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JackassRampant



Joined: Feb 26, 2011

Post   Posted: Nov 21, 2022 - 18:56 Reply with quote Back to top

Okay, so I got this friend. I know she'd love Blood Bowl, but she's skeptical. She's a pretty hardcore RPG gamer and is reasonably good at Magic (and really any game, which is why I'm trying to convince her to try BB). As a Magic player, she really likes multiplayer games and is at her happiest when she gets to bring in silver-bordered "everybody wins" mechanics.

So we were talking about the various strategies in Blood Bowl, and she asked me, "are there heals?" One of my friends heard "heels," and pointed at me, but she clarified that she meant, "can you heal other people?"

It was late, I was drunk, I didn't have a great answer. Obviously, the literal healing mechanics in the game don't work on other coaches' teams, but I was having a hard time articulating mutual advantage mechanics. It didn't help that the other person in the convo wanted to circle around to mutual-victory mechanics and I had to explain that no, there's nothing like that except a tie. But I didn't get to say what I really wanted to say, so I'm running it by y'all before I bring it up, so I'm a bit clearer on it.

"You can't literally heal other teams, and there's no mutual victory mechanic, at least not if you don't count ties. But it's a progression game, and there's a perfectly valid strategy that involves gifting your opponent Star Player Points, and sometimes cash too, in exchange for a chance at winning. It's kind of the opposite of my style, but I can explain it.

"Take a team roster that has cheap, low-armor linemen, and really fast position players. Underworld is hands-down the best for this, but Skaven and Elven Union can do the job too, as can most Stunty squads. Try to run up the score and screen with cheaper players. You'll give up a lot of Casualties, and since you're running up the score you'll give your opponent a lot of chances to score too, but as long as you get more you don't care.

"However, they might care. Every casualty they score is 2 Star Player Points and a little rush of machismo feeling. Every touchdown they score is 3 Star Player Points and 10k of winnings, which is kind of like healing, in a way. If you lose 3-4 and score a bunch of Casualties, you're probably going to be in a stronger position going forward.

"The trick to Blood Bowl is that there's always a negotiation, or several negotiations, going on just under the surface. There's a strength in finding out what your opponent wants and offering it to them in exchange for what you think is really valuable.

"So there's not any literal healing of others, and literal win-win games don't really happen, but you can make a successful team built around making the other coach feel good about improving their odds in future games."

Is this about right? Again, it's not the way I play, but I'm quite sure she'll be able to pick up that kind of strategy without much effort, at least against my TT buddies. For those who actually play this way, am I missing anything really important? I think the tendency of Stunty Players to give up Badly Hurts and the finer points of Dedicated Fans are too in the weeds for the time being.

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Focus not on things you can't control, like bad dice, but instead on things under your power, like how far you flip the table.
MattDakka



Joined: Oct 09, 2007

Post   Posted: Nov 21, 2022 - 19:06 Reply with quote Back to top

There are heels too in BB, the Witch Elves have them. Razz
Sp00keh



Joined: Dec 06, 2011

Post   Posted: Nov 21, 2022 - 20:09 Reply with quote Back to top

I think if you position the game like that, it will be confusing / misleading for someone who's never played it

What you're talking about is very deep, and not relevant for anyone's first inital games, no matter how good they might be at other games

What I mean is, talking about valuable negotiations is not going to help when her wardancer dies in her first game
JackassRampant



Joined: Feb 26, 2011

Post   Posted: Nov 21, 2022 - 21:01 Reply with quote Back to top

The death of a Wardancer in the first week is invariably the product of a long chain of negotiations, or maybe "mistakes" is more like it: for the first thing, I'd never encourage a new coach to take Wood Elves in this edition, and then for the second I'd strongly discourage starting with Wardancers if you had to take Wood Elves: better to get them out of winnings and start with rerolls and fans instead.

I'm talking about an approach unfamiliar to many new coaches, but that doesn't automatically make it difficult or inapplicable. After all, this is a response to a fairly advanced-ball question.

But yes, I should advise her that it may take a season to get the hang of the game before you can start playing mind games with your opponents.

_________________
Focus not on things you can't control, like bad dice, but instead on things under your power, like how far you flip the table.
Nelphine



Joined: Apr 01, 2011

Post   Posted: Nov 21, 2022 - 22:07 Reply with quote Back to top

I'm inclined to agree. What you really are talking about, is playing a team that gets beat up, in order to ensure your opponent feels good/gets something out of the game even if you win. I personally think that's fundamentally different to what she's asking about.

I think beer boars are closer to what she's talking about, and in theory, you could easily see a 'healer' inducement that negates casualties or even a shaman type player who can negate stuns on the pitch. You could then expand that to things like 'healing circle' that could impact opponent players as well.

