Analysing ETC-warm-up army lists - is 9th age changing into a large scale skirmish game

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  • Krokz wrote:

    This game wants to be more skill based and less dice based.
    Games don't want anything- players do. Which players decided when that more skill based is the way to go?

    Krokz wrote:

    And the more units you have, the more you can show your skill.
    I would say the more units you have the easier it gets. You can compensate a deployment mistake if you have lots of small, fast units but if your movement 4, 900 points block is in the wrong place it's really hard to do anything about that.

    Krokz wrote:

    You can be the best player in the world but when you have 3 slow and not maneuverable Infantry blocks you can't show off your skill.
    I disagree. For example winning a tournament with dwarfen combat block army - that needs skills. You will of course also have some smaller units and chaff, ambush- or scout units to support the three main blocks.

    Krokz wrote:

    Playing Infantry blocks is low skill cap and with that it nets you medium results at best. High skill cap lists are MSU and its only fair that high skill cap lists net you better results if you are playing smart. When you take lists out of ETC where best players come its only natural that most of the lists are MSU.
    So you are saying only strong players can successfully play MSU.
    That play style is superior so once you can play that way you will beat non-MSU players.
    So the game is changed to make the MSU units cheaper and more effective in comparison to MMU.

    So in other words we re-design this game to make it easier for stronger players to beat weaker players because otherwise that’s unfair?
    What?

    I guess we are on the extreme opposite sides here. So to be honest, what really worries me here is the “Army Design Team” tag.
    Snowflake? Yes I’ve heard this word. I think sociopaths use it in an attempt to discredit the notion of empathy
    — John Cleese
  • Krokz wrote:

    fadenye wrote:

    I get that you want MSU to be the play style that beats everything else, but is it really the direction we want to go.
    No! I want skill to be the factor that beats everyone else.This means rules of the game need to change to increase skill cap of non-MSU play styles. Point costs don't do that, they can mitigate, but can't solve the underlying problem.



    JimMorr wrote:

    20-25-strong blocks is hardly a skirmish. It is quite decent standard size of unit in games like Hail Caesar. What GW has done to you all when I was not watching... (that is in 8th)
    It made horde rules so they could sell more models. haha

    Well of course they made horde rules to sell more models. They made the entire blasted GAME to sell more models, Games Workshop is not a charity or a collection of hobbyists, it's a BUSINESS. The rules they decided on, however, were intended to be FUN. Hordes are FUN. Notice that there was a massive AoS revolt, much larger than the 8th edition revolt? That's because 8th made GOOD changes. Because GOOD changes sell models.



    As for "skill should be the factor that beats everything else" : it IS. Done. End of story. "Skill at playing MSU armies" is not, however, the only kind of skill in existence, and there's no reason that single hyper-specific skill needs to be rewarded.

    Background Team

  • alfika wrote:

    The old rules for giving up extra points for losing the scoring units was a good counter to the spam of scoring units, we miss something atm of similar caliber.
    Well. Keep the rules for unit standards as they are now, and either put a penalty on losing scoring units or
    make standards scoring again with the current rules (so they don't die on break tests), and give a penalty for losing the standard
    It could be combined with Herminards idea, of making command groups part of the price of the unit (so we get some cool banners on the table)
    If you make the penalty 100 points for losing a scoring unit/banner, there will still be players who playes hardcore MsU, but it will be fewer, as the penalty for being unlucky/or opponent is lucky, will scare some people from playing it
    On the other hand. If you make the penalty 500 points, then every one will come with 3-4 big blocks, because of the fear of losing a unit
    So some where in between 100 and 500 points for losing a scoring unit

    alfika wrote:

    But it is not the whole story of it, we see a big usage of minimum units that is not scoring as well and some of those casses is that it is a pricing problem that favours multiple small units, these units are often not normal units but have additional rules that buff their movement or close combat potential (light troops/skirmish, autohits or high I attacks).
    That is a little different in my oppinion
    Light troop/skirmish are often weaker units, that has their own role on the battlefield. Fast cavalry for redirecting/chasing warmachines and skirmish troops are mostky small shoting units that are annoying and can be deadly to monsters, but they often die if you breath on them
    Auto hits like impact hits (against elves - strikes first) and stomps (aginst dwarfs - ignore shieldwall) are mostly D6 rolls, so they can be a winner or a disappointment, and so comes down to luck
    And high initiative attacks ... well, in a MsU heavy meta, you REALLY want to strike first, so if MsU toned down, some of that high initiative will become less important :)

