Tuesday, 12 April 2011

Rules Arguments: How Far Is Too Far?

Morning all,

In my daily checking of wargames goings on whilst my PC chugs into gear, I noticed this rules debate on Bell of Lost Souls: Bell of Lost Souls - Astral Aim Conundrum

I'll quote it here directly:
Today's Conundrum: the Astral Aim Psychic power possessed by Grey Knight Purgation squads.  First the relevent rules snippet:

"...If the Psychic test is passed, the unit (and any accompanying character) can shoot at any enemy unit within range, even if they do not have line of sight to it, or it is outside the distance they can see in a night fight."

The Conundrum: Can a Purgation squad embarked in a vehicle which passes its Astral Aim test blaze away at targets as listed in the rule for the power, or not?  In general, how does Astral Aim interact with vehicles and fireports, if it does at all? 

The Case For:  Codex overrides core rulebook, and the psychic power clearly states "can shoot at any enemy unit within range" upon a psychic testing being passed.  Other rules restrictions on firing are ignored.  The second part of the listed sentence simply lists 2 common examples of restrictions that are ignored, not all the restrictions that are ignored (which the first half of the sentence covers).

The Case Against: The psychic power doesn't specifically override the firing restrictions listed in the firing port rules in the vehicle section of the core rules. If they wanted that ability, they would have listed it specifically.
 This is another one of those, personally, idiotic rules arguments that people seem to draft in from a silly discussion, then it spreads around the internet like wildfire with everyone and their mum trying to claim this at the next tournament or whatever else.

It's the Doom of Malan'tai situation all over again, where someone decides "Well, it doesn't say specifically it doesn't, so..." and then everyone jumps on it.

Personally, because a power says "ignores line of sight" or "all the unit" doesn't mean it bypasses any existing rules to do with vehicles. There's still only X number of guys who can fire from fire points from a Rhino / Razorback. And whilst it's comical to imagine 5 Grey Knights all sticking their bolters up through the sun-roof and firing, it's rules "debates" like this that really start to drag 40k down.

It's like this in the Imperial Guard book, as an order:
First Rank Fire, Second Rank Fire
 ...If the order is successfully issued, the ordered unit immediately shoots at any visible target. If the enemy is up to 12" away, models firing Lasguns fire three shots, rather than just two... Etc.
So what I could interpret is that if I issue this order, the unit immediately shoots at a visible target, regardless of any maximum range because it doesn't say they follow normal rules for shooting. Just that they fire at any visible target.

Now I know that's clutching at straws as an example and probably a bad one... but surely is it not the same thing as saying that a Grey Knight power allows them to bypass the rules for fire points in vehicles?

I'm not trying to bash BOLS or any rules debates and such. I don't want to start getting into a flame war and targetting people / blogs.

It's more of a discussion to ask "How far is too far?" when it comes to rules debates.

Personally, I think the Grey Knight example above is massively clutching at straws and making an argument out of nothing. I've seen it before with the Doom, and at the end of the day, just had to rule it for ourselves at MAWS.

However, when you go out into the "real world" people don't always agree.

So how far have you seen the rules debated? Ever came up with a crazy debate or conunudrum yourself?



  1. No, the rule does not confer to the vehicle.

  2. This is taking "bending" the rules way too far. Some people clearly need to chill out, as far as I can see Astral Aim works exactly like Hive Guard for who can be shot at. As for shooting out of a vehicle, why would they have fire points if you can just do what you want anyway.

    At MAWS we have a fairly good system of "if you feel dirty saying it, your probably wrong" this of course doesn't always work as sometimes some things are just dirty. But its a game and we play it as such