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self biased
13-05-2011, 17:08
The question of where people feel that the burden of playing fair rests has been on my mind for a while now, so I'm asking Warseer: Should it rest on the game developers to give its players no way to play "unfairly," or should it be up to the players of a game to police their own as it were, and change the game to suit their needs?

There is a philosophy that goes to the tune of "It's In The Codex, So I Can Do It," whereby any configuration of army list, no matter how broken or min/maxed it is perceived by others, is a perfectly acceptable way of playing the game. Such things are known quantities and have appropriate, in-game counters. After enough communication (especially in today's social networking climate), optimal configurations tend to inevitably arise as well as counters to popular playstyles and choices.

The counter argument is "Yeah, But Who Really Plays Like That?" wherein, players of a group will not take the 'netlists' or 'power builds' in the interest of playing fairly and in the hopes that his opponent will do the same.

This isn't meant to spark off a discussion as to the relative merits of competitive play versus narrative play, among other interesting subjects, but to ask the question of whose job it is to make sure people are playing what is perceived as 'fair?' Should it be up to the Designers of a game, or should the Players of a game dictate what's fair play and what isn't?

ForgottenLore
13-05-2011, 17:18
There is ALWAYS a way to play unfairly. It is up to the individual to ensure he is playing honestly and fairly, but I don't think that is quite what you mean.

The game developer has a responsibility to provide the best, most fun ruleset he can, but what that means differs from player to player. It is a fairly well known maxim among people who dabble in role-playing game design that there is no perfect system because the tastes of different people are not just different but often contradictory. Someone who wants to be a "successful" (ie, make a living wage at it) game designer has to take that into account and do his best to provide an enjoyable experience for as many people, but once he (or she) has done that it is up to the players to decide how they are going to use what the game designer has created.

Radium
13-05-2011, 17:22
In a game with 16 armies and LOTS of options it's impossible to ensure it's perfectly balanced or fair. So I'll just take lots of options and have fun with those.

self biased
13-05-2011, 17:28
but at the same time, one can simply take the more limited option of design, and make stuff up from there in your group. Players are perfectly capable of making up their own units and playing the game they want to.

Vaktathi
13-05-2011, 17:42
This question depends a lot on the environment, however the game designers are responsible for ensuring that units and armies are generally fair and balanced. They get paid to do this for a living and are supposedly professional game designers.

At GW, they very often don't. You could units that are consistently awful or useless (chaos spawn, techpriests, sentinels, etc) and others that are either plainly too good (TH/SS termi's, Long Fangs, Grey Hunters, Vendettas, Vulkan, Psybolt ammo for autocannons, etc.) that typically are noticed and noted as such even before a book is officially launched (and generally upheld as being so after release). These are faults that lie squarely with the design studio and it's ridiculous that, given how quickly they are noticed by almost anyone reading preview copies, they quite often miss these things. There is no excuse for poor playtesting, especially when any blind sod picking up the book for the first time can point out things that are clearly undercosted. In those situations, the fault lies with the design studio for allowing them out the door, and refusing to do errata.

That said, once whats done is done, the burden of fair play rests with the players, and is highly subjective. At a tournament, well, anything goes, and many armies are going to be playing with one arm behind their back the whole time, but it is what it is.

For casual/pickup/campaign play however, it is up to the players to ensure fair play, and not to abuse stuff just because the design studio mucked it and their book says they can.

Charistoph
13-05-2011, 17:51
This question depends a lot on the environment, however the game designers are responsible for ensuring that units and armies are generally fair and balanced. They get paid to do this for a living and are supposedly professional game designers.

At GW, they very often don't. You could units that are consistently awful or useless (chaos spawn, techpriests, sentinels, etc) and others that are either plainly too good (TH/SS termi's, Long Fangs, Grey Hunters, Vendettas, Vulkan, Psybolt ammo for autocannons, etc.) that typically are noticed and noted as such even before a book is officially launched (and generally upheld as being so after release). These are faults that lie squarely with the design studio and it's ridiculous that, given how quickly they are noticed by almost anyone reading preview copies, they quite often miss these things. There is no excuse for poor playtesting, especially when any blind sod picking up the book for the first time can point out things that are clearly undercosted. In those situations, the fault lies with the design studio for allowing them out the door, and refusing to do errata.

That said, once whats done is done, the burden of fair play rests with the players, and is highly subjective. At a tournament, well, anything goes, and many armies are going to be playing with one arm behind their back the whole time, but it is what it is.

For casual/pickup/campaign play however, it is up to the players to ensure fair play, and not to abuse stuff just because the design studio mucked it and their book says they can.

Pretty much my view.

Or to put it more simply, Yes, both are responsible. Designer for a balanced system, player for a balanced game. If a game is too unbalanced, no one buys/plays it. If a player is a jerk, no one plays with them.

Hendarion
13-05-2011, 17:52
Players are able to form balanced lists. But they are also able to form totally imba lists which should be addressed and wiped out by the game-designers, aka Games-Workshop. Such lists shouldn't be possible. But mostly they are, because they rely on unbalanced units or vehicles as Vaktathi perfectly explained.

So I'd say Game-Designers are *responsible* for balancing the game. Players are only *able* to do that, but may refuse to. Big difference.

MOMUS
13-05-2011, 18:04
Its funny that you label it a burden.

It is completely and only down to the players.

ColShaw
13-05-2011, 18:12
It's up to the game designers to do the best they can to balance. Otherwise, there'd be no points costs for models. And it's their JOB.

I think players also have a responsibility to play fairly (i.e. by the rules, and with good sportsmanship), but the game design is where it all begins, and they have a solemn responsibility to their players.

castellanash
13-05-2011, 18:23
I would say a combination of the two, the palyers should be able to play unfairly if they wish but there should be a limit on how unfair as it were the games could get, however this would require keeping all armies fairly similar in strengths, this ofc will never happen as the rules take too long to be written, the models take too long to be sculpted etc etc... yadda yadda yadda... But I see no reason why the responsibility should fall on just one of the two groups

Lord Damocles
13-05-2011, 18:28
The developers should be making reasonably balanced lists without too many obviously broken units/etc. - after all, it's what they're paid for.


I'd hesitate to say that it should be down to the players to make 'fair' lists, since who decides what 'fair'/'balanced' are?

The internet went wild for Darkwynn's 'Leafblower' list and proclaimed it the greatest thing since sliced bread. But it's far from optimised, and did so well at 'Ard Boyz in large part due to luck.

Nob Biker lists were also apparently overpowered and broken. But if you play at sensible points values and have some decent multi-level terrain, they suddenly look pretty rubbish.

Similarly, my Necron list (which the internet would mock me for using) has been called 'overpowered', 'cheesy', 'unfair' etc. Should I have to change my list or whatever because I beat some whiney chump with it?

NixonAsADaemonPrince
13-05-2011, 18:38
This question depends a lot on the environment, however the game designers are responsible for ensuring that units and armies are generally fair and balanced. They get paid to do this for a living and are supposedly professional game designers.

At GW, they very often don't. You could units that are consistently awful or useless (chaos spawn, techpriests, sentinels, etc) and others that are either plainly too good (TH/SS termi's, Long Fangs, Grey Hunters, Vendettas, Vulkan, Psybolt ammo for autocannons, etc.) that typically are noticed and noted as such even before a book is officially launched (and generally upheld as being so after release). These are faults that lie squarely with the design studio and it's ridiculous that, given how quickly they are noticed by almost anyone reading preview copies, they quite often miss these things. There is no excuse for poor playtesting, especially when any blind sod picking up the book for the first time can point out things that are clearly undercosted. In those situations, the fault lies with the design studio for allowing them out the door, and refusing to do errata.

That said, once whats done is done, the burden of fair play rests with the players, and is highly subjective. At a tournament, well, anything goes, and many armies are going to be playing with one arm behind their back the whole time, but it is what it is.

For casual/pickup/campaign play however, it is up to the players to ensure fair play, and not to abuse stuff just because the design studio mucked it and their book says they can.

This. A perfect summary, I've got nothing else to add.

Trustey
13-05-2011, 18:41
It's the devs job to balance the game, it's the players role to play as casually or competitively as they want within the ruleset. If a player wants to be as vicious as the rules allow so be it.

AFnord
13-05-2011, 19:14
Some things will always sneak past the developers, certain configurations that no-one thought about (like the leafblower list, although at least part of that should have been noticed beforehand). At that point, we, the players, should step in and not abuse the list types, because it breaks the game.

But there is absolutely no excuse for glaring balance holes. All armies should be roughly equal (although we might expect some issues with armies form previous editions), there should be no obviously over/underpowered options in a book. It might turn out that one unit is 2% more effective than another, that is not such an obvious hole, but if a unit is substantially better, then we have something that really should not have been allowed to slip past the playtesters.
That is not to say that there should not be bad combinations in an army. If you throw together units willy-nilly, then that should not give you a strong list. Part of the game is designing good lists after all, but there should never be a point where a unit or option can't be used because it is too poor, or where it becomes an obvious thing to bring.

LegionX
13-05-2011, 19:16
Do you mean 'fair' or 'balanced'?

Games developers should go to lengths to ensure the games/armies are 'balanced' (far further than they currently do, IMO). Ideally, there should be no 'useless units' or 'obvious choices' in a Codex, which is why when a new version of a Codex comes out, units and wargear that no-one uses are often either made 'better' or become cheaper in points, or both. Or OTT units are toned down, like the Wraithlord was in Codex:Eldar, 3rd-ed to 4th-ed. Obviously different units/choices will have their strengths & weaknesses, but these should be accurately reflected in their points cost and how they work as part of their army, and also when compared to other armies.

However, when it comes to 'fairness' I think players have a big responsibility. The 'RAW vs. common sense' and 'spirit of the game vs. letter of the rules' arguments have been around forever, so don't need to be repeated here.

The trouble with (and beauty of) GW's games is that they aren't like chess; they're constantly changing with continuous rulebook/codex/model updates. Because of this, discrepancies, unbalance and 'unfairness' can easily creep in.

So in answer to the original question: Both :)

LegionX

Vaktathi
13-05-2011, 19:21
Some things will always sneak past the developers, certain configurations that no-one thought about (like the leafblower list, although at least part of that should have been noticed beforehand). At that point, we, the players, should step in and not abuse the list types, because it breaks the game. As pointed out before, the actual "leafblower" list isn't what its made out to be at all, it's a term that has gained a lot of myth for being oft repeated on internet forums, and won through several consecutive favorable matchups. The whole "leafblower" thing is primarily BoLS hype that "sky is falling" types have run away with. Very few people can even define what a "leafblower" is, and such definitions often don't accurately resemble the real list that Darkwynn used. This also creates interesting issues, where player perception of fair due to what they may hear or read, often does not match the reality, and then it falls to the players to sort things out.

MOMUS
13-05-2011, 22:01
It's up to the game designers to do the best they can to balance. Otherwise, there'd be no points costs for models.

Ever played inquisitor? :-p

Vaktathi
13-05-2011, 22:05
Ever played inquisitor? :-p
It's an entirely different game type and mentality than 40k, not really the same thing here.

Leogun_91
13-05-2011, 22:06
The burden is always on my opponent of course (unless I play the better list, then the game is already perfectly balanced)

On a more serious note the lists should of course be balanced by the designers but as complete balance is nigh-impossible it is also up to the players not to abuse rules, what falls under abuse can be found under common sense.

MOMUS
13-05-2011, 22:10
It's an entirely different game type and mentality than 40k, not really the same thing here.

Is it a different game type due to not having pts or a different mentality due to not having pts? ;-)

Vaktathi
13-05-2011, 22:40
Is it a different game type due to not having pts or a different mentality due to not having pts? ;-)

Yes. :p

WURDZ

Indigo
13-05-2011, 22:52
The burden of Fair play rests on the players themselves. The designers can help, but thee players are the ones who lie about rules, cheat on measuring, dice rolls, etc.

Responsibility belongs to the players.

Bunnahabhain
13-05-2011, 22:52
On both.

GW has professional games developers. They should make a game that plays well, and is reasonably balanced, it terms of for example, shooting vs CC, psychic powers vs defences, speed vs board size. I'd argue they haven't, mainly due to changes in codex design philosophy and release speed.
They should also aim for something that is clear, and not exception on top of exception.. On this they fail too.

Players should try to not twist things so they are clearly not what was meant. Past that, anything goes. Of course, better written rules would help...

chamelion 6
14-05-2011, 02:09
Balance in a game like 40k and WFB is really an illusion. It never really exists. There are too many variables and most of them, really, are beyond the control of the designer.

The only way to really achieve balance is to make every possibility available to every faction so that in the end every army is basiclly the same.... and even then people will complain that the game is tilted.

A player that excells with one army may completely fail with another, and of course the interpretation is going to be the army is broken, faulty or whatever. There will always be players that can make the most difficult of lists work and others that can't make the simpliest of lists function. And sometimes they are the same player.

Players that look to the designer to bring balance to the game are alwaus going to be mostly dissapointed.

chromedog
14-05-2011, 02:19
IMO, it's up to both players in that particular game.

The onus is not entirely on the game creators to make something 'fair'.

Project2501
14-05-2011, 04:24
The burden of fair play rests on every person involved with the hobby.

Ravariel
14-05-2011, 04:49
The burden of fair play rests on every person involved with the hobby.

Ding! We have a winner.

d6juggernaut
14-05-2011, 05:03
The designers are only partially responsible for creating balance within the game system, the most important part of the designers' job is to create a balanced SYSTEM. The character/faction/weapon might have balancing problems, but if the core gameplay is balanced (ie, risk/reward, luck/experience, tactic/execution), the game should be able to stand up on its own and its competitive nature will attract players to develop its internal balance between armies.

In the end, all character/faction/weapon will follow the core system, and if the system is enjoyable and satisfying to play, the factions only provide variations to the core system. Therefore even if the army balance is completely out the window and only one army is viable, it will still be a satisfying (if slightly one dimensional, I admit) to play. Which is why chess is such a great game.

Egaeus
14-05-2011, 17:17
It's up to the game designers to do the best they can to balance. Otherwise, there'd be no points costs for models. And it's their JOB.

