Rules Question: Counting itself Friendly for the purpose of special rules (solved)

Ahoy Mantic Rules Committee. This question has risen recently in this facebook post at Armada Fanatics and I wanted to take it further.

Question: Does a ship count as “a friendly ship” for the purpose of AOE rules conferred by itself?

Rules in question:
Attrition: “Friendly ships add 1 damage to any normal Shooting attack (from a Weapon Position) for each Friendly ship with this rule within 6” (the attack must cause at least 1 damage itself for this to count). Extra damage is not added to results on the Critical Hit table. Add extra damage after any multiplication (such as Point Blank and Raking fire).”
Kindred Bond: “While this ship is within 8" of one of more friendly ships with the Kindred Bond special rule, it adds +1 to any Skill tests it is required to make.”
War Drum of Spite: “This ship, and all friendly ships, while within 8" of this ship, cause…”
Spotter: “Friendly ships within 3” of one or more friendly Gunboat squadrons (that have not Surrendered) have a +1 to-hit modifier while Shooting from one of their weapon positions per Turn. Both the firing ship and the Gunboat squadron being used, must have at least Partial Visibility to the target when using this ability, and it must be in the fire arc being used.”
Ensnare: “While within 6” of this ship, friendly ships receive a +2 modifier to their Skill test when attempting a rapple. This ship may not confer this benefit on itself however.

You might notice there is a big inconsistency in how these rules are worded. For example Ensnare and War Drum of Spite explicitly mention the ship that confers the rule, whereas Kindred Bond, Attrition does not. Spotter kind of does, as it describes that both ships require at least Partial Visibility to the target in order for the rule effect to kick in.

So, how is it exactly: Does a ship count as a Friendly Ship to itself? If so, doesn’t it create an extremely awkward interaction with Kindred Bond, that contrary to how it is worded, was mentioned to work only if there is another ship with Kindred Bond within range? Source:

If, by any chance, this is more within gray area and no yes/no answer can be provided, please rule these out:
Does the Attrition rule provide bonus damage to the Needlefang itself?
Does the Kindred Bond rule provide bonus to the Leafblade/Storm Chaser itself, while it is the only ship within range?
Does the Spotter rule provide bonus to the Gunboat itself?

If you put a line through that part of the rule on ensnare that, for me, clears up the rest of the rules.

Only the War Drum of Spite works on itself as stated, the rest refer to just friendly ships.

The fact that the gun boat needs to be able to see the target to spot for another ship is just common sense without aiding itself. Think of triangulating a position you need measurements from separate points type of thing.

Sadly, this exact part of Ensnare rule is an argument for self bonus. This is because if one rule has an explicit mention that it doesn’t work on it’s bearer, why other rules have none? Or if AOE rules doesn’t work on their bearers, why such a mention is required in the first place? These are the arguments I’ve met when I brainstormed this with friends.

For me personally the thing is clear. Ships does not count themselves as friendly ships for the purpose of AOE rules, they themselves confer.
Kindred Bond is obvious in what it is intended to do, War Drum of Spite explicitly allows to get the bonus, Spotter is also obvious with it’s requirement. Ensnare is the only sour spot and I do believe what the rule designers were trying to say would better be phrased like "Take note, this ship may not confer this benefit on itself** as it would suggest this is the way all the similar rules work (no self benefit), not an exception.

I am not a native English speaker. My English is not that good, so I might be missing something. From my point of view this issue is 90% black & white, 10% grey area and I believe this makes it eligible for official ruling. Personally I treat each question found on Armada Fanatics as a good brain gymnastics and an excuse to go through the rules again, in order to get to know them better. It’s not like I would not be able to play the game without this ruling, but I think it will benefit the community in the long run. It’s not the first time I’ve met with Needlefang situation.

I look at it the other way, if one rule includes a redundant phrase then it appears to me that is a holdover from a previous iteration of the rules that was missed.

Is it more likely that they forgot to remove one instance of a phrase that was no longer required, or that they forgot to include a dozen instances of it in all the other rules?

When that comes up I plump for the simplest explanation that the single line is the redundant one and not that dozens of other rules are instead incorrect.


Ok, so I see now I had totally misinterpreted your opinion. As mentioned, not a native speaker. When I saw “through” I thought in a less literal way like trashing the line, more in a way of behind like drawing a line in the sand :stuck_out_tongue:

I agree completely mate. We’re on the same side here. I only with this was confirmed by the MRC to burry this question forever.

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@mattjgilbert sometimes frequents the forum.
Maybe he can clarify it one way or the other

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Solved in official errata (for Kindred Bond and Attrition)