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wyvirn
26-06-2015, 14:16
It seems to me that most formations are strictly beneficial, saving for maybe a few restrictions on options that you can take. The endlessly spawning Gargoyles, the overwatch preventing Devastators, the turn one DS Dreadknights, etcetera. And that got me thinking- why wouldn't you take formations whenever you got the chance?

From a game mechanics point of view, it doesn't make sense because you are always incentivized to go for a formation, even if there is a MSU unit tax to factor in. And even then, it's not like those points are wasted because you get those models with the special rules. The way formations currently are, they stand to limit competitive choices instead of encouraging 'fluffy' lists.

Instead, I think most formations would benefit game depth and balance if they had some downside. The most knee jerk reaction would be to add an actual points tax to the formation, but I think that will be only moderately effective, especially if the formation is a large points investment already or gives free models, like the Space Marine Decurion. Instead, I would like to see some intractables be implemented. Non mathematical functions that would have to be thought about. For example, would a turn one charge be worth it if you had -1 strength and weapon skill during that turn? Or if one of the special rules added Slow and Purposeful to all models? Or caused any detachment with another faction to become desperate allies? This way, these formations aren't an auto include, but make the players think about choices and make the game deeper.

Spiney Norman
26-06-2015, 14:42
In a way I kind of like the formations because it incentivises fluffy armies which the game has never managed before, on the other hand they have gone a little overboard with some of them (Necron Decurion, space marine skyhammer) where the benefits are so good they are almost game-breaking.

I think this will be less and less of a problem as they go through and redo the various armies, when we get to the point where most armies have similar formations instead of having to rely on the bog-standard CAD then we'll be on a more even footing. The other way I can see to do it is to attach a points cost to each formation (like they used to do with the Apoc formations), but in all honesty I think that'll just be one more thing for them to screw up. Gw have never been very good at getting pts values right at the best of times.

Snake Tortoise
26-06-2015, 14:53
I get what you're saying here but I think generally formations seem to be a good thing in that they do encourage fluffy combinations of units and often buff units that otherwise wouldn't appear so often. Good examples of formations I can think of are the tyranid endless swarm that encourages taking loads of gaunts, which the codex otherwise discourages. While powerful, even the tyranid skyblight formation is fluffy because for the flying hive tyrant you also need to take three weaker non synapse FMCs and lots of gargoyles.

That space marine formation I'm hearing about that gives out free transports seems very powerful, but is it a bad thing that tactical marines get a buff and players are encouraged to field lots of troops? If that kind of list becomes one of the more powerful competitive lists in the meta I believe it would be a good thing for the hobby, rather than seeing everyone take 2 MSU troop units then start loading up on the best specialised parts of their codex. The ork green tide is another great example of a formation encouraging fluffy play with tons of basic troops acting on the table as they do in the fluff

I'd like to see similar formations for other factions now. Buff chaos space marine troops somehow, come up with a formation that makes multiple units of trukk boys better etc.

OTOH formations like the adamantium lance are ********. Get that crap out of the game. It would have been like a formation of three (of the old) heldrakes that can come on together on turn 1 and fire at AP2 if they stay within 12" of each other. Or a formation of three flyrants that are less likely to be fail grounding tests etc. Formations should be used to make fluffy lists better, not just rewards for spamming specialised units that are already good

Itsacon
26-06-2015, 15:21
If formations had downsides (other than limitations on what you have to and can bring), there would be no reason not to play unbound.

As good formations become more common, the need to forbid unbound lists in tournament play will get smaller.

ehlijen
26-06-2015, 15:24
That space marine formation I'm hearing about that gives out free transports seems very powerful, but is it a bad thing that tactical marines get a buff and players are encouraged to field lots of troops? If that kind of list becomes one of the more powerful competitive lists in the meta I believe it would be a good thing for the hobby, rather than seeing everyone take 2 MSU troop units then start loading up on the best specialised parts of their codex. The ork green tide is another great example of a formation encouraging fluffy play with tons of basic troops acting on the table as they do in the fluff.


It is a bad thing if it takes bribing with free stuff to make people consider taking certain units, instead of GW reworking the balance so said units can justify their own existence.

I'm all for formations encouraging background compliant builds, but the old single FO chart was better suited for that task, I believe (though not perfect). It offered freedom of choice, rather than prescribing grocery lists of units to buy, while limiting overspecialised builds, in theory at least. What 40k needed was an improvement of the single, restricting FO chart and for each codex to support said chart (eg no more factions that can cram extra HS worthy tanks in as transports or has additional FA choices in Elites et).

Bribing players to take 'weak' units just begs the question of why said units are weak. They just got a new codex, how come GW didn't fix them? It also contributes to the rules bloat of the game.

Angelwing
26-06-2015, 15:29
Personally, I think they need the downside 'cost points' for all the extra stuff you get.

Spiney Norman
26-06-2015, 15:37
It is a bad thing if it takes bribing with free stuff to make people consider taking certain units, instead of GW reworking the balance so said units can justify their own existence.

I'm all for formations encouraging background compliant builds, but the old single FO chart was better suited for that task, I believe (though not perfect). It offered freedom of choice, rather than prescribing grocery lists of units to buy, while limiting overspecialised builds, in theory at least. What 40k needed was an improvement of the single, restricting FO chart and for each codex to support said chart (eg no more factions that can cram extra HS worthy tanks in as transports or has additional FA choices in Elites et).

Bribing players to take 'weak' units just begs the question of why said units are weak. They just got a new codex, how come GW didn't fix them? It also contributes to the rules bloat of the game.

Why can't formations be the way which they rebalance units that are percieved as weak? Ok so maybe assault marines will only see play in battle Demi-companies, but isn't that better than never seeing them used anywhere? After all improving rules or dropping points costs is really just another method of 'bribing' people to take units that were formerly considered weak.

This isn't ideal, I get that, but after several failed attempts to get certain units right over the last decade I'm willing to try formations for a change.

SimaoSegunda
26-06-2015, 16:07
Most formations lack ObSec, which in Maelstrom missions can be huge.

Dr.Clock
26-06-2015, 16:15
There's nothing particularly wrong with (x) formation receiving (y) downsides, but those downsides need to be balanced against not only the benefits the formation receives, but the opportunity cost of being forced to take a very specific unit or units.

Most formations are not scalable - and even when they are, the range of possibilities is pretty low... you might have the odd (0-1) choice, or the occasional (3-5) of something... formations are clearly being used for adding some extra utility to armies that make thematic choices. They are meant to represent the force multiplier effects that different forces can bring to bear when they are operating in a way that plays to their strengths in coordination - as such a formation with direct benefits and deficiencies that are too closely matched will be pointless and will fail at this basic goal of 'rewarding thematic play'... insofar as you'd be forced to question why a commander would take the time to coordinate collections of units that fail to clearly perform better than the same units 'left to their own devices'.

