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pez5767

Asymmetric Balance... it could work.

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So, I have had a few thoughts about "balance" today.

A friend and I played the first scenario for the Season of War campaign last Thursday and had a great time. For those who don't know the game requires 3 units of 10+ models and divides the battlefield into 4 regions (frontline A/B and army territory A/B). The goal is to cross the battlefield and have the most units in the opponents territory at the end of 5 turns, failing that, you want to have the most units in the opponent's frontline. The game was a hotly contested affair, with excellent tension and multiple cinematic moments as each side tried to break the other's line. Despite the fact that the Stormcast killed every unit of BloodBound to the man, the game ended in a draw.

After a quick chat, we decided to play with the following small armies:

Stormcast Eternals:

  • 1 Lord Relictor (General)
  • 10 Liberators with Shield
  • 10 Liberators with Shield
  • 10 Judicators with Bows

Khorne BloodBound:

  • 1 Blood Secrator (General)
  • 10 Blood Warriors
  • 20 Blood Reavers
  • 20 Blood Reavers

So, as I said, the BloodBound were wiped out by turn 3, but due to the mission they were able to redeploy. Because of their speed and a lucky turn of initiative order, I was effectively able to run the BloodBound units up as a second wave and reengage at mid field without allowing the Stormcast to gain much ground and hold out for a draw by extending my Reaver line to wrap around the remaining Liberators..

After the game we went ahead and looked in the General's Handbook and there was about a 250pt difference between the 2 forces; a substantial difference since the Stormcasts, which were more valuable, were only about a 900pt. army. We discussed what would be a fair match-play change to my list and agreed to run it again next week.

However, in the time since then, I've spent a fair amount of time thinking about the notion of balance in this game. I felt very comfortable going into the game with my BloodBound army. I knew his Judicators would be a problem, but I was fairly confident my Reavers would be able to push through the Liberator line. I, of course, was wrong, but that doesn't change that I felt good about my odds, and in the end, the game results panned out that the two forces were even. Perhaps, that's more important than the numbers? In a sense, wasn't I "betting" I could beat him with a lesser force? But, if I'm honest, I didn't think I had a lesser force until he started cutting down Reavers at an alarming rate. Obviously, this was just one mission and one game, but in all reality had he not rolled incredibly well for his armor saves (15 in a row at one point), I very well might have won the game. While, by the numbers, my BloodBound were grossly out-matched, they were a force which was sufficient to the task at hand. In some regards, that was more rewarding. Maybe approaching missions and building armies to a thematic/representative force is a better system of balance?

I guess what I'm considering is that perhaps the points really don't matter. On the next table over a 1000pt match-play game was underway, an Ogre army was fighting against Undead. The game ended very quickly as a victory for Death. The discussion I overheard was, "Yeah, see that's why this guys is OP, and there's nothing you really could have done." I've heard this conversation time and again over points-balanced games. Is that balance?

Not too sure what my point is here, but it seems there is a lot of very enjoyable gaming to be had over asymmetrical games, especially in missions which are not purely dependent on kill the opposition.

I'd love to hear people's thoughts on these ramblings. Am I just looking through rose colored glasses? Is there some giant flaw I'm failing to account for? Or is this just a better way to play AoS?

Thanks for reading.

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Edited by pez5767
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You played AoS as it was intended. As it was written.

We havent used points since it launched until very recently. We've had some of the closest tabletop games we've had without points. Multiple times it came down to the last model, round or roll. 

With points I expect that'll change. First few games will show which units will be collecing dust and those undercosted. 

That's the nature of points in a game with rules written narratively first. The scope of flavour and units is so wide that costing it accurately would take a ginormous effort. If they do a new book every season (year) with updates, new battleplans for the next year, and updated points they might get there eventually. But there's no sign they intend to do that. 

The notion of "op" units already is a concern. I do not want another 40k. 

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Ehh.  Have to strongly disagree there.

