Switch Theme:

Are the Warhammers inherantly unbalanced?  [RSS] Share on facebook Share on Twitter Submit to Reddit
»
Author Message
Advert


Forum adverts like this one are shown to any user who is not logged in. Join us by filling out a tiny 3 field form and you will get your own, free, dakka user account which gives a good range of benefits to you:
  • No adverts like this in the forums anymore.
  • Times and dates in your local timezone.
  • Full tracking of what you have read so you can skip to your first unread post, easily see what has changed since you last logged in, and easily see what is new at a glance.
  • Email notifications for threads you want to watch closely.
  • Being a part of the oldest wargaming community on the net.
If you are already a member then feel free to login now.




Made in za
Dakka Veteran





South Africa

First off let's make it clear. The topic is if the games are inherently unbalanced, as in: "does the way GW designs games make those games difficult or impossible to balance properly"?
NOT talking about what has the wrong point value or anything GW does to make it worse.
By "balance" I mean: are any 2 equivalent armies both have a near equal chance of winning a game.

As far as I can tell GW seems to value making games epic and exciting over making games balanced or good for competitions. IMO this design philosophy leads to the balance issues GW have a reputation for.

Warhammers have many randomly determined effects, which swing advantage heavily. For example: the Keeper of Secrets is the weakest and cheapest greater daemon, but it can roll on telepathy, if it rolls invisibility the KoS is the best greater deamon, for no extra points. Either the KoS is costed taking invisibility into account and is over-costed randomly or the KoS is costed without taking invisibility into account and is under-costed randomly. Either way, the value of a KoS is never equivalent to what you pay.

Also, stacking buffs are difficult to cost (similar to above) and "broken" combinations are inevitable.

Not saying having units be worth more than you paid is always bad (wargames need that), but that advantage should be acquired through skill (put into a good position, used against the right target, etc), not just taking the right battalion/formation/combo or making the right roll.

This message was edited 2 times. Last update was at 2017/04/21 09:37:12




 
   
Made in at
Battlefield Professional




Austria

I agree, the games are unbalanced by default as the basic design philosophy is to give models rules that are "cool" are fit the theme, no matter if this is balanced or not.

like dwarf infantry needed a basic movement of 3"
no matter if everything else get an increase by 1-2" basic movement over time, dwarfs stayed with 3 because this how they have to be no matter if it is balanced or not


this makes the internal balance issues in the first place, as old stuff needs to keep old rules no matter if this makes them OP or useless in a new edition


the other thing is that GW design chances very often
they have the basic design for a new edition in mind, but as soon as a new cool idea comes up it need to be written in the next book
the result is the bad codex balance and in the worst case, you have a lot of universal special rules in the CRB that no one is using any more but every unit has their own new ones (4th or 5th edi, not sure but here the USR's were written based on the books of the last edition but with the codex update those were replaced by unit special rules ending with similar weapons following different rules depending on the status of the book)


so yes, a game like Warhammer can be balanced, if this is a design goal in the first place
if balance is not considered while writing the core rules, you cannot achieve it afterwards without starting from scratch

Harry, bring this ring to Narnia or the Sith will take the Enterprise

M41 - Alternative Rules for Battles in the 41st Millennium (40k LRB Project) 
   
Made in gb
Yellin' Yoof




Dorset, England

Yes I think that trying to represent such a large amount of factions with such disparate levels of technology and different fighting philosophies is inherently difficult.

Essentially, this means that human (or xenos) wave tactics must be just as effective as small squads of highly trained operatives, that static armies must be exactly as effective as highly manoeuvrable armies, that those armies who prefer melee combat must be just as effective as armies that prefer long ranged combat, that infantry focused armies must be the equal of armoured focused armies etc.

Trying to make everything equally effective is an insanely complex task and I don't believe the current system of stats has enough granularity to ever fully realise this goal.
In addition, real life shows that certain tactic are less powerful or just plain obsolete. I think that trying to give ever play style a level playing field is fundamentally unsolvable equation due the inherent force multipliers in certain styles of fighting.
   
Made in es
Charging Orc Boar Boy




Vigo. Spain.

Warhammer was at first a game made to represent the "battles" of your RPG games. Even Rogue Trader and 2º Edition of 40k was very very roleplay heavy. In a Roleplay enviroment, you can have Balance, or you can have variation and freedom.

Warhammer, today, is more competitive that the first incarnations, but still has a heavy phylosophy of "Forge the narrative". And thats ok.And this isn't an excuse for GW poor balance, because you can have a imbalanced but variate and freely system but with better quality still.

But the problem is the phylosopy behind the games. They aren't made with a Competitive game in mind, but people keep insisting to go with it to the extreme competitive level, and then it brokes. Just like Dungeons and Dragons manuals, they where made to offer variation, but ALL incarnatios had broken combos. But when you roleplay, you aren't suppose to go after the most OP combo to "win". You are supposed to "Forge the narrative"

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2017/04/21 13:09:01


 
   
Made in gb
Cunning Chieftain






Your typical Warhammer is balanced in a different way to a Sword - because they're wielded in two very different ways.

