Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Blood Bowl: Linemen

Yesterday when thinking about if I wanted to be fouling with my halfling team I started thinking about the relative value of linemen between the different teams. Halflings are super cheap so I'm more than happy to trade them off for other players but some of the other teams don't have any cheap players. Losing even one of them early can really reduce the power of your team, at least in the early going when you only have 11 players on your roster. This point came home even more last night as I played two games (one with a wood elf team, one with a dwarf team) where my team got completely obliterated. And I don't just mean on the scoreboard...

The first action in my elf game was for John's necromancer team to break one of my linemen's hip. I used my apothecary to save him but that was only a temporary reprieve. By the end of the game I'd suffered 2 deaths, 4 serious injuries, and 2 more badly hurts. I still managed to score twice because wood elves are good at football but not having any guys on the field for most of the game meant I couldn't stop him from scoring either. Saddened that so many of my guys got taken out I made a dwarf team (they have high armour and good skills though are also really expensive) and went to fight Sceadeau's undead team. It went a little better, but not a whole lot. Pretty early on I suffered two permanent injuries and ended up down in guys again. I inflicted some back but most of his team has regeneration and those rolls came home to save his guys. (I killed one of his mummy's on turn 1 but he regenerated... Boo!) I ended up not scoring, or even getting much xp, and no one leveled up.

I deleted the team since losing a strength and an agility while not making any money or gaining any levels meant the team was actually worse than a starting team. I'm considering deleting the elf team as well since it is likely also worse than a starting wood elf team. (They only have an armour loss, a movement loss, and a niggling injury but are down to only 9 people without money to replace the dead ones... And no good skill ups.)

What I found striking is how many casualties the wood elves and dwarves suffered compared to my halflings. It's not just that I care more about a 70k elf or dwarf than I do a 30k halfling... It's not just that injured halflings just get replaced from my infinite money, though that helps. It's that my halflings simply haven't suffered that many casualties over 4 games. I definitely went a couple games without even using my halfling apothecary! I suspect part of this is small numbers of dice coming home but I think there might actually be other things at work... Halfings have low strength, low armour, and have a negative 'extra squishy' ability but they might actually be harder to seriously hurt. I want to take a look...

I'm only playing low level games for now so most of the people swinging at me don't have good attacking skills. In particular it seems very few people have either block or tackle. Assuming every attack is a 2-dice attack without those skills...

Halfling - 11/36 to get knocked down, 21/36 to penetrate armour, 1/6 to get a casualty, 1/3 to have a casualty be a permanent injury... Works out to a little less than 1% on any given block to seriously injure a halfling.
Wood Elf - 5/9 to get knocked down, 15/36 to penetrate armour, 1/6 to get a casualty, 1/3 to have a casualty be a permanent injury... Works out to a little less than 1.3% on any given block to seriously injure a wood elf.
Dwarf - 5/9 to get knocked down, 1/6 to penetrate armour, 1/6 to get a casualty, 1/3 to have a casualty be a permanent injury... Works out to a little more than half a percent to seriously injure a dwarf.
Halfling (hit by a dwarf with block/tackle) - 3/4 to get knocked down, 21/36 to penetrate armour, 1/6 to get a casualty, 1/3 to have a casualty be a permanent injury... A little over 2.4% to take a serious injury.

Consider that halflings cost less than half what a wood elf or dwarf cost and they're a lot more cost efficient in terms of not taking a serious injury. There's also the fact you'll be fielding a team of 11 guys for most of the game which isn't the case for the more expensive teams. I wouldn't be surprised if it turns out that a short handed team takes more hits and gives out fewer hits. A couple of my halfling games were against Randy's elf team and I did a reasonable job of keeping some of his guys off the field. That probably has a lot to do with my feelings that the halflings took fewer hits. Halflings also don't have any incentive to stay beside other people in a slug fest. Stunty meant even when surrounded they could at least try to run away. When my elves fell behind in people they just got surrounded and couldn't escape. All they could do is die.

Another thing to keep in mind is that halflings are way more likely to get knocked out or suffer a non-serious casualty due to the way stunty works. So it's not all sunshine and roses for them. And they suck, let's not forget that.

