Musings: The Front 180   9 comments

First, thank you all for chiming in on the question.

To repeat some things I’ve probably said: The front 180 tends to be arbitrary and ill-defined.  Shoulders move, heads move.  You can usually figure out a “frontness” of an opponent, but that 180 is really hard to define.

Recently, while mulling this at work, I figured out that you really only see the front 90 degrees or so (which, I’m told, is perceived through Foveal Vision).  Focus on your computer without moving your eyes (which is usually our state when we’re engaged with an opponent) and watch the periphery fade away.  Move your hand around in that periphery and you’ll sort of see it, sort of be aware of the movement, but it’s not till it gets into that central field of vision that it really becomes clearly visible as a hand.

Same goes on the battle field: you might be aware of something moving in that blurry periphery, but you’re in a melee, there’s always something moving somewhere.  It’s not until it’s in your front 90 that you see the details of the person, including how far away from you they are, whether or not they’re on your side, and whether or not they’re coming at you.

Which means those 45 degrees on either side, between the edges of the 180 and that foveal field, are where “bad things happen”.

We don’t have acknowledgment.  That’s a Good Thing because it just makes more problems.

We don’t have unit engagement, except at Gulf Wars.  That’s also a Good Thing because unit engagement directly contradicts Society rules: If I’m engaged with your flank and it’s collapsing, I can stab you in the back according to unit engagement, even though I’m not in the front 180.

I think there’s a tendency, even among top-end fighters, to straddle the line laid out in the rules (sometimes literally, doing a “frontal attack” while one foot is still behind your opponent seems… not frontal).  It gets pretty close to a Beer Rule violation, and rubs me wrong.  There’s an extra 45 degrees on each side of them to play in; they probably can’t see you unless you’re Duke Cuan.

When there’s no DFB I’ve been working towards attacking from well within the 180 and outside of that central 90.  When I am close to the edge of the 180, I try to get their attention (beat their swords, put my dagger across their throat) or get acknowledgment (wait for their attention to shift in my direction).  Maybe it’s a luxury of the White Scarf that I feel like I can take that risk of giving my opponent a little bit more chance than is required by the rules, but I still don’t feel it’s a huge risk.


Posted January 10, 2013 by Wistric in Musings

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