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Line of Sight

Discuss the Rules of HeroQuest as set out by Milton Bradley Game Systems and Quest Packs.

Re: Line of Sight

Postby Kurgan » Monday April 18th, 2022 10:20am

This will always be something we discuss... since different versions of the game handle it differently. :mrgreen:

If this were a video game I guess you could ask why the character can't lean over, reach around the corner and fire off a crossbow bolt at his enemy and then lean back to cover. You could also ask why magic can't "auto-target" the character somewhere else on the board. Who knows, but it's a game balance mechanic designed to force players to move their character into potential danger in order to get a shot off. This is more strict in the North American version (and those based upon it) than the European edition rules.

By the same token if you want to imagine people ducking around corners to fire, maybe the target can dodge around the corner to avoid the shot. Either way, simply being on the board is not the same thing as "targetable for purposes of hitting them with a crossbow or spell." Even just being in the same room or corridor isn't a guarantee that they can be hit. The unobstructed straight line (obstructed by a solid object such as a closed door, figure or piece of furniture) is still necessary. Yes, the drawing in the manual confuses some of us with its ray tracing not strictly across the diagonal line of squares, but there it is.

It mostly penalizes the heroes, because let's face it... most monsters lack any kind of ranged ability, but the Heroes have it from the start (Wizard and Elf anyway with their spells, then anyone who can afford a crossbow!).

To me it's less a matter of realism than playing it as it was intended. "As intended" of course only goes so far, anyone can homebrew their own rules and decide if their own way is "better."

I prefer not to add to the complexity of the basic combat gameplay (even if it would add realism) as some have done. I don't make it cost an action to switch weapons, or give the crossbow limited ammo (or require a roll to check if the string breaks or something). I don't disallow low mind point monsters from defending against projectiles. Some prefer these changes however to their games and that's fine.

The few times that there has been any clarification on "see" or "sight" in the Remake, it has tended toward "line of sight." There's nothing stopping a GM who prefers the looser EU style of "seeing" things to implement that rule for their game table and I say more power to ya if that's your preference. But I think there it should apply both ways, not just for heroes but monsters as well, which will make boss battles tougher, basically.

As an interesting side note, in Space Crusade (from the makers of HeroQuest, 1990), if there is a dispute about whether a character can be seen for the purposes of targeting (which comes up a lot since it's the opposite of HQ... MOST characters have ranged attack ability), you roll to see who "wins" the debate. Of course not having a hard and fast rule understood beforehand would mean a lot of challenges, but this is a different game, just thought I'd share.


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Re: Line of Sight

Postby Bareheaded Warrior » Tuesday April 19th, 2022 5:33am

I’m not sure that the issue is due to the differences between the versions, or that the issue is because the lines of sight don’t follow the diagonals.

The UK/EU v2 rules (and the US version) draw a clear distinction between two types of visibility, a) that which can be seen (and is therefore laid out on the board) and b) that which can be seen and targeted by ranged weapons (including certain spells), which is a subset of a.

a) From UK/EU v2

What can be seen?

Deciding what can be seen by a player character is very important in determining what should be placed onto the board. Miniatures in the same room are always visible. Miniatures in passages or in different rooms are only visible if you can trace an unobstructed straight line between the two miniatures. If the line passes through a wall or a closed door then the miniature is not visible.


b) From UK/EU v2

Under “Casting a Spell”
Spells can be cast at monsters or characters provided that they are visible to the spell caster. Miniatures in the same room are always visible. Miniatures in passages or in different rooms are only visible if you can trace an unobstructed straight line between the two miniatures. If the line passes through a wall or a closed door or another miniature then the miniature is not visible


The clear distinction between the two is called out in the rulebook by the inclusion of the phrase in italics (the italics are in the rule text itself), the presence of other miniatures blocks visibility for the purposes of b), targeting them with ranged weapons but not a) seeing them i.e., placing them on the board.

That is straight-forward however the piece under a) “miniatures in the same room are always visible” is not contentious, after all if you are ignoring other miniatures then this is simply restating the obvious but when that same phrase is repeated, intentionally or otherwise, in the context of ranged magic/attacks it becomes an exception, saying in effect that within the same room, one rule applies that treats (a) and (b) the same but outside of the “within the same room” situation, a second pair of rules need to be followed where (a) is treated the same way as “within the same room” but (b) is treated differently.

