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Making 15 the baseline

Discussion in 'Access Guide to the Human Sphere' started by Triumph, Mar 27, 2021.

  1. Triumph

    Triumph Well-Known Member

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    Tactical Window as a default was clearly one of the most defining changes brought forward by N4. While I don't necessarily mind the goal that CB had in mind for it, I have always felt it was a hamfisted approach to providing a solution. Firstly, it clearly hit some factions far harder than others, and the worst affected weren't even realistically those at the top of or defining the meta game. Secondly I've found it's had an adverse effect on my list building, in that the overly restrictive nature of it largely pushes my list building process closer towards feeling solved.

    In particular it has placed an unhealthy focus on breaking the order limit. Being able to funnel more orders into a single combat group was already highly desirable, now it's pushed to the next level by making it desirable to cheat the order cap. There's a huge incentive to pick models that can cheat the 15 order limit through bonus LT orders, NCO, TacAw, and to a lesser extent Strategos 1. Again, this further compounds the issue of haves and have nots between factions, or even within factions.

    I also do not like the effect its had in terms of making opposing lists often predictable to read. Do I see 15 models? Ok, well no surprises to plan for I guess. Not really a balance issue, but it does make for a duller game when I can instantly deduce that there are no concealed threats.

    So how do you change this while keeping the intent of some model count restriction alive?

    Well something I want to (and probably will) experiment with is attaching SWC bonuses and penalties to the model count in army lists.
    • The 15 Tactical Window combat group is the 6 SWC baseline for a list
    • A player can go up to 20 troopers, at a cost of 0.5 SWC per trooper past 15. So two combat groups of 10 would allow a player to have 3.5 SWC worth of gear, or combat groups of 10 and 8 would allow 4.5 SWC.
    • Alternatively, by sacrificing taking extra troopers a player can gain SWC. For every trooper the list is reduced below 15 by, the player gains 0.5 SWC to spend. So a player who opted to play Limited Insertion would have 10 troopers they could spend 8.5 SWC on, a player who took 13 troopers would have 7 SWC and so on.
     
  2. Insane Cheese

    Insane Cheese Member

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    I'd just make it command tokens, 1 token for 2 bodies.
     
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  3. Sedral

    Sedral White Banner Officier

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    I don't think SWC is the way to go. Many high-body-count lists don't even use that many SWCs in the first place, since you're most likely just spamming cheap guys who are better off with a shotgun than an HMG they don't really know how to use, so there's no real trade-off.

    I'd straight-up go for a point tax: every trooper above the 15 orders limit costs reduce by 5 your maximum point allowance. So a 20 bodies list would play with 275pts.
     
  4. Daniel Darko

    Daniel Darko Well-Known Member
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    What do you think is the goal that CB had in mind for it?
    I heard different theories. Which one is yours.
     
  5. spears

    spears Well-Known Member

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    I think the shift back from 20 orders is largely a positive, but I'd agree it feels a little hamfisted.

    Personally I've advocated adding say +3 points to every model in the game and then upping the points limit to 350. By increasing the cost of the base chassis of a trooper you shift the game towards 15 orders whilst retaining some player choice instead of just an arbitary hard limit.
     
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  6. Nuada Airgetlam

    Nuada Airgetlam Nazis sod off ///

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    Not really, there wasn't anything given instead to factions for whom many bodies were the way of dealing with their particular handicaps (Ariadna, Haqq).
     
  7. Diphoration

    Diphoration Well-Known Member
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    Not sure it satire or serious.
     
  8. the huanglong

    the huanglong Well-Known Member

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    I would fundamentally change the game to eliminate <15 point troopers by making sure every trooper has access to skills that make full use of their statline and deleting discount skills.

    For example, I would consider merging Dodge with Move, and add a second dodge dice to move-move. Units who move + something else would choose which skill to roll for. I'd pair this with the removal of smoke dodge and the deletion of impetuous as a rule (raising costs). This way, players are rewarded for using high PH, High CC troopers impetuously, breaking cover and rushing forward, and are paying for actual benefits the 'impetuous-style' troop brings to the table, instead of getting discounts for it's easily-mitigated shortcomings. Also getting rid of impetuous orders and impetuous moves would be great for the game. Some aberrant PH values would need to be dealt with (eg. Galwegians).

