Author Topic: Elves, Hill Giants, and more  (Read 10076 times)

gornhorror

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Elves, Hill Giants, and more
« on: March 05, 2015, 06:40:10 PM »
So the Jersey boys are going to get together and play some battleground this Friday.

We are going to try some new house rules that I've been tooling around in my head.

High Elves:

My first thought is to keep all of the prices on the unit cards for the High Elves.  I'm going to make these changes.

Precision: Acts as normal but lowers one die by one on the "to damage" roll also. 

Oathbound: Play before any courage phase. Each of your units gets +2 courage for the turn.  You may allow one unit to automatically pass it's rout check.  If you do, then each unit only gets +1 courage.


Ravenwood:

Aspect of Fox grants an additional -1 if the unit is charging.

If you have a Wolfkin or a Bearkin in play, you may play command cards on Wolf Packs and Bear Packs normally.  If you don't have them, then Wolf Packs and Bear Packs are a pitch and play.


Umenzi:

Hex cannot be cast on e ranged units.


Monsters and Mercs:

The Hill Giant can use it's ranged attack for one command action.  If you choose to direct control it still costs 2 command actions because of the Stupid modifier.  You may also give the Hill Giant the move and shoot modifier and it will move at 5" but will not suffer a move and shoot.

The Hydra, both Dragons,  the Hill Giant, and the Earth Elemental are all pitch 1 to play 1.  However, they only give you one command card at the beginning of the game, not two.

More to come:
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Kevin

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Re: Elves, Hill Giants, and more
« Reply #1 on: March 05, 2015, 07:02:18 PM »
Just a warning:  Bear Packs get obscenely overpowered if you allow normal cards.  Put it another way, their point cost would be 359 (as opposed to 307), or about 17% higher, minus whatever piddly discount they'd get for needing Bearkin on the map.

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Hannibal

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Re: Elves, Hill Giants, and more
« Reply #2 on: March 06, 2015, 12:36:14 PM »
So the Jersey boys are going to get together and play some battleground this Friday.

We are going to try some new house rules that I've been tooling around in my head.

My standard caveat:  your game, your house rules, no matter what I say below.   ;D


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High Elves:

Precision: Acts as normal but lowers one die by one on the "to damage" roll also. 

Way too good.  Its now Follow Through with an impact hit.  IMO, I say just not have it count as a Command Card and that should be more than enough.


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Ravenwood:

Aspect of Fox grants an additional -1 if the unit is charging.

You know, I agree that something needs to be done about this dang card.  Its just lame as is.  Personally, I'd add some form of card block.  Like a Blue version of Sudden Strike:  the opponent can't play command cards during this attack (already played cards are unaffected).



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If you have a Wolfkin or a Bearkin in play, you may play command cards on Wolf Packs and Bear Packs normally.  If you don't have them, then Wolf Packs and Bear Packs are a pitch and play.

What Kevin said.


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Umenzi:

Hex cannot be cast on e ranged units.

Personally disagree.  Ranged attacks are basically the reason Hex was written.



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Monsters and Mercs:

The Hill Giant can use it's ranged attack for one command action.  If you choose to direct control it still costs 2 command actions because of the Stupid modifier.  You may also give the Hill Giant the move and shoot modifier and it will move at 5" but will not suffer a move and shoot.

I kind of agree that something should be done with this, because by my reckoning something like 100pts is tied down in this ability.  I wonder if it should be a thing where if the Hill Giant is on Ranged or Hold it makes a 21" range attack. 


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The Hydra, both Dragons,  the Hill Giant, and the Earth Elemental are all pitch 1 to play 1.  However, they only give you one command card at the beginning of the game, not two.

I have the same concern there that Kevin raised with Bear/Wolf Packs.  By my math that's handing out like a free 5% to those units, which adds up pretty quickly.  For Dragons that's like a free 100pts.


Some interesting ideas in there.

