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Troggoth






Trollskogen

This occurred to me regarding army construction for various games. A lot of games have ways of forcing you to take standard units or troops, and strictly limit how many of each special unit you can take.

Dropzone Commander has one of the most complicated systems, with each basic unit applying to a section of your list and unlocking other options. But Kings of War, old WHFB, 40k, etc all had the same yup to a point - take some basic grunts, now you can take the badasses after.

But this often results in lists with token minimum troops, or rulesets that have a lot of troop-specific rules (such as only troops can score, etc).

-----------------------

What about instead this alternative - you can take literally anything, but each duplicate costs a scaling percentage more points?

This would allow, say, my dream all-dreadnought 40k army, but hopefully with a points penalty that would make a standard "highlander style" list (one of each unit, no duplicates) balanced against it.

Obviously, there'd be a lot to work out - maybe different unit types would have different percentage penalties, or scale differently after a certain point, or count the same as other units (any monster or any heavy tank, for instance). But it would be a cool way to allow wide open list building, while also providing a check against a too-cheap unit being spammed (the #1 list issue in many games).

Thoughts?
   
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I was just thinking of something similar reviewing some old VOR game lists; that had unit restrictions, and if players wanted to have a certain themed force, they'd minmax units to get close to it without using the DIY army rules.
I'm sure it's possible to figure out what additional points % each unit or type of unit would be to achieve game balance.

Though I suspect game companies don't do this because they need players to buy models of core units in order to stay afloat as a business.

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2018/12/01 21:59:21


 
   
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Troggoth






Trollskogen

 PondaNagura wrote:
I'm sure it's possible to figure out what additional points % each unit or type of unit would be to achieve game balance.

Right? I was just curious because it seems like something along these lines fits the modern MOBA / bring anything you like mentality, more than traditional army construction rules, but still provides a mechanic for keeping a level-ish playing field.

This message was edited 2 times. Last update was at 2018/12/02 14:11:40


 
   
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Longtime Dakkanaut




I've seen it done in game creation more than list building, Star Fleet Battles used a sliding scale for costing ships, idea being that having say a lab capability was useful but having ten of them wasn't ten times as useful.

30k has something similar where the cost of a model in a basic sized unit is higher (IIRC) than the cost of then adding to that unit, reflecting that the "unit" itself has an intrinsic value as well as the bodies within it.

I suspect for 40k having 'troops' at a flat cost then scaling all other non transport unit types would work well to discourage outright spamming of one unit.

likely would be considered "too complicated" though, which is a pty
   
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Longtime Dakkanaut




UK

Well AoS already does this in reverse, many units get a points discount if you take a full unit instead of part of one. So a unit might be 80 points per 5, but if you take all 30 of a full unit you get them for 350 points instead of 400.


So the reverse can also work too, there are some issues though

1) Does it actually stop spam problems. Sometimes upping the points cost or something that is already very good doesn't resolve the spam problem in the least. Instead all it does is make a list that favours that unit spam even more limited and restrictive, but it will still work with the core abusive models.

So it might not actually help things and just shifts things around a bit.

2) It makes book-keeping more complicated. Because you've got no upper limit then each additional model is going to scale in points each time. This can make army building a little more fiddly and annoying and increases the chances of errors, eg forgetting to add or subtract a points modification.


Honestly I always felt the best counters to spam were things like the force organisation chart, or Spartan Games Planetfall Helix system. Ergo systems that direct put a numerical limit on units that you can take. Or which place a numerical limit based on supporting units.
Eg under the Force Organisation chart you could take two armies, thus get two charts for the same race and thus increase what you could take of, say, elite or heavy weapon choices. But you were bound by doing that to taking at least the HQ and (I think it was 2) minimum troop requirement.

3) Another option is to give specific units a specific limiter value. You can take as many of anything as you want but you can only take up to 2 of "Insert name of specific unit."
This can directly stop spam, but at the same time can be a nightmare to scale. A limit of 2 might be overpowered at 500 points; a bit abusive at 1K; fine for 2K and getting on for less and less impressive as you go beyond 2K points. A scaling limit can be possible, but might be overcomplicating things by that stage.

