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Arbitrary Weapon Range
aka: Arbitrary Maximum Range

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"I dare to assume you ignorant jackasses know that space is empty. Once you fire this hunk of metal, it keeps going till it hits something. That can be a ship, or the planet behind that ship. It might go off into deep space and hit somebody else in ten thousand years. If you pull the trigger on this, you are ruining someone's day, somewhere and sometime. That is why you check your damn targets! That is why you wait for the computer to give you a damn firing solution! That is why, Serviceman Chung, we do not 'eyeball it!' This is a weapon of mass destruction! You are not a cowboy shooting from the hip!"
— The Gunnery Chief from Mass Effect 2, defying this trope

Weapons used on an atmosphere-bearing planet (like the one you live on) will suffer air resistance, gravity and other restricting factors. In a video game, however, your gun, bow, cannon, or even energy weapon may not behave as if those conditions are in place. Its projectiles will zoom in a straight line to their maximum effective distance, dictated by nothing other than the designers' decision, and then vanish.

Relatedly, all weapons in space have unlimited range, but ship-mounted weapons will experience the same thing. Weapons having a maximum effective range makes sense, due to light diffusion, accuracy issues, or information delay, but these reasons aren't always specified; often, laser beams are immediately cut off and bullets disappear when they reach maximum range.

By the same token, some weapons (especially artillery and siege weapons) have a minimum range, within which it is a lot less effective or unable to fire at targets at all. If an enemy manages to get within this range, the weapon or its wielder is often forced to move back so that it can still engage the enemy. This can be due to practicality (it's difficult to line up a sniper shot when your opponent is close enough to beat your face in), difficulty tracking the target, risk of ricochet and Splash Damage, or a minimum firing arc for the weapon.

This is one of the Acceptable Breaks from Reality in videogames. Attempting to realistically simulate a physics-accurate space battle is still beyond the reach of home computers; range limitations are one of the many simplifications made for the sake of performance. Weapon range limitations are also done for balance reasons, to prevent weapons from being too overpowered and to incentivize players to make effective use of their resources.

When used outside of video games, range limitations generally serve to provide an obstacle for the characters to overcome, creating tension in the story.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • In A Certain Scientific Railgun the title character's signature ability (throwing a coin at hypersonic velocity) has a maximum effective range of 50 meters, as the coin vaporizes from air friction. However, this doesn't happen instantly, which is brought up during the first Railgun SS when she still manages to damage her target since it was close enough for the coin's melted remains to barely hit it.
  • In Code Geass, Lelouch experiments with his Geass to discover its limitations, and finds that there's a maximum range. In the DVD Commentary the Japanese voice cast wonders how he figured this out (since the Geass requires a verbal command) and Yukana suggests he and his "guinea pigs" used cell phones like walkie talkies ("150 meters, check. 160, no good.")
  • Gundam:
    • One of the major reasons mobile suits are used in the Universal Century series is that Minovsky Particles, among other effects, tend to play merry hell with non-visual targeting methods (and possibly even those as well). This keeps mobile suits from being bombarded by guided missiles launched from beyond the horizon, and also makes nuclear weapons less usable. Most other Gundam settings still use similar ranges out of pure habit, even where Minovsky particles are not an explicit part of the setting.
    • Subverted by the GP02 Mobile Suit Gundam 0083: Stardust Memory, which has a nuclear missile launcher whose range doesn't extend all the way out of the blast radius, instead reinforcing the suit to withstand it, including a thick shield encompassing almost the entire height of the suit.
    • Going the other way, Mobile Suit Crossbone Gundam: Steel 7 revolves around the Jupiter Empire building a Colony Laser in orbit around Jupiter and aiming it at Earth; though Colony Lasers have never been seen used at this sort of distance before (365 million miles at shortest), there's no reason given why they couldn't, and the threat is treated seriously. The heroes don't manage to stop it from firing, but they do manage to mess up its aim by a tenth of a degree, which at that distance causes the laser to miss Earth by several million miles.
  • Legend of the Galactic Heroes:
    • The series operates with a max effective range for its beam and missile weaponry, explained as a combination of problems with targeting at such extreme ranges and diffraction of the energy weapons.
    • The ranges for beam weaponry (in space) are mentioned to be that of a few million kilometres though. Arbitrary, but nonetheless huge.
    • The Iserlohn Fortress' Wave-Motion Gun, the Thor's Hammer, which has been stated to have a maximum range that has been extensively studied from previous battles and losses by the Free Planets Alliance to the point that entire strategies are designed around and beyond its firing arc.
  • Invoked and discussed in Rurouni Kenshin during the first fight between Kenshin and Aoshi: Because Aoshi wields a smaller Kodachi, he lacks the reach of Kenshin's sword but has a much better control of his weapon at close range and thus a nearly-impregnable defense. Kenshin only manages to even the odds by gripping his own sword on the blade, giving himself a reach identical to the Kodachi and allowing him to attack Aoshi from a closer range and hit him.
  • Space Battleship Yamato: The Wave-Motion Gun seemingly can only be used when the Yamato is close enough to the target to risk being caught up in the explosion itself. Enemy weapons are explicitly stated to be longer-ranged. One assumes that the difference is in the targeting systems, not the strength of the beam itself, but it's never explained in the series.

  • In Absolute Power Sucks Absolutely, Maxime is able to do almost anything thanks to his Reality Warper powers, but he can only affect things that are within 100 m of him and he can't extend this distance by any means. He can't even make portals for himself to travel farther than 100 meters even though he can do it for others.

  • In Kaamelott: Premier Volet, the first time we see the Burgundians try to lay siege to the castle of Kaamelott, the Jurisconsult pretends that, even if they weren't too inept to make their Siege Engines work, they parked them way too close to the walls and any shot they'd manage to fire would just whiz past above the castle.
  • Looper: The guns used by the titular Loopers are designed this way: they can be used at long range, but suffer terrible inaccuracy and quickly lose power at anything more than a few feet. Within those few feet, they are incredibly deadly and powerful.
  • Real Genius inverts the trope. The plot involves a project to develop a five megawatt laser for use in a Kill Sat, but it ignores the problems of attenuation and scattering that would occur in Real Life for lasers fired in an atmosphere — in other words, the laser has an unrealistically high range.
  • Star Wars:
    • Episode III has a space battle at point-blank range as the first scene in the movie. But this isn't limited to the prequel trilogy — Episode V has two Imperial Star Destroyers very nearly ram into each other while chasing the Millennium Falcon, which shows both remarkable incompetence and that the ships were far too close to their target to begin with.
    • The weapons mounted on ships are repeatedly referred to as lasers in the EU, including "turbolasers" on the capital ships. Although most of the EU's usage is intended to mimic how the original trilogy did things; energy weapons there were relatively short range, and visible. This was reinforced by the X-Wing and TIE Fighter video games, which were based on WWII dogfighting tactics. That said, this is subverted a few times in the SWEU, with one notable example being in the X-Wing books: a pilot points out that proton torpedoes can travel 14 kilometers before running out of fuel and the safeties automatically detonate it, but a fighter's targeting computer can only lock onto a capital ship at 5 kilometers. So he has a bomber squadron fire torpedoes at his own fighter's tracer signal, then he'll try to maneuver so that the capital ship they want to kill is in between him and the less-manuverable torpedoes. It actually works out pretty well, mostly thanks to his ship's droid.
    • In The Last Jedi the Resistance fleet is able to stay far enough away from the First Order fleet that the First Order's weapons couldn't penetrate their shields.
    • In the new canon, the Thrawn novels fully clarify the range issue. In Thrawn, light cruisers are explicitly stated to be unable to conduct Orbital Bombardment because their weapons' damage falls off so drastically over range that they have to be within the stratosphere (about 50 kilometers from the surface) for their shots to do anything to even unshielded targets. In Thrawn: Treason, an officer comments that a Star Destroyer's guns are ineffective against anything remotely armored past about 1,200 kilometers.
  • Justified in Sympathy for Lady Vengeance. The main character has a makeshift gun built by former inmates. Because of its lack of power and available resources, it must be fired at a close range. It's still very effective even if she has to approach her targets before firing.

