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The Anarchist
05-08-2007, 21:59
ok this is a weird one, so i wasn't fly sure of where to put this thread.

it seems to me in recent months(year) that there are ever more limits in 40K, so set sqad size in Marines, less options for Chaos. basicly makeing fewer varriables in the game in genral (many people have conflicting reasons as to why this might be)
on the other hand WFB seems to becomig more an more options for people,as well as adding in fun little extras now and then or random mini rule books eg Zombie Pirates.

so why is this? or am i being amorron and missing something obvious?
i did wonder if this was down to he expected age/maturity/experience level of the players of the two games, however i see people of both all varieties in both games plenty. so why is this, and what do all of you think of this phenominion in genral?

Vishok
05-08-2007, 22:04
Actually, I think that there are less options in Warhammer. And Warhammer 40,000 is scaling back options to...I dunno...make it easier for us to actually collect and play both games.

A lot of the rules in both games have in recent editions become less different and more the same, and the format for Codexi and Army Books have alternately thinned down, bulked up and eventually come to their present form. They look very similar, no?

Grimshawl
05-08-2007, 22:28
Sadly it seems GW's current theory goes something like this. Simple Games for Simple Minds. Yes they seem to believe that thier customer base is no longer capable of grasping even remotely complex rules or options. This is being applied more thuroughly to 40k curently.
The truth of the matter tho seems to revolve around the fact the GWs games designers are incapable of ballancing their rulses sets no matter how many years and editions they have to do so and that at this point cutting out options and rules and the overall complexity of their own games is their latest atempt to find a way to ballance the 40k system. Less rules and far less options should eventually lead them to having to ballance less, change less and understand less overall.

harlequin21
05-08-2007, 22:37
I think you have a point there anarchist,
In Wh40k our armouries have been thinned down considerably for all units, chaos (sadly imo) a prime example
In WH otoh their armouries remain quite large as a result of the magical weaponry/armour they are given choice to

@Grimshawl - yeh i've got to agree, GW just cant balance things effectively and keep the character of an army alive, the simplification of rules and codexes will eventually lead to a point where every battle no matter tactics/army list composition may well lead to being 50/50 affairs, also give the customer base some credit GW we can (well most of us) use a codex and the rules system effectively the way it is.

As ever, my opinions

nanktank
05-08-2007, 23:49
I think its also because of the lack of miniatures. GW seems to want to make a figure representing every option in their rulebooks, the flip side of this is that to accomodate this they have scaled back the options. Its good and bad, if your one of the younger generation who doesn't neccessarily want to take the time to convert that special unit. If you like me are in to the converting and modelling aspect of the hobby, its bad.

grickherder
06-08-2007, 02:49
The latest codexes (Blood Angels, Dark Angels, Chaos) remind me a lot of the 2nd edition codex lists where you don't have a lot of options in the individual unit.

2nd edition had a huge pile of wargear cards that you could buy though. Absolutely tons of them to choose from.

Vishok
06-08-2007, 03:44
Less QQ more PEW PEW

grickherder
06-08-2007, 04:52
Well, I managed a look through a copy of the latest chaos codex and it follows the same pattern. It doesn't have nearly the options of the last one, but in some ways, it's just different.

It does follow the exact same pattern of not having an armoury that you can choose from. Instead, every possible option is laid out in each entry.

It certainly has the "it's new so it's stronger than everything else" feel after a first read through.

I think that GW's attempt to balance their games has failed (intentionally or not) and that the scaling back of the options might be an attempt to get some sort of handle on this.

In a way, it's not so bad. As I said above, for the typical veteran sergeant or champion, it's like 2nd edition where you have a set list of stuff you can take. It's the characters who lose the options. In 2nd edition, you had the wargear card. In 3rd, the armoury and it looks like 4th has even less options.

Drogmir
06-08-2007, 04:59
It's more of a streamlining.

But I think they're doing it to the wrong system (sorry Fantasy)

They need to reach a cross over point where both players can transfer between systems without getting a massive headache.

Like I always do when comparing Fantasy rules to 40K

grickherder
06-08-2007, 05:55
I don't actually think that options and points accounting and buying individual entries from wargear lists necessarily make the game better. If the codex plays better, can be collected for better and still allows a gamer to put his or her own creative spin on their army, then I think it's better if it's also simpler.

This is only to a degree though. Eventually you hit the point of Privateer Press' two games (not that I'm bashing them or applauding them) where there are no options for anything. I like Hordes and Warmachine. I think the models and rules are both solid. I just don't enjoy the army building process at all-- people are right when they likened it to deck building with CCGs.

