Feast of Blades '13

Monday, January 21, 2013

How Overwatch Works: The reasoning behind my interpretation

What everyone I talk to online thinks of my rules arguements haha ;)

gone back and retracted this months ago on the podcast since everyone was so butt hurt over it. I was reading engaged as being a requirement to be locked from overwatch but my play group and I were reading the rules wrong Didnt help that BFS judges agreed with me at the time lol

OK everyone, its been awhile since I posted anything controversial yet since it seems to come up every single time I go to play 40k and I seem to be getting a lot of flak over it I would like to talk about overwatch and why a lot of players are doing it right/wrong.... So first of all a caveat

There are many different groups and sub-groups of 40k players and in every region of the world/country there are different interpretations of the rules. I notice it every time I travel between my PA play group and my RI play group. It happens when you have a rulebook with tons of rules and it is not a big deal.By writing this I am not saying this is the only and right way to play 40k. EVERY single player I have ever personally shown this rule to and made my case why it works as I am about to state has always agreed with me after being shown the evidence including TO's of GT's including the rules judges at the Battle for Salvation. I am not an expert games writer nor do I have a telepathic connection with Mat Ward. It is just how the rule reads to me, and this rule is Overwatch.

My argument with this rule is simple,

As long as you were not still engaged in close combat from the previous turn and have not already fired overwatch you can still fire overwatch if a 2nd or more unit charges into them in the same charge sub-phase as a unit  they did not fire overwatch into has also charged into your unit.

Yet before we get to Overwatch we need to read the rules for the assault phase since they are changed. There are now Two sub-phases in the Assault Phase. The Charge sub-phase and the Fight Sub-phase. This is very important to my reading of this rule. These are to be considered to operate as two different phases inside of the assault phase of the turn. At the beginning of the assault phase you start the charge subphase which is very simple You declare charges, resolve overwatch, charge in models and repeat for every unit. At this point the Charge sub-phase ends. This is important as you then move on to the fight sub-phase.

OK so now on to the overwatch rule and this is basically the rule. You get to shoot when charged in the assault phase. Makes sense and it is based off an older rule from editions way in the past. This is how the rule works. Player A Declares Charge; Player B decides whether or not to overwatch; Resolve Overwatch; Player A rolls for charge range and moves in Chargers; end charge sub phase, begin Slappy Fight sub-phase...There is basically only one instance where you would not be allowed to Overwatch, and this is when the unit is locked in close combat or is engaged in close combat. So what is an engaged model?

An engaged model is a model in close combat....simple right? Well apparently not as when a model becomes engaged is only ever defined in the Fight Sub-phase. This is on page 23 of the BRB

A unit with on or more models that in base contact with an enemies...simple right and you should not be able to overwatch if another unit charges in if you did not overwatch already right?  Except there is a time issue here.

You are not expressly locked in combat until the Fight Sub-phase, All charges are done in the charge sub-phase. As it does clearly state that You Declare charges, resolve overwatch, roll charge range, move in models and repeat. Then you end the charge sub phase and go on to the fight sub phase. So there is a clear split in time between when you are locked in close combat and when overwatch is revolved.

Also a you do not decide who can fight until after each initiative phase in the first place. As there is a chronological order to this game. You cannot decide to go to the assault phase before your shooting phase. This game is clearly restriced in a time flow format that happens in phases.

This means that as long as you did not overwatch into the first unit charging in you can still overwatch into the second one as long as you were not engaged at the start of the fight sub phase aka a carry over assault.

Now I am not saying I'm right, your wrong, and if you do not play like this I will stick my tongue out at you and pop a fit. It is just how I read the rule and I have had people agree with me locally on this. It is a local interpretation of the rule and that's it. I always make sure if it is not someone I have played before if it will come in to play how they play this rule. If they do not agree with me I show them this interpretation and show them it in the main rule book. If they still do not think I am right I am cool with it and will play how they are use to playing it. Players usually tend to agree with me when I do show them it in the rule book and it has never been a big deal, heck half of the time it never comes into play.

I still do not consider myself an expert and I am not trying to step on any toes or be a rules lawyer, I like to play the rules right and like to be corrected but this is something I just seem to think makes sense the way I read it. I still think it needs an FAQ. Anyway I still take this game very laid back and am always trying to learn how to play it better and more correctly. So thanks for reading this whole thing and I hope it stirs up some good conversation on other rules being interpreted differently.. Still go into the rulebook and look at the rules through this interpretation and think it through....more on this later


  1. If it is controversial, and you always seem to run into it when you play 40K, could it be that the majority play it different than you, regardless of right or wrong? Maybe it is time to let it go.

