part of the terrain is 3 blocks high?

Postby jugglervr » Tue Apr 22, 2014 8:13 pm

We've been playing so that as long as nothing between you and your assailant is 3 bricks high (relative to you, as sometimes you're standing on rubble or other parts of the wall), you're out of cover. I believe the attacker is able to break bricks off the terrain, and the only reason to allow them to do that is so they can do it in the most advantageous way to blow a hole where the need it to be.
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Re: If _any_ part of the terrain is 3 blocks high?

Postby pasukaru76 » Wed Apr 23, 2014 5:03 pm

I'd say if you're within a single ruler unit of some part of terrain that is at least 3 bricks high, you're in cover.
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Re: If _any_ part of the terrain is 3 blocks high?

Postby Ced23Ric » Thu Apr 24, 2014 7:21 am

One block on the far end of the wall is 4 bricks high. The rest of the wall - including the entire stretch that my frame is standing behind (which is perfectly clear in this example) - is only 2 blocks high.
Does the wall provide cover?

Remember two exerpts from the rules:

"[cover has to be] between the target and the attacker"
"[judgement call] yes, the defender counts as in cover."


MFZ is not about rules-lawyering. "Cover" is not defined as a coherent piece of lego, but "stuff" to hide behind. The size of the total element is irrelevant, as only cover between target and attacker (in 1 unit range) counts. If around the defender is no 3 bricks++ cover, he is not in cover. If you have a wall that is 16 studs wide, 2 bricks tall, you stand behind the left 7 studs and there is a 4 brick tall part on the right end, you are not in cover. It's not between you and the attacker. If you stand close to that part that is 4 bricks, then the judgment call rule applies, and you are in cover.

Hope this helps.
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Re: If _any_ part of the terrain is 3 blocks high?

Postby woodwardiocom » Thu Apr 24, 2014 8:55 am

Ced23Ric wrote:MFZ is not about rules-lawyering.


Speaking as a game designer, rules lawyers are vital to the evolution and ecosystem of a game, as they find the edge cases where rules are unclear or produce undesired results. Locating these loopholes or untoward interpretations is commendable and necessary.

That said, yeah, in my house, the "3 bricks high" part would need to be between the two frames, at least arguably.

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Re: If _any_ part of the terrain is 3 blocks high?

Postby Joshua A.C. Newman » Thu Apr 24, 2014 3:15 pm

Don't make pieces of terrain that make this unclear.

At one point, I built a wall that was really wide (30 studs or something) and 3 bricks tall. I had a frame over on the left side of it, but, once it took a hit, all the pieces on the top were gone except one on the right. I still had to walk a frame all the way around it.

So, if it bothers you to do that, make cover that's clearer!
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Re: If _any_ part of the terrain is 3 blocks high?

Postby Blorf » Fri Apr 25, 2014 5:13 pm

Joshua A.C. Newman wrote:At one point, I built a wall that was really wide (30 studs or something) and 3 bricks tall. I had a frame over on the left side of it, but, once it took a hit, all the pieces on the top were gone except one on the right. I still had to walk a frame all the way around it.


Wait, what? I interpreted cover not strictly as "any structure that is at least 3 bricks high" but instead "any part of a structure that is at least 3 bricks high". I don't think that's unclear at all, regardless of the size and design of your cover. It especially makes sense with this example, as it stands to reason that you should be able to hop over the 2-high rubble since you could do that in the exact same field situation, as long as that far bit of wall were just barely not physically attached.

Sticking to the "any structure" interpretation produces ambiguity in the definition of a structure. Using "any part of", on the other hand, seems much clearer to me. It's local, situational, and easily measured.

"any part of" also doesn't give players a heavy shove toward using only small, modular terrain and allows greater creativity.
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Re: If _any_ part of the terrain is 3 blocks high?

Postby Luke_BMM » Fri Apr 25, 2014 7:18 pm

I really wasn't trying to be a rules lawyer - it's not like I have anything to gain from it - but it seems a little murky and I was hoping to have it straight in my head before trying to teach the game I've never played to others. At its core, the question is this:
Is that piece of terrain cover or not?


The advice to try to avoid this with huge scenery is really good, but I don't understand why he still had to walk his frame around the mostly 2-high wall... unless it was cover. That's a bit confusing.

So here's an ugly example: "bw" is a badly wounded frame and "me" is... well... me. The "3" represent 2x2 bricks stacked 3 high (and yes, I realize that stacking things like bricks makes this more complex, but I'm just simplifying for the ascii art version).

