Author Topic: Elves, Hill Giants, and more  (Read 12971 times)

RushAss

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Re: Elves, Hill Giants, and more
« Reply #45 on: August 05, 2015, 09:27:49 AM »
They did get charged.  In the formula Kevin has Axemen are 228 points.  The surcharge adds 7 points to them, but not enough to bring them up to 240.  So there is a mystery 5 points that where added in addition to that.  A similar thing happened to Longbeards, which really should be in the neighborhood of 385 points.  I mean, they're all kinds of kickass, so to me they are worth the 394 points.  I'm just speaking in terms of what the formula said they should be.

For the record the surcharge adds 3% to the total points cost so when you see Kevin's modified High Elven points costs, they have that 3% removed.  Hence HE Swordsmen go down from 299 to 290.  Etc...
« Last Edit: August 05, 2015, 03:06:04 PM by RushAss »
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gornhorror

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Re: Elves, Hill Giants, and more
« Reply #46 on: August 05, 2015, 02:59:21 PM »
That's what the little bastards get for being so damn short and slow.  LOL.  The High Elves got a charge they shouldn't of got and you don't see them bitchin'.   Actually, I'm bitching for them. :)  Shut up Dave.... ::)

I think the Dwarves are just freakin' fine the way they are right now.  The only time they really suck is when Mark plays them against my Lizardmen and can't hit the broad side of a barn if his life depended on it. 

Oh yes......I will send Marcus the pictures so he can post THAT game......It shall be done.......It shall be done......

(just kidding Marcus)
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Kevin

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Re: Elves, Hill Giants, and more
« Reply #47 on: August 05, 2015, 04:17:23 PM »
Brook, I was saying that the Crossbowmen and Battleaxemen (= the guys who did not get the surcharge) were so damn cheap.  No contradiction there.  Particularly since the speed discount was pretty arbitrary.  (i.e. An excessively large speed discount + a modest surcharge may well put you at exactly the right price.)

I'm OK with the Longbeards getting surcharged, but IMHO it should've been called the "OMG Rune of Uruz KICKS ASS on a (5) 6/6 unit!!!" surcharge rather than "unsexy target" (which is rather silly on a 1/x).

« Last Edit: August 05, 2015, 04:25:52 PM by Kevin »
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gornhorror

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Re: Elves, Hill Giants, and more
« Reply #48 on: August 06, 2015, 12:17:41 PM »
Ah, IC, so some units got charged, some didn't.....understood. 
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Hannibal

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Re: Elves, Hill Giants, and more
« Reply #49 on: August 07, 2015, 04:27:36 PM »
In the case of High Elves, it's even worse.  They have no cheap units to backstop their line,

I think this is incorrect.  The Battle Squad is (IMO) probably the 2nd best tank unit in the game.  In terms of effectiveness vs points spent, only the Zombies are better.  I can comfortable get to 8 units in my army with these guys, and with flank-from-front rightfully banished, my experience is that a you'll seldom need more than 7 units wide even on an open board.

IMO, High Elves are in the top 3 of power factions (with a very good argument for being #1) because they have a pair of abilities that are simply phenomenal and are, in fact, more than the sum of their parts.  Both Sprint and Maneuver Mastery are great individually, but together they are simply nasty.  The only thing that keeps them from being broken (again IMO) is that they don't have a reactive Courage card.  If they had a reroll (or worse, an autopass), I think they'd be broken.  Given that you're almost never going to out maneuver them, a lot of times the only way to beat the HEs is to engage those Battlesquads and force as many checks as you can.  Which only increases the potential value of Oathbound, as it effects multiple units.

The other thing is that with their ability to keep the enemy in front of them, a HE player can often shorten his line and have a reserve.  Normally this is not something encouraged in this game, but again, a Battle Squad kept behind your line can functionally teleport 5" in any direction for 2 CAs.  Without terrain, I'm comfortable with 5 Battle Squads, 1 EB Sword, 1 EB Ranger (or HE Sword), and 1 Knight.  I can go 7 wide with a reserve.  Give me a piece of terrain and I'm comfortable turning 2 of those Battle Squads into another EB Sword.


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2) Pre-emptive flat Courage bonuses are weaker on high Courage units than on low Courage units.  In order for a pre-emptive Courage bonus to have an effect, the unit must a) fail the check without the bonus, and b) fail the check by no more than the bonus.  High Courage units are less likely to fail the check without the bonus.