The Warhammer needs it's weight at the head to increase the impact of the blow - traditionally this was as much about buckling your opponent's armour, thus trapping a limb as actually maiming them.

A sword however is a more ubiquitous weapon, thus requiring a finer balance to allow for greater control.

What?

What do you mean I've misread the topic?

What?

Fed up for Scalpers? Why not join us? 
   
Made in us
Monstrous Master Moulder





 Mad Doc Grotsnik wrote:
Your typical Warhammer is balanced in a different way to a Sword - because they're wielded in two very different ways.

The Warhammer needs it's weight at the head to increase the impact of the blow - traditionally this was as much about buckling your opponent's armour, thus trapping a limb as actually maiming them.

A sword however is a more ubiquitous weapon, thus requiring a finer balance to allow for greater control.

What?

What do you mean I've misread the topic?

What?


European or African warhammer?
   
Made in gb
Cunning Chieftain






Typically the European. The African Warhammer/Club wouldn't have had to worry about such heavy armour, so would have had a different design ethos.

Fed up for Scalpers? Why not join us? 
   
Made in nl
Aspirant Tech-Adept






 Chute82 wrote:


European or African warhammer?


Your mother is a hamster and your father smells like elderberries.


40K is as unbalanced as can be.
With AOS they took a step in the right direction with the annual generals handbook and the points that come with it.
I hope at least that they apply the same idea with 40K

Poor ignorant guardsmen, it be but one of many of the great miracles of the Emperor! The Emperor is magic, like Harry Potter, but more magic! A most real and true SPACE WIZARD! And for the last time... I'm not a space plumber.

1K Vostroyan Firstborn
2K Flylords
600 Pts Orks
3K Ad-Mech 
   
Made in us
Sinister Chaos Marine






Tacoma, WA

No, Warhammer 40K and Age of Sigmar are not inherently unbalanced. However, the game designers have not placed a priority on both players having an equal chance and/or they do not know how to design such a game.

Like the OP defined balance, I like to set some parameters for what I mean by both players having equal chances. I do not mean that a player can roll up to the FLGS/club with any sort of army list and expect an equal chance of winning. I mean that an army list should be capable of handling different sorts of threats (Troop, Fast Attack, Heavy Support, etc.) the levels of which are mostly based on the local meta. In my opinion, that is one of the best reasons for a game to have a force organization. It prevents the game moving to extremes while at the same time ensuring players consider the more rock-paper-scissors aspect of any combined arms style game. It a player leans too heavily toward armor they should expect to have difficulties versus infantry (especially in dense terrain). Effective armor requires infantry support and vice versa.

What shouldn't happen is a faction shouldn't have any effective answer to any of these categories. A faction might be weak or limited in their ability to deal with say heavy armor (at least directly), but they should then have units, tactics, etc. that allow the player the ability to mitigate it. What shouldn't happen is faction plain has aspects that are worst in most respects (stats and point cost) when compared to other factions and most critically their own faction. Your faction might only have access to light tanks. That's fine. But your heaviest light tank better not have point cost of other faction's heavy tanks if all other stats or basically even. In addition, the light tank faction better have artillery, manpack AT weapons, or something else to deal with heavy armor. This might even be a simple as numbers so that the light faction simply can win a battle of attrition. Worst yet, are units within the same faction that basically perform the same role, but one is clearly better. I am talking about all factions, and used in their correct role, units having an equal opportunity of performance on the tabletop.

I only know a little of Warhammer 40K when it comes to Games Workshop games. What I can see though is 40K is full of false choices. These are options that are nearly always suboptimal and pretty much a beginner's trap. I think much of this could be removed clearly much of the bloat and balancing the game overall.

I have seen players argue that 40K is impossible to balance due to the shear amount of factions and units. Once again, I don't agree. I also don't we need to chance the die type to a d8, d10, d12, d20 or anything else. I have played a war game that had 14 different unit types on nothing more than d3s, and it worked fine (far better than 40K).

No, I think diluting the probabilities is nothing more than moving deck chairs on the Titanic. It gives the illusion of change/differentiation without really changing anything. My Chaos Terminators don't have a 66% chance to save they have have a 75% (3+ on d8) or 70% (3+ on a d10). I am really going to see the difference on the tabletop compared to a Centurion with one number better? No I'm not. An individual game of Warhammer 40K won't have you rolling enough dice for the outcome to be significantly changed most of the time.

Most of the games I have seen could be decided almost before the first roll. Depending on the die type chosen you would need games to come down to the last 20 or so dice rolls to see any real difference. So all increasing the die type does is give the player the illusion that two unit are different. Especially, if the percent chance difference is less than 7% (which is/was usually about standard rolling error in gaming dice). Again, false choices.

I believe no game worth playing is inherently unbalanced. When it comes to Warhammer 40K, compared to the many other miniatures war games and other tabletop games, the lack of balance comes off as shoddy craftsmanship on the part of GW.

