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View Full Version : How to create great balance - have you tried this?



Tayrod
13-07-2015, 10:37
Have you tried this little trick for creating better balance in your games?

Most of us agrees that inbalance happens at the list-building stage. What my group has been experimanting with lately is having one player build both lists, with the second player choosing which list he wants to play. This gives the player building the list incentives to create as balanced list as possible, because he knows that if any of the lists are glaringly weaker, he will most likely have to field it himself.

Now this requires both players to be familiar with both armies, and it takes away from the list-building aspect of the hobby for one of the players. Even so it has helped us create relativelty balanced games, and it lets you make fun forces you otherwise would not field (ie: Assault Heavy list vs Assault Heavy list).

Has anyone tried this successfully?

Darnok
13-07-2015, 11:22
This is a solid method, if a few conditions are met. Both players need to know both armies (as you said), but they also have to know each others collections. Assuming they know each other well, that should not be an issue. But then: why would there be any major balancing issues between two players already knowing each other so well?

Having said that, I still think it is a workable method for something like clubs or other regular gaming groups. People can make a list of what models they own, and what other armies they are familiar with - from that point on you can use the method proposed above.

Griefbringer
13-07-2015, 12:44
Both players need to know both armies (as you said), but they also have to know each others collections.

Certain players own multiple armies of their own. In that case, they can construct both sides for a given game from their own collections, thus not needing to be familiar with their opponents collection. Of course the opponent needs to be moderately familiar with the rules for the given forces, so that he understands what he is choosing between.

(And maybe somebody should propose this also for the AoS players...)

T10
13-07-2015, 13:27
It sounds like a lot of hassle, and potentially abusive if the list builder designs both armies around non-obvious combos that he knows to tap into, but that he does not disclose to his opponent.

Also: Are your players OK with using lists designed by others? How would they instead feel about selecting a pre-defined list from a pool of "approved" lists?

-T10

Haravikk
13-07-2015, 13:49
An alternative might be to each build your own list for your own army, but then randomise who actually the uses each list? So basically there's a 50% chance you'll show up and your opponent will play using your army, so there's an incentive not to make it too broken, just as there's an incentive not to make it too weak (as there's a 50% chance of you using it as well). This works well with the whole randomising of sides as well; e.g- you setup terrain, randomise a side, deploy your list, then roll to see if you switch around. This might help to get around lists that are built with unfamiliar combos, since the person that wrote the list deploys it.

Of course it doesn't really overcome the issue of knowing your opponent's army, but people need to be at least semi-aware of what other armies have (so your opponent can't swing a game (un)intentionally misremembering a rule); as long as your opponent also has the codex handy, then you can at least brush up on the specifics. There are usually good codex reviews online that give you a pretty good idea of a unit's capabilities if you can't afford to buy the codex for reference, which should give you a good idea of the rules and weapons, which the reference sections can then confirm.

Darnok
13-07-2015, 14:10
A similar method would be to build multiple different lists for your own army (maybe three builds), and then letting the other player decide which he'll play. That way you still have the list-building aspect in the game (even more, since you have to create multiple lists, all of which need to be playable for you), and there is even some kind of gambling aspect if you let the decision on the other players list be made simultaneously and hidden (i.e. both players choose the other ones list, and only then know which one they'll play).

This method would still enforce somewhat balanced lists, while you don't necessarily need to know the other guys army or collection. You could simply prepare multiple list for a game night in advance, and bring what you need for all of them. The one big downside is that you usually have to bring multiple models that you won't use on that evening - and I guess some (especially mass) armies will have serious trouble here.

Griefbringer
13-07-2015, 14:25
A similar method would be to build multiple different lists for your own army (maybe three builds), and then letting the other player decide which he'll play. That way you still have the list-building aspect in the game (even more, since you have to create multiple lists, all of which need to be playable for you), and there is even some kind of gambling aspect if you let the decision on the other players list be made simultaneously and hidden (i.e. both players choose the other ones list, and only then know which one they'll play).

This is an interesting idea, though again it requires certain gentlemanly understanding in what is "different enough". For example, just replacing a single plasma gun with a melta gun probably would not alter a list dramatically. Replacing a squad of devastator marines with a squad of assault marines would probably alter a list significantly.

Perhaps this option works best with relatively small games, so even those with limited collections can make different lists?

Darnok
13-07-2015, 14:35
This is an interesting idea, though again it requires certain gentlemanly understanding in what is "different enough".

Of course. But I assume once you are at the point of "discussing balance issues" between your gaming friends, you are comfortable agreeing about some bounds in that regard too.

Grand Master Raziel
13-07-2015, 15:59
In my playing group, we've had pretty good luck with balance by instituting a few house rules, the most significant of which is a 40% Troops requirement. Cuts down on the cheese remarkably.

I also thought of a handicap system I think would work. It'd require keeping track of who wins against whom with what army. If you lose to the same player/army combo twice in a row, next time you play that player/army combo, you get to add 100pts to your list. You get +100pts for every subsequent loss. Once you win, you subtract 100pts per win (till down to whatever the points-amount you're playing to), and can't add points until you've lost twice in a row again. I figure doing this, you'd eventually find a balance point where good games occur.

Russell's teapot
13-07-2015, 16:02
At the back end of 5th, my regular opponent and I (which is when we last regularly played) occasionally wrote 3 or more lists at 3 different pre agreed points values.

We'd then dice off for points value (normally 1,500, 1,750 or 1,850, and 2,000), then for the list we'd use.

Given we both had a variety of armies to choose from, this stopped things getting too stale.

Spiney Norman
13-07-2015, 19:49
It sounds like a lot of hassle, and potentially abusive if the list builder designs both armies around non-obvious combos that he knows to tap into, but that he does not disclose to his opponent.