For every game that worked well there was at least one that didn't.  A game that comes down to the last roll also isn't necessarily indicative of a game played well.  

i.e. If a game always comes down to the last roll how do we develop into better players?  There is literally nothing to improve or learn upon.

 

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I mean there is nothing stopping you from having a scenario where the objectives themselves require asymmetry, but still use points.

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On the notion of fun where the outcome is not purely kill-based:

Yes.

As a TK player in 8th, my army was widely accepted as bottom of the heap in terms of raw power, but when Watchtower or Blood &Glory came up as the scenario,  I knew I could do well.  I didn't have to wipe out the enemy, just achieve a set victory condition.

 

I loved that. 

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2 hours ago, daedalus81 said:

Ehh.  Have to strongly disagree there.

For every game that worked well there was at least one that didn't.  A game that comes down to the last roll also isn't necessarily indicative of a game played well.  

i.e. If a game always comes down to the last roll how do we develop into better players?  There is literally nothing to improve or learn upon.

 

Good points there, daedalus81.  

I think, it's totally fair to say that bidding for armies or avoiding points use wouldn't in any way guarantee a balanced or enjoyable game, and is just as open to abuse as a points-buy system.  I guess, I was just surprised how balanced a non-points balanced game felt in comparison to how unbalanced a points-buy system felt.

With regards to your point about a game that comes down to a last roll having nothing to teach, I see things differently.  In fact, I would offer that when I looked at the points after my game, I was only concerned with how to "improve" my list by adding units.  The points were my concern, not how I actually had played.  I didn't reflect on what I had done well or done poorly, in terms of actually playing, until I considered that perhaps my game was balanced (based on how I felt about the forces we used in the mission) in the first place.  Once I looked at playing the mission again with the same forces, I felt pretty confident that I could have used my superior numbers and speed to out-flank his smaller force and pull them backwards away from my territory.  At this point, I'm considering the game mechanics and abilities of my units on the table, which is essential to improving as a player. I'm learning far more from the unbalanced game, than I am from simply buy 2 Khorgoraths and a Blood Stoker, which would have made our forces "balanced."

Thank you for your respectful-disagreement, a rarity on the Internets these days. :) 

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I think it's a matter of approach.  When I lose a game I ask the following questions (in this order):

1) What did I do wrong or what could I have done better?

2) What did my opponent do well?

3) If 1 and 2 don't solve the whole problem is it because I'm missing some element to my list?

 

When I started playing AoS I was frustrated, because chaos warriors handle nothing like they used to.  The problem wasn't model choice, but rather my perspective.

Now that I've found their niche I'm exploring other units to make my army more dynamic.

If points are done well then no choice extends beyond any other and the only changes occur from a desire to play the army differently or new rules that change our perspective.  

That is not to say new models are better, but they might extend a challenge to a list ill equipped.

E.g. if I don't have anything to do mortal wounds I will struggle against sylvaneth, if I buff bravery I may struggle against "leadership bombs", etc.

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Points don't matter. There is no true 'balance'. Points simply level the playing field so everyone has the same frame of reference. The #1 issue plaguing AoS has been the massive divide between all the different ways to play with your models. As a result, very few groups have been able to gather more than a few players. Matched Play finally gets most of us back on the same footing so the hobby can start to really grow again.

Most people don't want to think. GW made people think and as a result most 8th players rage-quit. Even people who tried disagreed with each other on how the game should be played.  With Matched Play, people finally get a break from thinking. A lot of old players are excited to get back into it.  New players already were getting into it, now they can see what happens when there are enough people for a real community to grow. 

The generals handbook makes it clear - you can play however you like. Now that the hobby can grow you can finally find people willing to try again. When people have their models and play a few matched play games and it starts to get a bit stale, they will look for other ways to play. Unfortunately AoS was launched thinking people would just start off playing like this, but it failed. The Generals Handbook is needed to hook people in first.

 

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44 minutes ago, WoollyMammoth said:

I quoted some key points below:

A lot of good points there, WollyMammoth!