This is complicated, you may even have to read it carefully again which is exactly the problem, and one that I think was recognised by the designers of the US version of the rules as they attempt to address that in a couple of ways

1) Remove the ‘within the same room” distinction leaving us with a much simpler set up, two variants of a rule, one to be applied when we are talking about visibility in the context of what gets placed on the board and one when we are talking about ranged combat. In essence

EDIT: I missed a "not" from the next piece in the original post, thanks to Kurgan and CavemanLogic for paying enough attention to spot my flaws!

a) For use when placing stuff - "Miniatures are only visible if you can trace an unobstructed straight line between the two miniatures. If the line passes
through a wall or a closed door, then the miniature is not visible"

b) For use when shooting stuff - "Miniatures are only visible if you can trace an unobstructed straight line between the two miniatures. If the line passes
through a wall or a closed door or another miniature then the miniature is not visible

2) The US version also tightens the definition of the rule by specifying further that the line must be drawn between the centres of the two squares, the EU/UK v2 leaves that open to interpretation, is it the centre or anywhere in the square? and clarifying the point about the line touching a corner doesn’t prevent it from being visible as that also could previously have been open to interpretation.

Unfortunately, whoever made those much-needed clarifications didn’t spot that the addition of the “centre” word to the rule renders one of the lines of sight shown on the original diagram as “a clear line of sight”, into “a blocked line of sight” (the one between the Elf and the middle Orc of the three on the right-hand side)

The issue for me with the diagram in the US version is that, for the reasons I have explained, the text has been changed (improved) but the diagram wasn’t updated so the text and the diagram do not match, hence the confusion. I don’t think it is anything to do with its ray tracing being not strictly across the diagonal.

Obviously anyone can and will play in any way that they want, but if you ignore the diagram in the US rules that was copied over from the previous version without being updated, then the US rule are in my opinion fairly clear*.

a) For use when determining that which can be seen (and is therefore laid out on the board) - the same rule applies as below EXCEPT for the phrase in italics

b) For use when determining that which can be targeted by ranged weapons - "Draw an invisible straight line between the centre of the square that the miniature is on and the centre of the square the target is on. If the line does not cross a wall, closed door, or a square occupied by another miniature, then the target is declared visible, even if the line just touches a corner or wall edge."

*I use the term fairly clear because they are clear when viewed in isolation, unfortunately the issue becomes more complicated again when you take into account other rules in the rulebook that contradict or make further exceptions to these rules but that is enough for one day!
Last edited by Bareheaded Warrior on Wednesday April 20th, 2022 9:39am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Line of Sight

Postby Kurgan » Tuesday April 19th, 2022 9:55am

I don't really disagree (you might be missing a "not" in there somewhere) to what you said above. I think one of the searches was slightly vague (Secret doors searching?), but understandable. If you take the very edge of the model square to the very edge of something else you might be able to fudge it more than if you take the direct center, which several made a case for the "circular" bases being superior for seeing that. But in any case, I don't have much of an issue with it, but many more hits can take place now that I'm focusing on it vs. when I was a kid and just took a strict by the diagonal squares look (which ignored the diagram!). I think I pretty much understand, these days, what their most likely intention was for the NA edition and I think it works with few problems most of the time.

I agree that the Rulebook (Instruction Booklet) is where we start, then that is modified by quest notes and cards... and when things are vague or there is a dispute over them, Zargon's decision is final for that session.


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Re: Line of Sight

Postby gaeryth » Tuesday April 19th, 2022 5:52pm

I personally use a more modern rule for line of sight (based on the DnD minis game which was designed from the ground up to use gridded squares, but was inspired by earlier gridless skirmish games). Choose a corner of the square of the caster/attacker and draw a straight line to two corners of the target's square without crossing the border of an occupied square or a wall. This rule actually makes the diagram accurate.

The HQ21 rulebook states that "Heroes and monsters are only visible if an unobstructed line can be traced from the spellcaster to the target." THEN it gives a "Good Rule of Thumb" example of one means to create such a line. Using the phrase "Good Rule of Thumb" and not just making that section a part of the previous paragraph makes me think that it was given as an example of ONE (of many) ways to interpret this rule, and not the definitive absolute ruling.

If you ignore the grid on the map and made the following change to the wording of the rule of thumb rule, the diagram would be accurate as well.
Change "Draw an invisible straight line between the center of the square the spellcaster is on and the center of the square the target is on." TO "Draw an invisible straight line between the center of the spellcaster's mini to the center of the target's mini." The line from the elf to the middle orc doesn't cross the wizard mini's base, if all minis are placed in the center of the square. In this interpretation, the grid is only for movement and placement.

And for a third argument that makes the diagram valid: If you ignore the good rule of thumb paragraph and just use the rule as written in the previous paragraph, an unobstructed straight line can be drawn from the topmost edge of the elf's base and the upper left edge of the base of the second orc from the top, a line that would not cross the wizard's square at all.

