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Garion
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Elven Union
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82%
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[R]
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LRB4 - CRP - The Future
Jimmy told me to blog this, its from the LRB4 forum post in general. http://fumbbl.com/index.php?name=PNphpBB2&file=viewtopic&t=24949&postdays=0&postorder=asc&start=15

LRB4 - Vs – CRP
This is a long post outlining all the pros and cons of both rule sets, where they succeed and fail.

I should start by saying on balance I personally felt LRB4 was and still is the best rule set the game has ever had even though it undoubtedly had great flaws. CRP however has improved many things, but also changed too much that used to work better. This long post will also be full of my opinion which some will no doubt disagree with.

From what I have read and the people I spoke to the chief aims of CRP were to simplify the rules, give them more structure, balance, make it easier for new comers to the game to get involved and most importantly the chief goal was to make truly perpetual league play possibly.
So to start this off in a logical order, here are some quotes –
Quote:
Jervis Johnson wrote


The version you are now reading is the PBBL (Perpetual Blood Bowl League)
edition


The single most important thing I needed to sort out with the league rules
was the problem of the ‘part-time’ coach. Anybody who has played in a
Blood Bowl league before will understand this problem. When the league
starts up you get loads of enthusiastic coaches all clamouring to take
part. After half a dozen games, however, quite a few of the coaches will
have started missing games, or have dropped out of the league
altogether, especially if their team isn’t doing very well... The way that I
tried to get round this problem was by creating an ‘open’ league format.
This places the emphasis on arranging matches and playing games
firmly on the shoulders of the coaches themselves. In this way
enthusiastic coaches can play as many games as they like, or rather, as
many games as they can find opponents to play against. Meanwhile, less
enthusiastic coaches can play fewer games, as and when they like.
This system worked well in the 3rd edition rules, with one very important
exception: teams just kept getting better and better if they played
matches, and if they played enough matches there was simply no way
for a starting team to compete against them. This was not what I had
intended to happen at all; the league rules were there to provide
continuity between games, not to allow coaches to create ‘super-teams’
that couldn’t be beaten unless an opponent had racked up enough
matches.

This problem came about because the handicapping system I’d built into
the 3rd edition rules didn’t give enough help to the underdog. In the years
following the release of 3rd edition a number of increasingly complex
‘patches’ were applied to the game rules to try and deal with the
problem, but none of them really worked as well as I hoped, and they
added a lot of complexity to the game. In the end I became frustrated
with the whole thing and decided to go back to the drawing board and
start again with a new handicap system. After a few wrong turns this
resulted in an early version of the rules for Inducements that you will find
in the new League rules, and the associated rules that increase the value
of a player as they learn more skills. These two things are a lot simpler
than what we had before, and make it much more straight-forward to
balance a match between two teams of differing experience. They also
mean that the Blood Bowl league rules have finally achieved the design
goals I set for them back in 1993 (well, better late than never!)



So from these comments you can see JJ was not that happy with how complex the rules had become around TR and handicapping, he wanted it more streamlined and wanted it better at making matches more even.

For the most part I believe he succeeded in achieving this goal. That’s not to say Inducements don’t have their problems but on the whole inducements are more successful at helping create fair games than the handicap system did. Tbh the handicap system was a little bit of a mess with some handicaps insanely powerful and others utterly pointless. All that said the fluff behind handicaps made sense and the current fluff doesn’t at all. Personally I liked the idea behind handicaps a lot more - the idea basically was coaches/teams would see the difference in quality between them and their opponents and use all manner of underhand tactics to level the playing field. Its implementation was poor because of the random allocation system. The idea behind inducements is now teams play their games at stadiums they don’t own, the stadium owners give inducement money to teams for them to hire whatever otherwise they would refuse to play more powerful teams yada yada yada. While this makes sense in isolation most BB teams from 1st edition, 2nd, 3rd, 4th all the lrbs BB magazines, journals etc, have their own stadiums; Chaos All Stars - Palace of Eternal Suffering, Reikland Reavers – Altdorf Old Bowl, Lowdown Rats – Swamp Dome, Champions of Death – Pain Park and so on. So inducements don’t make sense for the majority of teams, though do somewhat for the nomadic teams like – The Hobgoblin Team and the Unsettled Sea Elves etc…

Back on track - The inducements work a lot better as they are based on TV and you can spend the TV difference to make the matches fairer, but most importantly you can PICK what you want to spend the inducements on. All this said I do not totally agree with their implementation. First of all (and this is probably going to be unpopular) I do not like that Star players are inducements or that they have ‘Loner’. For me star players should be something you spend your money on which currently we have nothing for, also loner makes the majority of them somewhat pointless. Similarly Wizards imo should not be an inducement imo, again this should be something for your cash only. Both are far far too common imo, and both especially wizards create a very gimmicky (and arguably a too powerful) equaliser, as opposed to actually having a fairer match up.