This is the same 'problem' that's been around really since HQs became a core part of force building, allowing for FOC changes, special rules etc. Even the ones with stated Warlord Traits - it's easy to just say 'everything about this is beneficial', but at the end of the day taking something means you aren't taking something else.

So far, GW is doing a pretty good job of making its formations 'significantly costly' on the selection side, usually through at least the use of units that are generally perceived as 'taxes'. But even be

The one major current issue is that not everyone has their toys yet... formations and faction-specific detachments are and will be the 'new normal'. In the next year or so, hopefully the playing field will level a bit - main line Chaos, plus Tau and IG would really benefit from some formation-love.

Cheers,

The Good Doctor.

jason_sation
26-06-2015, 16:49
Hoping for some cool formations that encourage the lesser used IG units in the next codex. Specifically Heavy Weapons Teams (love those guys) and sentinels.

wyvirn
26-06-2015, 18:26
There's nothing particularly wrong with (x) formation receiving (y) downsides, but those downsides need to be balanced against not only the benefits the formation receives, but the opportunity cost of being forced to take a very specific unit or units.

...

So far, GW is doing a pretty good job of making its formations 'significantly costly' on the selection side, usually through at least the use of units that are generally perceived as 'taxes'.


The opportunity cost does need to be a factor, but I don't always think it is always large. Remember that you're still getting those 'tax' units to use, instead of those points disappearing into a vacuum. I can't think of any units that are a detriment to have them around anymore, so while they are optimized they are still models on the board.

WarsmithGarathor94
26-06-2015, 18:34
The opportunity cost does need to be a factor, but I don't always think it is always large. Remember that you're still getting those 'tax' units to use, instead of those points disappearing into a vacuum. I can't think of any units that are a detriment to have them around anymore, so while they are optimized they are still models on the board.

Possessed are meh lol. Then theres kranons hell guard which is wtf lol

agurus1
26-06-2015, 19:25
I think paying some extra points in top of the units cost a-la the old Apoc formations would be fine. Getting special rules for free by just taking a random combo of units is dumb

wyvirn
26-06-2015, 19:35
I didn't say all formations were A+ home runs, but the good ones that most competitive players are going to take have very little opportunity cost.

ehlijen
26-06-2015, 20:05
Why can't formations be the way which they rebalance units that are percieved as weak? Ok so maybe assault marines will only see play in battle Demi-companies, but isn't that better than never seeing them used anywhere? After all improving rules or dropping points costs is really just another method of 'bribing' people to take units that were formerly considered weak.

This isn't ideal, I get that, but after several failed attempts to get certain units right over the last decade I'm willing to try formations for a change.

Why are units 'weak' in the first place? Because they or the game weren't balanced right. If say aspect warriors aren't worth taking without +1 WS or BS (as the existence of that formation implies), why not just make them +1 BS or WS? If tactical squads need ObjSec to be worthwile, why not just write it into their entry?

GW not addressing the balance issues but instead locking what are supposedly balancing boosts for some units away behind a formation of several units isn't good rules writing, it's aggressive marketing.

Formations existing isn't bad in itself. But they should cost points for what they give and be purely background driven, no free boosts.

wyvirn
26-06-2015, 20:35
I didn't say all formations were A+ home runs, but the good ones that most competitive players are going to take have very little opportunity cost.

WarsmithGarathor94
26-06-2015, 21:35
So i should pay points for fielding the hell guard formation which btw just basically gives you fear which i can get for free if i just run crimson slaughter and some bonus when one or more of my units is in range of a enemy unit

wyvirn
26-06-2015, 22:37
Depending on the bonus. Besides, we were talking about opportunity cost, which would cover a rule like fear.

WarsmithGarathor94
26-06-2015, 22:51
Last time i checked for that formation is in 12" of 2 or more units from the formation they are at -1 bs. Also how many armies are likely to be effected by fear where it would be helpful

wyvirn
26-06-2015, 22:56
That sounds like it would be better served as an intractable. I'm thinking -1 cover save to the formation while the bonus in effect? But no, paying points shouldn't be the go to for formations IMO.

R.D.
27-06-2015, 02:39
The downside for many formations is that they involve a ludicrous amount of models to buy and construct. Even worse for Apoc ones.

Losing Command
27-06-2015, 03:03
But if you already had the models then that is hardly a downside at all.
The thing I don't like about formations is that there seems to be no way to properly balance them out. Some formations are just plain bad, some only start to become good above a certain amount of points and a few are hardly noteworthy. Formations just added another layer of chaos to the mess of a game 40k is :p

SuperHappyTime
27-06-2015, 03:14
Ravenwing Strike Force has a big one, Sammael/Sableclaw is the only HQ viable (so those two blank optionals aren't filled). And since you're likely taking Rapid Manoeuvre, you don't need First Huntsman.

Ghungo
27-06-2015, 04:37
The funny part about formations is that when 6th edition dropped and formations were just starting to become a thing people were jumping up and down and cryin how broken unbound was.

However now that formations have completely overtaken 40k it's getting to the point making an unbound list and just spamming your best units is less competitive then stacking multiple formations and taking advantage of the massive amount of free rules that come from them.

Once every army is given a 7th edition update and has a Decorian type list with formation in formation rules I say just make unbound legal in all tournaments because at that point it's no longer broken and just a gimped army list lacking large amounts of rules that make most competitive list work.

Tomalock
28-06-2015, 21:16
I see nothing wrong with it. In the Forge World Horus Heresy 40k supplements they have Rites of War that allow you to alter (radically in some cases) your force organization, but each one has a list of benefits and limitations. It provides a fairly balanced way to play list that fit your legion's character or just take a more specialized army (like all terminators and vets, armored assault, or all drop pods). The more common limitations are no allies, limited force org slots (can only take a single heavy support), etc. They are not mandatory or auto-includes, but they give players a legitimate choice in how to make their lists. So I see nothing wrong if GW were to go a similar direction with the formations.

Greyhound
29-06-2015, 01:42
The formations I play have donwsides. The only reasons I play them is because they allow me to play with models in greater number than the FOC, and build fluffy lists.
I think the tax is usually in forcing me to play units that i wouldn't competitively want:

The best example is the Dread Mob: the 9 kans and painboy are a tax - which brings very little. The only reason I don't go unbound is because my opponent "does not like" unbound. If he allowed me, I would keep maybe 3 kans, and with the points saved would get more deff dreads, or mega-dreads from FW. That would be better than the "benefits" of the formation.

itcamefromthedeep
29-06-2015, 01:59
The funny part about formations is that when 6th edition dropped and formations were just starting to become a thing people were jumping up and down and cryin how broken unbound was.

However now that formations have completely overtaken 40k it's getting to the point making an unbound list and just spamming your best units is less competitive then stacking multiple formations and taking advantage of the massive amount of free rules that come from them.

