Sunday, 22 December 2013

HOTT 2.0 - My House Rules

I have a reputation for being a bit of a HOTT purist. And it's true; I like HOTT 2.0 pretty much as it is. I don't advocate for adding new troop types and I don't really feel that it needs new mechanisms to make it work. I'm generally happy to play it as it's written. No set of rules is perfect, after all, and if they work, and give sensible results and an entertaining game, 95% of the time, I'm happy. There are no perfect rules, after all.

However I have tried out fixes and variants, and over time some of them have become more or less permanent features of my games, or at least the ones I play in the comfort of my own home. You could call them House Rules ...

Some of them have been described elsewhere on this blog, but I thought that it would be interesting to put them all in one place for other people to see.

So, here they are:

(i) Sneaker. There are probably as many Sneaker fixes as there are people thinking that a fix for Sneakers is needed. Mine simply adjusts existing rules, rather than adding anything new. Put simply, a Sneaker is allowed to break off from an enemy element by moving forward through it, and the restriction on which elements they can 'friction kill' is lifted. In rules terms this translates to:

Page 24, under 'Recoiling'
2nd paragraph, 1st bullet point - delete last sentence
"If all such enemy are sneakers .... if it is a general"

Page 18, under 'Breaking Off From Close Combat'
1st paragraph - amend from
"A single element can use a tactical move to break off from enemy in contact with its front, but only if all of the following apply:"
"A single element can use a tactical move to break off from enemy in contact with its front, but only if it is a Sneaker or if all of the following apply:"

2nd paragraph - amend start from
"An element breaking off must move at least 200p ... "
"Unless a sneaker, an element breaking off must move at least 200p ..."

(ii) Water Lurkers. Essentially, I don't use them any more. THIS POST describes how this change works.

(iii) Random Terrain Positioning. The first thing I latched onto when I saw DBA 3.0 was the way terrain was positioned. It has been said by a few players that terrain placement in HOTT can be  little samey after a while, as well as being open to abuse, and I wondered if the DBA system could help alleviate this. Eventually I came up with THIS.

(iv) Clerics. A simple addition. Clerics are the only element that can force a God to flee the field, but who cannot actually contact the God in the first place. So, I allow Clerics to move into contact with Gods. This gives them a little more value for their 3AP. Games show that, despite the disparity between the movement and manoeuvrability of a God and a Cleric, they can use, or threaten to use, this ability more than you might think.

(v) Paladins. Heroes and Paladins can both contact aerials But, for some reason, only a Hero can destroy a Flier in close combat; even if doubled by a Paladin, a Flier only flees. I suspect that this is an omission (rather like the one which, in HOTT 10, meant that Beasts got a -2 fighting an enemy element that was in bad going). So - a Flier is destroyed by a Paladin if doubled.

(vi) Big Battles. In big battles we have found that a victorious flank command can't really move quickly enough to exploit its success and support the rest of the army. So in big battles elements we allow elements to  march move. That is, and element, or group of elements, can make multiple moves, so long as no move after the first starts, ends or goes within 600p of an enemy element. Normal PIP costs apply for each move.

As you can see, there are few genuine additions, and only one section which is radically changed (Terrain). They all need more testing and play, although so far I've not detected any major flaws. And no new troop types - indeed I effectively drop one ...


  1. Looks like a sensible list of additions. We're due to play a big battle so might try out the march moves.

    1. Oddly we haven't found the march moves having a huge effect on games yet, but it's nice to know they're there. They're actually more useful in the early, approach, stages of the battle, rather than later in the game - they allow flanking moves, chances to seize terrain with advanced parties and the ability to keep troops with different move rates together for the first bound's advance.

  2. As you say, the perfect set of rules doesn't exist (HOTT/DBA are the closest I've come across), but that may be because we wargamers love to tweak them! However, your ideas look like all good suggestions to me and I'll look forward to including them in my next game. For their cost, sneakers still don't seem good value though. Do you think sneakers should suffer the -2 for bad going? I've always been puzzled that when aerials are in close combat with each other, ground troops can enter the combat, seems odd, what do you reckon?

    1. "Do you think sneakers should suffer the -2 for bad going?"

      I'm still pondering that. It screws them up badly when facing mounted or aerials, but keeps numbers constant with regard to other foot. Dropping the penalty would leave them at a +5 in bad going - not even a Hero gets that. Rather than drop the -2, I'd up their factors against mounted. But I'm not into changing combat factors, so I'm unlikely to try it myself.

      With the changes I use they are a lit more use for their 3AP than you might think - you just have to work out *how* to use them effectively.

      " I've always been puzzled that when aerials are in close combat with each other, ground troops can enter the combat, seems odd, what do you reckon?"

      Not at all. From a mechanism point of view it keeps the rules simple and prevents aerials from becoming too hard to engage. Consider it being your aerials forcing the fight down to an altitude where ground troops can get involved if you want to rationalise it (but don't confuse how you rationalise a rule with the rule itself).

    2. You're probably right, as I've never used sneakers (didn't think they were worth 3AP) perhaps it's a case of knowing how to use them effectively. Any tips?

      Perhaps you could do a piece of how to effectively use the more specialist elements to get good value for their higher cost...?

      I do like to rationalise things. The idea that ground troops can get involved in an aerial combat situation is a concept I struggle with, although I take your point about possibly forcing them down to a lower altitude. I appreciate that it makes aerials easier to engage, but still...odd. When you say 'don't confuse how you rationalise a rule with the rule itself' I'm not sure what you mean. I would be grateful if you could perhaps elaborate further, it may help me become more comfortable when faced with what seems an odd rule. Thanks.

    3. "When you say 'don't confuse how you rationalise a rule with the rule itself' I'm not sure what you mean."

      The rule is that aerials in close combat can be contacted by enemy elements, and that is how it should always be explained. Sometimes people quote the rule as being 'Aerials force other aerials down to ground level', which is not what is said - that's just how some of us choose to rationalise it.

      Excluding aerial vs aerial combats from being contacted by ground elements would also create extra wording for very little gain in the game. At the end of the day it works, and it keeps aerials from becoming too powerful (try an army with a limited capacity to engage aerials against one with a couple of Airboats and Flyers - then see how useful the ability to pin them in combat so that other elements can then take part becomes :) )

    4. Thanks, I see what you mean.

      I suppose if you limit of the number of aerials to avoid such a scenario that might be one way of dealing with it. But as you say, at the end of the day it works for people...

      Once again thanks and keep up the good work. Happy New Year!


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