What I also do not like is inducement abuse; teams like Goblins, Halfling, Underworld and Ogres are all better with certain inducements that they can ever really hope to achieve through team development. This is just wrong and gives little incentive for developing these teams, instead keeping your TV down and taking Star Players, bribes etc… to make your team better, this is counter intuitive. Also although handicaps were a bit of a mess there were some very important ones that effected the meta game that have been lost sadly. These handicaps forced coaches to take deeper benches and develop more evenly. Handicaps like ‘ I Am The Greatest’, ‘It Wasn’t Me’, ‘Duh where am I’ are greatly missed from this edition imo. They were far more entertaining than the current ‘serious’ inducements and they actually had a positive effect on team management. Personally I think the ideal way for inducements to work is somewhere between the two systems. First of all change the name back to handicaps and revert to the previous fluff, it made sense and one of the key factors in drawing people in to Bloodbowl was the amazing background involved in all of it.

Keep certain inducements as they are Babes, wandering apo, igor, mercs, remove star players and Wizard and keep them as things you buy. Then include some of the old handicaps from LRB4 like the ones mentioned above, re-work others and give them TV costs. Their effect on the meta game was the correct way to go about things but their implementation in LRB4 was just very poor. If you went this route you could even include really old ones again like Spy from 2nd ed, so if the TV leader spends his money on say a wizard, you could induce a spy which would negate it and so on. The handicap system of cheating and foul play was far more fun and entertaining and if structured like the current inducement system you could have the best of both worlds.

Where inducements come in to their element is the tournament scene. Personally I don’t play in Fumbbl tourneys, but they are without a doubt far healthier now than they were in LRB4, in which there were some teams that were just ridiculous. The TR they reached was never meant to be possible. At the time these became known as ‘Birthday Teams’ meaning they rarely played outside of tournaments and just appeared in the tourneys once or twice a year. Teams like Competitive Eaters were one of the more famous high TR teams and there were others. So those coaches that claim match ups are fairer now and under LRB4 you played so many unfair match ups were by and large the coaches that played in tournaments. As someone that just played in L or R I never had any issues, and even though I prefer lrb4 on the whole the tournament scene is without doubt a better place for this rule set.

Quote:

Some comments from Tom Anders/GalakStarScraper

GalakStarScraper wrote:

Jervis Johnson's definition of a "perpetual" league was one where player could come and go, stick with teams they love or start new ones in the midst of seasoned teams and the league kept running just fine. The idea of his for prepetual Blood Bowl was for a league that never had to be restarted in order to work. 3rd edition didn't work that way ... you had to restart the league from scratch every couple seasons or new teams spent forever developing because they would be slaughtered. This fact was pretty true all the way through LRB 4.0. LRB 5.0 was Jervis introducing the perpetual league concept where a league would never need to be restarted in order to work.

That's what that word meant in relationship to Blood Bowl.

So in Jervis's mind ... perpetual to him meant a league that constantly had teams retiring and new ones starting as player interest changed or new players joined and that was not a problem.
Tom


GalakStarScraper wrote:

Yes it was the intention that if a player never wanted to retire his team that would be okay. That's why the attrition rules pack the improved punch they do with CRP, why the apothecary is worse and why Spiralling Expenses are there. All 3 are meant to help the game trim down a higher TV team.


This is interesting. So again we are back to achieving the perpetual league concept (which fumbbl does fall in to, though not in the typical sense). Apo is worse to hurt the higher TV team - not sure this was successful really especially when looking at CPOMB teams, as they are typically the safest from suffering on account of their best players lying on the floor most of the time and the lower TV teams tend to have no reliable way of hurting them now fouling was made so much worse. Though if it was better it would currently only help the CPOMB teams the most, so a change to both is needed imo. Spiralling Expenses seems to divide opinion and I am constantly surprised when I read that people don’t like them, I believe people are looking at this from a selfish perspective rather than how it effects the game as a whole. There was a similar system in LRB4 the ‘treasury phase’ and earlier though it wasn’t successful. Pimping teams Fan Factor really high made it possible to accumulate huge sums of money and build monster teams like the one posted above. Again coming back to the fumbbl tournament scene - spiralling expenses are excellent at keeping the tournaments interesting.Without them working in their current form we would end up with more uber teams again. So I think the BBRC and JJ were largely successful in achieving what they wanted here.