I agree completely. If GW just gave us lists of units with abilities but no points costs and suggested scenarios and then said "go figure it out" it would be one thing. But by providing units with points costs there in an assumption that those costs mean something. Unfortunately in a lot of cases we can see where those costs don't really mean anything, as I suspect everyone can point out units that they consider under/overcosted for whatever reason. And yet we are stuck with this mentality that because "that's what GW said they cost that is what they must cost" so people complain about "overpowered" or "useless" units. Although I would add that in many instances there are units that have specific uses and if that use doesn't come into play often enough it won't be seen as a viable unit (for example a unit that does really well against light infantry wouldn't see much use if your main opponent is MEQ).

I always thought it would be nice if players had some more flexibility in selecting the pricing of units, but I can easily see where this could end up being abused as well.



Is it a different game type due to not having pts or a different mentality due to not having pts? ;-)

Inquisitor was meant to be a "narrative skirmish game". True you didn't have points, but you were expected to have a Game Master to come up with the scenarios and referee things. Imagine how differently 40K would be if it were run that way: the Game Master sets the scenario and has some input on how one is allowed to build their army list. Fundamentally it is the GM who is responsible for attempting to ensure some level of balance in the game (just as they are in most RPGs).

Meriwether
14-05-2011, 18:35
I am in complete agreement with Vaktathi's initial post.

Devonian Commando
14-05-2011, 18:58
The scoring unit mechanic is useful for balancing things out, you can take a totally kickass hyper army that is no fun to play against if you want but you won't be able to capture much if your scoring units get targetted.

I find user generated fluff used as a reason for taking power gaming forces mildly annoying, I mean sure, if they collected and modelled the minis and they are FOC game legal then there isn't too much to complain about but when people say: "oh yeah, my chapter always field 30 terminators and 3 land raiders and they always take 10 scouts along because their pre heresy chapter master said so" I tend to be put off them as a fun player.

Back in the day personal responsibility was a much bigger part of the game, the Rogue Trader rules were open to some HORRIFIC abuse. Such things as Land Raiders filled with Harlequins were not unheard of (and were allowed!)

I guess it matters a lot more for tournament players, people playing with their regular gaming friends tend to naturally slip into agreements as to what is ok.

paddyalexander
14-05-2011, 21:34
In a well designed & balanced rules system two different armies of equal points, constructed using the same rules restrictions should be equaly matched in power. There should be no talk of competitive verus casual, no talk of teirs of power & no need for composition rules imposed by the player community.

There are plenty of games systems out there where to people agree to a points size, show up to the venue & play a game without having to worry about offending their opponents by taking an army or list build that is designed to defeat their opponent. When I want to work with other people to play out a story I play an RPG. When I want to play a competive game, where the objective of both participents is to defeat the other play & have fun while it is played out I play a wargame. A set of well defined & balanced rules allows that to happen.

Haravikk
14-05-2011, 21:39
I wanted to say both, but I err more towards the designers. It's not so much that unfair should be minimised, but that they should actually give the damned lists to people who know how to look for broken combos or plainly stupid items. Some of the crazy combos that crop up are really silly in how easily they could have been prevented, or units priced seemingly without testing them against something.

Ultimately however it is up to the players to not play like idiots, or rather the cheated players to refuse to play those who play cheese-lists, so they'll actually stop doing it when they have no-one left to play against.

Tymell
14-05-2011, 21:50
I voted "Other" because I think it's the responsibility of both sides.

Designers -should- try to make a game as fair and balanced as possible, but ultimately there will always be some things more effective than others, so it's equally the players' responsibility to play reasonably.

This isn't to say designers should remove fun or bold things because of the risk of it not being perfectly balanced, nor that players shouldn't look for effective combos and lists. There -are- things in some lists that seem daft and I can't really see the logic behind. But I also think that even if these are removed, there will still be some things more effective than others, and the furthest ends of these (even if reined in) will generate complaint.

hlaine larkin
14-05-2011, 22:07
Regardless of how bad/good the rules are, it is down to the players to make it fair- you should take your opponent's hand and congratulate him/her for a good game- regardless of luck or anything else

Meriwether
14-05-2011, 22:13
In a well designed & balanced rules system two different armies of equal points, constructed using the same rules restrictions should be equaly matched in power. There should be no talk of competitive verus casual, no talk of teirs of power & no need for composition rules imposed by the player community.

Preposterous. If I choose to bring six thirty-strong squads of grotz with cybork bodies and slavers with no wargear for ~1600 points, I shouldn't expect to win against a list actually designed to be competitive -- and this isn't the fault of the game designers.

Allocation of points is perhaps the hardest part of designing a wargame, though that doesn't absolve the game designers of trying to make balanced codices.

paddyalexander
14-05-2011, 23:10
In any system where points values are used the 300 points of X infantry from army Y should be (at least some what) balanced against 300 points of vehicel A of army B. If they don't equal out at least approximatly then the system is not balanced. Within game systems there does need to be flavour, where for example I would have to choose between an anti-infantry unit & a tank hunting unit or a small elite unit or a large unit of cannon fodder/tarpit troops. But those choices should be balanced not only within their own army but also against the other armies in the system.

I don't want to turn this into a Warmachine versus 40k arguement but you used an example in 40k to actualy highlights an imbalance in the system and Warmachine is an example of one that stands out as having achieved a very good (not perfect) balance. I could take a 35 point list that focuses on fielding 4-5 units of cheep 10 model infantry units and play against an opponent who has focused soley on expensive heavy warjacks. The system actualy allows for these two extreams of army build to be balanced against each other with each side having the tools to deal with the other. Simply put two armies that are the same points values will be roughly equalk in overall power, not nessisarily in the same areas. There can be a rock, paper, scissors element when players focus exclusively on one aspect of their army build but that happens in almost any games system.

In games systems like Warmachine & Hoardes, Infinity, Malifaux, Dystopian Wars & Kings of War there are no competitive lists or builds. As I said in my last post, for the most part you simply show up with a list and play.

Right now there is no balance in 40k & WHFB outside of what the fan base has tried to impose on it themselves. If the systems were balanced in the first place then composition would not be nessisary. Talk of competitive versus casual would not exist. Someone could turn up to a tournament with Necrons actualy have a fair chance against Space Wolves.

If only one Codex is left either over or under powered then balance between the races has not been achieved. If there is a choice in a Codex that I will never take or worse be punished by the system for taking it, then the army/race is not balanced. If I can abuse the rules of the system for an advantage over my opponent then the rules are not balanced.

For the record I do not hate GW. I played 40k over 4 editions (admitadly only a handfull of 5th ed to see if it could win me back). I still currently play the RPG systems & if they ever release an edition of 40k that is professionally produced with well defined & playtested rules and a balanced race system I'll happily dust off one of my 12 armies.

Meriwether
14-05-2011, 23:13
In any system where points values are used the 300 points of X infantry from army Y should be (at least some what) balanced against 300 points of vehicel A of army B.

Still preposterous. If I take 300 points of uber-infantry-killy infantry, but can't even hurt an LR Crusader (which can certainly hurt me back), these units are not 'balanced' even though they have the same points value.

You're comparing apples to turnips and declaring imbalance.

Deadnight
14-05-2011, 23:27
Still preposterous. If I take 300 points of uber-infantry-killy infantry, but can't even hurt an LR Crusader (which can certainly hurt me back), these units are not 'balanced' even though they have the same points value.

You're comparing apples to turnips and declaring imbalance.

look beyond the GW world. other companies with other wargames manage it fairly OK. honestly, GW games are the worst systems to be having discussions based around "balance", "fair play" etc. In warmachine, which is a game where essentially everything is fully capable of killing everything else (everything dies, adsolutely everything) you cant really come along saying the above. it just doesnt work that way. things just are balanced. whatever cheese i can field can be killed. there is no uber unit, no unstoppable combo.
for example, the winter guard death star (a khadoran unit combo) is notorious for its offensive output, and disgusting levels of hardness and surviveability. is it one of the best units in the game? absolutely. in 40k, with the mentality surrouding 40k it would be decried as being worse than a blood angels army with every marine having the stats and abilities of mephiston. ask the vast majority of warmachine players and they'll shrug, and hit the deathstar with AOEs, auto hitting abilities, chain lightning, spells and feats anf will wreck it in turn.

in a well designed and well written game, there is no difference between rules as written and rules as intended. the sheer amount of self policing, complaining, and whining that goes on in the 40k gaming scene proves to me that the game itself is hugely and fatally flawed. i think it is also indicative of the players in that i see it as a very negative attitude to have. is it the designers fault? Primarily, yes. its their job to design a proper system. i shouldnt have to self police. i shouldnt have to play with a crutch. i shouldnt have to play down (unless its a demo game) or play a game with a metaphorical hand tied behind my back. this is all subjective BS that literally saturates the inward looking GW scene.

Meriwether
14-05-2011, 23:59
look beyond the GW world. other companies with other wargames manage it fairly OK.

Oh, I have. I'd hate to play a game where a unit of guys who only have pistols (by my choice) can kill a tank...

theunwantedbeing
15-05-2011, 00:10
Various places.

The designers for not getting the balance right.
The playtesters for failing to spot the broken imbalanced stuff.
The gamers for refusing to do something other than take the broken imbalanced stuff all the time.

Anakonda
15-05-2011, 00:13
My opinion is that if something is in the rules (as in, specifically in the rules, and not just "not mentioned and so assumed correct"), then it is fair to be used.
A lot of people consider something OP - i mean, just look at all the online games.
"Omg cleric is OP, nerf please"
"Omg Undead are OP, nerf please"
"Omg protoss are OP, nerf please"
and so forth. That does not nessesarily mean it IS op. It can be, yes, but doesnt have to.

I believe nearly every tactic (in any game) will have a certain flaw. Even if an "Unfair" strategy seems unbeatable, there could always be a counter, which might be hard to find, but nevertheless able to decide the game in favor of opponent.

Giving a very, very crude example in Starcraft. Some zerg players use a 6pool rush to overwhelm opponent before he has chance to build up an army.
This can be considered a "low blow" or a skill-less strategy, that nevertheless works and is allowed.
What a lot of people fail to see is that if opponent notices 6pool (scouting, etc), he can easily turtle his base, and out-economy the zerg, which causes a lot of zerg players to simply surrender if they see their initial 6pool fail.

Going back to warhammer topic, i still believe that any unfair army can still be beaten - if not by counter tactic, then at least by the exact same unfair army.

If it becomes a trend that people use only specific unit or tactic or whatever it is that is considered unfair, then good developers will know something must be done (i.e. online game balance nerfs, etc) and change rules in codex - thus ending the "unfair" debate.


TL:DR - If its in the rules, its fair. If it becomes unfair, it will no longer be in rules. Warhammer is a social game - the crowd gets what the crowd wants, and if the crowd doesnt like rules, it will stop playing, and who wants that?

paddyalexander
15-05-2011, 00:13
Still preposterous. If I take 300 points of uber-infantry-killy infantry, but can't even hurt an LR Crusader (which can certainly hurt me back), these units are not 'balanced' even though they have the same points value.
You're comparing apples to turnips and declaring imbalance.

Still you are focusing your examples on a games system that is overall imbalanced. In your example above a 300 point unit of infantry focused soley on anti-infantry will by their very nature be unable to deal with vehicles & if somebody focuses the entirety of their army on that anti-infantry aspect and they face off against a mechanised army then their metaphorical scissors just met its metaphorical rock.

But where did I mention that the infantry where anti-infantry or that the vehicle in question was anti-infantry. You are using game design aspects and army list builds to try to disprove a balance issue. Is any model specificly optimised to deal with large numbers of infantry supposed to be able to take down a hard target or vice versa in any games system?

Staying with 40k I can make up the most competitive Necron list I can come up with. It will be built to include the best elements at my disposal to deal with both infantry swarms & hard targets such as vehicles & monstrous creatures. An inexperienced player with a Space Wolf army will rape that list almost everytime. I'm being punished by the system for taking a faction, let alone choosing elements within that army that are "uncompetitive". Both armies are the same points. In a balanced system the outcome would be determined by player skill not by what race or faction they decided to play.

In other games systems I don't get punished for choosing a faction/army/fleet because there is some level of balance in those systems. In Warmachine & Malifaux there are very few poor choices when choosing the models/units of your armies let alone when choosing your faction in the game.

You can call it preposterous all you want. These systems exist and have great balance trough good design. There is no composition in Warmachine & there is no debate between competitive & non-competitive play because in a balanced system there is no difference. It's the skill of the players and not rules themselves that determines the winner.

Meriwether
15-05-2011, 00:30
You said, "In a well designed & balanced rules system two different armies of equal points, constructed using the same rules restrictions should be equaly matched in power."

I demonstrated that the statement as made is preposterous. If you would like to now amend the statement to something more specific, feel free. But as stated, it's preposterous, because it is entirely possible to make poor decisions when building a list.

Anakonda
15-05-2011, 00:36
You said, "In a well designed & balanced rules system two different armies of equal points, constructed using the same rules restrictions should be equaly matched in power."

I demonstrated that the statement as made is preposterous. If you would like to now amend the statement to something more specific, feel free. But as stated, it's preposterous, because it is entirely possible to make poor decisions when building a list.

Agree. Using a very extreme example, a pure mech army versus anti-mech squads.

Deadnight
15-05-2011, 00:42
You said, "In a well designed & balanced rules system two different armies of equal points, constructed using the same rules restrictions should be equaly matched in power."

I demonstrated that the statement as made is preposterous. If you would like to now amend the statement to something more specific, feel free. But as stated, it's preposterous, because it is entirely possible to make poor decisions when building a list.


Agree. Using a very extreme example, a pure mech army versus anti-mech squads.


in fairness though, you're using 40k as an example to prove your POV. its like building a house on quicksand. fair enough, in the realm of 40k, you may be entirely correct. but 40k is a badly designed game. it cannot, therefore be used to set, or to measure the standard, or to define an argument. i find GW games tend to create a certain mindset that is not always productive, and furthermore, they give a very skewed, and very disproportionate view on things. In games actually designed with internal/external balance in mind, the kind of self policing that saturates 40k is just not necessary, or needed. paddyalexander is entirely correct in his statement.

bad list building can play a part, sure. but i find in warmachine that what i take matters far less than how i play.