    Christoffer
    Banned for posting memes - twice :D

    Herminard wrote:

    *nerfs are so 2016
  • @Ulricpriest
    We are really not on the extreme opposites. I am just trying to debate and be open minded, @Kpl.blutch was the only one who actually presented arguments, not only statements. Yet no one tackled my main argument that Movement is the most important and skill dependant phase of the game by far and it is the main reason why M4 MMU armies can't be competitive -> they rely on dice more than MSU which relies on skill*.
    *now don't take this as extreme example like internet does. There is a lot of grey area here, MSU could as well be 55% skill and 45% dice while MMU is 55% dice and 45% skill. And even that is not true, I am merely trying to make a point.

    And please stop calling "concerns" when someone with a tag, even if he has nothing to do with rules of the game, says something. It is the reason why almost no one with a tag is posting in open forums and we have a PR team. Be open for discussion. Inside Rules team there are people with each very different opinions of the game, its only natural that we disagree.
    Army Design Team. :WDG: :EoS: :OK: :KoE:

    The post was edited 4 times, last by Krokz ().

  • This trend is combined effect of 1. who can score, 2. how we score, and that 3. starting unit sizes have a huge discounts and of course the effectiveness of MSU playstyle.

    I think discounts for starting size of non-shooting combat units is a great thing, but it made some units ridiculously cheap.
    Maybe instead of rising their cost back, we could increase starting size of non-shooting non-light troop units?

    For example units could start from size 15, not 10.
  • The idea that it takes *more* skill to run a list that has tonnes of options, rather than trying to squeak wins out of a slow army, is silly.

    It's much harder to move slow troops effectively - but that doesn't mean positioning them right becomes easy. Quite the contrary, indeed; running around avoiding fights is pretty easy really. Getting slow troops into the right place at the right time requires planning and outtthinking the opponent.

    Running fast stuff is the easy mode.

    Which is why the best players gravitate towards it - it's powerful AND easy, it wins, why would you not do it?



    It's very popular to denigrate "mashing blocks into each other". Usually by people who are terrible at understanding combat probability and would be very bad at "mashing blocks into each other".

    Background Team

  • DeBelial wrote:

    This trend is combined effect of 1. who can score, 2. how we score, and that 3. starting unit sizes have a huge discounts and of course the effectiveness of MSU playstyle.

    I think discounts for starting size of non-shooting combat units is a great thing, but it made some units ridiculously cheap.
    Maybe instead of rising their cost back, we could increase starting size of non-shooting non-light troop units?

    For example units could start from size 15, not 10.

    Many units are already at minimum size 15 or even 20 (Citizen Spears, f'rex!). It's not helping.


    I think discounts for starting size of non-shooting combat units was a mistake. A noble experiment, but a failed experiment - it made units playable, by filling the entire meta with MSU spam. It also made calculating unit costs that much harder.


    No, what is called for is dropping the ppm price. Big units for the most part are a bad deal, and making them more expensive is adding insult to injury; the only benefit for going above minimum sizes is more resilience to losing wounds. Which is very nice I'm sure, but given how easy it is to lose an entire unit, it's really pointless.

    The problem with deathstars is in the rules for characters, not the rules for units. Wrong tool for the wrong job.

    Background Team

  • Krokz wrote:

    And please stop calling "concerns" when someone with a tag, even if he has nothing to do with rules of the game, says something. It is the reason why almost no one with a tag is posting in open forums and we have a PR team.
    If this is the case, then why do youhave tags? There is a huge amount of "tagged" posts, but I am bettingthat a high percentage of these posts are reflecting personal opinion and notany kind of "official" statement. Hence making the "tag" redundant,obstructive for a free discussion and confusing.