Quote:

GalakStarScraper wrote:

My thoughts on this. FUMBBL has proven without a doubt to me that perpetual Blood Bowl can work. IF Cyanide would program in ALL the inducements (including all the Star Players (they can leave out the Special Play Cards though)) and the rest of the 21 teams and make sure that you have a way to only have games played through non-cherry picking and non-I'll get my friends to help me cheat methods ... then it would be readily apparent that this game does work with teams playing for as many games as they want. FUMBBL has teams that have played THOUSANDS of games. And LRB 5.0/6.0 takes what FUMBBL had and made it even more balanced.

Yes at some point Blood Bowl becomes about team management over team growth ... but that is deliberate and meant to be a part of the game. Allowing continuous growth is broken and reaches the boring point that dode74 mentions.

Before you try to suggest that this games needs changed ... can you use that energy to actually work to get the whole game available first.

Seriously ... I spent thousands of hours over the last 5 years re-writing the rulebook. The BBRC had the help of some great people doing it. I believe without question that what Doubleskulls and I present to you in LRB 6.0 is the most balanced rulebook Blood Bowl has ever had. It doesn't need more ... its that good and I know its that good. However ... too many are judging this game on just a fraction of its rules as implemented by Cyanide. Before we start looking for weird features in Blitz mode ... let's give everyone a chance to play the actual game first

Galak



Oh Galak, I do wish you wouldn’t continuously try and take all the credit for CRP there was another 6 people involved in the process and lrb5 at least.……

Right, so first of all it’s a bit of a rant. But there are a couple of important points here. Firstly – ‘It’s about team management rather than team growth’ – Oh boy this is a real bone of contention. I certainly believe they succeeded here but was it good for the games. I don’t think so. Building your team is what makes the game so enjoyable for many people, this is why some people don’t like spiralling expenses, why some people don’t like the new apothecary who is pretty useless and why people don’t like CPOMB, as you probably guessed this was taken from a CPOMB thread of which there are zillions. He does have a point though, continuous growth does allow teams to become somewhat broken and again this makes the tournament scene a hell of a lot healthier that it used to be. However I do think they have been unsuccessful on their attempt to make leagues truly perpetual. Personally I think there are some skill combinations that are too powerful and in the hands of a good coach these cpomb teams become league king makers. Not always winning leagues or even boasting a good win percentage, but depending on when other teams play these teams over the course of a season has a dramatic effect on the outcome of the season.

CPOMBs effectiveness in terms of removing players from the pitch is always a hot topic, and the combo in its self isn’t that big an issue for me though I still think it is too powerful. For me it is mostly about the ease of which it is obtained, the fact it can be spammed across a team with ease and that players are now safer on the ground at high TV than anywhere else because of the largely ineffective fouling and the fact that the players are now safe from being CPOMB’d themselves.

This could be addressed in two ways – bringing back Traits which is my preferred method, or not allowing the ease of access team have to it. The 2nd point would still need a nerf to cpomb and out of all the ones I have tested the proposed fix by Galak and Doubleskulls is the best to date which is – Pile On does not stack, so when you use the RR it does not use MB or Claw. Off the top of my head this reduces its power from 58% ish chance of removal to 38% chance which is far more palatable. Also the ease of which teams have access to the combo should be addressed if traits were not brought back, so Chaos Pact Marauders should lose S access on normal rolls, Chaos and Nurgle the Beastmem/pestigors M access should be moved to doubles. Then the issue is resolved.

If traits were brought back in some form then no change would be required really, Pile On and Claw both become traits amongst others and now teams can’t spam the skill combo with ease. However in a perpetual environment people would be able to play enough to get the skill combo on as many players as they want even with 2 doubles. How best to stop this – bring back LRB4 fouling. It was possibly too powerful so split DP in to 2 skills both giving +1 to fouling and bring back a version of igeomy except on a sliding scale so the more you foul the higher the odds of getting sent off. This means that players attempting to build CPOMB by getting all the doubles etc.. would have big targets on their head. It would mean all teams have a weapon to use again which sadly they currently do not, all the attrition comes at the hands of a small group of teams. Yes CPOMB teams could use fouling too, but they would no longer have 5 perfect killers in a team, they would be lucky to even have 1 that lived any real length of time and Pilling On would not be as common when the counter was so much more easily available and quicker to obtain.

