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I hate warmachine....

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Re: I hate warmachine....

PostMon Oct 06, 2014 6:16 am

ElectricPaladin wrote:The game was fun while I was learning to play, but when I sat down and decided that I wanted to get good at it... it got old. I seriously felt like I could look at my opponent's list and figure out who was going to win, assuming that we both played competently. I know that at the tournament level there's a whole system built up around bringing two lists and choosing which one to play, but...


That exact statement is one I hear from everybody that plays WHFB with/against the nationally ranked guys. Being able to 'math' out the game in your head is something the good players learn to do with experience. (I do not want to imply I can do this.) You strike me as a competent sort of guy. Have you had that problem with any other games that you've really sat down and wrapped yourself up inside? Did you feel it was especially easy to see those combos and kill-moves? Or was it that the game only functioned when you used those?

Though I figure if you really don't enjoy playing it, then don't. Keep the centerpiece models to remind yourself, the ones you tried the hardest or turned out best, and sell the rest. Of if you don't need to free up the space, pack em away. Maybe the rules will change in an edition or two and you'll find it fun to learn again.
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Re: I hate warmachine....

PostMon Oct 06, 2014 1:47 pm

Councillor wrote:
ElectricPaladin wrote:The game was fun while I was learning to play, but when I sat down and decided that I wanted to get good at it... it got old. I seriously felt like I could look at my opponent's list and figure out who was going to win, assuming that we both played competently. I know that at the tournament level there's a whole system built up around bringing two lists and choosing which one to play, but...


That exact statement is one I hear from everybody that plays WHFB with/against the nationally ranked guys. Being able to 'math' out the game in your head is something the good players learn to do with experience. (I do not want to imply I can do this.) You strike me as a competent sort of guy. Have you had that problem with any other games that you've really sat down and wrapped yourself up inside? Did you feel it was especially easy to see those combos and kill-moves? Or was it that the game only functioned when you used those?

Though I figure if you really don't enjoy playing it, then don't. Keep the centerpiece models to remind yourself, the ones you tried the hardest or turned out best, and sell the rest. Of if you don't need to free up the space, pack em away. Maybe the rules will change in an edition or two and you'll find it fun to learn again.


Hm...

Let me put it this way, I have played games that don't have this problem. Sometimes they have other problems, but not this exact problem. Let me try to give you some examples.

Warhammer 40k. Now, don't get me wrong - this game has all kinds of problems. However, there are so many vectors of movement, and aside from close combat units aren't "sticky" (that's to say, there's not a lot you can do to pin down a unit that wants to move), which means that you can't ever really predict what your opponent is going to bring against you where until he's committed.

Firestorm Armada. Although that game has some problematic balance issues (two factions are clearly on top, two factions are clearly on the bottom, and the remaining two factions have some very bad NGE matchups), and suffers from design space issues (more than a dozen independently playable races, at last count), it's not a game you can easily math out because the chaos is turned up quite high. Ships can surprise you with lucky shots. Additionally, although you can math out whose shots will kill/damage what target, position on the board matters a lot, which makes the movement phase and the decision to "shunt in" (ie. deploy via teleportation drive into the middle of the battlefield) very important.

Or, for example, there's DZC. I've never felt like I could simply "math out" a game, thanks to so many variables of movement, deployment, scoring, and so on.

I think that the problems with WarmaHordes can be summed up as...

First, units are slow, "sticky" (ie. it's very hard to get past a unit that is in your way without wiping it out), and redeployment options are limited. These factors limit options for (and thus the importance of) movement after the deployment phase.

Second, because the rules are both extremely determinative (ie. some models are immune to damage from huge swaths of sources, or its possible to build a combination of abilities and spells that make attacks practically auto-hitting, hits nearly perfectly deadly, or a models DEF or ARM nearly unbeatable) and based on a huge variety of special-case rules, rather than the application of universal rules, it is possible to build extremely powerful combos, to the point that the power of the combo is more important than anything either player can do on the table.

Third, "kill the warcaster" is always present as a game-ending circumstance. Coupled with the fact that scenarios are usually quite simple (ie. dominate a zone) and tend to exist only to encourage players to bring their warcasters forward, this further supports the building and playing of powerful aggressive (or powerful defensive) combos to either attack or defend that key piece.

The end result is that this game is particularly easy to math out because so little that is not mathable comes into the game. When you deploy a unit, there is clearly a right and wrong choice about where it should go, laterally. When I counterdeploy, I can look at the units I have available, and there is a clear right and wrong choice about who should be placed across the field from that unit. There isn't anything (mostly) that anyone can do about the fact that they must eventually fight. And when they do, whichever of us chose most correctly will win, period. The whole game seems to play like that.

I will add that although I enjoy it (slightly) more, WHFB has many of the same "problems": sticky units, limited lateral mobility, and although placement is important (ie. getting in that flank attack) you aren't likely to actually pull it off without some impressive maneuvering (though it is part of why I enjoy the presence awesome cavalry units in my army, because they can usually do it).
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Re: I hate warmachine....

