Hordes of the Things v2.0
Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ replaces the one written for HOTT 1.0, and takes into account the August 2002 revision of the rules. Most of the issues covered by the original FAQ were dealt with by this revision; some used the same solution, others were handled differently. The new version, however, made the old FAQ obsolete. A few points from the original FAQ, however, have made it into this one.
This document performs the same function for the v2.0 rules as the old document did for the v1.0 rules. It offers possible solutions to problems with the rules, or clarification on areas that may, at first, seem like problems but are generally just not as obvious as they first seem. None of the answers in this document are 'official', but many have been discussed by the online HOTT community (such as it is) so will have at least suffered from being vigorously debated.
Last Updated: 20th September 2005 (v2.10)
Updates and comments welcome.


General Rules
Element Type Specific Rules

General Rules

In the Glossary it states "The flat tops of plateau type hills do not count as flat good going". What do they count as?
Oddly enough for most game purposes they are treated as flat good going. However they are not treated as the kind of flat good going that must make up the majority of the playing area when setting up the terrain - they count as part of the hill.


Can you spend PIPs to move an element more than once in a bound (similar to DBM march moves)?

No. An element may only move once per bound

Breaking Off

A warband is in contact with an aerial to its front. Directly to the warband's rear is a wood. Can the warband break off from the aerial? Is it considered to have a greater move than the aerial if it is partially or entirely in a wood?

This is based on the assumption that although an aerial can overfly a wood with a movement of 1200p/500p, it cannot end its move in a wood, so therefore cannot enter it. On this assumption an aerial has a movement of zero in a wood. As a warband has a 200p move in a wood, it is ending its move in terrain where it has a faster move than the element broken off from. There is a consensus that this is the correct way to do things, and that the warband can break off in this situation. However there are those that consider the whole thing should be assessed on the raw movement values, and that the warband's 200p move is always less than the 500p/1200p move of an aerial, regardless of what terrain it is in. This assumes, essentially, that aerials have a 500p/1200p move in woods even if they cannot end their move in them.

I would opt for the former as this seems to be the majority view, but be aware that others may adopt the latter view.

An element starts its bound with its front edge in contact with an enemy element's rear edge. May it move freely, or does it have to break off?

It has an enemy element in contact with its front edge, so must break off. Note that the enemy element couldn't even break off as such a move is not allowed if an enemy front edge is in contact with your flank or rear.


What is the difference between 'conforming' and 'turning to face'?
'Conforming' is any action that happens during movement in order to allow elements to line up. 'Turning to face' happens after movement as a response to legal contacts to the flank or rear. The latter may be followed by an adjustment of elements who have lost contact as a result of a turn to face.


An element is contacted to its rear and to its flank. It chooses to turn and face the element to its rear. This means that the flank contact is longer legal. what happens?

The position of the flanking element is adjusted to make a legal contact again.

Because of a recoil on a previous bound, an element starts a bound with its rear in contact with an enemy element's front edge. What happens?

Depending on whose bound it is, the enemy element may be able to break off. The contacted element may not break off (see the section on Breaking Off for more on this). At the end of movement the element whose rear is contacted is turned to face the enemy element.

Distant Shooting

Do elements have to shoot?
Yes - shooting is compulsory, although an element with more than one valid target may choose which one they engage.
Do shooters and artillery have to fire at the nearest target?

No. They can shoot at any eligible target. If shot at, however, they must, if possible, shoot back at the shooting element most directly to their front.

A shooter is shot at from the rear by an enemy shooter, and is forced to recoil. It first turns to face, and then recoils. Is it then allowed to shoot if there is a legitimate target in front of it?

Yes, assuming that it has not already shot in this bound. Note that this target may be the shooter that forced it to recoil, but since this shooter has already fired this bound there will be no return shot.
"A 2nd or 3rd element that shoots at the same target element aids the shooting of the 1st instead of its action being resolved separately." If a 4th element can be brought to bear, is its shooting resolved as a separate attack, a support for the first element or just ignored?

It is ignored.
Elements that are in close combat contact cannot shoot or be shot at. Also, a group can move into contact with elements less than a base width apart and some of the group might be in partial contact. Can the partially contacted element be shot at?

'A' and 'B' face down, 'C', 'D' and 'S' shooter face up. 'x' is space. Can 'S' shoot at 'B'?
Yes. However the shooter must target the side edge of the element, as line of sight to the front edge is partially blocked by 'D'.
Consider this case:

Where 'A' is a Red Force ground element facing down the page, 'F' is a Blue Force flyer facing up that hasn't descended to combat contact with 'A', and 'S' is a Blue Force shooter facing up. Can 'S' shoot at 'A'?
No. Aerials may be shot at over ground troops, but they themselves block line of sight to all elements.