  • Arbitrary minimum ranges are the reason for the desperation tactic attempted by the USS Walker and USS Mahan in the first Destroyermen book. With the Japanese battlecruiser Amagi ready to pound the two obsolete destroyers to scrap and the rest of the Japanese fleet on approach, the Walker and the Mahan head straight for the Amagi and pass very close to it on either side, thus keeping the battlecruiser's big guns from being able to hit them. However, the smaller-caliber guns on the Japanese ship still did plenty of damage to the destroyers, but the battlecruiser also sustained significant damage from both destroyers' guns. The idea was to hide in the squall behind the Amagi and hope to escape the area. The squall turns out to be a Negative Space Wedgie and sends the three ships to a Parallel World.
  • The turrets in Factory of the Gods operate on their ability to sense people and target them. Their exact range isn't stated, but it's close enough Julian was able to have a full conversation with people on the other side of that range.
  • The tanks used by Hammer's Slammers can only aim their powerguns so low and close to them, so that infantry with satchel charges can occasionally get too close for comfort. So they have a ring of proximity-triggered AP mines around the vehicle's skirts for a second line of defense.
  • The Hardy Boys: Casefiles book "Flight into Danger" has the boys in an experimental jet with an experimental laser weapon. Since the beam loses efficiency over distance, it's like "hitting [another fleeing jet] with a flashlight" beam. Still gets his attention, though.
  • At one point in Honor Harrington, some Marines need to use an antitank launcher to blow open a blast door, but can't use the best munition for the job because the range is shorter than said munition's minimum safe distance. In other words, they could use it to get rid of the door, but they'd be blown up too.
  • In The Hunt for Red October Russian torpedoes have a safety feature that will only arm the torpedo when it is a safe distance away from the ship that fired it. This is Truth in Television. Captain Ramius knows this so he steers his submarine toward an incoming torpedo so the torpedo does not have time to arm itself and bounces harmlessly off the sub's hull.
  • In Mikhail Akhmanov's Invasion, described as the reason why Anti Matter weapons aren't used on planets. After all, since anti-matter reacts violently when it comes into contact with any matter, firing it in an atmosphere means that the first thing it encounters will be the air millimeters from the weapon... and the person firing it.
  • Justified in The Lost Fleet, since the lack of FTL sensors means that any sensor data from a light minute away is exactly a minute old. Since starships normally perform battle maneuvers at speeds around 0.1c, firing at a ship at a distance of more than several light seconds is a waste of ammunition. There are three primary space weapons in the setting: hell-lances (particle beams), grapeshot (Magnetic Weapons), and missiles. They're usually fired at the same ranges (missiles a bit earlier to make sure all three reach the target at the same time). The Alliance also has the null-field, which is a destructive weapon with an extremely short range. Post-Geary, fleets engage one another at a combined speed of somewhere around 0.2c. While they could move faster, doing so degrades sensor data even more, since, at that point, the speeds are relativistic, which greatly increases the uncertainty over what is going on in space. "Stationary" targets like planets and space stations can be attacked from a significantly longer range with "rocks", since they can't evade the attack.
  • In Star Carrier, battles between capital ships take place at relatively short ranges due to the lack of FTL sensors. Fighters engage one another at even closer ranges. Ubiquitous gravity propulsion means that fighters and missiles can accelerate to a high percentage of the speed of light in a matter of minutes. While fighters don't actually fight at those speeds, a typical tactic when arriving to a system that is known to be occupied by a hostile force is to immediately launch several wings of fighters at 99% of the speed of light in order to get in firing range mere seconds after the light from the arrival of the fleet reaches the enemy sensors, giving them little or no change to react, while the fleet takes longer to get there. FTL travel within a star system is impossible (until later books). Trevor "Sandy" Gray gets his nickname from an innovative tactic he devises during the defense of the Solar System. While still at 0.99c, he has his wing launch their AMSO canisters, which normally launch a cone-shaped spread of "sand" to destroy any incoming missiles. At relativistic speeds, the "sand" particles have enough kinetic energy to rip much of the enemy fleet to shreds before they even know what's happening.
  • Starworld by Harry Harrison has the first space battle in history taking place as part of a rebellion against Earth by its colonies. The rebel admiral points out to the protagonist how energy weapons don't work due to the energy diffusion problem. Although missiles are being used by both sides, the rebels use linear accelerators firing unguided cannon balls to gain the decisive edge, then finish them off with a Flechette Storm of rocket-propelled bullets (fired from the standard infantry weapons of the time) which work well over infinite ranges due to the lack of air resistance.
  • Strands of Sorrow:
    • Mk 19 grenade launchers are used from Amtracks on a swarm of zombies, but due to limitations of space and having five of them taking up much of that room, they find out that "overkill" really does exist, contrary to usual belief. Many of the grenades don't even get to arm before hitting zombies, who wind up just as dead anyway.
    • The minimum range of Tomahawk cruise missiles is why the -D variant (cluster munitions) fired to clear a beach of a mass zombie swarm, fired from the USS Michigan, had to be steered around the long way inland before turning back to their actual targets. The other option, moving the Michigan further out to sea before firing, was considered and rejected.
  • The soft sci-fi story Through Space To The Planets has an example of a "ray" gun which also has a gas-like effect, meaning that it cannot be used at close quarters for fear of harming the operator and any other nearby "friendlies".
  • Explained in detail in the Vorkosigan Saga. The Vor Game features a space battle in which the interactions between the main weapons systems in use, each featuring different ranges, is explained. Lasers do have infinite range, but the ships of the day have very good anti-laser armor that works unless it is damaged by other weapons systems. Other weapons include physically firing missiles at the enemy, which while they theoretically have infinite range must be propelled or they'll be too easy to dodge, and gravitic lances, whose power decreases by the square of the distance and therefore have a minimal effective range, although their effects are measurable far beyond the distance at which they can do any damage. There are also plasma lances, which can be countered by plasma mirrors (some sort of forcefield that reflects plasma bolts back at the firing ship). The perpetual contest between weapons and countermeasures is such that, at the time of The Vor Game, strategists are once again toying with the idea that ramming will become a starship's primary weapon.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Battlestar Galactica (1978) features laser bolts that would arbitrarily explode after traveling a certain distance.
  • The late 1970s/early 1980s TV version of Buck Rogers, made by the same production company.
