Author Topic: Defensive Skill vs. Toughness  (Read 2540 times)

Fingolfin

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Defensive Skill vs. Toughness
« on: September 07, 2016, 12:45:59 PM »
During the early days of Battleground, defensive skill was better than toughness, due to the combination of the Power Charge, the relatively large number of high power units, the relative dearth of high offensive skill units, and the Range Modifiers. This is, I believe, fairly generally accepted. However, it seems to me that with the advent of the Dice Charge, toughness is now better than Defensive Skill. There are 3 reasons for this.

1. Accuracy. This card has no counter. If a 5/7/5 unit has Force played on it while facing a 1/3 unit, then Mettle is still a good option. However, if a 5/5/7 unit has Accuracy played on it while facing a 3/1 unit, there are few, if any, good cards.

2. The Flanking Bonus. This, for obvious reasons, punishes high Defensive skill units over high Toughness units.

3. Impact Hits. These completely bypass Defensive Skill, and as such reward having high Toughness. A Trike Herd is a mediocre choice against Wuxing, but it's great against Ravenwood.

These rules, combined with the recent release of a large number of armies that have access to a good number of high Offensive Skill units, has overall made Defensive Skill weaker than Toughness to my mind. While it is true that the Range Modifiers help Defensive Skill units, they are not enough to bring it back to parity, especially with the state of Ranged units as a whole.

Please not that I am not advocating the return of the Power Charge, the removal of Impact Hits, or the removal of the Flanking Bonus. I am merely bringing to attention rules that seem to me to slightly unbalance the system. This is not to say that high Defensive Skill armies cannot win, they can. They merely are at a slight disadvantage.
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Kevin

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Re: Defensive Skill vs. Toughness
« Reply #1 on: September 07, 2016, 12:58:55 PM »
Defensive skill still helps a lot more vs. ranged attacks (Part a function of many being a Long Range and getting -1 Offensive skill.), so overall I'd call it a push.
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Fingolfin

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Re: Defensive Skill vs. Toughness
« Reply #2 on: September 07, 2016, 02:40:46 PM »
Defensive skill still helps a lot more vs. ranged attacks (Part a function of many being a Long Range and getting -1 Offensive skill.), so overall I'd call it a push.

Yes, it does. However, given that ranged units are often not good buys, due to the state of the ranged rules as a whole, I would say that it is not a push. If ranged attacks are buffed, that might change.
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Kevin

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Re: Defensive Skill vs. Toughness
« Reply #3 on: September 07, 2016, 02:45:08 PM »
The other things that helps Def. skill over Toughness is that the game is awash with 5/7 guys and even a couple 5/8, a 4/7 and a 4/8!  Meanwhile, the game has a grand total of two units whose Offensive skill is least 2 higher than its Power:  Ravenwood Bowmasters (whose faction ability helps it punch through armor anyway) and the awful Undead Rat Swarm.
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Fingolfin

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Re: Defensive Skill vs. Toughness
« Reply #4 on: September 08, 2016, 12:53:03 PM »
The other things that helps Def. skill over Toughness is that the game is awash with 5/7 guys and even a couple 5/8, a 4/7 and a 4/8!  Meanwhile, the game has a grand total of two units whose Offensive skill is least 2 higher than its Power:  Ravenwood Bowmasters (whose faction ability helps it punch through armor anyway) and the awful Undead Rat Swarm.

All of this is true. However, there are also a lot more 4 Toughness units than 4 Defensive Skill units. What also hurts Defensive Skill is that the last 6 armies have all had good access to Offensive Skill 6 units and other units, like Elephants, that punish Defensive Skill.
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RushAss

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Re: Defensive Skill vs. Toughness
« Reply #5 on: September 08, 2016, 03:51:05 PM »
You could say the same about factions with lots of access to high offensive power punishing high defensive toughness.  Orcs, Undead, Dwarves, Lizardmen, High Elves, and Monsters & Mercs have a ton of units with 6 or higher offensive power.  This issue was so pronounced with the Dwarves that Kevin's special tournament rules upcharges for Battleaxemen and Miners.
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Fingolfin

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Re: Defensive Skill vs. Toughness
« Reply #6 on: September 12, 2016, 11:03:17 AM »
You could say the same about factions with lots of access to high offensive power punishing high defensive toughness.  Orcs, Undead, Dwarves, Lizardmen, High Elves, and Monsters & Mercs have a ton of units with 6 or higher offensive power.  This issue was so pronounced with the Dwarves that Kevin's special tournament rules upcharges for Battleaxemen and Miners.

