BW 2010: Testgame #2 + Explosions and other stuff

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BW 2010: Testgame #2 + Explosions and other stuff

Postby WestNordOst » Sat Sep 22, 2012 7:36 pm

Here are some more comments on the BW 2010 rules as we played two battles, one with two players and one with 2vs2 players. As it turned out to be somewhat longer than expected, I rather open up a new topic for this.

First Battle 1vs1

Rules and Setup
We played with the following altered rules which is why the test game may not be 100% relevant to the current BW 2010 rules; again without fire and (proper) collision rules:
Spoiler: show
  1. MachineGun: crit fail on first roll - can't fire more rounds this turn
  2. Use NearMiss rule instead of attack boni on big targets
  3. No combined damage
    MachineGun: burst shots of MGs count as single shots (damage-wise)
    Different armor for structure levels:
    Code: Select all
       Structure level  Armor   
       ½                d6
       1                d6+1
       2                2d6+1
       3                3d6+1      
       4                4d6+1
       5                5d6+1

    No grinding damage
  4. No "shielded" rule: instead, shields were separate constructions which are installed on the moc and can be targeted separately. Minifig armor and shield each 1d6 armor. Like this:
    Image

Our second and third BW2010 battle took place on a larger map (4x5 street plates; before: 3x4) with more obstacles, ruined houses and walls, seemingly creating some cover for infantry skirmishes. Each side featured roughly 2-3 armored vehicles, 1-2 small vehicles and 8-14 infantry.

Outcome
Both of our battles were pretty much overshadowed by the extreme effectiveness of big explosive launchers. My opponent featured his newly built MK5 howitzer and I had a MK3 cannon. Both of these weapons each killed all infantry on the other side before they could make a single shot in the first of the two games. In the second game, the MK5 launcher was even more dominating the game because the armies started further apart (3,5 plates instead of 2 plates).

When it comes to big launchers, it seems balance-wise it's the bigger the better (the more effective / cost). Here is why: Each size rating of a explosive/launcher adds 2 points to the use rating, making it miss in average 2 inches more. But at the same time, the explosion radius is also 2 inches bigger, so the chance to hit the target with a certain number of dice stays the same. Now, there is this rule that if you rolled a 9, 3, 5, 2 and 1 for a size 5 explosion, each target within 10" radius of the center receives at least 9 damage. The more dice you have (the bigger the explosive), the higher is your chance to roll something that is higher than the armor rating of a minifig, converting the whole area covered by the explosion into a death-zone. So one explosive rating more features:
  • same chance to hit a target with a number of dice
  • covers a increasingly larger area for area damage
  • can fire 6" further. So for minifigs, one more round to get close
  • more damage in the whole area (lowest die drops out)
  • lesser chance that units can escape the explosion radius. Especially minifigs as they are the slowest units on the field
at a cost of only about 1.5 CP more per shot (including larger construction and weapon size)

So, what happened in both games was that the howitzer of my opponent started firing already in the first round on my starting position and continued to do so in every turn. As the explosion radius of each shot by far exceeded the minifig's movement radius, only few could sprint to safety before the shot came down. Also, it made me have to run half my army in all directions in order to flee from that circle-of-death. This, as you could imagine, made the whole game pretty frustrating and limited.
In the first game, the battlefield was rather open, featuring several one-storey ruined buildings, walls and shelters. But the explosion was so immense each turn, that the walls and buildings between my precious minifgs and the center of the explosion were just blown away. We said they are brick walls with armor level 2.

Right now, I can't offer any suggestion how to change the rules to make it (what?) better. It feels like really big launchers should only be effective in a siege, when firing on large and stationary targets or to force units to leave their fortified positions.

Otherwise, you might be interested in my experiences regarding the altered rules:
Spoiler: show
  1. This alteration didn't have any real impact in the game
  2. To use the NearMiss rule instead of calculating the attack bonus due to a big size had a positive impact on the game.
    • First, it mattered from where one attacked a target, so it added a tactics element there
    • second it was actually easier than to recalculate the usage rating each time and thus sped up the game a bit
    • third, it removed the rule imprecision of how to deal with odd structure size levels
  3. The omission of the combined damage rule and all that is connected to it resulted in a battle that was more spread-out as not the whole army concentrated their fire on one or two structures. On average, the (armored) vehicles lasted about as long on the battlefield as before, though now there was the tendency that the damage taken each round got distributed more amongst the vehicles rather than one vehicle gets destroyed one after another because the big weapons were scattered around in the battlefield to be able to defend against tanks on all flanks.
    I also had the impression that it made the game a little less dynamic because certain units could just forget to engage at armored vehicles, making units with smaller weapons pure anti-infantry weapons. In the first game, my opponent featured in average more but smaller vehicle-weapons as my army and he had a hard time to pierce through the armor of my tanks He did not consequently fire at components though.