  • In any of the air-battle scenes in Captain Power and the Soldiers of the Future, a miss with an energy weapon would result in the laser beam exploding in the air just behind the evading target. As if it had hit the matte painting behind them. (My God, man, I think you found that answer we've been searching for.)
  • Star Trek:
    • Star Trek: The Original Series: The first Romulan episode, "Balance of Terror", has them using an incredibly powerful weapon that fires plasma warheads that can travel at warp speed. The best solution is to accelerate to maximum warp backwards until it dissipates enough for the shields to handle.
    • The makers of Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan wanted to have a starship dogfight between the Enterprise and the Reliant, but were initially concerned that it wouldn't make sense since both ships would logically be able to hit each other without having to get close. Thus, circumstances were contrived to make both the film's space battles take place at close range. For the first battle, Kirk lets the Reliant close in on the Enterprise without raising shields because he doesn't realize they've been hijacked, which he later admits was a mistake. In the climax, Kirk lures Khan into a nebula, rendering the sensors on both ships ineffective.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Units in Red Star/White Star with a minimum range had this printed on the counters. Mortars in Advanced Squad Leader have both their minimum and maximum ranges on the counters. In pre-gunpowder games, the effect of swordsmen getting in under the effective range of a spear or pike is often handled with modifiers to the attack or defense strength of the units concerned.
  • In Attack Vector: Tactical, lasers are actually built with energy inputs, conversion efficiencies, wavelengths and diffraction limits and aperture sizes to build the weapon tables. One damage point is 50 MJ delivered 'roughly instantaneously' over an 8 cm diameter spot size - this is roughly the equivalent of 12.5 kilos of TNT detonated into a focused spot the diameter of a soda pop can. The conversion efficiencies and laser wavelengths were chosen to make the game interesting, but within those bounds, they're scientifically accurate. The coilgun rules walk the launching player through four frame of reference shifts to present a firing card that ends up being the ducks eye view of a shotgun blast, and coilguns can be very long ranged.
  • In BattleCON, certain Styles add minimum range to your attack and will miss if your opponent is closer than that. For all characters, the Burst attack misses at range 1, although it lets you move backwards to make up for it.
  • BattleTech:
    • Lasers can have an effective range as short as 100 yards. In space combat, where a different scale and different range brackets apply, even the smallest laser (the exact same kind as used on the ground)'s effective range shoots up slightly over 3,000 yards. Not bad for dogfighting between aerospace aces (though granted, on the other hand the maximum effective range for even the largest capital-scale weapons — other than tele-operated capital missiles, which move like fighters with their own small fuel reserve — is only about an order of magnitude larger than that). The game does have optional rules for extreme range and line-of-sight range, but the steep attack penalties mean that even when they're in play it's really hard to actually hit anything.
      • The fluff attributes the short-ranges to terrible fire-control systems: Battlemechs are equipped with rudimentary targeting computers, but they don't account for so many factors that most pilots end up having to eyeball their shots anyway. The exception is Long Range Missiles, which can lock on to a target, but rapidly lose accuracy the farther they have to travel. LRMs also have a minimum range, as they are explicitly indirect fire weapons, arcing up at launch to come down on a target at impact. Even with functionally hit-scan weapons in the form of lasers, the movement of the firing 'mech, the target, and the inherent inaccuracy of targeting computers makes it hard to actually land a hit. There is Lost Technology that can be used to add a proper, effective targeting computer to a 'mech, and the result is staggeringly effective.
    • Many long-range weapons have minimum ranges, making it harder to hit within that minimum range. There are various rationales for the minimum ranges depending on the type of weapon; from ungainly long barrels for AC/2s, the lightest, longest-ranged Autocannonnote  or Gauss rifles that are hard to swing around at short range, to safety features to prevent self-inflicted damage in the case of PPCs (firing a weapon that is essentially a small scale particle accelerator has notably dangerous effects on the electrically-driven muscle fibers of a 'Mech)note , to booster engines not arming the missile until expended for missile weapons.
  • In Big Eyes, Small Mouth, one of the custom variables for the Weapon attribute (which covers all types of attack abilities) is Indirect, which lets the attack strike through a ballistic arc. However, rank 1 of the variable restricts the attack from targeting less than half of its maximum range (determined by the Range variable); rank 2 reduces this to ten percent; rank 3 is the maximum and removes the restriction. Splash Damage is handled by the Area variable instead, so there may not be any practical reason for an attack to have a minimum range.
  • Dungeons & Dragons
    • Abilities clearly based on the victim's visual acuity, such as a Medusa's petrification or a nymph's blinding beauty, nonetheless will have a cutoff range of only 30 to 60 feet. Well, both of those are magical...
    • In old versions, the spell's range is the maximum distance to its point of origin: a fireball without set target flies to its maximum range and detonates as a sphere — unless something interferes. In d20 all spells have an arbitrary cutoff range, and can affect nothing further away than that: a fireball with range of 400' hurled at 400' will make a hemispherical explosion because the half that would go out of range is not allowed to exist.
    • Many senses (including eyesight) have cutoff ranges if you have infravision/darkvision/reviseforeditionvision/tremorsense/blindsense - credible if it was some kind of active scanning sense, but the fluff generally makes clear that it isn't.
    • Ranged weapons until d20 set a more flexible range limitation in given (but arbitrary) number of range increments.
    • For various ballistic weapons (likes bows) in most editions, the exact way it works varies, but in general there is a cutoff point where it's impossible to hit and your arrow apparently just drops to the ground. Particularly silly in some cases where a shot a the edge of the weapons range might still have a reasonably good chance to hit, but a target five feet further out is impossible to hit.
    • Despite its... purposefully bizarre physics, one thing that the Spelljammer setting did well was weapon ranges. Maximum range was just "snowball's chance in hell at hitting", and if you did fire at long range it would often take several turns for the arrow to get there. For heavy weapons, "range" is given for the first round, when the target have no time to get away; then a missile marker moves on at the same speed until it either hits something or reaches the tactical map border.
    • The rules don't take gravity into account when shooting a ranged weapon straight up or down, even though realistically if you drop a boulder or whatever straight down it should just fall indefinitely until it hits something. It also doesn't affect your ability to throw things straight up, meaning a normal human could throw a boulder 150 feet straight up.