"Points simply level the playing field so everyone has the same frame of reference. "

  • I absolutely agree. I just hope people are willing to use points as a frame of reference instead of the singular, traditional means of play for setting up a game. The easy default, as it were.

"GW made people think and as a result most 8th players rage-quit. Even people who tried disagreed with each other on how the game should be played.  With Matched Play, people finally get a break from thinking. A lot of old players are excited to get back into it."

  • No doubt the lack of structure did make things daunting for existing players. I think the old players rage-quit for a variety of reasons, not the least of which, was that AoS represents a wildly different gaming experience which is as akin to WHFB 8th ed. as 8th ed. was to WarmaHordes. In short, the WHFB players feel their game of chess was removed and replaced with a game of checkers (a paraphrase of a local player). I'm not sure that the use of points really does much to delineate the difference between the two games (WHFB and AoS) as they do to confuse the lines further.  In my estimation, AoS isn't terribly interesting as a game of drawing up 2 armies for matched play and seeing which one comes out on top of a slug-fest, which is what WHFB players want it to be, because that's what their old game WHFB was good at.  They aren't wrong, they're just asking for a style of matched play which AoS doesn't offer very well.  Again, this is totally my opinion, but I think relevant to the notion of avoiding the use of points as the means of establishing a fun or "balanced" game.

"When people have their models and play a few matched play games and it starts to get a bit stale, they will look for other ways to play. "

  • My gosh, I hope so, but as you said, "Most people don't want to think." Which is specifically my concern. People will avoid the discussion of what makes and interesting game, and what would be fun, because it's easier to just talk points. What is worse, points specifically offer an easy out to the person who simply wants to crush his opponent regardless of the overall gaming experience.  It's the old, "it doesn't say I can't" argument. As long as it's within the guidelines of the points, I can build my list as nasty as I like and my opponent really can't say too much about it, because the points supposedly made the game "balanced."

"The Generals Handbook is needed to hook people in first."

  • I'm not sure I see this as true. I think the Generals Handbook will, as WollyMammoth said, help bring old players back, but I don't see how it helps grow the community or hook new players. I think the open ended nature (freedom) of AoS does a lot more to help draw in new players than a points-buy system can. Tabletop Minions on YouTube did an excellent job of explaining this (skip to 4:40 to get to this point).  What is more, the old community of WHFB players, which had been shrinking for many years, was centered around 2400 point matched-play games that, at least in the areas I've lived, did very little to encourage new players or give them a real chance at getting involved.

I guess on some level I hope that I was able to relate a specific example whereby a non-points game was equally, if not more, balanced than a points-buy game.  I am going to push my community to avoid looking at points as, the way to play, and instead look at them exactly as WollyMammoth suggested, a frame of reference.

Thanks for your input, @WollyMammoth. Great points all around there.

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I strongly feel that accepting there's gonna be some amount of imbalance present is a healthier way to approach the game than relying on points to provide absolute fairness. Once you do that they become just another tool in the box (or a limiting crutch depending on how you make use of them, but let's all try to avoid that!).

Like many others their initial omission from AoS threw me at first, but here's how I've ended up seeing things:

1 - Points can never be a truly balancing system when rock/paper/scissors interactions exist, so let's not fall into the trap of thinking they can be.

When A > B > C > A all you can do is assign points values to A, B and C according to how effective you think they'll be in an "average" situation. But with each army having its own strengths, weaknesses and style of play these "average" conditions are rarely present, so by pre-selecting to an agreed points total you can be at a significant disadvantage before you even start.

The standard AoS you-deploy-I-deploy approach is one way to mitigate this (provided both players collaborate), so the real problem with points here is that they're "baked in" before a model gets placed. In addition to bad matchups their very nature also means that people can use them to defend cheesy lists, certain units can become seen as either overpowered or garbage (when they were fine to use up until now!), power creep can weaken older factions etc. etc.

And even though the General's Handbook says "Go on, do what you like, make changes" players probably won't do so very often (for matched play at least) now that these explicit values have been assigned.

