September 21, 2020, 11:23:33 AM

Author Topic: The BFG:XR 2020 Balance Initiative  (Read 1122 times)

Offline Xca|iber

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The BFG:XR 2020 Balance Initiative
« on: March 18, 2020, 08:26:39 PM »
Greetings everyone! It's Xca|iber here, and I'm back...ish!? Well to be honest my city is in lockdown and everyone is basically stuck in their homes due to coronavirus, so I've been in front of my computer a lot and not at my FLGS playing non-BFG games. Good news though! My misfortune can be put to work for you! (By you I of course mean the wonderful community that has supported BFG:XR the past 5 years).

As we pass the 5-year anniversary of BFG:XR, providence (and the brief hiccup of these boards) has put me back in contact with a lot of different BFG community outlets (here, the SA/Taccoms Discord, Facebook, and plain old email), where I'm seeing a lot of familiar faces and many new ones! What this has also done is show me that there's still quite a bit of interest in furthering XR's goals of providing a balanced, all-in-one BFG experience.

Which all leads me to the BFG:XR 2020 Balance Initiative! The purpose of this initiative is to gather as much data and detailed analysis of aspects of XR that all of YOU want to see fixed or updated in some way. So how's this going to work? Here's my plan:

Using whatever platform you prefer, post your concerns along with as much detailed analysis as you can muster (and remember to tag me so I see it). Playtest data, both for problems and counters, is especially helpful here. I will use this first post to keep an ongoing list of the things people have reported and what could use more data. (Analysis of things that you see on this list is also extremely helpful!)

I'll be going through the list as data comes in and working on bits depending on how discussions proceed. At this stage (i.e. this month everyone's stuck at home) I'm more focused on gathering data though. Conversations about different aspects will probably be happening on the SA Discord, but I'll try to have summaries here for posterity.

A final note: I'm still interested in people's thoughts that don't play Revised/XR, every bit of data helps! The only caveat for this whole thing is this: The purpose here is not to un-make Revised nor develop an entirely new game. There are some fundamental structural elements of BFG:R that are outside the scope of XR to change (whether by making them more like classic or more like some other non-BFG game). Thanks for your understanding  ;)

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THE LIST:

General Mechanics:
  • Torpedo Bombers: Basically torpedoes that have the maneuverability and toughness vs interception of AC; are they too strong for their cost? Are they too strong if spammed?
  • Bombers and Turrets: Turrets double-dip against Bombers, getting both a chance to shoot them and then take away their attacks. The game has a lot more Turrets now than when BFG 1.0 was released. Should bombers be made more reliable?
  • Turret Suppression: This exists to give mixed waves a purpose and to help bombers against high-T ships. Should this be rolled into an updated bomber mechanic rather than exist as its own rule?
  • Waves: In past editions of BFG, waves were formed as a stack of AC tokens instead of the spread we have today. Returning to this would enable a lot of AC rules to be cleaned up, but a lot of people seem to like their modeled-AC tokens. Can the benefits of this system be brought back or would it cause too many problems?
  • Lances vs Batteries: Are lances too efficient compared to batteries? Should lances have a penalty against shielded ships to encourage using WB to strip shields?
  • Assault Boats: In the context of other ordnance changes, should assault boats be impacted by turrets and/or some form of turret suppression (to differentiate them from boarding torpedoes, which right now are strictly worse)?