Removal of Igeomy in this edition was also a big mistake. Fouling had a tactical element to it, it encouraged good positional play to counter it, it may have been too good, personally I thought it was fine, but the fix for that was pretty obvious and straight forward. Reverting fouling to doubles =sending off removed a large tactical element of the game and replaced it with blind luck. On top of that bribes coupled with completely random fouling is a really nasty combo, sometimes it does nothing other times teams are deleted as you dice your opponent fouling every turn because of the safety of a bribe and never get sent off and slowly whittle your opponents’ team down using luck rolls. Again a sliding igeomy scale system would have prevented this as your bribe would be gone after the 2nd or 3rd foul every time unless your opponent was stupid enough to foul you back. As said before fouling was a tool that everyone could use as well, and removal of ageing was a very popular idea. I personally didn’t mind ageing but now its gone it could never come back. With nerfing CPOMB in some way and increasing the potency of fouling again you have a better way of attrition working in the place of ageing. Instead of relying primarily on CPOMB teams to make up for ageing we would have a more evenly spread system that would also start a little earlier in team development to help keep TV in check and most importantly everyone could use it, while the bash teams would obviously still have an advantage on the bash front.


Then we come to what is imo and always has been for me the biggest problem in this edition how TV works – Again I prefer LRB4 on the whole but CRP has done a far better job than LRB4 did in how TV (then called TR) represents a team’s strength. But it is far from perfect and as Galak says team management is the focus of this edition which has basically put a big focus on gaming TV. Again for me the happy place for how TV or TR works is actually between LRB4 and LRB6, like most changes between these editions the jump they made was too drastic. Instead of moving from a cumulative TV system they moved to basic flat rate skill costing. The answer for me was always this – Skill costs go – 20k 20k 30k 30k 40k 40k (then a legend skill, more on this later). Now some people like the flat skill cost system because they like that the game has moved towards what has become known as Stars and Scrubs. Where teams aim to have 5 Legends and the rest of the team are rookies or utility players 1 kick, 1 dp. Personally I really dislike this system. I much preferred even skill distribution, the extra tactical element involved in trying to create teams that develop together. With this does come some issues with a couple of rosters, namely dwarves and zons. Amazons just need a total re-write so I’m not even going to go there. Dwarves on the other hands should not start with Tackle, give it to their blitzers sure, but starting with Block + Tackle on all their players leads to teams not taking the positionals as they are not as good as the linemen and with a move back towards the even skill team building it would make matters worse for Dwarves. Everyone else its fine. The reason I find this system preferable was skill stacking is what makes teams and players even more powerful and a cumulative cost system makes their TV more representative or their actual value and impact they have one games. The flat system does not which is another reason why cpomb legends are more prevalent now. Same story for super elves etc… rather than teams focused on balanced strategic play we have teams that all about the power plays rather than good positional play and has imo lead to a lower standard of coaching and a general lack of consideration towards expert positional play.

Then we come to big guys. Because the game has moved towards management as Galak says, big guys have become largely irrelevant, and their TV increase across the board was a terrible move. All of the Big Guys apart from Troll and Treemen need a price decrease so they become more common again, they shouldn’t be auto choice, but they should be more of a consideration if you want to play competitively. Currently they are just too much bloat. Knock their price down. Also I would remove Loner from the Goblin Trolls. I would also incentivise creating Legend big guys. At the moment most big guys need Guard, block and the are done, maybe PO and or Stand Firm as well, but that’s it. They start off bloaty enough as it is, but by the time they reach Legend they are even more so as they take a bunch of skills they don’t want or need. I would also replace loner. I don’t like this change either. I personally preferred either allowing the RR (of lrb2 I think it was) or not of lrb4., as the 50% chance has moved their tactical usage more towards dicey situations. However the change has been made now, so working from that I would rather see their Loner skill changed back ti Big Guy but working like loner in a sense. Rookie big guys can make rrs on a 6, next skill on a 5, then 4, then3, until they reach legend where they are free to use re-rolls. This way you have a great incentive for skilling Big Guys up all the way to Legend and you get a payoff for doing so. They still wouldn’t be an auto selection but there would more reason to do so and it would open up development paths.