Oh, I have. I'd hate to play a game where a unit of guys who only have pistols (by my choice) can kill a tank...

i like the thought of being able to play a game where i can, essentially field whatever the hell i like, and still have a capable force. 40k to me is a game dominated by the special, the heavy, and the mech. nothing else factors into it to any appreciable level.

on the one hand, i can see where you're coming from. pistols v tanks. then again, all you have to do is look at any war movie where the put a machine gun to the vision slits in a tank, and empty the clip. on the other hand, my point that i'd like to make is such a system where "everything can kill everything else" by definition means neither can dominate. take your mech force. by all means. take an all infantry horde. by all means. what makes warmachine and hordes so successful as a game, fundamentally is its internal an external balance, created through a large part, by the fact that everything can kill everything else. a 'jack can trample and crush an entire squad of infantry, that infantry can do a combined range attack and cripple the jack in return. nothing truly dominates. there really is no definable meta, or set list formula as being "the khador list", for example. by this, i mean that i am not foced into building my list into certain ways to deal with a meta. i can take what i want, and know that it will be effective. and its not just warmachine. look at infinity. a dude with a basic pistol has a very reasonable chance of one shotting anything in the game short of extremely heavy infantry options like cutters and the like.

paddyalexander
15-05-2011, 00:42
Yes but in well designed rules systems like Kings of War, Warmachine/Hoardes, Infinity, Malifaux, Uncharted Seas, Firestorm Armada or many other non-GW games systems that have actauly been playtested, when two armies of equal points, constructed using the same rules restrictions, by people who are compitant at constructing army lists that are not one dimensional then they should be equal in power...

Better?:D

My previous statement stands. Going soley by the design of the game, assuming competence of the player to make an army list that will work and remembering I used the word "should", acknowllaging that there are factors that can lead to imbalance of power, such as one dimensional list builds all your arguements have done is highlight the design flaws inherent in the current edition of 40k. That two forces of equal points are not equal and by its very nature the system is unfair to the player.

Also all you've demonstrated is that the competence of the person making an army list matters to some extent to the outcome of a game while at the same time demonstrating just how large a factor that aspect is in poorly designed games versus how it is largely reduced but not eliminated in well designed games.

Anakonda
15-05-2011, 00:55
i like the thought of being able to play a game where i can, essentially field whatever the hell i like, and still have a capable force.
...
on the other hand, my point that i'd like to make is such a system where "everything can kill everything else" by definition means neither can dominate.

My opinion is that this is where you get a line between reality and fiction.
You can indeed make a game in which a pistol can kill a tank (Red alert anyone?), however that would be a bit unrealistic, and so (at least for me) some of the fun will be lost.

Real wars are not won by just matching equally sized armies and rolling dice. Neither is warhammer. Its won by tactics, balance and countering.

You cant expect to win if you use a force that consists of 1500 basic infantry units. Sure, you can, but far from always. And a decent counter (i.e. heavy mechs with insane armor) will rip you to shreds. That is why balancing is required

If, as you said, anything could kill anything, what would be point of having multiple races and different types of units and weapons? The whole REASON of differentiating is the difference. One thing is good for this, another thing is good for that.

So TL DR version is, in my opinion, its the fact that "anything CANT kill anything" is what makes warhammer a game that i enjoy. Perhaps it is different for you - which is fine :)

igwarlord
15-05-2011, 01:13
I think its both and neither
ever notice that the crappy units seem to always be super expensive or just plan old non existent
lets look at 2 armies at different ends imperial guard and necrons very good and very bad armies
imperial guards crappy units ogryns and rough riders cost WAY to much and alot of stores don't even carry them
necrons are the same way all the plastic models are the good ones pariahs flayed ones all them suck and they cost the most to get
i've almost come to the point that GW makes the great units cheaper to sell a ton and make money like crazy

Deadnight
15-05-2011, 01:14
My opinion is that this is where you get a line between reality and fiction.
You can indeed make a game in which a pistol can kill a tank (Red alert anyone?), however that would be a bit unrealistic, and so (at least for me) some of the fun will be lost.
:)

arguing "realism" in a game with giant chainsword wielding space mutants with psychic powers, elves in space that can kill you with a squint, and orks that grow like fungus is destined to fail, if you ask me :)

realism? its a wargame, not a warsim.



Real wars are not won by just matching equally sized armies and rolling dice. Neither is warhammer. Its won by tactics, balance and countering.


40k is won by (1) list building and (2) target priority. take a tau army versus an optimised space wolf or leafblower guard list, and the tau player will always struggle. as to balance, yet again i will make the point that 40k is a gaming fossil. the core mechanics are terrible, and balance, both internal and external is non existant.



You cant expect to win if you use a force that consists of 1500 basic infantry units. Sure, you can, but far from always. And a decent counter (i.e. heavy mechs with insane armor) will rip you to shreds. That is why balancing is required


why not? why does this have to be the case?

Look at warmachine. I can take an Irusk+ infantry spam list against a Karchev warjack "brick" list. heavy mech versus infantry horde. in warmachine both could conceivable win. those 'jacks (armour) can trample and wreck the infantry, the infantry can wreck the 'jacks.



If, as you said, anything could kill anything, what would be point of having multiple races and different types of units and weapons? The whole REASON of differentiating is the difference. One thing is good for this, another thing is good for that.


because more races mean more profit? different factions can have different styles, and different ways of killing things. Khador are like space wolves/IG. cygnar play like tau/ultramarines. etcetera. what everything being able to kill everything else means is i will not suffer for taking a certain faction. i will not suffer for playing with a certain style. it means you cant just turn up with an unkillable unit like the TH/SS termies and bulldoze your way through a torunament on brain mode:neutral. In 40k, some codices are all but unplayable at any high level event. christ, i havent seen necrons or tau played in several years, and of the factions that do get a look in, most factions follow the same number of limited builds. that what i dont want.



So TL DR version is, in my opinion, its the fact that "anything CANT kill anything" is what makes warhammer a game that i enjoy. Perhaps it is different for you - which is fine :)

fair enough, different strokes, and all that. what i enjoy about warmachine is though, that when i look at an opposing army, everything is a threat. there is nothing that i can just ignore. in 40k sadly, there is.

paddyalexander
15-05-2011, 01:14
My opinion is that this is where you get a line between reality and fiction.

Real wars are not won by just matching equally sized armies and rolling dice. Neither is warhammer. Its won by tactics, balance and countering.


In real war, very rarely troughout history have two forces been evenly matched against each other, it has happened but rarely by design. A good general in real life will always strive to make the fight as unfair on the enemy as possible.

In games where grown men & women play with toy soldiers and both players want to have fun some balance has to be achieved.

In Warmachine & Hordes, a game system were everything can at the very least hurt/damage everything else there is still a massive variety of playstyles not only between the various factions but also within as well. You very rarely will come across two identical armies in tournaments outside of theme forces.

Anakonda
15-05-2011, 01:28
@Replies to me: true, i accept your point.
However i still consider a measure of realism to be a driving force behind enjoying the game.
An orc reproducing via spores and chain swords being used by mutants is one thing.
A walking armored vehicle being threatened by a lightly armored squad with pistols is another thing.
It just ... feels wrong.
My point is that a balanced game should use the following two rules:
1) Everything should be a threat to Something.
2) Everything should be threatened by Something

If that is observed, then game is likely to be balanced.
Of course there can be issues like one race having everything more expensive than other while being as effective etc, but im not touching that here.

There will always be cookie-cutter builds, as in any multiplayer game. There will ALWAYS be SOMETHING that is generally better - but that does not mean that its the only option. Skill still takes precedence.
Even if taking 3 marines and 1 tank is considered to be best build ever, a good player can still win using 5 marines, for example. Or at least as far as im aware.

My point being that games balance around people playing them, and not only around numbers in books.

Archangel_Ruined
15-05-2011, 01:52
IF you only want a balanced game - go and play chess. You'll get a kicking by those who've learnt all of the tricks therein (they call them openings or counters to these, you'll still lose though, and yes, there's a hell of a lot that happens after these moves, but if you've not got this part down then you have lost). Balance is a joke in any game where you get to pick your army. Even taken back to historical games it's a daft idea. If you can pick your entire army and it's armory, and your opponent can do the same then there will be unbalanced games. Some games will favour you, some wont. The best tournie armies these days fully embrace this. They don't try to field an army that can fight any and all comers, they field a list that maximises it's strengths whilst minimising any flaws. That is very different to the idea of a balanced army. That said, the idea of a balanced army in a skirmish game is a joke. Beer may have been involved in typing this, judge accordingly. Apologies where they are surely due.

mdauben
15-05-2011, 01:54
It is always the responsibility of the players to play fairly. The game designers have no control over this.

Now, the game designers have a responsibility to produce a balanced game that does not give one side a significant advantage over another, but in a game with as many variables as 40K that's really just a goal to shoot for.

Archangel_Ruined
15-05-2011, 01:58
I repeat, they can't make the game fair, the best they can do is make sure units are fairly costed. Even with this in mind, fair is an entirely abstract concept.

paddyalexander
15-05-2011, 02:04
@Anakonda

And the idea that the squad using the pistols have been trained to attack the weak points on an armoured vehicle or that they are carrying clips of special armour piercing bullets that they can switch out to when attacking vehicles is less realistic than a race of sentiant mushrooms with an anger control problem.

By following your own points the 40k & WFB are not balanced game systems. A 2000 point Tau, Necron or Witch Hunter army is not equal in power to 2000 points of Space Wolves or Blood Angels. As has been repeatadly mentioned by other posters, that within this imbalanced system certain army builds are also imbalanced against each other.

Looking at information from adepticon, one of the biggest 40k tournies in the world shows a snap shot of how balanced the different races currently are against each other.

http://www.belloflostsouls.net/2011/04/40k-state-of-meta-post-adepticon-2011.html

Also I'm not talking about cheating. One should always be a good sportsman. Which is a lot easier when playing a decently writen rulest.


I repeat, they can't make the game fair, the best they can do is make sure units are fairly costed. Even with this in mind, fair is an entirely abstract concept.

Why not? Other games with balanced rulesets feel fair when you play them. When I lose in Warmachine it's because my opponent was better than I was with a smattering of luck thrown in. It wasn't because I lost an arguement/dice roll over a poorly defined rule. It wasn't because I picked an army or units within that army that the system punished me for taking. Balance is achievable in 40k, it would have to begin with clearly defined, clear core rules. It would then require rigerous playtesting of each Codex that would have to be designed to an over arching philosophy of balance within the book, so every unit is viable & worth its' points without being undercosted. And also balanced with the other races rules.

Never going to happen with the current company but one can dream.

Anakonda
15-05-2011, 02:16
@Anakonda

By following your own points the 40k & WFB are not balanced game systems. A 2000 point Tau, Necron or Witch Hunter army is not equal in power to 2000 points of Space Wolves or Blood Angels.

I never said two armies will be equal. I was talking about all squads being useful for a specific purpose - whether that purpose is met in a single given game or not is another issue entirely.
I may be wrong (a good possibility) but in my opinion, while some races might be biased againts others, it is not an issue of "unless you go X dont expect to win".

paddyalexander
15-05-2011, 02:29
Its currently worse than that for many armies. Its "if you don't take build X then don't expect to draw." Those armies would love a Codex where they at least had a set list, even just made up of one or two of their available options that they could take were they could expect to actualy win after beating their heads against a metaphorical brick wall for an hour & a half.

Your opinion is your own & if your experience of the game has been different then I'm genuinely glad you've derived enjoyment from a game I loved for a long time. My experience is the above.

Anakonda
15-05-2011, 02:31
Unfortunately i have no competitive experience whatsoever, all my experience comes from friendly games i did with both my own & borrowed armies versus a variety of combinations, perhaps your statement is more correct in the highest echelons.

I still stand by my opinion, however, until i can see it otherwise for myself.

Meriwether
15-05-2011, 04:15
i like the thought of being able to play a game where i can, essentially field whatever the hell i like, and still have a capable force.

Ugh, why?

I like the fact that you have to, you know, like think and stuff when you decide what to bring in your army.

Game play matters a lot in 40K -- well more than the interwebz would have you believe, and I know this because good players can do the "okay, I just pwned you, let's switch armies and I'll pwn you again" trick all day long...

...Army list matters, too. And it should. Even in games where the playing pieces are identical (like Axis and Allies), how much of what you take can have a huge bearing on the game, and different force compositions will lend themselves to very different strategies.

Somewhere along the line it became a mini-meme that army composition mattering is a bad thing... From where I'm sitting, there is no truth to that assertion.

Nurgling Chieftain
15-05-2011, 07:54
On the other hand, I would very much like to be able to field any given unit in some capacity and not feel like I was gimping myself. The Chaos Gods promised me a codex in which I could field as many Chaos Spawn as I liked - in my eagerness, I forgot to ask the price. :p

Radium
15-05-2011, 08:18
As always, Meriwether speaks words of wisdom. It just doesn't make sense for a platoon of infantry armed with assault rifles to destroy an tank division.
And targetting weak points or using armour-piercing rounds to stop a tank is fun and all if you know the weak points of said tank. Or if the tank used conventional armour at all. If you're guardsman no 1082839457923475 and you see a an eldar falcon or a tau hammerhead, you probably don't know what the weak point of the tank is. And those tanks are VERY similar to human tanks. Now imagine something truly alien...

Deadnight
15-05-2011, 09:09
Ugh, why?

I like the fact that you have to, you know, like think and stuff when you decide what to bring in your army.
.

indeed, so do i. but i believe you are missing the point. lets say, i want to start an IG army. I go out and ask a bunch of guard players "what should i take"? the builds and units i will be recommended will comprise less than a third of the codex. i will be told hydras, meltavets, valkyries, artillery. Nowhere will i be told "take stormtroopers". On the one hand 40k might seem to be a game where you have to think carefully about what you take, but on the other side of the coin, what this also means is that a lot of whats there just isnt worth taking. and it doesnt take much brainpower to check the latest uber netlists on warseer for what to take.
Now, with warmachine, what you must get your head around is there is no "the list". there is no one list to rule them all. if you ask what to take when starting khador, the general consensus is "red units", and maybe some mercenaries. which is the full roster. i've been playing solidly since the launch of mark 2, and honestly, i've yet to field the same list twice (outside of tournaments). because i can. everything works. Sure, i have to think about combos and synnergy, but when it comes to what units in the forces of khador book that are worth taking, the short answer is pretty muchall of them. I have to think a lot harder as to the type of army i wish to field. even such a small thing as changing the leader can utterly redefine how the army plays. i like the fact that when playing warmachine, i cannot discount a single thing on the other guy's side of the board. everything is a huge threat and must be dealt with.
maybe youre thinking that my argument is this: i should be able to slap down a bunch of stuff on the table and win. this is not the argument im making. how you play should matter more than what you take, and in warmachine, it does. in 40k, it doesnt.