    I'd probably make everyone a specialist by default to make WIP a more useful stat on everyone, and have guts be at -3 by default, and have courage test at +3 rather than avoid it entirely, so the mechanic is less forgettable. I'd make it so that troops who fail guts in the active turn can't move again. Some aberrant WIP values would need to be dealt with (eg. Galwegians).
     
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  9. Mahtamori

    Mahtamori Well-Known Member

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    Would be a fundamentally different game, but also very interesting thing to play
     
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  10. Zewrath

    Zewrath Elitist Jerk

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    There's no difference between this or the massive incentive to do the standard tournament optimised N3 lists of 18-20 orders + impetous orders as well as NCO and Tac Awareness in the late stages of N3.
    Pretty sure I remember a Yu Jing list pulling off 31 orders, if you counted Impetous, Tac Aware and the Lt.2 Mowang.

    The "cheating" of the system is nothing new in this game and the concept of squeezing out as many orders as the game allows you to has been a thing since N2.
     
  11. Nuada Airgetlam

    Nuada Airgetlam Nazis sod off ///

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    Pretty serious. I'm not talking about "oh, but Ariadna / Haqq got buffs to units", I'm talking about list structure.

    Those armies who were able to play 15+ bodies are forced to limit themselves, which within the 300/6 boundaries mean much fewer "solutions" to the exact same problem, as long as you're trying to remain fairly optimal. At the same time, every single trooper with additional orders, especially after the changes to Impetuous, is worth his weight in gold, hemming the choices even closer in.

    There was no new tool handed out to list building that would enhance the structural choices within the same 300/6 frame. The list variety for those factions is lower after N4, in my experience.
     
  12. Sangarn

    Sangarn TRIUMcorp CEO
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    laugh nervously in PanO
     
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  13. Diphoration

    Diphoration Well-Known Member
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    Every faction were able to play with 15+ bodies and were forced to do so to be competitive.

    The list building variety in N3 was very bad imo. You'd pick the couple of important pieces you wanted, then you would just sort list by cost and take max AVA of everything regular starting from the bottom of the list.

    They lost the ability to play the order spam game, but every faction also did.

    And then they got some very significant tool to make their 15 orders game viable in N4.
     
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  14. Triumph

    Triumph Well-Known Member

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    It's different because there's a ceiling now with the model count. For example constructing a vanilla Yu Jing list in N3 if I wanted two combat effective combat groups with enough orders to be a threat, there were several ways I could construct that and I could and did use options like Yan Huo with enough cheap bodies to fuel the HRMC in a second combat group. Now if I want two combat effective combat groups my focus is railroaded straight onto units that can cheat the system in N4 to get enough orders to make something a threat, so group 2 is something like Krit or a Shang Ji-sus and the Yan Huo just is completely shut out because it'll be capped to 5 orders at best.

    To be clearer I'm not arguing there wasn't a big focus on N3 on maximising order count, I'm saying there was a greater variety in ways to go about achieving a desirable order count in N3, in comparison to N4 which hinges on a few specific skills (that aren't available to everyone). To me that variety in choice made building lists in N3 more fun, whereas the more limited situation in N4 is making list building feel far more solved for me.

    Order spam was considered the desirable meta, and there was a bigger focus on cheap units disposable units, particularly warbands and skirmishers, over expensive tough units like standard HI such as ORCs or Brigada.

    I think there was a general thought that CB was going to address this in N4 by doing some wide spread rebalancing point costs, with the expensive stuff coming down a bit (which mostly happened) and ultra cheap stuff getting more expensive (which didn't happen).

    Instead we got Tactical Window as the standard.


    I think the thing that has changed in N4 is the explosion of mixed links and hacking has really increased a demand in SWC. Yeah there were some kinda meme warband lists that certainly didn't use a tonne of SWC, but they also don't function under this proposition either with the cap at a more reasonable 20 models.

    Dahshat was a prime example of a late N3 order spam offender, here's @RobertShepherd 's lists he piloted to win Novacore


    These kinds of 20 unit lists were certainly hitting the SWC cap. I think Yu Jing with Kuang Shi were a prime offender as well, and our various lists certainly were able to abuse cheap bodies fueling big guys with big guns.
     