BubblePig

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Re: Elves, Hill Giants, and more
« Reply #3 on: March 06, 2015, 01:58:34 PM »
I agree with most of Corey's points. Not sure about the math on that last one though.  Are you saying 100 points cumulatively for all dragons?

I would like to see Precision be less extremely situational, but making it not count as a command action is already a pretty nice upgrade. I would also like to see the Hill Giant be less extremely situational, but allowing ranged attack for one command action is ridiculously good IMO. Also, downgrading from 2 to 1 command card draw is too severe a penalty to someone for taking M&M as a faction as opposed to someone taking Hill Giant as a merc unit in another faction.
« Last Edit: March 06, 2015, 02:04:30 PM by BubblePig »
 

Hannibal

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Re: Elves, Hill Giants, and more
« Reply #4 on: March 06, 2015, 02:44:29 PM »
I agree with most of Corey's points. Not sure about the math on that last one though.  Are you saying 100 points cumulatively for all dragons?

No it's 50.  I had the Hill Giant's ranged attack on the brain and typed 100 when I meant 50.  Still, 50 pts is fairly substantial.


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I would like to see Precision be less extremely situational, but making it not count as a command action is already a pretty nice upgrade.

I think it'd put it about right.  Most times I'd rather have the card (because the card is usually better and a card that can be played on any unit is more valuable than an extra hit that can only go on that unit), but there's times where I'd want it.  For example, if I needed to blow through a unit that turn, the extra potential damage is impressive.


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I would also like to see the Hill Giant be less extremely situational, but allowing ranged attack for one command action is ridiculously good IMO.

I have the same concerns with my idea.  Maybe it would be a thing where you could only do it with Ranged & Hold but no point objective (or even no objective at all--too dumb to pick targets).  So your option is to stand there with the Giant or to close with it.  I dunno.  It is a lot of dead points on the unit (like 20% of its cost, if I'm statting it up correctly in the formula).

RushAss

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Re: Elves, Hill Giants, and more
« Reply #5 on: March 06, 2015, 03:05:42 PM »
To me, the thing about Precision is that in the beginning it was a mediocre ability that was transformed into a blah ability by the dice charge.  I know Maneuver Master is the real ace up the sleave for High Elves and Precession more of an afterthought, but it would be nice to have it be reasonably playable.  I mean, I played half a dozen games as the High Elves at Total Con 2 weeks ago and I never even used the ability.  In fact, I didn't even THINK about using the ability with the exception of 1 instance in my first game against Ron and Jaime.  And I used Knights and Chariots quite a bit.  Not having it count as playing a command card seems like a pretty nice fix even though that can get scary when combining a Knight charge with a Force or even a Might.

Concerning the Hill Giant, it is one of two 500 point units that I hardly ever play because I don't think they are worth the points the way they are and would only be truly worth it against a high toughness faction.  The other unit is the Giant Catapult.  IMO using 1 CA for the ranged attack isn't breaking it.  Let's look at it this way - Ron also played 6 games at Total Con as Monsters & Mercs.  How many times did Ron even use a Hill Giant all weekend?  Maybe once?
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Hannibal

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Re: Elves, Hill Giants, and more
« Reply #6 on: March 06, 2015, 03:19:49 PM »
Not having it count as playing a command card seems like a pretty nice fix even though that can get scary when combining a Knight charge with a Force or even a Might.

Yeah it'd be almost as scary as getting a free +1 Pow if you used it on the first turn of combat! 

Oh wait . . .

 ;D

Look, the Pow charge had lots of ripple effects on the game, one of which is that it took a really crappy checkbox and made it sometimes okay.  I remember once having to be explain that a O:(0)+1/+0 that counted as a command card was literally worse than a card in almost every instance.  Precision is basically a free impact hit (which is essentially like getting a +1 on one stat).  Having it count as a card makes it worse than a card almost all of the time.

Not having it count as a card is a simpler solution, that might feel strong when paired with a Might, but that'll be the same effect on the extra hit as the Pow charge did.  And unlike the Pow charge, having to play the Might has a cost (i.e. its finite resource that costs a CA).  Same with Force.



