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Shadowcrunch
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PostSubject: Game balancing...   Wed Jul 27, 2011 7:34 am

Why is it that we seem to have so many topics that could easily fit in 4 different categories?! I'm putting this here because it's my gripe about ALL games (card, board, video, tabletop war...ETC) AND the real world...seriously though, do we need a revamp of forum subjects or what?

Anyway, as stated in the warmachine forum, I'm working on a map for Vassal warmachine involving ladders. Not a big deal. Problem is I'm finding myself eyeballing deployment zones on both sides and trying to make sure both sides of the map are like a reverse copy of each other. ARGGHHH!!! WHY?!

I got burned out on Real-Time-Strategy games on the PC because they spend so much time balancing faction units, the strategy becomes "build more units faster." (Except one game in particular but that's a different topic) It seems like every first-person-shooter map designed for any team matches is basically "build half a map, copy, rotate 180 degrees, change color...DONE!"

I've started noticing tabletop wargames seem to be following these rules also. Premade maps seem to be identical mirror images on both sides of center, and there's SO much time spent worrying about army point values to ensure both sides have an equal force.

I say NO! In my opinion, war has never been about keeping an even playing field, but about striving to out-do one's opponent! I can't picture Roosevelt, Hitler, and Churchill sitting down to tea and hotdogs and saying "Guys, we really need to make sure we have the exact same amount of troops in France so we can keep it fair." In fact, based on the technological and training advances during the big war, I can pretty much state it as fact that they busted their asses trying to get more attack units AND better technology advantages that they could! RING RING...
Hitler: Hello?
Churchill: Hey Adolph, old chum! One of your Panzer divisions just pushed into West Hamphumpbenbumpenshire and closed to firing range with one of my tank divisions...
Hitler: Ja? Vat's zee proplem, Winny mein freund?
Churchill: You have 3 more tanks than I do, by krikey!
Hitler: Mein gott! I vill recall zose tree tanks immetiately! Ve must keep dis vor fair!
Churchill: Thanks a bunch, old chum! Cheerio!

NOT FRIGGIN LIKELY!!!! (though would be a nice cartoon...Vader? Commence flashing! Wait...that came out wrong...um...make some flash animation? Yes...better)

I can understand classic games like chess or stratego. It was ALL about troop movements in a defined space, with defined rules per unit. Troop placement. And with all the games of chess I've LOST, I can see where the strategy gets REALLY deep. But it seems our modern games are trying to enforce this concept to ensure neither side can say "Hey, I only lost cuz you had a field advantage!" So what?! DAMN! If you lose because of a field disadvantage, as long as you gave a good show of it, does it really matter? Anyone else see this recurring trend, or see any problems with it? Or am I just being too...I don't know...hung up on realism?

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PostSubject: Re: Game balancing...   Wed Jul 27, 2011 9:11 pm

Agreed. A real RTS game should have a tech tree that allows for multiple paths, one that isn't limited to "in order to get this you need to produce this." Even with the two RTS games with dedicated threads on this site, Lacuna Expanse and Colony of War, the same thing is evident... everyone is racing to get to the same prize!

And yeah, I fall into the same problem building Heroscape or Warhammer maps... I used to try to keep things balanced by putting terrain equally on all sides, but I have gotten much better since my early days. Sometimes I'll group everything together, sometimes I'll just have an open plain, I don't care.

Now, on the other hand, Sun Tzu did write a lot about how one needs to pick his terrain, decide where to fight, yadda yadda, but that really isn't possible on a game, is it?

HEY! Brain storm!

Make a fractal generator (or download one). Before generating, determine what the colors will represent; you know, blue for water, brown for mountains (or pillars), etcetera. Generate your map, and then build your playing field off the fractal! Random map every time! Non balanced!

It'd be like painting by colors!
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PostSubject: Re: Game balancing...   Sun Dec 21, 2014 8:33 pm

Off topic for these old posts, but fits best in this thread...

I just lost my first real game of Space Hulks: Death Angels the card game. As an aside, I've had this game for like 4 years and the rules always confused me so much I didn't want to play. One well done 47 minute youtube video, and I now have a firm grasp. ANYWAY...

