PDA

View Full Version : An easy fix for Kill Points - Survivor Points?



Lord Inquisitor
08-12-2008, 14:41
So to my mind there are two main issues with Kill Points (if you want to discuss if/why kill points suck, here's the original thread (http://warseer.com/forums/showthread.php?t=173576)) - the differential in total Kill Points and the lack of scaling of Kill Points to unit cost/toughness. The major advantage of KP is the ease of calculation, allowing you to keep track even during the game and you don't need to find your army list to figure out who won.

I've seen many proposed changes to the KP rules to improve them, but ultimately they all rely on dragging out your army list and using points values indirectly - in which case we might as well be using victory points. So here is my suggestion (for a house rule, whatever) for a system that fixes the "differential" issue.

In addition to Kill Points, a player scores one additional Survivor Point for each of his own units that is over half strength or vehicle that is mobile at the end of the game. Victory goes to the player that scores the most points, adding Kill Points and Survivor Points together.

Now, this operates pretty similarly to saying each unit is worth 1 KP below half strength and 2KP if destroyed BUT there is the important difference that an army with many units sits on a lot of survivor points (SP) to start with yet has a lot of KP to give up. A variation if you wanted to be really hardcore would be to make the SP only apply if the unit suffers no casualties or is entirely undamaged.

To give an (extreme!) example, a 5KP deathwing army goes up against a 25KP guard army. Deathwing kills 8 units and brings 3 to half strength/immobilised. Guard kill two units and brings one unit to below half strength. Right off the bat, the Guard player should win, as he has killed half his opponent's army for only approximately 1/3 of his army. So Deathwing gets 8KP and Guard gets 2KP as normal. However, Guard get 14SP and Deathwing gets 2SP. End scores 16 points to guard and 10 to Deathwing!

Comparing this to Victory Points, assuming a 1500-point game and each unit worth equal points, the guard get 750VP and deathwing get 570VP.

Now, this would of course have knock-on game effects, but it seems to me it might do the job - at least as far as "kill point differentials" are concerned. Note that the beauty of this system is that it is hardly any more complicated than Kill Points - you just need to look at the board to calculate Survivor Points and count on your fingers. Easy, and doesn't require any calculations or looking at army lists. Crappy units that are easy to kill are still going to be disproportionally attractive, however.

qwertywraith
08-12-2008, 15:09
The first thing that jumps out at me is that the Survivor Point system means that when the game starts 1 player is winning.

In your scenario the Guard have 25 points while the Deathwing only have 5.

I guess this will encourage armies with low model count to be more aggressive, which I think might work. Although I forsee games like this against Guard (and other high SP armies) being made up of units sacrificed while other units run away and hide.

Now though you have a new problem: what about multiple units per FoC like Zoanthropes? These are a pain to kill, and easily hidden, and they both deny KP and grant SP.

I think the KP/SP system actually encourages unit spam. Under this system Marines can combat squad with near impunity.

Lord Inquisitor
08-12-2008, 15:23
Thing is, for every unit sacrificed, the opponent will effectively be getting two points - one for killing the unit, and denying the opponent a SP. I seriously doubt that'll be more effective than bringing your whole army into play and trying to smash the enemy down (as it should be!). Highly-mobile armies like Eldar might be able to play the unit denial game, but isn't that what they do anyway?

Zoanthropes are more-or-less defunct with the KP rules. SP makes them more attractive - but they still represent easily-aquired KP and denied VP. Honestly, we get units being hidden as it is under Kill Points. Spamming is a possibility, but is there anything actually wrong with Marines being able to combat-squad should they want to? Seems to me there's something wrong with the system if they are penalised if they do so, not the other way around.

The more units you put on the board the easier Kill Points are to accrue and the easier Survivor Points are to deny.

Lame Duck
08-12-2008, 15:41
Well it works quite well.

A terminator squad, if killed only grants one KP, same as an IG squad. Term>IG in this situation.

However an IG squad grants the same number of survivor points as a term squad, so it kind of evens out.

Large units give you a larger chance of keeping survivor points, while smaller ones grant you more to begin with, but are much harder to keep. I like it.

Meriwether
08-12-2008, 15:42
I think that it would be much easier to simply make an "Expendable" USR that applies to Grots, conscripts, and some other (limited) units, as well as make a tiered system like they do in 'Ard Boyz.

Meri

Lord Inquisitor
08-12-2008, 15:49
Lame Duck - exactly.

Meri - firstly, the "expendible" rule is rather more difficult to implement. Survivor Points affect the scenario - therefore even in a tournament it would be possible to use them as they'd be in the scenario handed out - no change to anyone's codex is necessary. A new USR basically would have to wait until a new edition (at least of each army book).

Secondly, it doesn't really help with the kill point differential. The fact that a guard army might still have more KP available to kill than Deathwing is still going to be there. What that DOES help with is the other KP problem - that weak units are disproportionally attractive (but that is a completely seperate issue).

Lastly, the 'Ard Boys system was horribly broken (if you want me to explain further, post in the other thread I linked to in the original post).

Meriwether
08-12-2008, 19:12
Right, right. I shouldn't have said 'simply'. What I really meant was that the end result is more elegant.

I don't see SP as anything more than an equally imbalanced version of KPs. Adding an imbalance the other way is, I guess, a way to address an imbalance... but I think it's more complicated than this.

Note: Here I'm going to dump all over your idea. Please take this in the spirit it is intended -- I want to poke holes in what you've come up with so that you can make it better (or discard it for something else). This is a common part of the creative process, whether one is designing robots or designing game mechanics. So, that said, here's what's wrong with the KP + SP idea:

Your 'solution' seems to make things more muddled and convoluted, without really helping the situation any. Let's look at some examples. 25KP guard vs. 5 KP DW *is* an extreme example, but let's play with it anyway.

Let's presume that DW and Guard each kill an equal percentage of their opponent's army, and look at the results we get:

20%: DW kill 5, IG kill 1. Result: IG 21, DW 9. Huge IG victory.
40%: DW kill 10, IG kill 2. Result: IG 17, DW 13. IG victory.
60%: DW kill 15, IG kill 3. Result: IG 13, DW 18. DW victory.
80%: DW kill 20, IG kill 4. Result: IG 9, DW 22. Huge DW victory.

Note that in each case, each opponent killed the same fraction of the opponent's army.

What you've done is encourage larger armies to play hide-and-go-gunline with their armies, because keeping their squads alive is much, much more important to the win than actually killing anything of the enemies. You've also *forced* smaller armies to play very aggressively, because inflicting casualties is far more important than preserving the units you have.

It gets worse. WAAC jerks have now found the perfect strategy: Maximize your KP/SP, and play as slowly as possible. Even worse, the maximize your SP strategy *also* helps you with objective-based missions, making it a double-whammy of goodness for high-unit-count armies.

I don't think that any scheme -- be it kill points or this -- should force opponents to use particular tactics in order to have a prayer of winning. Kill points are certainly flawed, but they're (at least) no more flawed than this.

Meri

Lord Inquisitor
08-12-2008, 19:22
I'll reply more thoroughly when I have time, but look at your sample percentages under Kill Points alone: it would be Deathwing major victory every time.

I'm not saying its perfect by any means, but it is is BETTER than Kill Points alone because both the guard player and deathwing player have a reasonable chance of winning. Yes, there would indeed be tactics associated with it. Apart from the "play slowly" one (argh!) I don't see any major issues.

Lame Duck
08-12-2008, 19:32
Another way to look at it - With kill points the IG could wipeout the DW completely but still lose, survivor points fix that problem.

Also, Meri, that's assuming all other units are over half strength. If a unit is below 50% strength, but still alive at the end of the game, they don't count for any points.

It could be improved, but I definately prefer it to pure KP already.

Lord Inquisitor
08-12-2008, 19:34
Well, to be pedantic, an actual wipeout is still a victory, but yeah, the IG could wipe out the DW down to one single marine and still lose.

It is hardly a perfect system, but I was running on the simplicity of KP to be a major virtue.

Lord Inquisitor
08-12-2008, 23:10
Now I've got time to go through properly...


I don't see SP as anything more than an equally imbalanced version of KPs. Adding an imbalance the other way is, I guess, a way to address an imbalance... but I think it's more complicated than this.
Right, it's a two-way imbalance, but ones that roughly balance out.

That's surely better than a one-way imbalance? Remember - I'm not going for a perfect system necessarily, just an easy "patch" for the KP system and one that requires no use of army list or points.


Your 'solution' seems to make things more muddled and convoluted, without really helping the situation any.
I've tried to keep it as simple as possible (I challenge you to come up with a simpler "fix" for KP!). You count up how many units are dead on the sideboard. Then you add to that how many units are on the board in front of you that are over half strength/mobile. Not that convoluted!


20%: DW kill 5, IG kill 1. Result: IG 21, DW 9. Huge IG victory.
40%: DW kill 10, IG kill 2. Result: IG 17, DW 13. IG victory.
60%: DW kill 15, IG kill 3. Result: IG 13, DW 18. DW victory.
80%: DW kill 20, IG kill 4. Result: IG 9, DW 22. Huge DW victory.
Hmm. That is a little annoying. However, compare that to the system as it is now (20%, DW win by 4, 40% DW win by 8, 60% DW win by 12, 80% DW win by 16). The key difference is that each side CAN achieve a major victory or minor victory. At least the game is balanced, rather than the current sorry state of affairs! Note also that both players can benefit from just trying to deny SP.

Let's look at a more realistic KP differential. Let's say 8 vs 12. Say Marines vs Tau, just for the sake of the thing.

25%: M kill 3, T kill 2.
Kill points - Marine win. Add survivor points: M = 9, T = 12. Tau win.
50%: M kill 6, T kill 4.
Kill points - Marine win. Add survivor points: M = 10, T = 10. Draw.
75%: M kills 9, T kills 6.
Kill points, Marine win. Add survivor points: M = 11, T = 9. Marine win.

Now let's assume Marines actually kill only 2/3 of the above numbers (so Tau should win!).

25%: M kill 2, T kill 2.
Kill points - Draw. Add survivor points: M = 8, T = 13. Tau win.
50%: M kill 4, T kill 4.
Kill points - Draw. Add survivor points: M = 8, T = 10. Tau win.
75%: M kills 6, T kills 6.
Kill points, Draw. Add survivor points: M = 8, T = 9. Tau win.

So, starting with one army that has 1/3 less units and does 1/3 less damage (proportional to the other army), the KP result in a draw as might be expected, but if you add in SP, it becomes a win in favour of the army that ought to win!


What you've done is encourage larger armies to play hide-and-go-gunline with their armies, because keeping their squads alive is much, much more important to the win than actually killing anything of the enemies.
Both players, however, have an equal number of SP + enemy KP possible to accrue. It is always possible to match whatever damage your opponent does. The same is flat out not true of pure Kill Points.

Yes, there is a differential in terms of each army's objectives (killing the enemy is more important to the deathwing, while the guard are more interested in staying alive!) but then over a full game I doubt this is going to be a problem in practice. Time for playtesting! :D


You've also *forced* smaller armies to play very aggressively, because inflicting casualties is far more important than preserving the units you have.
Good. One of the really undesirable effects of Kill Points is that small armies can nab a few easy kill points and then try to stay out of trouble.


It gets worse. WAAC jerks have now found the perfect strategy: Maximize your KP/SP, and play as slowly as possible.
Lol, this came from your twisted little mind. Obviously this only has an impact on tournaments or other time settings. Frankly, this is ALREADY a tactic potentially usable and is likely to get you disqualified.

Lets assume a full game and no cheating! That's what sportsmanship scores are for...


Even worse, the maximize your SP strategy *also* helps you with objective-based missions, making it a double-whammy of goodness for high-unit-count armies.
Okay, time-wasters aside, maximising your SP only benefits you providing you keep 50% of your army alive, once you hit half-strength, it starts to penalise you. I can't think of the last time a game of 40K ended with one army over 50% strength that wasn't a total massacre. I also don't think that in practical terms more units = advantage in missions.

I really think this is an unfounded worry. But, this is where playtesting should come in!


I don't think that any scheme -- be it kill points or this -- should force opponents to use particular tactics in order to have a prayer of winning. Kill points are certainly flawed, but they're (at least) no more flawed than this.
But they ARE more flawed than this. Under Kill Points, there is a clear advantage to the lower-unit army. Add in SP, both sides can accrue the same number of potential points. Kill Points strategies for high-unit-count armies relies on preserving your troops as it is!

Yes of course there are going to be strategies and soforth that are attendant, but at least the game is more balanced.

IncubiLord
09-12-2008, 07:24
Why not make it really, really hard and require the use of a calculator?

Divide the number of your surviving units by your starting number of units. That's your score.

While dividing like this isn't always simple, any calculator can do it and it's very easy to see across the table what the numbers will be. It's far from Victory Points, but it leaves you with each side's score as their percentage remaining.

The only bias here is that easy-to-kill targets are still likely to be slaughtered before the really tough ones - but that just leaves the tougher units on the board dishing out damage longer, and thus it evens out somewhat.

Avian
09-12-2008, 07:51
The survivor point system is a lot like a scenario mechanic in my version of the random scenario generator for Warhammer Fantasy, where one mission gives points for each standard you have captured from the enemy added to each of your own standards you have managed to hang on to. It works quite well there and the mechanic has been adopted for most of the larger FB tournies in Norway. :)

Meriwether
09-12-2008, 19:13
That's surely better than a one-way imbalance? Remember - I'm not going for a perfect system necessarily, just an easy "patch" for the KP system and one that requires no use of army list or points.

Well, looking for an easy patch is different than trying to come up with a truly good mechanic.

The *biggest* problem I have with this is that the 5 KP DW army is already going to have some inherent balance issues -- not in its favor -- because 2/3 of the time the mission is going to be objective-based, and not KP-based. There is an inherent disadvantage, and a BIG one, built in to low-unit armies -- and an inherent advantage to armies with very high numbers of units.

Adding in KP missions 1/3 of the time forces a balancing act in army creation -- I must design an army that has enough units so that I can take and/or contest objectives, but not so many that I give away too many easy KPs. Personally, I really, *really* like this aspect of meta-balance that the KP/objective dichotomy adds to the game.

What your scheme (may I call it a scheme?) does is remove the disadvantage from the hordey-guys, while keeping the disadvantage from the uber-elitey guys.

KPs, if taken in isolation, favor small, elite forces. Objectives, if taken in isolation, favor large, horde-like forces with lots of units. If you don't take them in isolation, there is a great deal of inherent balance. In my LGS, playing strictly by the BRB rules in our local tournaments, I've seen a lot more balanced (e.g. non-gimmicky) forces since the KP/objective dynamic came out in 5th.


I've tried to keep it as simple as possible (I challenge you to come up with a simpler "fix" for KP!).

Let's assume for argument's sake that KPs are something that need fixing. (Again, I don't think they do, as they are a balancing force on objective-based missions already... But let's pretend).

If I were to 'fix' KPs in as simple a way possible, I would use... VPs!

...But again, this does nothing to address the heavy advantage that huge-numbers-of-units armies have in objective-based games. (And in general... No-consolidate-into-melee favors armies with lots of units, too.)

My problem is the notion that KPs need fixing on the metagame level. Why not build army lists that are balanced enough to handle both KP and objective-based missions? This is quite obviously the *point* of having both, after all.


Hmm. That is a little annoying.

Glad to be of service. :D


Both players, however, have an equal number of SP + enemy KP possible to accrue. It is always possible to match whatever damage your opponent does. The same is flat out not true of pure Kill Points.

Right, and this appears attractive because you ignore the inherent advantage that more-unit armies have in objective-based games (and games in general).

Is there a better system than 'in 2/3 of the games one type of army has an inherent advantage, and in 1/3 the other has an inherent advantage'? Probably. But removing the advantage from the one that's already in the 1/3 slot is a step in the *wrong* direction, IMO.


Time for playtesting!

Always is... Just playtest in more than just KP games. KP are a compensation for a disadvantage that small, elite forces have in 2/3 of the games played. Given that KPs only pop up 1/3 of the time, are you sure you want to do this?


Good. One of the really undesirable effects of Kill Points is that small armies can nab a few easy kill points and then try to stay out of trouble.

...and now one of the really undesirable effects of SPs is that large armies can NOT nab a few easy kill points and then try to stay out of trouble. Ugh.


Lol, this came from your twisted little mind.

Twisted *big* mind, thank you. But honestly, the online community mostly bitches about GW not anticpating *abuses*. So don't just brush off an attempted abuse of something you write. Embrace it and see what you can do about it.


Lets assume a full game and no cheating! That's what sportsmanship scores are for...

It isn't even necessarily cheating. One can play at a reasonable pace with 180 models on the board and still never get past turn 3 in two hours at 1750 points, even without deliberately slowing the game. Big armies generally take longer, and your system gives an advantage to games that don't finish "in time". ...so that's another flaw that should not be overlooked. WAAC cheesemonkeys will eat you alive!


I also don't think that in practical terms more units = advantage in missions.

WHAT?!?!? More units = more stuff to contest and take objectives with. The DW army with 4 troops and 1 HQ can take at most 4 objectives and contest another. The Guard army with 20 troops and 5 other stuff can take 20 objectives and contest another 5. Looking at the units I cited earlier, if each army kills half of the other, the DW can now take two and maybe contest one, while the guard can still take 10 and contest 2.5.

Not only is it a *marked* advantage in objective-based missions, it is now an advantage *in general* because of no-consolidate-into-melee. (If I have more, smaller units, and you can only kill one at a time in melee before I get a chance to shoot at them, the more units I have, the more chances I get to shoot you to death. Smaller, elite forces are having a harder time already...)


But they ARE more flawed than this. Under Kill Points, there is a clear advantage to the lower-unit army.

Indeed! Just as in objective-based missions there is a clear advantage to the higher-unit army. KPs are a balancer, not a breaker!

A move to your system would require some kind of modification of objective-based games in order to keep the game balanced.

Meri

McGonigle
10-12-2008, 15:07
Right, and this appears attractive because you ignore the inherent advantage that more-unit armies have in objective-based games (and games in general).

Except it's not a direct dichotomy. There's alot covered in more-unit armies than in all-troop armies.

If this is the reason and your entire post seemed to be based around this premise, how about reclarifying kill-points to only being given by the same units that can hold objectives. It's a direct counter to the strenght of those units in the other game. (Okay it throws up silly situations but they are at least based on some sort of usefulness, rather than simply easyness to kill) As well as removing the whole nerfing transports issue.

Because at the moment that clearly isn't the case, you have all the cheap units that can't hold objectives but still count for kill points. Because those cheap non-scoring units aren't any more useful in one game while being penalised in the other game.

Meriwether
10-12-2008, 15:18
Except it's not a direct dichotomy.

Correct, it isn't.


If this is the reason and your entire post seemed to be based around this premise, how about reclarifying kill-points to only being given by the same units that can hold objectives.

This might be a more reasonable solution. What are the Cons?


Because those cheap non-scoring units aren't any more useful in one game while being penalised in the other game.

That's not true at all. All I need to win a game, even one with five objectives, is one more objective than my opponent. All those cheap, non-scoring units can still contest objectives, so I could win by controlling one and contesting four, using mostly non-scoring units.

By the way, Lord Inquisitor, I really am trying to be helpful here. If you find my poking at your idea to see what falls off annoying, let me know and I'll move on.

Meri

Lord Inquisitor
10-12-2008, 15:33
Why not make it really, really hard and require the use of a calculator?
I don't want to use a calculator. I can add up victory points with a piece of paper, but I don't need the headache of trying to figure out whether 9/17 is bigger than 7/13.

Again, I'd rather be just back to Victory Points in that case.


Well, looking for an easy patch is different than trying to come up with a truly good mechanic.
Well, I set out trying to get Kill Points to work, not make the ultimate scoring system. The problem is, of course, that the most ideal system would be to award victory points for every model killed and some proportion for damage to vehicles - but life's too short for that. Some some kind of quicker system is needed. VP was still somewhat involved, but KP are too simplistic.


The *biggest* problem I have with this is that the 5 KP DW army is already going to have some inherent balance issues -- not in its favor -- because 2/3 of the time the mission is going to be objective-based, and not KP-based. There is an inherent disadvantage, and a BIG one, built in to low-unit armies -- and an inherent advantage to armies with very high numbers of units.
Okay, so, to summarise, you think it is fine that KP missions are unbalanced, because the other missions aren't balanced? ;)

Basically all of your points boil down to the idea that low-KP armies are disadvantaged in missions, citing that if there were 20 objectives, the deathwing would be disadvantaged. You use 20 objectives?!

This is broadly not true, and nowhere near as simple.

Firstly, half of objective missions are capture & control. With two objectives on the board, there really isn't ANY benefit to having a popcorn army in practice. Ultimately, providing you can plonk a Troops choice on both objectives and keep them alive, it really doesn't make a lot of difference - the game boils down to who can crush the opponent's forces around the objectives, which doesn't necessarily have anything to do with the unit count.

The most objectives you're going to see on the table is 5. And here, the key factor, typically, is how many TROOPS each side has. Having 50 units isn't going to do more than force a draw unless you have Troops to actually take the objectives. Now, having low unit-count doesn't ipso-facto mean that you don't have many Troops. An army with only 7 KP could have 6 Troops choices! Indeed, if I were to build an army with 14 units might actually be considered to be disadvantaged in this scenario - I, too, have 6 Troops choices but they're easier to kill than your Troops as I've spent less points on them...


Adding in KP missions 1/3 of the time forces a balancing act in army creation -- I must design an army that has enough units so that I can take and/or contest objectives, but not so many that I give away too many easy KPs. Personally, I really, *really* like this aspect of meta-balance that the KP/objective dichotomy adds to the game.
Works fine in theory. In practice? Not so much.

There are still optimum builds here than can turn KP into an uphill struggle.


What your scheme (may I call it a scheme?) does is remove the disadvantage from the hordey-guys, while keeping the disadvantage from the uber-elitey guys.
The big thing is that the disadvantage for uber-elitey guys is fairly minor. Going away from the deathwing/guard example (it's a really extreme one!), let's go back to our tau and space marines. Both may well have the same number of scoring units, frankly I seriously doubt (even ignoring combat-squadding) that the marine army is going to be at a major disadvantage in objective games. Indeed, he is likely to have more scoring units right off the bat.

So there's not really an advantage to the Tau in objective missions - if there is, its dubious and very minor. There is a clear and defined advantage to the marines in KP missions, one that can be shown and has a major effect on the outcome of the game.

This "metagame balance" is illusory. It sounded great on paper when 5th ed came out. In practice, KP still suck! :p


Not only is it a *marked* advantage in objective-based missions, it is now an advantage *in general* because of no-consolidate-into-melee. (If I have more, smaller units, and you can only kill one at a time in melee before I get a chance to shoot at them, the more units I have, the more chances I get to shoot you to death. Smaller, elite forces are having a harder time already...)
Aw come on, there are advantages and disadvantages. You ask any Ork player if he'd rather have one mob of 20 boyz or 4 mobs of 5 boyz...

There is no marked advantage for popcorn armies, small elite armies have always been part of the game.

IncubiLord
10-12-2008, 18:05
I don't want to use a calculator. I can add up victory points with a piece of paper, but I don't need the headache of trying to figure out whether 9/17 is bigger than 7/13.
Using a calculator to find the answer to two fractions is by far the simplest and fairest way to determine who killed more of the other guy's army. If you don't want to do that, you're either not going for simple or not going for fair.

Adding in KP missions 1/3 of the time forces a balancing act in army creation -- I must design an army that has enough units so that I can take and/or contest objectives, but not so many that I give away too many easy KPs.
I'm going to add a vote of "this is a load of crap" on this note.

While KP may make a non-Codex-Space-Marines MEQ army consider the 'balancing act' suggested, it actually just hinders army creation for a GEQ to the point that those players often come to the conclusion that KP are a screw-job, you should ignore them, and if KP come up you go for the wipe-out.

Thank goodness the SMurfs get a special rule to defang this 'balancing act', too. The Combat Squads rule in the first codex after 5ed came out was a wonderful kick in the groin to anybody who doesn't play Ultramarines - or whichever other mock-Ultramarines you'd like from that codex.

It would seem that a rule was once again written for SMurfs by Smurfs, and the rest of the game is a side-note.
"What do you mean it breaks when you build an IG, Ork, DE, non-battlesuit Tau, or non-Nidzilla Tyranid army? People actually play those?" :rolleyes:

Old Gobbo
10-12-2008, 18:34
Hi guys

Some interesting thoughts here. In theory the SP points system would be fine in a pre-determined friendly game, giving both players a more or less equal chance of a win (assuming of course they play for the fun of the game rather WAAC).

Tournaments are a different issue. I'll be the first to hold my hand up and say I thought the KP system was pants the first time I came across it. I actually played a game with IG against SM's where I still had 50% of my army intact and wiped all but 3 SM's out but still lost 9-8! That aside though most 1 day tournies tend to use one of each of the missions, so the advantage one army might have in the KP scenario should be balanced out by the advantage another army might have in holding multiple objectives.

My opinion for what it's worth is to play as per the rulebook and try to wipe the enemy out completely (ensuring the win) or go down in a blaze of glory trying! I might not win but I'll have fun trying!

Lord Inquisitor
10-12-2008, 18:45
Using a calculator to find the answer to two fractions is by far the simplest and fairest way to determine who killed more of the other guy's army. If you don't want to do that, you're either not going for simple or not going for fair.
My whole objection is purely to do with the calculator itself. I just know I'd forget it every game, it's fiddly and annoying to need a calculator. I can add up victory points with a pencil and paper, but I'm not so good with division.

Besides, if we're going to be doing calculations, VP is a fairer system. Just working out what proportion of the enemy army you've killed in number of units isn't really taking into account that a rhino is worth less than a Land Raider.

Of course, SP don't take that into account either, BUT that's the price we pay for a simple system that requires no calculations. As soon as we actually drag out a calculator, I might as well work out VP on it which is a superior system.

Meriwether
10-12-2008, 19:13
Well, I set out trying to get Kill Points to work, not make the ultimate scoring system. <SNIP> VP was still somewhat involved, but KP are too simplistic.

I think that's somewhat reasonable, I suppose... (I didn't think VP were really all that involved. Eeek! Subtraction!)


Okay, so, to summarise, you think it is fine that KP missions are unbalanced, because the other missions aren't balanced? ;)

You wink, but the answer is 'sort of'. If armies are built keeping in mind that 1/3 of the time KPs will be used, but the other 2/3 objectives will be used, then this will come up less. Of course, something a little more ideal than 'unbalanced one way 2/3 of the time and the other way 1/3 of the time' is most certainly desired. That doesn't mean that your solution is a good one, though. :D

IncubiLord has a good point about KPs screwing particular armies -- e.g. Guard. That's why I originally suggested an 'expendable' USR as a tweak. Another tweak would be to allow one KP per FOC, but now I think we've ubered-UP guard, and that might not be desireable either. (It is also, as you said, harder to implement). The Ard Boyz tweak (3/2/1) is another possibility.

Frankly, 'one KP for every 100 points of a totally destroyed unit, rounding up' is a simpler version of VPs that would probably work just fine, and you could have the KPs written on your army list right next to the points. Easy-peasy. But I'm sure this has some negative ramifications on *somebody*, too.


Basically all of your points boil down to the idea that low-KP armies are disadvantaged in missions, citing that if there were 20 objectives, the deathwing would be disadvantaged. You use 20 objectives?!

I didn't say 20 objectives anywhere, did I? :confused:

If I did, I misspoke. I meant to keep the discussion on things as they are, and not get in to hypotheticals that don't actually happen (like 20-objective games).


This is broadly not true, and nowhere near as simple.

I'll grant you that. It never is!


With two objectives on the board, there really isn't ANY benefit to having a popcorn army in practice.

I think we'll have to disagree on that point. I still maintain that, to a point, more squads = greater advantage in 5th.


The most objectives you're going to see on the table is 5. And here, the key factor, typically, is how many TROOPS each side has. Having 50 units isn't going to do more than force a draw unless you have Troops to actually take the objectives.

If I can take two and contest three, win for me.


Works fine in theory. In practice? Not so much.

It *doesn't* work as well as I hoped it would when people first started whining about kill points, but I have seen some serious changes in army composition to compensate for this 'new balance' -- and in general I think it has changed the game for the better. Less gimmicks, more balanced forces.


This "metagame balance" is illusory. It sounded great on paper when 5th ed came out. In practice, KP still suck!

Admittedly it's not as good as I originally thought (when 5th was still in the future), but it's certainly not illusory.


Aw come on, there are advantages and disadvantages. You ask any Ork player if he'd rather have one mob of 20 boyz or 4 mobs of 5 boyz...

Well, ignoring FOC restrictions, 4 mobz of 5 boyz are tremendously superior to one mob of 20 footsloggin' boyz in every way. Well, unless they're fearless, until/unless they tweak 'No Retreat!'

In what way is one mob of 20 better than 4 mobz of 5 used in conjunction? Can you name *one* (besides FOC restrictions)?


My whole objection is purely to do with the calculator itself. I just know I'd forget it every game, it's fiddly and annoying to need a calculator.

That's kind of a silly objection, isn't it? You need to remember: minis, dice, scatter dice, templates, counters, tape measure... But adding '$2 calculator from WalMart' to the list is somehow a burden? I keep a calculator with my gaming stuff all the time. If I forget _it_, I forget all the other stuff...

Meri

Lord Inquisitor
10-12-2008, 19:49
By the way, Lord Inquisitor, I really am trying to be helpful here. If you find my poking at your idea to see what falls off annoying, let me know and I'll move on.
Providing you are at least theoretically pursuadable by a particularly cunning argument and not arguing the point on principle, no worries!


I think that's somewhat reasonable, I suppose... (I didn't think VP were really all that involved. Eeek! Subtraction!)
No, they weren't. Then again, many were the times when it was too late to really feel like trying to find exactly where the army list has gotten to (or those times when you've forgotten your list altogether and need to actually work out more or less the whole list in order to calculate vp! :o), or to be bothered to do any addition. Other times your opponent calculates what you scored but it just doesn't seem right - but it'd be impolite to ask to check his maths. One of the few nice things about KP is that you can make an accurate assessment of how the game is going during the game. If I know I'm 3KP down, I might decide to get really desperate in order to try and swing the game back.


That doesn't mean that your solution is a good one, though.
If my solution is better than that still might make it worthwhile...


IncubiLord has a good point about KPs screwing particular armies -- e.g. Guard. That's why I originally suggested an 'expendable' USR as a tweak. Another tweak would be to allow one KP per FOC, but now I think we've ubered-UP guard, and that might not be desireable either. (It is also, as you said, harder to implement). The Ard Boyz tweak (3/2/1) is another possibility.
Expendible, as I've said, might help the biggest issues, but the basic KP differential problem is still there. One KP per FOC doesn't work. Ard Boyz did that. You want to try killing 55 guardsmen and 6 chimera spread across the board for ONE kill point? Ha! The 3/2/1 also doesn't work. It actually often makes things worse (I can go over it if you like)


Frankly, 'one KP for every 100 points of a totally destroyed unit, rounding up' is a simpler version of VPs that would probably work just fine, and you could have the KPs written on your army list right next to the points. Easy-peasy. But I'm sure this has some negative ramifications on *somebody*, too.
This is going back to 2nd ed on this, and I seem to recall that we thought 3rd ed VP was a better system when it came out.

The only issue with this is the proliferation of 199-point units. I'm ameanable to this, I suppose it would be quicker to work out than vp proper.


I didn't say 20 objectives anywhere, did I? :confused:
Haha, don't you love messageboards?

"The Guard army with 20 troops and 5 other stuff can take 20 objectives and contest another 5"


I think we'll have to disagree on that point. I still maintain that, to a point, more squads = greater advantage in 5th.
Problem is, once you get to 1500 points +, that point has usually been passed.


If I can take two and contest three, win for me.
But even a small army of elite units should be able to contest all five too, under most conditions.

Of course it's not as simple as this on the actual tabletop, but while I, too, thought that spamming units gave an advantage when 5th came out, I discovered through actual experience that large, elite, often fearless units can often be a much better bet than many smaller units.


Well, ignoring FOC restrictions, 4 mobz of 5 boyz are tremendously superior to one mob of 20 footsloggin' boyz in every way. Well, unless they're fearless, until/unless they tweak 'No Retreat!'
Exactly, the 5 mobs can be broken by incoming fire, while the 20-strong unit is Fearless.


That's kind of a silly objection, isn't it? You need to remember: minis, dice, scatter dice, templates, counters, tape measure... But adding '$2 calculator from WalMart' to the list is somehow a burden? I keep a calculator with my gaming stuff all the time. If I forget _it_, I forget all the other stuff...
It may be silly, but that's how I feel. Perhaps it's stupid, these days everyone has a phone with a calculator on it. I just remember playing Inquisitor and kicking myself for forgetting my calculator every single week and having to work out all of those percentiles by hand.

Plus I'm allergic to WalMart. I mean that quite literally, the horrible strip lights they use set off my migranes. I start to feel sick almost as soon as I enter the store. Did you see a point around here anywhere? No, me neither...

Hellebore
10-12-2008, 22:05
Sounds good.

I was thinking an easy method would be to give out a KP per FOC slot rather than per unit.

Thus every army will only have 2 HQ, 3 Elite, 6 Troop, 3 FA, and 3 HS, or 18 KP each.

Hellebore

Lord Inquisitor
10-12-2008, 22:25
There are problems with that. My Chaos Terminators and Land Raider are only worth 1KP together? Okay. How about that 6-squad Guard platoon with 6 Chimera. One KP for them too?

Meriwether
11-12-2008, 14:12
One of the few nice things about KP is that you can make an accurate assessment of how the game is going during the game. If I know I'm 3KP down, I might decide to get really desperate in order to try and swing the game back.

Agreed... but I did the same thing with VPs, roughly.


If my solution is better than that still might make it worthwhile...

*If* it is better. I am utterly unconvinced that taking the 1/3-of-the-time advantage that KP armies currently have and removing it is somehow making the game more fair.

I believe we both agree that unbalanced 2/3 of the time one way, and 1/3 of the time the other way, is not the same thing as balance. (I've seen *more* balanced lists, but that still doesn't matter on that _one game_ or _one army_ you'd like to play, does it?) I just don't see how making it even more imbalanced one way is somehow more fair.


One KP per FOC doesn't work. Ard Boyz did that. You want to try killing 55 guardsmen and 6 chimera spread across the board for ONE kill point? Ha!

Point.


The 3/2/1 also doesn't work. It actually often makes things worse (I can go over it if you like)

I'd like to hear your thoughts on it. If we're going to discuss "fixing" the interaction between army types and mission objectives, I think anything we can add to the pot about what *doesn't* work is a good thing to have on hand.


This is going back to 2nd ed on this, and I seem to recall that we thought 3rd ed VP was a better system when it came out.

The only issue with this is the proliferation of 199-point units. I'm ameanable to this, I suppose it would be quicker to work out than vp proper.

Right on both counts.


Haha, don't you love messageboards?

"The Guard army with 20 troops and 5 other stuff can take 20 objectives and contest another 5"

Ok, I see how you thought I meant that. I didn't mean that there were 20 objectives to take. I just meant that they had a lot of units to take objectives.


But even a small army of elite units should be able to contest all five too, under most conditions.

If you've got five units and I kill one, you are not contesting five objectives, unless you can somehow spread your unit out enough to be within 3" of two of them.


Of course it's not as simple as this on the actual tabletop, but while I, too, thought that spamming units gave an advantage when 5th came out, I discovered through actual experience that large, elite, often fearless units can often be a much better bet than many smaller units.

My experience has been the opposite. I've found small elite units suffering greatly under 5th's objective-based missions.


Exactly, the 5 mobs can be broken by incoming fire, while the 20-strong unit is Fearless.

Ok, with orks in particular they are Fearless, but my point extends to any large vs. small unit. You can only shoot or assault one at a time, whereas they can split their fire to multiple targets (if needs be), take multiple objectives, take greater advantage of cover, etc, etc. Large units do have *some* advantages (notably morale), but splitting them up into smaller units (ignoring FOC) is better in _almost_ every way.

Meri

Lord Inquisitor
11-12-2008, 20:07
Argh, my reply got lost in the Warp. Again, then, briefly... [edit: oh man, this is what I consider "brief"... there's just no hope for me :(]


Agreed... but I did the same thing with VPs, roughly.
Better man than me then. But even for the best this can be hard with highly variable units unless you scrutinise your opponent's list prior to the game.


*If* it is better. I am utterly unconvinced that taking the 1/3-of-the-time advantage that KP armies currently have and removing it is somehow making the game more fair.
Hehe, taken out of context that quote is pretty funny. :p Anyway, the point I want to make is that there is a disparity in the degree of advantage. High-unit counts get a dubious and usually negligible advantage with objectives, but they get a very real and quantifiable disadvantage in KP games. These certainly don't balance out (just ask any guard player, or look at the armies of Grand Tournament winners).

If guard or other horde armies were steamrolling people in missions and getting caned in KP, that'd be one thing. But that's not happening - there might be a tiny advantage in missions, but not something that's going to overshadow, say, the luck of the dice or the generalship of the players. Whereas with KP there is a really clear advantage to the smaller-unit-count army.

Now, I don't like the idea that missions should be one-sided in any case. If 1/3 of missions favour the smaller army, 1/3 favour the larger and 1/3 are actually balanced (Capture & Control), that's not a game I really want to play thank you very much - if the game boils down to a great big game of paper-rock-scissors that's pretty naff.


I believe we both agree that unbalanced 2/3 of the time one way, and 1/3 of the time the other way, is not the same thing as balance. (I've seen *more* balanced lists, but that still doesn't matter on that _one game_ or _one army_ you'd like to play, does it?) I just don't see how making it even more imbalanced one way is somehow more fair.
Because there is an imbalance in the imbalances. The advantage to high-unit-armies is minimal to negligible. The advantage to low-unit armies is quatifiable and can utterly dominate the game in particularly bad cases. Take away the big imbalance and we're left with just the little imbalance, which to me, is better.


I'd like to hear your thoughts on it. If we're going to discuss "fixing" the interaction between army types and mission objectives, I think anything we can add to the pot about what *doesn't* work is a good thing to have on hand.
Okay. The problem with the 3/2/1 system is twofold. Firstly, it's a double-whammy on Troops. Not only do you NEED troops for objective missions, now we're going to penalise you for taking anything but Troops in KP missions! This creates an imbalance in the game as some armies rely on elite and HS units to win (Tau, Tyranids) as their Troops units are inflexible in roles, while others simply have no choice in their Troops at all (Necrons). Compare this with armies like CSMs who can probably field an all-Troops army with enough variety to be competitive.

Secondly, it makes the discrepancy between armies even worse, in total KP and in KP : points ratios. For example, my Inquisitor Lord with retinue (~150 points) is worth 6KP while your 500-point wraithguard squad is worth just 1?

Assigning everything 1 Kill Point is bad enough. Assigning them an arbitrary number between 1 and 3 is worse. If you think about it, it's pretty darn rare that any HQ unit is actually worth 3 times as much as your average Troops unit. And it has many knock-on effects. Retinues or command squads are just unfeasable - or, if taken, spend the game cowering in the corner as they represent too much of a liability.

Making it Kill Points per FOC selection alleviates some of these issues (my Inquisitor is only 3KP) but it creates huge problems with multiple-unit-per-FOC cases, meaning it can be horribly difficult to even get any Kill Points (and it results in an erruption of popcorn units in armies that can do this). Any case where you have units effectively worth 0KP is going to be a big problem.


Ok, I see how you thought I meant that. I didn't mean that there were 20 objectives to take. I just meant that they had a lot of units to take objectives.
It's okay, I knew what you meant. But the point is, the average number of objectives is 3. In a "normal" game a differential is often between one army with 10 units and another with 15. Really, 10 units is going to be enough to capture or contest 3 objectives - if you're down to 2 units you probably deserve to lose the game! But a 5KP difference can be a real issue in KP games.


My experience has been the opposite. I've found small elite units suffering greatly under 5th's objective-based missions.
Really? Remember, a "small" army might have 8-10KP to give away.

That may just be a difference in experience then. Personally, I don't find that it makes a difference - the number of TROOPS each side has can be a big factor, but you can make a low-KP army with plenty of Troops.


Ok, with orks in particular they are Fearless, but my point extends to any large vs. small unit. You can only shoot or assault one at a time, whereas they can split their fire to multiple targets (if needs be), take multiple objectives, take greater advantage of cover, etc, etc. Large units do have *some* advantages (notably morale), but splitting them up into smaller units (ignoring FOC) is better in _almost_ every way.
Even if not Fearless, larger units are more resistant to Morale as you have to kill more to get them to run - although of course if they do then they suffer more. But in practice larger units can steamroller smaller ones, or just persist long enough to stay on objectives. A small, elite army, can focus its attention onto a popcorn army and if it can avoid some of the return fire it can take on the enemy piecemeal.

I disagree that "many small" has a de-facto advantage over "few big". This is of course debatable but it's one of those "tactics" thingies.

While I might agree to a slight profusion of units under 4th edition, it was hardly the case that smaller, elite armies were unplayable! By your logic everyone with guard would win as they have more units than space marines. ;) No, small elite armies did fine before and I don't see that 5th ed changes things that much that it needs balancing by such an indescriminate method as Kill Points. Codexes have been slowly pushing larger units (e.g. by not allowing heavy weapons to small units) do we need a heavy-handed system-wide "(im)balancer" as well?

McGonigle
12-12-2008, 07:57
My whole objection is purely to do with the calculator itself. I just know I'd forget it every game, it's fiddly and annoying to need a calculator. I can add up victory points with a pencil and paper, but I'm not so good with division.

Except you don't need a calculator, you only need a calculator function. Most people's phones have them, plus some watches etc.

Plus the other option is just that you will get better at mental division: It's not that hard to do in your head.
9/17 is smaller than 7/13, both numbers are basically just over a half (8.5/17 and 6.5/13 and the .5/17 is obviously smaller than .5/13) Anyway to be honest in most friendly games you'll probaly just call that a draw. Unless the board looks obviously different. And the idea that no one nearby you in a tornament will have a calculator.


Of course the most fair way would be ensure that both armies have the same number of kill points. Instead of assigning one per unit, X per force org slot or 1 per 100 points.

Both players have X KP where X is the size of the battle divided by 100, (So a 2000 battle ha 20) ((You could also do 50, 200 etc depending on taste))
KP are first assigned one for every full 100 points in a Units cost. After that any remaining KP are assigned to units based on how close they are to reaching the next 100 points till all KP are assigned. (So to the 96 point unit before the 56 point unit and that before the 320 point unit,)
Your opponent may ask at any points how many KP a unit is worth.

While you may occasionally get something silly (Identicle or Near identicle guard squads with different KP seems very likely as a possibility, no one starts the game inherantly disadvantaged. And the Guard are at least worth less than those Deathwing Termanators.)

It increases the lenght of time for army creation, slightly. But there's no difficult maths after you have your army, so little in game maths. (Adding up numbers under 20 shouldn't be to much of an issue.

Meriwether
12-12-2008, 14:32
Anyway, the point I want to make is that there is a disparity in the degree of advantage. High-unit counts get a dubious and usually negligible advantage with objectives, but they get a very real and quantifiable disadvantage in KP games. These certainly don't balance out (just ask any guard player, or look at the armies of Grand Tournament winners).

There is a disparity, but I don't think it's as large as you're letting on. Either way, I think the point might be niggling enough to not derail the thread overmuch. Can you agree that while the disparity in degree exists to one degree or another, there are still situations where armies with high unit count have an advantage, and that minimizing this inherent advantage is as important as eliminating the inherent advantage that small-count forces have in KP missions?


if the game boils down to a great big game of paper-rock-scissors that's pretty naff.

Part of me agrees, and part of me enjoys the occasional uphill battle. :D


Okay. The problem with the 3/2/1 system is twofold.

Well argued. I agree.


I disagree that "many small" has a de-facto advantage over "few big". This is of course debatable but it's one of those "tactics" thingies.

I think that "many small" is at a *disadvantage* when it comes to individual morale tests -- but when you fail them, less guys run away. On the other hand, you gain a huge tactical flexibility because of the restrictions on shooting and charging (no split fire -- either way; no shooting one and charging the other; and multiple charges are harder to execute.)

If you don't believe me on this one, play a game against someone good, a normal game. Then split all of their units in half (ignoring FOC restrictions and keeping the number of special weapons etc. the same) and play again. They'll be able to do more with the same, and you'll have a harder time dealing with them. Try it!


While I might agree to a slight profusion of units under 4th edition, it was hardly the case that smaller, elite armies were unplayable! By your logic everyone with guard would win as they have more units than space marines.

The point I have made has to do how one army does with smaller squads, versus the same army with a smaller number of larger squads. I'm not comparing apples (Guard) to oranges (Marines). Like I said, try it out. At the very least, it's an excuse to game. :D

Meri

Glabro
13-12-2008, 21:08
I see no reason for KPs. It's a pipe dream that everyone produces "balanced" lists with moderate numbers due to the objective vs kill points meta-element.

Everyone's missing the main point. It's not "horde vs. elite" (ie. many units vs few units), it should be Troops vs. everything else.

The fact that Troops are important is an important design change and one that should be embraced for balancing the troops vs elites ratio within armies. It really shouldn't matter what the actual headcounts are, as each army is capable of taking either large, numerous, mobile or tough squads with their 6 troop slots, and those attributes are designed to balance each other out.

VPs would allow the other FOC slots (presumably designed for killing stuff) their moment to shine every third game, while troops would still remain useful and important in those games, whereas the opposite would be true in objective-based games.