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2017/04/21 14:43:35


1200pts Black Legion Background Fluff

750pts Fallen Dark Angels Background Fluff 
   
Made in us
Homicidal Veteran Blood Angel Assault Marine





CO

The only way to have truly balanced games is to have any differences be cosmetic. We see balance issues in any games where this isn't the case. Once you throw skill levels in, anything that's even relatively well balanced is no longer balanced (one army/race/character/whatever is often easier to use than another, even if at high levels they come out with roughly 50/50 win/loss rates against each other).

4500
 
   
Made in au
Long-Toothed Great Company Wolf Lord





40k is both inherently unbalanced at it's core and is also unbalanced on an individual level because little care has been taken to assign points.

If more care was taken to assign points, it'd improve things a lot but the whole thing would still be unbalanced because the game at it core has a lot of features that are unbalancing.

 troa wrote:
The only way to have truly balanced games is to have any differences be cosmetic. We see balance issues in any games where this isn't the case.
"Truly balanced" is an unobtainable goal that no one really wants. Not even chess is "truly balanced" because white has an advantage because for going first.

But 40k is a mile off being anywhere near balanced, both due to the issues built right in to the 40k rules and also poor attempts at assigning points values such that even taking out the other random variables (skill level, who goes first, terrain, etc) the game is still horribly unbalanced.

Things can come pretty damn close to balanced if you throw out the idea of simultaneously having strong rock-paper-scissors elements while also allowing total freedom in force selection. If the game is heavily based on rock-paper-scissors but has no restrictions on the number of rocks, papers or scissors you're allowed to take then biased forces are always going to throw a spanner in the works.

You can have some of the freedom in force selection if you reduce the rock paper scissors nature of the game, or keep the rock paper scissors and have tighter controls on what people are allowed to take.

Of course even in that hypothetical situation the game designers still need to take care assigning points and abilities, where 40k falls flat on its face at the first hurdle.

This message was edited 2 times. Last update was at 2017/04/21 16:08:43


 
   
Made in us
Bloodthirsty Chaos Knight




Louisville KY

This has also been covered in past QA sessions with the rules studio themselves at games days in the past.

They put imbalance in on purpose in all of their games because they follow a design principal that allows for varying difficulty levels.

They intentionally put forces in that are easy to use and forces that are very hard to use and forces in between.

Or so they've said.

The problem comes when the tournament meta rules the region you are in and everyone is opting for the easy to use forces to win tournaments with and this bleeds into your casual games.

Regardless, thats how GW has operated since the long ago and I don't see that ever changing.

Node based campaign for my public 2017 campaign.

http://www.tga.community/files/file/31-the-siege-of-var-asai/
 
   
Made in au
Long-Toothed Great Company Wolf Lord





 auticus wrote:
They put imbalance in on purpose in all of their games because they follow a design principal that allows for varying difficulty levels.
That just sounds like spin to me.

You see in well designed games some things are easier or harder to use, but when you get to a high level of play they start to balance out. That's good game design, having different choices that have different learning curves so that the newbie might struggle to make use of a certain choice that a skilled player bends to their will.

It's not even just in wargames, you see it a lot in video games, cars/guns/planes/whatever that suck in the hands of a newbie but are great in the hands of a skilled player, but critically are reasonably well balanced at a high level of play.

GW games on the other hand have things that just flat out suck. Not "hard to use well", they just suck. There's good choices and there's bad choices. That's just bad game design and balance.

At most I could believe they intentionally make certain armies suck (Tyranids, Orks) because maybe they have a view that those armies should be the punching bags for everyone else, but whether intentional or accidental it's still a crap way to design a game when EVERY player puts in a huge amount of time and effort to build an army regardless of whether they chose Eldar or Orks. It might be fine to have punching bag armies in a video game, particularly one where the punching bag is controlled by an NPC, but it's a horrible mechanic for a large scale wargame like 40k or WHFB.

Maybe if they were honest about that being their intention, like, to the point of putting labels on boxes like "beginner", "intermediate", "expert" then I could understand it, but at the moment it's just crap. I can't count the number of times I've seen a newbie player asking why they can't win and you look at their army list and it's just full of junk and they had no idea until after they'd spent hundreds of dollars and hundreds of hours getting it to the table top.

This message was edited 2 times. Last update was at 2017/04/21 17:49:40


 
   
Made in pl
Sneaky Striking Scorpion





WH40K is inherently imbalanced - not because any specific rules nuances or point costs, but because combination of factors:

1. large number of factions with unique traits/playstyles and varying accesibility of different "field roles" which can lead to totally unwinnable matchups.

2. open list building, combined with pt.1 above - point efficiency of units vary greatly, depending on ENEMY force. This makes mathematical ballance impossible to achieve without unification of faction traits/playstyles.

3. open victory conditions - efficiency of any army can vary greatly depending on scenario played (just think about how Relic and objective grabbing Eternal War shift first/last turn advantage)

4. open terrain setup - just think about two extreme examples: flat "planet bowling ball" table and a table with just two strips of open terrain in both deployment zones and a huge impassable mountain between them. Every IRL table fits somewhere in between but any table favours some kind of strategy over another.