But I think fundamentally, this is a one on one game; and what she is looking at is more for league rules between coaches (rather than a rule to impact the pitch): 'ha, that heel is missing their best player and their next team is leading the league, so i will spend my heal to bring that missing player back!' That's more like what would happen with a white deck in a 3+ player Magic game, and the white player wants to prevent someone else from winning.

I think you could introduce house rules to your TT league to have things like that, but fundamentally the game doesn't have things like that.
Nelphine



Joined: Apr 01, 2011

Post   Posted: Nov 21, 2022 - 22:09 Reply with quote Back to top

also, now you've got me thinking about 4 way bb games, with 4 different end zones..
JackassRampant



Joined: Feb 26, 2011

Post   Posted: Nov 21, 2022 - 22:12 Reply with quote Back to top

My sense of it was that she was looking for plus-sum gaming. There's a ton of plus-sum gaming in Blood Bowl, but most of it happens either indirectly or below the surface.

_________________
Focus not on things you can't control, like bad dice, but instead on things under your power, like how far you flip the table.
JackassRampant



Joined: Feb 26, 2011

Post   Posted: Nov 21, 2022 - 22:28 Reply with quote Back to top

Nelphine wrote:
also, now you've got me thinking about 4 way bb games, with 4 different end zones..

Ooh. 3 teams, 2 end zones, 1 team starts in the middle with the ball and wins if nobody scores.

_________________
Focus not on things you can't control, like bad dice, but instead on things under your power, like how far you flip the table.
tussock



Joined: May 29, 2011

Post   Posted: Nov 22, 2022 - 00:38 Reply with quote Back to top

Aside from how we all tend to counter this by, you know, understanding it goes both ways ...

I'd say bloodbowl has some inherent griefing in it, the fact the fouling works better when you already outnumber them a lot, the way as you fall behind you have to roll harder dice to get your chances, the whole thing where pows and stuns get you more 2d blocks than pushes do, everything that works for you makes everything else easier for you and harder for your opponent, or it should do.

If you're not sticking the boot in when you're up 11 players to 3, I guess you haven't played that game where you lost to 3 players with 11 yet.

But also, you can still try things when you're behind, and things being less likely to work matters much less when you're losing already. You can't really lose harder, especially now inducements make up for MNGs and deaths so well in league settings, if you get five or six or even fourteen turns of unlikely to work, well, overall it still might work, or will some games if you stick at it. Never give up, there's a badge for that -2d double pow, you can't earn it without trying.

But being competitive, is really about dominating play, and leaning on any advantage you get to make your opponent's odds worse and worse over time, and building teams where you make that harder to do to you as bash teams, or still have less bad options if it does as agile. Bit of both with the middling teams.

--

So no, there's no heals, good rat coaches don't give up cas, they'll make a mess of you and steal the ball for a tidy 2-0. But there is RPG and story, especially in league.

Old rivalries, promotion and relegation systems, celebration of anyone's successes as well as your own, the glee of someone hurting their best killer just before you have to play it, little minor goals like rolling up stack of cas for your main hitter in a season, or finally getting a 2+ stunty goblin carrier for your Orcs. Or just getting a Khemri team to the top division, or top finals, so you can dream the impossible dream.

In C div here, it's more about the majors, can you make 2nd round, 3rd round, 4th round? Can you build something that'll have a better chance at that? Or can you hack the meta and do it anyway?

And in general, playing enough, over enough time, that the good players stop being this mysterious unbeatable luckers with their key pows, and more, oh, those players were put there three turns ago for that, and that other one I couldn't figure out why he was there, that was clever where he ended up.

And the whole Tao of blood bowl, where results of each little thing don't matter, there's just the best thing to do, and you do it, and it working or not is just blood bowl, which you are playing. One cannot achieve the Tao, but you may get closer by trying.

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Mnemon



Joined: Aug 02, 2003

Post   Posted: Nov 22, 2022 - 00:54 Reply with quote Back to top

Interesting. I think you should tell her that you started this discussion, because she's done something good here. Maybe.

We learn by playing - as most mammals - and the games we play here do have an impact. Not in - it turns you into a massmurderer type hyperbole - but it does affect the way you interact.

I took long breaks from FUMBBL and coming back time and again I notice how much more "cold" and efficient things have gotten from here to there. There's a lot less lightness now. Near everyone plays for the efficient 2-1 draw (edit: draw slipped in when writing that: but that's how most games feel. An unexiting nothing.) and clearing the pitch as much as possble now.

It wasn't like that when FUMBBL started.

"And the whole Tao of blood bowl, where results of each little thing don't matter, there's just the best thing to do, and you do it, and it working or not is just blood bowl, which you are playing. One cannot achieve the Tao, but you may get closer by trying."

But you miss something here, that she still points out. Becuase the game changes you - in that you stop considering the emotions of the opponent, and you dull your own. What you call the tao isn't the tao - it's what you decided it is. You _make_ a decision to play like this. It's not a set in stone must.