Once every army is given a 7th edition update and has a Decorian type list with formation in formation rules I say just make unbound legal in all tournaments because at that point it's no longer broken and just a gimped army list lacking large amounts of rules that make most competitive list work.
An army of 25 Land Speeders with Typhoon launchers solves a lot of problems. 50 krak/frag missiles and 75 heavy bolter shots are problem for a wide variety of lists out there. Scatterbikes are a problem for sure, but there are a variety of ways to replicate a list of that strength when you take out a few restrictions.

People forget the MSU shenanigans you can pull out with Unbound lists. The format has lacked legitimacy, so few people have tried to mess around with it to the Nth degree.

ehlijen
29-06-2015, 02:15
The downside for many formations is that they involve a ludicrous amount of models to buy and construct. Even worse for Apoc ones.

That's an out of game concern that should have no impact on an army's table top performance. If how much you (have) spend/t on GW decides how powerful an army is, that will be pay-to-win and an abominable crime on game balance.


The funny part about formations is that when 6th edition dropped and formations were just starting to become a thing people were jumping up and down and cryin how broken unbound was.

However now that formations have completely overtaken 40k it's getting to the point making an unbound list and just spamming your best units is less competitive then stacking multiple formations and taking advantage of the massive amount of free rules that come from them.

Once every army is given a 7th edition update and has a Decorian type list with formation in formation rules I say just make unbound legal in all tournaments because at that point it's no longer broken and just a gimped army list lacking large amounts of rules that make most competitive list work.

Unbound is broken. Due to the simple fact that some units can't hurt some other units, any system that allows free spamming of any unit is broken because it might result in unwinnable games for some players.

And Battleforged was also broken from the get go, and many did realise that because they did read the fine print. Thanks to unlimited allied and core detachments and a selectively very free ally matrix, battleforged imposed almost no additional restrictions on the player compared to unbound. Formations just made things worse by offering more and more freebies for not really adding any restrictions at all.

The army composition rules in 40k are useless at creating balanced games, both categories. 7th could have fixed that, but instead GW doubled down on the whole mess. The only balance left in 40k is due to player self control.

Althenian Armourlost
29-06-2015, 03:54
I think from a sales perspective, I think formations are genius.

Say, for example they want to make a 1 week release of a plastic Illic nightspear and some plastic rangers. All they have to do is make a White Dwarf formation for the following:


Illic nightspear
3 squads of rangers
2 squads of 2 warwalkers

then dream up some special rules that are good enough to make people buy in, but not game-breaking


All rangers in this formation make sharpshooter
warwalkers shooting at a target within 12" of rangers have preferred enemy


Et Voila! Instant sales of White Dwarf, a new character, a new boxed set and an old boxed set (as the guardian battle host has 1-3 warwalkers, this formation needs 4 to stimulate guaranteed sales).

Can you imagine how much better ogryns would have sold if there was a White Dwarf formation as follows:

1 squad of bullgryns
2 squads of ogryns



Sardines: All ogryns in this formation count as 'bulky' not 'very bulky'
Bulging transport: All ogryns in this formation may assault from a transport once per game, but must start the game inside that transport and may never re-board another transport after disembarking. Furthermore, because of the smell, any other unit wanting to board a transport used in this manner after the ogryns have disembarked must pass a leadership test to do so.

Geep
29-06-2015, 04:18
Formations should definitely have downsides- or at least they should for game purposes. As a marketing tool, which is what they are, no cost is obvious.

I hate formations simply because they result in cookie-cutter lists. How many times do you see Necron armies without 4+ RP now? And to get that boost they need specific models- meaning every Necron army will have x Warriors, y Immortals and some Tomb Blades. It's barely a choice. The only reason people don't field a 4+ RP army (cookie A), is because they like another formation (cookie B). In the end an entire codex, filled with near countless possibilities, is reduced to 2 or 3 obvious lists via formations- to deviate from those formations is just shooting yourself in the foot.

Some formations are poor- but that doesn't excuse all of them, and certainly doesn't mean they should all be free.

Spiney Norman
29-06-2015, 09:33
Ravenwing Strike Force has a big one, Sammael/Sableclaw is the only HQ viable (so those two blank optionals aren't filled). And since you're likely taking Rapid Manoeuvre, you don't need First Huntsman.

The Deathwing formation has a much harsher downside, you are guaranteed to auto-lose the game at the end of game turn 1 ;)


I see nothing wrong with it. In the Forge World Horus Heresy 40k supplements they have Rites of War that allow you to alter (radically in some cases) your force organization, but each one has a list of benefits and limitations. It provides a fairly balanced way to play list that fit your legion's character or just take a more specialized army (like all terminators and vets, armored assault, or all drop pods). The more common limitations are no allies, limited force org slots (can only take a single heavy support), etc. They are not mandatory or auto-includes, but they give players a legitimate choice in how to make their lists. So I see nothing wrong if GW were to go a similar direction with the formations.

I think they point with the HH rites of war is that none of them give such a pronounced advantage that people feel compelled to use them as opposed to not using one at all, in addition most of them have some pretty steep restrictions which balance out the advantages gained, in fact at least one of them is considered unusable because the restriction cost is simply too high (Angels Wrath). They are quite a bit different to the 40k formations which typically hand out random buffs like candy in exchange for requiring you to take certain units.

WarsmithGarathor94
29-06-2015, 17:14
Saying that i do like the decurion etc personally im hoping gw will give all 5 undivided traitor legions benefits and if they are feeling nice they may just copy and past the rules from.30k for those legions

Flipmode
29-06-2015, 19:43
They should, and they do.

Dosiere
29-06-2015, 22:09
Formations are actually a great idea. They give players the opportunity to build fluffy lists that can still be competitive. The downsides for most are of course mandatory selections. The gladius strike force for example forces you to take more tactical squads than anyone would ever take otherwise, and it really limits what else you can take in a typical 1850-2k game. That being said I don't see anything wrong with a formation giving certain negatives or tighter force org restrictions than they do now if it still incentivizes players to take it who are interested in a particular play style.

Some are already too powerful, but that doesn't mean something is wrong with formations per se just that GW is incapable of creating balance.

ehlijen
30-06-2015, 01:17
There is nothing wrong with formations per se. Epic basically uses formations the way 40k uses units, and it works. There is, however, almost everything wrong with he 40k implemented formations.

If players had to take formations, taking a formation would mean something. But since players can choose units without formations, what they are is basically a free reward for taking specific units.

In Epic, a player cannot take just one leman russ. They come in companies of 10, or in squadrons of 3 that can be added to other formations (at least that's how I remember it). In 40k, players can take just a single leman russ. Because of that, there is no meaning to formations other than that they give a free bonus for certain unit combos.
That is going mean one of two things: whatever combo grants the most popular bonus will be more powerful per point, or that some units were underpowered and formations make them tolerable.
Both mean something went wrong with basic game balance.
The game is supposed to be balanced by points. Formations don't cost points but are based on unit choice, still affect balance but are not compulsory or exclusive. These are two different game balance methods meshed into one mess that just isn't going to work.