So I lost. But as I'm playing with my three 2-man squads, I keep spouting the old one-liners from the original PC game. You know... "One squad will be sufficient! Brother Marines, the hivemind has blinded our sensors! Azrael's bolter has jammed!" Three 2-man squads wiped out in about 7 turns. "One squad will be sufficient" my ass!

Then it hit me... it's always one squad, or two squads will enter at opposite ends of the hulk and work towards each other, or or or. Well, with the track record for losses, whether it be the original board game, any of the video games, card games, ETC, has one squad actually EVER been sufficient?!

SERIOUSLY! Why not "Every time we send one 5-man squad, only 1 makes it back, so for this hulk 5 squads will be sufficient! And some extra ammo. Maybe some nuke grenades if things get too hairy. And we will have the big flying citadel flying alongside with full gun support for our 5 squads. Let's clean this hulk, rest up, and then go after the next!"????

But I suppose that wouldn't make for a fun or exciting board game, would it? Sigh....

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PostSubject: Re: Game balancing...   Thu Jan 01, 2015 1:51 am

Collectible card games and trading card games. I have officially sat down and played 2 with actual cards in hand so far. I've read about a bunch more. I know they may seem silly to people used to more traditional board or card games, but I love them. From the art on the cards, to the strategy involved. Hell, one of the things I like best is having a bunch of cards in front of me, picking a couple, and building a deck around them, then testing it out. Magic the Gathering has been 'the one' that has gripped me from the beginning, though I couldn't tell you a damn thing about any of the characters or races. I mean, I know Green has a bunch of Elves, and I know there's a 'Planeswalker' named Jace, and some other basic stuff, but the world of Magic to me is just the cards I'm playing and the cards I'm playing against.

I remember when I first started playing, I was all about trying to make a deck that I could someday try out in a tournament. Every time I made a change to a deck, I checked online to make sure I was still 'tournament-legal'. And I would stick to that, even when my opponents' were flipping cards that had been removed from tourney play years before. Then, less than a year later, half of my favorite deck became illegal, unless I entered a vintage or legacy tournament. LESS THAN A YEAR. Why?

People in tournaments found out there were balance issues, and certain combos were overpowered, so to "keep it fair" they ruled certain cards (and hence the combos) would be removed from tourney legality. They have been doing this since the beginning of Magic tournaments.

I just remade that old favorite deck recently, and enjoyed playing enough where I wanted to see about a tourney legal deck again. Based on the cards I own, I would be looking at a newer trial deck, and a handful of booster packs to flesh out the deck and make it 'mine'. In other words, they've retired pretty much all of the 'uncommon' cards from my previous sets from tournament play. But wait...there's more... some of the current sets being sold in stores already have cards being investigated for possible removal because people are whining in tournaments that it's so unfair. So, I could get all these cards, make a deck, and a couple months down the road be unable to enter a tournament with anything besides stock cards again!

Are they doing this to keep it fair and make their customers happy? Or are they doing this to force people to keep buying newer cards if they want to compete? If it's all about certain cards or combos being over-powered, here's an idea... instead of whining to tournament judges, how about building a better deck and maybe playing better?! If a company uses half a brain when designing sets, they should see over-powered things happening before release, and fix it before people possibly waste money on cards they won't be able to use!!!

Another fine example, which I think comes from people whining about fairness, is Magic's card colors. When I first started, those teaching me explained how each color had a play focus. Red was aggravated assault, white was happy holy healing, green was nature and growth and beasties, ETC. They each had a way to play that you could fit with your play style. Now, not many years later...sigh... each color has the same damn skills. Black has just as many healers as white, green has just as many exploding things as red, white has just as many 'check opponents' hand' as blue, red has just as many fliers as black. There's no way to gain an advantage, and there's no way to make any one deck that can be used for every opponent... which might also be a tactic to force people to build more decks (read as 'buy more cards').

I still love the game, but balancing is really going too far. I will have to wait to see what other future card games hold...

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