Faction / Ship Mechanics:
  • Rogue Traders
    • Lances: RT were initially almost devoid of lances. Revised and XR added a few, but do they need more or should this remain part of their faction identity?
    • Customization: Nobody seems to like random tables of upgrades, despite GW being so fond of making them. Should the xenotech systems table be a choice table (with an option to take random ones for a discount)?
    • Merchantman, Brigantine: These are supposed to be the primary RT Light Cruiser and Cruiser options for the fleet, but they're a little lackluster and get lost in the shuffle of other available ships. Should their customization options be expanded and/or should there be a Man O' War variant added to the series?
  • Eldar
    • Survivability: The Eldar have had various issues since their creation, leading to the current "MMS" variety. But they still have a lot of potent defensive abilities. Are they still too tanky?
    • MSM: The original, mostly-hated MSM Eldar had 360-degree turning before each move. With all the other changes to Eldar for XR (including a fixed Turn stat), could MSM Eldar be a positive play experience?
  • Tyranids
    • Feeder Tendrils: These were nerfed on account of 1.5 average H&R (never less than 1) and 0.5 hits per tendril being oppressive. However, the nerf may have gone too far and changed them too much in power and function from their original use. They are being looked at.
    • Behemoth Drones: Like FT, these had their torpedo strength halved due to the ability to repeatedly launch Str24 salvos from 40cm with free reloads every turn from IB. However, at half-strength their power in small squadrons is really bad. A proposed solution is being considered.

List Building:
  • Tyranid Hive Fleets: A 1500pt Tyranid Hive Fleet cannot fill its points if it only has 1 Charybdis Hive Ship. The proposed solution is to change each Scylla with a Minor Synapse Node to require 4 drones and allow 0-8 other escorts (as seen in the Gestating Fleet list).
  • Ork Clanz Fleet: Bosses are one of the five types of commanders (along with Archmagi, Dread Archons, Inquisitors, and Hive Ships) that do not get a free re-roll. Should this be reconsidered?
  • The Jovian: The unique carrier Jovian was yanked in and out of the Bakka fleet list several times in the creation of Revised Imperial Navy. Should it return as a unique 0-1 ship for the Bakka fleet?
« Last Edit: April 01, 2020, 09:13:28 AM by Xca|iber »
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Offline Xca|iber

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Re: The BFG:XR 2020 Balance Initiative
« Reply #1 on: March 18, 2020, 08:27:30 PM »
So, first up I've populated the list with stuff that's been discussed over the past week that I've seen. I'll be filling it in as we go along and if anything does get into a released XR update, it'll be struck from the list and I'll make a post about it in the main BFG:XR thread.

EDIT: Alright, since this is a convenient spot, I'm going to use this post as the running list for things that NEED PLAYTEST DATA. Not everything will be here, just the things that are a priority to test before changes can be made to the rules. There's two parts below. The first consists of things that need to be confirmed as problems, so that I can decide whether to come up with changes or additions. The second consists of things that need to be checked as solutions, to make sure they're okay.

Priority Problems: Please test these to see if a rules change or addition is required.
  • Lances: Please build and test lance spam lists. I'm interested in the following:
    • Do they outperform WB in most cases?
    • Are they too points-efficient compared to other weapons?
    • Is it too easy to fill a list with them?
  • Torpedo Bombers: Please build and test TB spam lists. I'm interested in the following:
    • Do they outperform torpedoes?
    • For their cost, are they too easy to spam?
    • Compared to normal bombers, are they too strong or are bombers too weak?

Beta Changes: Please test these to see if they have a positive impact on gameplay, fun, and balance.
  • MSM Eldar: Please take the XR Eldar list and test it as if the 2nd move is at the end of the ordnance phase. Note that the ships still have their fixed turn rates and all other rules remain the same. Assuming it doesn't totally break something, does this make the Eldar:
    • More fun to play?
    • Stronger?
    • Still fun to play against?
  • Gunnery Bombers: Please try out bombers with the following rules for attacking rather than their normal rules, and report whether they play better or worse than before (in terms of power, ease of use, how well they scale with wave size, etc):
    • Treat the attacking wave as a weapons battery with 1D6 firepower per bomber squadron. A wave of bombers treats all targets as Defenses and always rolls to hit against the target?s lowest Armor value. Except where stated otherwise, bombers are only subject to the following column-shift modifiers: 1 right-shift for each of the target's turrets (not including massed turrets); 1 left-shift for each surviving fighter squadron in the wave.
  • Stacked Waves: If you have suitable tokens, please try out waves of AC as a stack instead of a flat block, using the following rules, and report if it makes gameplay better/easier:
    • Waves of AC are arranged in vertical stacks of the appropriate ordnance markers, with all fighters on top and the rest on the bottom in any order. When a wave of attack craft contacts another wave of attack craft, resolve the interaction one squadron at a time, starting with the top squadron of each wave. Continue resolving interactions until a wave is destroyed or no further interactions are possible.
    • Optional (test with or without this): If an enemy ship or ordnance marker contacts a standalone squadron of your attack craft and triggers an interaction, you may choose any number of your other standalone attack craft markers within 1cm of the contacted squadron and form them into a wave with that squadron before resolving the interaction. - (the purpose here is to allow flat-block style ordnance as a pseudo-wave option)
« Last Edit: March 31, 2020, 06:07:23 AM by Xca|iber »
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Offline Dono1979