Maybe GW can find a good middle ground-- do I think they will? Probably not.

Either way, the problem is not necessarily with the codexes getting simplified and choices reduced, but with the mediocre rules underpinning the whole game. At the center of which is a outmoded turn mechanic from the eighties...

lanrak
06-08-2007, 11:25
Hi grickherder,
40k rule set is a modified 'clone' of WH rule set, which is based on WGRG rules ideas and these go back to the late 1960s.
A typical 'modern era' wargames rule set from the '1980s.'
'Firefly' for example.(Same size and scle as Epic.)

Initial phase,(request off table support ,air strikes ,artillery etc.)

Player A moves.
Player B fires.
Player A returns fire.
Player B moves.
Player A fires ,
Player B returns fire .

End phase,(Resolve off table support , and resolve moral.)

Effectivness of unit fire is controled by lots of factors, not just LOS.

This game was 25 years old last month!

Now I am not suggesting that his is the best interactive game turn mechanic.
But it was more interactive than the current 40k game turn 5 years before 40k was released!

In fact the game turn mechanics from the current Epic,Warmaster and even Blood Bowl are far superior the those used in 40k.IMO.

TTFN
lanrak.

Petrov_101
06-08-2007, 12:09
In my opinion, points systems are near impossible to balance, unless you reduce the number of options for each unit. Even then, balancing all lists to each other is extraordinarily difficult.

I wouldn't knock GW too much for balance issues. It's a tough nut to crack. Take a look at Stargrunt II. Completely discarded point systems. You choose forces based on the scenario and what "feels" right without even trying to attain balance.

In my opinion, rather than try to attain balance GW should provide as many options that make sense to a list that add flavor. The min-maxers are going to choose the best performing units/options. The modelers are going to choose the best looking (in their opinion) models. Win-win.

If you want total balance for tournaments, look into Chess.

Nurglitch
06-08-2007, 12:23
In my opinion, points systems are near impossible to balance, unless you reduce the number of options for each unit. Even then, balancing all lists to each other is extraordinarily difficult. How do you figure?

Llew
06-08-2007, 12:33
Sadly it seems GW's current theory goes something like this. Simple Games for Simple Minds. Yes they seem to believe that thier customer base is no longer capable of grasping even remotely complex rules or options.

I'd that it's more a case of them being unable to clearly resolve complex rules and conflicts. For whatever reason, when they release a neat, new, complex rule, it conflicts with some other rule. Then you end up in the "roll a die for problem resolution" mechanic that they've resorted to in order to solve conflicts.

They need tighter, clearer language, and a system to resolve rules conflicts (Character Ability>Magic item>Spell>Unit Ability or something like that) and then they could introduce more options.

However, a really well-written game needs less of those sorts of rules anyways.

Petrov_101
06-08-2007, 12:37
To balance an option, you need to plug it into an equation that includes not only the model's characteristics but also it's army's and all other armies in the game. It takes only a handful of armies and options to quickly make this an arduous task.

From mere observation, have you ever seen a version of GW rules where they didn't change points because of "balance" issues. It's not a science, it's an art form and as such subject to the opinion of the designer.

If it were a science, you'd have something akin to a system of linear equations and need to resort to Eigen values/vectors to "solve" it. You will *never* see such a thing from GW or I dare say any game company.

Sarevok
06-08-2007, 12:50
Jervis is in charge of 40K and he loooooves making everything simpler.

Bear in mind it was Jervis (and Andy Chambers) who over-simplified the rules to Epic so much it killed the game.

Jervis has done plenty of good things but I'd rather 40K without him.

Nurglitch
06-08-2007, 12:55
To balance an option, you need to plug it into an equation that includes not only the model's characteristics but also, it's army's and all other armies in the game. It takes only a handful of armies and options to quickly make this an arduous task. Really? I'm not sure I follow you. Why would this equation need the characteristics of all the models in the army, the characteristics of the its army, and all the other armies in the game?


From mere observation, have you ever seen a version of GW rules where they didn't change points because of "balance" issues. It's not a science, it's an art form and as such subject to the opinion of the designer. I'm not entirely sure this is true. What makes deciding point values an art rather than a science? It seems to me that the point values of models are simply properties of the system of rules they're being used with, and as such a matter of science where they are going to be figured accurately.


If it were a science, you'd have something akin to a system of linear equations and need to resort to Eigen values/vectors to "solve" it. You will *never* see such a thing from GW or I dare say any game company. I had to look up eiganvalues but if the wiki is anything to go by I'm somewhat mystified as to why a point system would be an application of linear algebra. Do you mean that we'd need to track the possible position of every model on very possible field before finding a value for any model?