2 - Imbalance, or let's call it asymmetry, is already integral to and ingrained in many kinds of competition without upsetting anyone, and actually keeps things fresh and interesting; wargaming can embrace it in the same way.

When two sports teams are about to play a game one of them is often considered superior before the game even starts. No-one complains that it's not fair (or that the teams aren't equal in value!), instead the discussion is "what will each side's strategy be, who will play well and fulfil their potential, we think this team has the edge but let's see if the underdog can surprise us", and so on. That's... actually really engaging, much more so than "High Elves will win, they're OP". It creates drama and tension, the asymmetry is healthy.

Jump to certain miniatures games from there - like Necromunda, Gorkamorka, a Blood Bowl league. A few games in you don't use points, just a team sheet. You fight with what you've got. So. You reckon your guys are stronger but can you see it through with conviction? Or you know you're up against it but can you be crafty, disruptive, pull out a victory that's all the sweeter? Again, it's a much more satisfying experience than playing it out and then wondering "was that game balanced though?"

----

So am I glad points are back? Not sure yet. They definitely have some utility but they can shift the focus away from more interesting things. If having them in helps grow the game that's great, but if it means certain armies lose out to power creep or the game stagnates over time due to net lists etc. that's a shame.

But if everyone who feels the same way has a go at encouraging people to try all the other, asymmetric, pointless(!) ways to play the game that can only be a good thing, and maybe points in AoS will ultimately be a much healthier thing than they've ever been in 40k, 8th etc., i.e. just one more gaming aid to use when both players will benefit.

Whew, to whoever read some or most of that well done and thank you! :)

tldr; points fake balance, which can be really bad, but imbalance is just asymmetry which can be really good!

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I was big into 8th and I have been pushing custom balance since AoS launch - over a year now. I built ageofbalance.com and a Facebook page as well as going around to all the tabletop stores in my area and begging the local community to just give it a try. I talked to lots of people with models, they all said "AoS is just a skirmish game" or "its all willy-nilly and nothing matters" or something along those lines. A few guys were willing to play and they all got into it, but with such a lack of interest it lasts only as long as I am holding it up with both hands.

The Generals Handbook changed this overnight. The day it was announced I had several guys asking about my games, talking about their models, what they are interested in, what their plans are for their armies. My events of 2 are changing to events of 3 or 4 and soon I expect to have 10 guys showing up (right now most people are still building and preparing)

@pez5767 
This is what I'm talking about with the handbook being a "hook" to draw in old players. From what I am seeing the interest among people who already have models has gone up about 500%.

As for getting completely new players, that's different, they are drawn in by how easy it is to get into the hobby now. AoS was designed around this and its working. Everything said in that video above is still completely true, and continues to be true through the GH release. The GH simply fixes the issues plaguing AoS. 

Fantasy was about 25% of their profits (it was still very big in Europe, probably more like 10% in the states). Since AoS, fantsy is now 1/3 of their profits. People are going in to the stores, buying boxes, playing with their friends and then putting their models in the closet because the community is nearly dead. This is good because GW is making a profit, the future is secure for fantasy but bad for anyone who wants to participate in a community.

When there is a community again both new and old players can come together and do some really amazing things. A year later we have only scratched the surface in what kinds of cool tactics that can be used, what can be done to make the game better. If the community gets big again, people will be coming up with all kinds of cool ideas that everyone can benefit from.

You missed one major point - Stormcast and Bloodbound are two factions devoid of wizards and so just match up very well. For the last year I have been listening to people yell at me when I tell them unlimited summoning has no place in a balanced game. You got people who think summoning is fun and you got people who are disgusted. All of those disgusted (the majority) have not been touching AoS with a 10-foot pole. A select few communities (mostly in Europe where fantasy has always been big) have managed to thrive by getting everyone to accept a limited summoning system (like SCGT). 

@Tommy 
I'm glad you brought up sports.

