Climb, Sprint And Move Actions In DZ

There have been a number of questions around the 3 different movement based actions in Deadzone. I thought I’d take a moment to discuss some of the decisions behind using this particular mix.



This is the basic action to get about the board. It is very flexible, and only a short action so it can combine with lots of other things. It’s the sort of thing you’d expect in a skirmish game.



Flat out speed on the level. Nice and simple.



One key reason for having this action is for climbing towers. At the end of each action, you need to be able to place a moving model on the board. This is normally not a problem. However, with the 3D environment in Deadzone, it’s relatively easy to build things that you can’t get up with this requirement.

As an example, imagine you have a solid 3″ cube of a building. A model that is standing in an adjacent cube on the same level is able to clamber on top of the cube in a single Move. So far, so good.

If you imagine this building has another identical one on top of it then you can no longer get on top of it without the Climb action. The issue is that there is nowhere to stop at the end of one cube’s Move to place the model. It’s halfway up a wall. As soon as you need to be able to do things like Overwatch, this becomes problematical.

By allowing a “double” move vertically, Climb enables a model to get on top of this sort of obstacle, making getting around the 3D environment that much easier. Of course, whilst this is a lot of movement you’re doing it at the expense of doing anything else in your Turn.

The question about whether you can move laterally whilst climbing often comes up. Yes you can. In fact, the ability to zig-zag laterally whilst climbing is what allows the kind of freedom of movement that I wanted the models to have. Not being able to move sideways while you Climb is immensely restrictive, and the situations where this limited of the action would be useful tend to be uncommon.

The requirement to go up 2 levels or down 2 is to stop this being the default action for every moving model. The main reason for this is in the way the actions and other rules interact, which brings me neatly to…



This is where some obscure things may start to make more sense.

The actions in Deadzone don’t exist in a vacuum. They are potentially modified by a number of different rules. The most important of these modifiers in the current DZ rules are the abilities that define individual models. The interaction between these abilities and the different movement-based actions allows me to differentiate between quite a few different levels of mobility.

Fast is a good example. If I hadn’t separated Sprint I wouldn’t be able to have creatures that were particularly quick on the flat, but which weren’t anything special at climbing. As this is the most common of the movement-based abilities, it was important to make this distinction. Agile is a better version of Fast because it allows the choice. Some have asked why include Fast because of this. The answer is that it allows me to include grades of mobility – in this case 4 levels (normal, Fast, Agile, Fast + Agile). Given the large and ever-growing number of different models in the Deadzone universe, it’s important to have the capacity to include this variety. Otherwise we’re going to get repetitive very quickly.

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23 Responses to Climb, Sprint And Move Actions In DZ

  1. jasb87 says:

    Was just about to query the 4 levels of mobility but sensibly checked the rule book before I did. (Agile is one climb ‘or’ one sprint as a short action) Are you hinting there are going to be models in the future that can sprint and then climb afterwards. I wonder what they might be……….

  2. yetisa says:

    Hi Jake,
    Thanks for the clarification but it doesn’t address the single biggest question that I’ve seen regarding movement in Deadzone. How can it be possible for a normal unit (not agile) to move forward two squares and up two squares in a single turn, but not forward two and up one?
    If there is one thing that has been confusing new players that I have shown the game to, it is this. We had to house rule it in quite early to stop driving people away.

    • Jerka says:

      I guess it is a matter of balance and keeping the game simple and free from excessively complex rules. Logically, though, I’d have to agree with you.

    • Quirkworthy says:

      The first sentences of the last paragraph explain this reason. In order to include creatures that are fast on the flat, but not especially good at climbing (Hellhounds, for example), you need Sprint. They can clamber about, but if they do then they aren’t as Fast. It’s about the combination of both the movement-based actions and the abilities, not just individual actions in isolation.

      Changing Sprint makes it too flexible when you add Fast. Fast was an equally core part of the design, they were all built to work as a set, and that is how you should view them.

      Analysing details of individual aspects of a game (any game) will seldom lead you to a sensible conclusion as rule systems tend to be designed as systems. Take apart an engine and look at a single piece and it may well appear to be a rather oddly shaped lump. In fact, if it was individually a more elegant shape then it wouldn’t work as part of the whole – but then it never needs to work in isolation.

