Game design philosophy - what is Core?

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  • Great discussion happening.

    One thing I would like to say about OnG, and probably all horde armies, is that the giant footprint required to obtain horde formation really hurts their effectiveness. The main reason for this is because the steadfast rules doesn't make a whole lot of difference if you're going to test on an unmodified 5 or 6, just because your general is too far away (because his/her unit is 250mm wide).

    The reason I believe this matters is because the steadfast rule was implemented to make these cheaper core type units more viable, the horde rule was implemented for this same reason. If the game was designed for a unit to be "worth its points" because it has easy access to both the steadfast rule and the horde rule (low points cost = easier access to more ranks and files), but was given low leadership, then the effectiveness of both those rules is diminished, here's what happens: The first rule requires IP to be effective, the second makes IP much harder to get (mainly if using multiple hordes). So then you need to chose: do I keep horde and lose IP and HYG, or do I lose horde and go ultra steadfast with IP and HYG, or do I commit to a certain deployment and get horde IP HYG and steadfast, but (probably, and most likely) give my opponent deployment advantage. As you can see there is really very few situations where you get everything you may have "paid for", if indeed the unit is priced as described above.

    Just things for everyone to think about, the "problem" I described above is very specific to certain armies and at least in my opinion is very fluff accurate to OnG. I like the way the game plays right now, but any chance to improve should be fully investigated.

    Cheers all,
    Nathan.
  • I'd like to pitch in here. The idea of small influence bubbles for heroes is something everyone could enjoy, so I'm with you all the way there. But I doubt that will solve the problem of people not really wanting to take core. I think it is because (I could kill myself for saying this...) people have too many options during army creation. What's the point of taking unit X why unit Y is simply better at EVERYTHING and costs only slightly more resources? Disregarding the historical approach (requiring a core-heavy army out of necessity) which would enforce generals to create their army around a huge amount of core units, I believe there are perhaps a few other solutions worth considering.

    1. Give them a unique roll in your army. Think SE's Sylvan archers. They are the only ones with access to blackthorn arrows, giving them a unique role in the army. Other shooting units in the army will be taken to deal with other issues, which means you don't feel as if they were a burden to bring along. Now I must say my experience is very limited, but I guess other armies suffer from for example having an anvil unit in core, but a better option in special or other categories, which makes the core version almost obsolete.

    2. give core abilities/options that allow for some unique mechanics/gameplay, again to give players some incentive to want to play with them. Of course, the abilities/options should be carefully considered, we don't need core to shine 24/7 imo. Core should be worth taking for some reason, but not too many reasons. If I think back of a previous version of wood elves, Eternal Guard were quite unique in that their fighting style granted them armour save, fight in extra ranks and whatnot... which really made them worth taking en masse.

    These are just a few thoughts on the matter, and I might just (out of curiosity) build a 75% core army if that would be allowed just to see how it works. :) I'm glad this is being discussed!
  • Perhaps some small in-game mechanic to incentivise taking more core like a boost to combat resolution, e.g., Core units with scoring add +1 to their combat score for each other Core unit with Scoring in the army.

    It's not much but might provide that small boost that lets Core stand up to more elite troops. They still die to greater skill but their superiority in numbers also stands for something.

    Perhaps something else like: for each 5 or 10% of Core taken above the minimum points requirement, X benefit.

    Or for each Core unit that remains unbroken and over 25% of its starting size at the end of the game, you get its points value in VP.

    I'm just brainstorming here.
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  • QuothTheRaven wrote:


    Perhaps something else like: for each 5 or 10% of Core taken above the minimum points requirement, X benefit.
    To play on this point, what if more core meant releasing certain restrictions on other units? Say I take 40% core in BH and it lifts the 0-X or turns into 0-X+1 restrictions on Terrors, or EoS with 40%+ get Imperial Auxiliary or Fury of Sunna 0-X modified. I see this as an idea that opens more doors that it shuts. It can be something that mimics what GW is doing with formations in 40k, but it's more of a meet these core requirements and get this slight modification to the book. I will gladly fight that DH player that fills up with 50-60% core just to get 1-2 extra artillery.
  • I don't think that is the case though I like the idea of must take this unit in order to take the other. Equitaine, DH, and VS did have that rule with 7th and 8th. The issue is I believe that is the wrong approach imo. Core should have the most models on the board, not necessarily the most points.

