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Now I am going straight to hell for this one, and I probably wouldn't actualy try and use this i nreality but is it just me or is there a little bit of a loop hole in the wording for High Elf spearmen Martial Prowess rule.
It says "High Elves armed with spears may fight in one extra rank to the front only."
High Elf spearmen are armed with spears, obviously, thus they get the benefit of Martial Prowess. It doesn't actually say they have to fight with spears though. What is stop me using hand weapon and shield and fighting in two ranks.
If you want fluff justification (and I feel dirty for trying to justify this....) I would say it represents a Shield Wall.
Now forget the fairness of this for a moment, technically spekaing, I am I correct in this blatent rules lawyering?
Well, if I tried to pull that on any of my friends it would go something like this:
"I'm going to fight in two ranks with hand weapons."
"No. that's stupid and you're stupid."
"Yeah, that's just dumb."
"It's pronounced styupid"
Um... other than that... I can't find any semantics that make a distinction between "armed with" and "having in your possession" in the rules. Don't get me wrong, I think the loophole is silly, and I would never use it because even if it does not strictly go against the word of the rules, it certainly goes against the spirit of the game Still, if you want to know the whole, rules-lawerly truth, our best bet is to look at the definition of the word armed.
First, from WordNet Search - 3.0 we have the definition "having or bearing arms." The passive words "having" and "bearing" implies that it simply must be in the possession of the fighter for them to be "armed" with it. This is a point in favor of the loophole.
armed - Wiktionary on the other hand specifies that the weapon must be "prepared for use," which is a point against the loophole. It also defines armed as "equipped." Hm. It looks like, before we can continue with definitions of "armed" we have to define "equip"
This is what wiktionary has to say on the definition of equip: "To furnish for service, or against a need or exigency; to fit out; to supply with whatever is necessary to efficient action in any way; to provide with arms or an armament, stores, munitions, rigging, etc"
Although the verbs in here are less passive, to someone more familiar with language then gaming this would appear to be a point for the loophole's favor, as it makes no mention of having the weapon at the ready. Other definitions from Equip - Definition and More from the Free Merriam-Webster Dictionary imply that the act of equipping is more preparation than actually having the item in your hand. However, English is not a dying language, and we must consider the use that the word equipped is put to by the people in the gaming industry, as this would give us further insight into the minds of Games Workshop.
For this purpose I put forward this example: You are playing an RPG on the computer. You wish to use a certain magic weapon that you have kept in your inventory to cast a spell. You right-click on the weapon only to see text flash up on your screen: "You must equip this weapon before you can use it." You then drag the weapon to your main hand, right-click, and this time the weapon works. This implies that the definition of "equipped" is closer to "to have at the ready" than "to have somewhere hanging around in your inventory." Because I am a gamer, I would count this as a point against the loophole because between the active language in the definition of equipped and the modern interpretation of that word amongst those that play RPG's, it would imply that simply having the spear strapped to your back is not enough.
One more example, to break the tie: back to Merriam-Webster.
Armed - Definition and More from the Free Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines armed as "furnished with weapons <an armed guard>" This is similar to the earlier definition by wiktionary, already discussed in detail, but as a second part to the same definition says "also : using or involving a weapon." For me, this is the most important definition because it is the clearest. In order to be armed with the spear, you must be using the spear. I would therefore count this definition as a point against the loophole, and I would conclude that the spear must actually be the weapon that you have chosen for that combat in order for the Martial Prowess ability to come into effect.
----> And if you don't really want to read all of that, my answer is "no, that doesn't work."
Edit: Geeze, I'm long winded. While I was writing this someone came by and gave a perfectly good answer without me knowing. Sorry.
Last edited by VenDraciese; May 26th, 2010 at 19:12.
Case of Cheese ex parte (Hand Weapon and Shield armed Elf Spearmen) Vs Spirit of the Rules
On the other hand the Definition and More from the Free Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines armed as furnished with weapons (plural). This would suggest this key definition you chose has some ambiguity to it.
In addition Pg 54 of the rule book implies that the use of armed is simply to be equipped with not using.
["For example troops armed with spears and shields may opt to fight with their swords"]
I leave the floor open to responses.....
(Just to re-iterate this is purely a theoretical debate I wouldn't pull this kind of low down stunt out unless my opponent had already started the cheese course and moved onto the brandy and cigars!)
BTW I hear that scientists are now doing testing on rules lawyers...because there are some things that even rats won't do.
Hm. I think that the rule's use of the word armed is definitely a strong point in favor of the appeal, but it's up to the actual lawyer to say how much that applies.
