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Navar
28-12-2010, 19:31
Posting this in GW General Discussion because I feel it bridges the gap between Fantasy, 40k, and LotR.

What does it mean to have something be broken. In my local group I have been puzzled by the meaning of the word as some believe that it means auto-include (if that is the case then basic lands are broken in Magic.) while others believe that it means that it gives one side an insurmountable advantage.

Rather than get bogged down in specifics, I would rather just get people's working definition of the term, and if you use it when you talk about units, spells, magic items, wargear, etc.

For me I don't use the word at all, but find myself defending units, spells, armies, wargeer, etc. from the label quite a bit.

Also to me it means something that gives one side an insurmountable advantage.

Anyway, thanks for your time.

uona
28-12-2010, 20:39
I find that most players have a stupid definition of broken. Wherein an army must auto-play itself and then win even with the active interference of a stupid player. Honestly by most peoples definition of broken nothing is.

My definition is that broken is a function of points cost. This is true for me no matter what the game. You have a playtested well balanced point cost in the middle and then as it goes up or down you have over/undercosted then garbage/broken.

Lets take grail knights for example. Most people consider them ok. But lets say they are broken. We will then up the cost of each model in the unit to 100 pts/model. Is it still a broken model? Now take the standard grail knight and reduce the cost to 1 pt/per. Is it now ok or now "broken"?

Additional abilities are a function of this as they increase the "balanced" pointcost. lets take grail knights again and keep them at their current point cost. But I will add ASF, +1 arm save, 3+ ward save. Are they now broken or just right? As you add more and more stuff thier "balanced" point cost goes up and eventually they will enter into the realm of undercosted then broken.

So basically in my mind a model can be broken if it is undercosted to a high degree and this is usually caused by a lack of playtesting.

ArtificerArmour
28-12-2010, 21:16
I find armies with abilities which can be used repeatedly that effect the overall mechanics of the game are broken.

Lash of submission - a psychic ability which causes no wounds. Can it be stopped with anti psychic abilities? Geneility with no as it causes no wounds. Can it be stopped at all? Again, without being in a vehicle, no. Does it move the opposing sides models? Yes.

That messes with the mechanics of the game to a point which is not fair and is broken.

I also agree with the above poster regarding pricing. Space wolf thunderwolf cavalry is broken. Approximately te same price as blood crushers with improved stats, the ability to improve their weapons and grant a 3+ invulnerable save.

Lord Damocles
28-12-2010, 21:28
My definition would simply be a unit/upgrade/weapon/comination/etc. which is vastly more effective than it's points cost suggests that it should be, and which greatly affects the course of the majority of games in which it is used.

My list includes such wonders of game balance as Deathwind Drop Pods, Lucius Drop Pods, Lash of Submission in 4th ed., old 3pt Feeder Tendrills, Flyers in standard 40K games, Virus Outbreak...

yabbadabba
28-12-2010, 21:29
I find that most players have a stupid definition of broken.Good start :rolleyes:

For me broken is just a saying that actually reflects a wide range of issues that only gamers seem to suffer, unless you take the literal meaning of broken and include anyone dropping a model :D. It covers everything from a perceived to an actual problem; where the effort taken to resolve a situation far outweighs the gamer's (often poorly estimated) expectations; as well as covering gamer's likes a dislikes where something is broken just because they don't like it, or they do like it but because they cannot have one it must be "broken". As such it is highly subjective, subject to kneejerk reactions and internet hype.

I try not to use "broken" as it is as useful as a description as "nice" and "ok".

Darsc Zacal
28-12-2010, 21:50
I recall the term broken first being used regarding videogames, where a flaw in the games design allowed players to take advantage of it to beat (win) the game in a way the original designers had not intended.

I always thought that was what people meant when refering to GW armies too.

TMATK
28-12-2010, 22:37
I recall the term broken first being used regarding videogames, where a flaw in the games design allowed players to take advantage of it to beat (win) the game in a way the original designers had not intended.

I always thought that was what people meant when refering to GW armies too.

That sounds more like the all too common RAW vs RAI vs Spirit of the Game debates ;)

When I hear "broken" I assume people mean over-powered and/or under-costed.

jack da greenskin
28-12-2010, 23:59
A unit or army list is broken if you take it with the forethought of knowing it is powerful, and your purpose in taking it is not for fluff or theme (or strategy to an extent), but to win the game.