Petrov_101
06-08-2007, 13:31
Really? I'm not sure I follow you. Why would this equation need the characteristics of all the models in the army, the characteristics of the its army, and all the other armies in the game?

I'm not entirely sure this is true. What makes deciding point values an art rather than a science? It seems to me that the point values of models are simply properties of the system of rules they're being used with, and as such a matter of science where they are going to be figured accurately.

I had to look up eiganvalues but if the wiki is anything to go by I'm somewhat mystified as to why a point system would be an application of linear algebra. Do you mean that we'd need to track the possible position of every model on very possible field before finding a value for any model?

Not so much the position on the field but its relative worth in the army/system. I mentioned linear algebra/systems of equations just as an example of how changing options in one list must take into account all other lists in the game to achieve balance. Hence, a system of equations.

You can already see the point costs of say, power weapons, influenced by the model wielding the weapon. A power weapon on a chaos lord is going to kill many more things than one held by an imperial storm trooper for example. You have to take into account everything to truly balance the points. Not easy.

That's why I feel it's not really fair to knock GW for this particular aspect of the game. Other systems like Stargrunt II don't even bother trying to balance lists, discarding points all together. I'm not sure I would go so far as discard point systems as I find them part of the fun of list building, but I realize it's merely a crude approximation, at best.

DarthIbis
06-08-2007, 15:05
I would think that point values for models would pretty much be based on their attributes, speed, wargear... all these tangible things. Doesn't seem like it should be all that complex to determine the relative strength of something based on those definable traits it has.

Petrov_101
06-08-2007, 15:21
I would think that point values for models would pretty much be based on their attributes, speed, wargear... all these tangible things. Doesn't seem like it should be all that complex to determine the relative strength of something based on those definable traits it has.

I agree... doesn't *seem* like it would be difficult. IMO, it is. For example, how do you rate power weapons if one army has units with *NO* armor save? Pretty much a don't care for them. Yet you have to factor that model's point value vs. such an enemy, without screwing up the point costs for other armies.

Nurglitch
06-08-2007, 15:28
Petrov_101:

Given that games are usually between specific armies, why would the cost of any model need to be balanced against that of any other model? Take the example of the Chaos Lord. In the unlikely event of the Chaos Lord missing with all of his attacks his power weapon is worth as much as any weapon that misses. And if a player, for whatever reason, isn't planning on taking that Chaos Lord into an assault but takes a power weapon just in case should the power weapon cost less because the player wasn't planning on using it? While a point system would need to be a system it seems like you're making a mountain out of a molehill. I mean you don't need to balance every possible army against other possible army on all possible boards in all possible scenarios, just the ones being used in the game.

Given that Warhammer 40k is a game, like chess, about time, space, and material it seems like it would be a computationally similar task to compute entire games let alone all possible games. I suggest that if we can, instead, break the game down into a relatively small set of choices made by players and compute their limits. Thus model costs would be variable and based on the ratio of expected values to expected utilities that might obtain in any given game. We don't need to calculate the variable of skill because in a sense the game is a heuristic to determine that. Then players can just plug in the armies, boards, and scenarios they're using to calculate equality (or inequality) in starting positions.

DarthIbis
06-08-2007, 15:33
Yes, there are obviously subtle nuances to getting the numbers right, but that's why it takes longer than a week to come up with any given set of rules.

I compare it to something like playing Warcraft III where you can have a Hero, or some other strong piece and an "equivalent" amount of peons and they don't stand a chance against the stronger.

But two, say half-as-powerful units could take down one, right?

One would be foolish to field an entire army of only base troops. You know you'll have tougher nuts to crack and probably be unable to overcome them by shear numbers.

Llew
06-08-2007, 15:34
Not so much the position on the field but its relative worth in the army/system. I mentioned linear algebra/systems of equations just as an example of how changing options in one list must take into account all other lists in the game to achieve balance. Hence, a system of equations.

You can already see the point costs of say, power weapons, influenced by the model wielding the weapon. A power weapon on a chaos lord is going to kill many more things than one held by an imperial storm trooper for example. You have to take into account everything to truly balance the points. Not easy.


I think that's certainly true if you start with the current army books and try to devise all future points systems from there. However, there's nothing actually preventing them from starting over. Figure out a points system based on stats and effectiveness and issue a PDF with revised costs for all armies, or even just a case for exceptions.

If you have a proper points system, then it won't matter if a weapon is in the hand of a Chaos Champion, because that will have been factored in. For example, say a bolter in the hands of a BS 3 shooter is a 2 point upgrade, it may go up by a point for each point of BS over 3, or whatever the formula determines.