    • Basic D&D causes missile fire devices (bows, crossbows) to automatically miss against targets within 5' (unless it can't move.)
    • In the 1st Edition Dungeon Master's Guide section on siege weapons, catapults (light and heavy) and trebuchets all had minimum ranges that they could fire at.
    • In Dungeons & Dragons' later editions, firing a bow provokes an attack of opportunity. Because giving your opponents free shots is bad, this means that minimum range is outside of your opponent's reach.
    • Weapons with the "reach" property let their wielder attack opponents that aren't adjacent to them. However, the vast majority of reach weapons can not be used to attack enemies adjacent to their wielder unless the one wielding the weapon has the proper feats and/or class features allowing them to do so.
    • In 5th edition, having any foe within 5 feet, not just the target, confers "disadvantage" (Roll two d20 instead of one, take the lowest) upon any creature using a ranged attack. Saving throw-based attacks like Sacred Flame, however, do not have this disadvantage. The poor net gets hit with this the hardest, since it's considered a ranged attack with a range of only 5 feet, meaning it always has disadvantage when it's used.
  • In GURPS, missiles, guns, and cannons fired in space have unlimited range as, barring all else they can just keep drifting. Beams weapons have maximum rages, albeit very large ones (the smallest possible is 20 miles) that represent something more like maximum range. When fired in atmosphere most beam weapons have extremely short ranges justified as absorption by the atmosphere.
  • In Hc Svnt Dracones "range increments", shooting beyond which adds a cumulative cover bonus to attack difficulty, is determined by the shooter's stats. And a character in combat has an absolute maximum of their Ranged Combat level +1 increments, multiplied by ten outside combat. Also, ships have absolute weapons ranges and "Inaccurate" weapons such as shotguns and SMGs have a max range of one range increment.
  • The FASA Renegade Legion series of board games has laser weapons attenuate at range. Although all weapons have an absolute maximum range of 30 hexes regardless of type, this is more of a game balancing factor than a realism issue.
  • In Rifts South America 2, this is justified in the case of the Megaversal Legion's Inerta-Beam weapony, in which the beam is used to accelerate a bullet/shell to incredible speeds. One the projectile leaves the beam's effective range, it suddenly loses all inertia and velocity and comes to a dead stop, dropping straight down to the ground.
  • Rogue Trader (the RPG) has minimum range for Nova Cannons, as they cannot safely be used too close to the ship, having splash damage and a chance to explode closer to the firer than intented (technically they can still hit the firer if you fire at the absolute minimum range and roll very badly). This is a holdover from their rules in Battlefleet Gothic, as RT space combat rules are heavily based on that game.
    • However, this trope is notably averted for personal weapons in both Rogue Trader and the various related RPGs — weapons have a range listed, but that's simply the maximum range at which they can be fired accurately. You can shoot them twice as far with a small penalty, three times as far with a larger penalty, and while it's considered impossible to actually hit a target at anything beyond that, there is a psychic power in Dark Heresy called Divine Shot which, per the rules as written, effectively gives your weapons an unlimited range, provided you can see the target. A Meltagun has a listed range of 20 metres; using Divine Shot, you could use it to land a hit on a target several kilometres away.
  • Shadowrun: Some grenade launchers made their grenades not detonate until they had gone a minimum distance after firing. This was done to prevent the user being blown up by their own grenade, but also prevented use of the weapon at close range.
  • The Star Fleet Battles board game reduces the damage of phaser weapons as the range increases, and the hit roll is used to see how much damage is done, not if they hit at all.
  • Classic Traveller Book 4 Mercenary. Several new weapons could not be used at Close or Short range (from 0 to 5 meters away), such as the various PGMP's and FGMP's. The reason is implied from other material, and is that the plasma guns fire superhot plasma, so firing it anywhere close to the user would result in bad news for the user. Double for the fusion guns, since they are shooting the power of an atomic blast, and are so strong that nearby enemies to the one shot have a chance to be eradicated just as easily.
  • The Sixth Edition Warhammer Fantasy rulebook discussed the relatively short ranges ascribed to its bows and cannons with words to the effect of, "Accept that these distances don't scale to real-world distances, or else go find an empty parking lot to stage your battles".
  • Warhammer 40,000:
    • The longest range basic infantry rifle has an absolute maximum range of 30", and most artillery weapons have ranges around 48"-60" (with a few going higher). Now, consider that a typical tank is about 6" long in the game. Supersonic craft regularly move 24" or less. Blindingly fast ships can clear a whopping 36"! Ranges and speeds like this would embarrass Napoleon's gunners and a land tortoise, respectively, but is an Acceptable Break from Reality, unless you can find an empty stadium to host your battles in.
    • In earlier editions, barrage weapons had a minimum range. In the 6th edition they still have a minimum range for indirect fire, but can still fire at targets closer than that if they have line of sight to them. However since the rules forbid you from intentionally placing blast markers on your own units (barring a few specific exceptions), blast weapons (which include all barrage weapons) still have a minimum range in some cases; if the entire enemy unit can get so close that you can't place a blast marker on them without hitting the firing unit as well, you can't fire it.
    • The Deathstrike Missile has a minimum range of 12 inches on the tabletop, equivalent to 60 feet in real life.
    • The Basilisks despite being a cannon with plating has to be using the secondary weapons if the weapon gets close even though the enemy warlord can be in front of the cannon.
    • The Tau are very poor at close ranged combat (because their reflexes are much slower than humans). As a result, most of their weapons have a great deal of trouble locking onto targets at close range.
  • The Witcher: Game of Imagination has justified maximum range for all weapons, including arbitrary-sounding, but perfectly fine 10 meters for knives (after all, you want to hit your target with the blade). Cue stones, which also can't be thrown at distance further than 10 meters, even if it doesn't matter which part or "side" of the stone hits the target and children can throw at thrice the distance in real life.
  • For what it's worth, to make an interesting game, there's also a meta rule - weapon ranges that are shorter than 1/3 of the distance a unit can move in a turn tend to be very frustrating, unless segmented movement is allowed. Weapon ranges that are longer than about 4x the maximum rate of movement (or 'whole turn of thrust' in momentum based games) tend to render movement decisions obsolete. This isn't so far fetched; it's an accurate description of modern day Naval tactical combat - in the amount of time it takes for a sea skimming missile to cover 200 nautical miles, its target will have covered about 300 yards, and if it's big enough to be worth throwing an anti-ship missile at, might have changed course by 10 degrees.