A pre-emptive +2 bonus has a 24% chance of turning a failed Courage check into a successful Courage check for 10 Courage (e.g. base 11 in the yellow), but only a 17% chance for 12 Courage (e.g. base 13 in the yellow).  Compare to a reactive reroll, which has a 50% chance of being useful for 10 Courage and a 74% chance for 12 Courage.  The pre-emptive +2 bonus is half as good as the reactive reroll for 10 courage, but less than 1/4 as good for 12 courage.

Let me start by saying that I agree that Oathbound is a weak card, for the High Elves.  That dependent clause is important, because context matters with these things.  Its why, for example, the Dwarf Rune cards are perfectly fine despite being pre-roll cards:  there's 10 of them.  Having lots of them increases their value.  If Oathbound wasn't card, but was an army ability where every unit got +2 Cge for the turn for a single CA, then it'd be probably too good at that point.  However, since Oathbound is only 2 cards out of 30 and it's unlikely you'll get more than 1 Courage check benefit at a time, it's a weak card for them.

All that being said, I go back to my original point of holistic balance.  Oathbound, when used on a single Courage check, only provides a +17% chance of passing that Courage check (vs a +22% of a Cold Blooded-type reroll).  However, both Oathbound and Cold Blooded (or a Rune) on a Cge 12 unit achieves the same result:  90% chance the unit will still be there once the dice have stopped rolling.  I think this was an intentional (and well done) design decision by Chad & co to make the faction with all the advantages of HEs be no better than anyone else when it came to passing a check with their Courage card.  One of their "weaknesses" is that in any one spot, they have same max chance of passing a crucial check ("only" 90%) as any other faction.

Their other weakness is something that you mentioned earlier:  their vulnerability to early bad luck.  Because in point of fact, if you crash your Death Knights into something, we both know the Courage cards are going into the target, be it a HW Swordsmen or Tyrant Swordsmen.  We both know the fight is there.  If Oathbound gave a reroll instead of a +2 Cge pre-roll, the HE unit would go from 90% pass rate to 93%.  I don't think that +3% makes enough difference that people even notice, much less rise to level of justifying an errata.

I think the reason people want the reroll is to mitigate that early variability.  The problem is that I see that as a built-in weakness of the faction.  HEs are more fragile (i.e. swingy) than most factions.  That is IMO a deliberate design decision to capture their 'rage against the dying of the light' theme of the faction.  And, again, its a weakness built in to counteract their great stats, customization of units, large number of Core choices, spectacular tank unit, and the best combo of army abilities in the game.

Now, people have said in the past "yeah, but it sucks to have a faction where you just lose because of a blown roll."  My three responses to that are:  1)  losing because of a blown roll describes like 90% of the games.  The fact that early failed checks can be disastrous for them means its worth playing cards 'sub-optimally' because the context makes it worth playing the card.  2)  every faction has built-in weaknesses.  It hard to deal with the fact that Dwarves don't have affordable Skill 6 or that Hawkshold Greatswords are MC 2.5" or that Rome doesn't have an answer for T4.  Part of the challenge of playing factions is working around their weaknesses.  3) if it really bothers you that the game might be over before it starts because of a poorly timed rout, then HE's do have an answer in form of having a Battle Squad behind your line.

If we were still playing with Flank-from-Front, I'd mostly agree that the early variability severely hinders HEs.  Flank-from-front rewarded (and borderline required) people who flooded the board with cheap, fast units and so the HEs couldn't afford to have that reserve.  And I think that the still relatively new removal of flank-from-front means that people are still playing with that impression.  (Not a knock on anyone there, just saying that it takes time to acclimate to a new change).  But now that all has been made right with the BGFW universe, I think that even with the sub-par Oathbound that HEs are weak.  I think that HEs play differently than a lot of factions:  you either play with a reserve or you live dangerously.  Once you adjust for that, they're an incredibly strong faction that doesn't need any further help.

Dave-SWA

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Re: Elves, Hill Giants, and more
« Reply #50 on: August 11, 2015, 09:40:09 PM »
I agree 1000% with Corey's argument here.  The High Elves do not need any kind of upgrade for their courage cards.

Since so many folks here are old Star Fleet Battles grognards...

A few years back Paul Scott posted an assessment of the Federation TCC, and how he did not see a good way to make it more balanced.  The gist of his argument was, to paraphrase:

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The Fed's reliance on the four Photons makes the ship the most dependent on that one first volley.  Hit will all four and you probably win.  Hit with three and you're probably in good shape.  Hit with only one and you have a very high hill to climb.  Miss with all four and you almost certainly lose.  There is just no getting away from this variability.

