Deadzone: Third Edition – Why line of sight changes really aren’t that scary!

15th Sep 2021

Rob Burman

So far in our epic Deadzone: Third Edition coverage, we’ve covered the main objectives with the new edition and yesterday we explained why list building is scientifically proven to be a million times easier in third. But that’s only the tip of the content, so let’s have a look at what else is coming up.

  • September 13th – we kicked things off by talking about what the aim was with Third Edition
  • YESTERDAY – What’s new? Building your Strike Team
  • TODAY – What’s new? Changes to line of sight
  • SEPTEMBER 16th – What’s new? Cleaning up keywords and abilities
  • SEPTEMBER 17th – What’s new? Units and minis!
  • SEPTEMBER 18th – What’s new? Moving the narrative along

Right, so today it’s an important one – Line of Sight. Following our live stream at the weekend, which you can watch here, we understand that there’s a little bit of concern in some (admittedly rather small) circles about changes to Deadzone’s Line of Sight rules.

Ultimately though, before we dig deeper into this, the main message is: DON’T WORRY. The rules seem like a major change but, in fact, while playing they just stop some of those gotcha moments that leave a sour taste in a player’s mouth.

In Deadzone: Second Edition Line of Sight worked by drawing LoS from the shooting model to any part of the target. This included hair, weapons, tails, little toe, etc. You could also potentially interpret the rules to said you could draw the line of sight from any part of the model too – so a gun could be poking round a wall and you draw line of sight from that. Although easy to understand, this could lead to some pretty ‘gamey’ moments, like tucking the very tip of a tail or gun into a piece of terrain to avoid clear shots. These sort of situations were typically met with a rolling of eyes and a grinding of teeth.

A nice diagram from the rulebook.

In Third Edition then, we’ve amended the LoS slightly to avoid these sort of moments. To be honest, 99% of the time, if you can see it, you can shoot it (just like at the moment) but occasionally you might encounter a moment where you have to move your model into a different position to get the shot or hide slightly more of it to avoid clear shots.

So, how have we changed things then? Well, now we say that any parts of the model that hang over the sides of the base cannot be targeted by the enemy – likewise you can’t draw LoS from them either. Similarly any parts of the model that are above the head (or the torso if that’s higher… see some of the hunched over Plague characters) cannot be targeted either. This was another reason that we have specified base sizes in rules because you’ll be using them to determine LoS. Finally, you can also draw line of sight through these elements that hang over the edge of the base too.

Now, whatever that thing is in the background won’t gain cover from having a little bit of its sword behind the rubble. Clear shot ahoy!

During playtesting it helped to iron those edge cases and ‘gamey’ moments in which hiding a model’s gun or sword behind terrain would stop a clear shot or someone would draw line of sight from the tip of a gun. What’s more, it also sped gameplay up because players weren’t carefully tucking their model’s finger into a piece of ruined scenery to stop any potential clear shots. Instead they just got on with it.

The other thing that this new rule will do is encourage more dynamic models and poses. We can potentially make a model that is running and not worry that the pose is going to stop some players from including it in their Strike Team. Likewise, the community can get more creative with their modelling – like this awesome Plague Leaper by Johnny Frandsen. Now it doesn’t matter about the Marauder posed above his head.

We do make a point of saying in the rulebook that for your first games, you can always play with the existing line of sight rules, e.g. you can treat any part of the target model as valid. Hey –  and here’s the secret – if you prefer that way of playing, just carry on doing that! We’re not going to tell anyone. Of course, we’re sure there will be questions when people start playing and we’ll have supporting FAQs, if required.

Ultimately though, the new LoS rules are an incremental change compared Deadzone: Second Edition and aren’t as scary as they may initially seem. * soothing voice * Don’t worry, it’s all fine. That Plague Aberration is just here to help. Shhhhhhhhh… ignore its growls.