PostMon Oct 06, 2014 9:20 pm

Any of you tried Bushido? I think its a great tactical game but no one seems to of heard of it let alone played it.
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Re: I hate warmachine....

PostMon Oct 06, 2014 9:33 pm

40k: All I'll say about it is that there is too wide a variety in how units move and perform for such a limited variance in points values between unit A and B. This was a problem even before they added flyers and revamped MCs. It is too complicated a collection of rules to get untangled enough for something passing for balance.

I have a large collection of Terran and Dindrenzi for FSA and every game it strikes me as 'try to shoot the moon' with the explosive dice. I don't find the movement system restrictive enough to keep me from getting into the optimal range band of *something* almost every turn. Doing damage to something before it gets to activate is better than doing damage to something that's already activated, I know. Also, the way they've set up factions is like the 40k allies system magnified for cherry-picking. I had heard about the faction imbalance but I'm curious which factions you think are the OP and lame duck ones.

All of those complaints about Warmachine track with what I've heard. The first game I played with the starter set, my Warcaster was set on fire from across the table and burned to death over the course of 3-4 turns. It died never having been touched by my opponent after that first turn. It was an underwhelming first impression. What I can add is that having a game made almost entirely of exceptions to the baseline rules allows the developers to power creep (intentionally or accidentally) without being too obvious about it. Good for sales, bad for new players, lots to learn and special cases to remember. I believe they removed 'Kill the Warcaster' as an immediate victory condition in the Steamroller tournament pack, but losing all your Focus is basically a loss anyway.

WHFB never interested me because of the huge swings in spell power (and it's semi-random) and the push toward blocks of infantry with 8th edition. The midfield becomes Magic Belt Sander fights as both sides shave models off and try to force failed morale checks through Steadfast and rerolls. No thank you. But I liked Warmaster. I think the pinwheeling and marching movement style better fit the larger, strategic scale of the game.
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Re: I hate warmachine....

PostMon Oct 06, 2014 10:50 pm

I really like WHFB's magic system because I love how it creates this vibe of two powerful wizards vying for control of the battlefield. It has the potential to be INCREDIBLY determinative of the battlefield, but... if you like that sort of thing, it's really cool. If you want a more serious/realistic game of line infantry vs. line infantry in close formation... you won't like this game. I recommend you check out Shieldwall by Zombiesmith. It's a little game, and not quite complete yet - no ranged combat yet, for example, but they're getting there - and it plays with the idea of phalanx-on-phalanx in interesting ways.

Anyway... I like WHFB, but not because I disagree with your complaints. Rather, I totally agree, but I like it! Note that my two armies are... Lizardmen and Vampires. So, clearly, I like magic.

Re: FSA, I think that the Terrans and the Aquans are clearly on top, while the Relthozans and Sorylians are clearly on the bottom and need significant rewrites. The Terrans and Relthozans are the most extreme, the Aquans and Sorylians are a little closer to balanced. The Directorate and the Dindrenzi are closest to balanced, but both of them suffer from some extremely bad matchups and extremely transparent tactics. The Dindrenzi more so than the Directorate.

Hm... that paragraph was very muddled. Let me try to put it this way.

* Terrans --> Very powerful, clearly top of the pack.
* Aquans --> Slightly better balance, but still advantaged.
* Directorate --> Close to balanced, but some bad matchups, NGE a possibility.
* Dindrenzi --> Close to balanced, but several bad matchups, the built-in strategy will fall apart against many playstyles. NGE common.
* Sorylians --> Disadvantaged, but their list still works, it's just an uphill battle.
* Relthozans --> Clearly disadvantaged. Several important proprietary mechanics just don't work, at least not the way they are applied.
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Re: I hate warmachine....

PostTue Oct 07, 2014 1:14 am

I can appreciate enjoying a game despite it's flaws. I've *never* done anything like that before. ;)

Nah, I'm not looking for a more realistic version of ancient warfare. There are a bunch of greyhair historical players that would love having new blood if I wanted that sort of thing. I like magic and magic creatures and orks and all that stuff. I like whiz-bang shooty space stuff better, but magic is still good.

Magical access isn't uniform though. That's not necessarily a killer, it could be good game design, but the INCREDIBLY determinative power of it combined with a lack of comparable benefit for the non-magic users (Dwarves for example) creates a very have/have not disparity. I'm not saying "Free Magic for Everybody" but playing a light or null magic army is taking an immediate handicap.

The way the game has swung back toward blocks of infantry puts me off as well. Perhaps given the prices of cavalry and chariot boxes, maybe that's a blessing in disguise. God knows my Ravenwing haven't enriched my enjoyment of the game.

FSA some more: Is it the combination of Sector Shielding and Weapon Shielding that makes the Terrans the stand outs?
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Re: I hate warmachine....

PostTue Oct 07, 2014 5:23 am

Councillor wrote:Nah, I'm not looking for a more realistic version of ancient warfare. There are a bunch of greyhair historical players that would love having new blood if I wanted that sort of thing. I like magic and magic creatures and orks and all that stuff. I like whiz-bang shooty space stuff better, but magic is still good.