    #14 Triumph, Mar 27, 2021
    Last edited: Mar 27, 2021
  15. Vanderbane

    Vanderbane Well-Known Member

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    See, I always thought the goal of capping at 15 was to make combat more impactful and make sure 3 rounds got played in tournaments.
     
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  16. Triumph

    Triumph Well-Known Member

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    Having run alot of events I can guarantee you slow players are fucking slow with any army you give them.

    It's not the models. Main time sinks are they're disorganised as fuck, always looking for tokens, checking rules and crap, and they can't focus for shit. Often getting distracted and gabbing about random stuff instead of making decisions and rolling dice.
     
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  17. Vanderbane

    Vanderbane Well-Known Member

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    I don't follow. Are you arguing that having more things to track (as tokens, rules, choices, and board interactions all increase with model count) _doesn't_ slow players down?
     
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  18. Zewrath

    Zewrath Elitist Jerk

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    He is, and I agree with @Triumph

    I ran ISS with 18-20 models for multiple years and I almost never saw anyone play faster than me or finish with as much time left on the chess clock as I did.

    When IA got released, I decided to run then at a satellite event and force myself to only use 10 model lists (for theme).
    This was in Germany so chess clocks were mandatory and I consistently had less than 5 minutes left of my total allotted time in all of my games, due to the fact that every decision matters so much in small lists, every casualty will cost you several orders (due to NCO or Tac Awareness) and every order spent demanded no room for error and required you to be extremely order efficient.

    So yes, he’s correct, order count doesn’t matter much in the grand scheme of things, things like analysis paralyses, overthinking deployment, loss of confidence due to being tilted from a stray crit, those are much more common factors for slow play than model count.
     
  19. Triumph

    Triumph Well-Known Member

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    Players that are competent and comfortable with their army? No. I have never had to chase up any of the 18-20 model Haqq/USARF/MAF players in my meta for time at events. On the other hand I had a LI Pan-O player that was a constant problem.

    I had repeated complaints about one Ariadnan player last year, but the issue didn't stem from his army at all and had everything to do with his token and just general awful time management skills. He's currently been told that he's not to try use D20s to track orders anymore and needs to actually get some tokens before he participates in another event.

    On a personal note as someone who often used high order count armies, they weren't all that time consuming. Yeah they had more orders, on the other hand resolving an impetuous order really didn't take alot of time or decision making. Move model, throw smoke, rinse and repeat. On a similar level playing with lots of cheap models also didn't take alot of time to decide on what to do, because the answer was usually attack the closest opponent. You don't really have to be particularly precious with a Hardcase, it's a cheap ass Hardcase you don't give a fuck if it dies really. Just find the nearest opponent and pull the trigger on the shotgun and see who's standing at the end of the order. Same for a warband with a Chain Rifle.

    EDIT: And on the other end of the spectrum, as @Zewrath says you need to spend time making the right plays with expensive shit. It hurts when it dies.
     
  20. Muad'dib

    Muad'dib Well-Known Member

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    As someone who has returned to Infinity N4 after having previously played towards the end of N2 and beginning of N3, I have been struck by how often I feel that my lists are largely solved. Within my original faction of QK, I have two lists that I feel comfortable taking against any faction for any mission and this ruins the enjoyment of list building. I attribute this condition to the combination of the 15 model limit with the proliferation of Wildcard fireteam options. When every model counts toward the 15 point limit, building swiss army fireteams feels like a too-easy solution to squeeze maximum order efficiency and utility out of your list.

    In editions past, I felt significant tension between taking different types of fireteams because of the individual pros and cons of each, but all of that has vanished with the delivery of fireteam stew. I also felt that previous editions made combat groups matter in the way that taking cheap troops to fill out the order pool for a high-value unit or fireteam forced a compromise between durability and order count (do you want 6 orders in this combat group that are probably going to survive the first turn or two, or would you prefer to start with 8 orders and lose 2-3 per turn due to attrition).

    I like a lot of changes that came out in N4, but Tactical Window and Wildcard proliferation are my least favorite.
     
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