Also: Are your players OK with using lists designed by others? How would they instead feel about selecting a pre-defined list from a pool of "approved" lists?

-T10

I'm more ok with lists designed by other than I am with other people using my models, if this canbe achieved without that happening then I'd give it a go

TheKillerCoyote
13-07-2015, 20:03
OR, (and I'm much more fond of this) DON'T PLAY WITH DICKS WHO ARE MORE CONCERNED WITH PUMMELING YOU THAN WITH HAVING FUN!!!
Seriously, if someone wants to run some Deathstar, Eldar jetbike spam, or other such ********, he's welcome to do so, but if that's all he does, and he insists on doing nothing but power gaming, I'm probably going to stop playing him because it's no longer fun.
Don't get me wrong, if someone wants to do that just for kicks, or to test out a strategy to see just how OP it is, that's fine, but on the whole, I tend to stick with opponents who design tough, but still beatable lists.

gwarsh41
13-07-2015, 20:48
OR, (and I'm much more fond of this) DON'T PLAY WITH DICKS WHO ARE MORE CONCERNED WITH PUMMELING YOU THAN WITH HAVING FUN!!!


I am torn on this. On one hand, I am keeping track of people who I haven't enjoyed playing with on multiple occasions. On the other hand, sometimes I really want to try out that new hotness, or fancy unit. I have a big nasty destroyer cult I want to field. However that isn't really going to make me any friends, no matter how polite I am. Right now I feel like you can get crap for whatever army you play.

Beppo1234
13-07-2015, 21:21
A similar method would be to build multiple different lists for your own army (maybe three builds), and then letting the other player decide which he'll play.

this is the best idea so far, but still open to abuse depending on how varied the lists and models brought to game with are.

I toyed around with the idea that each player design their army to be divided in a perfect half (points wise) and geographically on the table (say two detachments). Then each player takes control of their chosen 1/2 of each army and essentially play two concurrent mini games on the same table. Then victory points by player rather than by army. Also opens the door for more cooperative narrative play... while maintaining an air of balance

TheKillerCoyote
14-07-2015, 15:28
I am torn on this. On one hand, I am keeping track of people who I haven't enjoyed playing with on multiple occasions. On the other hand, sometimes I really want to try out that new hotness, or fancy unit. I have a big nasty destroyer cult I want to field. However that isn't really going to make me any friends, no matter how polite I am. Right now I feel like you can get crap for whatever army you play.

When I want to field cheese, I always ask someone who I already know and consider a friend, so they know I'm not doing it to be a dick.
I always ask before hand, and I always offer them the option of using my models for a 'rematch' if they want to try the formation out for themselves.

Inquisitor Kallus
14-07-2015, 17:31
A similar method would be to build multiple different lists for your own army (maybe three builds), and then letting the other player decide which he'll play. That way you still have the list-building aspect in the game (even more, since you have to create multiple lists, all of which need to be playable for you), and there is even some kind of gambling aspect if you let the decision on the other players list be made simultaneously and hidden (i.e. both players choose the other ones list, and only then know which one they'll play).

This method would still enforce somewhat balanced lists, while you don't necessarily need to know the other guys army or collection. You could simply prepare multiple list for a game night in advance, and bring what you need for all of them. The one big downside is that you usually have to bring multiple models that you won't use on that evening - and I guess some (especially mass) armies will have serious trouble here.

Awesome post Darnok, best thing youve said all year :p

Darnok
14-07-2015, 19:32
Awesome post Darnok, best thing youve said all year :p

I'm not sure whether I should thank you or ban you. :shifty:

WarsmithGarathor94
14-07-2015, 20:27
i think the problem you have got with swapping armies for a game is this
Now lets say i play a opponent whos using csm.and im using.kdk. due to the fact i play csm too i know the armies weaknesses while unless hes faced kdk before he will have no idea how the army works

Inquisitor Kallus
14-07-2015, 20:32
I'm not sure whether I should thank you or ban you. :shifty:

Both! :D

It is a good idea actually. Only thing is youll need all the models with you, could be tricky id you have horde like armies and are short on carrying gear/space etc

Darnok
14-07-2015, 20:43
It is a good idea actually. Only thing is youll need all the models with you, could be tricky id you have horde like armies and are short on carrying gear/space etc

Yeah, just as I said: with horde armies you might run into some serious issues. Take my O&G for example: for three different lists, to be actually different, I need at least two units that might not be used. And both of them are either monsters or monstrous infantry, or big blocks - in either case, not exactly easy to transport.

While not being a KO criterium, it makes transportation a good bit more complicated, and especially with horde armies that is among the last things you want.

jeffersonian000
15-07-2015, 00:50
I have found that the biggest imbalances in the game can be corrected by simply using more line of sight blocking terrain. The entire game seems to be balanced around tables cluttered with tall terrain. Shooty armies have to move, choppy armies get to close, flyers become harder to field while easier to ignore. Even superheavies can't just stomp their way through. With enough of the right terrain, most one-sided matches become playable by both sides.

SJ


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

ehlijen
15-07-2015, 01:49
I problem I see with the OPs suggestion is that 40k has been drawing players based on the assumption that one builds, paints and selects their own army. It's not a boardgame where one player brings all the pieces.

I have asked some friends for games with swapped sides because I wanted to see for myself how tyranids were troubled against my armies. It just somehow never happened because there is the strong predisposition to want to play with your own models and the codex you've actually read thoroughly.

That said, this base assumption isn't really fit for 7th ed anymore anyway. Two players making armies in isolation and hoping a fun game will result from that is a recipe for a one sided stomping.