He also went on to point out that over the course of a tournament, especially the single-elimination phase, the Fed needs to have three (good games/lucky initial volleys) in a row to win the tournament.  This is why so few Feds win tournaments these days; probability says you won't have three lucky games in a row, and skill probably won't bail you out against other top players (since only the Sharks make the finals).

What Corey says here reminds me of this Fed analysis, but with fewer variables.

If a key High Elf unit gets an unlucky roll early and fails his first rout check, you're in deep doo-doo.  But the odds are he won't, because his courage is above-average already.


And, I especially agree with this:
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Now, people have said in the past "yeah, but it sucks to have a faction where you just lose because of a blown roll."  My three responses to that are:  1)  losing because of a blown roll describes like 90% of the games.

Giant War Elephant unlucky enough to blow his first rout check?  Deep doo-doo.
Hawkshold Knights unlucky enough to blow their first rout check?  Deep doo-doo.
T-Rex unlucky enough to blow his first rout check?  Deep doo-doo.

If one of your high-price units fails an early rout check, that is often like a Fed hitting with just one Photon - you've got a tough climb to pull out a win on that game.

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RushAss

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Re: Elves, Hill Giants, and more
« Reply #51 on: August 12, 2015, 09:53:30 AM »
Dave's fascination with doo-doo appeals to the German in me.

A few years back Paul Scott posted an assessment of the Federation TCC, and how he did not see a good way to make it more balanced.  The gist of his argument was, to paraphrase:

...He also went on to point out that over the course of a tournament, especially the single-elimination phase, the Fed needs to have three (good games/lucky initial volleys) in a row to win the tournament. 
I always disagreed with him on that one.  My thought was that if you play well enough you simply need to have 3 average initial volleys in a row.  If they are above average that certainly helps.  But that's a different conversation for a different forum concerning a different game... :P


And, I especially agree with this:
Quote
Now, people have said in the past "yeah, but it sucks to have a faction where you just lose because of a blown roll."  My three responses to that are:  1)  losing because of a blown roll describes like 90% of the games.

Giant War Elephant unlucky enough to blow his first rout check?  Deep doo-doo.
Hawkshold Knights unlucky enough to blow their first rout check?  Deep doo-doo.
T-Rex unlucky enough to blow his first rout check?  Deep doo-doo.

Well put.  And don't forget Death Knights!  I can honestly say that the single worst thing that can happen to an Undead player is to have a unit of Death Knights blow a rout check.  It's just plain awful.

Generally speaking, Ravenwood is in a similar boat here as well except they get no courage help outside of Aspect of Wolverine which only helps when a unit is pinched (due to errata).  If a Ravenwood unit is forced to roll for a route check the old fashioned way, you're on your own.  And like the High Elves, the faction itself has above average courage.
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Zelc

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Re: Elves, Hill Giants, and more
« Reply #52 on: August 12, 2015, 10:47:16 AM »
I wonder if it might be better (in BGFW 2.0 which will never happen) to convert some of the more expensive units to infinite Courage, say all units with 14 Courage and all units with 13 Courage above ~350 points.  Or maybe let them auto-pass their rout check for going into the yellow.  At least with the GWE and the T-Rex, there's a decent chance they'll never even need to make that first Rout check.

Hannibal

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Re: Elves, Hill Giants, and more
« Reply #53 on: August 12, 2015, 11:50:11 AM »

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Well put.  And don't forget Death Knights!  I can honestly say that the single worst thing that can happen to an Undead player is to have a unit of Death Knights blow a rout check.  It's just plain awful.

I think the Death Knights are especially bad because usually you've built your list around them.  My experience with a T-Rex or Hawk Knights or the GWE is that there's usually something else in the list that gives you a chance to win.  The Death Knight Express, by contrast, you're putting all your eggs in 2 baskets.


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Generally speaking, Ravenwood is in a similar boat here as well except they get no courage help outside of Aspect of Wolverine which only helps when a unit is pinched (due to errata).

Aspect of the Wolf?  It gives you +3/+0 vs those Free Attacks and rallies the unit automatically.  Certainly its (much) less good than a Cge reroll, but it can get the unit back in the fight pretty quickly.


