GW Grognard: Horseshoes and Hand Grenades

Hey everybody! Adam, from TFG Radio, here to help lift your spirits!*

He looks familiar. Maybe if he were red?

In case you haven’t noticed, there is a lot going on inside the old noggin. There are 8 editions of Warhammer 40,000 in my head. This is in addition to all the other different miniature games I have played, or read the rules for, over the years. As you can imagine, I will sometimes use a rule that is either no longer around anymore, or even be from another game system. From time to time, while relaxing at home in front of my fireplace, I’ll think about some of the rules in previous editions that may seem ridiculous now but required a skill only a few possessed. One of these old rules was guessing the range for artillery.

3rd and 4th edition has few artillery pieces. At the time, the big scary was actually the Basilisk. It had the range and firepower to kill just about anything in the game. The one drawback, unless you were good at it, was that the player had to guess the range of the shot. In these editions, pre-measuring was not allowed in any form, at any time. As a result, you had to hope that you had guessed close enough to hit your target with the blast template. Rolling the scatter die was also still a thing so even if you happened to guess correctly, or close enough, the shot may still scatter off target. I knew a few people that were very good at guessing range just by sight. They were mostly Imperial Guard players and that skill helped them win a fair number of games. One player was really good at it, so much so that, during an apocalypse game, he hit his eldar allies “by mistake” and helped the other side a little bit. At the time it was just another useful skill to have if you played an army that had a lot of guess range weapons.

This rule also brought out some very creative ways to pre-measure without doing it. Having you tape measure nearby, with the tape sticking out a bit, helped a great deal. If you happened to remember the length of your Land Raider or other large vehicle you could guesstimate the range. Some people would even make marks along their arm so when they rested it on the table they could see what the distance was.There were other ways that players measured without measuring, and they were all considered a form of cheating by most TOs. There were many people that rejoiced when 5th edition was released and Games Workshop had done away with pre-measuring altogether.  There were a lot of players that felt it was an unnecessary change in the rules but that, I think, is more of a fear of change. No more having to worry if your unit was close enough to make that charge, or if that vehicle had enough movement to get where it needed to go. Now there was really no excuse because you could always figure it out beforehand.

I do look back at it with some fondness. There were many a great tale that were made from someone guessing too long or too short. Stories that were told time after time, but are now lost to ages of the newer editions and rules. I still think about those times and it does bring a smile to my face. Except for that time a demo charge landed right back on me and killed the squad and their ride. I don’t  miss that.

That’s all for this week, I hope you enjoyed the read. Let me know your thoughts, and your best guess range story, in the comments section. Don’t forget to visit our Facebook, Twitch, and Patreon pages to stay up to date on what we’re up to and when episodes drop!

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*Usually with alcohol


About Adam

Adam, aka Latin Gandalf, has been gaming since the early eighties and has played 40K since Rogue Trader (among a number of other games). He listens to more podcasts than any healthy person should and is currently the host for TFG Radio. He also is judges for LVO and head judges other major 40K Grand Tournaments.

2 Responses to “GW Grognard: Horseshoes and Hand Grenades”

  1. smilingbuddha May 4, 2019 6:39 am #

    I was just talking to newer player about this. I actually really liked this rule as it made you more conscious of your movement and your tactics. As a result I think it helps the “older” player in ways that are not always obvious. Table and spacial awareness are the two that come to mind.

    Thanks for the article, it brought back some old memories.

  2. Venkarel May 6, 2019 7:41 am #

    I started playing in 7th, so premeasuring was allowed, but I play against mostly old school players who had the uncanny ability to just to know distances. I immediately saw the benefits of acquiring the skill. First, it allows you to speed up your play, measuring takes time. More importantly, good players are able to glean information from what units a player measures from and to, thus by doing so you are putting yourself at a disadvantage. Furthermore, it also allows you to measure as a bluff/bait which can be oh so much fun.

    This is not to downplay the importance of measuring. I still do it all the time, sometimes an inch difference means everything.

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