Game play matters a lot in 40K -- well more than the interwebz would have you believe, and I know this because good players can do the "okay, I just pwned you, let's switch armies and I'll pwn you again" trick all day long...

...Army list matters, too. And it should. Even in games where the playing pieces are identical (like Axis and Allies), how much of what you take can have a huge bearing on the game, and different force compositions will lend themselves to very different strategies.
.

i would still make the point that a tau vet with an optimised list will still struggle hugely against an optimised fifth ed codex, player skill be damned. army lists matter, sure. but with 40k, the list you take is three quarters of your strategy. what you take can mitigate a huge amount of your lack of experience.

different force comps/different strategies. perfect. yup. i fully agree. unfortunately, since 4th ed 40k, i've only seen the same handful of list builds pop up. i think that is a strangling of the game, and player creativity.



Somewhere along the line it became a mini-meme that army composition mattering is a bad thing... From where I'm sitting, there is no truth to that assertion.

it is, and it isnt. the point both i, and paddyalexander are trying to say is we shouldnt be punished for taking certain kinds of lists. again, i refer to the fact that if i want a competitive 40k list, i take one of "those" netlists, skill may or may not be required. 40k as a game punishes me for taking certain units, playing to a certain way, or even taking certain codices. i dont think thats fair. is it your fault for beating me? No, never. i hate the meme in 40k that i must almost apologise for beating someone. but i do think it is indicative of the sloppy nature of the game mechanics that such a situation has arrisen, and is not being fixed.
army composition matters. i fully agree. even in warmachine you play to your casters strengths. for example, irusk is an infantry caster, so giving him 6 warjacks is a waste of his potential. he's fine with one or two, and then throw in some infantry. but i've honestly never felt the need that i "must" take jack X or unit Y to be competitive with him. the point id like to make is what you take shouldnt take precedence over how you play. warmachine has acheived this, which is why i play the game.

Son_Of_A_Horus
15-05-2011, 10:03
We're supposed to play fair?? Wasn't told that in my intro game all those years ago

marv335
15-05-2011, 10:33
Define "fair"
Personally I think the burden lies entirely in the hands of the players.

The only way to perfectly balance 40k is with preset fixed lists for each force, and no-one wants that.

It's not just 40k
In all the wargames I've played fair play is down to the players.
Warmachine, Hordes, FoW, Battletech, all can be abused.
Ever seen a FoW game set Mid War Africa?
Afrika Korps vs Australians?
Germans (quite legitimately) take a Tiger, and the opponent can't do anything to it.
While the developers have a limited role, it pretty much all comes down to the players.

Vaktathi
15-05-2011, 10:55
Ever seen a FoW game set Mid War Africa?
Afrika Korps vs Australians?
Germans (quite legitimately) take a Tiger, and the opponent can't do anything to it.
While the developers have a limited role, it pretty much all comes down to the players.
Do the aussies not have any AT4/5 arty or aircraft in North Africa? I honestly have never looked at their list.

Though that said, the Tiger also has a very hard time killing enough stuff to make it worth it.

Additionally, with FoW, historical reality often can override game balance, which the designers and playerbase all sort of implicitly accept as part of the nature of historical wargaming of that nature.

40k doesn't really have the same issue.

Meriwether
15-05-2011, 14:00
indeed, so do i. but i believe you are missing the point.

I'm not missing the point, I'm disagreeing with you.


lets say, i want to start an IG army. I go out and ask a bunch of guard players "what should i take"? the builds and units i will be recommended will comprise less than a third of the codex. i will be told hydras, meltavets, valkyries, artillery.

...and to some extent the people giving that advice will be right, and to some extent they will be wrong, shackled in their thinking by what "everyone knows is true".

I agree that every unit in any given codex should be competitive at its points and in its slot, and that GW falls down relatively consistently in this area. (The Ork codex being perhaps the major exception, and IG being the worst example of the lot).


and it doesnt take much brainpower to check the latest uber netlists on warseer for what to take.

Uber netlists do not a good player make. I contend that a good player who thinks about overall strategy and their particular play-style while building a list will beat an equally good player who takes a default net list every time. (Don't bother arguing that point, because neither of us have any data to back it up. I've been playing war games for most of my 34 years, and 40K for 22 of those, and my own experience is sufficient for me to be wholly convinced that the assertion is a correct one.)


Now, with warmachine, what you must get your head around is

Please stop assuming that our disagreement is predicated on ignorance on my part.


everything works.

Your warmachine fanboism is every bit as cute as 40K fanboism. There are sucktacular builds in warmachine, too.

But either way, you seem to be arguing against something I didn't say. Please note that at no point did I say, "All 40K builds are equally great." I merely took exception to the statement that equally-costed armies should automatically have parity.


how you play should matter more than what you take, and in warmachine, it does. in 40k, it doesnt.

I would say, "In warmachine, it does. in 40k, it does, too." And again, this can be demonstrated, and has been demonstrated a gazillion times, every time players switch armies and the same guy still wins.


but with 40k, the list you take is three quarters of your strategy.

Ooh, a quantitative statement! Back that up with data or retract it, please.


it is, and it isnt. the point both i, and paddyalexander are trying to say is we shouldnt be punished for taking certain kinds of lists.

And what I am trying to say that yes, you should. It is simply false to say that with a netlist, skill is unnecessary. Simply, utterly false.

Deadnight
15-05-2011, 16:18
Please stop assuming that our disagreement is predicated on ignorance on my part.
.

maybe ignorance is too strong (and too negative) a term. if i may, i find the the mentality, and the thinking game behind warmachine and hordes is radically different to what you have in 40k. what i end up constantly saying to people who have started WM from 40k is to not think like a 40k player when they play. it really is a different game. I'vefound since i've started playing it, ive learned a totally new way of thinking, and viewing wargames. im saying things can, and are different in other games and that different rules do apply.




Your warmachine fanboism is every bit as cute as 40K fanboism. There are sucktacular builds in warmachine, too.


yup, just look at zherkova. :) that said, its far less evident in warmachine than in 40k. you can have awkward synnergies, and bad matchups, but on the tournament scene this is mitigated by the 2-lists per tourney system in place. and while i dislike the label "fanboy", and please, that does come across as more than a bit offensive and belittling, i will fully admit to being a fan of PP as a company, and their games. do i think the sun shines out of their back end? certainly not. do i hold GW in contempt? No, i am not an anti-gw hatenerd fanboy either (its about the only thing worse than a PP or GW fanboy) i think GW have done great things, i believe they do a better job supporting the hobby side of the hobby, and their fluff and models are amazing.



But either way, you seem to be arguing against something I didn't say. Please note that at no point did I say, "All 40K builds are equally great." I merely took exception to the statement that equally-costed armies should automatically have parity.
.

and without trying to be offensive, i believe i can say the same thing. :) look, we're both grown ups, lets stand back and get a beer. last thing i want to do is get into a pointless nerdrage argument that will just drag us both down.
Now, you are 100% correct in your above statement in regards to 40k. yes, 1500pts of tau is not equal to 1500pts of optimised space wolf, for example. where i differ from you is that i disagree that thats how things should be. i think its damaging to the game. i think other companies have managed to make a better effort at it. i think that 40k is a badly designed game, and i find that arguments about builds and balance based on such a system to be flawed. its like building a house on quicksand. maybe its just that i have a different gaming experience to you. i dont know. i will respect you enough not to talk down your gaming history-for all i know its more varied than mine. but i played 40k for 6 years solid, and then got burned out. literally. i still consider myself a player, but since ive gotten my teeth stuck into warmachine, i find very little drive to go back to it.



I would say, "In warmachine, it does. in 40k, it does, too." And again, this can be demonstrated, and has been demonstrated a gazillion times, every time players switch armies and the same guy still wins.
.


so you're saying what you take should matter more than how you play? please clarify that point for me. im saying the opposite. im saying player skill should matter more than player selection.
bear in mind, with the same lists, i have been the guy to swap around lists and win. i just find that with 40k its not always possible. some armies are inferior to others. and thats a crying shame.




Ooh, a quantitative statement! Back that up with data or retract it, please.


quite simply, i find that writing down a list in 40k has more relevance to winning than how i actually play on the 6by4. i find that tactics in a game of 40k are based primarily around target selection and dice rolling. when i played 40k tournaments (4th ed, and did uite well for the most part) i played most of my games blind drunk. winning had little to do with skill in my inebriated state! the right list, sadly, is all you need, if you ask me. i remember the lads back home complaining during tournements to qualify for the irish ETC teams how a lot of young lads wer ebasically copy/pasting the IG leafblower list and were doing really well in the tournaments despite their lack of experience of abilities with other armies. *shrug* your mileage may vary. but from my POV and my experience with a bunch of very competitive players, the list matters more. does that make sense to you? i hope ive clarified my position.



And what I am trying to say that yes, you should.

so i should be punished for taking tau, just because i took tau? thanks :P



It is simply false to say that with a netlist, skill is unnecessary. Simply, utterly false.

please see two posts up. not trying to be rude, but my mileage varies quite significantly from yours. i've seen too many peope do too well in tournaments with lists, and they wouldnt necessarily be the greatest players themselves. the lists can be too much of a crutch. my opinion from my experiences.and its why i prefer warmachine at the end of the day.

for what its worth, different strokes, different blokes. no hard feelings, eh? *cracks open a beer and stumbles off to watch batman*

Spyral
15-05-2011, 16:26
Well in a non tournament setting you can just not play someone. If someone comes up with cheese or a list that will insta-win against you then there's no point in playing.

However if you enter a competitive tournament you should be prepared for the king of cheeses.

Notanoob
15-05-2011, 16:52
Your warmachine fanboism is every bit as cute as 40K fanboism. There are sucktacular builds in warmachine, too.

But either way, you seem to be arguing against something I didn't say. Please note that at no point did I say, "All 40K builds are equally great." I merely took exception to the statement that equally-costed armies should automatically have parity.

I think that a more accurate statement about Warmachine would be that every unit has at least one army build they can be put into and be considered an excellent choice, while in 40K, some units just suck no matter what and will always be overshadowed by something else. The most extreme example would be the Pyrovore, which no matter what will always be a terrible choice. Perhaps if you really really tried and made a situation set up specifically for the Pyrovore, you might get something out of it, but even then you would probably be better off putting in a different unit.

That said, Warmachine has it a bit easier due to not having as many pre existing restriction or options like say Chaos. Nevertheless, every codex has some options that are obviously much better or worse than another, and could be easily fixed if GW gave a damn and adjusted the point costs a bit.

Archangel_Ruined
15-05-2011, 17:20
Points don't work like that. The relative worth of a unit is dependant upon the army it's in, the army it's against, the mission being played and the rules being used. Since the codices don't change for years but the rules and metagame does certain issues can and do arise. The best GW can hope for is a well costed codex when it's released, and given the almost infinite variables involved it's unreasonable to expect perfection. There are issues, different writers clearly follow different design philosophies and there are units that make no sense when compared to their competing entries. That said, the system does still work.

Meriwether
15-05-2011, 18:14
maybe ignorance is too strong (and too negative) a term.

Oh, I don't care what you call it, Deadnight. If you use clauses like "what you must get your head around is", what you are doing is calling the other person ignorant.

Now, I don't take an accusation of ignorance as an insult -- and indeed I think you'll find that I'm next to impossible to offend, at least on Warseer -- but attributing my position to ignorance is simply wrong.


im saying things can, and are different in other games and that different rules do apply.

Trivially true, but it has no bearing on anything I was saying here.


but on the tournament scene this is mitigated by the 2-lists per tourney system in place.

If you could bring two lists per tourney in 40K, you'd see a very different tournament scene. I don't see what that has to do with the core rules vis a vis some builds being stronger than others.


that does come across as more than a bit offensive and belittling

Well, on the bright side, I didn't accuse you of being ignorant. :shifty:


Now, you are 100% correct in your above statement in regards to 40k. yes, 1500pts of tau is not equal to 1500pts of optimised space wolf, for example.

Yeah, but 1500 points of tau isn't equal to 1500 points of tau, either. Indeed, the same 1500 points of tau isn't equal to itself in a different scenario, on a different board, against a different codex, or against a different build from the same codex.


so you're saying what you take should matter more than how you play?

No, that's not what I said at all. What army list you choose to bring is part of the skill of playing the game. (Unlike in, say, Risk, where each country starts with the exact same 'build', but can branch off from there as the game progresses. Have you ever tried playing Risk by allowing variation in the starting pieces possessed by each player? It's a very different game, I can assure you -- and intelligent choices on what to place where, and how much of each type of guy to have, are critical to success of various strategies.)


im saying player skill should matter more than player selection.

Yes, but what you're also saying is that it doesn't now. Not only do I disagree, but it can be trivially demonstrated by switching armies.


i just find that with 40k its not always possible.

Are you always the better player? Are the differentials in army selection so high that one truly has no hope against the other? Are you as good with your opponent's army as your opponent is with yours? Every time?

Regardless, the fact that it *is* possible validates my argument here. All this other stuff is arguing against things I didn't say.


quite simply, i find that writing down a list in 40k has more relevance to winning than how i actually play on the 6by4.

Ah, so you pulled the "three-quarters" out of your butt. I'll accept that as a retraction of the statement. :shifty:


when i played 40k tournaments (4th ed, and did uite well for the most part) i played most of my games blind drunk.

If you are implying that you won most of these games, and that there were a good number of them, and these were actual competitive tournaments, let me just state outright that I don't believe you.


so i should be punished for taking tau, just because i took tau? thanks :P

You may be conflating 'army' with 'codex', here. I'm not using them synonymously -- you can build many different armies with a single codex.


i've seen too many peope do too well in tournaments with lists, and they wouldnt necessarily be the greatest players themselves.

