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rcrosby

Balancing quality and quantity

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Well, in a good game, a 200 pt model and a 200 pt squad should win/lose against each other 50% of the time. That's the point of good point balance. The fact that a hero chops up so many units up in Warhamster is Warhamster's problem.

 

The other problem spot in Warlord is a Hero with Tough comes back weaker than most grunts. A Grunt with Tough comes back at full power. This does affect gameplay. And Warlords autohitting rolls mean that grunts will always own heros, irrespective of point costs. Just take the cheapest, largest swarm you can. Each turn, you're guaranteed at least one critical that's gonna screw up even the most powerful dragon in the game. And it gets even worse as the size of the figure increases. More of the swarm can get in BTB, and that increases the chances of multiple criticals/turn. So effectively, cheap models are undercosted because of the criticals, or you can say expensive models are overcosted. And I think the degradation that multi-track models suffer is severe. And large models suffer a severe penalty because of their base size.

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I'm pretty sure I stated this somewhere in this post, but I'm too lazy to shift through it and find it. :lol:

 

Can anyone give me examples of where swarm armies are just dominating your local tournament scene?

 

Plus, give me a minimum model count for an army to be considered a "swarm". 15 models? 20? 35?

 

I routinely field 1,000 point Dwarf armies with 28-30 models. Is that army a swarm? I guess. I wouldn't call it one. Unless I am playing against someone trying something with only like one troop or whatever, then I either have equal numbers to my opponents or even less than.

 

At the last tournament I played in Dallas, I fielded a 1-troop, 16 model Razig's Revenge army in a 1,501 point tournament. Why? To try and prove a small army can win. The first game I was winning. Then the Scurvy Dog rule kicked in and I lost. :down: The other two games I lost, but it wasn't really due to numbers. It was due to incredibly horrible dice rolling on my part. I don't think I shot more than 3 models in those two games, despite having tons of shooting. That sucked.

 

Until I see concrete examples from tournaments, I won't be swayed one way or the other about "swarm" armies. ^_^

 

Wild Bill :blues:

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Well, in a good game, a 200 pt model and a 200 pt squad should win/lose against each other 50% of the time. That's the point of good point balance. The fact that a hero chops up so many units up in Warhamster is Warhamster's problem.

 

I disagree with this. Initially I felt that way -- but thinking about it, if someone is dumb enough to wander out a 200 point model against a whole mass of infantry, they probably should lose most of the time. I think 200 pts of troops vs 200 points of troops should have a 50/50 chance - or a 200 pt character vs a 200 pt character.

 

But the character vs the troops should tip in favor of the troops, or else you end up with characters who are entirely too tough, and out of balance. I'm more inclined to take cheaper, common troops because I know that whatever kind of nasty someone brings my way, there is a good chance I can beat them by dogpiling - so I'm not as worried about overpowered characters. If Character vs troops becomes 50% of the time, the game falls out of balance to the character.

 

Otherwise, why would I even bother with grunts in the first place, I'd just load up with all sorts of expensive heroes because I know they should be able to defeat their value in points - and then you have a hero that chops up so many units being Warlord's problem too (and not just warhamsters). Even the toughest nasty hero can (and should) be brought low in the face of tons of infantry dangling from his limbs.

 

I do agree 100% that a 1000 point force should be fairly evenly matched against another 1000 point force (Unless someone does something tactically stupid like spend all their points on 4 250 point models, only to get swamped by hoards of grunts, or forgets to take something to deal with ranged attacks from a force that can outrun their infantry)

 

This means the game boils down to tactics on the table, and not simply tactics in the army creation.

 

I do also agree that the game tends to favor the hoard type army, and perhaps there should be adjustments made for this as well. I'm fond of dis checks for fallen leaders in this case as it presents a slight handicapping to the forces that are made up of just lowly grunts - heroes can stand tough in the face of casualties, but grunts are going to get shaken if their leader goes down.

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I think it was Saintrigger who made the point...

 

Take your 200 point hero along with 60 points of grunts and take on 260 points of enemy grunts. I think you'll find that the Hero plus grunts is pretty good if his flanks are protected. THe other thing is that if one side is all grunts and the other is a hero, bandage is not so cool fro the grunts, but gets a lot of bang for its buck healing the hero. I like to teleport my Golem and then get him stuck right in. once he is swarmed, I firestorm him and kill everything around him as Balthon gets ready with the healing. It's fun and you always have los to the Golem.