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Re: The BFG:XR 2020 Balance Initiative
« Reply #2 on: March 18, 2020, 11:09:24 PM »
I think reducing the effectiveness of Turrets is a fine line, yes there are more ships out there with more turrets, but there also appears to be a larger variety of ships launch capacity. I think any changes in favour of Ordnance would need to be done very very carefully so as not to flip the game back to Ordnance spam.

I think the mixed squadrons for Turret suppression is a solid mechanic which forces players to sacrifice damage potential in favour of increased chances of getting their bombers through. Perhaps modifying, tweaking that mechanic would be better than hitting the turrets for the time being?

Offline Fr05ty

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Re: The BFG:XR 2020 Balance Initiative
« Reply #3 on: March 28, 2020, 01:29:18 AM »
Rogue Traders
Lances: RT were initially almost devoid of lances. Revised and XR added a few, but do they need more or should this remain part of their faction identity?
Customization: Nobody seems to like random tables of upgrades, despite GW being so fond of making them. Should the xenotech systems table be a choice table (with an option to take random ones for a discount)?
Merchantman, Brigantine: These are supposed to be the primary RT Light Cruiser and Cruiser options for the fleet, but they're a little lackluster and get lost in the shuffle of other available ships. Should their customization options be expanded and/or should there be a Man O' War variant added to the series?

I'd keep them lacking in lances. Customization I agree should be more of a choice (with a discount for rolling).
Merchantman and Brigantines are alright, more customization is good, and a Man'o'War variant would be appropriate.

Also, I always liked MSM Eldar better than MMS Eldar, but that's just me.

Will you go back to finishing the last few things remaining in the BFG:XR list, or will we get to add the new ships from BFG:A2?

Glad to have you back!
« Last Edit: March 28, 2020, 01:33:21 AM by Fr05ty »

Offline Xca|iber

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Re: The BFG:XR 2020 Balance Initiative
« Reply #4 on: March 28, 2020, 05:57:59 PM »
Quote
Will you go back to finishing the last few things remaining in the BFG:XR list, or will we get to add the new ships from BFG:A2?

I am finishing up the Scenario book at least. No BFG:A2 ships for now.
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Offline Fr05ty

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Re: The BFG:XR 2020 Balance Initiative
« Reply #5 on: March 29, 2020, 10:25:45 PM »
Awesome!

Think I might try my hand at doing the BFG:A2 ships and if the community approves, then who knows, might get put in to the lists :)

First step: Finding out what all the new ships for BFG:A2 are!

Offline Dono1979

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Re: The BFG:XR 2020 Balance Initiative
« Reply #6 on: April 09, 2020, 12:52:15 AM »
Bringing back MSM for Eldar and reintroducing their older vulnerabilities would certainly please a lot of the players that I know of. I understand peoples gripe with them initially, but I found that most people who were playing them as the OP list they are rumored to be were actually playing them wrong, using all of the strengths but very few if any of the weaknesses.

They are certainly a completely different faction to play against which requires different tactics, but they are beatable when incorporating the sun and appropriate 'terrain'. We use a number of different XR fleet lists, but always revert to the regular Eldar lists.

