It’s MELEE ACADEMY time! (GURPS 301: Evaluate)

+Jason Packer over on Google+ threw down this gem:

Assertion: The Evaluate maneuver is utterly useless if your skill exceeds that of your opponent, and is dubious at best if your skill exceeds 10. 

Wackiness ensued. In fact, it’s likely still ensuing.

So, since a bunch of us on that thread were headed in that direction anyway, we decided that this Thursday’s GURPS-Day topic would be Melee Academy: Evaluate (GURPS 301 version).

In this case, though, this is a senior-level course. GURPS 301: Evaluate and house rules, to be exact.

Right now, Evaluate is a tough sell. This has been remarked on before, in other sessions, but the juices are flowing and it’s time to marinade the steak.

If you could rewrite the Evaluate rules, how would you do it?

10 thoughts on “It’s MELEE ACADEMY time! (GURPS 301: Evaluate)

  1. Entirely different way of going about it: allow combatants to take Enhanced Defenses, Extra Attack, Peripheral Vision, increased weapon skill or other appropriate Advantages with the modifier Requires Evaluate, which states that the advantage in question is only available if you've Evaluated as your most recent maneuver. To encourage Evaluating, make the modifier generous: Takes Extra Time is only worth -10%, but in these cases it's probably worth -20% to -50%. How useful is Peripheral Vision if you can neither attack while using it nor gain the benefit out of combat (unless you're wary enough to proceed down the hall at a stepping rate, which is… actually fairly realistic)? Not nearly as useful. The ability to effectively defend your own sides, or just defend better overall, while you accumulate an Evaluate bonus will make it appealing in situations where you're against a better/many opponents.

  2. Speaking from experience, just implement a certain GURPS blogger's "Last Gasp" rules for action points in combat. Evaluate gets really popular, really quickly.

  3. I like the idea of having certain abilities with Requires Evaluate (maybe even allow abilities that are more effective the longer you Evaluate). Some additional options:
    When using The Last Gasp, ape a bit from All Out Defense and give Evaluate 1 free AP for making defenses.
    When using Setup Attacks, on any successful defense against a Setup you get a bonus to your MoS equal to your current Evaluate bonus. This is really just an extension of the rules from MA100.
    Allow combining Evaluate and Wait into a single maneuver – if your Wait can only be triggered by a specific target, and a full round passes without your Wait being triggered, the Wait is retroactively an Evaluate instead.
    Allow Evaluate to accumulate up to a +5 bonus.
    Allow Evaluate to negate at least some of the penalties of a Runaround Attack or similar.

  4. +1 on all attacks vs that foe until your next turn
    +1 on defenses vs that foe until your next turn
    Perception/Observation roll to notice something interesting about his/her style/gear/behavior

    My expectation is this would make Evaluate very popular for one-on-one duels, and not so much for melee free-for-alls.

  5. I've been pondering on how to change evaluate for awhile. Sorry, but his is likely to be a bit "stream of consciousness":

    First, what is someone doing when they evaluate a target? Watching them closely, effectively "aiming" there weapon? If that were all, I almost feel that it would be easier to defend against… and we already have this effect with telegraphic attack.

    If they are watching a foe, looking for an opening, what does that mean? Is an "opening" something that is easier to hit, or harder to defend against (or both)? And isn't the latter is already handled better by deceptive attack or a feint?

    I kinda feel like evaluate is a special form of "Wait". Just the trigger is an "opening" which GURPS doesn't currently have (to my knowledge) any mechanical definition of. One way to do this would be just get rid of Evaluate all together and give a +1 to hit per turn of Wait (max +3), till the wait is triggered. (Ranged 1-hex waits, already work this way IIRC).

    Another option is to make Evaluate the inverse of a Feint. Have a (per-based?) melee combat skill vs enemy combat skill (to not be obvious?) and give the MoS as a bonus to hit on the following turn. My fear is that this would not help the low skill attacker that RAW Evaluate might currently be working for.

  6. 1) Combine Evaluate with Wait. Your triggered maneuver must be an Attack or All Out Attack on the evaluated foe but it gets the bonus from turns spent Evaluating.
    2) Instead of +1, the first turn gives you a training bonus based on your best melee or unarmed skill. This is analogous to the Acc. from an Aim.
    3) The bonus also applies to your next active defense against that foe as well as your next attack. Or maybe half the bonus.
    4) You may use the rules for contests of wills while also evaluating.

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