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Concerning the Hill Giant, it is one of two 500 point units that I hardly ever play because I don't think they are worth the points the way they are and would only be truly worth it against a high toughness faction.  The other unit is the Giant Catapult.  IMO using 1 CA for the ranged attack isn't breaking it.  Let's look at it this way - Ron also played 6 games at Total Con as Monsters & Mercs.  How many times did Ron even use a Hill Giant all weekend?  Maybe once?

I actually tend to use the Hill Giant a fair number of times, because with the Dice charge and the no-flank-from-front, that T4 is truly nasty.  But before now I hadn't realized how F'ng expensive that ranged attack is (if I'm doing the math right).  This unit might be one of the few units that changing the pitch-to-play to 1 card might be the right thing.  The unit has so many dead points in that ranged attack that it might be okay to give the Hill Giant some free points back.



As an aside, Brook, one idea that might be worth exploring is changing the way Large & Colossal ranged modifiers work.  Rather than be a flat +X bonus, I think the simplest tweak might be to make them bonus but only to negate penalties.  So the (+0)+2/+0 to shoot at the T-Rex only allows you to negate movement penalties and ranged penalties (and cover, should the unit get it).  But if you shoot that the T-Rex at short range with that ballista, you don't get any further bonuses.


And at what point should this thread be split off into its own thread?
« Last Edit: March 06, 2015, 03:22:20 PM by Hannibal »

BubblePig

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Re: Elves, Hill Giants, and more
« Reply #7 on: March 06, 2015, 03:35:40 PM »
Immediately.
 

Kevin

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Re: Elves, Hill Giants, and more
« Reply #8 on: March 06, 2015, 06:21:24 PM »
"Stupid" gives a 5% discount.  If the Hill Giant had no ranged attack but you could play cards on it normally (but it was still stupid, like Ogres), it would cost 507, or slightly more than it does.

I really, really hate that whoever did these modification tables felt compelled to use 1-2 words to quasi-coherently describe each feature, rather than just spell the damn thing out.  So I can't tell if the Command Card restrictions are "Nothing (good)" or "No modification", which are a 12% discount or a 5% discount respectively.

Let's say it's a 12% discount.  That puts the puts the cost down to 446.  However, you get two free command cards when you take the Giant.  Technically that's 50 points but command cards are overpriced, so let's call it 30.

That would put the giant's price--if it had no shot at all--at 474.  In other words, you're paying about 26 points, or the cost of a Half Orc Swords-to-Spears upgrade, for that ability to throw a boulder.  Is it worth it if I'm fighting High Elves?  No way.  Is it worth it if I'm batting the Umenzi on a very narrow front and want the ability to murder any Giant War Elephant that gets fielded?  Absolutely!

By the way, at Championship my Umenzi battled two Monsters & Mercs. armies.  Both opponents took a Hill Giant.  Both games were very close.  So much for their lack of popularity.

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General piece of advice for anyone running a tournament, a lesson which really should be well-known to any Star Fleet Battles veteran:  If you nerf a unit too much the only effect will be that players will avoid that unit/faction but the tournament itself goes just fine.  If you make a unit too good, you suck a lot of fun out of the event as players either play the unit/faction-on-steroids or get crushed.
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gornhorror

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Re: Elves, Hill Giants, and more
« Reply #9 on: March 06, 2015, 07:28:04 PM »
Well, it seems as though I started another interesting conversation.  It's good to see people talking.

Over the last tournament I made it a point to play Monsters and Mercs and played units that I thought needed help. (i.e. The Hill Giant and the Earth Elemental).  What I found was that those units with all of their restrictions are just not that much fun to play.  IMPO, I have no problem giving them help and keeping their costs exactly the same. 