As for the Legend skill, I would like to see this brought back again. In LRB4 there was a big problem with Legends as their TR never represented their value. Now they are too cheap for players with great skill access, but they are still bloaty for just G access only, or stunty players except for the exceptional stat freak ones. Personally if the skill increase Tv costing system I mentioned above was implemented. Then to incentivise creating and keeping legends a free legend trait would be optional to players. These wouldn’t be normal skills but would require a normal skill to get access to the legendary skill. So Legendary traits off the top of my head – Dirty Tackle, Stand Firm, Hideous Appearance, Sprint, and so on. So take Dirty Tackle for example, you would need Diving Tackle but if a player with this skill gets to legend it becomes dirty tackle which adds +1 to Av and injury when a player is knocked over with this skill. StandFirm – normal stand firm exists and if you have it then you get the Legendary Trait version (obviously another name would be needed), this would be the LRB4 when you fail a dodge you don’t fall over, though add a st as agility roll to it like break tackle, so st4 would be a 3+, St5 a 2+. Sprint would be as it is now, but you would require Sure Feet first. This would mean you would need to be a legend to create a natural one turner. Hideous Appearance adds 1 to the FA roll so opponents would need a 3+ to block a player with this skill. (these are all taken from old rule sets so its nothing new.)

Then there is a problem with a bunch of skills being changed for the worse. Horns should revert to LRB4, it required tactical application having to move prior to blitz to use it. Now it is boring. Allowing multiblock to be used on a blitz again would be good as this change has done away with fun skill combos like horns dauntless multi-block which added flavour and diversity to building players which has been lost. Foul Appearance and Disturbing Presence should be combined in to one skill again so people actually take it. Tentacles should be reverted to LRB4 because it again created a nice skill combo with Pro which has been lost.

Then rosters - Nurgle Warrios should be 10k cheaper. Remove decay from TGs and give thick skull to positionals. Necromantic Flesh Golems should be 10k cheaper, their price increase for balance was amongst the most ridiculous reasons for making changes I came across during the CRP design process. Ogres and Zons need a complete re-write. FF also shouldn’t count towards TV nor should you be able to purchase it. Kick off table, bad kick should be brought back to replace High Kick. Blitz and perfect defence both still need a nerf.

The other big problem with CRP was how much power 1 person appears to have had during the LRB5 to CRP design process, maybe I am wrong but once JJ outlined his intentions and presented Galak with his inducements ideas. There appears to be too much of one persons opinion involved in the CRP design process and too many changes slipped in under the carpet before it opened up to BBRC as a whole again. The same person also got everything tested on MBBL (obviously TT as well) but MBBL client is very very poor.

Quote:
Galak said –
I eventually was invited to join the BBRC and through a series of events I ended up being solely responsible for writing the rules for LRB 5.0 for a period of one year.


Quote:
Galak said –
It really was a matter of being the person on the BBRC who had the time and energy and patience to do so. In the beginning it was only Ian Williams (Doubleskulls), Jervis Johnson, and myself really working on the rules for the first year. Then Jervis was required to work on other projects and it was just Ian and I. After two months Ian had to quit due to family commitments and Jervis offered to either make what we had final and call it good or allow me full control for another year of work. I knew the rules were not ready yet to be LRB 5.0 so I stayed with it.


Who knows how true any of this is or how much he is just blowing his own horn, but a number of the changes made, even little ones like changed Ramtut’s Block to wrestle were met with a great deal uproar and Galak dismissed them. This can be found on TFF and MBBL. Similarly Flix told Galak in no uncertain terms about the problems CPOMB would cause and Galak dismissed it. Which was a terrible way to treat someone who is so knowledgeable in the game. Sadly the person who was put in charge of the BBRC after Neoliminal stepped down just does not deal well with constructive criticism at all well, unlike Neo who imo was a vastly superior lead in the BBRC.

Galak has also positioned him self to the unaware as the most important ex BBRC member which is sad. It's good that he is there to help people learn the game and so on, and I still respect a number of things he did for the game, but credit really should be given to the other BBRC memebers who did a very good job on the whole. He also got some things horribly wrong and in conclusion I still don't think the rules achieved what their main aim was which was making it truly perpetual. Its certainly better for fumbbl tournaments than previous editions. For TT resurection tournaments its almost no different to lrb4, though slightly better for the inclusion of wrestle and some improvements to rosters making it a little more diverse. In terms of fun, depth of team building and tactical depth, for me LRB4 was still the best but thats just my opinion

But also bare this in mind, before asking for big changes and or house rules - There were many that disliked the vault process and hated that the rules were updated to frequently, at least we now have a rule set that is set in stone for the time being. Its not perfect, but its still bloodbowl. The worst thing that could happen to this game is a fractured rule set, the NAF and fumbbl could easily create their own rules but then we would have 4 rule sets, Cyanides terrible version, CRP, then the NAF and or fumbbl version. This would not be good for the game and we have been in a similar situation in the past especially during the Lrb1 - 2 era where there were 4 rules changes in quick succession which did no good for the game.