Consider the original AoS rules (now called Open Play). These rules are like a basketball game, where each side can have X number of players at any skill level. You can show up and put 10 all stars on the court while your opponent has a bunch of rookies.

People have been coming up with silly ideas for balance. Maybe the rookies are huge guys and the all-stars are little guys so you say, hey the rookies have more size so that's fair, right? You could take 10 of the best high school players and put them up against 3 All-Star pro players, and the pro players are still going to blow them out.

The fact is that nobody wants to show up to play a game when the opponents can bring anything and everything, and nobody wants to watch this game. Go to a pro-game with uneven teams - the stands are usually half empty. The most watched games are the championship games where an entire season was played to find out which are the two best and most evenly matched teams. GW stance has been, both sides can just keep adding players until both are satisfied. So then you got 2 on 3 games or 12 on 15 .... there's just no structure to it - and a lot of people can see this clearly and simply are not trying AoS.

You need real balance to make an enjoyable game, and intelligent people need to work together to build real balance and set it as the standard rules that everyone can accept. A year later, they are finally doing this, and sensible people are very excited to see a nice simple structure for balanced games.

In basketball every player has a rating, and stats, but in the reality of things, these 'points' are only a lose guide. (Pro-teams are restricted on a very loose system of what they are able and willing to pay the players). Points in AoS are similar; they are not perfect but they turn the complete lack of anything into something anyone can look at and understand.

Naturally people are looking at this and thinking, oh now i can pick the best players and win every game. But its not like that - you simply can't grantee anything. A bunch of low skill players can have teamwork and win championships. 

The points, by the way, are possibly the best point system ever made for a tabletop game. Unlike WHFB, they were released all at the same time with a singular vision. There are no under-priced skull cannons (or super war machines for that matter) and there are no more purple suns.

I think its funny all the power-gamers coming up with "unbeatable lists". The balance is really good. I'm not afraid of any list. A lot of these super lists fall apart simply by killing one model that ties it all together, then these players reliant on their list-building rather than their tactics watch their "unbeatable list" crumble.

Does this mean there are no bad lists? of course not. If you show up with a bunch of ****** and throw it down on the table while your opponent has a beautiful list of synergy deployed in tactical positions, hes going to win, and win very decisively.

18 hours ago, pez5767 said:

I guess what I'm considering is that perhaps the points really don't matter. On the next table over a 1000pt match-play game was underway, an Ogre army was fighting against Undead. The game ended very quickly as a victory for Death. The discussion I overheard was, "Yeah, see that's why this guys is OP, and there's nothing you really could have done." I've heard this conversation time and again over points-balanced games. Is that balance?

This is the wrong way of thinking. I'm willing to bet these guys are not experienced, or more than likely the Ogor guy is not experienced. The first few games of absolutely any tabletop game is akin to an infant trying to walk for the first time. This statement is like saying, "oh well I can't seem to walk very well, mine as well crawl for the rest of my life". Its silly and if I was there I could have talked their ear off about all the exciting things the Ogor player could have done to win the game.

Yes, in some cases that means throwing in a different ogor unit (often simply one hero with the right synergy). That doesn't mean he has to completely throw away every unit that didn't seem effective, he simply needs to balance out his list with more effective things and build around the units he has. A unit of 10 skeletons is ******, a unit of 30 skeletons is okay - a unit of 30 skeletons backed by Vlad VonCarstein and a Necromancer can easily wipe out any unit in the game in one turn. WHFB and 40k are completely restrictive, the GH points for AoS are nowhere near this restrictive.

Sure, you have to think a bit with points, but not that much. You take what you have, figure out what it amounts to, make a decision what to add/cut and put it on the board. During the game I'm not thinking about points at all.

I'm not quite sure what you are getting at with your OP - you played 540 Bloodbound points vs 800 stormcast points and got blown out except for a rule where you come back? If you had played 800 vs 800 it would have been a more fair match. Khorgorath are pretty boring, throw in 10 more blood warriors and play a more balanced game. If you think that is too strong, well I might agree - the Bloodsecrator is the most awesome synergy guy for khorne, but the Lord Relictor has no synergy at all. I would take a Lord-Celestant instead, then you got a good brawl on your hands.