In response to the plural word used in the Webster, it's important to examine the context. The specific example mentions "<an armed guard.>" In the military, you never have a single person as part of an armed guard. The term is applied to the protection of convoys and buildings, thus the person who wrote the definition had a group in mind, making the plural of weapon a necessity. It would be impractical to give a singular spear to an entire unit.
As for the scientists... well, it was hard enough to get my friends to play with me because I am a rules lawyer, but now they're especially wary because they think my army has an unfair advantage. See, the laboratory tends to pay me in cheese.
Well while using dictionaries is nice, if GW defined the word armed in their rulebook then it realy doesn't matter what the dictionary say. If the dictionary define that a spear is a wood stick with sharp metal edge and GW define that a spear is a weapon that allow you to fight in 2 ranks to the front, then I don't care what the dictionary say for game purpose. Therefore We should use the definition given by GW rulebook since for the purpose of rules armed means have the weapon and not to use them. So basicly every meaning of a word outside of what the rules define that word is irrelevant for rules interpretation.
I realy wouldn't mind that my opponent will fight in 2 ranks with hand weapon and shields with his spearmen.
I would be more willing to accept the in-context definition of the word "armed" as definitive if it was not a single sentence in a single example. If it were actually a term used repeatedly in the book then I would be more willing to let the two ranks happen.
However, it is a term used only once, and in example. Examples are put in not to define, but to clarify. That makes it more likely that it is a stylistic choice on the part of the author rather than an official one made by Games Workshop. Now, the person who writes the army book is different from the people who write the rule book, so a matter of style can not be translated over from book to book. This is part of where the confusion lies.
I would not like it if an opponent pulled something like this. It's not an "oh, your smarter than me, and I'm jealous" thing. It's a balance issue that can really screw up strategy.
Imagine that your spear elves are opposite of Empire spearmen. In a regular game, I would be hesitant to charge. I would instead try to force him to charge so that I could bring all 3 ranks to bear. This is an important part of tactics for high elves, because they have always strike first. It allows a balance of soft power and hard power and still allows decision making based on circumstances. The elves would win in either scenario, but if the empire goads the elves into charging first, the battle will probably last for one more turn than it would before.
Now you can fight in two ranks with hand weapons. Now it doesn't matter whether you're charged or if you charge. You still have an extra factor to your advantage. If they charge you, you just choose spears and hit them with three ranks and continue to have three ranks for the rest of the battle. If you charge, you can just choose hand weapons and now you have an armor advantage and still hit in just as many ranks as the enemy can. The empire has no choices. Either way, the elves will win in short order.
Stop! MathHammer Time!
Two groups of equal size and no flanking on the first turn, one of Empire Spearmen and one of High Elf Spearmen
So when elves get charged they get 15 attacks*2/3 hits*1/2 wounds*2/3 armour = 3.3 kills.
Then, when the men counter they get 1.7 attacks*1/2 hits*1/2 wounds*2/3 armour = .28 kills. The Elves win by 3 points average, 83.3% chance of routing, not including standard deviation. With pursuit, an approximate 46% chance that the spears will die on the first turn.
When elves charge with spears they get 10 attacks*2/3 hits*1/2 wounds*2/3 armour=2.2 kills.
Men's counter: 7.8 attacks*1/2 hits*1/2 wounds*2/3 armour = 1.3 kills. Lose by less than a point. A little less than 58.3% chance of routing, not including standard deviation. With pursuit, an approximate 29% chance that the spears will die on the first turn.
Now with two ranks and hand weapons on the charge:
Elves get 2.2 kills, still.
Men's counter: 7.8 attacks*1/2 hits*1/2 wounds*1/2 armour = .95 kills. Lose by more than a point. 72% chance of routing, not including standard deviation. With pursuit, an approximately 36% that the spears will die on the first turn.
Note the routing percents. There's a whopping 10% increase in efficiency, and that's without standard deviation.
I chose Empire spearmen without detachments, with shields, because I have often fought them and they are the easiest to calculate.
Last edited by VenDraciese; May 27th, 2010 at 19:29.
If you did go for the two ranks hand weapon and shield the thing that would really make them nasty would be the fact that they can have a warbanner as well.
Hand weapon and shield means they maximise their chance of saving (obviously) while ASF and two ranks means they have a good chance of minimising enemy attacks. Combined with war banner means that against equivilent infantry i.e basic to slightly better than basic infantry Dark Elf Spearmen for example the High Elves would be a very tough nut to crack.