Can a fleeing element turn to avoid a table edge?

No. It will flee off the table, and count as lost.

Do elements that flee off the table (such as dragons or lurkers) have to recoil first?

Yes. They recoil a base depth, then are removed, without having to trace a path to the table edge.

Is there a maximum number of elements that can be interpenetrated or overflown?

No. However, an element making a voluntary move cannot exceed its move distance, so if it wants to interpenetrate or fly over another element and cannot clear it with its movement, then it cannot do so. An element recoiling can interpenetrate as many elements as it needs to until it finds a clear space, or reaches something it cannot pass through or over, in which case it is destroyed.

Lost Elements

If a horde or lurker returns to the battlefield after being lost (destroyed or fled), does it still count against the enemy's total of lost elements?

No. Think of it like this; and element that is on the table, or that has not yet been deployed on the table does not count as lost. One that has been on the table at some point during the game, but that has now been removed for whatever reason counts as lost. Once it comes back, it ceases to be lost.

Moving Across The Front

How do elements 'intervene' to block an enemy frontal zone?

This is fairly well described in the rules, and there is a diagram showing how the lines from the front corner of the enemy element are determined. However there are one or two interesting quirks which are explained in this diagram by Bob Beattie:

'A' shows the example from the rules.
'B' shows an example where the blocking element is not, itself, within the enemy frontal zone. The answer to the question is that, yes, I is between J and H, and H can move freely so long as it remains so.
'C' shows the reverse situation, where an element is closer to the enemy and is within the frontal zone, but does not block.
'D' shows how an element can be pinned along its side edge.

An element moves into an enemy's front zone, and wishes to line up with it. It has insufficient movement to do so in this bound, however. Is it allowed to partially line up with the enemy element, completing the move in a following bound?
No. A move to line up (or contact) an enemy element within its front zone must be completed within a single bound or it may not be attempted.


An element recoils, but has an enemy element exactly one base depth behind it. Is the recoiling element destroyed?
No. It is only destroyed if it meets an enemy element before it completes its recoil. In this case the recoil is complete so the element is not destroyed.
As above, an element recoils, but has an enemy element exactly one base depth behind it. The recoiling element ends its recoil with its rear edge in full contact with the enemy element's front edge. What happens?
The recoiling element is not destroyed. At the end of the movement part of the next player's bound it will turn to face the enemy it has contacted. Note that since it has an enemy element in contact with its flank or rear it cannot break off, even if relative movement rates would allow this.
An element that recoils can, in some cases, push back friendly elements behind it. If these meet friendly elements they 'pass through to the rear' if of a type allowed to do so. Does this mean that they can only pass through from front to rear?
No. Use of the word 'rear' in this case seems to just mean 'other side'; the relative rear. As long as the pushed back element can legally interpenetrate the friendly element in the way, it passes through it.

Rear Support

If an element is in a position to provide rear support to a front rank element, does it have to give such support?

Yes. Rear support is compulsory.

Element Type Specific Rules

Aerial Elements

Is the line of sight to and from aerial elements blocked by hills, built up areas and woods for the purposes of determining whether an element is within range of its general?

Can an element recoil under an enemy flier or aerial hero?

Yes, as long as the enemy flier or aerial hero is not currently in close combat. Note that if the enemy flier or aerial hero is in contact with the recoiling element's flank or rear, the recoiling element is destroyed before the recoil begins.
Does the -2 for being in bad going apply to aerial units?

Although they are not excluded from it, it is stated that they only count woods and built up areas as bad going. This would suggest that they ignore other terrain. Note that aerials cannot end a move in woods or built up areas, so only get the -2 if fighting an enemy on the edge of such terrain. The opponent of an aerial is affected by bad going as normal, so if a blade and flier fight in brush, the blade gets the -2 and the flier does not. In essence an aerial can never actually be in bad going, as it cannot enter the only terrain it actually counts as bad going i.e. woods and BUAs.


The rules imply that I can deploy all of my lurkers for 1 PIP. Is this correct?

No. It costs 1 PIP per lurker element, more if it is the second or third time they have been deployed.


How do clerics and paladins affect bespelling?

The target of a bespelling attempt receives a bonus if the line of fire passes within 600p of a paladin or cleric. The line of fire is assumed to be the shortest line from any part of the base of the magician to any part of the base of the target element. If any part of this line, including the end points, passes within 600p of a paladin or cleric then the target gets the bonus.
Do friendly clerics and paladins affect bespelling attempts?

Yes. It follows that putting clerics and paladins in the same army as magicians makes things a bit tricky.
Does a magician have to bespell the nearest enemy?