    Game-balance-wise it made the MG a little bit weaker in the sense that it became less versatile (can't always convert excess skill to damage) but it still wreaked havoc pretty much, especially big MG on lesser armored targets.

    I was unable to observe how the change affected the game balance for the minifigs as most died before they could do anything like boarding a tank, throwing explosives at the tires etc.. One thing I noticed however was that it stripped away some tactical abilities as it limited in what minifigs can do to harm.


Second Battle 2vs2

Rules and Setup
After I read what stubby said regarding "open" battlefields, we covered the whole area excessively with buildings, bridges, concrete walls, towers and dragon's teeth. After all, I wanted to test the omission of the combined damage rule with minifigs properly. Other than the rule changes above, we used inertia in the battle now and also made the following change to the rules:
  1. Explosion damage: instead of removing each the lowest die, first the lowest, than the highest, than the lowest etc. was removed to defuse the circle-of-death

Outcome
This rule, and the fact that my opponent switched to MK4 explosives (out of pity) for this round, reduced the damage it dealt on my army but it still left half of the troops each round to run and scatter about, not able to shoot or do anything else than running straight away from the center of the explosion, being a big target to all of his other troops. So the frustrating bit about this weapon stayed the same. The damage the huge explosion dealt to armored vehicles now was mediocre though because of the armor rating, several HP and their speed.
Also, even though the map was loaded with structures, the artillery never had to fire blind as there was always the one hole in the wall or that one window in a building were one of the gunners could see a patch of grass somewhere at the target position.

We used the inertia rule, but I think we didn't apply it correctly. If a tank moves forward 6", will it slide 6" next turn? Well, we first applied it like this and it felt ridiculous, like brikwars on ice. We also found that it is difficult/time-consuming to keep track of the movement vector of each vehicle that moved, especially if this is connected with unintended collision onto walls (not frontal though). I actually re-read the rules for collision but didn't understand how I would have to handle a situation where a tank slides 30° alongside/into a wall. So what we did was just roll some dice arbitrarily.

Despite inertia, the many structures on the field, and contrary to our expectations, the infantry again proved very weak. They landed a few shots, but most were again killed before they could came in range of any target. Most, again, by launchers or rockets.
Minifigs are the units on the field that are the slowest, the least armored, have the least HP and carry the weakest weapons which do have the lowest range. If the minifigs don't happen to stand near enemy vehicles right at the start of the game, their low range and slow movement always results in a situation where they will never get in range of their target before they die (in our games). Due to their slow movement, they never had the chance to somehow outmaneuver enemy tanks (to shoot at wheels, climb onto the turret and dismantle it, throw a grenade into the hatch). I think the minifig ranged weapons could fire much further in the old rules (2001), why was that changed?

So again I was unable to test the omission of the combined damage rule with minifigs.

The last thing I want to comment on is the attack bonus rules regarding non-moving attacker/target. We were 4 people in the second round, and with four different opinions I found it rather time-consuming and exhausting to keep track of which unit moved and which did not plus having to discuss what counts as moving and what not each time:
rotating the turret? rotating the vehicle? 15° tolerance for where the barrel points to? inertia counts as movement? launching an explosive at the non-moving patch of grass in front of the real target? Etc. pp.
If we would have left that out, one could have just look at the card and seen "I have to roll a 5".
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Re: BW 2010: Testgame #2 + Explosions and other stuff

Postby Theblackdog » Sun Sep 23, 2012 1:40 am

When calculating explosion damage, it seems like it would make the most sense to remove the highest dice as you progressed outward from the center of the blast. Thanks for writing up these reports, they're really interesting.
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Re: BW 2010: Testgame #2 + Explosions and other stuff

Postby stubby » Sun Sep 23, 2012 2:51 pm

In no particular order:

Re: Inertia.
Inertia is for battles in low-friction environments - outer space, open seas, ice fields, etc. So if it felt like it didn't belong in this battle, it's because it didn't. That being said, Inertia is one of the first things slated for removal from the rules, because it takes up way too much rulebook space for something that should hardly ever come into play.


Re: Large explosives.
It sounds like you had a lot of trouble because your troops were grouped up so that a bunch of them could be caught in the same explosion. If I understand right, this started right from deployment? Like you deployed them all grouped together, within a close enough range so that the Howitzer could start firing on them in the first turn?