Now, the High Elves fix. I just don't want to deal with re-costing all of the units because something got screwed up when the faction was made.  I say, just live with the costs of the units as they are and help the army ability that just plain sucks balls.  I think adding a follow through for one die on the damage roll is the perfect fix.  Remember your still using a command action to mark it and you can't play a command card if you use the ability.  With these restrictions it shouldn't be abused and overpowered.  Follow though is no way overpowered if it only affects one die. The card, if used alone, is marginal at best.

I like Corey's suggestion about the Aspect of Fox card.  Perhaps we could keep it the same if it stopped the opposing player from playing an offensive card.  Kinda like a reverse sudden strike.  I could roll with that.

In a perfect world, Hex would not be able to be used against ranged units but I could live with Hex if it had some restrictions.  Perhaps we could say that "if a unit is affected by Hex you cannot play defensive command cards against it for the turn.".....or something like that.  Taking my Hawks longbowmen and having them hexed and then using a defensive card  on my attack seems like way too much of a penalty.  Especially from a unit that only costs 100 points.  You shouldn't be able to pile it on.  Makes the game un-fun.  Oh, BTW, did I say that I hate the Umenzi faction?  Wasn't sure that I did......:)  I have always cried bullshit when it came to that faction.  From the Hex, to Faith armour(laugh), to the fact that you don't have to pitch to play on the awesome unit that is best known as Mukamil. Just never understood that. 

Anyways, more to come after tonight's rumble.




 
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Kevin

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Re: Elves, Hill Giants, and more
« Reply #10 on: March 06, 2015, 08:15:21 PM »
For what it's worth, I don't much care about Hexing ranged attacks.  I only recall doing that on a Dragon raining fire from above.  Generally it's a much better use of my Shamans to be furiously healing and surpercharging my first round attack.

As to the Giant War Elephant, the reason it's not pitch-to-play is because, like the Carthaginian & Persian elephants but unlike "monsters," it is being controlled by human riders.

True, at 529 points it's the most expensive unit in the game on which cards get played normally, but by definition some unit will claim that honor.  But it has a decent amount of company:  here are other units within 100 points of it on which cards get played normally:

Undead Death Knights (516)
Undead Giant Catapult (510)
High Elven Celestial Guard (503/491)
Wuxing Jade Dragon (474)
Dark Elf Dusk Lancers (444)
Ravenwood Treant  (444)
Dark Elf Lord of Dusk (430)

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BubblePig

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Re: Elves, Hill Giants, and more
« Reply #11 on: March 07, 2015, 01:16:44 AM »
Let's say it's a 12% discount.  That puts the puts the cost down to 446.  However, you get two free command cards when you take the Giant.  Technically that's 50 points but command cards are overpriced, so let's call it 30.
I disagree. Those command cards are drawn due to a faction ability (which they get because they have no spoils box, btw) so zero points. One might quibble and figure out exactly what command cards are 'worth' and then somehow figure out what having a spoils box is worth and take the difference, but lets just save ourselves the headache and call it a push. That said, the ability to throw boulders even at the cost of two command actions is pretty huge, so my gut feeling is that while some correction might be desirable, giving both [pitch one to play one] and [one command action per shot] is an over-correction. I know that when I build an M&M army, the vulnerability of Large or Colossal units factors into my thinking pretty heavily, but the penalty for playing command cards is almost a non-issue. Also, any fix which takes away a 'free' command card will probably result in my taking them less often unless it is just brokenly good.
« Last Edit: March 07, 2015, 01:42:27 AM by BubblePig »
 

BubblePig

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Re: Elves, Hill Giants, and more
« Reply #12 on: March 07, 2015, 01:53:33 AM »
BTW, If you want to fix a stay-in-the-box M&M unit, how about Dragons and Elementalists. I never take those things. Maybe that makes me a miser but I would actually consider taking an Ancient Red before taking a Red or an Elementalist, because paying 53 points per hit box is about as high as I will go before I start getting twitchy. I mean, at 60 points per hit box, I have never once seen Elementalist deliver commensurate value on the field, although she can hide behind something smaller than a Hydra.
« Last Edit: March 07, 2015, 01:57:33 AM by BubblePig »
 

Hannibal

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Re: Elves, Hill Giants, and more
« Reply #13 on: March 07, 2015, 07:52:06 PM »
"Stupid" gives a 5% discount.  If the Hill Giant had no ranged attack but you could play cards on it normally (but it was still stupid, like Ogres), it would cost 507, or slightly more than it does.