Of course all those imbalance sources could be reduced or removed completely, but the resulting game would not be 40K as we know it (no matter the edition you look at as "optimal base point" for changes).

Furthermore, one factor non-inherent to the rules but inherent to the overall game community: Space Marines skew typical meta by sheer popularity, making any large enough play group anti-Space Marine centric, so making any non-anti-Space-Marine tactics or factions struggle a lot in the overall scope of things, even if those tactics would be great against differently centric meta. Tactics and relative point efficiency of units change greatly if you don't ever encounter Power Armour but instead all you play against is cheap hordes.

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2017/04/21 18:05:06


 
   
Made in at
Battlefield Professional




Austria

those 4 points in general and combination are not the reason for imbalanced rules
there are games that have all those 4 points and are not treated as imbalanced

especially as point 1 and 2 are not existent in 40k
40k has, except for unbound a very restrictive list building and imbalance was there before we got the open list building of 7th edi allied formation mess

and we have a large number of factions but not really a variation of unique playstyle

Harry, bring this ring to Narnia or the Sith will take the Enterprise

M41 - Alternative Rules for Battles in the 41st Millennium (40k LRB Project) 
   
Made in pl
Sneaky Striking Scorpion





 kodos wrote:
those 4 points in general and combination are not the reason for imbalanced rules
there are games that have all those 4 points and are not treated as imbalanced

especially as point 1 and 2 are not existent in 40k
40k has, except for unbound a very restrictive list building and imbalance was there before we got the open list building of 7th edi allied formation mess

and we have a large number of factions but not really a variation of unique playstyle


So you tell me, that Orks and IG play exactly the same as Scatbikes or Grey Knights? Or that Tyranids can utilise exactly same strategies as SM or Eldar? And that either 2nd ed percentage restrictions or post 2nd ed FOC charts were strict army construction so that no one exploited them and everyone was happily using armies always composed proportionally? We must play some very different 40K then...
   
Made in at
Battlefield Professional




Austria

If there are exploits or not has nothing to do with the system by default
and 40k never had an open list building or you just never played a game with open list building to think 40k has one.
just because the restrictions were bad and did not work as they should doesn't mean that 40k never had them.

open list building is possible, but is called unbound


and yes, Guard and Orks, depending on the edition play very similar
as for now with the current missions you need to be fast and rely on shooting

now you would say that orks are more in close combat than Guard, but IG has enough options

and I don't see the big difference between GK Heavy Bolter/Razorback and Autocannon Spam and Scatterbike Spam
if you think this is a different kind of playstyle just because the one is better than the other than you should play some other games that really have different kind of playstyle on their factions

you said yourself, specific rules nuances or point costs are not the reason, but your example with GK and Eldar just shows that the only difference is specific rules nuances or point costs as otherwise both would be the similar strong in 7th.

Harry, bring this ring to Narnia or the Sith will take the Enterprise

M41 - Alternative Rules for Battles in the 41st Millennium (40k LRB Project) 
   
Made in pl
Sneaky Striking Scorpion





 kodos wrote:
If there are exploits or not has nothing to do with the system by default
and 40k never had an open list building or you just never played a game with open list building to think 40k has one.
just because the restrictions were bad and did not work as they should doesn't mean that 40k never had them.

open list building is possible, but is called unbound


and yes, Guard and Orks, depending on the edition play very similar
as for now with the current missions you need to be fast and rely on shooting

now you would say that orks are more in close combat than Guard, but IG has enough options

and I don't see the big difference between GK Heavy Bolter/Razorback and Autocannon Spam and Scatterbike Spam
if you think this is a different kind of playstyle just because the one is better than the other than you should play some other games that really have different kind of playstyle on their factions

you said yourself, specific rules nuances or point costs are not the reason, but your example with GK and Eldar just shows that the only difference is specific rules nuances or point costs as otherwise both would be the similar strong in 7th.


I don't really understand what you understood from my previous post as your answer is completely sideways... Ork playstyle vs Eldar playstyle is completely different. Genestealer Cults vs Armoured IG Company is completely different etc... I don't even know how to build a Tyranid army that could play similarly to Space Marine Deathstars...

I don't understand your point at rules nuances and point costs either - how much is Poison USR worth against BA Dreadnought spam? How much is Haywire worth against Tyranids? How you can mathematically ballance such rules? Of course we could get rid of those, go back to 3rd ed release day and work from there with maximum ballance in mind, but what we'll end up with will still be imbalanced to some degree. Imbalance is scalable - you can have better or worse, but in games like 40K ideal mathematical balance isn't possible, hence when OP asks "if imbalance is inherent to 40K?" the only possible answer is "yes". As said earlier in this thread - even chess is not a perfectly balanced game.

And open army construction does not mean unbound only, it does mean that you are not restricted to a rigid set of pieces, like in chess. How much room there is for choices is entirely different aspect. In every open system, be it MTG, Warmachine, X-Wing or 40K, there is always room for optimisation or bad choices at army/deck/whatever construction stages leading to imbalance... Many open games become "balanced" at high tournament level only because everyone has equal acces to most optimised stuff or optimal strategies are common knowledge. Hypothetically, high level 40K is perfectly ballanced, assuming everyone has large enough collection of models and is willing to switch factions to always play with the most optimal, top tier setup.
   