A definition riddled with holes, but the moment you stop taking things because "it sounds like a laugh", and start taking them because of their powerful stats, game-changing abilities, the way they intimidate your opponent, or because people on the internet say they do these things, then it becomes gitsy.

Geep
29-12-2010, 01:51
My definition of broken-
Something which doesn't work in a way which is appropriate or was intentional in the design. This can be due to a single model's effects or apparently unforseen consequences from combinations of rules.

Abusing these apparent design faults (the definition given by some people above) is what I would call 'Beardy' or 'Cheesy'.

By my definition MtG Land cards are not broken as they work as intended- the fact that they are always required is irrelevant.

What I do find broken is many of the 'Instant Death' or 'Remove from Play' rules in Warhammer and 40k- especially the ones based on a single characteristic test, with no graduation of damage. Some armies have little to fear from these spells or weapons, but other armies are completely decimated by them in a way which removes all fun from the games.

Zaonite
29-12-2010, 02:25
My definition of broken-
Something which doesn't work in a way which is appropriate or was intentional in the design. This can be due to a single model's effects or apparently unforseen consequences from combinations of rules.

Abusing these apparent design faults (the definition given by some people above) is what I would call 'Beardy' or 'Cheesy'.

What I do find broken is many of the 'Instant Death' or 'Remove from Play' rules in Warhammer and 40k- especially the ones based on a single characteristic test, with no graduation of damage. Some armies have little to fear from these spells or weapons, but other armies are completely decimated by them in a way which removes all fun from the games.

-This sums it up for me! +1

Reinholt
29-12-2010, 03:02
For me, there are two ways that something can be broken:

1 - It is good enough, for the points, that it consistently and significantly gives an inferior player an advantage over a superior player

2 - Designed in such a way that at least one or a few other well-balanced and played force(s) within the game have virtually no chance of defeating it

So some of the most obvious examples would be:

1 - Eldar Falcons with the appropriate upgrades in 4th ed. They were stupidly good, nearly invulnerable tanks.

2 - Certain Dark Eldar webway portal lists, which can <expletive deleted> up certain shooting armies with basically no chance of retaliation or counter. Especially on smaller boards. The characteristic test items referenced in the post above are another good example of this, as they totally bone certain armies for no good or balanced reason.

In short, broken are things that either are simply "too good" for their points or are really bad for the game in a meta sense.

In the former case, you can usually spot this stuff by playing a game of "which unit in your opponents force would you veto" or "how much would you be willing to bid for this unit if four players were playing and you all had to bid points" kinds of things. For instance, I'd pay more than 40 points per TH/SS terminator, and I'd certainly pay more than the points cost of the old falcon in 4th ed. Thus, those things are not balanced; however, given appropriate points costs, they could be.

In the latter case, you can't fix this stuff with points costs. If things work in such a way that they make the game unfun/unplayable/uninteresting due to matchup issues, that's a type of "broken" that should not be in a well-balanced game. Likewise, it often requires changing basic game rules (deployment, board size, etc) to fix or just entirely re-writing the broken item at hand. Thankfully in 40k these instances are relatively rare (I give GW credit for that, just as much as I slam them for their absolutely ****-poor points costing) compared to some other games, but they can happen.

Enjoy.

Thud
29-12-2010, 07:45
Any army I just lost to. Very broken indeed. And cheesy.

Tarax
29-12-2010, 09:48
To me 'broken' has different meanings in different ways. Some of which have already been addressed here.

First there is the undercosted/overpowered unit/model. This is the simple equation where the points of the unit/model does not reflect its ability in the game, either because it has too many good characteristics or special rules, or its cost is too low compared to similar models/units.
Note that nobody says this about units/models that are overcosted/underpowered. Though it may occur with units/models that have to be included in an army (Core units/Troop choices).

Second there is a rule (either special or basic) that benefits a certain kind of model/unit/army more than others. This also includes Magic Spells, Magic Items, Psychic Powers, etc. This goes beyond the overpowered/undercosted from above.

Third there is the combination which makes certain army builds (or armies) a guaranteed winner.

lanrak
29-12-2010, 10:15
HI all.
I agree with those that define 'broken' across different levels of the game.

Poor PV allocation 'breaks' the army selection process.
Which should be...
'ALL selections the same set value of PV should be equally valid.'