How do you know they're not good players in their own right, and that it was the list alone that carried them to victory?


I think that a more accurate statement about Warmachine would be that every unit has at least one army build they can be put into and be considered an excellent choice, while in 40K, some units just suck no matter what and will always be overshadowed by something else.

I concur. I disagree with a lot of people on what units are/are not simply pants, but there are some units that are just pants.


That said, the system does still work.

...sort of...

Archangel_Ruined
15-05-2011, 19:56
Sort of is the best you can hope for, that really was the main thrust of my arguement.

Deadnight
15-05-2011, 20:28
Oh, I don't care what you call it, Deadnight. If you use clauses like "what you must get your head around is", what you are doing is calling the other person ignorant.


you're the one calling it ignorant. my original point was something different to what you're implying it meant. the original point that i was making was that how things work in 40k is not how other companies do it. the meantality and thinking behind warmachine is totall different. its something that you have to get your head around-that the perceived "way" of 40k is not necessarily "the way". you implied i was calling you ignorant. i certainly wasnt. the reason i used that specific phrase was to demonstrate that it takes a complete shift in thinking to understand how other games do it, and sometimes its a bit of a headache to "change gears", because these ways are alien to 40k. that is all i was saying. "ignorant" to me is far too negative a term. ignorant to me means having a narrow viewpoint, and not wishing to budge from that, or learn more, which is why im against your use of the term.



Trivially true, but it has no bearing on anything I was saying here.


they have a bearing, if you ask me. because i've seen how things work (and how they work effectively) in other systems, i honestly cant take the mechanisms of 40k all that seriously. in this case, the idea that balance is obtained by "everything being able to kill everything else", i am free to choose units that id like to field. i have more freedom as a player to play the army i'd like to play, which is still effective, rather than having to field a specific build.



Well, on the bright side, I didn't accuse you of being ignorant. :shifty:


you were the one who brought up the term ignorant, (which is not what i was implying) and without descending into farce and snide comments, an accusation of fanboyism is a far nastier thing if you ask me.



No, that's not what I said at all. What army list you choose to bring is part of the skill of playing the game.


or 5 minutes on warseer :)



Yes but what you're also saying is that it doesn't now. Not only do I disagree, but it can be trivially demonstrated by switching armies.


im saying a players list has a far greater impact than player skill. Im sorry, but any battle between an optimal tau build, and an optimal space wolf build is going to be an uphill struggle for the tau player, experience be damned. the list is a crutch that can carry a lot of people through. that is my opinion based on my observations.



Regardless, the fact that it *is* possible validates my argument here. All this other stuff is arguing against things I didn't say.


indeed anyone can roll a 6, or a 1. basing an entire argument or a game strategy on "i hope i get a 6" doesnt really lend much weight to an argument imo.



Ah, so you pulled the "three-quarters" out of your butt. I'll accept that as a retraction of the statement. :shifty:


you're doing it again... i still maintain the list you take has more relevance than what you do on the tabletop. in many ways, 40k can and is won solely on list building if you ask me.



If you are implying that you won most of these games, and that there were a good number of them, and these were actual competitive tournaments, let me just state outright that I don't believe you.


dont believe me all you want but i did quite well in any tournament i went to for about 2 years. Never won them outright, but came top 5 or 10 a fair few times. best i did was galecon a few years back (iirc a year or two into 4th ed) with second place. i was quite happy with myself. dontworry, im ceetainly not trying to imply im the greatest player. but i did do well enough until i just lost interest in 40k. and yes, i was drunk most of the time. im irish after all. :)



You may be conflating 'army' with 'codex', here. I'm not using them synonymously -- you can build many different armies with a single codex.


only a handful of those "many different armies" will be any good though. its one of the things i do honestly dislike most intensely about 40k, that i must take one of the "the lists" to be competitive. i think it limits freedom and creativity.
point still stands though. i've not seen tau fielded competitively in tournaments in 2 or 3 years. i think its a crying shame. i understand why though. tau as a codex is old, flawed, and extremely uncompetitive. *shrug* i just think its a shame. they're my favourite race. i'd like to take them to a tourney and do well, but even the best tau list will struggle against the current meta sadly enough. it does help to reinforce my point though. why should you be punished for taking a certain build, or a certain army/codex? its not necessarily fair now, is it?

anyway, im outta here. :) cheers

Egaeus
15-05-2011, 20:54
Yeah, but 1500 points of tau isn't equal to 1500 points of tau, either. Indeed, the same 1500 points of tau isn't equal to itself in a different scenario, on a different board, against a different codex, or against a different build from the same codex.

And this to me is the fundamental problem with 40K. The points costs are merely abstractions and yet many players treat them as if they actually had significant meaning. Unforuntately the main problem is that is all we have. How many times have you heard "Unit A is over-/under-costed"? My usual response is that, for that player and how they use that unit with whatever else they have in their army they may be absolutely right. The usefulness they get out of a particular unit doesn't match up with its price tag. Now when a large majority of players come to the same conclusion does that not at least imply that there is an issue?

I agree with the other posters who have stated that it would be nice if Codexes didn't have any truly "bad" units. The only major issue is that certain units tend to be dedicated to certain tasks, so if those tasks aren't something the army needs doing then those units don't really have a place.

Consider units that are very good at taking down GEQ infantry but aren't great at dealing with MEQs...if your metagame has more MEQ armies running around then this unit is going to be considered a "bad" unit...even though it can really shine if given the chance to perform its intended role. Or consider two units dedicated to being anti-vehicle units...if they perform equally well but one is significantly cheaper or more avaiable, then that will likely be the "go to" unit for the army.

To me, the "specific role" units are the ones that are harder to balance properly since there is usually no guarantee that they will have the ability to perform their role in any given game.

Do I have a solution? Not really...I've contemplated trying different setups for building armies without resorting to individual model points values but few seem as viable. I once saw two players play a game just by taking turns putting out a unit at a time until they felt like both players had enough models on the board...no points costs at all (I assume they played WYSIWYG). Of course they were just playing "for fun" and I don't think it really mattered who won.

Meriwether
15-05-2011, 20:59
indeed anyone can roll a 6, or a 1. basing an entire argument or a game strategy on "i hope i get a 6" doesnt really lend much weight to an argument imo.

I have no idea how you think that is at all relevant to this conversation. It certainly bears no resemblance to any argument either of us have made up to this point.


you're doing it again...

Yes, indeed I am. You made the "three fourths" up because it sounds good, but have nothing to back it up. I have called you on it, and you've neither proffered evidence that there is something behind the number besides ephemera, nor have you backed away from it.

Thus, I'm calling it bunk.


i still maintain the list you take has more relevance than what you do on the tabletop. in many ways, 40k can and is won solely on list building if you ask me.

This is restatement of what you've already said, with no additional support. "Three fourths" has been replaced by "more", and then by "solely" in the next statment. Why not 15/16ths? Or 527/1000ths?

Why not 1/4? Or 1/5? Or 50%?

You have nothing to base your assertion on other than a gut feeling, whereas I have a demonstrable activity anyone reading this thread can engage in, wherein they can see that what you are saying is false. I'm fully aware at this point that I won't convince *you*, but perhaps others reading the thread will see my point.


dont believe me all you want

Oh, don't worry on that score.

There's a big difference between "blind drunk" and "had a buzz", just as there's a big difference between "three fourths" and "some".


point still stands though.

Continuing to say that won't make it true.


i've not seen tau fielded competitively in tournaments in 2 or 3 years. i think its a crying shame. i understand why though. tau as a codex is old, flawed, and extremely uncompetitive.

5th edition eviscerated the Tau. They desperately need an update; we agree on that.


why should you be punished for taking a certain build, or a certain army/codex? its not necessarily fair now, is it?

These questions are not rhetorical. You build your list and you take the consequences (good and bad) for bringing what you choose to bring. That's perfectly fair.

When your codex, which was previously viable, becomes unviable, that is unfair and given how much 40K costs, GW should rectify those situations through updates, patches, or new codices much faster than they currently do.

And all of the above HAS NOTHING to do with my argument.

paddyalexander said, "In a well designed & balanced rules system two different armies of equal points, constructed using the same rules restrictions should be equaly matched in power. There should be no talk of competitive verus casual, no talk of teirs of power & no need for composition rules imposed by the player community."

He is wrong, because equal point armies will have different strengths and weaknesses, and it is not difficult to get into a rock-paper-scissors situation if you don't make a good list -- and that's not the fault of the game system.

That's all I was saying. All the rest of this is beside the point.

Meriwether
15-05-2011, 21:13
And this to me is the fundamental problem with 40K.

Good points overall, but I have to ask:

Have you ever encountered a game where different units have different stats at different costs that hasn't run into the same issues? (Note that I'm NOT saying that 40K can't do a better job... i.e. mandrakes, chaos spawn).

althathir
15-05-2011, 21:38
I think the burden of playing fair rests on everybody involved, but the game designers really have the first shot at it.

The area that concerns me the most though is the lack of support of the older ranges. Every army should be getting FAQ updates similiar to what DA and Black templars received when they reach a certain point, and for armies like nids that got shafted by their faq there should be a review process. The fault here doesn't lie with the designers or players its with GW corporate who could update rules more frequently without it hurting their new release sales.


@Anakonda

And the idea that the squad using the pistols have been trained to attack the weak points on an armoured vehicle or that they are carrying clips of special armour piercing bullets that they can switch out to when attacking vehicles is less realistic than a race of sentiant mushrooms with an anger control problem.

By following your own points the 40k & WFB are not balanced game systems. A 2000 point Tau, Necron or Witch Hunter army is not equal in power to 2000 points of Space Wolves or Blood Angels. As has been repeatadly mentioned by other posters, that within this imbalanced system certain army builds are also imbalanced against each other.

Looking at information from adepticon, one of the biggest 40k tournies in the world shows a snap shot of how balanced the different races currently are against each other.

http://www.belloflostsouls.net/2011/04/40k-state-of-meta-post-adepticon-2011.html

Also I'm not talking about cheating. One should always be a good sportsman. Which is a lot easier when playing a decently writen rulest.



Why not? Other games with balanced rulesets feel fair when you play them. When I lose in Warmachine it's because my opponent was better than I was with a smattering of luck thrown in. It wasn't because I lost an arguement/dice roll over a poorly defined rule. It wasn't because I picked an army or units within that army that the system punished me for taking. Balance is achievable in 40k, it would have to begin with clearly defined, clear core rules. It would then require rigerous playtesting of each Codex that would have to be designed to an over arching philosophy of balance within the book, so every unit is viable & worth its' points without being undercosted. And also balanced with the other races rules.

Never going to happen with the current company but one can dream.

I wouldn't read to much into the adepticon results for army balance or even try to estimate what the meta is from it.

1) Quite a few players had to travel in order to reach the event and SM are the eastiest army transpot.

2) A lot of players their are a lot more concerned about crystal brushes, so brought their best looking army.

3) 38 of the 40 transfer requests where to space wolves, and i'll bet quite a few of them were chaos players; who weren't happy with their codex (a 4th book), and had to make very few changes to make it fit.

4) that table doesn't show how different armies executed, iirc orks and both eldar fractions had the highest average battle points, whereas wolves were above average but not by much, and imp guard did horrible but I feel pretty secure in saying they have a really good codex right now.

Deadnight
15-05-2011, 22:31
Yes, indeed I am. You made the "three fourths" up because it sounds good, but have nothing to back it up. I have called you on it, and you've neither proffered evidence that there is something behind the number besides ephemera, nor have you backed away from it.

Thus, I'm calling it bunk.

This is restatement of what you've already said, with no additional support. "Three fourths" has been replaced by "more", and then by "solely" in the next statment. Why not 15/16ths? Or 527/1000ths?

Why not 1/4? Or 1/5? Or 50%?

You have nothing to base your assertion on other than a gut feeling, whereas I have a demonstrable activity anyone reading this thread can engage in, wherein they can see that what you are saying is false. I'm fully aware at this point that I won't convince *you*, but perhaps others reading the thread will see my point.


As i've repeatedly said, this view stems from my observations of the game, actual tournaments, and playing with an extremely competitive group back in ireland. it is entirely my view, and entirely my opinion based on my experiences. gut instinct? yup. soundbite? yup, but from my experience, its still an accurate overvation. there has been little that i've seen to dissuade me from my POV. if something does turn up, you will be the fist to know. but please, show some respect for a fellow poster and dont simply dismiss it out of hand. as i've said, your mileage may vary.



These questions are not rhetorical. You build your list and you take the consequences (good and bad) for bringing what you choose to bring. That's perfectly fair.

When your codex, which was previously viable, becomes unviable, that is unfair and given how much 40K costs, GW should rectify those situations through updates, patches, or new codices much faster than they currently do.


dont these two paragraphs entirely contradict each other?

i personally dont think its fair that in a tournament setting, you're all but forced into a narrow range of uberlists. I dont think its fair that a lot of lists, a lot of units within lists and even entire codices cannot compete. my experiences are that this is the situation in GW games. In other systems, it is far less evident. which is what i like about them. :)



paddyalexander said, "In a well designed & balanced rules system two different armies of equal points, constructed using the same rules restrictions should be equaly matched in power. There should be no talk of competitive verus casual, no talk of teirs of power & no need for composition rules imposed by the player community."

He is wrong, because equal point armies will have different strengths and weaknesses, and it is not difficult to get into a rock-paper-scissors situation if you don't make a good list -- and that's not the fault of the game system.

That's all I was saying. All the rest of this is beside the point.

going back to the start of the argument then? fair enough. :) you know my opinion though. you wont convince me,and i wont convince you. lets leave it at that. :) cheers.

Grand Master Raziel
15-05-2011, 22:45
There's responsibility on the part of both the designers and the players. The designers are responsible for providing us a game with reasonably balanced factions. In this, Games Workshop has not exactly done the best possible job, with some factions badly in need of updates - Necrons and Tau being in the most obvious need.

Also, the designers should rapidly identify and correct problems within the game. In this, GW has done a miserable job, due to their almost complete refusal to embrace the internet as a legitimate way to distribute errata and corrections.

That said, GW does give us, the players, a lot more choice over the composition of our armies than other game companies do. This requires a certain degree of competence on the part of the individual player, but it shouldn't take too terribly long to figure out you need to prepare your army to deal with a wide variety of units, either by upgrading individual units to be capable of taking on anything or by having units to cover particular needs.

