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Khemri Tomb Kings
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2014-09-09 15:35:53
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2013-04-26 11:48:40
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2011

2011-07-25 23:32:43
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rating 5.4
2010-03-26 11:38:41
64 votes, rating 5.1
Computer vs tabletop
Every now and again, I run into threads and conversations regarding differences between playing the game on the tabletop and playing it on the computer. This topic mainly manifests by someone mentioning that the computer adaptation should be more like the tabletop, meaning that it should not indicate the target rolls for certain actions.

My own position in this matter is quite simple: I compare this display of a target equivalent to picking up the rulebook prior to rolling the dice. While it's not explicitly stated anywhere in the rules (at least as far as I have seen), it's allowed to declare an action and then simply not perform it should you choose to do so.

For example, let's say you declare a blitz action. You move your player into position and the client tells you it's two dice against (you didn't remember that the player have ST4) rather than the one-die block you were expecting. I figure that even if you don't perform the actual block at the end of the Blitz action, you still used up your blitz action for the turn. However, it's not cheating or against the rules to do this implicit rules lookup before each and every dice roll you do.

Of course, playing on the computer will normally allow you to declare an action only to change your mind and deselect the player. While you could argue that this is against the rules, and that the player should lose his action if this was done on the tabletop, I figure that this is mainly a difference of whether you consider the action to start when you declare the action (ie, touch the model) and when you start moving (or roll a die). The current client(s) use the latter interpretation, where you can cancel the action until you have either moved the player or rolled a die.

This topic also comes up when it comes to movement. SkiJunkie's client forces you to pick each and every square of movement on your own, while Kalimar's version allows you to point at your target destination and (barring any dice rolls being required to get there) will allow you to click once to get there. Some people argue that this is dumbing down the game and that figuring out movement paths is part of the tactics, while others (myself included; after all, I provided Kalimar with the path finding code) think that the process of finding a clear path to a target square isn't really that much of a deal. When I play on the tabletop, I tend to tell my opponent that they need to dodge from a certain square and happily let them rethink the move for the player.

To me, it's more fun to play the game when the outcome depends on strategy, tactics and relevant dice rolls than calling my opponent to force unnecessary dice rolls because of an oversight. Yes, I also remind my opponent to move their turn marker rather than calling an illegal procedure. Speaking of which, the turn marker is something that is not a factor in the computer clients. To me, the illegal procedure rule is there mostly to make sure that the turns are counted correctly rather than making any tactical difference. So this is an aspect which I happily feel that the computer should do for you.

I am actually a bit more liberal with what I feel the computer could do for you than what the current clients are. For example, I wouldn't mind having the pathfinder showing the highest probability path to a certain target square, even including dodge and go-for-it rolls. However, that's something that I figure won't happen any time soon because of the number of fairly conservative players in the community. Maybe I should venture into the process of creating an AI for the game to see how far I could take things :)
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Comments
Posted by nazgob on 2010-03-26 12:01:14
The key thing here is that if a player is making an unecessary dodge on the client, we assume its a missclick. If you're sat opposite a real life human being and they try and make an unecessary dodge, do you a) sit and luagh, or b) point out that they're wrong. Now, I know a lot of coaches would go for b), particularly if that extra dodge could give them the win, or prevent the loss. This would be human nature. Its like the principle of giving assistance to a new player - you tend to give lots of help in the beginning, and then, as you start to lose, you clam up.

And this bring me to the important part - mistakes on the client are not necessarily missclicks. Newer (and older) coaches miss things sometimes. Which leaves two arguments.

The first is that when a new player makes a mistake in the client he is punished for it. On the tabletop, he at least has a chance to 'take back' his action if his opponent is friendly enough. When a new player loses a game through a simple mistake, (could) get annoyed, frustrated, might not have had fun, AND MIGHT NOT COME BACK FOR MORE. Skijunkie's client is a brick wall of a learning curve. There is no room for error. Not necessarily a bad thing, and of course the client itself is wonderful. However. And this is the fun part. Kalimar's client will let new players PLAY THE GAME. Those silly little mistakes can be ironed out, ignored, shelved. New players will have to worry less about silly things like paths and missclicks, and more about strategy and tactics.

New players aside, the path finder will help experienced coaches too. I ask you a simple question. Would you rather see the Warpstone Open decided by a simple mistake, or by pure game skill?
Posted by Rijssiej on 2010-03-26 12:11:32
Couldn't agree more.