I declare direct fire on the badly wounded frame and want to fire and then, if I take him out, advance into cover behind that same wall. To start with, there's no question of whether or not he's in cover: he clearly is.
Code: Select all
|b w|
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| |3|3|3|3|3|3|3


|m e|
|---|



So I roll my attack and get a hit. My first damage die hits the cover so I can take off 6 bricks. I can either strip off a row of the 3s down to 2s or I can take out the left-most bricks entirely so the badly wounded frame is definitely no longer in cover to my other damage dice.

In the first case, he's behind the wall and the wall is still cover (because it's at least 3 high, so you have to walk around it)... but is bw still in cover?
Code: Select all
|b w|
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| |2|2|2|2|2|2|3


|m e|
|---|



... and in the second case, it's a non-issue and the wall is intact for me to go up and hide behind.
Code: Select all
|b w|
|---|
| | | |3|3|3|3|3


|m e|
|---|



If I've got a really shooty company or if he's got more frames behind that wall (or even just to watch the world burn), I'll probably want to blow away as much cover as possible... which is where the first scenario comes in.


Does that make sense? The "not in cover even though behind cover" idea is absolutely a fine application of common sense. No one's questioning that. The other viewpoint of "the whole thing is either cover or it's not" also makes sense as an abstraction, which is a pretty good description of how cover works in the game. It also exactly describes why Joshua had to walk all the way around the mostly 2-high wall. That's my confusion.
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Re: If _any_ part of the terrain is 3 blocks high?

Postby Joshua A.C. Newman » Sat Apr 26, 2014 2:50 pm

Blorf, cover is a object between you and your target that is at least three bricks high. The smart way to deal with the problem I had would have been to either a) break it into smaller pieces of wall that could be blown up independently of each other, or b) punch the wall and walk through.

If you worry about having three bricks in front of your target, you wind up with bickery situations. So don't make cover that makes bickery situations. Build the rules into the pieces.
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Re: If _any_ part of the terrain is 3 blocks high?

Postby Blorf » Sun Apr 27, 2014 7:42 am

Okay, understood. But since it seems everyone in this thread who has expressed an opinion on this so far has taken the 'local' rather than 'per structure' approach, maybe you could explain your reasoning a bit further? I'd like to understand why your interpretation creates a better game. Right now I think most of us are missing it.

I would think both interpretations would be about the same in terms of creating/resolving arguments. You either worry about "is any piece 3-tall covering me" or you worry about "is there any object that counts as cover that is covering me". Either way there should be little argument over whether the object/piece is tall enough but the same "am I close enough " exists.

Or have you experienced otherwise?
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Re: If _any_ part of the terrain is 3 blocks high?

Postby Ced23Ric » Sun Apr 27, 2014 7:54 am

Blorf wrote:Okay, understood. But since it seems everyone in this thread who has expressed an opinion on this so far has taken the 'local' rather than 'per structure' approach, maybe you could explain your reasoning a bit further? I'd like to understand why your interpretation creates a better game. Right now I think most of us are missing it.

I would think both interpretations would be about the same in terms of creating/resolving arguments.

From what I have learned about Josh in the time spent here, he rather avoids a situation from coming into existence than solving the problem the situation causes. ;)

Disallowing cover that exceeds 12 studs width is, for example, a valid way of avoiding the "Is that in cover..?" discussion. The problem is, many wargamers play RAW (Rules As Written) and if cover in excess of a certain width is not expressively forbidden, it is automatically assumed to be allowed, and when built, will be used as your question poses. That is a rather typical wargamer mentality. MFZ was seemingly not written with contemporary wargamers in mind, which leads to language that is softer, less precise, relying on amicable players and friendly interpretation of the rules. Interpretations are always subective, though - which is why wargamers default to RAW. And currently, MFZ creates "terrain pieces", which "count as cover" if they are "taller than 3 bricks". It's a problem stemming from language and a lack of precision therein.

A different angle would be to define "cover" not as the terrain piece, but any actual bricks within 1 unit and above 3 bricks height. That would disqualify "those bricks over there", and you could bild walls as wide as you want. RAW would be satisfied and the situation never arises.

Both angles lead to the same point - the situation is nonexistent. The second angle just avoids the situation without affecting builders.
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Re: If _any_ part of the terrain is 3 blocks high?

Postby woodwardiocom » Mon Apr 28, 2014 10:07 am

Ced23Ric wrote:That is a rather typical wargamer mentality. MFZ was seemingly not written with contemporary wargamers in mind, which leads to language that is softer, less precise...


The overlap between "the rules are imprecise" and "the wargamer mentality" is vast. As a game creator, I don't find it useful to say, "You're interrogating the rules from the wrong perspective". If a rules question arises, it obviously needs to be addressed, and one shouldn't push back on the person who pointed out the problem.

Further, some people simply learn in different ways and game in different ways, and work better with clear rulings. Ignoring those people is unwise at best (since the largest possible audience is a good thing), ableist at worst.