Made in ca
Posts with Authority




I'm from the future. The future of space

There is something inherently imbalanced about the idea that you can assign points values to units but then those units will find themselves in a variety of situations. They might face enemies with different offensive and defensive capabilities. They might have to deal with differing types of terrain.

Some examples:

A weapon might get a high point cost because of its extreme range but then if you play it on a table with tons of terrain, then it will never see the benefit that was costed into it.

A machine gun (heavy bolter, whatever) is great at taking down infantry and is pointed accordingly. Across the table is all tanks and armoured transports that your cannot hurt. So it won't get the benefit you paid for.

It's best to think of any points system as a best guess. Or an approximation of what the game could look like in the designer's mind. You might have a different vision for the game. Your local scene might have a skewed, narrow or broad selection of units represented. There are just so many variables.

Here's something the inventor of Warhammer and 40k had to say in his recent book on wargame design:

Rick Priestly wrote:There are essentially three things to grasp about points values –

They don’t work
nevertheless we have to have them
even so they can’t really be reduced to a mathematical formula.


And in a WSS magazine editorial

When we are dealing with commercial rules and ranges of models, it is the duty of the army lists to structure forces in a way that enhances the commercial value of the range, whilst using the points values and the internal rules of the list itself to maintain a reasonable balance during game play. This is the most difficult aspect of list-writing for fantasy games. You have to respect the commerciality of the list (or livelihoods will be lost … starting with yours!) but the commercial value of the whole game relies entirely upon its appeal to the gaming public.


Balance is simply not a priority past the point of it being roughly described as "reasonable."

If you are afraid the new 40k will be too much like Age of Sigmar, are you sure you have an accurate notion of the current state of Age of Sigmar? 
   
Made in gb
Highlord of Terra






Adrift within the vortex of my imagination.

Warhammer is inherently unbalanced for two reasons.

1. To undercost (in points) or provide overpowered rules to highlight recently produced models, often linked with a new codex/army book.
This generates sales of select units.

2. To prevent the game factions from ever being blanced so that a new edition of the rulebook will be required in due course.

I have known this on a semi-official basis for neigh on fifteen years, from a source who was very close to both GW corporate and GW studio.

You have to add poor general game balance due to incompetence on top of this.

Policy has changed a tad of late, imbalances due to poor games design still abound, the sales mechanism is more narrative driven than rules driven and GW are no longer deliberately imbalancing units or factions as a sales ploy. Good examples of narrative driven sales being the glut of Tau and Eldar codexes in 7th, End Times and the new 40K plot continuence material (with Triumvirates).

n'oublie jamais

It is by tea alone I set my mind in motion. By the juice of the brew my thoughts aquire speed, my mind becomes strained, the strain becomes a warning. It is by tea alone I set my mind in motion.
 
   
Made in za
Dakka Veteran





South Africa

frozenwastes wrote:There is something inherently imbalanced about the idea that you can assign points values to units but then those units will find themselves in a variety of situations. They might face enemies with different offensive and defensive capabilities. They might have to deal with differing types of terrain.

Some examples:

A weapon might get a high point cost because of its extreme range but then if you play it on a table with tons of terrain, then it will never see the benefit that was costed into it.

A machine gun (heavy bolter, whatever) is great at taking down infantry and is pointed accordingly. Across the table is all tanks and armoured transports that your cannot hurt. So it won't get the benefit you paid for.

It's best to think of any points system as a best guess. Or an approximation of what the game could look like in the designer's mind. You might have a different vision for the game. Your local scene might have a skewed, narrow or broad selection of units represented. There are just so many variables.


That margin of error can be reduced though, by not having game mechanics/rules that allow things to be entirely ineffective at times (as opposed to being less effective). You can also design the game and armies available in a way that promotes balanced armies (i.e. skewed armies are less viable).
Finally, having some units being more effective in some situations is not necessarily bad for balance; as long as it requires skill, rather than luck, to put troops in a favourable situation then that does not make the game unfair.



 
   
Made in us
Sinister Chaos Marine






Tacoma, WA

 frozenwastes wrote:
There is something inherently imbalanced about the idea that you can assign points values to units but then those units will find themselves in a variety of situations. They might face enemies with different offensive and defensive capabilities. They might have to deal with differing types of terrain.

Some examples:

A weapon might get a high point cost because of its extreme range but then if you play it on a table with tons of terrain, then it will never see the benefit that was costed into it.

A machine gun (heavy bolter, whatever) is great at taking down infantry and is pointed accordingly. Across the table is all tanks and armoured transports that your cannot hurt. So it won't get the benefit you paid for.


The points you pay is for the opportunity to use all of the unit's abilities, not the outcome of them. Otherwise you could apply the same idea to the dice rolled (unless they roll statistically average) for the involved unit. That's why its important for a faction have the ability to have a wide range of units to cover multiple situations/scenarios allowing the player to pick what is what they think will be most important. That's why I say factions can have a focus on a single aspect, but they all need an answer for any situation.