On another note, the good rule of thumb also states that only crossing a wall, closed door, hero (not the hero's square), or monster (not the monster's square) would block line of sight. This specifically does not include furniture, so furniture doesn't block line of sight, I guess.

Well, there's my thoughts on this matter, and how I choose to explain to myself why the diagram is right, and not a mistake.
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Re: Line of Sight

Postby Bareheaded Warrior » Wednesday April 20th, 2022 6:03am

I think there are some good points being made here, the good rule of thumb COULD be an example of one way, rather than THE way and also it does mention the figure rather than a square occupied by a figure and whilst I don’t share this interpretation, I accept that it is still perfectly valid.

I agree about the furniture comment, tall furniture like bookcases and cupboards probably should block line of sight but then in the quests that came with the original (US) game and therefore those rules I think that tall furniture was always placed against walls so less of an issue.

I’m have banged on about this at too much length already so I’ll try and keep it brief but my issue is not with the line of sight rules in themselves (although there is some wriggle room in the interpretation but that is life) it is more around how the line of sight rules are used to work out what a Hero can see and therefore what is laid out on the board.

The US version (and the HQ21 version) tightened up and clarified the line of sight rules themselves which is a good thing but then tried to use these (ignoring intervening models) to govern what a Hero can see, the unwritten logic appears to be that if a Hero can see it, then it gets laid out on the board, if they can’t it doesn’t, but that logic doesn’t work and is contradicted by other rules leaving us in the position where you only lay out on the board stuff that the Heroes have line of sight to … except sometimes when you lay out stuff that they don’t have line of sight to…

I propose the following to cover LOS (for ranged weapons) and “What a Hero can see?”

What a figure can see?

• A figure can see everything in the same room or corridor as itself
• A figure can see everything in a room or corridor that it is adjacent to
• A figure can see everything that it has line of sight to

Line of Sight

Draw an invisible straight line between the centre of the square that the figure is on and the centre of the target square. If the line does not cross a wall or closed door, then the target square is visible, even if the line just touches a corner or wall edge.

Targeting with ranged weapons

To target a figure with a ranged weapon you need to have line of sight, as detailed above, and that line of sight must not be blocked by a square occupied by another figure
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Re: Line of Sight

Postby CavemanLogic » Wednesday April 20th, 2022 7:54am

Bareheaded Warrior wrote:a) For use when placing stuff - "Miniatures are only visible if you can trace an unobstructed straight line between the two miniatures. If the line passes
through a wall or a closed door, then the miniature is visible
"

I believe somewhere in this sentence is where the missing "not" is supposed to be that Kurgan mentioned above... :D

Kurgan wrote:To me it's less a matter of realism than playing it as it was intended. "As intended" of course only goes so far, anyone can homebrew their own rules and decide if their own way is "better."

I prefer not to add to the complexity of the basic combat gameplay (even if it would add realism) as some have done. I don't make it cost an action to switch weapons, or give the crossbow limited ammo (or require a roll to check if the string breaks or something). I don't disallow low mind point monsters from defending against projectiles. Some prefer these changes however to their games and that's fine.

For most games I try to stick to the rules as intended. There are some games, however, which can be improved with a house rule or two (HeroQuest being one of those). And when I do apply house rules, I try to stick somewhat close to the intended way of playing. In other words, I try not to rewrite the whole set of rules. I prefer minor enhancements over drastic changes.

Take Line of Sight, for instance. I see the house rule of originating LoS from *anywhere* in your square, instead of the *center* of your square as a minor enhancement. The house rule of going from any corner of your square to any two corners of your target’s square seems to be too much of a drastic change for my liking. More details on that below...

gaeryth wrote:I personally use a more modern rule for line of sight (based on the DnD minis game which was designed from the ground up to use gridded squares, but was inspired by earlier gridless skirmish games). Choose a corner of the square of the caster/attacker and draw a straight line to two corners of the target's square without crossing the border of an occupied square or a wall. This rule actually makes the diagram accurate.

I believe we discussed this over in the BGG forums, but for the benefit of the current thread, I will reiterate my thoughts on that particular LoS house rule here…

The original HeroQuest Rules as Written (the North American rules anyway) appear to work on a “50% cover” methodology. If you can “see” 50% or more of your enemy’s square, then you can successfully target that enemy.

In the old, original HeroQuest NA rulebook, the diagram shows the Elf’s LoS:

Image

The Elf obviously has LoS to the top left Orc, because that LoS line only just *touches* the corner of that wall. Similarly, the Wizard has LoS to the top right Orc, for the same reason. Now take a look at this:

Image

By allowing LoS along the 45 degree angles, the target square is bisected, providing 50% cover to the target. A target with 50% cover is declared visible according to the rules. Looking at the top pair of diagrams in the image above, the Goblin has 50% cover from the Wizard, but can still be targeted by the Wizard.