On the one hand, all units are supposed to be costed according to their power, on the other, you are rewarded for taking 'lesser units' with free rules. But for there to be lesser units, the points system has to be flawed to begin with. So why keep it? And if we keep it, why supplement it with a different system rather than fixing it?

Formations exist to create shopping lists for players, not to give the game balance :(

insectum7
30-06-2015, 02:38
Formations are actually a great idea. They give players the opportunity to build fluffy lists that can still be competitive. The downsides for most are of course mandatory selections. The gladius strike force for example forces you to take more tactical squads than anyone would ever take otherwise . . .

Actually the Gladius AND full Battle Company has reduced the number of Tactical troops in my armies as of late. 3 x 10 or 6 x 5 vs. 4 x 10




The game is supposed to be balanced by points.

The game is supposed to be balanced by points, yes, but points are not an absolute value. Value-per-point is flexed depending on army/unit context. It used to be that Devastators paid more for their heavy weapons than Tactical Squads, for example. Currently a Sergeant pays the same cost as a Captain for a Powerfist. How much of a Terminators price is the Powerfist, 25? Does that mean a Veteran Marine in Terminator armor only costs 10 points? "Fixed" point values don't express the actual value of the sum-of-parts of a unit/army, the combination of items and abilities together determine the points value. Units within Formations work the same way. Buying a Powerfist for your squad is the same type of choice as buying a Dreadnought for your Demi-Company. Formations change the context of units, and the values of units change with it.

Greyhound
30-06-2015, 04:25
Orks formations have rules forcing you to take challenges and or to make a unit your warlord. These are downsides

ehlijen
30-06-2015, 06:17
The game is supposed to be balanced by points, yes, but points are not an absolute value. Value-per-point is flexed depending on army/unit context.

Yes, it does. But the goal of the system is that any 1.5k army should have an even chance of victory against any other 1.5k army assuming the players are of equal skill. With optional formations, that is not the case because they offer choices that can result in more power for no extra points.


It used to be that Devastators paid more for their heavy weapons than Tactical Squads, for example.

Indeed. It was reasoned that a squad that would likely sit still anyway would not be burdened by heavy weapons in the same way a squad that wants to move is. Ie the goal was still to have both units cost what they bring to the table, be it mobility or firepower.


Currently a Sergeant pays the same cost as a Captain for a Powerfist.

They are pretty much as deadly with them, even if challenges now exist.


How much of a Terminators price is the Powerfist, 25? Does that mean a Veteran Marine in Terminator armor only costs 10 points?

That is justified by the likelihood of several terminators dying before you get to use any of them. I'm not saying it's a good justification, but back in third ed when this was begun, they did at least think about these decisions.


"Fixed" point values don't express the actual value of the sum-of-parts of a unit/army, the combination of items and abilities together determine the points value.

Yes, and because formations allow you to add to that value without spending more points, they break that system.


Units within Formations work the same way. Buying a Powerfist for your squad is the same type of choice as buying a Dreadnought for your Demi-Company. Formations change the context of units, and the values of units change with it.

No, formations do not work that way because they are entirely optional. If I have a codex and build an army for X points, and you have the exact same army but also the expansion slate that gives you a bonus on top, my army will be inferior even though we both paid the same points.

If every player could only build their army out of formations, you'd be correct, but because GW grafted the formation system on top of an already shabby points-for-models system, we instead got a badly balanced mess.

Konovalev
30-06-2015, 06:50
The game is supposed to be balanced by points, yes, but points are not an absolute value.

What if there were separate point pools? 1500 point lists with 500 "upgrade" points?

itcamefromthedeep
30-06-2015, 12:51
It has always been possible to deliberately sabotage an army list.

You can choose to take no anti-tank options in many army lists, for instance. You can also choose to take assault troops with no delivery system, or transport units that can't use their transport capacity. You can spam a unit with a clear blind spot in capabilities. It's not quite true that any 1500-point army should have a fair shot against any other, for the same reason that a salary cap in baseball is no guarantee that teams are on equal footing.

It's a little more subtle.

I think it's fair for Formations (and detachments more generally) to cost points. The fact that few of them do (just old apocalypse formations I believe) suggests that the design team is trying to get players to shy away from Unbound lists and go for more characterful combinations of units. I think that using points structures to politely suggest that players make armies that look like they do in the background is a reasonable design goal (though success on that front is certainly subject to discussion).

WarsmithGarathor94
30-06-2015, 13:01
It has always been possible to deliberately sabotage an army list.

You can choose to take no anti-tank options in many army lists, for instance. You can also choose to take assault troops with no delivery system, or transport units that can't use their transport capacity. You can spam a unit with a clear blind spot in capabilities. It's not quite true that any 1500-point army should have a fair shot against any other, for the same reason that a salary cap in baseball is no guarantee that teams are on equal footing.

It's a little more subtle.

I think it's fair for Formations (and detachments more generally) to cost points. The fact that few of them do (just old apocalypse formations I believe) suggests that the design team is trying to get players to shy away from Unbound lists and go for more characterful combinations of units. I think that using points structures to politely suggest that players make armies that look like they do in the background is a reasonable design goal (though success on that front is certainly subject to discussion).

I do agree but to some extent i dont
For example gw brings out a formation for lets say a emporers children warband and dosent allow.bikers to be taken how the hell.is that representive of the background. Heck Kranons Hellguard is a crap formation instead of making it for the crimson slaughter theythey could of made it a formation.for the traitor.legiond

T10
30-06-2015, 17:06
But if you already had the models then that is hardly a downside at all.
The thing I don't like about formations is that there seems to be no way to properly balance them out. Some formations are just plain bad, some only start to become good above a certain amount of points and a few are hardly noteworthy. Formations just added another layer of chaos to the mess of a game 40k is :p

Since it is obvious that GW hasn't had its designers sit down and come up with ALL formations at the same time, it is unavoidable that there is a discrepancy between their power levels. The game's special rules have evolved over time. I remember when the "re-roll 1's To Hit" was introduced: a simple mechanic that introduces a level between a full re-roll and a +1 To Hit. How was it that it took them years to introduce it? Nobody thought about it (or those that had wasn't in a position to put it in a codex). We see the same thing with formations. The eldar codex gives us a formation with a rebate on Heavy Weapon Platforms, the Space Marines reuse a similar rebate mechanic for its Mega-Detachment. The DA codex has just now introduced a Formation where you mix vehicle types to form a squadron, a mechanic that would have been perfect for the Necron Annihilation Nexus except nobody had thought of it then.

So, do Formations need a penalty? I don't see why. If all detachments and formations come with their own benefit, then stuff will even out. If you find some formations to be abusive (the Adamanitum Lance seems to be held up as an example), lobby for your group not to use them.

insectum7
30-06-2015, 17:43
No, formations do not work that way because they are entirely optional. If I have a codex and build an army for X points, and you have the exact same army but also the expansion slate that gives you a bonus on top, my army will be inferior even though we both paid the same points.

