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Saint Vierzehn

Playbalance & Mercenaries

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My FLGS started getting in copies of Game Trade again, so here's the latest news on releases. Sorry, don't have time to put them in order.

 

01417 Christmas Sophie

 

03121 Abyst, demon lord

03125 Baily Silverbell, female dwarf scout

03117 black legionaire captain

03116 black legionaire w/crossbow

03115 black legionaire w/two handed sword

03118 dungeon loot

03126 ghoul queen and servant

03124 nightmare

03119 Rafael, vampire noble

03120 Thigra, female angel archer

03122 tombstones (5)

03123 townsfolk, village mob (3)

Master Series

3002 Belladonna, female salvager (54mm)

 

Warlord

14321 bowsisters, female archers(2)

14322 callindra, female elf archer

14318 cleric of ishnar

14319 darkthrall cultists (2)

14320 female darkthrall cultist leader

14317 Joss Gebblar, mercenary necromancer

Well after seeing this I think we can pretty much rule out Mercs not getting a new archer troop . I just hope they don't make them too powerful that the poor old Ivy Crown Archers and Khamsin Rangers get left on the shelf from now on . Apparently (fluff wise) the Ivy Crown and the Bladesisters work together quite frequently . <_<

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I have to agree with part of what Sarec said. If you are using mercs in a different faction you do NOT gain that factions abilities... but only for those merc troops.

 

The issue with point efficiency... It has to be addressed, with a more restricted amount (like 10% instead of 25%), a printed list of adjusted merc points if you are adding them to other factions, or some version of a retreat mechanism. The way the merc grunts are done now is they are very PLAIN, but some times a faction would rather spend less and not have their factions "fluff" soldiers. This might mean we never see cartain units fielded, which would be a SHAME in my opinion.

 

B

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This might mean we never see cartain units fielded, which would be a SHAME in my opinion.

That is already happening without Mercs. Don't blame the Mercs that some faction Models are bad value for the points. I do not have any Ivy Crown Archers for my Crusader army. I would likely use Merc crossbows if the 25% Merc rule becomes a reality. Scrapping the Merc rule would not make me want to use Ivy Crown Archers. For me to use Ivy Crown Archers, they would either need to be made better or much cheaper - a better value for the points.

 

Rich

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(like 10% instead of 25%)

well the reason the percentage is higher than say 10%, is that the mercenary troops are self contained and cannot be mixed with your standard models.

 

now, nothings final until its in print (some would argue its not even final then).

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The main problem I see with the approach of simply not letting mercs use the primary factions FA is that some factions' FAs don't apply to the individual models. A Necropolis army for instance would have little problem including mercs since their FA affects the enemy army and not their own minis.

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The main problem I see with the approach of simply not letting mercs use the primary factions FA is that some factions' FAs don't apply to the individual models. A Necropolis army for instance would have little problem including mercs since their FA affects the enemy army and not their own minis.

 

99% of Faction SA's would fall under this rule.

 

Exceptions I can think of:

 

Fear of Undeath

Sokar is Near

Pain Cage

 

Possibly Fear the Whip or Do your Duty.

 

And that's it so far.

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The main problem I see with the approach of simply not letting mercs use the primary factions FA is that some factions' FAs don't apply to the individual models. A Necropolis army for instance would have little problem including mercs since their FA affects the enemy army and not their own minis.

 

Thats certainly a true statement. There are faction SAs that are not model dependent (Sokar is near is another one). A way to balance out these omnipresent Faction SAs is to apply them AGAINST the mercenaries too...

 

Ie if your necros, the mercs lose 2 from their dis. Now Sokar is near is a bit harder to squeeze around, since it states non friendly models get the minus 2, BUT that doesn't mean the rule can't be "fudged around" in this specific case, if game balance is an issue there.

 

Theres obviously alot of concern about it, anyone got some actually in game experiences with the possible merc rule they'd care to share?

 

As for why this rule is even being kicked around, is because up till now the Mercs have just been a faction like any other, that just happens to be called Mercenary. The idea is to come up with a way for Mercenaries to act like mercenaries (ie be taken in an army without losing SAs like a free lance). Now the Campaign rules actually allow up to 50% of an army to be mercenaries without ill affect, but that seemed like a bit much to me.

 

Anyway, keep the feedback up. We always like to hear (and sometimes steal) peoples ideas. Remember to keep the discussion about what you think, not about how the other guy is stupid for thinking what he thinks.