Lets just hope in the coming years GW flurishes again so they can turn their attention to specialist games once more. I am sure JJ still loves them as much as he used to, but if I were to guess he probably has more pressing matters at the moment in this world of computer games.
Rate this entry
Comments
Posted by JimmyFantastic on 2014-05-17 18:44:22
Really good
Posted by Badoek on 2014-05-17 19:22:16
Tl;dr
Joking, good read and you've got some strong arguments. I haven't played lrb4 long enough to remember much of it. So I'll just see what everyone else will say and THEN agree or not :D
Posted by mrt1212 on 2014-05-17 19:40:29
Great entry Garion!
Posted by Synn on 2014-05-17 19:52:56
Very good work Garion.

I have never been shy about knocking Galak, but for all his flaws I will say this:

-He did push through a game that was an improvement over LRB4. The knock is that in his effort to 'push', he failed to make it the best game possible.

Literally, CRP only needs to address the balance of violence (clawpomb vs. fouling) and it will be perfect within the whistles. Anything else that could be done to improve the game would be the rosters/development aspect which is always going to be different for a massive online league like Fumbbl than for a small dedicated TT league.

__Synn
Posted by keggiemckill on 2014-05-17 19:56:53
I hated LRB4 because I originally started with thoughts of perpetual leagues. LRB4 from a FUMBBL perspective was just a cluster Frick of people Fouling. There was no Football aspect to the game other than kick offs. I remember it being like 70s Rugby where people kicked players on the ground because they were on the ground. Very similar to the Cheese Ball CPOMBers in Box. So to me the game didn't exactly change much, it just changed differently. There are people who intend on killing to win more than playing Foot Ball. I prefer the later, but I also understand that I can't control the manner in which one plays or wants to play. In their eyes I am probably just as cheese ball in the way I play as I think they are in the way they play. I just did not like that LRB4 forced me to play rougher style.There was no coming back from losing 3-5 Players in a game. Retiring teams was the Norm back then. Plus Aging was the absolute worst and Niggles forced people to miss games. Min Maxing at its best unfortunately. Anyways it's just my thought. Not that it's right or wrong it's just my memory and opinion of it. Good blog regardless, but if you aren't working for GW, nothing will change.

* I must say I wouldn't mind a plus 2 to DP again as long as there can't be assists added.
Posted by Dunenzed on 2014-05-17 22:20:32
Really enjoyed the history of the game. Thanks Garion.
Posted by pythrr on 2014-05-17 22:40:54
bring back aging

Posted by pythrr on 2014-05-17 22:43:26
oh, and 4.0 fouling was fine, because the eye.

Posted by Garion on 2014-05-17 22:46:09
I think so to but many did not
Posted by Bobs on 2014-05-18 02:12:32
Dirty Player +1, Sneaky git +1, sneaky git can assist fouls from tackle zones.
Igmeoy yes. PO cant use skills yes.
Journeymen was the best addition to the rule set, new niggle rules was probably the second. I think a variation to aging is needed. Maybe adding a niggle at 76 would be 3+, 5+ at 176.
Posted by happygrue on 2014-05-18 02:25:54
Great read Garion. I realize the folks who know what they are talking about (read: old wise heads) disagree with me on this, but I'm going to to ahead and have my opinion anyway:

I think fracturing the community with house rules would be a net good thing if done carefully. That is, that we don't actually fracture the community, but instead put a up a Manhattan Project together and test out ONE rules set with fixes attempted along the lines of what Synn mentions above. This ONE rule set can be tested and tweaked for a time and then tried out against the current rules and a year later we have data on which is working better. While there is danger down that path as Garion points out, there is also gain: We no longer have a dead game. Personally, I fear that smart people dismiss this with hand waving, but we do have a dead game here. How many people hang on because there is still a chance the rules will change someday? What happens if it ever becomes clear to those people (myself included) that the rules really never will change again?