That is true only for instances where exact army builds overlap, and the army without taking advantage of Formations simply gets put into the sub-par list category. There have always been sub-par lists, not all point-combinations are created equal.

ehlijen
01-07-2015, 01:01
That is true only for instances where exact army builds overlap, and the army without taking advantage of Formations simply gets put into the sub-par list category. There have always been sub-par lists, not all point-combinations are created equal.

But when identical model collections costing the same points end up with different power levels because one player has a book with a cool formation and the other doesn't, the points system has been broken.

Yes, GW never quite got balance right. That doesn't make this bad system any less bad.

insectum7
01-07-2015, 03:43
But when identical model collections costing the same points end up with different power levels because one player has a book with a cool formation and the other doesn't, the points system has been broken.

Yes, GW never quite got balance right. That doesn't make this bad system any less bad.

One ten man Tactical Squad with Melta, Grav-Cannon, Combi-melta, one Devastator Squad with four Lascannons, One Drop Pod with Deathwind, One Razorback with Twin Las. Buy the Drop Pod for the Devastators.

Same points, same models. Un-ideal build. No Formations involved.

Baaltor
01-07-2015, 03:46
I think it'd be okay if the books both had their own formations, and so they were instead different instead of uneven. Otherwise just because a list with the same contents is better it doesn't make the game unbalanced. Like if you organinsed your Lascannons into your IF tactical squads, but your friend was more savvy and instead put them in his Devastators, you have the same lists, with the same contents but one's clearly better because they took advantage of rules that you didn't. That's not the sign of bad game design, and there are still potentially advantages to not fielding them that way.

ehlijen
01-07-2015, 06:23
One ten man Tactical Squad with Melta, Grav-Cannon, Combi-melta, one Devastator Squad with four Lascannons, One Drop Pod with Deathwind, One Razorback with Twin Las. Buy the Drop Pod for the Devastators.

Same points, same models. Un-ideal build. No Formations involved.

Same points as what? I'm not sure what you're comparing them to.

But whatever flaw the points system has, you are not solving them by throwing in optional upgrades that do not cost points. Yes, it is possible to deliberately build a bad army. That doesn't make it ok that you can accidentally do so just by not knowing about a formation you qualify for.

insectum7
01-07-2015, 07:18
Same points as what? I'm not sure what you're comparing them to.

Themselves. You can take all the same models for all the same points, but putting your Devastators in the Drop Pod as opposed to your Tacticals is a disadvantage. One army configuration has the edge over the other, yet costs exactly the same. Combinations and synergies can't be discounted. The theoretical ideal of 1000 points must equal 1000 points is impractical in a game as diverse as 40K.



But whatever flaw the points system has, you are not solving them by throwing in optional upgrades that do not cost points. Yes, it is possible to deliberately build a bad army. That doesn't make it ok that you can accidentally do so just by not knowing about a formation you qualify for.

A: I don't think Formations are simply there to "solve points-system problems". I think they're there to provide characterful foundations to armies and promote combinations that would otherwise be left on the shelf.

B: New players will accidentally make poor army choices all the time, Formations or not. There's a responsibility on the players part in the scenario you describe. How would they "not know about a formation"? Playing with an outdated codex seems like the likely scenario there, but that's not really on GW, that's on the player who uses an outdated codex. Releasing Formations outside of codexes might be an issue, but that's also not a fault of Formations themselves, but rather their potentially obscure release via White Dwarf or boxed set or one-off purchase.

Althenian Armourlost
01-07-2015, 08:16
My vypers have seen more table time in the last 2 months than in the previous 10 years.. They've even killed things!* I like this idea of using formations within formations in 'decurion' style lists to force a bonus for putting fluff-compatible armies on the table. The people I play with are such power gamers, that even seeing power armoured marines and not just 2x5 scouts as minimum troops was a miracle. Now I'm seeing them in most games. I think these formations are a massive win for creating interesting games, and the only reason they are bad is that not everyone has one yet. Personally, I can't wait for the ridiculous power-from-pain abuse-fest that will result from the next DE codex.

*guardsmen, gaunts and rhinos mosty.

Flipmode
01-07-2015, 08:53
Are formation bonuses allowed in an unbound/non-battleforged list? Not that most lists would need to, but a point made earlier got me thinking.

T10
01-07-2015, 12:56
But when identical model collections costing the same points end up with different power levels because one player has a book with a cool formation and the other doesn't, the points system has been broken.

Why wouldn't you just redefine your army to use the same Formation? It's not a video game with pay-to-win, it's a social game that allows for give-and-take.


Yes, GW never quite got balance right. That doesn't make this bad system any less bad.

Balance is subjective. GW has put into the rules your right to refuse your opponent to use models you don't like, and your opponent can reciprocate. If you want your brand of balance, enforce it. Why use GW's broken points costs when you can freely define your own?

-T10

Greyhound
01-07-2015, 13:09
Are formation bonuses allowed in an unbound/non-battleforged list? Not that most lists would need to, but a point made earlier got me thinking.

Absolutely. My unbound list alway use formations, complemented with the models I believe would fit the fluff.

Dr.Clock
01-07-2015, 16:56
Yeah - the argument that 'x+y+z units' in a formation should equal 'x+y+z units' taken outside the same formation is pretty similar to an argument that would demand 'total balance' between any 2 armies in the system at any given point value. Insectum is right on the money in this department.

We are ALL aware that army selection is an very important part of this game. That said, army selection choices can't be ranked universally from best to worst - the opponent's choices will impact how effective your selections and loadouts end up being. This is the classic problem of taking extreme lists for casual games.

Formations, however, allow primarily for some more fluff-driven versions to work like we 'expect' them to, and in a way that can significantly counteract some of the 'edge' that more 'extreme for its own sake' lists can manage.

It's true that in certain cases, there is a very clear benefit to taking units in a formation instead of a CAD or Unbound (although it's unclear whether a force that 'could' fit in a formation or CAD can be 'unbound' just because a player wants it that way), but that's only relevant in an abstract sense and assumes a game is being played at a really strange arbitrary point value. It's very uncommon, I think, to see people saying 'I want to play with just this formation that costs 1215 points the way I've built it'. Instead, we see people seeing how to get the most out of both one or two formations and a small supporting CAD or Ally detachment. This 'layering' of army selection allows for plenty of great modeling opportunities, and a more liberal use of models/factions - and far more than the tired FOC ever managed.

Without formations or faction-specific detachments, we'd be back to square one - focussing on trying to find the cheesiest combinations and efficiencies within the FOC. If nothing else, formations have made netlisting a bit more difficult through sheer number of options.