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Longtime Dakkanaut




I quite liked the system Flames of War used to use, you have your force diagram, HQ & compulsory troop units, you then have other slots but they are not "Heavy Support", instead you may have two "Armour" slots, each of which will tell you exactly what you can have and may well be different.

e.g. you may be able to take both as say Panzer IV, but only one of them will have the option to be Panthers say

seriously hard to spam anything other than the basic troops without taking a force specifically built around the unit you wish to spam (e.g. if you want say elite airborne troops, most forces can have a unit of them, some can have two, but if you want more of them, or the airborne support units you pick an airborne company - which then has its own limits)

point scaling though is not hard to do, especially if you avoid percentages but simply give the unit a modified cost profile

say 1-2 = x points, 3-4 = y points, 5-6 = z points

so if you have six you end up paying (2x + 2y + 2z), you could go to the point where you pay 6z as well.

upgrade costs don't change, just the base cost, but you inflate the base cost to take account of upgrades if that makes sense
   
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Decrepit Dakkanaut





So 10 lootas would be cheaper than 2x5 lootas? When rules encourage 1x10 lootas over 2x5 that seems highly illogical to further punish for splitting up units.


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Troggoth






Trollskogen

Well if you've got rules with points-incentives for taking large units, you wouldn't want to implement something like this simultaneously (as you rightly point out), of course.

But my main thought with this idea is that you could do away with the force organisation chart (or equivalent) if you designed a game around it.

For example, instead of being limited to "3 heavy tanks", you'd pay the base price for the first, then escalating costs for each subsequent one. So, if the points costs weren't perfectly balanced to start with, spamming the unit would be much less effective due to the points penalty. But you could still make themed lists (say, all tanks) and just take the hit.

It's awesome in my head but not something you could apply wholesale to an existing ruleset. You'd have to design for it when making the rules... but I think it could be worth it!

This message was edited 2 times. Last update was at 2018/12/03 04:08:35


 
   
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 RiTides wrote:
What about instead this alternative - you can take literally anything, but each duplicate costs a scaling percentage more points?

Thoughts?
Last time I saw this in practice was multiplayer Total War (don't know which one) where each of the same choice after a certain number (the second or third maybe) cost +X% more than the last one, going up and up until if you maxed out your army you'd be spending way more on the final unit than the first one.

I think the idea was to stop people spamming Elephants.

Anyway, I'm in four minds about it:

1. I don't like the idea of a tax on units just because you take more of them. I think points should be reflective of how much something is worth. Yes, some units are worth more than the sum on their parts, but I think that points need to remain quite simple in that regard (ie. you pay what something is worth, not what something is worth + what else it is potentially worth when mixed with other units like it).

2. How do you define what a duplicate unit is? A Predator with an Autocannon and a Predator with a TL-Las are both still Predators, yet do different things. If I give my Dev squad 4 Heavy Bolters and another one 4 Multi-Meltas, then should I pay more for that second Dev unit?

3. It hurts people who only have access to certain units because of their miniature collection, or even people who just like certain units over other units (I may think Land Raiders are pure awesome sauce and want to bring 3 of them all the time... yet I'll be penalised for liking a unit).

4. None of this would matter if the Force Org Chart actually meant something. If there weren't 15 million FOCs each one tailored to bring whatever spam unit you want, this would not be a problem. If you couldn't just bring a whole new FOC (for a different army even!!!) once you ran out of slots and just pay the 'troops tax' (or whatever mandatory unit it is for that particular flavour of FOC) then this would not be an issue. If it was still 1-2 HQ/0-3 Elite/2-6 Troops/0-3 FA/0-3 HS then we wouldn't be even discussing this.



   
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 H.B.M.C. wrote:
4. None of this would matter if the Force Org Chart actually meant something. If there weren't 15 million FOCs each one tailored to bring whatever spam unit you want, this would not be a problem. If you couldn't just bring a whole new FOC (for a different army even!!!) once you ran out of slots and just pay the 'troops tax' (or whatever mandatory unit it is for that particular flavour of FOC) then this would not be an issue. If it was still 1-2 HQ/0-3 Elite/2-6 Troops/0-3 FA/0-3 HS then we wouldn't be even discussing this.