Then there is the special rules that 'break' the basic game mechinics.
Eg 'Lash of Torment' 'always strikes first' etc.

And finaly the combination of units and rules that result in unfair match ups that are just NOT fun to play .

If it has NOT been playtested it shouldnt be published IMO.

TTFN

Angelwing
29-12-2010, 12:40
For me it's either things that are way under costed or way over costed for their in game use.
Or: things that were fine for the edition they were written for but with an edition change no longer function as intended, better or worse.

jason_sation
29-12-2010, 20:56
To me it means it is a game mechanic which goes against the spirit of the game. This could include point costs and abilities for units, but it could also include something such as wound allocation in 40k, where crafty players can take LESS damage when getting hit with MORE weapons.

simonr1978
29-12-2010, 21:41
I'd say it's anything that adversely and disproportionately affects the balance of the game. I can think of a fair few examples from games I've played through the years, GW have got a long way to go before they exceed the worst excesses of many of them.

Bubbatron
29-12-2010, 21:48
all too often "broken" in my group applies to the latest army that has cool new toys ie that blood angels codex is broken its too good, that space wolves codex is broken its too good blah blah blah - usually followed about a month later by aforementioned brokenspeaker starting a new army of said codex !!

The Satyr
29-12-2010, 22:08
I also agree with the above poster regarding pricing. Space wolf thunderwolf cavalry is broken. Approximately te same price as blood crushers with improved stats, the ability to improve their weapons and grant a 3+ invulnerable save.I dont understand... They cost more than BCs by 10pts and they cost 80pts with Shields. I wish TWC had furious charge, 5+ inv saves, power weapons, and can deep strike and have eternal warrior.

Though i would be happy with just Furious charge...

Gaargod
30-12-2010, 01:48
Generally i term it in one of two ways.

Undercosted: Obvious. A Dark Elf hydra is too good for its points, compared.

Overpowered: The unit does its job too well, not just for its points, but in general. This might be a specific upgrade (for example, Obsidian Armour on the Bloodthirster in fantasy is not a clever idea, as it removes one of the very few possibilities of killing the damn thing outside of shooting it), or might be a whole unit (i.e. Flamers in fantasy. They shoot hard etc, sure, but they're too survivable and hitty in close combat. This means despite the fact they're in theory light infantry with the role of harassers, normally the target of light cavalry to sweep away, they will actually wipe the floor with most units without static combat res).


Obviously, units are often both. Sometimes the 'overpowered' aspect can be fixed very easily - i.e. the stormbanner, if it cost a mere 5pts more, would be BSB only, which is a lot easier to stomach. Still too good, but...

stroller
30-12-2010, 11:40
I haven't figured out how to defeat your unit x / army y - it must be broken... (it couldnt be ME could it?)

Angelwing
30-12-2010, 12:14
I haven't figured out how to defeat your unit x / army y - it must be broken... (it couldnt be ME could it?)

Or you could have turned up with a 'normal' army and your opponent has decide to use the old armoured company imperial guard list. There's powerful units undercosted, then there's just plain silly. :eek:

ashc
01-01-2011, 10:28
for me its either:

1. A fair bit undercosted for its ability/effect on the game, to the point of being many people's immediate 'go-to' option.

2. An overpowering or screwy rule that repeatedly messes with base game mechanics to screw a player. Sometimes, this can be balanced, but is often mishandled. Sometimes this is also a loophole in game design, which is even worse.

Exitas-Acta-Probat
08-01-2011, 13:50
i agree with whats been already said - something broken is pretty much anything thats either undercosted/overpowered for its points or has an ability or rule that makes it a no-brainer choice. the `D` class weapons in apocalypse for example are the go-to weapon for your resident spammer.

Chaplain Mortez
10-01-2011, 03:11
My feelings about whether something is broken or not is the same as it is in any game I play: when that option becomes the default choice for winning.

If both players are doing their best to win, they aren't going to use "fluffy" choices or choices that reflect their personal tastes. They are going to use whatever choices give them the best chance of winning.

We don't see this scenario happen often in Warhammer, but it's pretty obvious when it does. The examples that come to my mind is the old High Elf book where archers weren't even viable compared to silver helms or spearmen in the category for core, and the 3rd. edition space marine codex where there was no reason to choose a captain over a chaplain. Hence, the only choices for winning were to either use silver helms or go with a chaplain/librarian.