Finally - the faction-specific detachments are vastly more intuitive to me than was the universal FOC. Over time, even that building mechanic became increasingly meaningless as things were allowed to 'hop around' the FOC based on HQ selections etc. As it stand today, however, your unit selections 'fit together better' so you can see how 'task forces' are assembled with thought given to different battlefield roles, and it's easier to bring small allied detachments that make narrative sense without being forced to take things that you don't want to take to get things you do want. The 'aspect host formation' is a great example - I have 3x5 scorpions that I can just 'slot in' to CWE or DE lists on a whim for a great little forward harassment force. I don't have to worry about Elite slots, or an obligatory HQ, they ARE a detachment unto themselves, and can make themselves useful in LOTS of contexts with WS5. That's a win for me, after years and years of squeezing 8-16 scorpions into CADs.

Cheers,

The Good Doctor.

ehlijen
01-07-2015, 23:11
Themselves. You can take all the same models for all the same points, but putting your Devastators in the Drop Pod as opposed to your Tacticals is a disadvantage. One army configuration has the edge over the other, yet costs exactly the same. Combinations and synergies can't be discounted. The theoretical ideal of 1000 points must equal 1000 points is impractical in a game as diverse as 40K.

I disagree. Either configuration can work, it depends on what the player faces and the terrain. If there is no good LOS to be had in your deployment zone, dropping in those devvies on a tall hill while the RB drives the melta combat squad forward could be very handy.
In either case, the difference is less than if one side got +1 BS for free and the other didn't.


A: I don't think Formations are simply there to "solve points-system problems". I think they're there to provide characterful foundations to armies and promote combinations that would otherwise be left on the shelf.

That's doesn't mean that's how they will be used. And again, if some units are shelfstuck, why not fix their entries directly instead of releasing formations in purchasable dataslates?


B: New players will accidentally make poor army choices all the time, Formations or not. There's a responsibility on the players part in the scenario you describe. How would they "not know about a formation"? Playing with an outdated codex seems like the likely scenario there, but that's not really on GW, that's on the player who uses an outdated codex. Releasing Formations outside of codexes might be an issue, but that's also not a fault of Formations themselves, but rather their potentially obscure release via White Dwarf or boxed set or one-off purchase.
How about simply not having bought the latest dataslate or that bundle that came with a formation sheet? The nature of formations is clearly tied to their release strategy: they are shopping lists you can find buy shopping at GW. They have the power to put the formations in the codex instead of day one dataslates or they could even release them for free on their website. They don't (so far, AoS is showing some promising signs in that regard at the very least).

Why wouldn't you just redefine your army to use the same Formation? It's not a video game with pay-to-win, it's a social game that allows for give-and-take.

It sometimes is, but not always. In a tournament, you wouldn't be able to do that. And if you do it one game, after which the opponent and his copy of the rules leaves, what do you do in the next game where you play against someone with a different set of formations? You're still behind in power, but unless you performed piracy, you have no way of showing what rules you're using.


Balance is subjective. GW has put into the rules your right to refuse your opponent to use models you don't like, and your opponent can reciprocate. If you want your brand of balance, enforce it. Why use GW's broken points costs when you can freely define your own?

-T10

Yes, I have the power to not play GW games. I am exercising it vigorously, as well. But what good does that do to GW or anyone who wants to play GW games? The only way to have fun with GW games is to play. If the ability to not play is touted as an advantage, what does that say about the game?

And no, balance isn't subjective. Fun, scope, theme, immersion and pace are subjective, but balance is pretty clearly defined as 'all players are supposed to start with equal chances at victory (however victory is defined for any given player)'.
Some players manage to have fun with imbalanced games, but when looking at a competitive* game pitting two players against each other with symmetric starting conditions, most people would assume that the game is meant to be balanced and would be disappointed to find out it isn't.

*any game where one player's victory precludes that of the others is competitive, that definition has nothing to do with how seriously the players treat the game


Yeah - the argument that 'x+y+z units' in a formation should equal 'x+y+z units' taken outside the same formation is pretty similar to an argument that would demand 'total balance' between any 2 armies in the system at any given point value. Insectum is right on the money in this department.

Then what are points values for? If they do not provide balance, what function do they serve?
There mere presence implies that balance is intended to exist because balance is all they are capable of providing. And a competitive game (see above) needs balance to work.
So if the game doesn't have balance, that should be an encouragement to fix it, not to undermine but keep the points system.


We are ALL aware that army selection is an very important part of this game. That said, army selection choices can't be ranked universally from best to worst - the opponent's choices will impact how effective your selections and loadouts end up being. This is the classic problem of taking extreme lists for casual games.

But it shouldn't be a more important part of the game than actually playing the game. Sadly, that is what it does end up as at times. Formations don't fix that. I wouldn't say they make that particular problem worse, but they are certainly not helping.



Formations, however, allow primarily for some more fluff-driven versions to work like we 'expect' them to, and in a way that can significantly counteract some of the 'edge' that more 'extreme for its own sake' lists can manage.

If formations are needed to provide that, then the core rules and unit entries have already failed to provide the game GW meant to write. Formations are band aids, the wound keeps festering beneath.

If certain units are meant to perform certain functions in the game, the core rules or the unit entries should provide that framework, not formations released separately from either. If extreme edge lists perform beyond what the background suggests they are capable of, then the rules should be changed to prevent that or the availability of such edge lists should be restricted (ie add some bloody meaningful composition rules, GW!).



It's true that in certain cases, there is a very clear benefit to taking units in a formation instead of a CAD or Unbound (although it's unclear whether a force that 'could' fit in a formation or CAD can be 'unbound' just because a player wants it that way), but that's only relevant in an abstract sense and assumes a game is being played at a really strange arbitrary point value. It's very uncommon, I think, to see people saying 'I want to play with just this formation that costs 1215 points the way I've built it'. Instead, we see people seeing how to get the most out of both one or two formations and a small supporting CAD or Ally detachment. This 'layering' of army selection allows for plenty of great modeling opportunities, and a more liberal use of models/factions - and far more than the tired FOC ever managed.

I don't see that. The prescription of certain models for formations is going to reduce the liberty of what models are 'worthwhile to take', not increase it. What's more likely to happen is that people will take the army they want and then search for whatever formation rewards them the most for doing what they were going to do anyway.




Without formations or faction-specific detachments, we'd be back to square one - focussing on trying to find the cheesiest combinations and efficiencies within the FOC. If nothing else, formations have made netlisting a bit more difficult through sheer number of options.

With formations where nowhere different, it's all about finding the best reward for what you wanted to take anyway. And what do you mean by 'the FOC'? The days of a single chart (and its actual ability to restrict) are long gone.
Also, the sheer number of options is part of the problem because GW won't release them in easily accessed compendiums. Unless you keep up to date on slates and bundles pertaining to your faction (through cash or crime), you're not even aware of all the options.



Finally - the faction-specific detachments are vastly more intuitive to me than was the universal FOC. Over time, even that building mechanic became increasingly meaningless as things were allowed to 'hop around' the FOC based on HQ selections etc.