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"I like to teleport my Golem and then get him stuck right in. once he is swarmed, I firestorm him and kill everything around him as Balthon gets ready with the healing. It's fun and you always have los to the Golem"

 

Heck yeah... bait and nuke. ;)

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I'm pretty sure I stated this somewhere in this post, but I'm too lazy to shift through it and find it. :lol:

 

Can anyone give me examples of where swarm armies are just dominating your local tournament scene?

 

Plus, give me a minimum model count for an army to be considered a "swarm". 15 models? 20? 35?

 

I routinely field 1,000 point Dwarf armies with 28-30 models. Is that army a swarm? I guess. I wouldn't call it one. Unless I am playing against someone trying something with only like one troop or whatever, then I either have equal numbers to my opponents or even less than.

 

At the last tournament I played in Dallas, I fielded a 1-troop, 16 model Razig's Revenge army in a 1,501 point tournament. Why? To try and prove a small army can win. The first game I was winning. Then the Scurvy Dog rule kicked in and I lost. :down: The other two games I lost, but it wasn't really due to numbers. It was due to incredibly horrible dice rolling on my part. I don't think I shot more than 3 models in those two games, despite having tons of shooting. That sucked.

 

Until I see concrete examples from tournaments, I won't be swayed one way or the other about "swarm" armies. ^_^

 

Wild Bill :blues:

 

 

28-30 models in a 1,000 pt army, to me that is a swarm. we just had the last on storm's grand prix with a 1501 and i had 37 models and i went for quantity over quality. fielding a minimum number of vale archers and a max number of warriors and death seekers (every warrior and ds i own), instead of bringing any magic (no lysette, niriodel, ardynn, or mossbeard) not to mention leaving out the BIG models (giant eagle and mossbeard).

 

not sure of the model count but, ravenwolf's crypt legion has been dominating our local scene for the past year. especially with ayssa the instant swarm machine. i won't get the model count right but in a 1501 he has brought a fair amount of cavalry, harvesters, skeletal archers, skeletal warriors, a couple of banshees. . .he can give you totals.

 

swarms work and they work well.

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My biggest problem with the thought that a 200 points hero should be able to fight 200 points of grunts is that this would make the hero a no-brainer. I mean if a single model charges ahead all alone and can kill an equal number of points worth of grunts, that means there's no challenge in using the mini. I mean how would you manage to use him ineffectively?

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That second army is everything I find boring in Warlord: cheapest sgt, as many cheap models as possible, swarm. Undeniably effective, but I'm quite tired of seeing it.

I agree with a lot of the sentiment in this comment. I don't find swarm games boring, but it would be nice if points spent on quality could match points spent on quantity so that more army builds would be effective.

 

At the risk of derailing an interesting conversation, I'd like to try for a summary of what I've seen so far.

 

First off, in the spirit of disclaiming, I have a vested interest in the effectiveness of swarm armies. The more models you need, the more I'll sell... :poke: So don't touch that +1 MAV modifier! Plus, I've always loved playing swarm armies. Speed + numbers kills. Hydran PFs, anyone?

 

On the other hand, a game where cookie-cutter builds dominate has no legs. There have to be a variety of different ways to play, or people will lose interest. (The LOTR mini game springs to mind: "Oh, wow. There's a shock - Gandalf again. I've never seen HIM before. :rolleyes: ")

 

Now lets talk a bit about how a real-life elite force takes on a force with greatly superior numbers, like 2-1 or worse. Some of these have an analog in Warlord - some not so much:

 

1) Have superior technology or firepower. Let's look at having better technology in three sections:

 

1A) Better HTH technology. I contend this doesn't work, given the cost structures in place for cheap models versus highly capable models. Superior HTH technology comes down to high DV, high MAV, and multiple melee attacks. But enough swarmers in base to base will defeat any DV, and high MAV and more attacks only helps you take a few more of them with you.

 

1B) Superior archery. This can work, but often you have to go with the 'horde of archers' approach, which defeats the point of being an elite force to begin with... ::D: The problem here is volume of fire. You need to have enough shots to knock the enemy down to a manageable number before they get to you. You generally have two or three turns before the HTH begins in earnest, and the rate that archery drops models doesn't compensate for a serious numbers disadvantage. This tactic is more effective if you have room to run while whittling the enemy down, but 4'x4' boards don't offer much scope for giving ground.