    Video Games 
  • In Egosoft's X-Universe space simulator series, the highest (non-missile) range is about 8 KM for a heavy capital ship cannon. Then again, said capital ship has a top speed of 50 m/s...
  • In Master of Orion II, lasers and almost all other energy weapons have range-based damage penalties due to bloom, but mass drivers, Gauss guns, Disruptors, and the Stellar Converter do not. However, all weapons in the Master of Orion series do have a maximum range that's not a direct function of ship's hit probability.
  • Weapons in Freelancer have maximum ranges that are either ridiculously short or pretty reasonable, depending on your interpretation of the Units Not to Scale. That is, less than a kilometer in game units, but plausible if compared to the scale of planets and stars. The projectiles do still inexplicably vanish when they reach the limit.
  • Elite:
    • Missiles in Elite 2: Frontier will automatically detonate if they run out of fuel before hitting a target. This is explained in the manual as a safety precaution; they don't want armed weapons flying about in space since that time a missile, after drifting for two years, obliterated a planetary settlement.
    • In Elite Dangerous, laser weapons have a hard cutoff at 3km.
  • Dynasty Warriors: Gundam: Graphically, this is applied quite oddly. Units firing solid projectiles will usually be firing some kind of explosive, and the warhead will detonate an arbitrary distance away from the firer. Beam weapons, on the other hand, simply cut off...and when the beam in question is the Wing Zero's wider-than-itself Buster Rifle shot, this has the effect of resembling nothing so much as a giant glowing cylinder that appears for a second to ruin someone's day.
  • Gorf. The range of a shot was limited by when you wanted to fire again. Your shot would last forever, or until the edge of the screen, or until you shoot next.
  • Transcendence, a Rogue Like with 2-D Space, uses this all over the place, and with good reason — in 2D space, it's really, really easy to shoot a friendly who's just out of the range of your scanners. The really long-range weapons are very difficult to use properly.
  • In the Wing Commander series of games, not only do guns have a maximum range, but missiles just disappear if they don't hit anything by the end of their fuel.
  • In Sword of the Stars:
    • Ships won't even fire weapons beyond the set range. And if beams miss, they will simply stop at their max range, instead of some sort of a blooming effect.
    • Some weapons even in the first game can fire at targets beyond-visual-range (but not sensor range). This includes missiles and (with expansions) rail cannons (AKA impactors). Additionally, Word of God is that battles actually take place from hundreds of thousands of kilometers away, but the game would be boring if this were rendered realistically.
  • Star Trek Online:
    • Most weapons have a measly 10-kilometer range. Thus enforcing Old School Dogfighting. It is needless to say quite annoying when your huge ship bristling with weapons is forced to try and keep a much smaller ship in it's firing arc.
    • The Starfleet Avenger-class battlecruiser's unique weapon, the Variable Auto-Targeting Armament, cannot be fired if the Avenger is within 2 kilometers of its target (ditto the similar weapon of its Klingon Moveset Clone, the Mogh-class battlecruiser). Same with the Romulan Hyper-Plasma Torpedo available through the reputation system. In both cases there's a good reason: they're Area of Effect weapons, and in the case of VATA, the further from your target you fire it, the more submunitions it will have time to fire.
  • Star Trek: Bridge Commander is a little better about this. You can free-fire photon torpedoes and pulse weapons, but good luck hitting any target closer than 60 KM (or closer for faster ships or slower torpedoes). Phasers are most effective if fired at closer than 40KM, and won't fire on a target at all if it's further than 60KM.
  • Homeworld 2 has a bad case of this. Missiles and kinetic rounds fired from ships will magically disappear into thin air (or thin vacuum?) once they reach their maximum in-game range. This is especially ironic considering that in the first Homeworld, missiles that don't hit a target will be seen flying off into distant space rather than disappearing. Realistically it should also to be possible to fire such projectiles from across the map and have them hit the large and slow motherships.
  • In Allegiance, missiles seem to disappear at a certain range, however they will actually float around the sector until hitting the edge of the map. They do run out of fuel at max range though.
  • In Star Control, all lasers are limited in range (usually very limited compared to other weapons). Most projectiles will disappear a certain distance out of the muzzle. Some projectiles, however, will keep flying as long as the firing button is held down. Since the battlefield loops around on all sides, this means that projectiles that missed the enemy ship and keep flying off can eventually still hit it!
  • In the Descent games, projectiles from non-hitscan weapons disappear after a certain distance, eg it's impossible to hit the second game's first boss from across the arena.
  • Steel Battalion not only has this for each weapon, but an armor modifier on all VTs that further detracts from the effective range, depending on which side gets hit. This means that if a VT takes a hit that would normally be within a weapon's range gets hit, but is treated as out of range by the armor modifier, no damage is taken.
  • In the Armored Core:
    • Each non-missile weapon has a given cutoff range (actually slightly less than the given statistic in the equipment menu) where the projectile simply vanishes note . This is increasingly subverted in later entries. For example:
    • Armored Core 4 and Armored Core: 4 Answer feature missile weaponry that continues cruising until they run out of fuel, wherein said missiles will then start to fall to the ground and explode. While it's highly unlikely for expended missiles to hit anyone this way, missiles with more exotic warheads such as Kojima-based Explosives will still explode, showering the impact zone with harmful Kojima radiation, wreaking havoc with NEXTs' Primal Armor.
    • In Armored Core V and Armored Core Verdict Day, the stat indicated by "Maximum Range" actually represents what is in the Japanese version literally indicated as "Maximum Firepower Distance"note . That is to say, this indicated distance is the maximum range where a weapon's maximum theoretical firepower is conserved. What happens beyond this distance depends on the weapon.
  • In Chromehounds, made in part by those responsible for the Armored Core series, shots will go out to their respective ranges before simply falling to the ground in an abrupt arc. For some weapons, this tiny bit of extra range can be accounted for when aiming and extend the weapon's useful range. Learning to visually estimate ranges and arcs with accuracy is the entire crux of the Heavy Gunner RT.
  • Downplayed in Shores of Hazeron. Your three weapon types rely on energy, ballistic projectiles and missiles. Energy weapons can hit any target within sensor range, but their focusing lenses cannot keep the beam cohesive beyond a certain distance. Shells can be evaded with enough reaction time and missiles run out of fuel, essentially becoming super-slow projectiles. So far, so good, but the c.65km max effective range for every type seems an arbitrary number - though a high one, when rocky planets are seldom more than 22km in diameter.
  • Siege weapons in Warcraft all have minimum range, being completely defenseless against melee units.
  • World of Warcraft:
    • There is a limit on how far away an opponent can be to fire a spell at them. However, the spell doesn't care if they stay within that range after it's been cast, though if they run away for too long they'll take the damage before the spell graphic actually hits them. With a fast flying mount it's possible to travel faster than the projectile. This means someone can aggravate a gargoyle in Icecrown Citadel into shooting at them, run away from it, double back and get fired at again as many times as desired, fly off, land in the Howling Fjord, and finally get hit by a barrage of "40 yard range" spells that just followed them across the continent. Admittedly, they won't hurt, because the target already took the damage when they were "supposed" to.
    • All manner of ranged physical attacks in, be they bows, guns, or crossbows, used to have a minimum range; if the enemy got too close, you were forced into melee combat. This was removed in one of the expansion packs, largely because the minimum range for ranged physical attacks and maximum range for melee attacks had a sizable gap between them, creating a "dead zone" where the player couldn't attack at all (a serious problem for Hunters as they were the only class made to use physical ranged attacks for the vast majority of their abilities). Certain turrets and siege weapons still have a minimum range, though.