Yes, when they broke the FOC, it stopped working. The only times it ever did work was when it actually restricted, because that was its job. By adding too many loopholes to avoid restrictions, GW basically neutered the whole concept.


As it stand today, however, your unit selections 'fit together better' so you can see how 'task forces' are assembled with thought given to different battlefield roles, and it's easier to bring small allied detachments that make narrative sense without being forced to take things that you don't want to take to get things you do want. The 'aspect host formation' is a great example - I have 3x5 scorpions that I can just 'slot in' to CWE or DE lists on a whim for a great little forward harassment force. I don't have to worry about Elite slots, or an obligatory HQ, they ARE a detachment unto themselves, and can make themselves useful in LOTS of contexts with WS5. That's a win for me, after years and years of squeezing 8-16 scorpions into CADs.

Cheers,

The Good Doctor.

But that kind of 'bring what fits together' is exactly what's going to give us edge case lists. In the FOC, you were supposedly limited to 3 super fast choices (though almost from the get go GW started to undermine that in the codices), because the game was built around the speed of a troops choice as the base. Now that everyone can take all the eldar jetbikes they want, any speed less than that has become 'slow'.

What you are enjoying is a lack of restrictions, but that lack of restrictions is what's causing edge lists to dominate and the belief that formations are needed to bring the 'fluffy units' back on top. That's not going to work, though. There'll just be new edge lists as people will spam different units, exacerbated by the fact that GW are bringing the same restraint to formation design that they brought to FOC execution.

If the rules leave you free to choose any units, your practical choices are actually fewer than if the rules forced you into an FOC that properly guarded against edge lists.

Spell_of_Destruction
02-07-2015, 01:27
I think the best way to address this is to make ObjSec a more valuable ability with the result that the 'downside' of formations is the lack of ObjSec.

Wesser
02-07-2015, 07:42
I think the best way to address this is to make ObjSec a more valuable ability with the result that the 'downside' of formations is the lack of ObjSec.

Aye, something like: Units with Objective Secure scores double Victory Points for objectives of the "Secure Objective X" type.

And then yes, deny Objective Secure to Formations

Dr.Clock
02-07-2015, 16:35
@ehlijen - thanks for your thorough reply...

There are a couple concerns that I think are pertinent.

Firstly, I'll agree that 'balance' isn't the real goal of this design choice, unless it's the balance of anarchy.

What I most appreciate about the new paradigm is that it makes all forces (potentially) fight differently from the ground up.

It's also true that this up-to-now radical approach to composition is in essence a business decisions - GW wants you to feel that you can bring anything at any time for any reason. Some players may take this as license to pervert the 'spirit of the game' as some of us vets have come to know it, but that's really always been the case. 'Beardy' as a term after all originally came from particularly unsporting dwarf lists with ALL THE CANNONS, and in a collectible game, this risk will effectively always be there. If we were creating rulesets entirely from scratch, 'meaningful composition rules' would be easier to implement. I'd hazard that the complexity of units would have to be nuked from orbit, however, as many units currently have a staggering number of conceivable builds, and enough that they can be more or less specialized to deal with a number of different 'optimal targets'. By the time you're governing specific wargear selections throughout the army etc., you're going to need a degree in actuarial science to build a 2k list, and you're STILL likely to have the odd unintended outcome in rule interaction that leads the hardcore competitive gamer toward an ever-smaller and rigid selection of units - 30ish years in, is anyone really surprised that gamers try and find the angle to win the game before it starts?

You wanna know the best thing for list balance? Talking with people, coupled with a willingness to compromise. While this has also always been true, the (almost) pure anarchy of current composition rules makes it that much more important.

My main gripe with the current paradigm is that it hasn't had a full go-round yet - some factions operating under older books don't have the 'privilege' of going to faction-specific formations and detachments, and that makes some match-ups pretty egregiously bad. I know you play IG, and it's too bad that you don't have shiny new synergies to show off... but again, design-lag is nothing new.

Finally, it's important to point out that 'meaningful choices in army selection' simply cannot align with 'perfectly balanced armies'; this tension has always been there, and it's not going away.

You're right, of course, that where once we had 'points and FOC-slot' as limitations, we now have mostly just points, but sometimes specific units get '+x' when taken with other units. It's true that mostly that's the complete opposite of 'limitation' - it's a challenge to try and wrangle an edge from either a diverse or limited selection of units. To me, that's the triumph of this system - it makes diversity and limitation equally attractive (if properly and completely implemented).

Take the Daemonkin book, which I consider an almost complete success. Yes - it failed to make 'Crushers and Terminators meaningful, but when I play it, I really do get the sense of the army working together as a whole and following 'its own logic' as opposed to a single game-wide structure. Instead of just finding one good troop choice or HS and spamming that, I mostly end up with 'one of everything' (absent 3x8 cultists, 2x1 Spawn, and 2x5 raptors), but the list still feels unified and fluffy, and everything feels like it 'fits' where it's supposed to... but that's also not what I want from every army - some armies SHOULD be about spam, whether it's lasguns, bolters, rending claws or choppas... and the current design paradigm is equally suited to both in that it doesn't bother trying to make all lists the same, but rather tries to make each faction truly unique across the board, and truly flexible within itself.

Cheers,

The Good Doctor.

samzor
02-07-2015, 16:43
Its all about marketing. None of this passes without the marketing group gettin a look in.

Formations are just rehash of formations in EPIC 40K. Now that the force org is largely obsolete the formations will take over in the next edition.

If you want to understand formations from a balance point of view just look at the epic rulebooks:
http://www.tp.net-armageddon.org/

Its a good idea if done correctly make a force out of multiple formations and ensure you have balance to handle a variety of opposing armies. Just like Epic that list should play reasonably well.
Of course it will be abused by GW to create the usual money grab situation.

Haravikk
02-07-2015, 17:17
My best answer to the question is: yes and no.

Some formations do a good job of making themed or otherwise underpowered lists more viable, without having to make the individual units more powerful. This is ideal if the units themselves are well balanced for mixed lists, but are weak if taken in greater numbers, as it allows us more freedom to create more varied and interesting armies.

However, the problem lies with formations which are no-brainers, because they take already good units and simply make them better. While they're not necessarily bad formations to have available for thematic reasons, they should really have a cost associated if they're only making things more powerful when that isn't required. The last thing we need are formations and detachments that essentially reward you for taking an already viable list.

ehlijen
02-07-2015, 22:59
Firstly, I'll agree that 'balance' isn't the real goal of this design choice, unless it's the balance of anarchy.

What I most appreciate about the new paradigm is that it makes all forces (potentially) fight differently from the ground up.

Making factions and builds different from each other has a lot of potential to make the game deeper and more interesting, I agree. But there is a danger of going too far and robbing the game of a central identity.