You are right though, assigning a point cost to a unit is pretty much a best guess. The game designer attempted to assign point value which they think provides value for the most common situation they think will apply. On the other hand, the player decides if that point value is worthwhile for the type of game they think they are playing.

1200pts Black Legion Background Fluff

750pts Fallen Dark Angels Background Fluff 
   
Made in ca
Posts with Authority




I'm from the future. The future of space

 Saturmorn Carvilli wrote:
The points you pay is for the opportunity to use all of the unit's abilities, not the outcome of them.


Yep, but that also sounds like an excuse. It's better just to accept the limitations of points systems rather than tell people they really got what they paid for because they got an "opportunity" out of it or something. At the very least "opportunity" is probabilistic. A points system based on the opportunity to use all of a unit's abilities should take into consideration the frequency that they can be used. And that's likely not possible given how differently people approach games like Warhammer even in the same city. The value of the opportunity is contingent on factors the game designer simply can't evaluate when deciding points values.

Paying points for a theoretical opportunity won't balance games where you can face a wide variety of opposition that might magnify or nullify the effectiveness of a given unit. Then add in the variable of terrain. And scenario. Oh, and probably the biggest culprit in many games-- synergy. Where the abilities of one unit magnify the abilities of another but they both have the same point cost whether you take them together or not. The extra ability is simply never accounted for.

It doesn't actually matter if you paid points for the "opportunity" to have anti-infantry fire if the game you are playing has few or no infantry. It just demonstrates that the points can't reflect the current reality of the table top and you're paying points for effectiveness in some other theoretical playing of the game. The designers simply cannot even make the points reflect the variety of possible armies that they themselves design. "Opportunity" is pretty much an admission of failure. That it won't give balanced results unless you get lucky and the opponent has just the right amount of the right type of opposing units.

And yes, outcomes matter. Far, far more than opportunity. People look back on their game experience to evaluate it. That's when a particular bad failing of a points system will give people a negative game experience. When the outcome is the failure of the points system. That the points paid might be worth it in some theoretical game with different miniatures on the table is irrelevant to someone who just stomped their opponent because of the limitations of points systems to take into considerations factors that obviously mattered for their game. My local Malifaux community totally imploded because of these sorts of issues with the first edition of the game. Musing about the opportunity to use abilities in some theoretical game down the line is not going to reverse a negative play experience during an actual game.

Priestly was right. Points systems don't work. You need to have them to help people buy/collect and to hold the hands of those who don't know how to set up a wargaming scenario without them, but they certainly won't accomplish what most people think they will. And the people who make these games know it. They just have very good commercial reasons to keep doing it anyway. Which they are also honest about.

For many people all they know is points based games. Many warhammer players have never even tried playing a non points game. It's entirely possible that the majority of the players of the warhammers would even refuse to do so. So they'll never really get to experience the strength of a well designed scenario or the approach to play that is about both participants discovering what will happen rather than trying to make sure everything is "balanced."

-

This message was edited 8 times. Last update was at 2017/04/22 06:08:46


If you are afraid the new 40k will be too much like Age of Sigmar, are you sure you have an accurate notion of the current state of Age of Sigmar? 
   
Made in au
Norn Queen






 frozenwastes wrote:
Here's something the inventor of Warhammer and 40k had to say in his recent book on wargame design:

Rick Priestly wrote:There are essentially three things to grasp about points values –

They don’t work
nevertheless we have to have them
even so they can’t really be reduced to a mathematical formula.


Funnily enough, Infinity points values are a mathematical formula, and the game is very well balanced. Every stat increase/decrease, every skill, weapon and piece of equipment have standard points values and are fed through a formula.

However, it's also worth noting that that balance comes at the cost of everything, from a basic human to an angry space ape to a robotic construct bearing an evolved alien AI to the artificial recereation of Achilles to a manned giant robot all being the same on the tabletop. The only thing that makes them different are stat differences, skills, equipment and weapons, and those are all shared across all of the factions. They all interact the same way with the core rules and core skills. An Alien Doctor patching up a sentient artichoke is the same stat and dice roll as a human patching up a human is the same dice roll and stat as a human repairing a giant robot. A human hacker blowing up the brain of a human hacker is the same peice of equipment and same stat roll as an alien hacker possessing a human giant robot. An elien firing its basic 'rifle' is the same gun and stat roll as a human firing a basic rifle back at them.

Every model is a toolbox made up of a variety of tools available to everyone, but only certain combinations are given to certain factions. It creates a very homogenous gaming environment. Which might or might not be your cup of tea. But a mathematical formula to balance points does work, there's a working example of it on the market that is very popular on the tournament scene.

This message was edited 2 times. Last update was at 2017/04/22 08:48:58


 
   
Made in gb
Lieutenant Colonel




@frozenwastes.
I agree with you.
However, most games that use point values to help less experienced players set up and play through their first games.
Seem to be able to deliver a much better game experience 'out of the book/box' than GW s core games.