    Right now due to magic being what it is players are taking less characters. That frees up points and where are players going to fill that void... special, and why not? Taking that extra monster or unit of merc vets will get you more than a single character. Not trying to pick on ogres, but why wouldn't you when you can have every unit be a BSB for less than the model? What is the incentive?

    Now I will use my dwarves and equitaine as an example. I have more units and models in core than special, but more points than either in characters. My style and build.

    If you lower the points of core then there will be more horde armies from everyone. And still the same amount from special. Raise the point of special units and players will be up in arms cursing the game. IMO the way to address this is all models should be priced for what they can do regardless of where they are placed. The percentage gap is the cap of how much of those special units a player can take in the army.
  • have a radical solution but It's never going to get implemented but take it as a thought experiment. The army books would be stripped of most core units with the "big brother syndrome", which means they have a similar unit that performs the same role but not in core. The special units that are their "big brother" are renamed to the core unit's name.

    Example: remove core orcs and rename the eadbasher statline to "orcs". Another example: remove tribesmen and bruisers from the ogre book. Rename the mercenary veterans as "ogres". Merc vets are essentially super ogres that already have the same weapon option as bruisers and tribesmen, so what's the difference? Rename mercs as "ogres", delete bruisers and tribesmen and call the "ogres" core.
  • SirMC2015 wrote:

    The problem is some core is better than others
    Yet it isn't a problem, it what makes factions different.

    One faction has better Core because it relies on Core in it's design and synergies.
    One faction has better Special because it relies on Special in it's design and synergies.
    One faction has better Rare... etc.

    You can re-design all factions to be focused on Core and all factions would then be just that. This actually drastically reduces design space if anything. Because you forcefully design with Core being the main part.
  • JDAntoine wrote:

    SirMC2015 wrote:

    The problem is some core is better than others
    Yet it isn't a problem, it what makes factions different.
    One faction has better Core because it relies on Core in it's design and synergies.
    One faction has better Special because it relies on Special in it's design and synergies.
    One faction has better Rare... etc.

    You can re-design all factions to be focused on Core and all factions would then be just that. This actually drastically reduces design space if anything. Because you forcefully design with Core being the main part.
    This is a false narrative I feel. Unequal core is what makes factions unbalanced.

    If you have a mandatory requirement that is worse off than someone else's mandatory requirement it in fact limits your design space because it presents a "false door" for list design and army options.

    A great example is EoS shooting. The shooting in core is an option. However it's not a real option because the options available to you in special are that much better (which doesn't always work out that way leaving you with two poor options) and the options in other books Core are as well. Thus it gives you a false choice.
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  • JDAntoine wrote:

    SirMC2015 wrote:

    The problem is some core is better than others
    Yet it isn't a problem, it what makes factions different.
    One faction has better Core because it relies on Core in it's design and synergies.
    One faction has better Special because it relies on Special in it's design and synergies.
    One faction has better Rare... etc.
    I don't believe it's the problem of better or worse core for different armies but some armies can effectively use their minimum core whereas others cannot...

    The principle behind this is for every 1 pt spent in core that same 1 pt can be spent in special better, yes special things are usually more expensive but the comparison also favours special ie their was no minimum core, many players wouldn't take core - this isn't a what if :)

    So in that regard an OnG player can't field minimum core well, as one full unit of Orcs or Headbashers don't meet mini core and the choice is to take two units so applying the logic above the OnG player has to bring two units that are not optimal to get minimum core versus an Elf army that can bring fast cav into core...and a full optimal combat/range block.

    Similarly with OKs, to hit min core it's either bring a chaff unit of ogres and a big block of ogres or bring in scraplings...for some this is a waste of points as scraplings at a minimum core level aren't decent enough to expect to hold and chaff ogres are less effective compared to the sabertooth.

    So it's not the unit to unit comparison but the tools the core can bring to an army differs enough when theoretically bringing minimum core is the optimal....