I wonder if it might be better (in BGFW 2.0 which will never happen) to convert some of the more expensive units to infinite Courage, say all units with 14 Courage and all units with 13 Courage above ~350 points.  Or maybe let them auto-pass their rout check for going into the yellow.  At least with the GWE and the T-Rex, there's a decent chance they'll never even need to make that first Rout check.

If you did that, the costs of those units would go up by like 20% each.  I think those units work just fine at their current cost, and that you need to make your peace with the fact that sometimes the dice hose you.  That's literally part of the game.

gornhorror

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Re: Elves, Hill Giants, and more
« Reply #54 on: August 12, 2015, 03:45:35 PM »
I'm sorry but I just can't get around the fact that there are no good courage reroll cards in a faction that has expensive units and usually has less units than most(maybe all) other factions in any particular fight.  To me it would've made more sense to give a card like Oathbound to a faction that has many cheaper units than few expensive ones.  But instead, we give factions like Rome, Carthage and Dark Elves (to name just a few) who can field many cheap units, good courage abilities and bail outs.

Thematically, it's a stretch too.  High Elves, who have been fighting for centuries run and rout with no chance at a reprieve,  whereas Mr. Clownpants (Gallic Warriors) gets a reroll if he fails.....and holds up my Battlesquad for another 5 turns.




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Zelc

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Re: Elves, Hill Giants, and more
« Reply #55 on: August 12, 2015, 03:58:13 PM »
To be fair, Carthage doesn't have a reroll Courage card (it has plenty of other Courage cards).  Slave Warriors, on the other hand...

Kevin

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Re: Elves, Hill Giants, and more
« Reply #56 on: August 12, 2015, 04:24:30 PM »
I have every intention of continuing to let Oathbound be a single courage pass or its current function.  Reserving the right to revisit that if High Elves ever make the top 2 at Championship.

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Giant War Elephant unlucky enough to blow his first rout check?  Deep doo-doo.

Agreed.  That's why you have two Devotion of Courage cards.  If you pull half your deck, don't draw either, then blow the roll you've earned the right to sulk, but I'm putting that at under 10%

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Hawkshold Knights unlucky enough to blow their first rout check?  Deep doo-doo.

Agreed.  That's why you give them Bravery.  If you roll over a 15 you've earned the right to at least threaten to flip the table, but I'm putting that at under 5%.

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T-Rex unlucky enough to blow his first rout check?  Deep doo-doo.

When I've used the T-Rex successfully the beast stayed in the green all game.  With 8 green boxes and a 2/4 defense it goes for quite a while before needing to make a check (assuming the opponent doesn't have artillery).  This is in serious contrast to Battlesquads who with only 3 green boxes are all-but-impossible to keep from having to make a check in the first couple of turns.

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The Battle Squad is (IMO) probably the 2nd best tank unit in the game.  In terms of effectiveness vs points spent, only the Zombies are better.

The Abomination is awesome, as are the Zombie Trolls.  For non-Undead, under printed rules the Triarii beat the Battlesquads hands down:  you pay 4 points for the ability to heal two boxes!  A skirmisher-chump combo makes for an excellent tank as well.  But yeah the Battlesquads are definitely good tanks for their cost.

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losing because of a blown roll describes like 90% of the games.

Definitely can't agree here.  I'd say dice determine the winner maybe 1 time in 5--and some fraction of those are damage alone--where "determines the winner" means things would've gone differently had both sides had equivalent dice.  So I'd put "blown rout check determines game" at around 10-15%

I mean, maybe you concede the moment your unit routs, but if your army was going down anyway then I don't consider that decisive.  And yes I do think the High Elves are dicier than other factions.
« Last Edit: August 12, 2015, 04:26:49 PM by Kevin »
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gull2112

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Re: Elves, Hill Giants, and more
« Reply #57 on: August 12, 2015, 08:19:56 PM »
If someone really has an issue with die rolls then just take a deck (ideally 2or3) and remove all but the ace through 6 cards. shuffle the deck and draw for die results. It is much harder to blame it on the random that way.
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Hannibal

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Re: Elves, Hill Giants, and more
« Reply #58 on: August 13, 2015, 11:51:06 AM »
To be fair, Carthage doesn't have a reroll Courage card (it has plenty of other Courage cards).  Slave Warriors, on the other hand...

No, but Carthage has an auto-pass Courage card that dressed up as a Red card for Halloween and never took off the costume.   ;D

Zelc

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Re: Elves, Hill Giants, and more
« Reply #59 on: August 19, 2015, 11:21:12 AM »
Random thought: what if the surcharge High Elf units get is because of their excellent faction ability?