The problem is that certain factions are advantaged over others. Wuxing have a good match-up versus Dark Elves, but a bad one versus Lizardmen, which incidentally have a bad match-up versus Dark Elves. It's kind of a RPS scenario.

I would argue that the plethora of 7 and 8 power units is justified by the plethora of 4 toughness units. The lack of 7 or 8 offensive skill units is balanced by the fact that 4 defensive skill units are practically non-existent.

My point is that, currently, power and toughness are balanced from a unit versus unit perspective. However, I do not think that the Ranged modifiers balance out the three advantages that toughness units have. Then again, that may be a symptom of the current ranged rules.
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gornhorror

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Re: Defensive Skill vs. Toughness
« Reply #7 on: September 12, 2016, 03:48:11 PM »
I still have a problem with flanking giving a bonus vs. defensive skill.  It is because of this bonus and the removal of the power charge that I think the pendulum has swung in favor of defensive toughness. 


I still think that if you flank somebody your unit should get extra dice as apposed to +1/+0.  Units that are more agile and quick should be better at protecting themselves if being attacked on both sides, not worse.

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NegativeZer0

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Re: Defensive Skill vs. Toughness
« Reply #8 on: September 12, 2016, 08:26:42 PM »
Thematically I don't have an issue with it.  Being hit from the side disrupts whatever tactics they are using to avoid damage. 
That said:
If their is support for changing this I would not be opposed.
« Last Edit: September 13, 2016, 07:35:38 AM by NegativeZer0 »
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gornhorror

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Re: Defensive Skill vs. Toughness
« Reply #9 on: September 12, 2016, 10:41:54 PM »
I think the bonus for rear attacking is good at a +1/+1 but yeah, the flank attack would make more sense to me if it was just extra dice since attacking to your flank takes away dice.



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Kevin

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Re: Defensive Skill vs. Toughness
« Reply #10 on: September 13, 2016, 09:40:44 AM »
Quote
I would argue that the plethora of 7 and 8 power units is justified by the plethora of 4 toughness units. The lack of 7 or 8 offensive skill units is balanced by the fact that 4 defensive skill units are practically non-existent.

Just because a modifier is "justified by (reason)" doesn't render it irrelevant in any way to the assessment as to whether defensive skill or toughness is better.  The fact is that there are ton of units in the game vs. which a 3/1 unit can expect to outive a 1/3 and sometimes even a 1/4, which absolutely needs to be taken into account. 

I still consider def. skill & toughness as close to balanced under the current rules as we're every likely to get.
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Fingolfin

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Re: Defensive Skill vs. Toughness
« Reply #11 on: September 13, 2016, 10:05:26 AM »
Quote
I would argue that the plethora of 7 and 8 power units is justified by the plethora of 4 toughness units. The lack of 7 or 8 offensive skill units is balanced by the fact that 4 defensive skill units are practically non-existent.

Just because a modifier is "justified by (reason)" doesn't render it irrelevant in any way to the assessment as to whether defensive skill or toughness is better.  The fact is that there are ton of units in the game vs. which a 3/1 unit can expect to outive a 1/3 and sometimes even a 1/4, which absolutely needs to be taken into account. 

I still consider def. skill & toughness as close to balanced under the current rules as we're every likely to get.

I think that you missed my point (or more likely I didn't articulate it very well). There are a lot of 4 toughness units, but that is balanced by a goodly number of 7 and 8 power units. So yes, Ravenwood Swordsmen tank an Earth Elemental better than Terracotta Swordsmen. However, Terracotta Swordsmen tank Libyan Foot far better than Ravenwood Swordsmen.

