Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Pre-Measuring - Yay or Nay?

Playing only my second game of 40k in eighteen months, the hardest thing after ten plus months of 8th Edition Fantasy was not pre-measuring. I just do it now as a matter of course. I warned Blaise at the start of the game to remind me if I did it and he picked me up once and I mentally stopped a couple of other times.

However this got me thinking, would pre-measuring improve or harm 40k as a game? I’m struggling to see how it would hurt it to be honest.

When 8th Edition was released a lot of the negative comments were directed as pre-measuring as evidence that the game had been dumbed down.
Apparently the ability to judge the difference between 11.9 inches and 12.1 inches encapsulated a lot of the tactical brilliance that was 7th Edition and removing it deprived the game of one of its great skills.

I never drank that Kool-Aid, instead believing that the beauty of 8th Edition was its move from resource management to risk management. What it did do was remove a lot of the potential niggle from the game as you could define the distance before the dice were rolled.

Going back to no pre-measuring seemed ‘quaint”. Yes it was nostalgic but I’m not sure it really added anything in either the fun or tactical stakes.
So what do the current 40k players think? Would going to a pre-measured environment be a bad thing? Personally I’m struggling to see downsides.


  1. I fail to see where pre-measure would harm 40k as well. If you can do any math at all, you should be able to figure out how far you are from the opponent at the start of the game.
    If you pay attention during any of your opponents' turns when he/she measures range to shoot at you you can then tell if you're in range for charging or shooting.
    Being able to check range before you commit to a target makes sense.

    Another thing I think could be cleared up in the 40k world is an issue that never occurs in Fantasy due to the way units charge.
    I say, either have us charge ( "Assault" ) in the movement phase, thus locking that unit into combat for the following assault phase, or allow us to assault a target other than what we shot at. Honestly, why can't the squad's melta gunner fire off a round at a tank on the way by to beat up some plastic people? Why, if I wipe out a unit with shooting, do I then have to stand in the open holding myself during the assault phase when I'm in a target-rich environment?


  2. I think a test game is in order. In many of my games against the likes of Charlie and other excellent players, there's been agreement of intent before the actual moves anyway (eg: "you deployed n" away, I have movement of 6" + D6 + 6" of assault through clear terf. I believe I'll need a 3 on my run to get there." roll dice and if it's good, just assume all is good) It really sped up the games I played and it's a habit I've picked up.

    Transparency isn't exactly a forte of 40K but I certainly don't think it would affect much.

    That being said, we've all had the games where we try and shoot our melta only to find out it's 12.5" away, costing us a transport whose content then eats us. That wasted shot could be pivotal, but does that change the nature of the game? I'm not so sure.

  3. The thing I like most about pre-measuring is that it focuses the game on your decisions.

    If you know that you'll need to roll a certain number for your run to make it into combat, then you can easily consider the risk/reward of making that move before you actually start it.

    The other positive effect is that it eliminates niggles about measurement and dodgy moving. If both players are aware that two units are 12" apart, then both know that one unit cannot charge the other. Without premeasuring, whether deliberate or otherwise, it can happen that the first move was ~6.5", and so now the unit can charge.

    What I'm trying to say is that premeasuring eliminates doubt about the physical situation and allows players to make their decisions based on known facts, and in my mind makes the game more about the strategies and tactics used by the players

  4. I've had the same problem when going over to 40K as well. Now it sems the norm and really ties in well to be ble to pre measure with random charges. I mean previously you just couldn't or people would just sit .005cm out of your charge distance. Now it's all about taking chances and MAKING A GAME OF IT.
    Much the same as True line of sight, hordes for the win and other knee jerk reactions from a few people who just never gave the new game a chance.
    Loving 8th ED, and if you're not playing it then it's your loss.

  5. Parallax means you almost always will have some sort of discrepancy in your movement one way or the other unless you're getting into a 90 degree angle (top down) each and every time. I'm 6 foot 2 and can't achieve a 90 degree angle formmost of the game, so good luck with that unless you're Shaquille ONiell, in which case you're a bit busy being average in the twilight years of your career anyway.
    This is compounded further by having to do a much larger number of moves each turn (where fantasy will usually be something like 10-20, I've had to perform more than 280 moves in a single turn before) in a tight timeframe.

    Pre measuring eliminates the problems this creates, I fail to see any downsides that could outweigh an upside of this magnitude.