No. Note that there is no line of sight requirement for bespelling, that the target (but not the magician) can be in combat or overlapping, and that a magician can bespell in any direction.
If a magician defeats a hero in close combat, is the hero ensorcelled?
Yes. Note that there is a difference between 'bespelling' and 'ensorcellment', and this leads to confusion in this area. 'Bespelling' is a special ranged attack open only to magicians, as described in the rules. 'Ensorcellement' is a special combat result that applaies to magicians and heroes and means the element is removed, counts as lost, but is not considered destroyed. It can be replaced by the expenditure of 6 PIPs.

What are the maximum and minimum sizes of a stronghold?

A stronghold cannot be bigger than would not fit inside a square 600p by 600p* or smaller than 200p by 200p. It does not have to be a regular shape, but must still fall within these sizes.
*This means that a stronghold could be longer than 600p in one dimension, as long as it is fairly narrow in the other. This will then allow it to fit along the diagonal of the 600p square. Frankly, though, only aesthetics or lunacy dictate a stronghold so large.

One way to test the minimum size of a stronghold has been met is to cut a 200p diameter circle from paper or card. If the strnghold can be placed on this circle such that no part of the circle is visible, then it has met the minimum size requirement. 
When does a stronghold count as lost?

A stronghold is lost if it is captured or destroyed. It is captured if it loses a combat by having a lower score than its opponent, but not half or less than that of the opponent, and if there is a ground element in contact with it. It is destroyed if it loses a combat and its score if half or less than that of the enemy. This can happen by shooting, bespelling or close combat, and can happen in close combat with just aerials as well as ground troops. Whether a stronghold is captured or destroyed the owning player has lost the game.
At the start of the defender's bound their stronghold has multiple enemy elements in contact with it (from a drawn combat on a previous bound, for example). Who chooses which contacting element is the main attacker during that bound?
The attacker does, regardless of whose bound it is.


If the close combat opponent of a double-ranked warband breaks off, do both ranks pursue or just the front rank?

Whilst a strict reading of the rules suggests that it does not pursue, communication with the author shows that it is the intent. An element of warband that is in a position to provide rear support to another element of warband pursues if that element does.

Water Lurkers

If an army has water lurkers but there are no water features on the table, do the water lurkers count as lost?

No. However they cannot be deployed, or converted to ordinary lurkers. They just take no part in the game.


  1. I've got a question I can't find an answer to anywhere. Shooters get a +3 in combat, right? What about if they are in close combat? Do they still get a +3? That seems weird to me... Is there anywhere in the rulebook that explains either way, or do they always get a +3 whether shooting distance, or engaged in close combat?

    1. Yes - they are always +3 against Foot and +4 against Mounted, whether shooting or in close combat.

    2. I see. Thanks for your reply! To me it seems that even if the enemy in close combat is inside the shooter's arc of fire, the shooter should get some kind of penalty if engaged in close combat, but that's just me, I guess.

    3. I don't understand what you mean. Remember that close combat can include shooting at close range, and the fact that they are destroyed by Mounted which beats them in close combat.

  2. To me it just seemed that if a unit of shooters had a bunch of sword-wielding baddies up in their face, that they would suffer some kind of penalty from either shooting at point-blank range in the midst of the chaos (trying not to hit their companions, for example), or dropping their bows/crossbows, etc. and using melee weapons they are less proficient in. Anyway, thanks for the clarification!

    1. Consider the scale and abstraction going on in the game; two elements in "contact" are not literally rubbing their faces against each other, "merely" close enough to be an imminent threat and pressing concern -- both sides would be actively trying to stay at their preferred distances and fight in their preferred styles with the combat outcome indicating how well each side managed to do that.

  3. I've only just discovered this game and it looks like something worth further study. Where do I find the rules? All that I have been able to find was a ridiculously overpriced copy on amazon and some dead links to the rules. I am not looking for a freebie here, I just want a set of the rules at a fair price. Any help will be greatly appreciated, thanks.

    1. Was the Amazon copy used, or is the actual retail price the one that's ridiculous?

    2. The following link will take you to the publisher's website where you can find the link to purchase the rules.

    3. Why is it lunacy to have a long, thin stronghold? I think I understand you prefer to be as far away from enemy that can get into contact with the stronghold and possibly conquer it (and you loose the game) but if you hope for troops to return in contact with the stronghold, length increases the number placed and where.

  4. I have Version 2.o as a free version is 2.1 any better or just stick with what I have?

    1. The only change worth worrying about is that Shooters now move 200p and Warband move 300p. Since most of the HOTT-playing world have been doing that for the last ten years it's not much of a jump. So basically unless you want a new A4 copy of HOTT (with larger print and some new army lists) it's not worth getting.


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