      • yetisa says:

        Thanks for the reply. I understand the logic and the way that the rules are built up, but I’ve found this particular point to be a stumbling block again and again. I suppose that’s what house rules are for. 🙂

        • Quirkworthy says:

          I’ve never heard anyone comment on this before, myself. I don’t have an issue with house rules (it’s your house :)), but given the unhelpful impact this change would have on the system as a whole and the reworking needed to rebalance things as I wanted them, I won’t be changing this in the core rules. I can see no benefit and many down sides.

        • yetisa says:

          I think that our problem has actually come down to the horizontal movement during a climb, which is a direct result of the way DZ terrain works.

          In the past we’ve house ruled that non-slow models can take two move actions in a turn and left climb and sprint for fast and agile model (which has obvious overwatch issues) but going forward we’re probably going to try playing that you can only move 1 square horizontally during a climb.

          Maybe it’s just the local temperament but (assuming that there are walls and floors in the right places) being able to move from G to C or G to I but not G to F has caused us a bit of grumpiness.
          A – B – C
          D – E – F
          G – H – I

    • Torkel says:

      I’m surprised that you have not heard this complaint before, Jake.
      Like yetisa points out, not being able to move G to F makes zero sense. The claim is that this individual aspect of the game has to be an oddly shaped lump for the system to work. But to me, this lump is honestly odd enough to make it not work.

      “In fact, the ability to zig-zag laterally whilst climbing is what allows the kind of freedom of movement that I wanted the models to have.”

      So the ability to zig-zag twice in a climb to go two squares over and two squares vertically is desirable, but the ability to zig-zag once and go two sqares over and only one square vertically is too much? I am SO confused… :S

      • Quirkworthy says:

        Going 2 squares over and two laterally is not zig-zagging. The route I am referring to is G-E-A, for example.

        • Torkel says:

          Ok. I misunderstood zig-zag then, I guess. I was thinking more like stair-stepping. But regardless of the semantics of zig-zag, being able to go G-E-C but not G-E-F feels very wrong.

  3. PikaRapH says:

    Good point : why G-E-F wouldn’t be allowed ?

      • Torkel says:

        By the sigh, it sounds like you’ve been trying to answer this question. But I can’t see an answer to it.

        So maybe a more specific question will help:
        What breaks if climb loses the restriction on changing vertical levels?

    • jasb87 says:

      G-E-F would be allowed by a model with fast or agile. They simply take a move to go up a level and then sprint to move one more cube, or two if you can stay on the same level. If the Model had agile then they could move G-E-C as a short action and then have another action left over. Or they could do the same as the model with fast.

      • PikaRapH says:

        I understand, but if you have time to climb G-E-C, you have time to climb G-E and walk E-F, that’s easier ‘physically’ talking (that’s why it’s hard to justify).

        • Quirkworthy says:

          At the end of the day, it’s a game. There are a million compromises in the game (as in every other game) to make it playable, and this was one. If we’re being realistic we shouldn’t use models that cannot be reposed, should count every round of ammo, should not allow any sort of climbing at all without a test, make falling damage far more dangerous (but more unpredictable), add a couple of intermediate levels of ability between not having them and the ones present, and so on. The rulebook would be the length of the New York phone directory.

          Being “realistic” in all aspects of an urban skirmish game is not a goal you can achieve if you want it to play in an hour. You pick where to abstract more and less because there is no alternative. I’ve chosen a set of movement actions that dovetail with abilities in such a way as to allow me to create dozens of different models to play with. The fact that nobody ever mentioned this issue with movement to me until now, including during hundreds of playtest games, pubic Beta testing and so on, suggests to me that it hasn’t been causing major problems. As I said, you can’t have everything in a design, and there is, if anything, already too much in DZ.

        • Pikaraph says:

          OK, I understand. That’s a way to give some abilities advantages but not all advantages, whithout havint too fiddly rules.
          We have to spend actions to make those moves, I can live with it.

        • Quirkworthy says:

          You also have Move cards in every deck. This was partly to balance out some occasional awkwardness in getting where you wanted to. Terrain set up causes most of this, to be honest, but the principle is the same.

        • Pikaraph says:

          That’s right, I forgot about the cards !!

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