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Re: If _any_ part of the terrain is 3 blocks high?

Postby Ced23Ric » Mon Apr 28, 2014 10:46 am

woodwardiocom wrote:[...]

Imprecise rules cause variied interpretations, precise rules cause more narrow interpretations. I find it unwise to say "Well, then don't make it so this happens." when a rules clarification could avoid it in the first place. Putting the responsibility on the player to interpret the rules "the right way" is not a solution to an imprecise rule.

RAW is a term you will find in any more evolved game, be it a trading card game as Magic: The Gathering, any Warhammer derivate or even Pen & Paper sessions. RAW is the point where interpretation is eschewed for going by the letter. That is the realm of the rules lawyers, the hardcore gamers, the powergamers, Timmy's and Johnny's and it is also where a game is tested down to the bare bones. "Just be nice about it." is not a position that can survive in such environment. You can either ignore those players* and create a reputation among dedicated gamers that your game is "casual" (negative connotation) or address it and prevent that.

But that might just be my opinion. I am a little confused what your chosen profession/hobby (no judgment intended, just not sure which it is) has to do with this discussion, though.

In general, I agree with you, although I am not entirely sure who your post is addressed to, as you quoted me ... so, are you talking to me there?

* I highly advise against that, as it makes a game designer seem either oblivious or arrogant. That is, of course, an observation and not a verifiable fact.
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Re: If _any_ part of the terrain is 3 blocks high?

Postby Blorf » Mon Apr 28, 2014 12:00 pm

Ced23Ric wrote:Disallowing cover that exceeds 12 studs width is, for example, a valid way of avoiding the "Is that in cover..?" discussion.

I don't think it would. I'm sure many players often position green-less frames near the edge of cover instead of directly behind it so advancing beyond it isn't hampered by having to use a few movement to first go around. I can easily see common situations where the frame is only using the last four or maybe only the last two studs as cover.

If this is common for a group, would you then suggest cover pieces no wider than 2 studs for that group? Or that all cover be build of full-length pieces? Those seem excessive and in direct contrast to the spirit of creativity built into the game (that I like so much).

Ced23Ric wrote:... currently, MFZ creates "terrain pieces", which "count as cover" if they are "taller than 3 bricks". It's a problem stemming from language and a lack of precision therein.

I see your point on RAW, but I think RAW are ambiguous—hence the question here. Cover is defined as "Any structure on the battlefield is cover if it's 3 bricks or more high". But what is a "structure"? The whole modular piece that I have placed on the table? What if I'm playing on baseplates? Then the 5 or 6 walls on the plate are all one structure? What if I want a huge building with some interior walls to play in? You can argue this this is nitpicking, which is fine... all I'm saying is that an argument can be made, and it would have to be situation-ally resolved. That's my whole point.

Ced23Ric wrote:A different angle would be to define "cover" not as the terrain piece, but any actual bricks within 1 unit and above 3 bricks height. That would disqualify "those bricks over there", and you could bild walls as wide as you want. RAW would be satisfied and the situation never arises.

This is exactly the interpretation I thought we should be using, for all the reasons already stated. Joshua's post suggests otherwise, which is why I posted the follow-up question. It's clear to me that the game is well thought out, well balanced, and very solidly authored. So I thought perhaps Joshua had a very good reason for his interpretation and I'd like to know what it is.

Ced23Ric wrote:The second angle just avoids the situation without affecting builders.

Is this not the preferable solution, then? Again, I am totally open to hearing a good argument to interpreting this differently, but I'm just not understanding it right now.
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Re: If _any_ part of the terrain is 3 blocks high?

Postby DRevD » Mon Apr 28, 2014 12:55 pm

pasukaru76 wrote:I'd say if you're within a single ruler unit of some part of terrain that is at least 3 bricks high, you're in cover.


This is probably the simplest way to handle it, and its fairly intuitive . Thats how we did it over the weekend and it worked great.
Anything outside that one ruler unit didn't count as cover, even when attached to bricks that are within one ruler unit of the target frame.
If target frame is not in cover to begin with, any attached terrain outside 1 ruler unit wouldn't count as cover "in-between" attacking frame and target frame.
So simply establish if there is cover within one ruler unit of the frame and go from there. Close calls go to defender.

When destroying cover, we were also only removing bricks that were within one ruler unit of the target frame (since only that counts as cover).
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Re: If _any_ part of the terrain is 3 blocks high?

Postby woodwardiocom » Mon Apr 28, 2014 1:03 pm

Ced23Ric wrote:But that might just be my opinion. I am a little confused what your chosen profession/hobby (no judgment intended, just not sure which it is) has to do with this discussion, though.