    • Some bosses have attacks that they will not use on players in melee range. For example, Garrosh Hellscream will not use Desecrated Weapon on a player in melee range of them, but if they're even barely out of melee range, the weapon might fall on them, putting everyone near the boss inside a Desecrated void zone.
  • In City of Heroes. You have to be close enough to aim, but if you can out run the animation it will chase you until it hits.
  • Portal 2 subverts this at the end. As long as it hits a conductive surface, a portal is opening somewhere. Portal shots also travel at the speed of light. The combination of these things allows for some brilliant foreshadowing. And remember, moon rocks can conduct portals...
  • MechWarrior:
    • MechWarrior 2 has weapons with listed maximum ranges that seem to go an unusual amount of distance beyond that (most notable for PPC shots and Gauss rifle slugs, but occasionally seen with missiles too). At almost all other times, though, beams, projectiles, and missiles simply despawn at their maximum range. This can be problematic given the game's notoriously wonky hit detection and damage calculation at times.
    • In MechWarrior Living Legends, ballistic and energy weapons abruptly stop at their listed maximum range. Missiles auto-detonate after a certain point, but on guided missiles (particularly those with a ballistic trajectory, like the long range missiles) it's typically 10 to 20% further than what is listed.
    • Zig-zagged In Mechwarrior Online, where energy and ballistic weapons deal full damage out to their listed range. However, beyond that they start linearly dropping off, until they do zero damage at twice the listed range. Missiles auto-detonate right at their maximum range.
    • The game carries over many of the minimum ranges from BattleTech, but it's generally most apparent with missiles. In Mechwarrior Living Legends Inner Sphere long range missiles fire in a ballistic trajectory with a minimum impact & warhead arming distance of about 160 meters. Arrow IV missiles likewise arc up and arm in mid-flight. Advanced Tactical Missiles (loaded with standard or extended range ammo) and Medium Range Missiles can hit targets closer due to a straight flight path, but both have a minimum arming distance where they deal no damage. The Long Tom Artillery Tank is incapable of aiming down on flat terrain, forcing it anchor down on the downslope of a hill if it wants to hit anything within 150 meters.
  • In All Points Bulletin, weapons fired outside of their optimal range would have suffered from damage falloff, turning, for example, a 2-shot Short-Range Shotgun into a 4-5 shots kill when fired at mid range. Before a certain patch, though, the game had a far more bizarre behavior - bullet that traveled outside their maximum range would disappear into nothing.
  • In Far Cry 2 and its various sequels, fires will only spread a certain distance, leaving patches of scorched Earth surrounded by untouched grass. According to the developer behind the fire tech in 2, they put the limit in after a test fire consumed the entire game world, killing everyone in it.
  • Star Ruler has this problem, though ranges are pretty damn long: 1000 is equal to an AU, roughly eight light-minutes, meaning even the absolute shortest 1-range weapon is still good to about half a light-second. This goes into the other problem of having inexplicable FTL weapons, though, when lasers remain hitscan all that way.
  • Justifiable in Escape Velocity for everything except pure kinetic weapons, which are fairly uncommon. Missiles detonate at the end of their range, while shots from plasma casters fade out. However, weapon velocity and range are completely independent of ship velocity, which makes it fairly safe to engage a capital ship by retreating from it at the same speed it pursues just at the edge of proton cannon range.
  • Spacewar! has a Wrap Around screen. At least one version has both torpedoes and lasers. The torpedoes go on looping forever until they hit something, but lasers have a very short range.
  • Team Fortress 2
    • It's not the sentry's bullets or rockets that have a maximum arbitrary range, but its sensor. Scouts are usually Sentry fodder, but in large enough maps, a cheeky one can park himself just outside of an unattended Sentry's range and plink at it with one of his pistols or the Shortstop until it's destroyed. Conversely, the Engineer's Wrangler allows them to take control of the sentry themselves and tell it where to fire regardless of if there's actually a target there — as long as there's a clear line of sight between the sentry and where you're pointing the laser, you can make it fire at it.
    • For snipers, a scoped in headshot can kill any class depending on the charge level, but being scoped in greatly limits your visual range, making it easier for opponents to come at you from the sides or even (almost) straight ahead without being seen, an advantage Spies make full use of.
  • In Vanquish, the LFE Gun's blast dissipates after about five meters.
  • The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim has a unique use of this with both magic and arrows. After a certain distance, they will just go through the enemy. This was apparently done as a workaround with the AI, as it forces enemy archers and mages to close in on you rather than sniping you from a mile away. As for the player? It's highly unlikely you'll ever actually encounter it as an issue, because the distance is far enough that, if you manage to hit an enemy from it, either you're extremely lucky, or River Tam. That said, there's one other distance rule with arrows: after a certain distance, they won't sink into models they hit, but bounce off, sometimes straight up. This is inside the possible damage range, and so it's possible to kill an enemy with an arrow that then flies 50 feet into the sky and comes back down.
  • The Pulse Weapon in F.E.A.R. 2 fires slow-moving energy balls that can kill almost anything nearby in one hit, but then dissipate after moving only a few meters. Its intel document acquired by picking the weapon up for the first time makes note of this, stating that the pulses "destabilize violently" after a short interval.
  • World of Tanks
    • The game has arbitrary maximum ranges on all its weapons (which are substantially shorter than the real-world ranges for most of them) but most of the time the limited view range mean that it isn't an issue. However, some low-tier vehicles have guns that have such limited range that they must get quite close to their target before they can hit it or the bullets will just wink out of existence on the way there.
    • While normally even artillery can hit what's in front of it, combining bad gun depression with enemies beneath you generally means you can't or shouldn't engage them.
  • In Sunrider Mask of Arcadius, the titular ship’s Vanguard Cannon has a maximum range of 7 tiles. Unlike every other weapon type in the game, the Vanguard Cannon will strike everything in the beam’s path and then just stop once it reaches the space you targeted.
  • In the original Metroid and its remake Zero Mission, Samus's default beam has a max range of about two meters. The Long Beam upgrade extends its range to the full length and width of the screen. It's as arbitrary as you get, as later games eschew it entirely and make the Long Beam a standard.
  • Earth & Beyond based maximum range on the type of weapon used, and from a real world physics stand point didn't make a whole lot of sense. Shortest range fell to projectile weapons with a range only a few times the ship's size, beam weapons claimed mid range being only slightly greater than projectiles, and missiles dominated with over twice the range of beams. If a Terran, the game's missile focused race, neglected their sensors it was possible to have a firing range greater than your ability to detect and target enemies.
  • Children of a Dead Earth, being ultra-hardcore realistic space combat simulator, doesn't have maximum range. However, the limit to gun's accuracy and laser's power at range means that limited effective range does exist in the game. You can choose to make the ships ignore this by ticking "Ignore Range" button. However, the maximum engagement range that the game will switch into combat mode is 1000 km, so that could be considered as maximum range of sorts, since guns and lasers can only be fired in combat mode. Drones and missiles can be launched in navigation mode, however, and is only limited by its acceleration and delta-v in order to intercept enemy ships.
  • Stellaris:
    • As with most space 4X games, all weapons in the game have a maximum range regardless of whether they're lasers, projectiles or missiles. Similar to Star Ruler, battles take place across entire stellar systems so even the shortest ranged weapons can cover 10s to 100s of AU so calling this a maximum effective range isn't too bad. Missed shots do get cut off rather than continuing to infinity or fading out, although given the hectic nature of battles this is only noticeable with the very biggest weapons.
    • There is a lot of Anomalies that you can find and study that deal with ancient mass drivers lost after some battle.
  • Borderlands:
    • Projectiles that droop as they travel so they only move a relatively short distance before hitting the ground, but other times it is just annoying (e.g sniper rifle bullets just magically disappear after traveling a certain distance, which means you can have the scope on and a target who's right in your sights and not moving, and still have them be impossible to hit because they are further away than the range limit).
    • The Sawbar of Borderlands 2 and Borderlands 3 has, after a while, its projectiles split into three that travel perpendicular to the bullet's initial direction for a little bit, constaining its maximum range into a formula of [bullet speed] * [time to trifurcation].
  • Reactance 2: Plasma weapons' main weakness is their really short range as their damage and fire rate are high otherwise, despite the game taking place in space. Other weapons have infinite range.
  • Not to do with spaceships, but the reason the Laser is such a lousy weapon in Contra is that if you press the fire button again while a shot is on screen, the previous shot will simply vanish. This gives the player a rate of fire that is simply unacceptable in a high-speed action game like this. Some players will make it work as a Self-Imposed Challenge.
  • Space in Sunless Skies has an atmosphere due to magic, albeit a very thin one, so it makes sense that weapons have a maximum range due to air resistance.
  • Ace Combat 04: Shattered Skies: This is the main weakness of the Spaceguard Turret Network, also known as Stonehenge: a circular array of gigantic rail cannons originally meant to shoot down asteroids, now hijacked by the Federal Republic of Erusea and used as a powerful anti-aircraft weapon against the Independent State Allied Forces. Within the array's vast maximum range, entire battalions of approaching aircraft flying above 2000 feet risk being swatted out of the sky by the sheer shockwaves from Stonehenge's high-velocity, four feet-wide rounds. Once ISAF manages to enter Stonehenge's minimum range, however, it becomes vulnerable to direct attack and must rely on fixed defenses and allied squadrons, as its rail cannons can't do squat about individual enemy fighters that fly too fast and unpredictably for them to track. It can still hit you, but you have to have the bad luck to be flying right in the path of one of the cannons while it fires wildly for it to happen.
  • Prevalent through the entire Command & Conquer series but Command & Conquer: Red Alert 2 contains some particularly jarring examples when Tanya's twin handguns have greater range than any anti-infantry weapon (be it assault rifle, stationary machinegun or even a gatling cannon) save for the British Sniper's rifle and Boris's AKM. This is actually the only real mechanic which provides the commando units superiority over all infantry targets.
    • In Command & Conquer: Red Alert 3, all tier 3 siege weapons have a minimum range, for all 3 factions. However, you can use a wave-force artillery to force-attack a point, and causes damage to the line of shooting when it fires, including your troops. And surprisingly, the Brighton coastal guns and wave-force tricannons does not suffer from this limit.
    • Subverted in the case of the Akula sub's Ultratorpedoes, which keep going once fired and don't stop or explode until they hit something, that something being an enemy, an ally, a rock, a beach... But on maps with large amounts of water, it is possible to "snipe" targets from the other side of the map by aligning the sub with the target (actually getting the sub to turn the way you want it to is another matter, of course).
  • Siege tanks in siege mode from StarCraft and StarCraft II. The weapons in siege mode are capable of dealing high damage from a long distance, and can be primarily used either as a turtling base defense, or to take out the weaker units in large bursts (such as blasting a bioball of Zerg and killing a bunch of Zergling fairly fast). The problem is that, once the enemy crosses a specific threshold, the siege tank cannot fire. This can be circumvented by a second siege tank covering the first, but siege tanks also deal friendly fire damage, so it isn't advised. Lampshaded in one of its Stop Poking Me! quotes:
    "Why don't you walk about thirty yards out and stand still for me?"
  • Plants vs. Zombies has the Scaredy-Shroom, which can fire at long range and is very cheap, but if a zombie gets too close, it'll hide into the ground and become useless as a weapon. Worse, hiding doesn't protect it from being eaten by the zombies, either.
  • Plants vs. Zombies 2: It's About Time:
    • When not submerged in water, the Guacodile fires avocado pits at zombies from afar with the same strength as regular Peashooters. However, when a zombie gets too close, he'll rush off chomping all zombies on his lane, which can kill regular zombies and Conehead Zombies.
    • When the Red Stinger is closer to the front of the lane, it becomes more defensive and shoots less often (or even closes up entirely in the first few rows), while if it's at the back, it becomes full-on offense and shoots much more often.
  • Halo: Some vehicles, such as Scarabs in Halo Wars, are unable to attack extremely close range opponents. Likewise in the main FPS games, tanks without a side gunner are unable to shoot an opponent boarding them without hurting themselves.
  • EverQuest and EverQuest II both have a minimum range (usually 10 meters, just outside of melee combat for most monsters) required before anyone can use a ranged weapon such as a bow or throwing knives and shurikens.
  • In Pokémon Conquest moves do not have a minimum range per se but merely differing areas of effect. Nonetheless, moves which can only hit two or three tiles away do mean the user cannot defend against an enemy engaging them at point blank, and must take a step back first.
  • Fire Emblem:
    • Ballistas and siege tomes (Bolting, Purge, Swarm) have a minimum range of 3. They can fire 10 tiles away in exchange. Some ballistas even have 15 range.
    • Bows have a minimum range of 2. If you surround a bow user with four units, they can't move and can't attack. In Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn, non-mounted archers can overcome this limitation by using Crossbows as opposed to regular bows, at the cost of dealing less damage, due to Crossbows ignoring their strength stat. The SS-ranked bow, the Double Bow, does not have this handicap, while still allowing 1-range combat. The skills Point Blank and Close Counter also allow 1-range bow attacks.
    • Fire Emblem Heroes goes against the series standard by applying this to magic. Unlike in the main series, where magic can attack in melee range as well as at distance (the former is not recommended as the series plays Squishy Wizard fairly straight), magic in Heroes has a minimum range of 2, the same as bows or daggers/shuriken/miscellanious ranged attacks.
  • Some spellcards in Touhou Project have bullets generated around the boss, but the bullets doesn't have the hitspot immediately. Because of this, a player can get very close to the boss before the bullets are fired, and hence without taking any damage. This video provides examples, like 1:02, 8:46 and 9:52.
  • Dune II. Missile tanks cannot hit a target 2 hexes or less away. If they try, the missiles will go wild and hit random locations other than the target hex.
  • M 1 Tank Platoon. Infantry units automatically fire antitank weapons at any enemy vehicles within range, but they can't hit them if they are too close.
  • In Alien Shooter, Grenade Launcher, Freeze Ray and flamethrowers have a minimum range, and the grenades always detonate at a certain distance.
  • In Highborn, Teslas and Cannons have a minimum range of two squares away, unlike most characters/machines, which can attack from one square away.
  • Call of Duty:
    • Grenades from grenade launchers have to travel a minimum distance before they'll explode, meaning that if someone is too close to you, the grenade will simply bounce harmlessly off the ground or wall next to them. Fortunately, if you directly impact them with the grenade, that's still an instant kill.
    • The pellets of shotguns completely disappear past a short distance.
  • Knights and Merchants had this with archers and crossbowmen. If you came near enough to a ranged unit and no other units were in range to shoot at, it would stop shooting. Watch towers were exempt from this, though.
  • Subverted in Dragon Age: Origins: you cannot fire ranged weapons at point blank range... unless you take a certain mid-level perk that allows you just that.
  • In Heroes of Might and Magic, ranged units are limited to melee attacks if there's an enemy unit adjacent to them- not only can they not use their main weapon against the adjacent enemy, they can't fire at anyone else either. In most cases, they only attack at half strength, but there are some exceptions to this rule. The same goes for King's Bounty.
  • Advance Wars: Artillery and battleships have a one-square zone in which it is unable to fire. MLRS and SAM trucks have a two-square zone. (as they have longer range).
  • The Nintendo Wars series takes the minimum range and maximum range tropes and sticks to them.