Of course, you can keep doing what you are doing. Open play is totally viable for people who like a less restrictive mode of play. When the community grows, you'll find more people dusting off their models to see why everyone is talking about AoS. Many may show up to find they prefer to play open as well.

On a side note I think what the guy in that video said is silly. Being into wargaming doesn't mean you cant like sports, video games or reading. It depends on how much time you have for sure - but you can build an army and then take a break during a sports season, or to do a lot of reading (reading is a big part of AoS). I jog, read a lot and play video games but I still have enough armies to play about eight 2k point games at once.  He finds time during his wargaming to run and manage a very active youtube channel, he could very well take that time to join a sports team or read a ton of books, lol.








 

Edited by WoollyMammoth
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6 hours ago, WoollyMammoth said:

Points don't matter. There is no true 'balance'. Points simply level the playing field so everyone has the same frame of reference. The #1 issue plaguing AoS has been the massive divide between all the different ways to play with your models. As a result, very few groups have been able to gather more than a few players. Matched Play finally gets most of us back on the same footing so the hobby can start to really grow again.
 

Just because there is no true balance doesn't mean points are not a goal worth chasing.  200 points of decimators is not the same strength as 200 points of liberators when facing different opponents.  

Quote

Most people don't want to think. GW made people think and as a result most 8th players rage-quit. Even people who tried disagreed with each other on how the game should be played.  With Matched Play, people finally get a break from thinking. A lot of old players are excited to get back into it.  New players already were getting into it, now they can see what happens when there are enough people for a real community to grow. 
 

People think fine - they just don't necessarily agree in the same manner of how things should be weighed.  My friend thought goblins were still weak - 40 of them should be equal to 10 chaos warriors, right?  How do you discern this without putting people off of the game?  Without causing frustration that leaves one person feeling like they got cheated?

And with points comes more thought.  You can't just jam everything you need on the table or summon it later.  It requires planning and forethought.

If you're not just placing whatever you want on the table then you're already ascribed to a points system - just one of a social nature.  You're already playing in a manner not initially intended by the game.

Quote

The generals handbook makes it clear - you can play however you like. Now that the hobby can grow you can finally find people willing to try again. When people have their models and play a few matched play games and it starts to get a bit stale, they will look for other ways to play. Unfortunately AoS was launched thinking people would just start off playing like this, but it failed. The Generals Handbook is needed to hook people in first.

It certainly is a significant boon to have a blessing on all modes of play.  There are all types of players and the competitive minded will certainly be happy to stick to points.  People who don't like the scene should certainly feel free to float around and I look forward to campaigns and narrative battles if GW can get me into them more easily.

Edited by daedalus81

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Also I want to make it clear that I'm not attempting to be belligerent or anything.  I just think points is a bigger cornerstone to the hobby than just something to convince people in only for them to bounce off to other rules.

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Personally I don't like the points as much as take whatever you want so far. We had a league just with a small wound based system and it worked pretty well. Now for matched play I have to convince my opponent to allow me not to use the force organization thing to tone down my army. Since my only battleline units that I own so far are minotaurs its brutal. My one buddy and I are still using the bring whatever in whatever scenario because its more fun for us. I do think the points are good because it will bring people into the hobby more but I don't personally enjoy them as much.

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@daedalus81
I agree with you. I meant points don't matter as in, don't stress over the values so much. Its not the point values that are important, whats important is giving everyone common ground. I'm 100% into the points and prefer to play points, but if I show up at the store and someone dosen't have enough battleline, I'm happy to just throw down and play some open play or house rules or whatever. 