    1. and no heldrake haha, actually people I play tend to agree with me on it, its only ever on the internet people seem to disagree with me

  2. I guess we don't count as personal, since we never meet in person.

  3. Nothing in your argument persuades me that a model in base to base is not locked in combat (and therefore unable to fire overwatch) only during the fight sub-phase.

    Using your own timing logic, a model is engaged (and therefore locked) during the last sentence of the charge sub-phase.

    Why are you ignoring that sentence?

  4. This is why I believe you may be wrong. Pg 21 of the BRB ...."...units that are LOCKED in close combat" (emphasis mine). Note this does not state "engaged" as your arguement hinges on the wording of a model being engaged. This is in error as the wording clearly states "locked". So the question becomes when is a model LOCKED in combat? Pg 23 BRB..."...Units that have one or more models in base contact with enemies are locked in combat". I will admit I was taken by their argument before because we were under the false pretence that ENGAGED and not LOCKED was the correct term. You get two diffrent results when utilizing these two words. Unfortunately ENGAGED was the wrong term to use and therefore you are mistaken.

  5. Honestly I have no problem dtopping it, yet just as many people have agreed with me in this way of reading it than have disagreed. I just want an faq

    and terra to make that arguement work you need to completely ignore that it is a different phase, does this mean we should use rules from the shooting phase in the assault phase?

  6. The rule states nothing about phase.... you are adding words that do not exist. I qouted the rule dirrectly it is not opinion. It is the printed word. You are adding the bit about phase. The rule simply states qhen a model is locked in a very simple straight forward way. What confused me last time was the use of ENGAGE, which in that case you would be correct. However we were using the wrong word as the rule for LOCKED is diffrent. Sorry but you are wrong on this. BTW this is exactly why I don't like having these arguements on line and prefer to sort it out face to face with the rule book...lol.

  7. Oh and by the way.... we DO use rules from the shooting phase in the assualt phase...lol...pg 21 BRB..."...resolved just like a normal shooting attack...". Just found your example ironic. ...lol

  8. Melon head is correct.

    The first bullet on the "can't fire over watch" Page 20, second column)list is "the unit is already locked in CC (see page 23)"

    On page 23 (first column, bottom, states that "units that have one or more models in base contact with enemies are locked in combat"

    Where is the controversy. Clearly a unit locked in combat can not shoot, much less make an over-watch.

  9. It's not controversy - just a case of a poor interpretation of the rules looking for an advantage where it doesn't exist. Amusing though.

  10. the rules are clearly defined for how the whole combat charge and over-watch sub-phase work

    1. Declare Unit Charge target

    2. Resolve Over-watch

    3. Roll Charge distance

    4. Move in

    5. Move onto next unit.

    Nice and clear cant go wrong the order is obvious so to claim TO's have agreed wsith you either means your lying or they are stupid and don't understand the rules

    1. Easy Internet tough guy. This is an old interpretation from January. I wasn't lying I was just reading into being locked and being engaged as separate actions. I've gone back and retracted this interpretation awhile ago after looking into it further. Im sure the guys who run Battle For Salvation are not idiots either

  11. and that means the intended target is locked in combat for the next unit, so the only way to shoot another charging unit is to not over-watch the first and hope they don't make it into combat

  12. Can't agree with this. Actions are done unit by unit, not point by point. You don't declare all of your shooting, then go back and start rolling the dice. You declare target on unit A, shoot, roll wounds, roll saves, then move on to unit Bs shooting. The assault phase is in 2 segments, but works the same way. Unit A declares an assault, overwatch=Y/N, resolve wounds/saves(if overwatch chosen), roll distance, charge in, then move onto unit B. Once all unit charge moves are made you shift to the Fight segment and start slapping each other silly.

    This can also be used to block your enemies action. If he's sending a larger unit of throw aways (say cultists) first so you can't overwatch your plasma gun into the Daemon Prince, remember that he has to get as many models in base contact as possible. If the distance is really short, forgo the overwatch, make him surround your unit with Cultists, and now his Daemon Prince can't charge since their is no longer any room for him to squeeze in that big base.
    If, on the chance he is able to get the Uber killy thing into the fight...ignore it and smack down the disposable group. You kill 6 or 7 and his Monster kills 2 or 3...you win combat and he has to take Ld checks on both units at the deficit (don't forget issues like Stubborn, Fearless, nearby HQ Ld buffs, etc).