 

::D:

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I can understand using the rule for campaign play, but that's a wholly different beast than one-off gaming. There is a whole system of checks and balances in campaign play that come with hiring mercenaries. Not the least of which being actually paying them.

 

One-off play is different, you just pay the points cost and field the unit. I know it's been said time and time again, but taking mercenaries as the proposed rule stands right now seems like a no-brainer. Khamsin Rangers and Ivy Crown Archers being just a few of the units that you have no reason to take over Mercenaries.

 

I like the idea of reversing the Faction's abilities onto the Mercenaries, but that really only applies to the universal abilities like Fear of Undeath and Sokar is Near.

 

I know that Rezolution allows the 25% Merc rule in Crew construction, but they don't have any Faction-specific abilities. These were supposed to be an edge to encourage pure Faction armies over Freelance (the reverse being Freelancer's ultimate flexibility). My concern is that it takes away from the ability to Freelance and also essentially makes several Faction troops essentially obsolete.

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I like the idea that negative effects are doubled back onto the mercs. The rules would have to be worded along the lines of "for the purpose of FA mercs are treated as enemy models" and then it's all fixed ::D:

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So basically we need to look at all the factions one by one and see if the loss of main faction FA to the merc models and/or the "reversal" of an FA makes sense. This will also mean that if reaper goes this route, it will be a consideration when designing FA's for all future factions and subfactions.

 

For Necropolis I think a -2 DIS penalty to all the models is plenty to prevent making mercs a non-branier.

 

Also for Overlords I'd say that not letting merc models use the "Fear the Whip" and "Do your Duty" FAs seems sufficient to make the choice interresting. Specifically I doubt a merc would give his life to save Ashkrypt or that a Bond slave would give his life for a merc.

 

That IMO only solves the problem of unbalancing the game though, there still remains the problem of models that are (almost) never used like IC archers. This however was a problem that existed before the 25% rule was suggested, and one that would IMO ideally be solved by making the models more attractive (rather than making alternatives less attractive).

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Theres obviously alot of concern about it, anyone got some actually in game experiences with the possible merc rule they'd care to share?

 

I have seen a couple of games here in my neck of the woods where only one of my players has utilized that rule. When EE first introduced the concepts weeks ago, I immediately told my players about it. But, no one used it until just a couple weeks ago.

 

So far, only my Crusader player has utilized the 25% rule. And, it may come as a shock to you, but he doesn't give a crap about archers. He almost never fields the Ivy Crown Archers, and doesn't care about the Merc crossbowmen. "Too short ranged to be helpful." Ok. So, what he has done is geared his army towards speed. Lots of skirmishers, cav, and for his 25%, Lupines!! :devil:

 

However, we are applying a house rule fudge factor for this. Because the Merc faction got split into 4 sub-factions BEFORE their book came out, and none of them are really fleshed out (well, maybe Orba's), I allowed him to take the cheap Merc sgt from Orba's list and still field the Lupines. If Reaper hadn't arbitrarily split the lists before the book came out, it wouldn't be an issue. So, I chose to make it a non-issue. When the book comes out, and the Lupine faction gets their own sgts, I'll make him use one of those. Until then... ::):

 

How has he done? The first game I saw he was in a three-way battle vs Reptus and Dwarves (myself). He was the first to get eliminated, followed by myself. The second battle was a 1,500 pt one vs Razig's Revenge. The Razig player took the Dark Maiden and several other high priced grunts, and thusly, ended up losing. But, it was still close. The numbers were actually on the Crusader players side for once! :bday:

 

Has it made the game "unbalanced" or "broken"? No, not at all. In fact, if anything, I think it has actually hurt the Crusader player. The Lupines tend to be in hand-to-hand combat, killing stuff. But, there is no Mercy rule allowed. Oops. So, there goes multiple chances to convert troops that are otherwise dying. So much for the vaunted Mercy rule!! ^_^

 

Maybe in a week or two I'll challenge the Crusader player to a one-on-one match, and see how tough his army is. Normally I kick his butt. Barring some major dice rolling catastrophe on either side, I suspect that the game will be much closer, but thanks to Bane, I'll be able to squeak out a victory. But, it's just a guess. :devil:

 

Wild Bill :blues:

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Theres obviously alot of concern about it, anyone got some actually in game experiences with the possible merc rule they'd care to share?