Offline horizon

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Re: The BFG:XR 2020 Balance Initiative
« Reply #7 on: April 09, 2020, 09:39:12 PM »
Heh, On reddit I saw people promoting XR because of MMS. ;)


But it is not that difficult: as much as I dislike the MSM ruleset for background and rule reasons I will always advise :

* a new player to use as much of the official rules as possible. If he dislikes something really bad there are a bunch of quality fanmade rules and adjustments available (XR, MMS, etc)

* a player should look into what the rules are the group he is joining is using. In short: I rather play in a group with MSM then not play at all.

However if you take the XR list and only change MMS into MSM and everything else remains the fleet become an unstoppable havoc causing killer fleet. So no.

The Rogue Trader Merchantmen and Brigantine are core vessels in from the Rogue Trader list from an old Warp Rift (by me and Yannick iirc). Wouldn't add more lances.
A heavy influence was the Rogue Trader RPG from FFG.

Stacked ordnance makes sense.

Turrets are okay as is. No need to change. I can fly an an AdMech without carriers againts an ordnance fleet. ;)

Offline Zhukov

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Re: The BFG:XR 2020 Balance Initiative
« Reply #8 on: April 10, 2020, 04:00:14 AM »

I'll throw in my 2 cents. That said, I am a huge fan of the ships matching the lore. So with that said:

Rogue Traders
Lances: RT were initially almost devoid of lances. Revised and XR added a few, but do they need more or should this remain part of their faction identity?

Fewer lances on the Human-made ships should absolutely be a part of the fun of playing RT. Purchasing allies to fill tactical deficiencies should be part of the joy of playing RT.

Ork Clanz Fleet: Bosses are one of the five types of commanders (along with Archmagi, Dread Archons, Inquisitors, and Hive Ships) that do not get a free re-roll. Should this be reconsidered?

I always felt this was great. Becoming a Warboss takes no skill outside of bashing the old Boss over the head. So not having an intrinsic re-roll "felt" right to me.
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Offline Fr05ty

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Re: The BFG:XR 2020 Balance Initiative
« Reply #9 on: April 24, 2020, 11:37:35 PM »
Would a reduction in criticals for MSM Eldar to 5+ instead of 4+ be decent (keeping armour at 4+)? At the moment, Eldar cruisers just feel pretty much useless since with batteries you can take them down or cripple with just a couple of shots.

Offline horizon

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Re: The BFG:XR 2020 Balance Initiative
« Reply #10 on: April 25, 2020, 02:22:54 AM »
Craftworld Eldar have 5+ amour under msm official rules already. The initial choice to give Corsair cruisers 4+ armour is just wrong. If you give them a higher critical rating it will not change much.

Offline Fr05ty

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Re: The BFG:XR 2020 Balance Initiative
« Reply #11 on: April 27, 2020, 04:12:28 AM »
Oops, you're right! Glad that's not an issue then :)

Offline Thinking Stone

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Re: The BFG:XR 2020 Balance Initiative
« Reply #12 on: June 10, 2020, 12:18:38 PM »
@horizon I fight the good fight for MMS on the Book of Faces :P but I did have a few questions for ye about the MMS Eldar document, since you're around!

Number 1: the Supernova.
You once said on here that the Supernova is about as good as five Hemlocks, but I wonder if that accounts for the range of the Supernova being 45 cm and hence a lot better at avoiding reprisal (plus with shields it takes 3 hits to damage a Supernova, 2 to destroy a Hemlock, and it takes 6 hits to cripple a Supernova and 4 hits to 'cripple' a Hemlock squadron). I'm presuming you have gameplay experience about it though!

The other big thing is that the Void Stalker has roughly the same direct weapons firepower as the Supernova, but is 190 points more in MMS (at least in the XR one, I can't remember the 1.9 MMS... should dig that up!). For a similar threat range, is the Void Stalker really worth that much more than the Supernova, when the Supernova is only 20 pts more than a 2-pulsar Eclipse and 50 more than a WB Shadow? And the Supernova doesn't have Orders confusion issues like the Void Stalker does with Reloading.


Number 2: Craftworld specialisations.
Where did they come from? They've always seemed a bit less interesting to me gameplay-wise than Chaos Marks or Ork Clanz.