The relevance is, I've written a few RPG books, and had many discusssions with people who had questions about my rules, so I have opinions about the whole authorial intent-rules-player interpretation process. Large, ungainly opinions, which I spout at least provocation.

Ced23Ric wrote:In general, I agree with you, although I am not entirely sure who your post is addressed to, as you quoted me ... so, are you talking to me there?


Eh, well, it might just be me, but I've noticed a tendency on this forum to push back against certain rules questions, as if the questioner, merely by asking the question, isn't playing MF0 "right". E.g., when you said "the wargamer mentality", were you being derogatory? Or do I just have a stick up my butt?

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Re: If _any_ part of the terrain is 3 blocks high?

Postby Ced23Ric » Mon Apr 28, 2014 2:07 pm

woodwardiocom wrote:The relevance is, I've written a few RPG books, and had many discusssions with people who had questions about my rules, so I have opinions about the whole authorial intent-rules-player interpretation process. Large, ungainly opinions, which I spout at least provocation.

Counterpoint: Someone who has played several systems surely has experience with systems and knowledge about their downfalls and highlights, correct? I somewhat recently had a run-in with a major game designing studio (Digital Extremes, maker of Pariah, the Stark Trek game and F2P title Warframe), where they flat-out told me since I do not have a degree in game design, I cannot comment on game design. I find such attitude quite harmful, because games are meant to be played by customers/players, not just by the makers/designers (Starwolf 3 comes to mind, what a fail that was...) - I admit that, just like with you - that is a sore spot.
woodwardiocom wrote:Eh, well, it might just be me, but I've noticed a tendency on this forum to push back against certain rules questions, as if the questioner, merely by asking the question, isn't playing MF0 "right"

Why I am asking, is, who are you addressing? Right now, I am failing to connect - do you mean "the people who defend the rules", "Joshua who defends his game", "people like you, Cedric,", etc. You don't really name a party, which makes it a bit confusing for me.
woodwardiocom wrote:when you said "the wargamer mentality", were you being derogatory? Or do I just have a stick up my butt?

Not at all. I used to frequent MtG, Warhammer, Warmachines and other gaming stores, 4chan's /tg/ board, and other source where wargamers convene. Their mentality is usally not "whatever, I'll pick what looks fun", but "what does the system allow me to do and what is 'broken'? And if there is something unbroken, can I break it?" It's a stresstest cycle that seperates solid rules from fuzzy rules. I prefer solid rules, but that might be because I generally prefer everyone to be on the same page before going further.

Correct me if I am wrong at any point.
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Re: If _any_ part of the terrain is 3 blocks high?

Postby woodwardiocom » Mon Apr 28, 2014 3:01 pm

Ced23Ric wrote:I somewhat recently had a run-in with a major game designing studio (Digital Extremes, maker of Pariah, the Stark Trek game and F2P title Warframe), where they flat-out told me since I do not have a degree in game design, I cannot comment on game design. I find such attitude quite harmful, because games are meant to be played by customers/players, not just by the makers/designers (Starwolf 3 comes to mind, what a fail that was...) - I admit that, just like with you - that is a sore spot.


Yeah, I agree with you, there. I certainly think that creating rules gives an additional perspective on the process -- mostly, how hard it is! -- but feedback and criticism from actual players doing actual play is vital and awesome.

Anyhoo, if you didn't intend "wargamer" to be mean, then I was just being over-sensitive, for which I apologize.

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Re: If _any_ part of the terrain is 3 blocks high?

Postby Dukayn » Mon Apr 28, 2014 8:45 pm

DRevD wrote:
pasukaru76 wrote:I'd say if you're within a single ruler unit of some part of terrain that is at least 3 bricks high, you're in cover.


This is probably the simplest way to handle it, and its fairly intuitive . Thats how we did it over the weekend and it worked great.
Anything outside that one ruler unit didn't count as cover, even when attached to bricks that are within one ruler unit of the target frame.

That's always been my interpretation of it.
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Re: If _any_ part of the terrain is 3 blocks high?

Postby Luke_BMM » Tue Apr 29, 2014 1:50 am

Although I can still see cases where it could wind up being blatantly unrealistic, given the abstraction that's prevalent in the entire cover and (lack of) line of sight system still leave me thinking that an entire piece is either cover or it's not, regardless of which part is closest. It's not the most realistic answer, but it's the most consistent and least likely to cause butt-hurt (so long as it has been brought up beforehand). So I'll give that a try, as mentioned in the original post.

To mitigate the lack of realism that makes fringe cases counter-intuitive - which is admittedly the flaw here - I'll just make smaller, modular pieces of terrain that will clearly be either 3+ bricks high or not after a hit or two (assuming pieces are pulled off the top to tear down the cover). Thanks for the example and advice, Joshua.
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