My thought is, if the rules are really now fixed in stone then we're boned over the long term. And if the rules ARE going to change again someday then why aren't we getting out ahead of it this time with some proposals based on data from an actual perpetual league?
Posted by fidius on 2014-05-18 09:07:57
I appreciate your knowledge of the game in terms of history and all the work you've put in to NTBB and the rest. This post is a great assembly of quotes from the creators of the game. But my impression is that your ideas are burdened by that history, and that a more out-of-the-box vision is required.

In my view this vision needs to be governed by a few simple principles:
1) If all skills are to cost the same in TV, their effectiveness needs to be equalized as much as possible.
2) If attrition is a goal at higher TV, the mechanic should affect all teams equally.
3) League diversity requires the playability of lower tier teams be improved.
4) For simplicity's sake, additional rules concepts should be avoided if possible.

I think most of these things can be accomplished simply by an extensive re-do on the Skills list. This would include redefining most of the top skills, removing some, and adding new ones to fill in the gaps.
Posted by Garion on 2014-05-18 09:11:54
I didn't do anything for nttb, I tested it and felt it was a horrible set of house rules
Posted by Endzone on 2014-05-18 09:53:40
Impressive and comprehensive analysis. Personally I think CRP is a decent rule set which did address a number of issues (and is just soo much better that Ed. 3 which I grew up on), however I would agree with most of the points made here by Garion. Whilst JJ was wanting a system that worked for what he called perpetual leagues, I think Fumbbl tests this idea at 'the limit' with coaches able to play teams for hundreds of games, easily and quickly. It would be great for Bloodbowl if at some stage a further revised rule set was implemented which addresses some of the well known issues.

I am not an expert on inducements, as a Blackbox player I rarely play up or down by TV much, but in my limited experience I would say that there is generally advantage to the developed team over the undeveloped team with inducements. This is as it should be - there should b the incentive to develop teams but the balance needs to be just right so undeveloped teams are still competitive.

Given the millions of threads Clawpomb and min-max seem to be the biggest concerns in the community. I think Garion's suggestions for addressing clawpomb look good. Min-max is a child of TV management - its just an efficient form of it. Addressing rosters (e.g. Amazon and Chaos Pact) can help relieve some of the examples the community seem most unhappy with. I appreciate many will have a different view, but personally I have always enjoyed the TV management side of the game. In previous rule sets it seemed the only goal for team development was to develop teams with very high TV. In the current rule set coaches can set them selves goals to create the best team they can at any TV. With the exception of some extreme examples at very low TV, I think this is fine and gives achievable team development goals for new and occasional coaches too.

Finally, one thing that doesn't get mentioned too much is the big disparity between how good different skills are. If they could be more balanced it would encourage more diverse team development. Any skill needs the pass the 'why not just give him block instead' test. I am not saying each skill has to be as good as block, but it at least has to have a credible worth for given players. I think the mutations list is particularly guilty here - access to mutations is currently, primarily access to claw.
Posted by Garion on 2014-05-18 10:05:14
I agree with mutations needing reworked which I addressed above. However aiming to make all skills of equal strength is both an impossible task and also one that shouldn't be done. Varying skill quality and learning the game and their strengths is one of the joys of the game when starting out. If skills were costed by tv then the transparency would remove some of the fun from the learning curve. Also later in team development is where the lesser picked skills become more common, sure they are more situational and not as powerful as block but when they work and win you the game they are all the more rewarding.
Posted by Endzone on 2014-05-18 10:51:13
Garion, yep, accept your point on why skills of varying worth is good, however I was only asking for them to be 'more balanced'. The more genuinely competitive skills there are, the less we would see the 'cookie cutter' builds (or perhaps more precisely, the more cookie cutter builds there would be), and diversity is good.
Posted by Garion on 2014-05-18 11:04:35
Sure and with the changes I would make the cookie cutter builds would be dealt with already. Again I agree with mutations needing work and some other skills do. But making them all equal is an impossible task. Passing for example will always be a sub optimal strategy so their skills can never be equal to something like block.
Posted by bghandras on 2014-05-18 13:26:38
Skills never will be equally powerful. Only method of balancing is costing them appropriately. I have no problem having a skill cost 30k or 40k, or in some cases 10k. The design space is much much much bigger if the costs are allowed to be different.
Posted by Garion on 2014-05-18 14:07:10
Its a fair point, and for experienced players like us it makes sense, but from a rookie coach perspective over complication of the rules is bad thing and discovery of skills, their uses and relative power is a big part of the fun involved in learning the game. As you elude to elsewhere as well if you went that route complete roster re-pricing would also be needed so they were genuinely costed fairly against their ability which again would add more complexity to the game. While at the moment we have a pretty rough system for player costing.

