View Full Version : Balancing The Books

Mad Doc Grotsnik
24-04-2006, 21:51
Or, does victory go to he with the deepest pockets?

To me, this is the single biggest hurdle any game will face with regards to balance and fairness.

For example. Magic The Gathering. Unless you play by the rather strict tourny rules, he who has been collecting the longest often has killer combos simply not open to his opponents. Equally, due to the random nature, unless several players buy cards individually, he with the deepest pockets, and thus the most cards, is most likely to have the dominant deck.

But does this apply to Games Workshop? With the rising cost of the hobby/game (however you want to see it) I feel this could become a critical issue.

It's all fine and well for an army to have a rock hard elite units, say, for my Tau, a 5 strong Squadron of Piranha, or two (70 each) and a full unit of Kroot (84 all in). But as the examples show, this can be expensive. Personally, I'm lucky enough to be able to pay these prices without too much heed, as not only do I have a stable job, and about to be starting an additional part time job. However, other people are not so lucky financially, for whatever reason. Does this give me an unfair advantage over my opponents, in so far that I can, in theory (though not necessarily will!) buy up units to counter whatever they throw at me.

What do you think? And if your here just to bash GW, keep it to yourself for once. This question is just as valid for every other games system!

24-04-2006, 22:01
It could mean that, but there are some exceptions, too. IMO, experience and tactics mean far more than just having "teh uber model" for the most part.

In addition, the fact that you can convert inexpensive models into more expensive ones, just means you can substitute some time for the money part of the equation.

I'm not saying it can't happen, but if players are willing to think a bit and experiment, it doesn't have to be the case.

Mad Doc Grotsnik
24-04-2006, 22:06
True. However, being able to convert a unit requires a certain level of skill which the average NooB is simply not likley to posess. I've almost always found my conversions to be one offs, where I've been Trolling my Bitz Box looking for trouble. Certainly, the unit conversions I am planning will be more expensive than their 'proper' counterparts.

I just hope that GW see this potential problem, and keep up the good work with keeping a certain balance between points and prices. I know that sounds like I'm trying to justify prices, but I'm really not. If you take it that way, well, more fool you I guess.

24-04-2006, 22:21
Dunno about that, it depends a great deal on the conversion. For example DE Sybarites are easily converted from Warriors, just add a few spikes and some flair, badda bing!

Vehicles are alot harder, though someone with an actual modeling background (cars, fighter planes, etc.) would probably have no issues there. Just because they are 40k Noobs doesn't mean they are total noobs. (Okay, so I was, but that's just me! :) )

24-04-2006, 22:43
It depends on the army. Any top-tier list will require an amount of min-maxing, which means buying extra weapons at a premium. Think extra plasma guns, Assault Cannons, and the like. But it's easier to get some weapons than others.

But yeah, generally speaking, top-tier armies are going to require an average higher investment per model, unless you have a huge bitz box lying around to which you can go for "free."

24-04-2006, 23:16
unless you get lucky on e-bay you're going to have to spend a fair bit of your (or your parents) money. it's an expensive hobby (this is not an invitation to start a spate of "teh evil gw price conspiracy posts")

of course some armies are more expensive than others.
ig on a budget is not going to be easy.
chaos/necrons might be cheaper due to the low model count.

i recon an average 1500pt marine army could easily hit the 200 mark.
not including rulebook/codex.

Commissar von Toussaint
24-04-2006, 23:41
I believe it has been established that GW prices 40k models by their points. The more powerful the unit, the higher the cost - above and beyond the premium GW already charges.

Obviously, this means budget-minded players can't afford certain units.

25-04-2006, 00:04
I haven't been playing all that long (2 years), but when you place a limit on the points that each army is allowed to have for a balanced game, those uber-characters, vehicles, etc. can be controlled.

Taking Mad Dog's example of the 2 full-size Piranha squads (without upgrading to the fusion blaster) you are looking at the equivalent of 40 basic space marines. The Tau may move faster and shoot a little farther, but I think the odds of 40 bolters may begin to even out the game before long. Now comparing this to the cost, that's a total of $250US for the Tau and $140US for the SM.

The deep pockets will allow for cooler or new models, but the game system keeps it from getting out of hand. Now, if the new models come with broken rules, that's a different issue.

My $0.02US.

25-04-2006, 00:41
People can *save up* for that expensive landraider/deathjack/plasma bug/gold plated forgeworld Emperor class titan. Victory only comes to those with the deepest pockets if time is of an issue. If it is not then why not pace oneself and buy what one desires when one is ready and able to take the cost? I personally find the idea that I *must* have a winning army RIGHT NOW to be laughable and unrealistic. To me my army is a journey, not a destination (cheesy cliche but apt).