    Personally I don't take minimum core but there's an overwhelming reason to do so when possible. Might not be a general consensus but i do strongly feel some armies have it easier to optimise their core and not "bring" better units per say.
  • To me, core is there because WH's desired end product was fantasy battles, not skirmishes or anything with 15 monsters/elite troops with some general tagging along near them on some beast itself. Honestly, that's why I wanted to get into playing this. I had a lot of friends that played 40k growing up, and I never really was interested in it. For one, I'm not a huge sci-fi fan, but much more than that not having ranks just wasn't very interesting to me. Then, I went on GW's website one day since they all were trying to convince me to play and I saw Warhammer. I was sucked in, not because of some special unit, but because of ranks and ranks of core.

    Anyway, other posters are right, I don't think you can simply fix core by reducing it's cost. It will just become a more efficient tarpit in many cases or a more expensive liability for you against the enemy's artillery. There's another thread about changing weapon skill and I think it's very relevant because weapon skill right now is a rather flawed system that promotes a lot of special abilities. Could this be fixed by using like a different numbered die for WS only? I don't know, but there's some other great suggestions in the thread like making a separate offensive and defensive weapon skill for units. Maybe a monstrous unit is very accurate because of large sweeping attacks, maybe it's also vulnerable because it's faced against multiple smallish units surrounding it.


    If you had a system like that core could be useful, because instead of being a cheaper tar pit they could actually match up decently against special units. Sure they may come out losing at the end depending on how you balance it, but they could actually come close to breaking even instead of just tying it down longer for a cheaper amount, while at the same time not being more effective vs other core.
  • Core is what your army should be built around. Special/Whatever the heck they are calling the various other divisions in your army book are there to support core.

    I think that is something that missing when I hear people hate on core. Not everything needs to consistently break your opponents face to be good.
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  • KiRaHyuU wrote:

    In terms of remedying core i would like to actually see an across the board increase of core...so that it isn't just 20-25% of your army that just you can build to be chaff and throw away units but something you have to actually take care of and manage....

    Like 10% across the board increase in core pts would make this happen :)
    For one, I don't think the minimum core should be lowered. I know that's not what you said, but I just want to get out I think it's already kind of ridiculous the look that some armies are able to bring. By that I mean all the special they tag along are in such low numbers that if they bring minimum core it already looks weird in that you may have what seems like a diverse army, and they have what looks like a small bandit escort to steam tanks and griffons cannons etc. Sure that's a cherry picked example, and call me biased for liking core, but I don't think that represents what the game is regardless of whether it's viable or not.

    If you just force people to bring more core, it's going to just make issues for the balancing team. There's going to be a larger core tax, and perhaps instead of trying to give core more customization and a focal point, they could just become more useless somehow.

    Ideally if they want to encourage people to bring more core, they need to make it better. That's difficult with the current system when you look at some armies like those of the elves, how are you going to make them better yet still differentiate them between something like a sword master?

    Some system needs to change, them just saying you need to bring 35% core instead of 25%, regardless of how they change cost won't fix the issue. They need to make it so core is a viable option, meaning you're roughly as likely to bring more as you are not, purely from a balance point of view. I think they have to change weapon skill or something else for that to happen.

    Thankfully, those balancing the game as well as those involved in other areas have a real love for the game so I don't expect to know when, but I think we're likely always moving toward a better game and not some rulebook put out half-assed to make money or just because it's overdue like GW ^^
  • Commodus Leitdorf wrote:

    Core is what your army should be built around. Special/Whatever the heck they are calling the various other divisions in your army book are there to support core.

    I think that is something that missing when I hear people hate on core. Not everything needs to consistently break your opponents face to be good.
    right now the special units are the core of the army while the "core" is really the heavy baggage you don't want to bring along on your trip.
  • GW forced the core army with the limited amount of special/rare you could take (0-3 / 0-1 Units at 2000 pts if i remember correctly).

    This system forced a different kind of list building.

    Often your elite and especially your rare choices would not eat as much points as they currently do. But as you could only take a limited amount of these units with sometimes low cost, you'd have to fill up the rest with core.

    Also in some cases the essential or highly desirable Units to the playstyle (for example: Skinks for SA, Bowmen Skirmishers and Aspirants for Brets) were in core and only in core.

    So there must be core exclusive units which define the army and are desirable to have more of.