 

1C) Superior magic. If you have fireballs and lightning bolts, you can theoretically knock down lots of his models quickly. In practice, however, I claim that this rarely works. Surprisingly, not because it's hard to kill what you target, but because the short range of most offensive magic means you only get to nuke the enemy once before he's on top of you. That one spell is rarely enough to equalize a severe numbers disadvantage. Magic causing movement restrictions keep the enemy off you for a turn, but requires you to have enough firepower to punish the enemy while he is slowed.

 

2) Target the enemy's command and control. This seems to be promising - most miniatures/historical simulations equate more numbers to less control, and hence more susceptible to morale and leadership issues. Warlord does, too - most swarm models have relatively low DIS. (Not surprising, as high DIS raises your point cost out of the swarm category.) But as it stands right now, the concensus seems to be that Warlord does not allow elite armies to take advantage of higher DIS, with the possible exception of Crusaders with Mercy. There simply is too little downside to having a low DIS! Being out of cohesion or missing a leader is rarely even annoying. Too few models have Horrid to make that effect worrisome, unlike Warhamster which has an abundance of Fear and Terror. Some good ideas have been discussed for adding in disadvantages for low DIS, but I think we have to be careful here. I don't think you want effects that target entire troops, or you risk the game losing the tactical flavor of a group of individuals.

 

One idea I've toyed with is: "Models out of cohesion must make a DIS check to take any action other than a move which puts the model back into cohesion. If a model cannot move such that it can regain cohesion in one action, then it requires a DIS check to move at all." It keeps the effects on an individual basis, makes the loss of a leader's 18" cohesion range more damaging, and suitably punishes low DIS. I don't think this redresses all the command and control issues, but it's a mechanism I like that moves in the right direction.

 

3) Have superior maneuverability, so you can achieve local superiority of numbers despite being outnumbered overall. This one is very problematic even in real life, as it essentially requires you to go on the offensive against the swarm player. Frankly, I haven't seen it work in Warlord, because a) most swarms are of necessity rather fast themselves, so it's hard to get enough of a speed differential, and b) it's hard to get out of a fight that is going badly. If even one of your expensive uber-fast models fails to kill everything it is in contact with, that model will probably be slowed enough that the swarm player can reach it and kill it.

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1A) Better HTH technology. I contend this doesn't work, given the cost structures in place for cheap models versus highly capable models. Superior HTH technology comes down to high DV, high MAV, and multiple melee attacks. But enough swarmers in base to base will defeat any DV, and high MAV and more attacks only helps you take a few more of them with you.

 

I've seen this work. The trick here is to utilize your heavy hitting troops offensively. If you let your crimson-knights/shield-maidens/whatever-else-yer-usin' become outnumbered, thus playing to the horde's strength, you'll get squished. The trick is to engage the weaker models one on one. A 40 point c-knight can squash a normal grunt, but will likely have trouble in a 2 on 1 match.

 

Another way to approach it is to force the enemy to fight your big-boys on your terms. Put them along a ridge with archers to provide cover. That way the enemy has to either sit there and take shots from your archers, or come to you and fight against your elite troops while coming up that ridge.

 

Fight dirty, don't just walk your troops out there towards the horde and start rolling dice.

 

 

 

 

I would also whole heartedly agree with the statement that 260 points worth of hero and grunts can really put the hurt onto 260 points worth of grunts. Once again, the goal is to keep your bigboy from being outnumbered. As long as your hero doesn't have to wrestle with more than he can handle, you should at least be breaking even. The 60 points worth of grunts doesn't need to do anything but stay alive, and maybe offer the occasional support bonus.

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Moosey's is right on about not fighting a swarm army on its own terms. I've gone up against Castlebuilder's Reven swarm and that thing has enough goblins, beastmen, and lesser orcs to choke a krungbeast. What I've done that has worked great is using the terrain to narrow his forces into a manageable choke point or fight a refused flank battle. Its not always easy to keep your melee guys in one spot when you want to run up and slaughter the enemy but when you get to the narrow spots in terrain stay there. I tend to use my Reptus archers to guard the flank of my entrenched forces. You leave the swarm the choice to wade through arrows or funnel into an area where they can't bring their numbers to bear. Even if they try and loop around the terrain you are using it thins their forces so they still aren't using as many as they could.