This is the core of the issue. Bringing back the old FOC with no exceptions fixes the problem and makes point scaling redundant. But what point scaling does is create a "soft" FOC that encourages you to play a FOC-legal army by making spam-heavy armies too weak to be viable (via overcosting all of their spammed units) while leaving it technically possible to play the spam army. It's not a perfect solution, but it might be the best available one in a world where people will whine and cry if they have to follow the FOC again.

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UK

I think the main issue with the old FOC chart was that some armies operated differently to others by design. Furthermore it became more and more apparent that it needed revision due to how the game had changed since its original design. It worked great when whole armies were a few tack marines, a tank, bikes, speeder and dreadnought.

But now even one of those has multiple variations and the number of additional options is greater. The FOC did need revision, but I still think it was a simple measure to try and avoid spam.


Then again perhaps we need to look at it at the army level rather than a unified approach. If Tyranids were limited to 4 carnifex per 2K points (as a total random example); but could take up to 10 termagaunts then you've got some of the FOC in there, but also some of the 3 model limit; but without it crippling core ideals and tractics of the Tyranids.

However that kind of balance is getting into the far finer detail and I think the GW balance structure and testing just isn't (at this time) in a position to go down that path.

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 Overread wrote:
I think the main issue with the old FOC chart was that some armies operated differently to others by design.



The old Force Organisation charts was very good at representing a Space Marine battle company and less good at representing anything else. It totally failed when you tried to use it for Imperial Guard, resulting in the utter ridiculousness of crowbarring an entire (potentially) 80-man platoon of up to 12 units into a single Troops choice.

Now, if ebery army had their own "basic" FoC, or one or two to choose from (say, Eldar Guardian Host and Aspect Warrior Force), I could get behind that as long as the option to deviate from that was also permissible.
   
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I agree that the FOC needed revision, but GW's solution was to just make it irrelevant. People say that 7th died because of all the formation crap, as it let people basically bring whatever they wanted and ignore the FOC. How is what we have any different outside of free upgrades/transport. Relics cost no points, and the only real "art" to list buildings is min/maxing Command Points.

And the worst part about all this? The cynic in me cannot shake the fact that FOC is pointless now because FOC = limited units = less sales. No FOC (or virtually no FOC given how there's an FOC for any occasion) means keep selling everything, and allowing multiple FOCs from multiple armies (ie. soup) just means more sales for more armies. It wasn't about game design. It was about selling more miniatures. The game suffers out of cynical greed.

And some of us really liked the platoon structure of Guard armies. That felt organic, rather than single squads as single choices or, worse, single characters completely separate from their command squads.



This message was edited 2 times. Last update was at 2018/12/03 12:23:00


   
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Murray, Kentucky

 AndrewGPaul wrote:
 Overread wrote:
I think the main issue with the old FOC chart was that some armies operated differently to others by design.



The old Force Organisation charts was very good at representing a Space Marine battle company and less good at representing anything else. It totally failed when you tried to use it for Imperial Guard, resulting in the utter ridiculousness of crowbarring an entire (potentially) 80-man platoon of up to 12 units into a single Troops choice.

Now, if ebery army had their own "basic" FoC, or one or two to choose from (say, Eldar Guardian Host and Aspect Warrior Force), I could get behind that as long as the option to deviate from that was also permissible.

I like the idea of an army specific force org. Each army functions radically differently so you could really emphasize their differences with it. IG heavy on troops and heavy support but lacking fast and elite choices for example.

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Decrepit Dakkanaut






Baltimore, MD

So, the idea in a lot of rules sets is that points should be the main balancing factor. the only thing you need to do to prevent the best units from being spammed is to price them accordingly. No artificial limites, soft or hard, should be required.

That works in a game where the mechanics are highly divorced from any narrative. magic, or non-historical RTS games, for example.

