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Opportunity Fire (OVERWATCH)

 Post subject: Opportunity Fire (OVERWATCH)
PostPosted: Mon Jul 17, 2006 6:33 am 
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Master Sergeant
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I heard to players in my Game Store talking about Overwatch fire, in 40k 2nd versus 40K 4th edition.


These 2 lads (17 & 20) were coming to the consensus that opportunity fire was an unfair concept and that they are very pleased that it was removed from the 40K rules.

However, it just doesn't make any sense to me. Honestly, if an enemy saunters into your gun sight or attempts to sneak past you to get a better firing position, should the observing soldier be allowed to take a shot at him.

If you are crazy (dumb) enough to risk your troops by running across a fire lane during battle without first suppressing the enemy, well I guess you deserve what you get.

I agree, it was very difficult when terminators, Dire Avengers, and other sustained fire troops would wait you out. Hey, that's war. Additionally, I have always been bothered by the whole concept of, I move/shoot, now you move/shoot, until some one loses.

It just seems so drowl.

So my question, Do you folks out there feel that opporunity fire (overwatch) is unfair? Personally, I think opportunity it's necessary.

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PostPosted: Mon Jul 17, 2006 7:58 am 
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Unctuous Toady
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Games are ultimately just simulations. They aren't reality and liberties have to be taken. I like the concept of overwatch, but in most games it just bogs things down too much. That turns your simulations into boring waiting games. I've seen it happen in 40k and in Necromunda.

Currently 40K has a good balance of tactical options for a wide variety of types of armies. You have hand to hand focused armies and purely shooting armies and things in between. If you add overwatch to the mix then everyone would want to play Tau or Guard.

Other games do have overwatch, or overwatch like concepts, and they do okay. I think the Heavy Gear miniature game has a system were every unit is essentially on overwatch until it is activated, but if it opts to fire then it loses its normal turn and the opportunity to move. I haven't played that game enough to know how that effects the over all balance of things.

I think that as far as 40K goes the designers opted for making it as playable as possible. Overwatch would have made it static and boring, as it did in previous versions. Maybe it would be implimented better, but I don't see how. At least given how the game currently is. Though I think that overwatch is a really advanced sort of game mechanic. In my opinion it would silly to simply add overwatch to the current 40K rules. There are so many other things that I would change first to make it my dynamic; movement and initiative would be obvious choices. If you fixed those then their would be a lot less need for overwatch.


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PostPosted: Mon Jul 17, 2006 9:48 am 
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If this pair of clowns came to the conclusion that opportunity fire is an unfair concept (while most likely never actually having played any game featuring it), they are complete morons.
It adds an element of realism and accountability to a game, and in some small way, helps encourage real life tactics rather than rule/turn sequence exploitations.

Far more important than giving troops the chance to shoot at enemies as they move from cover to cover, is giving troops the chance to shoot at enemies as they run straight at you accross open ground from twenty metres away to stab/bite/pummel you!
The fact that you can always rely on being able to charge straight into a group of people armed with guns, with absolutely no fear of being shot before you reach them, is perhaps the single most ridiculous aspect of 40K gameplay.

If you simply added 2nd edition style overwatch to 4th edition 40K, it probably would be unfair, since many armies/army lists would be capable of making very good use of it, and other armies, that rely on using ridiculous head-long charge 'tactics', would be severely disadvantaged by it.
But properly integrated, I don't see any way in which it could be seen as 'unfair'. Definitely no more so than close combat units being able to charge shooting units with absolutely no fear of being shot, could be considered unfair.

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Games are ultimately just simulations. They aren't reality and liberties have to be taken. I like the concept of overwatch, but in most games it just bogs things down too much. That turns your simulations into boring waiting games. I've seen it happen in 40k and in Necromunda.

I disagree on most points.
Most games aren't, and don't try to be, simulations. They are abstractions. The designers of 40K 3rd and 4th edition have specifically stated that the games are not meant to be simulations, they're meant to be games, removed from considerations such as reason and accountability.
Opportunity fire doesn't inherently bog a game down, any more than any other tactical consideration does, it just changes the way the game is played. But it can be implemented in a set of rules with varying degrees of success, as can any representation of any aspect of combat.

When a game implements opportunity fire correctly, it forces players into using realistic tactics to engage eachother's forces, and to overcome the problem of being shot while moving from cover to cover, or being shot (too much) while assaulting.
When implemented poorly, the game lacks the necessary depth, variety or intelligence to empower players to use such tactics, and the game ends up being a waiting match.

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Other games do have overwatch, or overwatch like concepts, and they do okay. I think the Heavy Gear miniature game has a system were every unit is essentially on overwatch until it is activated, but if it opts to fire then it loses its normal turn and the opportunity to move. I haven't played that game enough to know how that effects the over all balance of things.

I wouldn't say other games do okay, I'd say other games do far better as actual simulations than is possible for a blatant ridiculous abstraction like 4th edition 40K.
In Heavy Gear, if you shoot in reaction to your enemy's actions before you are activated, you can still move when you are activated, you just have to take any planned movement into consideration when factoring in the applicable movement modifiers for your shooting. That's how it worked in the last version of the rules that I read anyway.
As far as effecting the game's balance, to this day, I have never, ever heard a single complaint about anything at all in the Heavy Gear Tactical game being unbalanced. Although I wouldn't describe Heavy Gear Tactical as 'realistic' for numerous reasons, it is far more realistic than most table top wargames, and is also highly dynamic and completely accountable.

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I think that as far as 40K goes the designers opted for making it as playable as possible. Overwatch would have made it static and boring, as it did in previous versions.

You meant to say 'as proffitable as possible', right? :P
Personally, I see the current version of rules as an unplayable joke, when compared to the alternatives. It's quite likely that if the designers had included 2nd edition-style overwatch, the game would be even more unplayable, since the designers lack the necessary skill to adequately integrate such a feature.

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