I don't get those numbers at all.  I get the ranged attack at costing 73 pts (I'd said 100pts before, but in recreating the Giant, that's how I make the numbers work).  By contrast, not playing command cards is a 5% or 10% discount (depending on whether you use NCC_Good or NCC_Crappy).  If you took away the Command Card restrictions and the ranged attack, my numbers come to 461pts.


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I really, really hate that whoever did these modification tables felt compelled to use 1-2 words to quasi-coherently describe each feature, rather than just spell the damn thing out.  So I can't tell if the Command Card restrictions are "Nothing (good)" or "No modification", which are a 12% discount or a 5% discount respectively.

My understanding is that No Modification is the triceratops herd thing where you can't modify their standing order.

"Nothing (Crappy/Good/Broken)" means the unit can't have command cards or the army ability and is either a chump unit, a decent unit, or something like a T-Rex.

I managed to recreate the Hill Giant at exactly 500pts by giving it all the stats in the relevant places, plus its ranged attack with 1 turn of shooting at Short range and 1 turn of shooting at Long range.  I then gave the modifier bar the following:  Fear*Large*Stupid_Good*Nothing_Good

If you let someone play cards on the unit, then you replace "Nothing_Good" with "No_Army_Ability" or "No_Army_Ability_Broken."  There's a good case for the latter, because spoils would be a huge benefit to the Hill Giant.

Of course, there's a couple of issues with all this because the ranged attack only goes to Pow 7 and I've never gotten a straight answer on how they costed "pitch 2 to play" in the formula.  So my numbers have to be taken with a grain of salt, because I'm trying to back construct.  But I feel confident that my numbers are pretty close.


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Let's say it's a 12% discount.  That puts the puts the cost down to 446.  However, you get two free command cards when you take the Giant.  Technically that's 50 points but command cards are overpriced, so let's call it 30.

I know for a fact the cost of those cards are not factored in to the cost of M&M units.  They're essentially army abilities like Lash and Determination.  They're added on after the fact to help balance the faction out.


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That would put the giant's price--if it had no shot at all--at 474.  In other words, you're paying about 26 points, or the cost of a Half Orc Swords-to-Spears upgrade, for that ability to throw a boulder.  Is it worth it if I'm fighting High Elves?  No way.  Is it worth it if I'm batting the Umenzi on a very narrow front and want the ability to murder any Giant War Elephant that gets fielded?  Absolutely!

By the way, at Championship my Umenzi battled two Monsters & Mercs. armies.  Both opponents took a Hill Giant.  Both games were very close.  So much for their lack of popularity.

While I do think the Hill Giant is really good, I disagree that the cost of the ranged ability is 26 pts.  I feel that its closer to the 60-80pt range, based on what I could pull from the formula.  You could say that the cost of the Hill Giant's pitch-to-play is 7%, because "Nothing_Good" is 12% and No_Army_Ability is 5%.  That'd put the cost between the 10% of NCC_Good  and the 5% of NCC_Crappy (No command cards and the unit is good/crappy).  Which could make sense since you can play a card on the unit, it's just really costly to do so.  That'd make it worth 34 pts, or about half the cost of the ranged ability.  So making the pitch to play 1 card would be giving the Hill Giant half of that 34 pts as a bonus.

That being said, I still think the Hill Giant is really good and might have concerns that a pitch 1 on the Hill Giant would make the guy nearly auto-include.


Over the last tournament I made it a point to play Monsters and Mercs and played units that I thought needed help. (i.e. The Hill Giant and the Earth Elemental). 