At any rate, losing 70k worth of value when a lineman goes down is painful. But having my linemen be complete trash in combat and in football is also painful. I think I want to find a team somewhere in the middle. Where it isn't really bad to lose a couple of your linemen but where they can still help you play the game. There are 21 different teams now... One of them is bound to have reasonable dudes!

Amazon - 50k for 6/3/3/7 dodge
Chaos - 60k for 6/3/3/8 horns
Chaos Dwarf - 40k for 6/3/3/7
Dark Elf - 70k for 6/3/4/8
Dwarf - 70k for 4/3/2/9 block, tackle, thick skull
Elf - 60k for 6/3/4/7
Goblins - 40k for 6/2/3/7 dodge, right stuff, stunty
Halflings - 30k for 5/2/3/6 dodge, right stuff, stunty
High Elf - 70k for 6/3/4/8
Human - 50k for 6/3/3/8
Khemri - 40k for 5/3/2/7 regeneration, thick skull
Lizardman - 60k for 8/2/3/7 dodge, stunty
Necromantic - 40k for 4/3/2/8 regeneration
Norse - 50k for 6/3/3/7 block
Nurgle - 40k for 5/3/3/8 decay, nurgle's rot
Ogre - 20k for 5/1/3/5 dodge, right stuff, side step, stunty, titchy
Orc - 50k for 5/3/3/9
Skaven - 50k for 7/3/3/7
Undead - 40k for 5/3/2/7 regeneration, thick skull
Vampire - 40k for 6/3/3/7
Wood Elf - 70k for 7/3/4/7

Ok, so it looks like in general there's a nice formula going around. One movement is worth the same as one armour and costs an extra 10k. The 4th point of agility is worth 20k. Block is worth 10k. Dodge is worth 10k. Horns, somehow, are worth 10k. Tackle and 20k are worth losing an agility. Stunty and 10k are worth losing a strength. Unless you're a halfling in which case you get to lose an extra armour for funsies. Right stuff is completely free (presumably the team pays extra for the throw teammate ability). Side step and titchy appear to be worth your second strength. Thick skull is free. Regeneration and 10k are worth losing an agility. Decay and nurgle's rot offset each other in terms of cost.

As a thought experiment, given the choice, would I rather have block, dodge, a movement, or an armour? For my generic dorks I'm pretty sure the answer is block. It gives you more acceptable rolls when throwing a lot of hits on the line. It protects you from some incoming attacks. It can't be countered as easily as dodge. Dodge is very good when you're trying to evade tackle zones and play football and such but you don't really need an entire team dedicated to playing football. Some of your guys can just stand around and thug. Block is the best for that. Armour is probably a close second. Being able to move fast is good and all but, again, your whole team doesn't need to move fast. Let your specialty players move fast. Let your core dudes just stand around and be tough.

Unfortunately there are only two options to get block on your linemen. One is the dwarf team which has the most expensive linemen of them all. The other is the norse team. They only have 7 armour which is pretty low but they do come in at 50k which feels like it's probably a good sweet spot. That's enough money to be buying some reasonable stats but not so much that it's crippling for a starting team to lose one early.

If I choose to ignore block it seems like dropping an agility makes a ton of sense. Regular dudes don't dodge away that much and every lineman that lost an agility gained a defensive ability. Either regeneration, thick skull, really high armour, or a combination. Paying 40k for a zombie just seems like a great deal.

I think I may try putting a norse team together to see how it works. I may also try to tough out a few early games with a dwarf team to see if I can make enough money to buy a couple bench players. Dwarves seem really good when you reach the point where losing one isn't a huge impact on your bottom line. The rest of the team isn't very good at football so they may not be my style of team but it's probably worth a shot.

Orcs may actually be the best here. They have no frills. They just have a good stat mix to hit the 50k mark what with having 9 armour. The rest of the team has a good mix of specialty guys though they are a little on the slow side. But since speed and armour seem to cost the same amount it shouldn't be surprising that high armour guys are slow.

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