--Rijssiej the liberal ;)
Posted by CircularLogic on 2010-03-26 12:36:28
So where does it stop?

I have no problem, that a player is moved automatically, if there is a path that involves no dice rolls. But does the system also choose 3 2+ dodges over a 3+ and a 2+ one because it's more likely to succeed? Will the system automatically do a single GFI to reduce the passing distance? Will it highlight the most appropriate player to blitz on the ball with?
As soon as the client makes the statistically best decisions for a coach, that's not good. I would feel bad, if the system made 2 2+ instead of a 3+ and the dice came out 3,1.

I have no problem, if a client picks a safe path if it exists. Or if there is an extra confirmation window popping up, if you pick the skull on a skull/POW 2d block. But as soon as the client makes decisions for you, it is bad.
Posted by Woodstock on 2010-03-26 12:40:00
CL beats my to it... But Ill post what I had:
There is a difference between automation and calculating the odds.

Automation is nice, things like the turn marker are just stupid, and never had any problems with that on tabletop. Same with avoiding tackle zones while moving.

Calculating odds and probability however is something that is part of your strategy. Do you pick the 3+ dodge without reroll or the 2+ dodge 2d blitz. It is something you decide. If it goes wrong, it is your fault. You learn and get better.
Posted by Wolter on 2010-03-26 12:47:55
wtb a system that makes and optimizes all my moves for me !!

so i just press play then go eat until the game is done!

yes yes i know i can eat ALOT !
Posted by Flix on 2010-03-26 12:50:12
@TT i tell my opponent to roll the Armor roll if the forgot about it
Posted by maysrill on 2010-03-26 13:09:25
I actually like the idea of a pop-up window for choosing a blocking die that knocks your own player down when there is an option that would not. Possibly the same with making a -2db block. I would consider both to be sub-optimal choices that are more often misclicks than strategic choices, and for the exceptions, you can still choose 'yes'.
Posted by Tobrane78 on 2010-03-26 13:11:37
Agree on no automation, however no dice roll moves and calculating pass odds is acceptable imo.

So where / when can we try this new client? :D
As in, when is it planned to be generally adopted?
Posted by Kalimar on 2010-03-26 13:34:26
Just to clear this up: the new client does NOT make a single decision for you. The path finding stops where a dice roll would be needed, automove is mainly useful for those clear paths on the field (where movement is boring anyway), if you are in between a bunch of other players it doesn't help. It speeds things up, increases "real" game time.

The showing of target numbers is just that: it is a help function, it does not decide for you. It might make perfect tactical sense to choose the 3+ dodge instead of the 2+ dodge if the latter would involve another 2+ roll etc. The client does not decide your tactics. The target numbers are only displayed once you are in touch with your opponent. It does not keep you from getting there.

An I knew of quite a number instance where I really wanted to make that -2d roll :-)

All these little helpers are there to make the gaming experience more plasant for the user (increase usability) and accomodate for the fact that it is very easy to misclick and there is no "sorry I didn't mean to do that" or removing the finger from a figure as in tabletop gaming.
Posted by Nighteye on 2010-03-26 13:51:57
The problem with skijunkies old client is not with blitzes, but with passes and hand offs.

In tabletop you have to declare the type of action your guy will do, beforeyou move him. In fumbbl, you can choose to pass after a move, so if you had a pass planned for example, and a diceroll went bad, you can try a handoff instead.
Posted by Woodstock on 2010-03-26 13:56:01
That has changed for the better. You have to pick the action before you move now.
Posted by Grod on 2010-03-26 16:09:23
I agree with your views. Any experienced coach by now knows the rules well enough not to need the aid, and it will make is far less daunting for new coaches to start.

As for your last sentence:

I would love it if, in addition to the new "Fantasy Football Client", an interface was created for player-created AI, perhaps with a simple example (in the Java language say) that we could develop for ourselves. We could perhaps use our player-created AIs in the League division, and if a few people are involved, compete against each other with them.

Any chance of something like that happening?
Posted by Colin on 2011-02-05 01:01:18
The automation of the new client has made it possible for me to play Bloodbowl online again. On the old client, I was a notoriously ponderous player. With the bread-and-butter stuff taken care of, my mind is free to work on game plan and strategy - essential when you have a rigourously enforced time limit!

I'm currently playing tabletop as well - I have to say I prefer it as face-to-face is ultimately a social event with a game involved somewhere, whereas online is much more about the game.

I feel fortunate to have both options for the first time.