I massively disagree with you there.  I think the Hill Giant is a pretty good unit, although the faction in general is going to have a tough time against Def Skill 3.  The Earth Elemental went from a so-so unit to an awesome unit IMO with the dice charge.  12 boxes of Fearless?  You can just send that guy forward and have him control a flank all by himself, because even with a pinch bonus, he's still functionally T3.

Also remember that the flank-from-front rules of Kevin's tournament is going to place a higher value on speed so you're going to be rewarded by taking cheap, fast units to get the pinch.  In that format, units that are points intensive and/or have a difficulty with command & control are going to suffer.  Monsters & Mercs falls into both categories there.  M&M rank right up there with Dwarves as factions I wouldn't take under those conditions.


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Now, the High Elves fix. I just don't want to deal with re-costing all of the units because something got screwed up when the faction was made.  I say, just live with the costs of the units as they are and help the army ability that just plain sucks balls.  I think adding a follow through for one die on the damage roll is the perfect fix.  Remember your still using a command action to mark it and you can't play a command card if you use the ability.  With these restrictions it shouldn't be abused and overpowered.  Follow though is no way overpowered if it only affects one die. The card, if used alone, is marginal at best.

Yeah I disagree.   ;D  Used on the damage roll its basically an extra damage.  If you hit with 3 dice (out of 5), the odds of you rolling one specific number out of six with one of those dice is just under half (42%).  So if the extra hit is worth 1/2 a pt of damage (assume Pow 5), then the Follow Through is going to be worth .42 damage, you've got an ability that is worth almost an extra point of damage (on average).  And that's Pow 5.  When you factor in using this on Knights or Chariots or Elder Blades, the damage becomes pretty sick.


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In a perfect world, Hex would not be able to be used against ranged units but I could live with Hex if it had some restrictions.  Perhaps we could say that "if a unit is affected by Hex you cannot play defensive command cards against it for the turn.".....or something like that.  Taking my Hawks longbowmen and having them hexed and then using a defensive card  on my attack seems like way too much of a penalty.  Especially from a unit that only costs 100 points.  You shouldn't be able to pile it on.  Makes the game un-fun.  Oh, BTW, did I say that I hate the Umenzi faction? 

Yeah, that's pretty clear...and I think it's affecting your judgement in this case.  Hex is fine, IMO.  When you play Umenzi, you simply have to accept that you're going to be facing Hex and you have to adjust your strategy accordingly.  You can't play the same way against them and expect t win.  If you take shooters, you know that your best shooting is very likely to get hexed all game.


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From the Hex, to Faith armour(laugh),

On any other faction, Faith Armor would be broken.  On them, it's okay.


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to the fact that you don't have to pitch to play on the awesome unit that is best known as Mukamil. Just never understood that. 

Which is their only 5" mover*.  And mind you they pay for that ability.  They would be at least 50pts cheaper if they couldn't have cards played on them.  I don't see how the GWE having cards played on them is any more broken than Death Knights or the Treant.

*Yes, I know they have access to mercenaries, but once you allow mercenaries in a faction you fundamentally change its balance.  Each faction is more or less balanced by being able to take only their 12 units.  Adding extra units, like for example the Stone Monkeys, literally unbalances the army.  Part of what keeps the GWE from being broken is that its the only fast unit available to Umenzi.
« Last Edit: March 20, 2015, 12:35:37 PM by Hannibal »

gornhorror

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Re: Elves, Hill Giants, and more
« Reply #14 on: March 20, 2015, 12:32:38 PM »
Well, the Jersey Boys are going to get together tonight to throw down again.  I fully plan on implementing my idea for Precision and for Oathbound.

The latest version is:  Use before any courage checks are made.  One of your units automatically passes it's courage/rout check.  Any units within 7" of this unit get +2 on their courage roll.

« Last Edit: March 20, 2015, 12:36:06 PM by gornhorror »
Where's this shade, that you got it made?