The problem is that 40k, while not historical or real world, is based on a well detailed world which colors expectations of what a force should look like. For example, we know that terminator armor is rare, that Baneblades are still hand numbered by the forgeworlds, that all eldar units are either highly trained specialists, or essentially reservists. Historical games obviously follow similar realities. Midevial armies could not simply raise use armies of knights or longbowmen, because they were limited to the people with the years of training required. War elephants had to be imported from India, making them extremely limited.

OTOH, history and fluff both make it clear that some choices should be spammed. The Leman Russ is a hell of a tank, but it's also incredibly common. The USSR in WWII spammed the T-34 to great effect.

So, having rules that allow/encourage the spamming of "core" units while restricting the spamming of "exotic" units. Of course, some exotic units in the fluff are terrible in the game, and won't be spammed (Hello Grey Knight Terminators!), while other core units are so good they don't need to be forced on people. (IG infantry squads)

So, I think the way around this is to have a rule of three (or something similar), but increase the number of common support units that can be bought in squadrons. So currently players can buy squadrons of things like Leman russes, Primaris Lieutenants, mek guns, etc. So, just add to this. Maybe SM predators, or the non-troop DA "wing" units.


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I always liked the way Epic Tyranids were organised around Synapse nodes. The bigger the synapse, the more attached units it could have.

I don't mind the idea of each army having its own FOC, but the FOC has to do something.

   
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tneva82 wrote:
So 10 lootas would be cheaper than 2x5 lootas? When rules encourage 1x10 lootas over 2x5 that seems highly illogical to further punish for splitting up units.



not really given 2x5 loota is harder to kill than 1x10 (more chance of over kill for one thing), 2x5 loota can be in two places at once, with different lines of sight so can cover more of the table.

1x10 is easier to use stratagems with though.

a lot would depend where you draw the line, e.g. you could go the 30k way and the base unit costs "x", and each model added costs "y", or you could shift it so say 1-10 cost "x" (in a unit thats 5-15) and more cost "y", you could also put further break points in for large units.

e.g. Ork Boyz having a cost for 1-12, then another for 13-20 and a final band for 21-30 - scaling around what fits in the transports




Automatically Appended Next Post:
Further point, also like the idea of faction specific FOC, with the option to double and triple them up at certain game sizes (values could vary by force)

include "allied" slots ala 30k as well (or give each faction a smaller FOC to use when they are acting as allies)

some factions could get multiple to pick from, e.g. give Marines:

- 1st company
- battle company
- tactical company
- assault company
- armoured company
- scout company

then a few specific ones like death wing, raven wing etc

IG get
- infantry company
- armoured company
- airborne company
- special forces company

essentially you pick a "theme" for your faction and the FOC provides a few rules around it (mostly related to what counts as "troops" for objective secured - i.e. remove the "battlefield role" from the unit and make it something the FOC supplies, e.g. a marine armoured company having 2-6 "troop" slots, each able to be a land raider or predator, "heavy support" slots with stuff like vindicators and whirlwinds, "fast attack" as land speeders, bikes etc, then add a range of "support" slots for things like infantry


Automatically Appended Next Post:
Further you could even adapt the loota example, so you pay "x" per loota in the first unit of them regardless of size, then pay "y" for a second unit, "z" for a third.

note some units could be expensive to have one, but cheaper to take in multiple (e.g. troops like Tactical marines), others cheaper for one unit but scaling more expensive if you take more.

If you wanted to go further, which is more complex but frankyl at this point you have an App or website to build the force for you, you vary the price of a unit based on what else is in your army, so say Rowboat can be priced based on what he, alone, does, but other units he can buff see an uplift if taken in the same army - perhaps the uplift scaling back as you take more 9since not everything will be buffed at once)

This message was edited 2 times. Last update was at 2018/12/07 11:01:38


 
   
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Dorset, England

Yea I like this idea and have suggested it before on Dakka, they do something similar in Medieval 2 Total War to stop you taking too many of one unit.

The common criticism of the idea is that not all armies/ factions have a similarly sized unit roster. Therefore, they 'must' spam unit options to make a larger point army and are therefore unduly punished.

Ultimately, now that there is a restriction on taking more than 3 units of the same type I think it is probably unnecessary.
   