    I have called attention to this in thepast, but it I was under the impression that I was the only one with this opinion.

    And back to the debate! Saying that using a better strategy with a superior list somehow takes more skill than playing an inferior list is a bit ridicules. The prevalence of MSU type lists reflect the fact that the composition of rules favor that build ahead of other.
    If anyone is in any way in doubt that this is the case let me give you a few examples.

    A hit from a mortar/stone thrower will decimate a give unit of T3 models. This is true weather the unit is 10 man or 40 man. However, the mortar will not gain an increase in number of shots if the opposite player options to take 4 small units instead of one big unit.

    A front rank will get the full amount of attacks. There is in this game, a large number of armies that excels in having multiple attacks pr. Model. Two units of 10 in 5x2 units of blades of nabh will have 40 atks. Where a single unit of 20 blades in a 5x4 deployment will max out at 20 atks.

    Magic that hit once pr. Model in the unit. Nuf said.

    Chaff. Chaffing a unit become easier as the footprint of a unit increase in size. At the same time, chaffing two units is harder than chaffing one unit. Lastly the small units can, themselves be used as chaff.

    Point cost. This has been mentioned by people smarter than me already.


    In Fact, I put it to you that a MSU style army is more forgiving to play, not less.

    Regards

    Cort
  • I realy don´t care which playstyle is more skillbased.

    I see a problem with the current SCORING rules. The best approach to win the objective is to spam cheap scoring units. It has no drawback to take as many scoring units as possible. With the old rules with banners...you had to pay for the banner (20 points) and in addition the banner was worth some additional points to the enemy. So you had to take some risk, by making the units too small.

    Now there is only 1 scenario where small scoring could be a drawback, but even then, you can easily just put the choosen scoring units out of danger as long as possible.


    In my opinion scoring should (if not tagged to a banner) be a ability that you have to BUY in addition to the normal unit´s costs.
    So a scoring unit of 10 clan warriors is worth more points than a non scoring one. I would tagg it to the banner because that is the easiest way to make it visisble on the battlefield.

    Pricing of units is also a bit strange in many cases.
    1) Starting size of CORE units should be bigger than 10 models. More so when starting size of special units is 15 models.
    2) There should be a starting price, a price for additional models up to a meduim unit size, and then a bit bigger prize for additional models. Would make the prizing more accurate on a lot of units.
    3) NO moving of units into other categories just by adding some additional (highly discounted) models as it is done with vampire wolfes or barbarian horses. I hope with a rework of the books in V2.0 this will no longer be a thing.

    Another thing could be to have a minium unit size necessary to be able to score. As an example....you need at least 5 Infantry models to score. 3 cavallry models etc. At the end of the game of course. Would also make very small scoring units not so reliable in winning the objectives.

    Oh...and deathstars were and are always a problem. At least as long as you can put as many charakters into a unit as you wish.
    A maximum limit of charakters (2) per unit could solve this. But there are a lot of people thinking that this would limit their game to much.
    Even a limit of only 1 charakter could work, and it would be easy to justify this....pride of charakters.
  • I did some sophisticated analysis about the popularity of the different magic paths in Herford.
    The values are normalized, so different different availibility and army popularity effects are canceled out.
    If every player would choose a random magic path (of those that are availible to the specific model) all would be at 0.



    We can see, Pyromancy and Alchemy are the most popular paths.
    Cosmology and Witchcraft are the least popular paths.
    The others are about how we would expect it including some random uncertainty.
  • Having scads of small, equally useful scoring units is better in every scenario. In "Capture the Flags", it means that less of your army is cowering in fear trying not to die - you only need to hide a relatively small investment, rather than a significant portion (and you're even *worse* off if you brought only a limited amount of small scoring units - as now you need to hide those, whereas having the massive redundancy of true MSU means you won't miss them, in anything less you're actually going to be hurt by the loss). In every other scenario, you have more options to get to the objectives.

    Background Team

  • Imo MSU is not as difficult to play as it sometimes seems. Even if it were so, it wouldnt really matter, because this topic is imo a philosophical / game design question

    Do we want MSU to be the dominating (and most effective - given you are an experienced player) playstile?