I personally from a selfish point of view would be all in favour of an extremely complex rule set but it would not be welcomed by the new and inexperienced coaches. It would probably be a move more towards 2nd edition really.
Posted by bghandras on 2014-05-18 15:19:57
I agree about the burden of complexity. On the other hand my gaming experience says that if you use costing as a differentiation, and use that as a leveller, and on the other hand you dismantle everything else to the basics, then you get a cleaner and more simple structure.

Examples. Please don't treat it as a suggestion, just an explanation to support my point above:
If skills are costed appropriately, then you could remove the exceptions and the add-ons from a skill. You could in theory
- Remove the no grab from frenzy, and price accordingly.
- Remove the coin flip from pro skill, and price accordingly.
- Make leap analogue to dodge (which means a +1 compared to present status), and price accordingly
- Make jump up analogue to dodge (which means a +1 compared to present status), and price accordingly
- Make fend mandatory to use (thus save time during the game), and price accordingly
- Make stand firm mandatory to use (thus save time during the game), and price accordingly
- Make mighty blow +1 on each, or on injury only, and price accordingly (thus simplifying the mechanic and remove an exception)
- Dirty player +1 on each, or on injury only, and price accordingly (thus simplifying the mechanic and remove an exception)
- Make dodge mandatory to use (thus save time during the game), and price accordingly
- Make Break tackle mandatory to use on the 1st tackle (thus does not save time online, but does save time and misunderstanding in tabletop), and price accordingly.
- Simplify juggernaut, thus weakening it, and make it a skill which costs 10k
- Remove the sure hands protection on strip ball, and price accordingly
Posted by Verminardo on 2014-05-18 15:31:26
That’s an incredibly geeky thing to do, to write such a long and expertly analysis on something like Blood Bowl. As someone who has done the same thing (or at least tried) on table top role-playing for years, I of course mean it as a compliment! :)

I appreciate the nuances and background but really the core of the matter is rather simple: When a game is made less complex and more accessible, the people who relished it before will not like the change. That’s okay, the changes are meant to benefit those who didn’t really get to enjoy the game fully before. I count myself among them, as under CRP I was able to become a good if not great player and build up some competitive teams in some 200 ranked matches on Fumbbl, something I believe would not have been possible in LRB4.

It still did take those 200 games and quite some dedication though, which goes to show that BB still has a great deal of tactical depth and, well, let’s say sufficient strategic depth. No matter how many times purplegoo makes it sound trivial. ;)
Posted by Garion on 2014-05-18 19:42:24
Yup getting the balance of complexity to simplicity is really the key here. For me crp on the whole over simplified too many things which has lead to problems. As with most things imo the happy perfect rule set is somewhere between the two rule sets. I certainly wouldn't want things to get more simplistic.
Posted by bghandras on 2014-05-18 20:53:30
I presented tool which is able to
- make the game more complex
- make the game more simple
Please decide which route you want. To me your message is mixed. Once you explain that it would be too complex, then you say you don't want to simplify. Maybe I misunderstood, but this is how it come across.
Posted by Garion on 2014-05-18 21:30:16
The point is there is a balance to be struck, and getting this right is tricky. That all I was saying, nothing more.
Posted by Frankenstein on 2014-05-19 00:08:12
You're still wrong with traits as it's not worth having them when only one category has more than one of them.

To put skills such as Frenzy, Dauntless, Nerves of Steel (would need a buff) into a unique skill category only accessible with doubles (psych, for instance) would seem reasonable though.

And for my taste there are still too many big guys rather than too few as big guys reduce character and flavour of tier 1 rosters.

As for PO: Simply remove it from the game. Claw and MB provide enough attrition on their own (and w/o PO there'll be more blocks in a given game which in return make up for the missed PO-cas).
Posted by Garion on 2014-05-19 08:15:40
I'm not wrong, it my opinion, and Imo they were good for the game and all catagories would have multiple. However I did say now they have been removed they probably couldnt get brought back as restriction like that would be badly received.

I'm not getting in to the big guy thing with you as you have an irrational hatred of all big guys where as the vast majority of people enjoy them. :p

Posted by Badoek on 2014-05-19 12:48:21
Big Guys are good for the in-game chat.
Posted by Frankenstein on 2014-05-19 19:20:22
My dislike for big guys on tier 1 rosters is actually fully rational. A tendency to overreact and exaggerate is what I would call irrational ;)