The second set of diagrams shows the Barbarian in the square directly to the right of the Wizard’s square. The Barbarian obviously has LoS to the Goblin, since his LoS line does not even touch the corner of the wall, and the Goblin only has 16.7% cover from that wall anyway. Less than 50% cover, so the Goblin is visible.

The third set of diagrams shows the Dwarf in the square directly to the left of the Wizard’s square. His “center of square” to “center of square” LoS crosses over the corner of the wall, so no LoS. The wall provides 70% cover. More than 50% cover, so the Goblin is not visible.

Lastly, the Elf is in the square directly North of the Dwarf. With a flatter angle to the Goblin’s square, his LoS line cuts across much more of the corner of the wall, providing the Goblin with 90% cover. Again, more than 50% cover, so the Goblin is not visible.

Now take a look at this diagram of the Elf targeting the Goblin using the “any *one* point of the attacker’s square to any *two* points of the target’s square” method of determining LoS.

Image

Even with three intervening Orcs, the Elf has LoS to the Goblin. The Elf chooses the northeast corner of his square (the light grey dot) to originate his LoS line from. He targets the lower two corners of the Goblin’s square (the two darker grey dots). Even though the Goblin has 100% cover, if not from the three Orcs, then certainly from the corner of the wall, he *can* be targeted by the Elf according to that rule.

I don’t think I like that method. It strays *just* a bit too far from the rules as intended for my tastes. :)

Some people prefer the rules as intended, "center of square to center of square," 50% cover method, which is perfectly fine. I prefer the *slight* modification of the rules (the "any point in your square to center of square" method), which allows you to lean within your square to target around intervening obstacles, because it still provides easy calculations for LoS even when calculating to or from the center of a square. The "one corner to two corners," 100% cover method is just too drastic a change for me.

Cheers!
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Re: Line of Sight

Postby CavemanLogic » Wednesday April 20th, 2022 8:07am

Bareheaded Warrior wrote:What a figure can see?

• A figure can see everything in the same room or corridor as itself
• A figure can see everything in a room or corridor that it is adjacent to
• A figure can see everything that it has line of sight to

Line of Sight

Draw an invisible straight line between the centre of the square that the figure is on and the centre of the target square. If the line does not cross a wall or closed door, then the target square is visible, even if the line just touches a corner or wall edge.

Targeting with ranged weapons

To target a figure with a ranged weapon you need to have line of sight, as detailed above, and that line of sight must not be blocked by a square occupied by another figure

It seems we are in exact agreement here. What you call "Line of Sight," I call "Field of Vision." What you call "Targeting with ranged weapons," I call "Line of Sight."

The one thing that is not clear is how you handle spell casting. I treat that the same as your "Targeting with ranged weapons" designation. Others use your version of "Line of Sight" for spellcasting.
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Re: Line of Sight

Postby Bareheaded Warrior » Wednesday April 20th, 2022 9:35am

I think that the official interpretation of the rules would be that spell casting uses the "Targeting with ranged weapons" designation as you have said and that is my standard approach too.

I am currently experimenting with spell casting using a broader interpretation of "line of sight" i.e. ignoring intervening figures, as a boost to spell casters whether they be Wizards hiding valiantly behind Barbarians or Sorcerers hiding cowardly behind Dread Warriors

Our use of terminology is interesting as I would consider "Field of Vision" to be the cumulation of all of the lines of sight for a given figure at a specific moment in time but I definitely do need a better phrase than "Targeting with ranged weapons".

Thank you both for pointing out my missed "not", I quite surprised that was the only mistake I made, or perhaps it was just the only one spotted so far!
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Re: Line of Sight

Postby gaeryth » Wednesday April 20th, 2022 10:12am

Cavemanlogic, I think I am amending my personal rules to state that wall corners block line of sight unless they are the origin point of the line. I think that would make almost all, if not all, of my rulings the same as yours. I think that that change is approximately the same as your 50% cover ruling. Thanks again for the discourse. I modify my thoughts on these rules every time I read one of these threads, which is good, because I'm trying to codify my house rules/rules interpretations into a cohesive ruleset.
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Re: Line of Sight

Postby gaeryth » Wednesday April 20th, 2022 10:18am

Except now the wizard does not block line of sight to the third orc down. Hmm.... new rule change:

You have line of sight to a target if you can draw an unobstructed line from any one corner of the origin square to any two corners of the target square, with at least one of those lines passing through the target's square (and not just running along the edge of the square). An unobstructed line is one that does not pass through a wall edge or the square occupied by a hero or monster.
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