There are also things that are completely beyond the designers control - collection depth is a very good example of this. If you have someone who's paid X for their army, they're going to be at a disadvantage compared to someone who's spent 2X on his. No amount of game balance can erase that. That makes it the responsibility of the guy who spent 2X not to be a douche when he's playing against the guy who could only afford X.

So, I'd say there's responsibility both ways, but more on the players than the designers.

samiens
15-05-2011, 23:01
Just a quick note that 5th ed is far more balanced than 4th, so it would be a better evidence base as its also current.

I play Tau competitively and there is only one army I feel has a vastly unfair advantage against me- blood angels. Optimised tau can beat optimised space wolves when played well.

Meriwether
16-05-2011, 02:16
Can you please stop with the "I'm being the bigger man by walking away... as long as I have the last word" thing? If you reply to me, chances are good I'll reply back. If you want to stop having the conversation, that's cool.


dont these two paragraphs entirely contradict each other?

No, they don't.


going back to the start of the argument then?

It is the only point I came here to make, and I've never left it.


I play Tau competitively and there is only one army I feel has a vastly unfair advantage against me- blood angels. Optimised tau can beat optimised space wolves when played well.

What do Blood Angels have that Space Wolves don't that cause such a problem for Tau?

Egaeus
16-05-2011, 02:38
Good points overall, but I have to ask:

Have you ever encountered a game where different units have different stats at different costs that hasn't run into the same issues? (Note that I'm NOT saying that 40K can't do a better job... i.e. mandrakes, chaos spawn).

Hmm...a very good question. I don't tend to play a lot of different miniatures games (I have neither the resources nor the space to do so). The one game that does come to mind that I have experience with is BattleTech, but it is something of a different beast.

For those who don't know, the original game did not have any kind of truly objective "points value"...the major measure was the tonnage of units and the understanding that vehicles were worth something less than 'Mechs. Over the years a number of different systems were devised for calculating the "value" of various units.

But the major thing to me about Battletech was that even in the original 2nd edition box set rules they gave you the design system to create your own units. Over the years "they" (Fasa and now Catalyst Games) have published dozens of Technical Readouts with hundreds of different units, yet they all use the same creation rules. So from that perspective although units can have fundamentally different properties there is an underlying sense of balance. I would also point out that they just recently released a 25th Anniversary Introductory Set and in those 25 years the core mechanics of the game have not changed.

And yes, I suppose I am letting a bit of my Battletech fanboyism show. ;)

The thing to me is that 40K uses the same "core system" for all armies. So there doesn't seem to be any fundamental reason why a cohesive design system couldn't work. I was actually considering recently that I haven't seen any such discussions recently despite the fact that they typically boil down into the "they could do if they wanted" versus the "it would be too difficult" crowds.

Who else remembers the VDR? Despite the fact that they weren't really meant to be "good" rules (although as I understand it these were the rules Forge World used [uses?] for their vehicles?) they were fairly easy to use although they were quite abusable. Something like that with an eye towards balance (although at some point that "balance" would have to be defined) and now GW has a "system" for statting vehicles. For all armies.

Fundamentally though it's still a dislike of the knowledge that GW "guesstimates" point values for units than being to solidly say "Unit A costs X points because they have such-and-such stats and these abilities".

Meriwether
16-05-2011, 02:56
Hmm...a very good question. I don't tend to play a lot of different miniatures games (I have neither the resources nor the space to do so). The one game that does come to mind that I have experience with is BattleTech, but it is something of a different beast.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but doesn't everything in BattleTech essentially build off of the same template or set of templates, so as far as "army creation" goes, things are inherently balanced because (by analogy to 40K) you're all essentially working from the same codex?

Charistoph
16-05-2011, 03:52
Correct me if I'm wrong, but doesn't everything in BattleTech essentially build off of the same template or set of templates, so as far as "army creation" goes, things are inherently balanced because (by analogy to 40K) you're all essentially working from the same codex?

Yes and no. There are different generations of tech, two-three sources of tech, and 3 levels of building the equipment. Clan tech is always lighter, less bulky, and/or more powerful than the Inner Sphere counter-parts. So if you're both playing Level 2 Clan, then you can go by tonnage, but if one person is playing Inner Sphere and the other Clan, then it's better going by the Build Value (BV) of the units, as Clan gear always "costs" more, so generally fit fewer units on the field. Level 3 tech is usually out-there-ideas, akin to ForgeWorld, and, while fun, could make some units very powerful. Again, BV was used to balance these out.

Mostly, the BV was subjective, but usually far more balanced than 40K is, but then, when you're calculating a point value for a single model in the thousands, that can be relatively easy. To put it another way, if an IG Guardsman was worth 50 points per model, it would be easier to ignore minor fluctuations of point values for specific models with specific gear because the end difference isn't that extreme. This is a case where the point values for the Grey Hunters comes into play as abusive, as they have the same stats as a Tactical Marine, more gear, and really nasty close combat rule, but yet, cost the same per model. To use a BattleTech analogy, C:SM is running Inner Sphere gear while C:SW is running Clan, but they're both fielding the same tonnage, at least for the basic Troops.



The thing to me is that 40K uses the same "core system" for all armies. So there doesn't seem to be any fundamental reason why a cohesive design system couldn't work. I was actually considering recently that I haven't seen any such discussions recently despite the fact that they typically boil down into the "they could do if they wanted" versus the "it would be too difficult" crowds.

Who else remembers the VDR? Despite the fact that they weren't really meant to be "good" rules (although as I understand it these were the rules Forge World used [uses?] for their vehicles?) they were fairly easy to use although they were quite abusable. Something like that with an eye towards balance (although at some point that "balance" would have to be defined) and now GW has a "system" for statting vehicles. For all armies.

Fundamentally though it's still a dislike of the knowledge that GW "guesstimates" point values for units than being to solidly say "Unit A costs X points because they have such-and-such stats and these abilities".

Basically, I have to agree with this. Where GW is running in to trouble is that newer codecies are getting gear for their units "for free" so that way players can fit more models on to the field for the same point levels they did with previous editions. Now the point values aren't properly set, relatively, for every model in comparison that is being put on the field. We still have 9 codecies which haven't had this treatment yet (arguably 10, if someone thinks Orks haven't had it yet). The better way would have been to just set higher expectations for game point values, or to set an internal point value system, akin to BattleTech. The first would have had people complaining how their models were nerfed by costing more. The second would have required a complete revamp of the system ala 3rd Edition, and they just barely finished recovering from all the after affects of THAT change over.

LordDarkhan
16-05-2011, 04:27
This is not a simple question. If you're making a tournament-based game, you should make armies as fair as possible. If you want a flavorful game, you should allow as many options as possible and have the players balance it appropriately. D&D 4e is a very balanced game, but the characters are not even 1/8 as interesting as the D&D 3.5 characters. It really just depends on the point of the game. People will always want to win at all costs, and I, personally, would rather just not play with those people.

Egaeus
16-05-2011, 04:31
Correct me if I'm wrong, but doesn't everything in BattleTech essentially build off of the same template or set of templates, so as far as "army creation" goes, things are inherently balanced because (by analogy to 40K) you're all essentially working from the same codex?

Charistoph summed it up very well. The one thing I wanted to add on that note is that while it is still all essentially "human" tech the various factions do have preferences for the types of units they field and the tactics they employ. Actually the Dark Age miniature game emphasized this more as all the units were faction-specific rather than just being a unit preferred by one group or another.

Basically that is why I mentioned the fact that all the armies in 40K use the same core rules. Some have preferences for certain types of units and some are stronger/weaker in some areas. But this is done by design to make each faction "different". I think this is why there is so much Marine hate...all Marines use essentially the same "core rules" so it is just those artificial differences that at times seem like they are there merely for "difference's sake". But since all armies fundamentally use the same ruleset I don't see any reason why if a system for unit design was created why it wouldn't work across the board.

I really liked the 4th Edition Marine Codex Traits. For as much as they were maligned for not having harsh enough disadvantages I always argued that the disadvantages were merely to give the illusion of giving something up. Most of the Traits were either simple swaps or had an additional point costs associated with them to use, so in many cases it wasn't getting something for nothing. Disadvantages were there merely to maintain that "true vanilla" was something special. As it stands it seems to me that GW feel the need to add more and more "out there" stuff to these other books to justify having them as a seperate army.

I didn't mean to turn this into a Marine rant...I just wanted to mention that with a more fleshed-out Trait system you could roll all the Marine codexes into one and still have a very flexible system with a wide range of builds. The same sort of system could be applied to nearly any army in the game.

However on that note I would also mention that at times GW likes to use the points cost in a "penalty points" fashion. Some units are expensive not because they should be expensive but by making them cost more than they otherwise should it (obviously) limits their use.

I want to have a conclusion but I feel if I go on too much more I am starting to ramble.

slingersam
16-05-2011, 04:47
What do Blood Angels have that Space Wolves don't that cause such a problem for Tau?

I think I can answer that question, as BA's and Tau are my main army. BA's have the ability to get in your face very quickly while also providing an assortment of ranged quality shooting. Tau isn't mobile enough to out maneuver BA's nor have the quality amount of fire power to stop a BA's advance (with JP's and FNP). Tau only has a couple of items that can deal with that, and that is plasma rifles, Railguns, Ion cannon and fusion blasters (cyclonic Ion gun can work but on to wound roll of 6's). Of those options 2 of them are for Anti vehicle. Also one of the options competes in the Heavy support, and the plasma for effectiveness puts them in charge range of the squad they just shot at. So tau will be at a disadvantage against BA's.

I feel balancing should be done by the game designers with the faq coming out and sniping any type of broken lists that can occur. By this I mean, if the game is fairly balanced but a person happens to put together this really strong selection of units that put the rest of the armies at a disadvantage it should be corrected instantly. Also as a side note I do not like how GW will only faq a book once. When people are telling them problems they should try to correct it as soon as possible and not leave it up to the people to correct. In this world their are people that like to win at all costs nothing can be done about it

ehlijen
16-05-2011, 04:52
Battletech is a great game, but it does not do balance nearly as well as 40k does. Instead it chickens out of the debate by saying "everyone can have everything, so it's your responsibility to pick what's good".

AC5s vs PPCs, clan energy vs clan anything else, ferro fibrous vs endosteel...balance can only be found through the assumption that all players can choose not to take the inferior option.

And even when using the same techbase and the same faction, equality is not as easy as tonnage (Jagermech vs thunderbolt?).

40k works on the basis of every faction getting different things but not getting everything the other factions get (this even applies to the marine variants, though obviously not as strongly). If 40k were to take the Battletech approach we'd have one big book called 'codex: everything' (albeit possibly released in seperate installments, but who needs it as we'd have the unit design rules anyway) and we'd be told to make our own balance.

Tonnage doesn't work as a balancing tool in battletech and none of the battlevalue, c-bill costs or combat value systems they've tried have been both easily useable and fair (and sometimes neither).

As much as I love battletech and think that it works well enough to be a great game, I think 40k had the better idea as to how to make armies that were truly varied. GW may have chewed off a bigger balancing act than they can handle, but at least they're trying much harder than CGL (they make Battletech these days, right?).

Hellebore
16-05-2011, 05:05
I think I will quote myself from another thread to explain my position on this:


Yes, it would take a singular kind of player not to think that a 5pt upgrade to make a gun strength 8 was a bad option.

It would also take a strange kind of person to spam units that are horrible. The whole reason spamming occurs is because the units are good and taking lots of them makes them better than not taking them.

I don't like exploitive lists, spamming etc. But that doesn't make those lists illegal. They are completely legal under the rules. If it shouldn't happen then the rules shouldn't allow it to happen.

If we are supposed to rely on player discretion then why are there limitations and FoCs in the first place? The fact is, if you are going to write structured rules that dictate what people can and cannot do, then you bear the responsibility when those dictations allow people to do things they shouldn't.

The only way it's the players' faults is if there is no restriction on unit selection. Then the writer bears no responsibility for how you construct your list.

But GW doesn't work that way, therefore if they insist on structuring how you play, they must take responsibility for the inadequacies of said structure.

Hellebore


In a nutshell - if you are going to make a game that structures play, then it is entirely your responsibility to ensure that said structure functions the way you want it to. If players (by you as designer's opinion) shouldn't be able to take 3 of X or do Y then it behooves you to prevent that.

When you have decided that your game is played in the ways specificed in your rulebooks, when those rules go into detail about FoC limitations, exceptions to limitations, wargear costs based on usefulness of items, to turn around and blame the player is farcical.

Your intent as designer is clear, you level of control of how players play is clear. If subsequently people play your game in a way you don't like then it is your fault as designer that you didn't ensure it couldn't be done that way.

The rules are there to tell the players how to play, if your rules tell them to play a way you don't like, then the only person you have to blame is yourself.

EDIT: The idea of douchy play is a complete value judgement. The game doesn't run on value judgements, it runs on the rules given. Using the rules given is how you play the game. Without them you cannot play. If you have an opinion that something you can do with the rules is 'wrong', then it's just that, an opinion. If that affects the balance of the game to enable both players to play evenly, then it is a problem with the rules. But if everyone's opinion of what was fair and unfair play was actually taken at face value, the game would disintegrate under the deluge. Ergo, simply claiming something is broken despite it being completely possible within the parameters of the game does not make it broken. There actually has to be compelling evidence to suggest it is. Any claim like that is in effect saying that the designer's didn't intend for that affect to happen and then you get into the subjective territory of intention vs written, which is effectively trying to ascertain the mindset of the author as a means to measure 'stupidity' within any given piece of writing.

Until a designer says 'X rule is bad and anyone that uses it is going against how we want you to play' and then changes it, anyone that claims they 'know' how the game 'should' be played is applying subjective value judgements to the rules.

The game is to be played using the rules. Until the designer of those rules says that you shouldn't do what the rules say you should do, then the rules as they are written are how the game is supposed to be played.

The only burden on the player is a grasp of grammar, basic logic and the definition of terms. Because that is all that is needed to turn written concepts into practical play. In a game designed to tell me how to play, I cannot play with unknowns that are outside the boundaries of the game. The only way a player can be at fault is if they fail to follow the rules correctly. Even then it can still be the fault of the writer if they use a term in a different way to the commonly understood definition of said term, or simply do not say what they intend.

