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My Game WILL NOT Be Balanced!!!

 Post subject: My Game WILL NOT Be Balanced!!!
PostPosted: Wed Mar 28, 2007 12:26 pm 
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Unctuous Toady
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There are all different sorts of games out there with different goals and objectives. My main interest in the world of gaming and game design is 28mm skirmish level miniature games (mainly science fiction ones specifically).

During a recent discussion of the House Weapon Lists (boo hiss) over in the Necromunda section a thought occured to me. It's basically this... the games that I'm interested in should never try to balance themselves to be perfectly playable or evenly matched for all players in all situations.

You see, one of the main justifications people give for the House Weapon Lists is that they balance the game, but to me the cost of that balancing is too high. I'd much rather have a game with powerful options for players than perfectly balanced and hense, hopelessly bland rules.

I would steer clear of arbitrary, overly one-sided or unnecessarily random rules or game mechanics. I guess I'm mainly talking about equipment lists and unit options here.

Now its hard to make this a blanket statement or total objective in this regard for all games or even all settings. Sometimes limits enhance the game as opposed to destracting from it. In the current 40K rules each race has their own answer, if you will, to the common tasks of an army (i.e. anti-tank weapons, hero killing tactics, anti-infantry units, psychic powers, support units, etc).

But in general, I'm more in favor of more options than pointless restrictions. It seems like a significant and noteworthy topic to consider when designing a game.


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Venator wrote:
The game designers themselves know these values are not realistic and they do not intend them to replace or invalidate the fluff. So let's get on with our lives and not fixate over the cosmic ramifications of game mechanics which we already know are streamlined for larger forces at the expense of detail.


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 28, 2007 1:12 pm 
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Master Sergeant
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The reason that most player accept the HWL's is simply because they have to, they arn't an optional addition to the rules in the current version of Necromunda.
They are required to play the game in a professional setting.

My beef with the house weapon lists is simply that the same 'restrictions' could just as easily be built into the rare trade system.
The trade system itself is quite flawed but if you wanted to make a certain overly advantageous weapon or piece of equipment difficult to attain, either make it expensive, hard to find or both.
Simply having ridiculous rules like "only esher get swords as common equipment" neither makes sense, or is balanced.

I never found the first edition of Necromunda to be more flawed than the current edition, a few rules/skills needed clarification but there wasn't anything completely broken in the mechanics.
Even now there are ample weapons & pieces of equipment that no one in their right mind would ever bother using or buying other than novelty value.

I'll be interested in reading your rules when you put something on paper Truckler.


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 28, 2007 1:36 pm 
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Unctuous Toady
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Well, I'm mainly citing the HWL as my inspiration for suddenly wanting to discuss this topic. We can haggle about the HWL in the Necromunda section.

I'm just thinking how there are different approaches to making a miniature game.

1) Overly Restrictive: The game assumes that the players will play all out competatively to win and tries to balance things with the assumption that good sportsmanship and moderation from players will not be guaranteed.
Examples of such games are 40K 4th edition, Warmaster, Rezolution

2) Semi-Restrictive: The game tends to balance creative options with some form of limits to create fun game play which may or may not be competative based on player's own preference.
Examples include Necromunda, Warzone (1st edition)

3) All options, no balance: These games give you many many options, perhaps too much, but only guidelines or the hope that players know what they are doing, to balance things. Such games often require a game master.
Examples include Rogue Trader (just the original rulebook), Inquisitor

4) Crazy Randomness: These games involve so many random variables in either (or both) game play and force construction that balance is almost impossible to gauge. Sometimes this occurs due to a faithfulness to a real or fictional setting.
Examples include 40K 1st edition (all the 40K rules prior to 2nd ed.), GW's Confrontation game

These are just haste and imperfect classifications off the top of my head while here at work. :P


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Venator wrote:
The game designers themselves know these values are not realistic and they do not intend them to replace or invalidate the fluff. So let's get on with our lives and not fixate over the cosmic ramifications of game mechanics which we already know are streamlined for larger forces at the expense of detail.


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 28, 2007 1:56 pm 
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Master of Arms
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For the semirestrictive thing to work perfectly, all the options and possibilities have to be balanced.

In necromunda for example almost no one uses the massive weapon (except like yarlen says for novelty value) because it is a rather poor and expensive weapon. Conversely the sword, the most useful HtH weapon, is only 10 creds. Another example IMO is the non-effect of SI on GR.

Once you have this sort of thing balanced, it doesn't matter whether players are being competitive or not: games will still be fair (eg. if some one wants to arm their gamg with h-flamers and sword only, they'll have to pay for it). It all comes down to cost/rating i suppose; i maintain that =][= would have been considered a balanced gamne if there'd been an adequate costing system (to asess, rather than restrict the warbands).

Of course, as its only semi restrictive i suppose there will always be some window for exploitation, and does therefore still sort of rely on players sticking with the "spirit of the game"


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 29, 2007 6:06 am 
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I am in favour of balance. I am in favour of variety. I am in favour of encouraging variety by making options worthwhile in their own way.
I don't think any Game$ Work$hop game has ever satisfied my desire for those qualities. Especially not if I add 'making sense, with a rudementary level of logic and realism' to the list.

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PostPosted: Thu Apr 26, 2007 12:35 am 
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Cadet
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I don't really know much about balance. When modifying army lists for my house rules, my answer to balance was to throw points at the offending model or wargear item until it cost justified its abilities (at least in my eyes). I'd rather have expensive units and options that will rarely be taken but will be fun (and perform like I think they should), than have always affordable but neutered and bland ones.

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PostPosted: Thu Apr 26, 2007 7:44 am 
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I can relate to what Khan is saying. I will outfit my units or gangs with an assortment of weapons and armory in an attempt, if only in my mind, to balance out my forces for whatever they might run into.

Example: I have gangers who are set-up for shooting it out or CC. Cost me more and my gang is poor for awhile but I feel that I tend to do better overall.

As for rules being balanced, you can find faults with any rules. Plus then you have to add that some people won't have a problem with the rules were others will hate everything about them.

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PostPosted: Thu Apr 26, 2007 8:12 am 
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Unctuous Toady
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The problem with point systems and balancing things is that cost alone often isn't enough to curb abuse.

I've been working with some folks at the local game store in throwing together a way to play an inquisitor like narrative campaign using the Necromunda rules. We are trying to use points to balance the games. But we wanted to add wyrds as an option for players. However some weird powers are just so good that no matter how high the points cost you give them, they are still overpowered.

As one of my fellow players put it, "Broken but expensive is still broken."

I think that sums it up very well.


Truckler

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Venator wrote:
The game designers themselves know these values are not realistic and they do not intend them to replace or invalidate the fluff. So let's get on with our lives and not fixate over the cosmic ramifications of game mechanics which we already know are streamlined for larger forces at the expense of detail.


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