The argument mad doc puts up of players not being able to afford to counter certain units is easily remedied by both players agreeing to play to a certain points level (I actually find 40k at 500 and 100pt levels more entertaining), or a gentlemens agreement to not feild certain units until said player has a useful counter. Or you could go as I did and find neccessity to be the mother of invention. If I didn't have a unit I would either use a proxy, a convertion or simply go without and learn to play better with a handicap and use my brain to win, not said *must have* unit.

Colonial Rifle
25-04-2006, 09:29
More money/more models gives you an advantage when a new version of your codex comes out as you have access to the tricked out new units already. However, with careful budgeting it shouldn't be hard to build a powerful list on tight finances. E-bay is your friend!

GW pricing isn't really about in game effectiveness (despite what they have said in the past) if you look at it closely. For example, all the most expensive stuff in the WitchHunters range (bar the Exorcist), is in fact some of the worst tabletop performers.

Also, there is a growing trend that new units/models tend to be failures on launch. Sword brethren, Vespid, Flayers, etc.etc. You really don't NEED to buy them for a successful list.

25-04-2006, 09:53
When i was looking at a new army I was very "don't want to spend alot of money" and because of this I haven't done my stupid trick of buying a complete army and never getting round to painting it.

TBH one of the cheapest armies (which i have chosen to go for) is deathwing. how has already mentioned, armies like Nids, IG, Orks are very low points High money costs which as the orignal post claims Most armies armies are designed around what people can afford rather than what is out there....

So yes rich people can better equip their armies.

25-04-2006, 10:09
Victory only comes to those with the deepest pockets if time is of an issue. If it is not then why not pace oneself and buy what one desires when one is ready and able to take the cost? I personally find the idea that I *must* have a winning army RIGHT NOW to be laughable and unrealistic.

This is very true, and it actually works very well into the MTG comparison illustrated above. In MTG tournament formats, T2 especially, time is an issue, with new sets coming out regularly and the metagame churning onwards with inexorable momentum.

The 40k tournament metagame is a lot more static, with codexes and new releases coming along at a more leisurely pace. The competitive Chaos army from when their new Codex was released is still a competitive army a few years later. We have no rush. Armies don't "Rotate out of Standard" every N+1 months, MTG decks do.

de Selby
25-04-2006, 10:15
If the points cost of a model was always directly proportional to the money cost, then there would be no problem. All 1500 pt armies would cost the same amount, and the only game advantage of deeper pockets would be more options for tailoring (which is considered unfair by many people anyway). It goes without saying that it may be more enjoyable to have the cash to buy and field anything you like, but it won't necessarily win you games.

In practice, tweaking and min-maxing squads to create a tournament list will inevitably cost extra. The only alternative is GW providing all tweaked, min-maxed squads out of the box. This would be highly undesirable. I find the fact that they charge by points cost (as they do, to an extent) to have some undesirable consequences. It essentially means (in theory) GW can charge anything they want for a model by giving it sufficiently super stats, and people will buy it. This is a soft way to make money, and it doesn't drive up product standards. It's not as bad as it could be in practice, thank god. They do put more work and better sculptors into producing characters and suchlike.

25-04-2006, 10:20
@ Agamemnon2: Agreed. Therefore I don't see what mad doc is so worried about regarding 40k. "Codex creep" has always been a problem but the rate at which it happens is very slow compared to card games. And in many other wargames the opposite seems to be true. Warmachine for example seems to have most of its most effective units in the core rulebook and has balanced out over the years.

Mad Doc Grotsnik
25-04-2006, 11:49
I'm not worried as such. I just thought it would be an interesting topic of discussion. And so far, I was right!

25-04-2006, 16:27
Another thing to consider is that you don't have to buy a whole army at once. I am making enough dough (and don't have too many other distractions) now where I can buy everything at once, but it wasn't always so.

When I started my first army, I was buying one squad at a time. Once I had my first troop choice painted up, I started playing some kill-team games. Sure, I missed out on that RTT that took place only a few miles down the road from my house. A few weeks later, I got a second troop squad and a single HQ model, and I got to play some friendly low-point games at the store. I wasn't quite up to 500 points, but that was easily filled with some extra wargear like grenades I didn't really need.

All it takes is some patience, and eventually you'll have your full army. As an added side benefit, you get to experience your army at various sizes, and learn from the experience. You can figure out things that work and things that don't early on and are not stuck with units that look better on paper than they are on the battlefield. Additionally, you'll have a ton of army lists on hand for all eventualities. Need a 500 point list really quick? Just grab the folder and you're ready to go without having to hem and haw about which unit to take out of the roster.