To be more specific, what I mean by 'people don't like to think' is that people just want to paint, and put their models down and play. They don't want to make up rules. You might have a long day at work and just want to throw down some models and have fun. So far a lot of people have not bothered to play AoS because of the huge risk of having to stare down 5 bloodthirsters when you just wanted to see what the game was like. 

I like all 3 ways of play - it depends on my opponent. If my opponent is new or likes to build thematic lists, I'd probably go for Open to give them an advantage and practice my tactics. The campaign sounds pretty cool, probably do that as a side thing. But if someone shows up with their biggest, baddest 'broken' list then I'm ready to go to town with the nastiest stuff I can field and play an all out competitive game.  

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23 hours ago, WoollyMammoth said:


You need real balance to make an enjoyable game

I really like where this topic is going and the views that folks are expressing.  That said, I want to say that I don't think this is true.  I think a balanced game can be fun, and most of my games are played with balance of some sort on the table, but I'm also enjoying the hell out of unbalanced games.

 

Just sayin.

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You'll pretty much never really have a truly balanced game for many factor points or not:

Let's say i'm better than you at age of sigmar. If we spend our time playing all out games together. We'll come to place where we can bring list that a balanced against each other. However, if i go off to another store and play someone using those same notions, and i run into some one better than me or maybe even at my same skill level. I'll end up getting washed out.

Balancing with out a universal points system is only writing in handicaps for the lowest common denominator of persons in your play group. They will bring lots of stuff to compensate for their lack in tactics and skill visa versa. 

This is not to say though that points in some way balance the game. However, using a general notion of balance. THis balance comes from mathing out the units min and max possible damage over their time spent at each vs. their tankiness. So is general balance. This however, doesn't really take into account synergies booths, and situations they can put themselves in.  So in a vacuum you can take units and match them up and odds are they will trade evenly. I have done this with many of the units in the book and they seem to do this. However, the other units in the list can buff the damage of your units.

If i have liberators and Judicators, this buffs the Judicators. They don't need to put out their melee damage, and get higher value out of thier shooting attacks. This contrast to a game i played against a stormcast, who walked their judicators forward and my zombie horde tore them apart, and as such it was pretty much over. So Judicators kind of get more from their points if places well.

What are the points for??

 

Common ground. Some this might be alittle over or under costed, but with the limited weapon selection options we have. It's easier to balance units, and i feel most things are all very competitive.  The point of points is to take away "well your list is just better" and let it just be "who you kicked my butt." As what gives other players the edges is tactics and ability to use synergies effectively. 

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On 7/18/2016 at 8:49 AM, cranect said:

Since my only battleline units that I own so far are minotaurs its brutal.

I just wanted to say that I think you're vastly overestimating bullgors.  And potentially that's an issue people have with mental/social balance.  You can look at a bullgor and think how strong it looks with that rend, movement, and decent wounds.  But when you do the math they come out to the same as just about everything else (with points).  Chaos warriors with great weapons, chosen, and even normal marauders would overwhelm them (30 models to 3).

But obviously it all depends on tactics to be able to bring those attacks to bear.  Clearly you'll never get 30 marauders to attack at the same time, but 15 of them could bring some hurt and the unit won't be leaving any time soon.

That's where the game shines for me.

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3 hours ago, daedalus81 said:

I just wanted to say that I think you're vastly overestimating bullgors.  And potentially that's an issue people have with mental/social balance.  You can look at a bullgor and think how strong it looks with that rend, movement, and decent wounds.  But when you do the math they come out to the same as just about everything else (with points).  Chaos warriors with great weapons, chosen, and even normal marauders would overwhelm them (30 models to 3).

But obviously it all depends on tactics to be able to bring those attacks to bear.  Clearly you'll never get 30 marauders to attack at the same time, but 15 of them could bring some hurt and the unit won't be leaving any time soon.

That's where the game shines for me.