A well-designed point system can account for a lot of variables. Then, once established, the designers can work their "art" by changing things at whim and get some army flavor that way. But it should be possible to get a pretty accurate baseline point system in place.

The fact that GW hasn't done it doesn't mean it's not possible.

Similarly, this brings me to probably the first thing I've disagreed with CvT about. I think GW is fully capable of redesigning and reworking their flagship games into a strong, tight ruleset. I think they may be unwilling to do so currently because they fear alienating their players. However, I think their staff is capable of designing some slick mechanics when they don't have to try to keep things so close to older editions of the game.

Petrov_101
06-08-2007, 15:49
I didn't mean to suggest it wasn't possible. Just not easy. I've played other games with point systems and they've been trashed/redesigned because many perceived they were broken.

I'm just not confident a miniatures game, with loads of units and armies can be easily balanced.


Petrov_101:

Given that Warhammer 40k is a game, like chess, about time, space, and material it seems like it would be a computationally similar task to compute entire games let alone all possible games. I suggest that if we can, instead, break the game down into a relatively small set of choices made by players and compute their limits. Thus model costs would be variable and based on the ratio of expected values to expected utilities that might obtain in any given game. We don't need to calculate the variable of skill because in a sense the game is a heuristic to determine that. Then players can just plug in the armies, boards, and scenarios they're using to calculate equality (or inequality) in starting positions.

Chess is more constrained than warhammer. Identical units on a small grid. I think it would take a lot of work from the GW staff to model the game well enough to get a computer program to calculate relative value of each army based on unit selection, scenario, etc.

Be nice to have tho. Too much to expect from a toy soldier hobby I'm afraid.

Asmith
06-08-2007, 16:05
It might not be easy but they aren't even trying! When things are adjusted the best way to do it is to make a change look at the results and tweak it in until it is working the way you would like.

40K designers change everything with every codex and edition so they never know where they stand, and they never take the opportunity to improve the game. Hell by 4 editions everything should be just about perfect, but it's not any better than where they started. Not suprising given the random walk methodology. This is why I get the sense the system is not going anywhere (other than around in circles), and I think this is contributing greatly to their problems with long term retention of veterans.

Nurglitch
06-08-2007, 16:40
Petrov_101:

Yes, I know you were saying it's possible and just not easy. I'm saying it's possible and easier than you might think. I've seen plenty of badly designed point systems myself, usually the result of treating it like an art instead of a science but also occasionally the result of poor analysis resulting from unjustified assumptions about complexity.

I'm quite confident that a miniature wargame can be balanced, and that it's a matter of efficiently representing the bits that matter rather than trying to describe all possible permutations of a game. The thing about chess is that although it seems more constrained then Warhammer it's actually less constrained when you look at its structure.

I don't think it's too much to expect from a hobby wargame.

Petrov_101
06-08-2007, 16:46
By focusing on models, rather than bullet proof rules, GW still has a winning business, er, model. Yeah, it would be great to have a super point system and all, but the thing that got me into the game was the pretty toy soldiers on the table.

I'm looking into historical miniatures now and I've got to tell ya, GW spoiled me. Some of the historical models out there, although much cheaper look like dog poop. Thankfully, the Perry Bros. have a great line and some of the Foundry figs aren't bad either but my local store can't get them yet.

Anyway, to me, it's more important to have a good selection of readily available models than a tight ruleset (if I had to pick between the two). It's my opinion that GW is focussed on the models more than the rules and that's why things are at their current state.

Honestly, I think as vets get older, they start to migrate towards historical games (no stats on this... just seems to be the natural way of things). If GW ever produced models to go with their historical rules I'd be getting a second mortgage on the house to cover the expense :)

lanrak
06-08-2007, 20:33
Hi all.
Petrov 101, have you seen GW latest financial results?
Winning buisness model? I think NOT:evilgrin:.

Any how,
It is the general concencus that accurate systems to calculate PV and therfore asist game ballance,are possible and have been implemented in non GW games for years.

So a in game system like this, 'I want a new deamon model with these stats and equipment ,how much will it cost in pv?'
'Ill just run the calculations mate hang on...37 pts.'

In WH and 40k, 'I want a new deamon model with these stats and equipmnet ,how much will it cost in pv?'
Err we will have to play test some games against all othe units and armies, heck, what a back log of play testing we have already.It will take too long.Nah you CAN NOT use that in our game sorry!