As these games are written with the less experienced player in mind so the focus is far more on the game play experience, than short term sales.

GW seem to have a strange customer in mind for their core games.The wealth of game play experience and funds a mature professional person , but the expectations and attention span of a teenager...
   
Made in za
Dakka Veteran





South Africa

 frozenwastes wrote:


It's better just to accept the limitations of points systems rather than tell people they really got what they paid for because they got an "opportunity" out of it or something. At the very least "opportunity" is probabilistic. A points system based on the opportunity to use all of a unit's abilities should take into consideration the frequency that they can be used. And that's likely not possible given how differently people approach games like Warhammer even in the same city. The value of the opportunity is contingent on factors the game designer simply can't evaluate when deciding points values.


You can base the values on an average expectation of a game. So a short ranged weapon gets used less, so is worth less.

Paying points for a theoretical opportunity won't balance games where you can face a wide variety of opposition that might magnify or nullify the effectiveness of a given unit. Then add in the variable of terrain. And scenario. Oh, and probably the biggest culprit in many games-- synergy. Where the abilities of one unit magnify the abilities of another but they both have the same point cost whether you take them together or not. The extra ability is simply never accounted for.


I completely agree on synergy, most of the games I play have little to none and those games are balanced quite well. Synergy would be one of the aspects of the warhammers that makes them inherently unbalanced, IMO.

And yes, outcomes matter. Far, far more than opportunity. People look back on their game experience to evaluate it. That's when a particular bad failing of a points system will give people a negative game experience. When the outcome is the failure of the points system. That the points paid might be worth it in some theoretical game with different miniatures on the table is irrelevant to someone who just stomped their opponent because of the limitations of points systems to take into considerations factors that obviously mattered for their game. My local Malifaux community totally imploded because of these sorts of issues with the first edition of the game. Musing about the opportunity to use abilities in some theoretical game down the line is not going to reverse a negative play experience during an actual game.


I would argue that a game is balanced if it's even at the start after that players will try to do things in a way to get an advantage, which is important, because that is what makes it a game. So as long as the outcome if a function of the player's choices during the game, with a certain level of luck involved (basically: just not enough to decide the game despite player choices) then that's fair.

From there; if points are allocated on an average situation (establishing that is it's own quest, but not impossible), then the different situations need not be considered for points as long as those situation are up to the players to arrange. in other words, the game then becomes about getting your troops in situations that they are better in than the average while trying to catch your opponent's troops in situations that are bad for them.



 
   
Made in bg
Regular Dakkanaut






I don't think that anyone that has dabbled in 40k & Fantasy, as is now, harbours any illusions that the games are meant to be balanced. IMO (speculations) GW's rules are based on:

1. Some semblance on previous rules so old players can find something familiar to attach to.
2. Rolling lots of dice as this act is both considered fun by higher executives who can dictate the overall design and also occupy the attention of the players making them feel involved even though they are not. IMO it also distracts from other problems in the rules.
3. Power level dependent on desired amount of sales.
4. Something definitive about the model in question.

I can't see how, given these simple design directives, one can aspire to make an involving and balanced game of the same rank as other known games (I'm pretty sure everyone has their list so just fill in here) when newer units are IMO designed in the vacuum of the above rules...

40k & AoS (Fantasy) are still good games, but only in the context of collecting citadel miniatures (I happen to collect both ranges along other stuff...).

This message was edited 2 times. Last update was at 2017/04/22 12:49:55


 
   
Made in za
Dakka Veteran





South Africa

 CoreCommander wrote:
I don't think that anyone that has dabbled in 40k & Fantasy, as is now, harbours any illusions that the games are meant to be balanced.


If only. Some people (often people who have only every played Warhammer) don't seem to get this.
Also people (many of them) insist on Warhammer as the game of choice in competitions with "high level play".
   
Made in ca
Posts with Authority




I'm from the future. The future of space

Lanrak wrote:
@frozenwastes.
I agree with you.
However, most games that use point values to help less experienced players set up and play through their first games.
Seem to be able to deliver a much better game experience 'out of the book/box' than GW s core games.

As these games are written with the less experienced player in mind so the focus is far more on the game play experience, than short term sales.

GW seem to have a strange customer in mind for their core games.The wealth of game play experience and funds a mature professional person , but the expectations and attention span of a teenager...




I think the launch of age of sigmar that with no points system shows that the game designers at GW really do think their games are best approached in the two modes of play in the general's handbook called open and narrative. I listened to an interview with Jervis where his disappointment about the AoS launch was all the people who wouldn't even try it out.

I think his mistake was not appreciating the degree to which the average GW customer simply doesn't trust themselves and especially not their fellow players to be reasonable. That each player fundamentally fears what their fellow players will do with the game and wants an outside authority to tell them what fair looks like. And their customers are largely right. Many of them will do anything to maximize their chance of winning. WAAC is a defined acronym here for a reason. And people have come to know what the phrase "that guy" means pretty quickly.



