Terrain, and the navigation thereof, is a huge part of movement in Firefight 2nd Edition. In this article we'll explore terrain types and how they affect movement and tactics during a game.
Terrain Types and Description
There are five types of terrain in Firefight 2nd Edition:
Blocking, Building, Difficult and Hill terrain must have a Footprint. This defines the boundary of the terrain for the purposes of line of sight and movement. For example, a common forest terrain piece will be a "blob" shape flat piece of MDF or card, plus several moveable trees like this ready made one from Galeforce Nine:
Obstacles are always thin, long terrain pieces like hedges, fences, barricades etc.
Terrain will also have a defined height. Here's some common examples:
- Hill - Height 3
- Forest - Height 5
- Fence / Hedge - Height 1
- Pond / River - Height 0
- Building - Height 4 per level
If unsure, use the formula Height = Actual Height in inches, rounded to the nearest inch. So a 3.2 inch high ruin would be Height 3.
Coherency in Terrain
Remember, when considering movement through terrain:
- When a Leader is placed within a terrain piece, any models in that unit must also be placed within the same terrain, whenever possible.
- When placing the rest of the models in a unit after the Leader has moved, they may not be placed in a piece of terrain in which the Leader has not also been placed.
Each terain type affects movement in different ways:
Movement through Blocking Terrain
TLDR; You can't.
Unless you have the Fly keyword. Flyers must start and end their move outside the footprint of Blocking Terrain, but can move over the footprint. All other units cannot interpenetrate Blocking Terrain.
Movement through Buildings
Buildings count as Blocking Terrain. If you designate a Building as having Capacity (N), then:
- Units can Advance or Sprint into the building by moving its Leader into base contact.
- Units can Advance or Sprint to exit a building.
- Entry and Exit is alway at Ground level, except for units with the Fly or Anti-Grav keywords that may be able to land on the roof, if a roof zone with Capacity(N) is defined.
- Charges against units in Buildings are always Hindered.
- Charges/Assaults may only be made against units on the Ground level, except if the attacking unit has the Fly or Anti-grav keywords and movement enough to do so.
- Charges do NOT require there be enough Capacity for both units, only the unit that wins or draws the combat. Losers must always stay outside the Building.
- Units moving from Building Zone to Zone may not Sprint or Charge (though if moving into a zone with an enemy unit, there will still be an Assault).
Movement through Difficult Terrain
Difficult Terrain exists to make movement... difficult!
As the rulebook states, Units may not Sprint through Difficult Terrain unless:
- That unit is Charging another unit.
- That unit has the Tracked keyword.
- If the unit has the Scout keyword and is taking a Sprint action before the first Round begins.
- That unit has the Anti-Grav keyword.
A unit with the Wheeled keyword may not cross or enter Difficult Terrain.
When moving a units Leader as part of a shortest-to-closest charge move, if the Leader passes over any Difficult Terrain, that charge will be hindered.
Therefor, being wholly inside Difficult Terrain puts anyone trying to charge you at a disadvantage if they also have to move through that difficult terrain to charge (and they do - they can't avoid Difficult Terrain on a charge). This means Difficult Terrain is a good spot to place:
- Anvil Units whose job it is to survive charges.
- Objectives that need defending.
As well as the Charge disadvantage, placing objectives behind or inside Difficult Terrain also means most units cannot Sprint over to them in the last turn.
Don't forget, you can't move a units none-leader models into Difficult Terrain unless the Leader model is in that Difficult Terrain too.
Movement over Obstacles
Obstacles affect movement in exactly the same way as Difficult Terrain except for the following addition:
- Units with the Walker keyword ignore Obstacles for movements and charges.
. The main differences come with line of sight and cover rules.
Movement over Hills
Hills have NO impact on movement in terms of restrictions:
- To be "On a hill" the units Leader must be wholly within the Hill footprint.
Line of Sight
LOS can be Clear, Partially Blocked, or Blocked. There are specific line of sight rules for each type of terrain:
Line of Sight for Blocking Terrain
Blocking terrain is as the name suggests; line of sight cannot be drawn through it under any circumstance other than seeing "over" it from or to a higher unit. In this way it's exactly like drawing line of sight through enemy units.
Line of Sight for Buildings
Buildings act as Blocking Terrain in all circumstance for LOS, except:
- Units within a Building can both Shoot and be Shot at by Units outside that building.