Can you see how GW are painting themselves into a corner .
They have not got games suitable for ballanced competative play.
And in trying to improve ballance to make them more suitable for competition play,they are removing gamer choice.
But without a system to determine the level of imballance accuratley, the games are going to become very restricted by the time they achive 'reasonable competative balance'.IMO.

So if you want to play games 'ballanced for competative play',dont buy GW rule sets!IMO.


TTFN
lanrak.

Mad Doc Grotsnik
06-08-2007, 20:42
Yes, and no.

Warhammer has a more restrictive method of army selection. Rare and Special slots are heavily limited, especially in small games, so a successful player needs to look into the sunergy of his list. Everything needs to punch it's weight, or above it.

In 40k, a squad can be a small army in it's own right, and as such, a threat to everything.

W0lf
06-08-2007, 20:55
The level of balance is far betetr in Fantasy as its ruleset makes for a more tactical game.

In 40k winners can be decided on who gets first turn... (lame)

I believe the cut back is to help level out the balance of 40k. From there Games wrokshop will start weening in more options. ;)

Petrov_101
07-08-2007, 13:05
Hi all.
Petrov 101, have you seen GW latest financial results?
Winning buisness model? I think NOT:evilgrin:.


What I said...


By focusing on models, rather than bullet proof rules, GW still has a winning business, er, model.


I was refering to their high quality models. Are you suggesting that their focus on high quality models is hurting business?

My impression from the financial report is their stores are losing money. They are renewing efforts with independant stores. Seems to me, their problems have nothing to do with the rules, nor the models but the overhead of running GW only stores.

I think focussing on models *is* their business. The rules just give you something to do with their pretty toys. The fluff is almost *more* important from a marketing standpoint.

If you want a good ruleset, play stargrunt II. Far superior. Models suck tho and the fluff is bland (in my opinion). But the rules are great! Leadership that actually matters. Much better game.

...but I like GW's models and I can get them at my local store so I play their game. They need to optimize their business around selling toy soldiers, not rules. That's why I'm not losing sleep over their point values or their ruleset. The rules allow me to get a game in a reasonable period of time and have fun.

GW needs to get the outrider program going again and tap into the rabid fanbase they have. Keep a few GW stores in high population centers and let the independants handle the suburbs. It worked fine for them before.

Huw_Dawson
07-08-2007, 13:32
Strip down 40k to it's component's, and you have a looser, more tactically oriented turn by turn game than you have in Warhammer and LoTR. The problem is that they made certain armies funner to play than others - for instance, Tyranids are not fun to play, but Blood Angels are. This is due to some armies being designed in the wrong mindset - almost as if they were designing a Warhammer army. The imbalance of codex to codex makes a game where someone can very easily win a game by taking enough to kill the best codex, and the fallout from this means that it also takes out all the other "best codexes" out there. For instance, a Starcannon of death army kills space marines dead, but it also knocks out - if the player knows what he is doing - most other armies. A godzilla list is still good in combat, unless the player misses out on a synergy lesson or two.

What's all that ramble mean? Some codexes are better than others. I love the nid fluff, but hate how nids play. I would buy nids if I knew I was not goint to lose horribly every time I play. GW loses money.

What GW needs to do is push all the armies out, declare 40k's mechanics flawed and make a NEW edition. With something more akin to LoTR's turn mechanic. Still allow people to play 40k 4th Ed, but when the new BGB comes out, it's not compatible. 3rd edition was a small success financially due to it actually being different to 2nd edition. Something is wrong if a company spends thousands of pounds developing new rules that a powergamer can ignore.

Did any of that make sence?
- Huw

Petrov_101
07-08-2007, 13:54
I understand what you're saying. You don't like the game and want it changed.

The difference is, I would buy the Nids regardless of rules. The price might deter me, but not the rules. That being said, what would irk me would be a major rules change that invalidates my models, but that's more of a codex issue and not a rules mechanics one (and certainly not a points balance issue).

Getting back to the original poster, I would prefer a more varied option environment for models. It's my opinion they won't nail the point values correctly, but I'd rather have poorly valued options over severely limited ones. But that's just me... YMMV.

Huw_Dawson
07-08-2007, 14:25
I'm not saying that theres anything wrong with 40k... I was just giving my opinion of how 40k should develop. Eh. I think 40k is fine, except for the fact I'm useless at it and lots of people enjoy melodramatising their complaints about it on various internet forums.

- Huw

The Anarchist
07-08-2007, 14:38
Wow this has all been real food for thougt. its intrting to see that some people think the WFB army selection is more restrictive but this in fact enhances the game, here as all I ever read is that restricting the rules in 40K is bad.
thanks for all this everyone, very intrsting read.