    My opinion is NO, and here is why:

    • MSU is a niche that other systems (e.g. Warmachine, 40k, etc) do a lot better than 9th Age -> we are not competitive here as a system
    • Most people (not the ETC players) expect this to be a clash of fantasy rank&file armies with some cool monsters, characters etc. They very much enjoy how it looks at the battlefield when armies clash together. With MSU being overly dominant that "feel" will get lost


    On the other side of the spectrum, the Deathstar-Game is not funny either, so a points-cost system where penalizing having either multiple small units or a few huge units should be implemented

    As a rough idea it could work like this:

    (Old cost 10 ppm straight)
    New costs:
    Min size 10, starting cost 150 (15 ppm)
    next ten models cost 5 points each
    next ten models cost 20 points each (max size 30)

    so on average we would have for unit size of:
    10: 15 ppm
    20: 10 ppm
    30: 13.3 ppm

    This is a rough outline, obviously you can play around with the numbers to get the result that you desire.
    The point is to make "medium-sized units" more attractive
  • Saurus Veteran wrote:

    Imo MSU is not as difficult to play as it sometimes seems. Even if it were so, it wouldnt really matter, because this topic is imo a philosophical / game design question

    Do we want MSU to be the dominating (and most effective - given you are an experienced player) playstile?

    My opinion is NO, and here is why:

    • MSU is a niche that other systems (e.g. Warmachine, 40k, etc) do a lot better than 9th Age -> we are not competitive here as a system
    • Most people (not the ETC players) expect this to be a clash of fantasy rank&file armies with some cool monsters, characters etc. They very much enjoy how it looks at the battlefield when armies clash together. With MSU being overly dominant that "feel" will get lost


    On the other side of the spectrum, the Deathstar-Game is not funny either, so a points-cost system where penalizing having either multiple small units or a few huge units should be implemented

    As a rough idea it could work like this:

    (Old cost 10 ppm straight)
    New costs:
    Min size 10, starting cost 150 (15 ppm)
    next ten models cost 5 points each
    next ten models cost 20 points each (max size 30)

    so on average we would have for unit size of:
    10: 15 ppm
    20: 10 ppm
    30: 13.3 ppm

    This is a rough outline, obviously you can play around with the numbers to get the result that you desire.
    The point is to make "medium-sized units" more attractive
    I do agree in general, but a lot of 9th Age Players did hate the last Army Comp. change for beeing too complex. Now you, among others, want to make that even harder.

    With this change it would be almost impossible to write Army lists without a program like Army Builder or Battlescribe. And the guys responsible for those will also hate you ....
  • Ulricpriest wrote:

    The Result:



    # of combat blocks01234#
    BH43310
    DL5319
    DE2147
    DH3312110
    EoS527
    HbE41712
    ID37212
    KoE41229
    OK272314
    OnG2316
    SA361111
    SE538
    UD4228
    VC374115
    VS331411
    Wotdg8311
    Total605531131160

    Even ignoring the question of what should count as a 'combat block', I honestly don't see what the problem is. 100 out of 160 armies brought at least one combat block (by your selective criteria). That seems reasonable, especially since some armies are supposed to be MSU-friendly.

    MSU friendly armies (including Monster Mash / Single-Model Focused armies, which is basically a type of MSU):
    DE (originated the non-single-model playstyle as a play philosophy)
    SE
    WDG
    SA
    UD
    BH
    HE
    DL

    And arguably even KoE.

    The only thing worrying up there is EoS being dominated by no combat block armies. (If anyone should feel compelled to field a competent combat block, it's them).

    So 60/160 went without a "main combat block"? That sounds about right.

    I'd also note that MSU is not the same as a skirmish game, especially MSU with infantry or cavalry units. But even single-model, the way they interact with other units is quite different than in a skirmish game. Something like War Machine does not do MSU at all, because it pretty much doesn't have units - just a bunch of guys kinda near each other.
    Just because I'm on the Legal Team doesn't mean I know anything about rules or background in development, and if/when I do, I won't be posting about it. All opinions and speculation are my own - treat them as such.