Magical access isn't uniform though. That's not necessarily a killer, it could be good game design, but the INCREDIBLY determinative power of it combined with a lack of comparable benefit for the non-magic users (Dwarves for example) creates a very have/have not disparity. I'm not saying "Free Magic for Everybody" but playing a light or null magic army is taking an immediate handicap.


I haven't played enough to have an informed opinion about whether or not you're right. But yeah... check out Shieldwall and Shieldbash by Zombiesmith. They're really interesting fantasy games, with a unique setting.

Councillor wrote:FSA some more: Is it the combination of Sector Shielding and Weapon Shielding that makes the Terrans the stand outs?


Basically, yeah.

So, the "trouble" (scare quotes because it's not a problem, just a very strong element of the game design that only sometimes causes trouble) is that because of the exploding sixes 1 die is better than anything else. +1 die is better than -1 DR or CR. Heck, gaining (or just having) more dice is better than -1 die is bad. As a result, the winner is the guy who has the most dice. Period.

Why is that ever a problem, you say? Isn't that true in all games?

The thing is that not all the factions are balanced around this mechanical fact. The Terrans are the best because their ships are just the best at having dice. They have very strong guns without any particular weaknesses. They have shields for defense (which means dice). And on top of this, their ships are not particularly slow or clumsy, and generally enjoy a number of special rules - like Sector and Weapon shielding - which enhance their durability.

The reason the Aquans are second up is that they have a large number of dice in offense - not as many as Terrans, but a lot - and also have the most mobility, which helps them to get their ships into position to exploit those dice. The reason that they are second, however, is that they have weaker shields (fewer dice in defense) and weaker guns (fewer dice in offense). This is supposed to be made up by their mobility, helping them to get into their opponents' blind/weak spots. The trouble is that almost everyone else is just a little bit too mobile for this to really count as an effective defense, and remember what I said about -1 DR being less effective than +1 dice? It turns out that more dice is still more dice, and that counts more than the -1 DR/CR you get from getting behind someone really doesn't count nearly as much as having more offensive dice, however you're shooting.

Down at the other end, the Relthoza have the problem of having the fewest dice. No shields - they're supposed to rely on their cloaks to survive, but cloaks subtract dice, and remember, -1 die is less powerful than +1 die, combines poorly with generally fragile ships. Additionally, their teleportation doesn't work because you need to roll separately for each model within a squadron, which makes it very likely that the squadron will land out of coherence and become useless.

I think it's still a fun game, but it needs a 3rd edition. Cloaks and teleportation need to be revamped. All the ships need to be squished together a little bit in terms of sheer fire power and pulled apart a bit in terms of other traits (ie. mobility, speed). I love it, but it's far from perfect.
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Re: I hate warmachine....

PostTue Oct 07, 2014 6:11 am

The Spartan version of exploding dice is a very extreme design decision. Planetfall seems to scale the explosion mechanic with a quality function. Black quality don't explode, blue quality are a success and roll another blue die, red are the Spartan dice we've come to know and laugh about.

I get what you're laying down about the Terrans and the Aquans. I didn't do the math on each race before I bought in, I just expanded the factions in the Storm zone 2-player fight box special thing. I was under the impression that - for the most part - people choose the faction they like the look of because all fleets are reasonably viable. I was naive, I suppose.

But my experiences with the game have been pretty much laughing stocks and proximity vectoring and three lame ships from disparate squadrons that can't really hurt each other UNLESS the dice are exploding. I'd say it's a beer and pretzels game, but drinking and remembering MARs and mathing linked fire don't really go together well for me. Perhaps with practice. I would certainly be interested in trying a 3rd edition.
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Re: I hate warmachine....

PostThu Jul 02, 2015 12:40 am

Desolator wrote:I hate warmachine, its the bane of my life. It seems to be the only game my club seems to play regurlarly. I had a look at it and found it very dull and was also unimpressed by the models. It was this game that made me drop 40k and I'm not doing it with dzc!! I just can't get the regular games!! I have no idea why they like warmachine so much, does anyone else struggle for dzc games or is it just me? I suppose all I can do is wait and hope the situation changes.... :x


Warmachine grabbed a sect of GW players with the premise of balance but that's long gone. It also encourages powergaming and n00b crushing with the whole 'oh you never played X warcasater before' type 'gotcha' moments. Which I hate.
I don't like the game myself for this and other reasons and so stopped playing shortly after the last edition change. It seems too much like an MtG combo-aggro deck with miniatures as well as cards! It's also not cheap either.

Lately there are times when I'm tempted to start up again but lack of players whom I'd want to play puts me off.
If you play DzC on the south coast of the UK, join the South Coast Dropzone Commander Facebook group for the latest info on local events, news, to meet other local players and hear about tournaments!
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Re: I hate warmachine....

PostFri Jul 03, 2015 9:53 am

I'm still struggling for regular DzC games, too. Part of it has to do with me not being able to attend club meetings every week due to work or other stuff. Then only one other guy has a DzC army of his own so far, lots of people are starting to get big into Infinity and most of the others just arent very interested and rather play Warmachine, X-Wing or other stuff.
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