A Page from a Fouler's Playbook
Maybe some of you read my previous blog about fouling? If you haven't, I strongly recommend doing so, as this article is a follow up on that.
During the LRB4 era, fouling was golden. The chance of ejection was small, and most attrition came from fouling. Gang fouls were common. This changed with LRB6 (CRP), as the Eye of the Ref was removed. The chance of ejection increased to about 30 % with the introduction of the "double" ejection roll. Referees are much sharper today than they were before, and not biased anymore by previous insults.
This change of the rules discouraged coaches, including myself, from fouling. Nobody likes losing a player about 30 % of the time. On the other hand, team composition has changed too. Instead of balanced teams, nowadays teams run with a few Super-stars or Legends, and the rest of the team are Rookies or near Rookies. Plus; the proliferation of Piling On and Wrestle has increased the chance of a really good player lying on the ground. These effects and their relation to fouling inspired me, and thus led to the reintroduction of fouling to my playbook.
In the tactical guide below you will find the theory behind fouling, the maths, the profit and loss expectation, some implications on team building and some personal examples. I hope you enjoy it, and may apply it to your playbook (or at least be generally aware of its presence), thus improving your level of gaming.
Theory & Maths
In the blog, I stated that, I had a paradigm shift regarding fouling around 27th April 2015. There is strong maths behind my theory, so fasten your seatbelt!
1. Most teams sport 1-2 Super-Star or Legendary players which cost north of 200 k in TV. These teams are usually trimmed so that teams with evenly distributed skills can't catch them in a "fair" game, which results in no bench, or a narrow bench
2. Fouling (assuming armour is broken) has about a 1/6 chance to injure a player, and a 44 % chance to eliminate him from the pitch (assuming no Thick Skull)
3. The chance of being sent off is about 30 %. So if you foul with a player which costs 70 k, then you lose on average 20 k on each foul (this is player value multiplied by ejection assuming an armour break)
4. If you foul a player which costs 240 k, assuming you get an armour break, you injure about 40 k in TV on average (injuries happen on an injury roll of 10-12. This represents a chance of 6 / 36, or 1 / 6. So if you apply these odds to the player costing 240 TV, then 240 / 6 = 40 TV). The break even point is at about 130 TV if you discount the possibility of a KO, and the possibility of not breaking armour (but being ejected)
5. The maths change dramatically if the player still costs the same 70 k, but has Dirty Player. The player then breaks even around 80 k. So a 2 skilled Wardancer is well beyond the break even range
6. In a case where your opponent does not have a bench and you do, a 'double elimination' is certainly a profit. Playing 9 Vs. 7 is much better than 12 Vs. 10.
The maths say that fouling is a strong strategy. Maybe not strong enough to be a base strategy, but it sounds like a strong plan B with a very low investment of 1-2 skills.
Two Weeks of the New Strategy
Time to verify the data! Let's start with the statistics. Let's see if there is a different win percentage compared to previous playbooks. Please note that the two weeks in question saw me playing Blackbox most of the time, but I also played some other games. So it is an 'apples to apples' comparison with my overall winning rate.
My statistics in the two weeks in question (for 23 games played) are as follows:
Which is an 89 % win percentage. My win percentage was not bad before that (74 %), but it represents a significant improvement of 15 %.
- Fouling rate before the 27th of April: 0.37 fouls per game on average (thanks Wreckage!)
- Fouling rate of the most recent two weeks:
- Total Games: 23
- Total Fouls: 54
- Average number of fouls per game: 2.35
- This is about 2 fouls more than before
- Number of games with at least 3 fouls: 8, or 35 % of total games
- I set the benchmark at 3, as about 3 fouls are needed on average to injure a player
Please note that I don't force turn 16 fouls. The vast majority of fouls were tactical.
What I do Differently When I Build a Team Now Using the Above Fouling Statistics
1. I make sure I have a bench. 11 players is a no-go for most of the time
2. I usually have a larger bench than before
3. I treat Dirty Player as a legitimate first skill choice on Zombie, Amazon Linewoman, Norse lineman, Hobgoblin
4. I look to turn the 2-1 grind upside down. It means that if the opponent receives first, and I have hard time stopping him, then I try to do as much damage as possible (sometimes even conceding the score) so that I have a legitimate chance to score twice in the second half. It even worked against Chaos. Note that this is not the preferred route to winning, but rather a Plan C. Anyway, this is a recent development in my playbook.
1. "My first Chaos Dwarf experience" (yes it is the team name and yes it is true) just leveled up their first Hobgoblin. He got Dirty Player
2. My Norse teams are aiming at 2 Dirty players (I wrote previously that only the important positions should be doubled to make the team efficient)
3. Teams with Regeneration and a bench should do the same!
Still Skeptical About What to do?
The numbers suggest that fouling works. They also confirmed that fouling is not a Plan A, but a strong Plan B or C for many teams. If it does not work for you, then don't do it! It does not work in every situation for every team and for every coach. But, it is one of the tools which you should be aware of. Maybe your opponent will read my thesis and act accordingly. Stay tuned, be prepared!
Fouling is a profitable business, but there is no guarantee that it works every time you use it. It needs dice! So, if you will win without it, then don't roll dice. However, when you need an extra edge, this is a good place to find it.