Automatically Appended Next Post:
 DarkBlack wrote:
 CoreCommander wrote:
I don't think that anyone that has dabbled in 40k & Fantasy, as is now, harbours any illusions that the games are meant to be balanced.


If only. Some people (often people who have only every played Warhammer) don't seem to get this.
Also people (many of them) insist on Warhammer as the game of choice in competitions with "high level play".


You'd think after 3 decades people would have gotten the message

I think the reason they haven't is that GW uses army building as a means of selling models. They've been trying to shift the audience to a collection building mindset over the last decade, but I think the relative success of adding matched play to AoS shows people aren't really responding to the notions to the same degree they respond to army building.


Automatically Appended Next Post:
 DarkBlack wrote:
I would argue that a game is balanced if it's even at the start after that players will try to do things in a way to get an advantage, which is important, because that is what makes it a game. So as long as the outcome if a function of the player's choices during the game, with a certain level of luck involved (basically: just not enough to decide the game despite player choices) then that's fair.


Well said.

in other words, the game then becomes about getting your troops in situations that they are better in than the average while trying to catch your opponent's troops in situations that are bad for them.


It's certainly a goal of good scenario design to set the stage for that. The problem is when the warhammers basically heavily hinge on solo pre game list building mini game. Where the failure to accurately cost one unit (or the synergy issue of multiple units) or where the outliers can be made norms through skew lists sets the game up for disaster before it even starts.

X-Wing is another example of this failure. It's incredibly synergy and efficiency based. At many local X-Wing night it's become customary to ask whether or not people are looking for a casual game or a tournament game before playing as the difference in the lists is incredible. From what I understand this is becoming a more common occurrence for the game as the awareness of the issues new players are facing becomes more widespread. It takes active work from the players to compensate for the failure of the points system. And with every release the pool of ships, cards and possible synergy increases, making the difference between a given 100 point list and another more and more pronounced.



Automatically Appended Next Post:
 -Loki- wrote:

Funnily enough, Infinity points values are a mathematical formula, and the game is very well balanced. Every stat increase/decrease, every skill, weapon and piece of equipment have standard points values and are fed through a formula.

...

But a mathematical formula to balance points does work, there's a working example of it on the market that is very popular on the tournament scene.


I agree with the same caveats that you had in your post. Mathematical modeling can probably accomplish a lot more than Priestly thinks in can. At the very least it shows what happens when you don't accurately account for the output of a given unit in a game. It's certainly a better starting point than guessing, but it's also entirely possible to make a mathematical formula and not really be able to test whether or not it works in the multiple ways people approach the game. Like Malifaux, Infinity is another game that failed to thrive locally because of balance issues that largely resulted from how the players approached the game. And mistaking unsolved puzzles for game design problems.

How to deal with something or the right tactics to mitigate a strategy used against you is something you need to figure out as part of Infinity. The problem was that the initial experience with the starter vs starter games wasn't so great for a lot of players. Aleph and Combined dominated among matches between unskilled players. And as the other players learned how to deal with it, the Aleph and Combined players were also getting more skilled and while the gap was closing due to players learning actual strategy, it didn't close fast enough for people not to write off the game as broken, or to realize that their casual approach wasn't going to work and they would have to invest more of their attention to the tactics side of things than they wanted to. Many people really do just want to move models around and make pew pew sounds and they expected Infinity's point system to allow them to do so. It doesn't really. It assumes the players will approach the game in a more tactical and skill intensive manner.

Infinity is a great example of a mathematical basis for points that works for enfranchised players and not great for casual ones. It may seem strange to blame a point system for a lack of player skill, but it's more of a matter of a mismatch between what the players want out of a game vs what the game actually is.

The end result though was that I was the last of my group of regular opponents to finally admit the miniatures weren't seeing the table and selling them off. Had the group been a bit more committed to figuring out the tactics of the game it probably would have been great. The problem was that it was one game among many and it's hard to develop the needed expertise when it's only seeing the table in a rotation with other games.

Approaches to games are not universal though and the Infinity points system works great for only a subset of how miniature gamers do their thing. That's a feature, not a bug. It's a good thing that there's a game out there like that.

-

This message was edited 7 times. Last update was at 2017/04/22 17:39:25


If you are afraid the new 40k will be too much like Age of Sigmar, are you sure you have an accurate notion of the current state of Age of Sigmar? 
   
Made in ru
Pulsating Possessed Chaos Marine





As I see it, perfect balance is impossible to achieve in a tabletop wargame.

However, that doesn't mean you shouldn't at least try when designing a game. It just needs to be good enough, not perfect, in order to work.

GW games are unbalanced because the designers either a) are incompetent or b) don't care, or both.

"Forge the Narrative" is just another excuse for a poorly designed ruleset. GW believers may repeat it as much as they want, but in the end, everybody reaps benefits when a game is properly designed, tested and worked on, both the 'casual' and 'competitive' players.

Progress is like a herd of pigs: everybody is interested in the produced benefits, but nobody wants to deal with all the resulting gak.

GW customers deserve every bit of outrageous princing they get. 
   
 
Forum Index » Dakka Discussions
Go to: