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Revelations
06-10-2009, 19:11
A few recent threads having been discussing this particular concept lately. One position is that units must only be balanced within their respective Codices, while others have asserted that every unit must be balanced comparitivley to like units (ones that serve similar functions, etc).

What I find fascinating though, is that this idea is usually only brought up when someone personally disagrees with how cheap something is in another Codex, while another person asserts it's fairness based on the confines of its own Codex.

As an example, many people have been talking about how much a Cult Tzeentchian Terminator would cost. And when they do it's usually compared directly to TH+SS Terminators from the SM Codex. So what happened to the idea of internal balance here?

The poll options were the best I could think of at the time, but I wanted to open a dialogue on this idea for discussion. What do you think about this concept?

The Guy
06-10-2009, 19:18
I think a combination of both is required, but with a priority on external balance, internal balance is worthless if the codex itself turns out to be Over or underpowered, as it would take balancing with one overpowered unit to make the entire codex OP.

So IMO, balancing with a seperate codex is more important as that gives two fairly balanced codices as opposed to one strong or weak one.

Max Jet
06-10-2009, 19:19
My view is that external balance is the key to an overall balanced and fair game.
Units with equal powers and statlines should preferably cost the same throughout the Codicies (not including army special rules)
In a fair and even game both players should be able to provide a characterized and thought out army without being forced to make use of certain "no brainer" Choices. Two people bringing almost the same units should have equal chances. It is hard to understand why a Dark angel player should not have the same chances to score a victory as a generic space marine player does, even when their army compositions are almost exactly the same.

Now there is an argument against this, as every unit can be supported by other exclusive Choices in the Codex and army special rules. While an army special rule, that supports a certain unit should be included in the cost (describing an overall performance of said unit) supporting units should not.
The supporting unit itself should be costed appropriately, regarding its abilities and powers, not the unit POSSIBLY taking a benefit from it.
You cannot be penalized for sticking to prefered units and then finding out, that your oponent takes exactly the same but pays a lot less!

Lordsaradain
06-10-2009, 19:30
Internal balance means that all units in the book are viable choices, and it is definetly needed. Why stuff a bunch of units into a book if noone will ever field them?
External balance is necessary everytime two forces using different codexes want to battle, otherwise the game will be unbalanced and dull. So I think that both are equally needed.

TheEndIsHere
06-10-2009, 19:41
External balance 90%, fluff 9%, fun 0.9%, internal balance 0.09%.

External balance makes the game FUN.

Its not fun to always win or always lose.

Fluff defines the army, playing with and army you like is fun.

Internal balance is last.

Termies ARE space marines, this is where points come in, with points there is no such thing as internal balance. if it was well made, everything would be internally balanced.

D-End

Max Jet
06-10-2009, 20:00
Termies ARE space marines, this is where points come in, with points there is no such thing as internal balance. if it was well made, everything would be internally balanced.

I would like to emphasize this point and repeat it. If everything would be perfectly external balanced, there would be no need to balance units internal as it would be an automatic thing, following the guide, needed to balanced external.

It is much more easy to balance a codex internal than external, therefore I think the design team was just a little bit lazy.

Legionary
06-10-2009, 20:25
The idea of there being internal and external balance is a bit of an odd one. There's just balance, plain and simple. If something is balanced internally but not externally (or vice versa) then it shows the codex is not balanced at all. It's possible to avoid having 'bad' and 'good' units within a codex by having every unit balanced in points.

If you get that points cost right, you're balanced against other armies and therefore balanced against other picks from your codex.

grissom2006
06-10-2009, 20:30
To the OP this whole balance issue and compairing between the books happens every single time a new Codex or Battlebook comes out.

IcedAnimals
06-10-2009, 20:36
I believe "external" balance is the more important of the two. If two units are identical in stats and abilities they should have an identical point cost to represent this.

Space marine A should not be cheaper than space marine B simply because A is newer. Special rules (such as the case of the vindicator tanks which im assuming is where you got this idea) should be applied after the base points value. If the tanks are equal they should be equal until upgrade options make them different.

So from a balance point that is what I wish for. However from a business point it makes sense that new stuff gets cheaper. If you use to be able to field 10 marines and the points dropped and now you can field 11 marines. You now need to go out and buy another marine. By allowing you to field more of something they are increasing the chances you will buy more of their models.

And GW has said they are a model company first and foremost and selling those models is their main priority.

Revelations
06-10-2009, 20:36
To the OP this whole balance issue and compairing between the books happens every single time a new Codex or Battlebook comes out.
True, which motivated me to actually make a thread about it. When I start looking at the comparisons and the arguments, they seem very inconsistent. One person mentions how cheap Orks are compared to Guants, then another person comes in and mentions how Gaunts are priced compared to their Codex.

Intead of seeing how certain people reacted to each respective example, I wanted to see how people took just the concept of the argument on its own merits. With how often it comes up, I'm suprised on the results of the poll and people's responses so far.

Jaxell
06-10-2009, 20:46
Intead of seeing how certain people reacted to each respective example, I wanted to see how people took just the concept of the argument on its own merits. With how often it comes up, I'm suprised on the results of the poll and people's responses so far.

That because there are no sensible arguments to be made for internal balance in what is supposed to be a fair game.

The only time "internal balance" makes some sense is when enforcing specific army builds, i.e. "if you take unit A, you Must take unit D, E and F." Which is a crappy stance in a game where you're supposed to be able to customise your own army.

Hypaspist
06-10-2009, 20:52
External balance is not necessarily relevant on a unit by unit basis across codices, what is important is that the army as a whole is balanced. as an example. the resources required to "recruit" (or call it what you will) two similar units may be very different across two different races, however each race will have alternatives or units which fill the gap between the two in suich a way as to make it balanced.
Therefore I would put it to you that internal balance is important to reduce redundancy in Codices and to enable each unit to compete with another within a codex, and external balance *is* required, but at a macro level, not a micro one, across armies.

incarna
06-10-2009, 21:41
I voted that you’re missing something – that something being the Sci-fi/Fantasy context of the game. From a mechanical perspective, internal and external balance is equally important.

However, If GW through out all their codex and decided to take the rules sets within the game and apply them to Beanie Babies – how popular would the game be?

You could, theoretically make your living room a 40k “table”, scale up distances by a ratio of about 4/1 depending on it’s size and play with your little sisters stuffed animals who “shoot” sugar coated hearts and “wound” by making the opposing stuffed animals giggle uncontrollably. CC could, instead of being the vicious swirling melee of blood and gore that we envision, it could instead be a hug session between Teddy Ruxbin and Barbie… the best hugger wins.

None of you would play. The whole idea would be insane to you. 40k would die a well deserved death.

If a Terminator is this legendary butt-kicker who slices through the enemies of man like a hot knife through butter – his stats better resemble that level of coolness within the game (with attention paid to balance). His model should at least ATTEMPT to come close.
If a Carnefex is a bestial shock troop of bundled death – he had better resemble that level of coolness within the game.

We don’t play with toys – we play a science fiction strategy game with models. There’s a HUGE difference… because 40k could instead be called “Fluffy lovy-kins in your living room” plaid with squads of “Brats” dolls and teddy bears.

EDIT: I may have gotten a little off topic with what I was trying to say. The heart of my position is that mechanically, a codex must be balanced internally and externally – but above all, it’s gotta be cool. The context of the game is sci-fi/fantasy and there’s little point in writing a perfectly balanced codex whose units are not at least as cool as most of what else is out there.

Anyone planning on buying the new “My Little Pony” codex being released a few years from now? Ponies cost 100 point a model and each has the stats of a Landraider.

Mánagarmr
06-10-2009, 21:49
And GW has said they are a model company first and foremost and selling those models is their main priority.

This.

I think that most people will agree that while it would obviously be preferable that there was no significant power creep between codexes, in all honesty - if there wasn't, the company would take a significant financial hit.

By reducing costs, creating new deployment options - and allowing new "counts as" types, they increase sales on miniatures.

Internal and External balance are both important, just not as much so to GW.

IcedAnimals
06-10-2009, 21:50
incarna, that is great and all but what does it have to do with the thread? This isnt a thread about "fluff or models".

incarna
06-10-2009, 22:45
incarna, that is great and all but what does it have to do with the thread? This isnt a thread about "fluff or models".

The thread is asking about internal balance vs. external balance and whether those were the only factors that determine a units value/playability. Both factors are important but, they are not. A unit must be balanced within the context of game mechanics but it must ALSO be cool within the context of the game itself.

Durath
06-10-2009, 22:46
I voted "External". Balance is balance.

I base this determination on the simple fact that stat lines are where the game outcome is determined, and 99% of each unit type shares the same category of stats. It is inconclusive to not factor in comparitive stats across codecies.

I think the problem is that GW's methodology for assigning point values are heavily skewed by whims... be it a marketing scheme, or the individual author's bias in writing the books... mathmatically, there is no way some units should cost what they do.

But this is par for the course. GW has never been able to nail down a solid core game mechanic or baseline for game value. I've found myself wondering in recent times if GW failed as a company if someone else wouldn't come along, buy them up, and finally put out a solid core game and core baseline stat-value system that would be fun, and fair to play.

Not saying I want them to go south... but after 14 years of seeing this same sad pattern repeat, I'm beyond jaded.

Promethius
06-10-2009, 23:30
To me, both are equally important. A choice that costs x points in one book should be at least competitive with a choice doing the same role in another book; however, it is acceptable to alter the cost slightly if the role within the army is more important (so tau would pay a premium on a cc choice compared to 'nids, because although the two choices might be very similar, the value of the cc unit to the tau player would be greater). To ignore one over the other is to invite disaster, essentially.

Bunnahabhain
06-10-2009, 23:43
Both are needed.
Internal balance is needed to prevent codexs having useless and no brainer choices.
External balance is needed, to prevent the Orks Vs daemon hunters problem. Ideally, write a new rules set and then a complete codex set, together.

As to the Model company issue:
More powerful rules for certain models sell more of those models.
Better ( ie characterful, well written, and better balanced, not simply overpowered) rules for the whole codex, and more generally for the whole game system, sell more models across the whole game system.

ReveredChaplainDrake
07-10-2009, 00:09
When you have internal balance without external balance, you get Orks, where their power level on hyper-builds (Nob Bikers) are so strong that they single-handedly invalidate the competitiveness of entire codecies (Necrons, Tau).

When you have external balance without internal balance, you get Tyranids, where there are maybe three units that you will always see in everybody's list (Carnifex, Tyrant, Genestealers; bonus points if you can correctly guess what they're armed with), and everything else is only reasonable if you just don't care how powerful your army is.

Both are important, and IMHO are just as important as each other.

susu.exp
07-10-2009, 02:54
I voted internal balance. I might also have gone for "You have missed something crucial", but since I am one of the posters you are alluding to, I thought I should vote this way and explain. The view I have taken is that Codizes as a whole should be balanced agaisnt each other and that units within these codices should be balanced against each other. This however does not mean that there should be external balance in the sense that two units that do the same should cost the same in different books. This is because units play differently in the context of different armies and their point cost has to reflect this to ensure balance between the codices and between units within a codex.

Take Genestealers. They are a solid troop choice in the current Tyrandi Codex. At their points they would be overpowered in the current Tau codex. The reason for this is simple: In the Tyranid codex the best way to use them is to let them flank, hope to arrive at the enemy intact and then kill something. In a Tau list they could hang back to shield the shooty stuff from getting assaulted. If the opponent shoots at the Stealers from a range, he will keep the Tau firebase intact. If he chooses to shoot something else, he won´t be able to assault. In a recent 2v2 match I faced SM and Tau with my CSM and DE. The SM played had a unit of Saault termies, which he set up so that they protected the front and flank of 2 broadside units. Normally my flanking chosen wreak Havoc among the Tau when they arrive on turn 2 or later (depending how lucky I am). In this game of course they were stopped by the ATs. While ATs (especially those with THSS) are very powerful, they´d be even more so in a Tau list. Eldar, who are generally fragile pay a big premium on tough troops (a full 10 man+Seer Wraithguard unit). If they had access to Plague marines they would have to be upcosted significantly or they would be a no brainer for every Eldar player and the Eldar Codex would be too powerful.

In a game where you can pick your units from several lists, the balance that matters is that whithin each lists (so that all units are worth taking) and that between the lists as a whole. Balancing single units between lists simply makes no sense and would likely compromise the two types of balance that do matter.

TheEndIsHere
07-10-2009, 02:56
The assault termies also gave cover saves to your enemy from railgun fire.

Good job.

D-End

Bunnahabhain
07-10-2009, 03:15
The assault termies also gave cover saves to your enemy from railgun fire.

Good job.

D-End

???

Plenty of ways to cover a shooty unit against assult, without giving away cover saves.

ie.move cover unit out the way, shoot shooty units, run cover unit back.

jump shoot jump the shooty unit

have the close combat unit merely lurking nearby, so able to kill anything fast that does go after the shooty unit- mutually assured destruction.

use them to guard weapons that don't allow cover saves.


On Topic, Susu .Exp has a valid point. Identical units can have different worths in different armies. In an ideal world, we wouldn't have the multiple nigh on identical codexs for the most glaring examples of these very similar units in multiple armies, ie 17 flavours of tactical marines....

Dr.Clock
07-10-2009, 03:23
I'm with Mr.exp on this one.

It's not that one is more important than the other... for a codex to BE externally balanced it must BE internally balanced... this is what balance IS.

There can be no comparison of 'similar units' across codecies. There are no 'similar units' only similar army-lists.

If you want things that do the same thing in different armies to cost the same number of points then they should be THE SAME THING, that is, from the same army-list. The fact that you can't take things from more than one army-list implies.

Internal coherence guarantees the most flexibility of lists by making it so that units may gain or lose relative 'total effect' with the introduction of new rules.

I will concede, to the Pink Elephant, that basic CSMs do not appear to hold a candle to Greyhunters, but against all other troop choices in all other books, they come out okay... and nice as an alternative for bulking up lists with cult troops in them.

Greyhunters are the elite troop choice (of 2) in the SW codex. CSMs are the 'noob' troop choice in the CSM codex. They don't do the same thing/fill the same purpose in their respective lists.

Cheers,

The Good Doctor.

susu.exp
07-10-2009, 03:29
The assault termies also gave cover saves to your enemy from railgun fire.

I was that enemy and
a) Check how cover works for vehicles.
b) Check how cover works when you don´t have to draw LOS between a friendly unit.
They had a hill, we had no cover. We did win the game in the end, by pretty much the last dice roll (a single Pleague marine cut down the last assault Terminator and the last assaut marine with his two attacks in a multi unit combat, then died from losing the combat by 1, giving us the one KP we won by).

But you haven´t replied to the main point of the post:
Assume that there are two Codeci and they are balanced against each other, so that in games with equally competent players, both with all comers lists (i.e. not specifically taken against the other list) each will have a 50% chance to win (let´s say 50+-10, depending on terrain etc. you will always have some advantages to one side or another). And within each list the units are balanced, so that there are no no-brainer choices and no useless units. Would you prefer this state, even if the two lists contained identical units that had different point costs? Or would you prefer to cost them the same, even if it upset both other types of balance?

Amnar
07-10-2009, 03:38
I think external balance is most important. If your codex has flawless internal balance, and all units are equally viable, yet the army itself is either more or less powerful than everyone else, then what is the point of internal balance?

ReveredChaplainDrake
07-10-2009, 08:17
I think external balance is most important. If your codex has flawless internal balance, and all units are equally viable, yet the army itself is either more or less powerful than everyone else, then what is the point of internal balance?
Three words: Lash of Submission.

Two more words: Chaos Spawn.

Granted, if I could only pick one, external or internal balance, I'd pick external in a heartbeat. But having an army with choices so no-brainer that you basically don't get to pick your list is just far too boring.

SensounoTenshi
07-10-2009, 12:47
I replied both are important but lean more toward internal balance but in regards to the other armies. I.e. you can't build an army as a stand alone with a disregard for the other codices as that will just lead to a complete disparity between armies.
If you go for more external control then the armies become more uniform... and more tasteless. You'll get that bland every "army is functionally the same" problem that so many games have.
Overall you need a basic groundwork of external balance that they can build on but still leave room for unique and interesting units and a strong internal balance that keeps an army within the flavor/fluff of the army. Otherwise we should just go back to Rogue Trader... or even 2nd edition.