  • In Final Fantasy Tactics, bowguns, crossbows, and guns have an arbitrary minimum range, but you can get around this restriction by aiming and then firing in the same direction as the target.
  • In Stone Vigil Hard Mode of Final Fantasy XIV the cannons used in the fight against the second boss cannot shoot very close to themselves, so you'll have to rely on your teammates to shoot any additional enemies off of you. The issue of protecting cannons by shooting them with another cannon is sidestepped because the game does not allow you to harm anyone or anything allied to you.
  • Some weapons in the Super Robot Wars series cannot be used at point blank range. Ironically, this includes the shotgun in most games, which cannot be used against an adjacent enemy.
  • In Slender: The Arrival, you can't stun the Proxy with the flashlight's high-beam when it's too close.
  • In Anarchy, a Puzzle Game for the Commodore 64, the object of each level is to shoot all the blocks, a task complicated by not being able to shoot any block right in front of you.
  • A simple tactic for fighting dragons in Vagrant Story is to get as close as possible to them and stand under their necks; not only is this the perfect position for Ashley to hit their heads with stabbing weapons, it also puts him within the minimum range of their Breath Weapon and forces them to rely on their much less deadly bite and tail slam attacks.
  • Cossacks: European Wars: Ranged units will frequently refuse to engage enemies that have closed to melee range. That's right, they'll just stand there getting hacked to pieces without even using those halberds they use to rest their muskets on to defend themselves.
  • E.Y.E: Divine Cybermancy takes into account a weapon's length when aiming. If a character is using a long rifle (i.e. the Excidium) and an enemy gets within arm's reach, the weapon will automatically be raised up towards the sky, preventing it from being fired. The user isn't completely helpless, as attempting to fire will result in a psychic Hand Blast that instagibs weak enemies and shoves stronger enemies away.
  • Dark Souls games have several attacks that are ineffective when the target is too close. Most of these are certain spells and attacks using long handled weapons. Many bosses are safest when battled up close, as most of their attacks have a minimum range, and those that aren't are clearly telegraphed.
  • While not a hard-coded feature, Splatoon tends to have Charger wielders rapid-firing their weapon or tossing bombs if they spot an enemy Inkling within two or three body lengths of them note . The full charge can still splat at that range, but the time spent prepping it is time their enemy will spend splatting them in turn, as the only alternative to these measures is to swim the hell out of there. The reason it's two or three body lengths? That's the kill range for a Roller.
  • Archers in Shining Force can only shoot enemies two spaces away (or beyond, with certain types of arrows); anything right next to them isn't available to target.
  • In The Battle Cats, there is an ability called Long-Distance which allows the unit to attack enemies farther than the range in which they start attacking, however the unit will have an area where the attack will not hit anything. Examples of units with this ability include Nerd Cat, Radiant Aphrodite and Red Riding Mina.
  • The Demolitions perk in Killing Floor has weapons that shoot explosive rounds, but most of these weapons' ammo only explode after it passes a certain distance to arm. Only a few exceptions exist in the Orca Bomb Propellor (a steampunk grenade launcher that fires bombs with fuses), the Seal Squeal Harpoon Bomber (a harpoon launcher that fires harpoons on a timer delay and, in Killing Floor 2, can be detonated on-command before that), hand grenades that every perk gets (which run on a timer, and in the second game detonate immediately if they hit an enemy directly), and the second game's HX25 and HRG Kaboomstick (respectively a handheld grenade launcher and a shotgun that fire multiple explosive pellets, which detonate on impact at any distance, the former of which doesn't deal self-damage).
  • In Nectaris, the Lynx MB-4 buggy can launch ground attacks from precisely two hexes away—no more, no less.
  • In Factorio, you can use nukes in your man-portable rocket launcher. But the explosion of these nukes is bigger than the range of the launcher.
  • Ancient Empires: Catapults have the longest range of any unit, but they can't attack units in the four squares immediately adjacent to them. Coupled with their inability to move and attack on the same turn, this makes them very vulnerable to enemy units that get into melee range.
  • Battle Garegga: Depending on how good you are, where getting close enough to enemies to stop them from firing is one of myriad ways to raise the game's rank.
  • In Monster Hunter, ammunition for Gunner weapons have a "critical distance" from which they do the most damage. Note that while shots from too far will not only fail to inflict full damage, so can shots fired from too close. The Shot Booster armor skill expands your ammo's critical distances, making it a bit easier to achieve the correct spacing needed to optimize damage.
  • In Defense Grid: The Awakening, Cannon and Meteor towers can pick off enemies from long range with their high per-shot damage, however as a tradeoff they cannot target enemies adjacent to themselves.
  • Most sniper rifles in Battlefield 1 have a damage ramp-up system where they'll do more damage the further away a target is, to a point; at point blank range their damage output amounts to essentially scratch damage unless you're able to hit the head. This reinforces their value as long range weapons rather than the "ghetto shotguns" they were in previous installments.
  • Torpedoes, at least those fired with the computer acting as the torpedo officer in Silent Hunter, will not explode if they hit something close to the sub. Which sucks a lot if you're playing the pregenerated mission in Silent Hunter III about saving the heavily damaged Bismarck of two British battleships attacking her and torpedo one that appears close to your sub, just for the torpedo bouncing harmlessly when it hits.
  • Kaiju Wars: The player's units, be they tanks, infantry squadrons, fighter jets or missile trucks, can only attack a kaiju that is adjacent to them. So in classic monster movie fashion, your vehicles are rolling right up to the kaiju and attacking it at point-blank range.
  • Doom has a non-weapon example in the Arch-Vile. If their current target is more than 900 map unitsnote  away, they will not initiate their flame strike attack unless they flinch from damage, as all monsters retaliate after flinching regardless of range. That said, the range only determines whether the Archie will aggro into attacking — if the target is within range, the Arch-Vile is charging a flame strike and the target moves away from that range, the attack still occurs.
  • Spears in Necesse will miss enemies completely if they are too close.
  • Perfect Dark has a noticeable example on the part of the AI in the first Area 51 mission, where you come out into a clearing in front of the base covered by a guard tower. If you sit back and hit the guards in the tower, they'll react by rushing out of the tower and trying to run up to you - if you use a MagSec 4 stolen from a previous guard to zoom in on them, they'll just sit back and shoot you from the tower.
  • Shantae and the Seven Sirens: Rockets can travel across any room and through any object to get to their target, but if their turning radius is too large to hit their target, then the rocket will just keep circling their target until the rocket fades away.
  • Transistor: Projectile and beam attacks can only travel a limited distance from Red, with Breach() upgrades to those attacks typically doubling said distance.
  • Empire at War. The Imperial SPMA-T and Rebellion MPTL-2A (mobile artillery units) and AT-AT (All-Terrain Armored Transport) are highly effective at medium and long range, but are ineffective when firing against opposing units at close range.

  • Explicitly Justified in Quentyn Quinn, Space Ranger, where the author explicitly states that the projectiles from God's Shotgun that miss their primary targets will be slowed to a harmless velocity by collisions with random hydrogen atoms long before they hit anything else.
  • The Whiteboard: The comic has a strip during the first Zombie Apocalypse arc where Doc is reminded how this applies to grenade launchers when one launched at a zombie hits before it has gone far enough to arm itself.
    Roger: "You just wasted one guy with a three hundred dollar bullet!"

    Web Original 
  • Justified in Void Dogs, where weapons are useless past a certain range because the beams and bullets move at or below the speed of light while the ships (and everything inside their magic reality-warping fields) are moving much faster.

Alternative Title(s): Arbitrary Maximum Range, Arbitrary Minimum Range


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Main / ArbitraryWeaponRange

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