Monday, September 25, 2017

40K - Line of Sight

One of the rules that I have found the most contentious in the newest Warhammer 40k edition is Line of Sight - or to put it more accurately Target Visibility.

Over the years Games Workshop have used many different line of sight rules, depending on how they wanted terrain played. We have had True Line of Sight, Area Terrain etc. Also there have been qualifiers in the rules, most importantly that wings, claws, swords etc don't count.

This set of rules is the most permissive yet. They are True Line of Sight with no qualifiers.

You find the targeting rules under the "Shooting Phase" rules, "2. Choose Targets":

"In order to target a enemy unit, a model from that unit must be within the range of the weapon being used and be visible to the shooting model. If unsure, stoop down and get a look from behind the shooting model to see if any part of the target is visible."

There are no qualifiers, no exclusions, nada. If you can see a claw, a weapon, a sniper scope then the model is visible.

Obviously this is different from the past and requires a shift in mindset for players....especially those of us returning from older versions (anything from v1 to v7). This is a massive can of worms.

Firstly, there will be different interpretations of what is visible. However by the rules 1% is enough. This will lead to some awkward conversations. Not just at tournaments but also in casual games. I intend asking opponents before a casual game if they intend playing RAW (Rules as Written) and then playing as per their choice. In tournaments, unless the TO makes a ruling, the safest line is to play RAW. This means that if you have a rifle barrel poking out I can see your infantryman, if you have a tank track poking out you can fire all weapons etc.

Personally I think this is poor and lazy rules writing and an awful mechanic but if you want short, concise rules you get abstraction.

The second set of worms, is known as "Modelling for Advantage" e.g. the crawling/kneeling close combat Wraithlord, superstructures on shooty vehicles etc. I'm hoping TOs will stop any silliness that develops around this. However there is another downside. In tournament play you'll see less cool centrepiece models. For example I have a cool FW Great Unclean One that I'm very proud of. However he is three times the size of the GW GUO model. As such, in competitive play, I known I'm hamstringing myself taking him. I do, well because of the "Rule-of-Cool" but it is a major disadvantage.

I'm hoping GW revisits their LoS/Target Visibility rules but in the interim we just have to play with what we've got!


  1. Interesting read. I think the rule about anything in sight (even 1%) is probably in line with their idea that vehicles can now shoot in any direction. It is more about the fluidity of movement and battle and they are assuming that although a static model might only be partially visible, it is assumed that at some stage of the turn, more was visible. As for the second point and people modelling for advantage. Hard to know how to combat this. It's going to happen, although I think in NZ, we're pretty fair minded and I don't see a lot of it being done deliberately.

  2. I've had feet of models shooting at rifle barrels on the tabletop and it really ruins it for me. Having played a fair bit of KoW, Malifaux and Infinity I find the abstract LoS systems far easier to play and more enjoyable.

    1. Completely agree with the above. Poor rule writing. You think they would have learnt from previous editions