Number 3: The reasons for why stuff was done in MMS.
I seem to remember reading about the reasoning you guys had about a bunch of things—is that in the 1.9b MMS document or was it in posts on here?

Number 4: For MSM, what if something in BFG had reaction fire?
This is kind of open to everyone (well, everything is really, but horizon was there for most of those decisions :P). The real issue with MSM is that the target (victim) player doesn't get to react to Eldar movement and shooting. Alternating activations is one way to remove that artefact of IGoUGo, but I also wonder if even IGoUGo BFG would do a lot better if there was some reaction fire.

How offensive would it be to have some reaction fire mechanism? It struck me that escorts in real life navy battles were useful for many reasons but one of the reasons BFG doesn't replicate well is that they were useful to respond rapidly to unexpected attacks in ways that large ships and slow-traversing turret weapons weren't (e.g. responding to Uboat popup attacks—basically what MSM Eldar do). Give them the ability to fire reaction fire in the enemy turn and escorts suddenly have a pretty solid niche (obviously if they reaction fire, they can't shoot in their subsequent turn—or you could make it that they sacrifice shooting in the turn before). They're still limited by being escorts and the usual things like firing arcs, too, so there's still player skill in setting up formations.
« Last Edit: June 10, 2020, 12:25:59 PM by Thinking Stone »

Offline connahr

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Re: The BFG:XR 2020 Balance Initiative
« Reply #13 on: June 10, 2020, 01:00:30 PM »
about the rogue traders, i think keeping their availble lances how they are is the right call fluff wise and it would stop them becoming too similar to the Imperial Navy.

By man o' war variant are we talking about a rogue trader grand cruiser? cause that would be cool

On the subject of lances, I thought they were quiet well balanced, yes you can potentially get a lot of them in a list, but that tends to leave you with a low volume of fire power in general even if it is potentially more effective shot for shot, you'll have to dedicate a larger percentage of your firepower to a single target to kill it.

sadly i've not played for a while but i'm hoping to start again as lockdown relaxes
theres no such thing as over kill, its just making sure

Offline timdp

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Re: The BFG:XR 2020 Balance Initiative
« Reply #14 on: September 14, 2020, 10:06:58 PM »
"Merchantman, Brigantine: These are supposed to be the primary RT Light Cruiser and Cruiser options for the fleet, but they're a little lackluster and get lost in the shuffle of other available ships. Should their customization options be expanded and/or should there be a Man O' War variant added to the series?"

The RT Brigantine and Merchantman are essentially new classes of ships, between cruiser and light cruiser in the case of the Brigantine and between light cruiser and escort for the Merchantman. Can't imagine taking the Brigantine (essentially a downrated Dictator) over the other cruisers, except for its launch bay capacity. I like the Merchantman, but don't think it replaces any of the other light cruisers.

A bit off the rules topic, but here are some thoughts on RT ship class names.
Reference: Historical ship types and their carry capacities:
Caravel: 50-160+T
Brigantine: 50-200T
Corvette: 40-70 up to 400-600T in later times
Brig: 200-300T
Barque: 250-1000T
Galleon: generally under under 500T except for the Manilla galleons of 1000 to 2000T
Portuguese Carrack 1000+T

In general, the carry capacity for the following hulls went in this order, largest to smallest, with the Barque being pretty much anywhere in the list:
Carrack
Galleon
Brig
Brigantine

There were exceptions, such as the huge Manilla Galleons, but this allows the Conquest to remain a galleon rather than being a carrack or barque… :)

Seems to me that the BFGXR Rogue Trader cruiser should be a galleon like all of the other RT cruisers, instead of a brigantine. The RT Merchantman would work fine as a brigantine. If I was a Rogue Trader, I would certainly prefer a galleon to a brigantine... ;)

Other thing that seems odd to me is that none of the RT armed ships, except for the corvette, have any transport capacity at all, especially in the case of the Conquest and Merchantman.

Am working with Gothmog on expanding the transport ship classes...

Tim