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The Movement Phase

Although the Movement phase is the easiest to perform, it’s probably the most tactically important. Getting models into the right position on the battlefield is often the key to victory. For the time being, we’ll just explain how squads of Infantry move, as they are by far the most common units in the game. Vehicles, Jump units, Bikes and certain other units move in different ways to represent their greater mobility, and these will be discussed in full detail later in the book, in the Unit Types section.

In your turn, you can move any of your units – all of them if you wish – up to their maximum movement distance. Once a unit has completed all of its movement, you can select another unit and move that one, and so on, until you have moved all of the units you wish to move. Once you have started moving a unit, you must finish its move before you start to move another unit. Note that you don’t have to move all (or any) of your units – indeed, there are several tactical advantages to remaining stationary, as we’ll explain later in the rules. Once you’ve completed a unit’s move, you cannot go back and change it, so think carefully before giving the order to advance.

Movement Distance

Models move up to 6" in the Movement phase. This represents most creatures moving at a reasonable pace but stopping several times to scan the surrounding landscape for enemies, communicate with their commanders, identify the best lines of advance and so on.

Movement Distance
It’s a common mistake to measure the distance and then place the model on the far side of the tape measure. This is incorrect, as it adds the entire length of the model’s base to the distance moved. The diagram opposite shows correct and incorrect ways of measuring move distance. For an Infantry model on its relatively small base, this additive error isn’t so bad, but imagine what would happen if this error was made with a vehicle 6" long!
It is perfectly fine to measure a unit’s move in one direction, and then change your mind and decide to move it somewhere else (even the opposite way entirely!) or decide not to move it at all. As you move the models in a unit, they can be turned to face in any direction, but if a model does move, no part of its base can finish the move more than 6" away from where it started the Movement phase.

Models cannot voluntarily move off the board.

Which Models are Moving

Whether or not a model moves can change how effective it will be in the Psychic or Shooting phases. You may decide that only some of the models in a unit are going to move this turn. If this is the case, declare which models are remaining stationary just before you start moving the other models of that unit. Remember that all models in the unit must still maintain unit coherency.

Different Movement Distances Within a Unit

Sometimes, a unit will contain models that move at different speeds. When this is the case, each model can move up to its maximum movement allowance so long as it remains in unit coherency.

Models In the Way

A model cannot move within 1" of an enemy model unless they are charging into close combat in the Assault phase, and can never move or pivot (see below) through another model (friend or foe) at any time. To move past, they must go around.

Pivoting on the Spot

If you choose not to move a model in a unit, you can instead choose to turn it on the spot to face in any direction, provided that the pivot does not bring the model within 1" of an enemy model. A model that only pivots on the spot in the Movement phase counts as being stationary for all purposes, including subsequent shooting attacks.

Moving And Close Combat

Units already locked in close combat with the enemy cannot move during the Movement phase.

Unit Coherency

When you are moving a unit, its individual models can each move up to their maximum movement distance. However, units have to stick together, otherwise individual models become scattered and the unit loses its cohesion as a fighting force. So, once a unit has finished moving, the models in it must form an imaginary chain where the distance between one model and the next is no more than 2" horizontally and up to 6" vertically. We call this ‘unit coherency’.

Unit Coherency in Terrain
As the Space Marines in this ruin are all within 2" of another member of their squad on the same level, or within 6" of another member of their squad on a different level, they are in unit coherency.

During the course of a game, a unit can get broken up and lose unit coherency, usually because it has taken casualties from incoming enemy fire. If this happens, in their next Movement phase, the models in the unit must be moved in such a way that they restore unit coherency (or get as close as possible to having restored coherency). If the unit cannot move in its next turn, or is unable to restore unit coherency in a single turn, then the models must move to restore unit coherency as soon as they have the opportunity, including by Running if they have that option.

Moving Through Terrain

Moving Vertically
The Space Marine has a move of 6". He moves 3" horizontally to get beneath the floor of the ruined building, and then moves 3" vertically, ending the move one floor up as shown in the photograph.
As part of their move, models can move through, up or over any terrain they encounter, unless the terrain is noted as being impassable.

Models can also use their move to ‘climb up’ terrain, as long as the model is able to finish the move on a location where it can be stood. When measuring a move where a model climbs terrain, add the distance the model moves horizontally to the distance it has moved vertically; the result is considered to be the distance the model has moved.

In addition to the rules presented in this section, certain types of terrain can affect how far your models can move, as they clamber over defence lines or pick their way through tanglewire, for example. The rules for how these different types terrain affect movement are in the Battlefield Terrain section.

Wobbly Model Syndrome

Sometimes you may find that a particular piece of terrain makes it hard to put a model exactly where you want. If you delicately balance it in place, it is very likely to fall as soon as somebody nudges the table, leaving your beautifully painted miniature damaged or even broken. In cases like this, we find it is perfectly acceptable to leave the model in a safer position, as long as both players have agreed and know its ‘actual’ location. If, later on, your enemy is considering shooting at the model, you will have to hold it back in the proper place so he can check line of sight.