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Friday, June 10, 2011

Email in: "Free" vehicle movement

"Just thought I'd ask you about this "debate" that I've seen pop up again and again. Its also something that might make a good article - since it requires pictures to really explain why its illegal (or legal, depending on your reading).

Can you make a "free" turn at the start of your vehicle move in order to get more distance out of it?

Now, having phrased the question that way, you can probably tell I'm on the "No." side of the camp. But I've seen WAY too many people, including GW Staffers and "experts" argue that yes, they can get the extra movement because pivots "are free". They refuse to believe that you are supposed to measure from the original position of the hull when figuring out how far the tank can move - because pivots are "free".

Which side of the debate do you come down on?

-Mark Duffield"

I'm afraid I agree with the yes camp. Let's take a peek at the rules.

p56. "As vehicle models do not usually have a base, the normal rule of measuring distances to or from the base cannot be used. Instead for distances involving a vehicle measure to or from their hull." 

This indicates we are measuring to the edge of the hull (and ignoring extra stuff like dozer blades and gun barrels) rather than to the centre of the vehicle. Let's look at some quotes regarding pivoting.

p.57 "Vehicles can turn any numbers of times as they move, just like any other model. Vehicles turn by pivoting on the spot about their centre-point rather than 'wheeling' round. Turning does not reduce the vehicle's move."

This says that anytime we rotate the vehicle it happens round the centre-point so if a vehicle is longer than it is wide, it will appear to gain a movement advantage by pivoting from a sideways facing to forward facing. To clarify.

p.57 "Pivoting on the spot alone does not count as moving so a vehicle that only pivots in the Movement phase counts as stationary."

This further reinforces that pivoting can provide some extra movement as pivoting alone doesn't count as moving (though let it be noted there is a further restriction which stops you from assaulting if a vehicle does this).

What this all equates to in the end if you have pivoted correctly is that the centre point of the vehicle will have moved 12" whilst any section of the hull may have moved over or under 12" (assuming a normal tank's maximum speed here). It's illegal when your centre-point moves over 12" as you have therefore not pivoted correctly. Let's look at some Vassal pictures.
Picture 1
Picture 2
Picture 3
In picture one we can see our Razorback is setup with its side facing the opponent (i.e. on the deployment line). When it is time to move it pivots around it's centre-point and moves a legal 12" forward as evidenced in picture two. However, as we can see in picture three the front part of the hull has moved 14" from it's original spot. Since the rules quoted above however are based on pivoting rather than wheeling (unlike say in Fantasy), this is perfectly legal since the vehicle has pivoted around it's centre-point.

If the ruling was based on wheeling like in Fantasy, this would be illegal as it specifically states no part of the unit (vehicle in this case) may move greater than the distance set. This is specifically laid out this way so you cannot gain a huge advantage in movement by using one or two ranks of models and spreading them out in a huge line. In 40k this is different however and some vehicles gain more out of this than others (Battlewagons and Dark Eldar Raiders for example who are long and narrow) but it is perfectly legal as long as the vehicle is pivoted on its centre-point.

In the end it's not really movement but an ability to  move certain parts of the hull further than the movement of the actual vehicle. When used appropriately this can gain the vehicles weapons or units inside transports a few precious inches of movement in any given turn.

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