While this may be true so far it has been bad. It could just be as you said the tactics but so far they have done a lot of steamrolling for me. I like to have a good game so just talking to the opponent is normally good enough. The problem is that so far they have either whiffed or done spectacular. Normally leaning towards spectacular. A unit of 3 with 7 attacks the other day did 9 wounds... That's not quite normal but they normally have ended up doing at least 4-5 wounds which is a ton of damage. This is also with only about 35 games but so far they haven't been even remotely weak. We shall see how they do against the skaven hordes/shooting and see if that gets them. Previously the opponents have all been combat focused or wood elves which just died in droves. The skaven might be where they fall short. Also since they are only 180 points its about even with 20 skeleton warriors. The scenarios can help though. For instance the first one with the season of war here is brutal for me if the opponent spreads out some. Since I can't really bring a unit of 10 effectively they need to bring more and spread them out but so far nobody has.

Edited by cranect
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Oh, yea, they are by no means weak.  I think they're on part with similar units, but they just have fewer attacks, but lots more rend.

It's a good learning opportunity for your opponent. ;)

 

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With the doombull nearby and the extra attacks mechanic they can go nuts. I did 21 wounds to a treelord ancient with the above roll after he made some saves... I got about 17 attacks there because the stampede makes each 6 to wound give 2 extra attacks instead of one and that basically shores up part of their weakness. It is a good learning opportunity lol. The problem around here is nobody has anything so far that can take them reliably.

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Stampede?  The only thing I know about is +1 to wound, which makes it easier to get bloodgreed, but doesn't turn it into two attacks.

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The stampede is a battalion that gives mortal wounds on a 4+ when you charge and when bloodgreed goes off you get 2 attacks instead of 1. You need a doombull, a ghorgon, and 3 units of bullgors. It is nuts for 120 points.

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The weapons before the ability score 8 and 9 for total damage output, respectively (on the Daedalus scale).  With +1 to wound its 10 and 11.25.

Working backwards for a moment - bonus attacks occurs on a roll of a 5 to wound.  That means for every 3 wounds we can get 2 extra attacks on average.  To get 3 wounds we need 9 hits.  To get 9 hits we need 18 attacks.  To get 18 attacks we need either 6 or 9 bullgors attacking.  All of these models are 40mm bases, I think?  You're going to need to be in a very board formation to get those attacks in with 1" weapons.

Those two extra attacks make the scores 11.6 and 13.3.  Remove the +1 to wound and they go back down to 9.38 and 10.82.

They probably rate as the most killy setup I've seen yet - no doubt.  What people should probably be doing is killing the doombull(s).  Without his +1 to wound the extra attacks weaken quite a bit.  Any unit that can deliver a -1 to hit like dryads in a forest will also make them suffer.  

I'd be curious to fight that and see how it goes.  

Edited by daedalus81
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In an attempt to bring this thread somewhat back on topic... ^_^ @daedalus81 and @cranect

21 hours ago, Sleboda said:

I really like where this topic is going and the views that folks are expressing. [...] I think a balanced game can be fun, and most of my games are played with balance of some sort on the table, but I'm also enjoying the hell out of unbalanced games.

Sleboda's closing ideas really sum up my feelings pretty well.  After reading through all of these comments, which by the way I really appreciate, what I've come to realize is this: I know points will be an integral part of the game going forward, and I think we all can agree with the idea presented by mmimzie regarding the value of points as a "common ground" for players.  That said, I think AoS lends itself to games being played in a thematic/narrative way far better than any other game I've played on the market. What I mean by a "thematic way" is when the fun of your opponent and the theme of the scenario are put before points balance or combat effectiveness.  This is by no means to say combat effectiveness is irrelevant, it's just not the 1st thing to consider.

On a personal level, having come from 20+ years of spending points to buy my troops, I've been shocked by how much fun this game can be when the points are put aside and balance becomes a relative term within the game/scenario.  In a strange way, it is the ultimate simplicity of AoS's mechanics that allow for such incredible freedom within the on the table experience.  Hopefully, with the growth of AoS and new players trying the game, we can (as a community) promote the game without the traditional points default, as I think this offers a much richer experience overall.  

Edited by pez5767
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