It is ok to NOT try to clear the pitch in the name of compassion. It is entirely ok to keep a game competitive and leave the opponent with a chance.

It's entirely ok to try to go for the wacky I want to score 5 touchdowns per half plays.

None of these things are "uncompetitive". They are just more risky. [And I'd argue you keep things more competitive - for both - but alas Smile. ]

I think it'd lead to more fun games, too, for both. Because - in the end, being efficient is dull as shit. And all you do is repeat the same game, the same situations, where one side is eventually beat into submission.

Some of the people that played my haflings commented on that - that they had the most fun in ages - mainly because I play them like shit. Trying to hit other players via ttm, doing the unreasonable stuff. But it is what the game actually is meant to be: fun for both.

Not an exercise in efficient game management for one and frustrated boredom for the other.

FUMBBL as a society / community has moved toward safety and boredom, searching reliabilty in chaos because "everyone does it like that".

I think when Khorne where released, for a short while, things kinda went different. Because they just are chaos, and re-introduced some of that chaos that lead to unpredictablity, and I think, more fun. Now - we are back to old dishwater water.

What is the point of a game - I'd say it's fun. More than just winning. And if your fun comes at the expense of the opponents: How much fun do you really have? I know there are folks out there, here on FUMBBL now, that get annoyed when an opponent takes to long for a turn, or when a game doesn't quite go as expected. If you are at that point you are no longer playing a game, you are sitting in a cubicle and doing a 9-5 job.

It's why the stunty leeg was and secret league is so important. Screw competitiveness and efficency for a while now and again.

Bloodbowl doesn't have to be what the "tao" of competitive FUMBBL tries to teach. Kindness is a cool thing.
koadah



Joined: Mar 30, 2005

Post   Posted: Nov 22, 2022 - 01:44 Reply with quote Back to top

Damn! They even call the players pieces these days.

Let's get Stunty started!

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Stunty Leeg 2020 - Coming soon!
moph



Joined: Sep 16, 2020

Post   Posted: Nov 22, 2022 - 03:27 Reply with quote Back to top

Nelphine wrote:
also, now you've got me thinking about 4 way bb games, with 4 different end zones..

there are rules on the NAF site for "deathbowl". That may be what you looking for. Smile
You even can buy pitches for that.
I sadly never played it myself.
Sp00keh



Joined: Dec 06, 2011

Post   Posted: Nov 22, 2022 - 10:08 Reply with quote Back to top

@Mnemon GW always wanted BB to have a heavy element of risky, 'wacky' and uncontrollable elements, I think

But controlling as much as you can is key to good BB.
So the grand achievement of the playerbase has been to strive towards a form of play in which control is maximised, and risk is minimised

You're right in that has increased over say, the last 10 years. I think youtube, replays, tactical analysis, blogs etc all play into that
It's more sterile, but it's not less interesting. its interesting in its own clinical way, like chess analysis. Probably not as visually interesting or accessible


Most games have had this happen over the last 10+ years I reckon
I used to play a lot of old FPS games like Quake1/2/3, Team Fortress, Counter Strike etc
I don't have the time to git gud now so can't compete online, I don't have the reflexes or coordination anymore. But, the average player standard has also got just so much better than they used to be


Regarding Stunty,
It obviously included a lot of wacky rules, fragile players, carnage all over the place and a lot of fun
But towards the end of its era, teams started to get genuinely scary and optimised towards very high damage output, pitch clears became more and more frequent
tussock



Joined: May 29, 2011

Post   Posted: Nov 22, 2022 - 10:25 Reply with quote Back to top

Mnemon wrote:
But you miss something here, that she still points out. Becuase the game changes you - in that you stop considering the emotions of the opponent, and you dull your own. What you call the tao isn't the tao - it's what you decided it is. You _make_ a decision to play like this. It's not a set in stone must.


You've got your own view on what this brings to the game, that I happen to not agree with. Playing well when ahead is about safety, playing well when behind is about juggling the wildest of risks.

https://fumbbl.com/p/match?id=4419541

My opponent hates what I did there. Hates it, with a passion. Will take dire vengeance on my pixels one day.

Watch that replay. All I did was the best I could think of each turn, trying desperately to just get each bit right, just to have a chance, and then I got a few turns where it balanced on a knife edge, and then one where it worked well, after the long disaster up front, and that was that.

Stopping teams from doing that, is hard. You think you need to give teams a chance, but you really don't, you just need to play against better coaches. They'll see chances where you didn't think you were leaving any. They do it to me, eh.

I'm just working on where there's less coaches do it to me, less often. But I still make mistakes, even trying not to, and one square out of place can cost you games.

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MerryZ



Joined: Nov 28, 2005

Post   Posted: Nov 22, 2022 - 10:46 Reply with quote Back to top

Shouldnt topic be "Mutual agreement" ?

And thats clearly against fumbbl rules outside leagues ?

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