Friday, September 16, 2011

Is That What That Rule Says?

I make no secret about my ability to mess up a rule.  I know it's because I don't play as often as I like so the rules get used, then sit in my mind unused for months so that when I tap back into those files I find things mixed up, forgotten, or just plain ignored.  Shoot, even studying the rules for a specific unit before I play it can sometimes result in me being stupid and thinking I know the rule only to mess up a stat.  When I mess up a rule and I realize it, I will mention it here.  I get grief for cheating, from James, but this is the same guy who made a blood pact with the dice gods to let him win in exchange for open access to his groinal area.  Believe me, I'd rather be a so-called cheater than a carnal inflatable sex doll for the gods in exchange for some meaningless wins.

That said, I'm going to start a semi-regular feature around here called "Is that What That Rule Says?"  In this feature I will be discussing rules that we (mostly I)have made mistakes interpreting in our group and how that affected the game, and what the actual interpretation should be.  However, I need some help.  I need to know that my revised or corrected interpretation is correct.  So if I mention a rule and how I got it wrong, and how I think it should be played, and that is wrong let me know in the comments.  AND, if anybody has any examples that would fit into this I'd love to hear them and include them in the series.  If you have any examples you are willing to share please email me the rule to, how it was interpreted and how it affected your game and I will include it in the series.  And yes, we can make it anonymous if you so desire.

Now hit the jump and check out the first rule I've messed up.

I screwed up initiative.  Yep, a simple little rule from the rulebook, a major part of every game, and I've screwed it up.

Please note that I am including the page reference for the rule, but I am only including the text that applies to my interpretation so I can avoid any potential cease and desist letters.

What the rule reads (Bold emphasis by me):
Warhammer 40K Rulebook p.36 In close combat, a model's Initiative characteristic determines who attacks first...Note that certain situations, abilities and weapons can modify a model's Initiative.

How I've messed it up:  The last time I played, I had it in my mind that the modify of the initiative by a weapon (in my case generally a Power Klaw) affects the initiative of that attack with that weapon.  In reality it should be the model in question's entire attack.  I take this from this part of the example (italics from the book, bold emphasis by me):
a squad of Space Marines (Initiative 4) including a Veteran Sergenat with a power fist (which reduces his Initiative to 1) assaults Orks...Space Marines strike first at 4...Orks at 2, then the Sergeant strikes last at Initiative 1.

How this has affected my games:  Well if the unit with the Initiative 1 dies after it uses it's higher Initiative attacks but before the Initiative 1 attack, then it got some free attacks in.  Also, if the higher Initiative attacks came before the enemy had a chance to attack, and they died then I got extra attacks and cheated my opponent out of their attacks.  In the case I'm thinking of, my Warboss had his regular attacks earlier in the round, and then attacked with his PK last.

How I should have played it:  Based on how the example from the rulebook read, my Warboss should have waited and had all his attacks last.  This is something I will remember for the next time I play.

So, am I right in how I'm interpreting the rule after re-reading it?  I'm pretty sure this is the case, but I just want to make sure.  I've checked the FAQ and nothing is listed there (not that I expected there to be), but please let me know if I'm totally screwing something up.


  1. If a model has a special close combat weapon (such as the aforementioned Power Klaw) ALL of the model's attacks use that special weapon- so the Warboss will only make one "set" of attacks, all of them at Initiative 1 and gaining the benefits of the Power Klaw.

    It should be noted that there is a difference between STRIKING at Initiative 1 and HAVING Initiative 1; simply having a Power Klaw/Fist does not change the actual Initiative value of the model, just when you resolve its attacks. (The same is true of, say, charging through cover.) If a power or wargear checks your Initiative or calls for an Initiative check, you will still use your full value despite the presence of the Klaw/Fist- this is most relevant for Sweeping Advance, but also comes up other times.

  2. Cool, thanks for the confirmation. It's good to know every now and then I'm not a complete buffoon...just a partial one. And thanks also for clarifying the rule in regards to striking initiative and having initiative. I have not run into a situation like that (last few times I've had a sweeping advance chance have been my Ork Boyz with no modifiers), but I'll keep it in mind.