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The real solution for spam is, of course, to design varied mission objectives that require different units to accomplish. But of course that's difficult, especially for a company that has boiled its game down to a straight damage output vs damage capacity efficiency contest and struggles with even that level of simple math.

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 H.B.M.C. wrote:
And the worst part about all this? The cynic in me cannot shake the fact that FOC is pointless now because FOC = limited units = less sales. No FOC (or virtually no FOC given how there's an FOC for any occasion) means keep selling everything, and allowing multiple FOCs from multiple armies (ie. soup) just means more sales for more armies. It wasn't about game design. It was about selling more miniatures. The game suffers out of cynical greed.


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I’ve wanted it in Warmachine for awhile. Have something cost an extra point for each previous same entry in the army list.

 
   
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Troggoth






Trollskogen

 AduroT wrote:
I’ve wanted it in Warmachine for awhile. Have something cost an extra point for each previous same entry in the army list.

For some reason that never occurred to me, but I think it would be a perfect fit for Warmachine!

Unfortunately, PP did the opposite and started making bonuses in tiers only for taking multiples of things, etc. Bad for the game in the long run, which means it's ultimately bad for sales - even if it gives a short term boost to a few undercosted "must have" units.
   
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Thinking about it it'd be rather easy to do if you keep the scaling simple, particularly if you're looking at nailing down MSU spam.

Do it like AOS points, where there's a minimum unit size with a defined cost, and add to that a 'multiple unit' cost that is multiplied by how many of the unit are already in your army when the selection is added. Given large units aren't nearly as much of a problem leave the cost to expand the unit model by model beyond that initial size alone.

It leaves you room to adjust the increased cost for multiples real easily so you don't overly punish armies with fewer units to select and makes the added cost a bit clearer than a percentage increase does. Also gives you a mechanism that says 'nah, go ahead and spam this' by setting the multiple unit cost lower, or even to zero for more generalist units.

Perhaps even have a condition where a full sized unit does not count against the multiple unit count? But that starts getting considerably more complicated quickly.
   
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Trollskogen

I agree that a set number (maybe with a multiplier as you suggest) is a lot clearer and easier than a percentage. Thanks for your thoughts, Salty Tater
   
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 Peregrine wrote:
This is the core of the issue. Bringing back the old FOC with no exceptions fixes the problem and makes point scaling redundant. But what point scaling does is create a "soft" FOC that encourages you to play a FOC-legal army by making spam-heavy armies too weak to be viable (via overcosting all of their spammed units) while leaving it technically possible to play the spam army. It's not a perfect solution, but it might be the best available one in a world where people will whine and cry if they have to follow the FOC again.

Fixes it how?

To give you example from 6th edition that still used FOC exclusively, eldar transport spam was absolutely a (quite OP) thing. FOC also did absolutely nothing for armies with good troops, both eldar windriders and farsight suit spam could still bring more elite units that other armies could only dream of. Then there were armies that spammed a gun on various platforms (SM grav-devastators, grav-sternguard and grav-tacticals come to mind), FOC did absolutely nothing to that either. Auto-inclusion of 3 warp-turkeys or wolfwolf stars? Yup, FOC too.

As for point scaling, there were various 'comp' snake-oil systems during 5th edition that tried to do that. None worked, because A ) these people often didn't understood why something was so good it was spammed, most of the time just penalizing the units they personally disliked, B ) disproportionately targeted armies with only 1 or 2 good choices for a slot, when armies like eldar or SM could often bring completely different unit doing the exact same thing, C ) penalizes some books with different design philosophies. Namely these that split units instead of upgrading them. One example is codex SM with stern/vanguard/company vets and tactical/assault terminators compared to older DA book that had greenwing veterans (PA) and deathwing veterans (TDA) who could be upgraded to do roughly the same thing but only had 2 units to play with, not 5.

Though, to be fair, 6th edition had one nice thing, individual special FOCs for armies (like GK nemesis force, or Sister battle group) that provided a way to build fluffy army with a bonus to a way it should be played, along with ally system far superior to 7th edition - I wouldn't mind seeing some of that back (especially limited ally detachment to put the emphasis back on your main army instead of just cherry-picking everything...
   
 
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