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When fighting a horde....run.

 

Mobility is going to be a big asset for you. Only engage when you can eliminate a good chunk. Keep moving to stretch out their troops so you can engage and eliminate small portions. Even though you may have superior troops, they have the numbers. You need to whittle away at the numbers to reduce their advantage. Just don't fall into the trap of sending your 8 superior guys 1:1 against their 8 slackers. Go for the sure kills and use the Support as well to make you take your opponents out. Go in 2:1, make sure you kill them all. Stick and move.

 

In timed events, this is extremely difficult. Because you don't have the extra time to spend running around to set up advantageous situations. Usually, I can play a 1501 battle to the death in about 1.5 hours. Last night, I played 2 games of 1501, where I was doing a lot of movement. Both games took 3 hours. I lost both, but there were multiple lead changes and back and forth in each. If I was playing in a tourney, I would not have been able to spend literally 2 full turns each time, doing nothing but maneuver w/o engagement because I'd have lost a few models to ranged attacks, and not made a single offensive maneuver myself.

 

WB, in our local area, for tournies, you see a lot of swarm based armies. In timed events, they work well. Opposing players with smaller troops don't have the luxury of spending lots of extra time maneuvering. Ideally, increasing the time for a tournament round might help this, however if you go to 1.5 hours per round, a 3 round tourney will be pushing 6 hours. 4.5 hours for game play, plus initial army review, any breaks between rounds, resetting tables, etc. This might help out, but it's a lot of time a store has to give for table space and players may not have the time to devote.

 

There are also two variants to the swarm you see here. Either huge mobs - Leaders with maxed out troops. This gives you the numbers superiority, but the melee punch of them all working in concert. Or, The cheap Sgt w/ 3 Grunts. Wash, Rinse, Repeat. More often than not this is the list type you see for tournies. To give Init decks with 12+ cards in a 1000 point build. For some armies, like the Tomukh, this makes absolute sense, because this means all those extra opportunities to Warcry. For others, it's just manipulation of the Initiative Deck. Again, with timed matches and utter control of an Initiative deck it can kill a smaller army.

 

Now, there are ways to counter the mob. Using terrain, choke points, etc.

 

It's a great strategy for tourney play. It's just boring.

 

Sure, you can add in artificial army construction rules to stop it from happening, but that is artificial, and sort of lame IMHO, because then you're forcing people HAVE to play a certain way.

 

I'd rather see victory conditions that encourage use of Elites and Solos rather than forcing a person to use them. Penalties for losing those models doesn't help, because then the Mob based army just doesn't field them, and never risks losing the points. You need to give bonus points for having those models survive in order to encourage their use in the game.

 

Additionally, you can mix this up by having Scenarios designed for the Tourney for each round. This means people cannot build their army solely around a mob, because they may have to do something else. But, they still have the option of killing everyone first, then getting their conditions met when the dust has settled.

 

For pick up games, you don't see as much emphasis on a hoarde, because there is nothing at stake, and people are more willing to experiment and try out new things. Those are the games I love playing.

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The formation should work well against the swarm armies listed since they most often don't have a mage who can cast firestorm. Sure the support bonus builds up, but if your guys stay in formation (Star Wars flashback) you the opponent has a hard time getting more than +1 support. So formations using terrain to their advantage maybe?

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Then why would you EVER take a character, if a 200 pt character can't defeat 200 pts of troops? The troops are better then.

 

The only thing that MAY favor characters then is their ability to cast spells, or some other innate ability that makes them worth 200 pts. But straight up, a 200pt combat monster better be a 200 pt combat monster, else yer better off with a horde.

 

And no, a 200 pt character that can kill a 200 pt swarm ( 50/50 mind you ) is not BROKEN, he's balanced. Throw 400 pts at him, and he dies.

 

Unlike Marneus Calgar, from 2nd Ed days. Who could kill entire armies.

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OK the way I think it SHOULD work is that 1 character without support worth 200 points, should lose against 200 points of soldiers. a hero worth 200 points with 60 points of soldiers in support should be able to fight 260 points of grunts and have a slight edge.

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