- LOS to Units in a building is drawn to and from the building itself.
Line of Sight for Difficult Terrain
Difficult Terrain has some specific rules that can mean LOS to a target unit is Clear, Blocked or Partially Blocked:
- If both the Target Unit and the Firing Unit are outside of the Difficult Terrain, then compare heights:
- Difficult Terrain of a height lower than either Firing or Target Units will result in Partially Blocked LOS.
- If LOS is obstructed by 3 inches or more of Difficult Terrain (From Leader to whole base of target models) of Height equal to or greater than both Units, LOS is Blocked.
- Height 0 Difficult Terrain NEVER BLOCKS / PARTIALLY BLOCKS LOS.
- If the Target Unit is 50% or more within Difficult Terrain (including if the Firing Unit is within the same Terrain):
- LOS is BLOCKED to models in the Target Unit that are 3 inches or further into that Terrain, from the edge closest to the Firing Unit, in Terrain equal to or greater in Height than the Target Unit.
- If the Unit Leader of the Firing unit is within 3 inches of the Difficult Terrain edge closest to the Target Unit outside that terrain, then that Difficult Terrain is ignored (i.e LOS = Clear).
Line of Sight for Obstacles
- Obstacles NEVER Block LOS.
- Obstacles may Partially Block LOS.
- A unit with its Leader in base contact with, and tracing LOS over, an Obstacle of lower height than itself, can ignore that Obstacle for determining LOS (i.e LOS = Clear).
Line of Sight for Hills
- If a unit’s Leader model is on a hill then the Hill is ignored when drawing LOS to or from that unit (i.e LOS = Clear).
- Once on a Hill, the Unit now has a height equal to it's own height plus the Hill's height for line of sight purposes.
So tactically there's a few things to remember about Hill. Adding their height to a Unit's height is extremely advantageous for two reasons:
- Units will now see over most of the battlefield. Long ranged attacks (above 24 inches) benefit in particular. Often this will make the ranged attack benefit from being 3 or more greater in height (and negate Partially Blocked line of sight).
- Unit's looking to gain line of sight for Charges can use a Hill to see things they otherwise wouldn't, and thus not be hindered.
In general, a Unit can be said to be "In Cover" when LOS to that Unit is Partially Blocked. Determine if a unit is in cover:
- If LOS is Clear - no cover.
- If LOS Partially Blocked - Cover.
- if LOS Blocked - Cannot shoot.
There are some specific qualifiers for some Terrain types:
- Units inside Buildings are always considered In Cover.
- At least 50% of a unit must be within Difficult Terrain to gain Cover via LOS being Partially Blocked.
- This normally isn't a problem except for circumstances (such as small terrain pieces) where moving models into Coherency means some are outside of that terrain.
Appendix 1: Line of Sight Examples
Clear Line of Sight
Blocked Line of Sight Examples
Partially Blocked Line of Sight Examples
Appendix 2: Fly and Anti Grav
|Flying Vehicles do not block line of sight.||Anti-Grav units block line of sight normally.|
|Charges into Difficult Terrain ARE Hindered||Charges into Difficult Terrain NOT hindered.|
|Cannot touch an objective.||Can touch an objective.|
|-1 to hit when shooting at Flying Vehicle units, unless weapon is Anti-Aircraft.||No penalty when shooting at Anti-Grav units of any kind, unless specified.|
|Flying Vehicles MUST make an Advanced or Sprint action during its activation.||Is not required to make an Advance or Sprint Action during its activation.|
|Flying Vehicles must move at least 6" during an Advance action, or be destroyed.||No movement requirement.|
|Flying Vehicles CANNOT initiate an Assault.||Anti-Grav Vehicles CAN initiate an Assault.|
|Flying Vehicles susceptible to Anti-Aircraft weapons.||Anti-Aircraft weapons have no effect.|
|Flying Vehicles can only be Assaulted by units with Fly or Anti-Grav keywords.||Can be Assaulted by any unit.|
|None Vehicle Flying units can Assault units in buildings on higher than Ground Level.||None Vehicle Anti-Grav units can Assault units in buildings on higher than Ground Level.|
|May move to Building Roof Zone without entering building first.||May move to Building Roof Zone without entering building first, but must count vertical movement if Roof Height 4 or more.|