    Special and rare should fill a much smaller role than they currently do.

    For example for bretonnians additional aspirant lances were quite valuable for double charges.

    But this was an optimal situation thanks to low unit width and lance formation they could bring in all of their attacks.

    There is little benefit to frontally outnumbering your enemy at the moment. Mostly because of the "who can hit" limitations.

    As it is now, quality strongly outperforms quantity.

    I think allowing bigger units to bring in more of their attacks (Fighting over 2 corners maybe?) or increasing their passive combat res (rank bonus to +5?) would also help to adress the issue shortterm.

    But longterm core should be what wins you a big part of the game.

    This would mean however core has to be good and rare/special have to be more limited.

    This would also mean that you yourself need less specialized choices to deal with the enemies specialized choices and the focus would shift towards the "core" battle.
  • Morgan_Treeman wrote:

    Commodus Leitdorf wrote:

    Core is what your army should be built around. Special/Whatever the heck they are calling the various other divisions in your army book are there to support core.

    I think that is something that missing when I hear people hate on core. Not everything needs to consistently break your opponents face to be good.
    right now the special units are the core of the army while the "core" is really the heavy baggage you don't want to bring along on your trip.
    It really differs per faction.
    What an army is build around is in competative selection is its character.

    As mentioned claims that say everything should be build around core or should play a lot of core never applied to WFB. Some factions retained a high option for 'Herohammer' specialist MSU or Core for 'back up'.

    Leading to a state of the game where you could change 2/3rds of the factions to suddenly revolve around Core but then you create something else.

    WoC had a Storm of Chaos list for Core unit focus. You could only include X units and gained free Command Groups with 25 Marauders or 15 Chaos Warriors and had another few bonusses. Neat but also excuded a lot that now makes up WotDG.
    Now I cannot do this and archive the same practical bonusses.

    :)
  • JDAntoine wrote:

    SirMC2015 wrote:

    The problem is some core is better than others
    Yet it isn't a problem, it what makes factions different.
    One faction has better Core because it relies on Core in it's design and synergies.
    One faction has better Special because it relies on Special in it's design and synergies.
    One faction has better Rare... etc.

    You can re-design all factions to be focused on Core and all factions would then be just that. This actually drastically reduces design space if anything. Because you forcefully design with Core being the main part.
    I stated that in reference to someone others comment. I'm fine with core providing differentiation.
  • Trains_Get_Robbed wrote:

    This is a false narrative I feel. Unequal core is what makes factions unbalanced.
    If you have a mandatory requirement that is worse off than someone else's mandatory requirement it in fact limits your design space because it presents a "false door" for list design and army options.

    A great example is EoS shooting. The shooting in core is an option. However it's not a real option because the options available to you in special are that much better (which doesn't always work out that way leaving you with two poor options) and the options in other books Core are as well. Thus it gives you a false choice.
    Unequal makes factions different.
    Unbalanced is not a byproduct of making things unequal.

    The prime reason as to balance the game now is to have Core as the balancer. Factions with great Special and Rare have slightly worse Core and this balances out rather well.

    False Choice doesnt excist. You have competative builds who filter to the best and casual builds who dont completely do this.
    More choices remain more choices, good or bad. It allows the game to be played in different set ups.

    KiRaHyuU wrote:

    I don't believe it's the problem of better or worse core for different armies but some armies can effectively use their minimum core whereas others cannot...
    The principle behind this is for every 1 pt spent in core that same 1 pt can be spent in special better, yes special things are usually more expensive but the comparison also favours special ie their was no minimum core, many players wouldn't take core - this isn't a what if :)

    So it's not the unit to unit comparison but the tools the core can bring to an army differs enough when theoretically bringing minimum core is the optimal....

    Personally I don't take minimum core but there's an overwhelming reason to do so when possible. Might not be a general consensus but i do strongly feel some armies have it easier to optimise their core and not "bring" better units per say.
    I dont see it as a unit to unit comparison but once again faction to faction.

    Simple fact remains that some factions are designed to be elite and not swarm and thus often have expensive Core that by comparison gets outnumbered IF theyd only spend points in Core.

    Upgrades, Model Synergies and Boost spells make up army designs. Most of them dont focus on Core. This doesnt really hinder the game.