    Legal

    Playtester

    Chariot Command HQ

  • arwaker wrote:

    I did some sophisticated analysis about the popularity of the different magic paths in Herford.
    The values are normalized, so different different availibility and army popularity effects are canceled out.
    If every player would choose a random magic path (of those that are availible to the specific model) all would be at 0.



    We can see, Pyromancy and Alchemy are the most popular paths.
    Cosmology and Witchcraft are the least popular paths.
    The others are about how we would expect it including some random uncertainty.
    Alchemy is only slightly more popular than Occultism is unpopular, which suggests Occultism is also highly disliked (or alternately we can't say alchemy is preferred more than random either). Druidism doesn't look so hot at ~-0.35 either. Is there enough data to assess significance - which ones are significantly different from zero?
    Just because I'm on the Legal Team doesn't mean I know anything about rules or background in development, and if/when I do, I won't be posting about it. All opinions and speculation are my own - treat them as such.

    Legal

    Playtester

    Chariot Command HQ

  • You could widely overcost MSU by taxing spam : if any unit (except maybe one in core to be the signature unit of the army) costs twice (or something like that) as much for any unit of the same kind over the first, you both avoid spam and so most MSU !

    The only armies that would take MSU-kind of lists would be the one with an MSU-style signature unit or with many entries in the army book oriented MSU (SE I'm looking at you ! ;) )

    Kapten Kluns wrote:

    Oh sweet sweet @Aka we ACS will form the world to fit the very essence of desire according to the communitys lustful beliefs.
  • Aka wrote:

    You could widely overcost MSU by taxing spam : if any unit (except maybe one in core to be the signature unit of the army) costs twice (or something like that) as much for any unit of the same kind over the first, you both avoid spam and so most MSU !

    The only armies that would take MSU-kind of lists would be the one with an MSU-style signature unit or with many entries in the army book oriented MSU (SE I'm looking at you ! ;) )
    Blech.

    MMU is a natural counter to MSU. I see no reason to cost structure the game to make MSU unplayably bad, especially when its a valid niche that some armies should have access to.
    Just because I'm on the Legal Team doesn't mean I know anything about rules or background in development, and if/when I do, I won't be posting about it. All opinions and speculation are my own - treat them as such.

    Legal

    Playtester

    Chariot Command HQ

  • Squirrelloid wrote:

    Even ignoring the question of what should count as a 'combat block', I honestly don't see what the problem is. 100 out of 160 armies brought at least one combat block (by your selective criteria). That seems reasonable, especially since some armies are supposed to be MSU-friendly.
    The question of what should count as a 'combat block' is indeed difficult. So rather than trying to describe my personal feeling I used the "infantry above minimum size" definition. However that includes cheap blocks like 30 skeletons and 40 rat slaves. The main point is that hardly anyone uses infantry blocks to do actual fighting.
    Also even those armies that do field a combat block still basically play MSU. Look at the dwarf lists, some field one block of 20+ graybeards but all of them field several units of 10 warriors and as many fliers as they possibly can. Small fast and mobile.
    There is a major change in list building going on and that is not a theory or a feeling.

    The changes in rules have pushed for this. On purpose or inadvertently. Many factors in the game punish people for taking large infantry blocks.
    The scoring system, the rules for monstrous stuff, higher price for extra miniatures, flank and rear attacks +2 +3 and breaking steadfast, maximum size, options for clipping, spells hitting every miniature in a unit, the new artillery rules and so on.

    However, I see that some people actually want to 9th age to be like this. That is also fine by me but I think people should be asked, maybe vote on it and the decision should be published. Then people like me, who really want to play a game with massive blocks of ranked infantry can look for something else.
    Snowflake? Yes I’ve heard this word. I think sociopaths use it in an attempt to discredit the notion of empathy
    — John Cleese
  • personally I thin too many shooting units are also scoring. The scoring mechanism with 9th is great, but it does make MSU more attractive , and then you wanna shoot those guys up... and then you want your shooty units to score.
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