It would be nice to blame the reader for my writing inadequacies - 'Well when I said the dog jumped over the log what you should have actually read was the dog peed on the log and then did the chacha - you are teh stupid reader lol' but the simple fact is, if you cannot convey your intent in the written word then you suck. If your intent is conveyed following all the rules and logic required for your language and the person reading it still doesn't understand, then they suck.

Hellebore

samiens
16-05-2011, 06:37
Its been said well above bit the speed of the blood angels is what they have over tau that space wolves does not. Tau can kill large numbers of marines if they can create a situation where they have enough turns out of combat, BA can easily take that away and they are too tough to effectively deal with in the time available

Karlosovic
16-05-2011, 10:08
i like the thought of being able to play a game where i can, essentially field whatever the hell i like, and still have a capable force.To an extent, I agree. I hate the fact that all my favourite units in the Space Wolves army (Lords and jump-pack/biker blood claws) are considered bad choices.

...a dude with a basic pistol has a very reasonable chance of one shotting anything in the gameBut that's just silly and not at all realistic.

I want a game where any unit in the army can be a viable choice if used correctly.
I don't want a game where I can make rediculous or limited choices in composition (or any other area) and still expect to win.
A guy with a pistol should be worth having, sure, but you can't only fieldguys with a pistol and expect to emerge victorious in a naval battle, or against a balanced mixed armour/infantry task force.

I like the fact that 40K has units that specialise in certain tasks. It's common sense that you would have to field a mix of units though because specialists are just that - experts at one particular thing - they CAN'T do everything!



40k to me is a game dominated by the special, the heavy, and the mech. nothing else factors into it to any appreciable level.But sone of the very best and most talked about units in the game are troop choices - like Grey Hunters (although that's because they're considered under-priced)

orkmiester
16-05-2011, 10:30
A lot of these problems are down to the players themselves...:rolleyes:

after all it is us who play the game so 'playing fair' is the best way to get the most out of it... of course tourneys and such i'll take out of the argument because we all know that its where 'abusing' things comes to the fore...

i admit some of the rules are a little well odd etc BUT you cannot deny the fact that they have stood the test of time in more ways than one (whereas other systems have not...:angel:)

take the rules on their own and they seem 'fair' and 'balanced' looking at it. However when you have played several editions then things look a little different...

in fact WHFB is probably the best example of this as really 40k is warhammer with guns with markedly different ideas behind it... indeed the MAIN problem is not the rules its the dexes for each army that are the problem as quite a few are not up to current standards (ahem thats another debate;)). like necrons, SOB and others so really these need to be sorted out- but as we know when that happens a new edition will be out and the whole process starts again... (and guess who gets the first dex :eyebrows:)

so its partly the game desingners fault- not updating codexes at the same time.

and we are to blame as well...:shifty:

and on those who mentioned historical wargames- that is a whole different ball game as many players will also be history buffs who will want said units etc to be represented properly (as well as the technology changes WWII being a perfect example), which means realisim has to come in. So tiger tanks have to be pretty indistructable at one time then later on of course you call in the flyboys who casue hell...

of course if they started nerfing things- like mech armies etc then eveyone would complain, in WHFB this does not exist (well some 'types' of unit have been toned down) which is why i consider it 'better' than 40k in some ways- i.e your army as a whole has to work rather than 'spamm meltavets':D which does my head in...

all in all we are all collectivley to blame, but how are the games designers supposed to predict what jo bloggs will take in an army? and if all the armies were like in 3rd (where the lists were in the rule book) then people would moan then 'sigh'

balance can never really be achieved there is only an 'equilibrium'

just my take...

DeeKay
16-05-2011, 13:19
As far as I'm concerned, games developers are paid to develop a game that is as unambiguous as possible and sticking to a clear design principle whether it be making each faction unique or allowing a little of everything for each.

Gamers have to decide what they want from the game. After all, super-competitive gamers will not appreciate a fluff gamer's lovingly created 122nd Caidian cityfighters if it consists of little more than sub-optimal choices. Likewise, the fluff gamer will not truely appreciate the level of thought and planning that goes into a 2 turn tabling.

In closing, I say it's a collaborative effort needed from everyone involved in each individual game. The problem is that more often than not games developers cannot cater for everybody (gamers, bosses etc) so they don't even try.

With regards,
Dan.

Bassik
16-05-2011, 13:51
Our club has a philosophy:"don't be a dork". It worked so far.

Poseidal
16-05-2011, 13:53
Ultimately, dice games like Warhammer and Bloodbowl are tests of your appraisal skill (this is pretty much what Blood Bowl is all about, as almost everything you do is a risk so it's about the appraisal of whether your action needs to be taken now, later or even not at all).

This applies both in game and before (the metagame, or list building time).

When the designer makes there few 'viable' options or several 'must have' options in the list building part of the game, it fails to test the player's appraisal skill so fails as a game.

Ultimately, as GW make a Force Org chart with slots and points values they've given a structure which players are free to fill. If they only give a few 'useful' options because of the design of the rules, that's not much fun for the player.

The way 40k is built is a competitive (tournament) game, which is the easiest to 'pick up play'. If it were framed as narrative or campaign based, the structure would be a lot different.

Egaeus
16-05-2011, 15:44
i admit some of the rules are a little well odd etc BUT you cannot deny the fact that they have stood the test of time in more ways than one (whereas other systems have not...:angel:)

In the years I have been playing the game it's gone through 3 editions. While the core mechanics have not changed significantly how the game plays has changed extensively (I started in 3rd so never played Rogue Trader or 2nd Edition). I would hardly call that "standing the test of time".

(As I mentioned earlier CGL just released a 25th Aniiversary Battletech set and it uses the same basic rules it always has. And then there's always games like Risk or Chess).




and on those who mentioned historical wargames- that is a whole different ball game as many players will also be history buffs who will want said units etc to be represented properly (as well as the technology changes WWII being a perfect example), which means realisim has to come in. So tiger tanks have to be pretty indistructable at one time then later on of course you call in the flyboys who casue hell...

But what defines "properly"? Obviously with historicals we have records to show how things actually performed, but one could problably find instances where statistical anomalies occur...if we were to base our game rules around such instances you would still get :wtf: moments (I don't know if it's true but I've heard the Naval War College games the Battle of Midway and that the U.S. forces have never won...).

Sure in fantasy and sci-fi games many of the units are created by the designers, but they are usually meant to fill a specific role so there is still a level of expectation about how a particular unit should perform. Actually this is one of those issues that arises quite often in 40K...that units don't work like they should or represent the unit as it is presented in the background material. Of course in some instances you have to take it with a grain of salt (otherwise you get Movie Marines) but at other times it is just bad design. And then on top of bad design you can get poor pricing.



all in all we are all collectivley to blame, but how are the games designers supposed to predict what jo bloggs will take in an army? and if all the armies were like in 3rd (where the lists were in the rule book) then people would moan then 'sigh'

balance can never really be achieved there is only an 'equilibrium'

just my take...

Hmm...the designers write the rules and assign the points costs for the units. They had better also understand how the game works (i.e. the use of Force Organization Charts and the different kinds of missions) as well as have a grasp on what the other armies in the game are capable of. So I think one could make a pretty strong argument that they can make a reasonable guess when writing a Codex "what someone will take", at least in general.

Which often makes me wonder how they actually playtest things and what kinds of notes they actually take during the process. How some things make it into a Codex in the form they do is beyond me. Although if I had to hazard a guess I would say that it's possible they have a quota of units to fill, so they have to fill the book with something.

I would concur with your last statement. With all the options available and different styles of play I don't think you can really get a "true balance"...even in chess white has the advantage of getting to go first. You can only get to a point where it's "close enough" that the inequalities aren't glaring.

AFnord
16-05-2011, 17:19
As pointed out before, the actual "leafblower" list isn't what its made out to be at all, it's a term that has gained a lot of myth for being oft repeated on internet forums, and won through several consecutive favorable matchups. The whole "leafblower" thing is primarily BoLS hype that "sky is falling" types have run away with. Very few people can even define what a "leafblower" is, and such definitions often don't accurately resemble the real list that Darkwynn used. This also creates interesting issues, where player perception of fair due to what they may hear or read, often does not match the reality, and then it falls to the players to sort things out.

In my experience, having faced something similar (but downscaled) to the "original" leafblower, the daemonhunter element effectively plugged a few holes in the list, thus making it better than it should have been. Unbeatable? Hardly, but against certain armies it was just far far too good, and against most armies it was just very good. The list effectively broke the game in some regards, and that was an issue.

Easy E
16-05-2011, 17:29
Is it a different game type due to not having pts or a different mentality due to not having pts? ;-)

Let me respond. What came first, the chicken or the egg?

Now to asnwer the questions. The Game developers need to make a game where the fundamental mechnics work. I.e. if you try to determine the results of a shot, at the end of the process; you know the result of the shot. If at the end of the process you do not know, you have failed as a designer.

From there, it is up to the players to ensure they are playing a game that they want to play.

Obviously, a professional games designer (who wants to make money) needs to design a game that appeals to the largest number of players so you make one that tries to cater to the games people want to play.

I heard a video game designer discussing what make a successful game. Gamers want these things:

1. Goals
2. A clear measure of how well they are achieving a goal
3. A sense of being part of something larger

That's it.

Edit: I would argue that GW games are played exactly as the designers intend them. People buy models. That is the end all and be all of designer intent for GW games. Specialist Games do not meet this intent, therefore they no longer exist in a living way.

Edit: Edit- If you really want to "balance" a GW game, all you need is a Game Master. Just like the original rules and most RPGs.

nightgant98c
16-05-2011, 18:55
Game designers should try to make the most balanced rules they can. However, no rule set is without flaws. Something always gets through playtesting, or seems pretty harmless til somebody puts it with some other seemingly harmless thing, creating horribly broken combo. At that point, it's up to players to not be the jerk who actually abuses these flaws.

Oakwolf
16-05-2011, 20:15
I would take a guess that the designer's primary job isn't exactly to make a balanced game system for the pleasure of veterans, but rather to increase the sales, at least unofficially.

So this leads to rules being written favorably for a new model, rather than game balance. I had a smile when i saw the new edition of Warhammer try to "gently convince" players that they needed to make bigger units. It was such a poorly disguised marketing technique.

I think that's why i migrated to specialists games, where the rules have been made for the game and not as much for the miniatures (especially Blood Bowl and Battlefleet Gothic)

yabbadabba
16-05-2011, 20:22
So this leads to rules being written favorably for a new model, rather than game balance. I had a smile when i saw the new edition of Warhammer try to "gently convince" players that they needed to make bigger units. It was such a poorly disguised marketing technique. If that was the case templates and uber spells wouldn't be as powerful. WFB is far more swings and roundabouts than people give it credit for. Time will tell.

"Fair play" is down to the players, not the rules. GW designers are beholden to the shareholders, all other designers are beholden to what vision they have in their mind. Success marks how good the rules are, not fair play.

Easy E
17-05-2011, 11:57
This seems to be about people wanting everything handed to them by GW. If I wanted that, I would go play Risk or Chess.

Half the fun of this game is the variability and "big" sandbox style of the game. No one can make a balanced game with the variables that the gamers themselves demand.

Therefore, it is up to the players to ensure they are playignin a way that they enjoy.

Memnos
17-05-2011, 12:05
I would say that the designers aren't just modern Shylocks seeking to lend you decent rules until the next Codex/Army Book comes out, where they'll cut out their pound of flesh and make you buy a new army.

In 40K, the Imperial Guard are still top dog despite being a little bit old.

In Fantasy, the last few army books have been solidly mid-tier.

Karlosovic
20-05-2011, 09:00
Ugh, why?

I like the fact that you have to, you know, like think and stuff when you decide what to bring in your army.but the whole point is you don't have to think!! There's apparently only one list that works and someone else already put it on the net. All you have to do is print it out and buy the models


Somewhere along the line it became a mini-meme that army composition mattering is a bad thing... From where I'm sitting, there is no truth to that assertion.You can use all the fancy words you like, but you still missed the point. Of course composition should matter, but I want there to be more than one choice! I want to be able to choose from every unit in the codex!!! Not randomly, of course, but every option in the army MUST have a use and if used in the right way, should be a viable selection. The fact is, even in the good armies, this simply isn't the case - that's without even going into the fact that sometimes you're destined to lose just by your choice of codex!!

Balance? where?

Games Workshop has a bloody hide charging so much for their minatures when they can't even supply a decent set of rules to use them with

Poseidal
20-05-2011, 09:07
The strongest list depends on the metagame.

An optimum list consists of (usually) the most efficient choices in the army list. GW army lists are generally shallow enough that players have identified these on release, with only a few upsets coming up.

An optimum list catered towards one target will be weaker against a list designed to beat it (unless costing is so bad that the weaker army can't even win then).

Tier is determined by matchups. To determine whether your list is good, it's matchups are rated against each army and their strong builds. The one with the highest positive ratios is higher tier. If it isn't god-tier (+ve matchups against most to all other compositions) there should be some weaknesses in the matchup.

Blink
20-05-2011, 10:36
My problem with "the burden of fair play" is that in this game, I am always looking for strategies and to match wits to be the superior general against my opponent. What many call "cheesy" or "overpowered" I care little about. Take your Long Fangs, Vulkan, Mephiston and what-have-you and it's on me to devise a way to beat it all with the resources I have. I should hope my opponent feels the same.

However sometimes I find that's not the case and my opponents have a completely foreign concept of the game which I don't understand. I don't get what exactly I'm not supposed to take. I remember playing with The Deceiver in a 1,000 point Tournament and my opponents laughed and reminded me how easily I would phase out... I then proceeded to win the whole tournament (and a blister), and then everyone cried cheese saying I was a power player... Which I didn't really understand because I let my first opponents go ABOVE the given point value of the tournament by 3 points, and then my second opponent had a VERY liberal definition of 6" movement, and I let him go back a phase when he forgot to move a unit (his Ymgarls).

I feel like I have to give my opponents handicaps (which I do with zero complaints to them), and then I STILL suck the power player criticism.

