February 4, 2015 by crew
This is the Wartrader, Ch-ch-ch-changing facing…
The triumvirate of Zone of Control reactions, Change Facing and Alert has undergone a subtle but pervasive change in N3.
Zone of Control & Change Facing
In Infinity second edition (N2 from here on), entering or acting within the 8″ radius Zone of Control (ZoC) of a reactive trooper would let that trooper turn around for free with a Change Facing reaction because they’d heard someone sneaking around, even if they couldn’t see.
In third edition (N3) the Change Facing reaction (an ARO or Automatic Reaction Order) is still present but has some small but significant changes.
1. It’s no longer automatic. Change Facing now requires a successful PH roll with a -3 modifier. This means that positioning and facing your troopers is even more important as you can’t guarantee that they’ll be able to turn in reaction to models sneaking up on them.
2. It works like a Dodge but without allowing any movement apart from turning on the spot. So walking up behind someone and unloading into their back is less effective than in N2 because they’ll get a PH-3 roll to try and avoid the attack. This also makes the +6 short range for Shotguns slightly less scary because you can’t get into +6 range behind someone without them being able to Change Facing. Penalties to Dodging apply as well, but more on that later.
So in this example, in N2 the reactive trooper R would automatically get to turn round ready for active trooper A’s next order.
In N3 this requires a roll, so we could end up with R still facing the wrong way:
Although R would get another Change Facing reaction which would be an opposed Face to Face roll against A’s attack.
The ‘safest’ option for the active trooper is to not be in R’s Zone of Control at all and simply shoot them in the back with no opposition:
Change Facing and Alert
Alert in N2 is a very rarely used reaction. It lets one of your models with Line of Fire to the active model yell out a warning to the rest of your force, letting everyone else declare a Change Facing even if the active trooper isn’t in their ZoC.
But wait – Change Facing is now effectively a ‘Dodge on the spot’ – keep outside of a target’s ZoC so that you can shoot them in the back without opposition and you need to make sure there’s nobody else in sight to call an Alert and let your target try to avoid the attack. Although it’s risky for the Alerting model as you might choose to shoot them instead. However it certainly gives a reason to have someone sitting up in a high place as a spotter, even if they don’t have a Sniper Rifle. It also gives snipers a quandary – do they shoot the enemy trooper that’s snuck up into someone’s rear facing and let their colleague get shot or do they Alert to save the colleague and forgo the shot?
Look at diagram 4 again – does the second reactive trooper dare declare an Alert after A moves into position?
Change Facing and the Warning! Rule
In N2, Change Facing had a secondary effect – if one of your troopers was hit by an enemy attack then any of your troopers in ZoC that hadn’t had a reaction got to Change Facing at the end of the Order. This was a bit of an oddity rules-wise because it was effectively a reaction that happened after any normal reactions had already been declared and resolved – plus it only kicked in on hits, so a burst that failed to hit wouldn’t trigger it.
This aspect of Change Facing has been refactored in N3 into it’s own rule, separate from the regular Order and AROs sequence. Instead, after the Order has been resolved, any trooper within ZoC of a friendly target gets to turn for free as long as they hadn’t had an ARO or used an Order. There’s no longer a need for the target to have been hit, just that they’ve been attacked.
So, in the diagrams so far, R could have chosen not to declare a reaction (or not had the chance) and then got to automatically turn round – assuming they survived…
Change Facing and Stealth
OK, so what happens when a Ninja sneaks up behind you? The Stealth Special Skill (granted by Camouflage, TO Camouflage, Impersonation and all levels of Martial Arts) causes even more problems for the reactive model as it allows the active model to move within Zone of Control (but outside Line of Fire, obviously) without triggering AROs. This means that if we go back to example 1
Sneaky Ninja gets to ‘freely’ walk around behind R because R can’t declare any AROs unless A does something like shoot. Even worse, Stealth allows the user to move into base contact and initiate close combat from outside Line of Fire and still no reactions can be declared until A does something like CC Attack. This makes for a very nasty way of tying up your opponent’s stronger reactive troops by outmanoeuvring them!
For truly scary stuff, the PanOceanian Cutter also gets Stealth from it’s TO Camouflage. Oops.
In N2, Dodging a Direct Template Weapon suffered a -6 modifier. TAGs, Remotes and troopers on bikes also suffered a -6 modifier which stacked with this, which made it impossible for most bikers or Remotes to Dodge a flamethrower or similar and near-impossible even for TAGs. TAGs still suffer a -6 penalty, but the general Dodge penalty for Remotes and bikers has dropped to -3 while Remotes have generally gained a bump in PH.
So for example a standard Total Reaction Remote in N2 with PH8 would suffer -6 to Dodge anything (PH2 or less on a d20!) and a further -6 to dodge a Direct Template Weapon making it impossible to Dodge as rolling -4 or lower on a d20 is somewhat tricky. In N3 in the same situation the Remote is starting with PH10 and suffering -3 for being a Remote – so can Dodge the template on PH7 or less.
Now, templates from out of sight. If you’ve read my article on N3 templates you’ll know that template hits when you can’t see the firer inflict a -3 Dodge penalty. This penalty stacks with ‘unit type’ penalties but not with the -3 for Change Facing, on the grounds that they’re the same ‘dodge at the last minute’ penalty.
So – Change Facing needs a roll, but that roll counts against incoming shots and templates. It’s triggered by an active trooper in ZoC or an allied trooper declaring an Alert reaction. This means that the only way to shoot someone in the back unopposed is to keep outside their ZoC and from a position where nobody else can see you.
Positioning and facing becomes even more important than before, especially for TAGs who will mostly be turning on PH8 or less (-6 for being a big clumsy TAG, -3 for Change Facing) and if there are Ninjas walking unseen amongst us. Well, apart from that one Maghariba Guard option with a 360 Visor. He he he!
All these changes make 360 Visors particularly useful, bumping the usefulness of troops like the Odalisques and Sekban.
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"So walking up behind someone and unloading into their back is less effective than in N2 because they'll get a PH-3 roll to try and avoid the attack"
"Positioning and facing becomes even more important than before, especially for TAGs who will mostly be turning on PH8 or less"