I am struggling to articulate my point. It seems me that power and toughness are "further up the scale of numbers" if you would. The numbers are a bit more exaggerated.

I guess what I am trying to say is that for all the units that crush a 1/3 or 1/4, there are an equal number that decimate a 3/1. I would argue that the game is balanced from that perspective. The 3/1 just has a few more disadvantages.

Does that make sense? Like I said before, I am struggling to put my point into words.
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Hannibal

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Re: Defensive Skill vs. Toughness
« Reply #12 on: September 13, 2016, 10:31:17 AM »
I guess what I am trying to say is that for all the units that crush a 1/3 or 1/4, there are an equal number that decimate a 3/1. I would argue that the game is balanced from that perspective. The 3/1 just has a few more disadvantages.

Does that make sense? Like I said before, I am struggling to put my point into words.

I think I see what you're saying, but I also think there's something to Kevin's point that Toughness units (i.e. D:1/3 & D:1/4) are more vulnerable to shooting.  The issue there is that shooting is really a waste of points in any game except Total Warfare played to the complete and bloody end (which pretty much nobody does).

One of my missions is to rectify shooting and when we do I think this discrepancy will diminish, if not evaporate.


Also while I agree with your point that it's easier to get a +1 to hit (flank them) than it is to get a +1 to wound, it captures the right feeling.  This is a personal opinion of course but to me it feels right that a unit of Longbeard is willing to wade into a fight against a horde of Goblins.  Sure the Goblins get the pinch bonus, the but the Dwarf player is okay with it because "eh, he's still only wounding on 2s."  Similarly, it feels right that the disciplined ranks of Elves would be more affected by getting flanked, because all their pretty moves & training can't be used.  And when shooting is fixed, I think that it'll feel right for the units of Elven archers to bring down the beast through sheer weight of fire.  Or for that T-rex, who could care less about those stunties who're flank-pinching, to start worrying about that freaking Ballista.

Kevin

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Re: Defensive Skill vs. Toughness
« Reply #13 on: September 13, 2016, 10:57:56 AM »
Quote
I guess what I am trying to say is that for all the units that crush a 1/3 or 1/4, there are an equal number that decimate a 3/1.

Except that there simply aren't.  


Units which will hit & wound a 1/3 at least 4/9 of the time (meaning at least 4s & 4s or 3s & 6s or 6s & 3s), but won't do so to a 3/1:

Trolls, Skeleton Trolls, Giant Catapult (engaged or short range or Long Range vs. Large), Treant, Dwarf Miners, Dwarf Ballista (short range or long range vs. Large), Earth Elemental, Hill Giant, (non-charging) Giant War Elephant.


Units which hit & wound both a 1/3 and a 3/1 at least 4/9 of the time.

Hydra, T-Rex, Red & Ancient Red Dragons - deadlier vs. a 1/3

Charging Knights (all varieties) & Charging Giant War Elephant are more-or-less equally bad to both.

Celestial Guard -- deadlier vs. a 3/1


Units which hit & wound a 3/1 at least 4/9 of the time but won't do so to a 1/3

Ravenwood Bowmasters (short range).  

Charging only:  Carthaginian Spanish Cavalry, High Elf Chariots.  There might be a Persian Cav. unit as well. (I'm counting the impact hit(s) as equivalent to Off. skill.)
« Last Edit: September 13, 2016, 11:03:22 AM by Kevin »
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RushAss

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Re: Defensive Skill vs. Toughness
« Reply #14 on: September 13, 2016, 11:32:22 AM »
There are a lot of 4 toughness units, but that is balanced by a goodly number of 7 and 8 power units.

By my count we have a total of 15 units currently in the game with a defensive toughness of 4.  So on average 1 per faction.  And of those 15, 13 of them are Elite units and most of those are really expensive, so you're not exactly flooding the board with them unless you're playing Undead with their Zombie Trolls*.

And sorry if this is starting to feel like a "Let's all jump on Fingolfin" thread.  This is actually a very good discussion and you raise very valid points  ;)

*Wuxing Jade Nobles are the other non-elite T4 unit but they aren't exactly cheap at 335 points.
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