I really wish I could have seen how this played out, in playtests over on this end the big launchers don't seem quite so dominating - it usually goes:
    Launcher turn: launcher fires, marks its target with an X
    Target turn: target minifigs scatter away from X
    Launcher turn: launcher makes attack roll to see how much it missed the X by, target player uses NearMiss to move the explosion far enough away to miss most target minifigs
The +2 Use vs. +2" MissedBy means that the "x" is usually still within the radius of the explosion, but otherwise the minifigs are able to escape as long as it's not a direct hit. Which part of these steps wasn't working in your battle?


The 1.5 CP per size rating isn't the whole story, since besides buying the launcher you also have to buy the explosives and the minifigs to load them.


I've been giving a lot of thought to the mechanics of dice pools lately, especially now that the results of the individual dice within the roll have effects of their own (fire, grinding, armor etc). I'm leaning towards changing explosions to remove the largest dice first rather than the smallest, because I don't want the effects of the largest die roll carrying all the way out to the edge.


Re: Non-moving target.
Non-moving means that it didn't use Movement. If it didn't use any Movement inches last turn, either from its own Move or from the Thrust of someone shoving it around, it's non-moving. Turning turrets, waving arms, flapping banners, etc. don't matter.


Re: Minifigs.
Large targets should be able to kill any one minifig before the minifig gets in range to attack. They shouldn't be able to kill all the minifgs before they get in range, because for the total cost of a single large target (the large weapon, the structure to mount it on, the gunners to operate it, and for launchers, the ammunition and the men to load it), you should be able to buy enough minifigs that at least some of them will reach the target before it manages to kill them all.

The math falls apart if you group the minifigs together closely enough that a large weapon can take out several of them in a single attack, or if you spread them between targets so that each enemy weapon has kill opportunities every single turn.
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Re: BW 2010: Testgame #2 + Explosions and other stuff

Postby WestNordOst » Mon Sep 24, 2012 3:35 pm

stubby wrote:It sounds like you had a lot of trouble because your troops were grouped up so that a bunch of them could be caught in the same explosion. If I understand right, this started right from deployment? Like you deployed them all grouped together, within a close enough range so that the Howitzer could start firing on them in the first turn?


They were as spread-out as possible. Well our map was 5 plates long (50") and 4 plates wide (40"). Our troops were spread out on these 40" and the howitzer was just close enough to be able to fire at the deployment in its first turn. So the explosives of the MK5 launcher could comfortably cover half the army (r=10" => d=20") in one shot. With explosives this big, there is no real need for the minifigs to be grouped together for many of them to be still in the death-zone. After all, 20", that's two street plates. Example:
Spoiler: show
Image


stubby wrote:I really wish I could have seen how this played out, in playtests over on this end the big launchers don't seem quite so dominating - it usually goes:
    Launcher turn: launcher fires, marks its target with an X
    Target turn: target minifigs scatter away from X
    Launcher turn: launcher makes attack roll to see how much it missed the X by, target player uses NearMiss to move the explosion far enough away to miss most target minifigs
The +2 Use vs. +2" MissedBy means that the "x" is usually still within the radius of the explosion, but otherwise the minifigs are able to escape as long as it's not a direct hit. Which part of these steps wasn't working in your battle?


Hmm, not sure what you mean there. We played it like you described. But with full gunnery support (an artillery will definitely invest in that), a non-moving artillery (it doesn't have to) and a non-moving target (doesn't have to target moving things, just shoot onto the street), a MK5 howitzer misses the target in average by 1.5". The main reason why the minifigs all died in these explosions was that it was enough to be anywhere within this explosion as the highest die got carried over. In theory, at least for MK5 explosions (perhaps not for MK6 explosions) minifigs should have quite a chance to escape it with sprinting. In our battles however, the minifigs were limited in their movements because at the starting position, one can not run backward plus there were various walls and structures that obstructed a straight line for sprinting.

stubby wrote:I'm leaning towards changing explosions to remove the largest dice first rather than the smallest, because I don't want the effects of the largest die roll carrying all the way out to the edge.

I will use this rule next time and tell you of the results. :-)

stubby wrote:Large targets should be able to kill any one minifig before the minifig gets in range to attack. They shouldn't be able to kill all the minifgs before they get in range, because for the total cost of a single large target (the large weapon, the structure to mount it on, the gunners to operate it, and for launchers, the ammunition and the men to load it), you should be able to buy enough minifigs that at least some of them will reach the target before it manages to kill them all.

Well both launchers & rockets and the machine gun have the potential to kill several minifigs in a round. We didn't really use flamethrowers and shotguns yet, but I guess it's the same for them.
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Re: BW 2010: Testgame #2 + Explosions and other stuff

Postby Natalya » Sun Oct 14, 2012 4:10 am

Oh man, if I had used 2010 rules for my Dreadnought and said its mini-gun was a machine gun, that whole group of infantry would have been pwned on Turn 1.

But I think that was before the 2010 Weapons chapter was done.
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