When I was first approached with this eBook I thought it was something completely different than what I got, what I got was 80 surprising pages filled with stuff to wrap my brain around, and giving me a new look on combat and movement, Enhanced 4E Combat In Motion by Christopher F. Ash is exactly what it says – it enhances and enriches the 4th Edition rule set, and instead of making up crazy new rules for everything most of this supplement goes HAND IN HAND with the game keeping true to its nature, but I warn you my adventuring companions — this is not for the feint of heart. Hardcore players please proceed.
This book is 80 some-odd pages, a surprising amount of pages for the price of about $10, when I first picked up the book it took me a few tries to get started as some of the text is a little stuffy and a little impersonal, but after you get past that initial wave the information that is jam packed is almost more than my head can handle in one setting – and that’s a good thing. It starts off changing the way you look at movement, and everything makes complete sense – the logical mind will not only appreciate but soak in the knowledge hidden away, instead of using the usual squares they turn that into “paces”, which again is exactly how it sounds. The eBook creates a new dynamic that keeps combat constantly moving, more interactive and less like just a board game (as so many have complained about) and keeping you always on your toes, though again I warn this is probably something you should invest in if you find yourself getting ultimately bored of your current games to spice it up, the rule system is lengthy and generally can be hard to understand if you don’t take it step by step.
Many people already use the rules where diagonal steps take up a little more, and this takes that into account with their paces system. Spells, too are taken into account on this, creating a more realistic feel that gives spells or other attacks more realism and doesn’t feel as blocky, allowing for attacks and spells even movement to be more fluent. It incorporates other things that you can find such as momentum in motion and the disadvantages of attempting to back track etc. It’s how you may react in actual combat.
The “In-motion” system they created in based on the premise that when you are heading somewhere it is a singular motion, i.e. take for example when you are at the store, you are heading towards the sodas. You don’t plan on stopping anywhere, so you head from point A to point B, and so does everyone else. In a game you can’t skip everyones turns to accomplish this, so it’s done in turn movements usually, this book strings the turns together to have one continual movement instead of you move 3 squares, stop, 3 square, stop, etc. For many people this can be an eye opener to the realization that yes, turns are necessary but a turn isn’t like in a final fantasy game where you return to your original position and wait for the enemy to bash on you while your meter fills up, it’s more fluent than that.
Now to add an even higher element you’ll be able to continue on doing stuff even not during your turn, sound complicated? Well it’s not too much, it’s something we try to do anyways. Let’s go back to our store idea, so we’re going to the soda section when to our surprise we notice our best friend in the clothes section, then we can react to this. Or perhaps you have a child with you who tries to pull something off a display (a much better example) and you have to quickly react to the situation, too often a player will say “I push the button” and everyone else will go “NO!! Can I stop him?” Well, sorry, you can’t, it’s not your turn. Enhanced 4E takes this into account, yes, you can try to stop him, because he’s probably going to blow you all up. So, hop to.
You’ll also find better sprinting rules, rules for flying, and even rules for vehicles, keeping things in depth and moving.
Not to mention there is also a way to change up the way combat is done in a way to keep it more fluent and moving, definitely something more hardcore players or players that are bored with their combat should get into.
All in all Enhanced 4E Combat in motion is something I enjoyed despite its complexities I think a bit softer language and some personal quirks added to it would make it easier to understand, but definitely something for the logical mind or the thinker to get into, if you aren’t familiar with the rules of 4E I suggest getting to know them better before integrating this book, but it’s definitely a challenge. In my opinion this would be one of those situations where you chose the hardest setting in a video game, to up the challenge. So next time I hear anyone complain about combat I’ll smack them with this book, if you think you’re up for the challenge.
All in all if I were to have to put a number value to it I’d rate it 4.0 out of 5, the layout is beautiful, it looks just like the books you buy at your local gaming store, it’s affordable and logical, it makes some amazingly good points and everything I can nod and go “Yeah, that makes sense.” I think a little bit of butter in between some of the words would do my mind some good, I’m not use to so much information at once but there is never a moment where I could openly disagree or even think it was silly. I think this is a great book to have in a collection for advanced players, I do stress advanced players though. If you’re new come back later when you need the challenge.