So that's my problem with the whole "players draw the line" thing. Casual or tournament, I don't really understand what's the limit if everybody has different fears of what their opponent is taking that's so overpowered.

Seabo
20-05-2011, 10:57
Its actually hilarious that the choice of 'Game designer has to make it "Fair"' is actually leading...
Really?
*assumes a classic Captain Kirk pose*
Must....cheese...can't balance...myself...
There is no way to create a totally balanced and equally fair game. It would be utterly boring.
There is no way that I can see to pull it off. Heck, even rock, scissors, paper has been messed up...add Dynamite and, the best of all time, VULCAN! Thank you 'Big Bang Theory' :D.
I remember Battle Beasts as a kid (yeeps..showing a fair hint of my age here ;)). The commercial showed this kid ith 2 of them and showing their symbols yelling "Fire! Wood! Fire beats Wood!"
Fair enough...now the third faction was Water, which Wood trumped because it could float but, for obvious resons, trumped Fire. First thought that popped into my head was why doesn't this Wood guy go and trash the Water guy then throw him at the Fire guy?
I was like 5...give me a break lol.
Anecdotes aside, it is up to the player to decide how he wants to play. Fluffy bunny style, strong, competitive or RAARGH! I drown kittens for fun!
There will always be extreme swings to either edge of the game. It could be argued that every miniature game system has a balance but, for the sake of creativity and diversity, offers alternatives that can be jumped upon and tip the delicate scale.

Freakiq
20-05-2011, 11:14
Balance rests almost solely on the players.

It doesn't matter how balanced the rules are if I have a 'win at all costs' -mentality while my opponent bring a fluffy but sub-par list.

Egaeus
20-05-2011, 16:26
Its actually hilarious that the choice of 'Game designer has to make it "Fair"' is actually leading...
Really?
*assumes a classic Captain Kirk pose*
Must....cheese...can't balance...myself...
There is no way to create a totally balanced and equally fair game. It would be utterly boring.

I think it depends heavily on one's conception of "totally balanced and equally fair". I would argue that one could have two armies of exactly the same composition just painted different colours and simply by the way terrain is set up can create an imbalance. So in addition to fixed armies you have to have fixed terrain. How the armies are deployed will create an imbalance so to keep things fair you would have to have fixed deployments. First turn will also potentially give an advantage, so unless some kind of simultaneous turn sequence is devised whatever method for deciding who goes first will introduce imbalance.

Would one argue that rolling dice inherently introduces an imbalance or not? Obviously in the big picture whoever rolls better (assuming all else is equal) is going to do better and thus likely win.

But we generally don't take that level of equality to mean "balance". Things just have to be "close enough" thare there aren't glaring inconsistencies and most people will be comfortable.



There is no way that I can see to pull it off. Heck, even rock, scissors, paper has been messed up...add Dynamite and, the best of all time, VULCAN! Thank you 'Big Bang Theory' :D.

So you're basically saying by taking a balanced system and introducing additional elements you imbalance it? :p


Anecdotes aside, it is up to the player to decide how he wants to play. Fluffy bunny style, strong, competitive or RAARGH! I drown kittens for fun! There will always be extreme swings to either edge of the game. It could be argued that every miniature game system has a balance but, for the sake of creativity and diversity, offers alternatives that can be jumped upon and tip the delicate scale.

My fundamental complaint is that since the designers chose to attach point values to models in the game then those point values ought to mean something, and in many instances they don't. I can't count the number of times people say "you can't compare units across armies". Of course you CAN...they all use the same system of mechanics, they all use the same "currency" of points. Or that armies are balanced "internally" assuming that Unit A is underpriced because Unit B is overpriced and the expectation that a player will take a mix of A and B and thus end up with a "balanced" list. But then players realize that they can get along fine with just A and not have to "waste" points on B.

If GW just gave us unit rules and said "throw down some units, go at it and have fun!" then it would be significantly different. They have attempted to establish that there is intended to be some parity between armies. So that is the expectation that I have.

self biased
20-05-2011, 19:35
Perhaps I should chime in and give a more in-depth statement about what i mean when I say "balanced system." In my mind, a balanced system would recognize areas for min/maxing and do its best to limit it. An example of this in 40K is in one marine book or another, a tactical squad has to have ten men before it can take a special and/or heavy weapon. The idea in the ancient days of second edition that a vehicle should have a flaw that "a man with a krak grenade and good fortune can exploit," is also a step in this direction. In my experience, Gamers tend to be pretty crappy at self-regulating; be it the tyranid player that always takes a Doom and Tyrant Prime every game, the Chaos player that runs dual lash, or the fact that Vulkan has succumb to some kind of Hitchikeresque phenomenon and actually appears at all possible backyard barbecues simultaneously.

While I greatly respect anyone willing to tinker with the mechanics of a game to suit their own needs, I personally haven't the time, energy or inclination to do so. I also find it hard to believe that some people appear to be arguing against the notion that the game shouldn't be reasonably balanced because as players, we're expected to ignore the hard work put in by the studio and change what they've already done. I think the inconsistencies that often arise come from the way the product is released, with evidence in the way that shining spears got a much-needed boost going into the most recent codex, but have still fallen flat of people's expectations.

Codsticker
21-05-2011, 15:29
I have removed a number of posts which were irrelevant or were becoming progressively antagonistic. Dissagreements are inevitable in discussions but that doesn't mean posts have to become personal.

Codsticker

The Warseer Mod Squad

Thud
21-05-2011, 20:14
but the whole point is you don't have to think!! There's apparently only one list that works and someone else already put it on the net. All you have to do is print it out and buy the models

Yeah, that tends not to work very well. Not in the long run anyway.

The net-lists are popular because they are simple, easy to understand, easy to use, and easy to win with against poor players.

And that's all nice and peachy until you go against that guy who has actually been out on a winter's night before, and you get tabled, not really knowing what the hell just happened.

And even if, in 40k, some units are more equal than others, there is no short-cut to pwning the table-tops. You need to find your playing style, then understand it, then make an army list suited to it, then practice with that army list. Then, and only then, can you go around winning tournaments. And usually, the guys who win tournaments haven't copied their army lists off Warseer.


Of course composition should matter, but I want there to be more than one choice!

As you become a better 40k player I think you'll find that there are significantly more than one choice.

As an example, Stelek (a rather competitive 40k blogger, if you don't know) came in second at the NOVA Open as well as the Battle for Salvation tournaments with a list he claims is the best one for Space Wolves. A sixteen year old kid named Tony came in first at the NOVA, and later also at the Adepticon, with a very different SW list, and Mike Brandt (organizer of the NOVA) won Battle for Salvation with an IG Straken army. Stelek has, after these tournaments, stated that he is not very impressed by either Tony's or Mike's army list. Obviously they would beg to differ.

What does this mean? There is no one superiour list to beat them all.


I want to be able to choose from every unit in the codex!!! Not randomly, of course, but every option in the army MUST have a use and if used in the right way, should be a viable selection.

Name -one- from a codex published in 5th edition. If you want to impress me, say something other than Pyrovores.


The fact is, even in the good armies, this simply isn't the case - that's without even going into the fact that sometimes you're destined to lose just by your choice of codex!!

Except, that's not really true, though, is it?

Old codices have problems, yes, but that's because they were written for a different rule set. Of course, it would be nice if this weren't the case, but it isn't.

What these old codices do have, though, are mono-builds. A single build (or maybe even two) that can actually feasibly win tournaments. So, now you have a choice. Don't like Kroot or Fireknives? Too bad, you won't win tournaments. You want to win tournaments? Bring Kroot and Fireknives.

When Tau get a codex written for 5th edition, you'll get to take other stuff and still win.


I have removed a number of posts which were irrelevant or were becoming progressively antagonistic. Dissagreements are inevitable in discussions but that doesn't mean posts have to become personal.

Codsticker

The Warseer Mod Squad

I HATE YOU AND YOU SMELL OF POO-POO! :mad:

lanrak
21-05-2011, 20:16
Most of the posts have been labouring under the asumption the thread is about 40k in particular.
The designers of 40k make it quite clear they write rules as a 'guide line' and they are NOT all that important.(Having fun is important , and the rules should not stand in the way of this.)

GW plc is in the buisness of '...selling toy soldiers to kiddies...'
This explains the way the rules are written and the codexes released.

Other GAMES companies , that focus on game play (rather than just pimping the latest releases to kidies.)
Do tend to find greater levels of balance and tactical options within thier game systems.

40k and WHFB have higher strategic loading than most other games.As they put the focus on what you bring to the table , to help minature sales.

For those that say its hard to balance 16 armies ...
What about Armies of Arcana with 23 army lists with provable levels of balance..
Or how about a game written for ballanced competative play with
45 armylists and over 600 unit types...

Game developers should give players a reasonable amount of options.THIS IS NOT JUST THE AMOUNT OF OPTIONS IN THE LIST.
But the amount of options gamers actualy WANT to take!

30 unit types , but only 1 army build is ever used = crap army list.

10 unit types and ALL of them are used to get lots of different builds= good army list.

GW studio staff are still writing rules and codexes for the same type of gamer they always have done.(Mature coperative naratative gamers.)

But GW plc have now decided to target a customer base that is not in synergy with the studio.

Game developers should do all they can to write a the best game they can, maximum game play,(balanced options and minumum amount of rules.)

And players should also play with mutual respect for each other and the rules.

I belive alot of the problem gamers have with 40k/WHFB is they are not playing the right game for them , just the only game they know.

Meriwether
22-05-2011, 13:45
For those that say its hard to balance 16 armies ...
What about Armies of Arcana with 23 army lists with provable levels of balance..

How does one "prove" a level of balance?

Thud
22-05-2011, 16:14
How does one "prove" a level of balance?

By making stuff up and posting it on the internet.

Geez, Meri, get with the program!

Carlosophy
22-05-2011, 16:32
This question depends a lot on the environment, however the game designers are responsible for ensuring that units and armies are generally fair and balanced. They get paid to do this for a living and are supposedly professional game designers.

At GW, they very often don't. You could units that are consistently awful or useless (chaos spawn, techpriests, sentinels, etc) and others that are either plainly too good (TH/SS termi's, Long Fangs, Grey Hunters, Vendettas, Vulkan, Psybolt ammo for autocannons, etc.) that typically are noticed and noted as such even before a book is officially launched (and generally upheld as being so after release). These are faults that lie squarely with the design studio and it's ridiculous that, given how quickly they are noticed by almost anyone reading preview copies, they quite often miss these things. There is no excuse for poor playtesting, especially when any blind sod picking up the book for the first time can point out things that are clearly undercosted. In those situations, the fault lies with the design studio for allowing them out the door, and refusing to do errata.

That said, once whats done is done, the burden of fair play rests with the players, and is highly subjective. At a tournament, well, anything goes, and many armies are going to be playing with one arm behind their back the whole time, but it is what it is.

For casual/pickup/campaign play however, it is up to the players to ensure fair play, and not to abuse stuff just because the design studio mucked it and their book says they can.

This isn't true though.

All the things you point out are unbalanced are of the newer codices, all the things you point out as useless are of the older codices. When everyone catches up and we all have overpowered choices, none of us will have them and balance will be restored to the force.

Easy E
22-05-2011, 16:36
Just in time for 6th edition to unbalance everything and begin the circle of life.

chamelion 6
22-05-2011, 16:38
I think it depends heavily on one's conception of "totally balanced and equally fair". I would argue that one could have two armies of exactly the same composition just painted different colours and simply by the way terrain is set up can create an imbalance. So in addition to fixed armies you have to have fixed terrain. How the armies are deployed will create an imbalance so to keep things fair you would have to have fixed deployments. First turn will also potentially give an advantage, so unless some kind of simultaneous turn sequence is devised whatever method for deciding who goes first will introduce imbalance.

Would one argue that rolling dice inherently introduces an imbalance or not? Obviously in the big picture whoever rolls better (assuming all else is equal) is going to do better and thus likely win.

But we generally don't take that level of equality to mean "balance". Things just have to be "close enough" thare there aren't glaring inconsistencies and most people will be comfortable.



So you're basically saying by taking a balanced system and introducing additional elements you imbalance it? :p



My fundamental complaint is that since the designers chose to attach point values to models in the game then those point values ought to mean something, and in many instances they don't. I can't count the number of times people say "you can't compare units across armies". Of course you CAN...they all use the same system of mechanics, they all use the same "currency" of points. Or that armies are balanced "internally" assuming that Unit A is underpriced because Unit B is overpriced and the expectation that a player will take a mix of A and B and thus end up with a "balanced" list. But then players realize that they can get along fine with just A and not have to "waste" points on B.

If GW just gave us unit rules and said "throw down some units, go at it and have fun!" then it would be significantly different. They have attempted to establish that there is intended to be some parity between armies. So that is the expectation that I have.

The notion that every 100points spent in the game is equal to any other 100 points spent by another player is a huge assupmtion, and I don't believe it's an accurate one. Some units are very specialized and only work well under the conditions they are designed for. Other units are intended for assault, some shooting, some are balanced. An assault unit at one end of a 4 x 8 table is at a disadvantage against an equivalent shooting unit without some kind of terrain to help them get to grips. Add to that, some players are just simply better at certain kinds of armies than others... Maybe you're loosing because you just don't play that kind of army well... Playing IG is very different than DE, so the fact you always win with your IG means little when you started with DE... There are too many variables the designers have no control over to lay the responsibility for balancing the game on your tabletop squarely in their lap. The only way to do that well is to limit the way players approach the game, and clearly, GW is not wanting to do that.

As I see it, point values represent time, not balance... When me and my friends talk about a 1000pt game, we understand that is a game that can be played within a certain amout of time... 3 maybe 4 hours... 750pt games are shorter. 1500pt games take the better part of an afternoon, 2000pt game are an all day affair, usually.

The only way we use points to balance a game is by handicaping. Allowing a player more points because they maybe aren't as good with or are still learning a new army, or to offset a particularly tough or specialized list they might be facing... We generally allow defenders to have an advantage over people running specialized assault lists.

Simo429
22-05-2011, 16:50
but the whole point is you don't have to think!! There's apparently only one list that works and someone else already put it on the net. All you have to do is print it out and buy the models


If people believe that they just aren't very good at the game, there are no unbeatable lists.


The problem is when people look for the internet for advice all they get is their list rewritten.