But deliberately abandoning balance should be done properly if it is done at all. I don't like where Age of Sigmar is going, but I respect its seeming lack of a points costs balance system more than 40ks watering down of it.


It's also true that this up-to-now radical approach to composition is in essence a business decisions - GW wants you to feel that you can bring anything at any time for any reason. Some players may take this as license to pervert the 'spirit of the game' as some of us vets have come to know it, but that's really always been the case. 'Beardy' as a term after all originally came from particularly unsporting dwarf lists with ALL THE CANNONS, and in a collectible game, this risk will effectively always be there. If we were creating rulesets entirely from scratch, 'meaningful composition rules' would be easier to implement. I'd hazard that the complexity of units would have to be nuked from orbit, however, as many units currently have a staggering number of conceivable builds, and enough that they can be more or less specialized to deal with a number of different 'optimal targets'. By the time you're governing specific wargear selections throughout the army etc., you're going to need a degree in actuarial science to build a 2k list, and you're STILL likely to have the odd unintended outcome in rule interaction that leads the hardcore competitive gamer toward an ever-smaller and rigid selection of units - 30ish years in, is anyone really surprised that gamers try and find the angle to win the game before it starts?

40k has a lot of problems that lead to upgrades defining a unit even if only 10% carry the upgrade. For me, the ideal solution would be to drastically reduce the power of upgrades and make the baseline weapons more important. After that, make all upgrades have roughly equal pros and cons and just don't charge points for them. Combined, that'd make list building and balancing much easier, I think. (It's the approach I took in my homebrew wargame, anyway. Jury is still out on whether it worked lol)

But as for the trying to get ahead before the game, yes it's natural that people do it. But that's because the game is seen as competitive, and competitive games are only fun for long if they are balanced at least to some degree. And to be balanced, the ability to gain advantage before the game even starts needs to be sharply limited, so that the game remains interesting (as in, the outcome does not become obvious until it actually occurs).

If list building is meant to be part of the game, the actual playing of it needs to become faster so less time is wasted on testing lists against each other. Its game design 101: don't make the game drag out past the point where the outcome is known.



You wanna know the best thing for list balance? Talking with people, coupled with a willingness to compromise. While this has also always been true, the (almost) pure anarchy of current composition rules makes it that much more important.

Yes, but the moment discussing how to play 40k becomes more time consuming than saying 'let's play something else', GW looses. And as much as I dislike them for everything they're doing right now, I don't want them to actually lose.

Sure, communication is key, but a lot of games manage to be fun without requiring nearly as much of it. Why does 40k insist on not doing that?



My main gripe with the current paradigm is that it hasn't had a full go-round yet - some factions operating under older books don't have the 'privilege' of going to faction-specific formations and detachments, and that makes some match-ups pretty egregiously bad. I know you play IG, and it's too bad that you don't have shiny new synergies to show off... but again, design-lag is nothing new.

It's nothing new, yes, and it will stay this way. That's always been the drawback of releasing faction books one at a time while still trying to evolve the game with each (they tried a few times to stay the line, but always ended up being decried as bland).


Finally, it's important to point out that 'meaningful choices in army selection' simply cannot align with 'perfectly balanced armies'; this tension has always been there, and it's not going away.

But that tension doesn't have to be outright conflict. Approximate balance can be close enough and often the illusion of choice supplement by few actual choices can look deep enough for most players.

By illusion of choice I don't mean no brainers, btw, but choices where all options are reasonably even.


You're right, of course, that where once we had 'points and FOC-slot' as limitations, we now have mostly just points, but sometimes specific units get '+x' when taken with other units. It's true that mostly that's the complete opposite of 'limitation' - it's a challenge to try and wrangle an edge from either a diverse or limited selection of units. To me, that's the triumph of this system - it makes diversity and limitation equally attractive (if properly and completely implemented).

I don't see it leading to diversity, and I am not sure I see any limitation imposed by means other than 'this is bad choice, make the other choice'. Formations look to be inheriting all the balance problems 40k's always had, but now two unbalanced system have been mashed together. It might be more difficult to find the no brainers, but someone will and then those will dominate just like any no brainer did before, kicking diversity out again.


Take the Daemonkin book, which I consider an almost complete success. Yes - it failed to make 'Crushers and Terminators meaningful, but when I play it, I really do get the sense of the army working together as a whole and following 'its own logic' as opposed to a single game-wide structure. Instead of just finding one good troop choice or HS and spamming that, I mostly end up with 'one of everything' (absent 3x8 cultists, 2x1 Spawn, and 2x5 raptors), but the list still feels unified and fluffy, and everything feels like it 'fits' where it's supposed to... but that's also not what I want from every army - some armies SHOULD be about spam, whether it's lasguns, bolters, rending claws or choppas... and the current design paradigm is equally suited to both in that it doesn't bother trying to make all lists the same, but rather tries to make each faction truly unique across the board, and truly flexible within itself.

Cheers,

The Good Doctor.

I don't know that book, so I can't comment. The result you describe sounds good, but that's not what I see most of the formations I do know delivering.

And again, factions should be different, but they should still all play the same game.

As an example, take Battlefleet Gothic. The core game was well balanced with two distinct fleets engaging in battle where harsh manoeuvering restrictions and short engagement times made gaining an advantage a task of planning ahead.
Two more fleets were included in the base rulebook: Orks who, suffered simply from bad ships and eldar, who basically ignored all the rules. They were a unique fleet, but the sheer number of differences meant they never truly fit into the game. They played a different game and every other faction was understandably frustrated by that.
It wasn't just that fighting eldar required different tactics, but that it pretty much required knowing two different versions of the rules for one game.
Do that too much, and there ceases to be a base game, and thus a base understanding of what the game is about. That's why all the talking to your opponent is so much more necessary now: it's getting pretty hard to see what base 40k is.

Again, that brings diversity, but it also makes it pretty hard to find what you want in any single game, and that is driving players away. At least, that's what drove me away.

Greavous
03-07-2015, 10:59
really formations should work 2 ways.

1) you have to field units together that wouldnt normally be together (or even used) and gain a small benfit (+1 BS or something)

2) field a OP formation but have restrictions and consequences such as less wargear or higher/lower stats (+1 BS/-2WS) something that makes it risky to take.

it does seem strange when you can run a formation with units you are using anyway and just get bonuses, but i suppose thats GW's way of spicing the game up and increasing sales "oh i like that formation i need more X models to use it".
but not every army has formations, my tau dont have any (bar the firebase thing but i dont have the dataslate) the 'new' codex rumour may give them some but that could be next year.

WarsmithGarathor94
03-07-2015, 20:24
tbh i like the formations for example the blood host detachment from the KDK book is a great exanple it allows you to field a fluffy daemonkin army which can take on most other armies fairlu equally. Now right.now im.not running the blood host as i dont own all the mandatory units for the slaughter cult or the majority of the formations but its great because it means i can go right i want this formation so i need to get this unit and this unit.