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The Horus Heresy: Movement Phase

Greeting one and all,

Yesterday I covered Reactions; what they are and how they work. Continuing on with this week's articles covering the Basics of the Horus Heresy: Age of Darkness game, I’m moving on to the Movement Phase.

As we all know, your army can have the most powerful guns, units that if they get a Charge off will wreck anything they assault, and tanks that can soak up damage for less tough units. But all of this is useless if you can’t get these powerful units into the right position. This is where the importance of the Movement Phase comes into play, so stick we me as I go over the rules for what could be considered the most important phase of a game.

Let's start with the most basic thing to bare in mind when considering the Movement Phase; should you move at all? There are benefits to not moving, especially for infantry armed with heavy weapons and some weapons on vehicles, but once you’ve considered this and have decided if you wish to move a unit, you’ll need to know how far that unit can move.

The maximum a model can move is determined by its Movement Characteristic. This is displayed as a number shown under the M in their statline and shows how far they can move in Inches. So if we take the example of a Tactical Marine; they have a Movement stat of 7, so they can move up to 7 inches. Take note though, because when moving any model it is important to measure from the same place on the base from start to finish. This is so the model only moves its given movement, as moving that extra base length gives an unfair advantage to the model/player and over the course of the game really adds up, especially on the larger bases, so play fair and be consistent.

Some models in a unit also carry weapons that can be affected if they move. Therefore, you should declare if any models are not moving before moving any models in the unit. Any models that move, must stay within Unit Coherency.

What is Unit Coherency? Good question, glad you asked. This is the maxim distance models in a squad can be from each other. This distance is 2 inches horizontally, or 6 inches vertically. Any further and the unit MUST use its next movement phase to get back into coherency, or as close as possible. If the unit cannot move or is unable to reform its Coherency in one turn, it must restore its Coherency as soon as it can, even if it has to Run to do this.

While I mention it, let's go over Running; it’s the process of lifting one's legs rapidly in the hopes of getting somewhere fast, or in Horus Heresy, you can declare a unit is Running and add the lowest initiative stat in the unit to the unit's Movement. However, by doing so the unit forgoes any shooting attacks in the Shooting Phase and maybe not declare charges in the Assault Phase. If a unit declares it is Running, then every model in the unit counts as having Run, even if they didn’t use the extra movement. Furthermore, vehicles and units with the Heavy and Artillery subtypes cannot run. Lastly, units reacting can never choose to Run as part of a Reaction.

Now we have more of an understanding of general Movement and Running, there are a couple of extra little rules to consider, which we’ll go over now.

Different Movement distances of models within a single unit might cause some confusion, but it’s actually quite simple. Each model can move up to its full movement, as long as it stays within Unit Coherency.

When making your Movement Action, sometimes you’ll find there is another model in the way. If it's an enemy model, your model cannot come within 1 inch of it unless they are Charging and for all purposes of Movement, this other model counts as a solid object. So you’ll have to go around it. If it is a friendly model, then there is no limit on how close you can get to it, but it is still treated as a solid object for the purposes of Movement.

If the active player doesn’t move a model, they can pivot it on the spot and this doesn’t count as moving; however, the 1-inch distance from enemy models still applies as above.

And finally, the age-old question: can I move if I’m in close combat…..? Erm, NO! Your model is too busy trying not to get slashed, stabbed, cleaved or beaten to death to simply walk away now, isn’t it?

With the “basics” now fully covered, let's move on to how Terrain affects your Movement. As well as Jump and Jet Packs.

We all know that terrain makes a board; the more Terrain the better I say, but how does Terrain affect your model's Movement? If your unit wishes to move into what is considered to be Difficult Terrain and has the Movement to do so, it suffers a -2 to its Movement Allowance. This continues to apply while the unit is in the Difficult Terrain. Even if the -2 applied to the unit's Movement means it can't enter the difficult terrain, the -2 still applies; that unit just stops on the edge of the Difficult Terrain instead of entering.

If it’s a Terrain Feature, you might wish to move your models up or down a level (and I remind you, if it’s up you are required to shout “I have the high ground Anakin”). In order to move a model up or down a level, you must have the full Movement available to carry out the action; if the level you are moving to is 4 inches up or down, then it takes 4 inches of Movement. A quick aside, as mentioned earlier Unit Coherency between levels is 6 inches. Thought I best reiterate that here too.

Well, as we’re flying through this guide now seems like the perfect time to talk about Jump Packs and Jet Packs.

Units that are entirely equipped with Jump Packs can increase their Movement to 12 inches for the duration of the active player's turn, and this bonus in Movement can be included in Charge Distance. Furthermore, if the player chooses to use the full 12 inches of Movement, the unit can ignore Terrain and even move over enemy and friendly models alike without penalty, even if they’re Charging. However, if the unit starts or ends its Movement or Charge in Difficult Terrain, it will need to make a Dangerous Terrain test; because of the Jump Packs, the unit must count all Difficult Terrain as Dangerous Terrain. Also, because Jump Packs are large bits of kit, a model equipped with one gains the trait Bulky (2), or, if it already had Bulky, it gains Bulky (3) and may not perform run actions. Lastly, the model may not use its Jump Pack to gain extra Movement in any Reactions.

Jet Packs are slightly different. A unit that is entirely equipped with Jet Packs can increase its Movement to +6 inches for the duration of the active player's turn. The unit can ignore Terrain and can freely move over enemy and friendly models during the Movement phase. However, if The unit starts or ends its Movement or Charge in Difficult Terrain, it will need to make a Dangerous Terrain test; as with Jump Packs, Jet Pack units count all Difficult Terrain as Dangerous Terrain. Furthermore, a unit that is entirely equipped with Jet Packs may move an additional 6 inches during the Shooting Phase; this must be done after the unit has made any Shooting attacks and does not limit the types of weapons that can be fired. This move may, like that made in the Movement Phase, move over any enemy and friendly models and ignores Terrain. Jet Packs are also large bits of kit, so models equipped with them gain Bulky (2), or, if it already had Bulky, it gains Bulky (3), but may still use the Jet Pack to increase the distance moved during Reactions by 6 inches.

The very last thing to cover, as more a formality than anything else, is Wobbly Model syndrome. Sometimes you can move a model onto a piece of terrain, but due to the nature of the terrain, the model won't stay there safely. In that case, ensure your opponent and yourself are agreed as to where the model is and then place it somewhere safe nearby. (You really don't want to risk dropping/damaging that nicely painted mini after all.)

And that's it, Movement covered in a nutshell. I haven’t covered Vehicles yet as you might have noticed, but that’s because I’ll cover them as a collection in their very own article at the end of the week.

Tomorrow though, we’ll be looking at the Shooting Phase, Weapon Types, and a few Special Rules. But until then, bye-bye for now.

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