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Artillery Clarification

Artillery Inbound Chart Contradictions

There is a major contradiction in the Stargrunt II artillery rules.

The Inbound Chart rules state that an artillery strike is placed on box 1, 2, or 3 of the inbound chart. It says, on page 45 of the rule book, that during the End of Turn phase the incoming artillery support, aerospace units, or reinforcements are moved one box further along the chart. So, if an artillery strike is in box 3, it moves to 2, if in box 2, it moves to 1, and if in box 1, it is moved to the "battle area". Here is the actual statement, in the section "The Inbound Chart", from page 45 of the Stargrunt II rulebook:

Counters are placed on the Inbound Chart whenever:

i) an on-table unit calls (successfully) for any kind of off-table support mission, such as artillery fire or orbital fire support. In this case a counter representing the inbound fire mission is placed on the chart, in whatever numbered box represents the time the fire will take to arrive on table (eg: support fire from a dedicated mortar unit fairly close by would be placed in box 1, as it will take only one turn to arrive, but orbital fire support would be placed in box 3 because of the long time such fire takes to reach the table);

...

At the end of each full game turn, during the TURN END PHASE, both players move any counters currently on the Inbound Chart - each counter is moved ONE box closer to the "Battle Area", irrespective of what the counter represents. Counters that are newly placed on the chart are still moved up at the end of the turn they were placed. Whenever a counter is in box 1 at the start of the Turn End Phase, the player may have the option to shift it across to the LOITER box INSTEAD of moving it onto the Battle Area circle; this is only permitted if the counter represents a UNIT (ground or air) rather than a fire support mission - incoming fire missions must automatically be moved onto the Battle Area when they reach it.

However, on pg. 46, this is contradicted. It states that when an artillery support strike hits box 1, it can be placed on the board that turn. The contradictory comment, under "Arrival of Fire Support", is:

If the counter is placed in box 1 to start with, this means the mission is an immediate-response one and will arrive during the SAME game-turn it was requested; if it starts at box 2 or 3 then it moves up one box per Turn End Phase as usual and is available on-table once it reaches box 1...

...When the mission counter has arrived in box 1 then the player may choose to resolve the fire at any time during that turn, counting this as his activation (ie: in place of activating an on-table unit). If the player does not choose to bring the fired down before he has activated his last on-table unit he MUST then resolve it before the Turn End Phase.

Note that in the first quote it says that nearby artillery rounds placed on box 1 "take only one turn to arrive" and yet on page 46 it says that they arrive "during the SAME game-turn it was requested".

The Aerospace rules agree with pg. 45 (and only make sense following page 45). Everything else using the Inbound Chart appears on the table top when the counter arrives at the "Battle Area". Why should artillery be different, or is it?

Ruling: This question was posed to the GZG Mailing List, and the consensus was that page 46 is wrong. Artillery fire missions arrive on the table when they get to the Battle Area of the Inbound Chart, not when they get to Box 1. An "immediate response" fire mission that is placed on Box 1 would be moved to the Battle Area during the End Turn Phase. It would then be available to come onto the table at any time during the next turn, as the owning player's activation.

Firing Artillery at Terrain Features

The rules state that in order to drop an artillery strike on the board, the forward observer calling in the strike must have a line of sight (LOS) to the object. What about firing on terrain features? For instance, a player may know that a unit that it can't see is sitting in some woods. Or, a player may want to drop artillery on a house that contains a hidden counter, hoping to hit a unit that may be there. Is this allowed?

The cover rules on page 12 of the Stargrunt II rule book imply that you can do this kind of fire. The tricky part is handling the part of the artillery rules that state the forward observer must have LOS to the spot where he is dropping the artillery. If you allow players to target any part of a terrain feature, some players will place the artillery impact marker right on the unit they can't see or directly on top of the hidden counter. An easy fix for this is to force the player to target the centre of the terrain feature, but then you'll have other players deliberately not placing their units or hidden markers in the centre of terrain features to mitigate against this.

To keep everyone happy, use the following rules.

A player may target a terrain feature. If the terrain feature is smaller than the burst radius of the artillery strike, place the impact marker on the centre of the terrain feature.

If the terrain feature is bigger than the artillery strike's burst radius (for example, a large set of woods), then do the following: 1) Place the impact marker in the centre of the terrain feature. 2) Immediately roll a D12 and a D8 for deviation of the impact marker. 3) Move the impact marker based on the deviation roll, however do not deviate past the terrain feature. For instance, if the impact marker would deviate out of a set of woods move the marker until it's on the edge of the woods and no further. 4) Resolve artillery fire as normal, including deviation due to failing the Fire Support Accuracy roll (page 46 of the rule book).

Note: a player may always place an impact marker where a figure has LOS. This means that if a figure can see a set of woods, an impact marker can be placed on the woods edge that can be spotted by the observer. If a figure can see a building, an impact marker can be placed so that it straddles the facing wall of the building.