 

We played out a campaign, where Mercs can be freely mixed with your troops. As predicted, our Nefsokar player took Merc crossbowmen exclusively. We also saw lots of Merc crossbows as second archery units, so lots of 1000 point game saw 2 sets of ranged troops. It clearly changed the style of the games, and in the Nefsokar case, changed the way the army played. We also saw a LOT of Artemis models.

 

We stopped playing before Darthiir decided to field the Lupine Shaman and the Treeman at the same time, but teleporting ents was coming up. I think we'd see a lot of Merc warriors replacing Elf warriors as well, and pretty much every faction could use a DV 10 grunt.

 

The problem I see is that each faction has a hole or weakness, but only 1 or maybe 2. Letting Mercs fill that hole means each army can cover it's weakness, unless the Mercs are so full of holes there's nothing left of the faction. Something needs to offset the great advantage using Mercs offers. A surcharge on points is the easiest, but obviously annoys some. Perhaps Mercs suffer from Delayment ala the Desert Wind.

 

PS

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The problem I see is that each faction has a hole or weakness, but only 1 or maybe 2.

 

Speak for yourself there, buddy boy!! The Dwarves are GAWDS among men!! WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :bday::bday::bday::lol::lol::lol::devil::devil::devil:

 

Of course, like someone said earlier, remember that a campaign setting is slightly different than games in a tournament or just one-offs. You can take 50% of your army as Mercs in a campaign. Way more flexibility than 25%. Or at least, I think so. ^_^

 

Wild Bill :blues:

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Speak for yourself there, buddy boy!! The Dwarves are GAWDS among men!! WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

 

Get therapy.

 

And now for something completely different. :B):

 

In a wargame like this one, there are a few basic functions that no army should have to do without, because an absence of that capability actually unbalances the game.

 

Basic footsoldiers are one of those things. This game has a lot of footsoldier models that vary widely in appearance but that have underlying stats that aren't significantly different. The fact that everyone can take a basic footsoldier of some sort doesn't ruin the game, despite the fact that they're all pretty similar in terms of game mechanics. On the contrary, an army that didn't have access to a basic footsoldier would probably be radically unbalanced and likely wouldn't be competitive.

 

Cost-effective shooters also fill a basic role that every army should have access to. Without a viable ranged attack, one must either take the fight to a location of the opponent's choosing or be battered to death by the ranged attacks the opponent is dishing out. Magic can sometimes partially compensate for a lack of cost-effective archers, but fielding a wizard with spells requires a larger outlay of points and lacks sustained firepower. In short, not having good archers available to a list cripples one's basic tactical options, which isn't really a good thing in a tactical wargame. Nobody's choices ought to be limited to close and charge.

 

A number of people have complained that Nef rangers and Ivy Crown Archers will no longer be played if mercs have a good shooting unit that can be incorporated into any list. I doubt that most of those complainers use Nefsokar or Crusaders. Those of us who do play Nefsokar or Crusaders already don't miss Rangers and Ivy Crown Archers. It's not like they can be a lynchpin of the army. The fact is, as things stand now, Rangers and IC Archers could be struck from the game entirely and hardly be missed. They don't really add anything to the game. In fact, they rarely show up at the game table at all because they're so bad. That Rangers and IC Archers exist is hardly a valid argument for not allowing mercs something better or for allowing merc units to be taken on other lists.

 

In my not-so-humble opinion, a good sportsman wishes his opponent to have a competitive list, and an option for viable shooters is a vital component of an even playing field. Let's hope that the mercs do get some decent shooters. And for those who hold Nef Rangers and Ivy Crown Archers so dear, let's hope they get modified to be worth playing, so that you'll see more of your favorite models on the other side of the game table.

 

-StV.

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I doubt that most of those complainers use Nefsokar or Crusaders.

 

Been playing Nefsokar since before all of the core models were out thank you very much. And only recently have I put together a list that doesn't field them.

 

Those of us who do play Nefsokar or Crusaders already don't miss Rangers and Ivy Crown Archers. It's not like they can be a lynchpin of the army.

 

Of my two main Crusader opponents, both use Ivy Crown Archers. The concensus being that it's better to have some range than none at all, especially when the ranged-centric armies have grunts that can be easily taken down by a Ranger.

 

Of course Ivy Crown Archers and Khamsin Rangers can't be the lynchpin of an army, just like the Vale Warriors can't be the center of and Elven army.

 

In my not-so-humble opinion, a good sportsman wishes his opponent to have a competitive list, and an option for viable shooters is a vital component of an even playing field.

 

If this were true, Elven players would be dominating anyone without comparable archers.

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