Monday, December 10, 2012

Blood Bowl: Sneaky Git

I've played a few games with my Halfling team online and had leveled quite a few halflings. They don't get many choices for skills (they can only take agility skills, not general skills, so they have a very short list of options) and I decided to take a variety to see how they felt. I have yet to use diving tackle, block was awesome (I could only get it because I rolled doubles), and sprint/sure feet were as good as I remembered them. The last one I've taken so far was sneaky git which modifies the way fouling works. I really found myself liking the change and I wanted to look into exactly what it does...

Back in the day fouling in Blood Bowl was a way to level up your characters on top of the other benefits but they took that out. Now fouling is actually a decision. As I see it there are only two reasons left to foul... To inflict short term damage on the opposing team (in the hopes that helps you win the current game) and to inflict long term damage on the opposing team because you're a sadist, or for revenge, or because you may play them again in the future and want an advantage in that game. To counter-balance these benefits it takes an action and there's a straight one in six chance that your player gets kicked out of the game while causing you to miss the rest of your turn. (So you should probably foul as late in the turn as possible I guess.) Sneaky git removes most of those downsides. Instead of getting kicked out on any doubles you only get kicked out on doubles that actually inflict damage on the opposing player.

For halflings the short-term benefit is pretty huge. Halflings suck and the only real thing they have going for them is you can afford lots of subs. As such, getting a halfling kicked out for fouling isn't the end of the world and if they happen to take an opponent out for the rest of the game it's a huge win. You have 11 players, I have 14 halflings and 2 trees. I would gladly remove any number of halflings to take out an equal number of your worst players. I'd even take a 2 for 1 deal against most teams! The things that needs to be worked out then are the odds of taking an opponent out compared to the odds of taking yourself out both with and without sneaky git.

There are a couple variables here. When you foul you roll 2d6, add 1 for any adjacent teammates outside of enemy tackle zones, subtract 1 for adjacent enemies outside of ally tackle zones, and compare to the enemy's armour. Beat it to inflict some damage which again entails rolling 2d6 with a look-up on an injury chart. For simplicity I'm going to assume 1 adjacent ally and no adjacent enemies but that can obviously change depending on board state. Then I'm going to look at a couple of typical armour values... 7 and 9.

First of all, how does the final damage roll look? On a 2-7 the injured player is merely stunned. They get to stay on the field but have to miss their next turn. On an 8 or 9 the injured player is knocked out. They get removed from play and get a 50% shot each kick-off to recover. If they recover they can come back into play, if they don't the enemy team is short-handed for a few turns. On a 10, 11, or 12 the injured player suffers a casualty. They're knocked out for the rest of this game and may well suffer permanent damage. (1 in 6 that they miss the next game, 1 in 6 that they permanently lose a stat of some kind, 1 in 6 that they're permanently killed.) A stun result is reasonable off of a block but is pretty sad off of a foul. It doesn't accomplish either of our possible goals. A KO is reasonable for the short-term since they're out at least the current drive. What you're really looking for is a casualty, which is only 1/6th of the time that you penetrate their armour. 1/4th for the KO. 7/12 of the worthless stun.

Against an armour of 7 you need to end up with a modified 8 on your 2d6. We're assuming a +1 bonus, so you're looking at 7/12th chance of penetrating the armour on a squishy elf. The actual result table for such a foul is:
Outcome# in 144# in 144 (sneaky git)
No Result90102
Worthless Kicked Out197
KOed Kicked Out33
Casualty Kicked Out22

And against a tanky orc armour of 9...

Outcome# in 216# in 216 (sneaky git)
No Result160184
Worthless Kicked Out317
KOed Kicked Out33
Casualty Kicked Out22

The first (and obvious) thing to point out is sneaky git doesn't actually make you more likely to inflict any damage. It might make it more worthwhile to foul but it doesn't actually help hurt them. You want dirty player for that! Against an elf you're looking at turning 12 of the 144 outcomes from kicked out without doing anything to no result. That's a little over 8% of the time, which isn't nothing. It also isn't a huge deal. Against an orc it gets a little better. You save 24 of 216 outcomes which is over 11% of the time. Rearranging a bit, assuming a KO ejection is neutral and a normal KO is positive you're looking at:

OutcomeElfElf (sg)OrcOrc (sg)

Looking at it like this really shines some light on the topic I think. Most of the time you're just throwing an action away for no gain or loss. This is true regardless of the target or if you have sneaky git. Fouling an elf is more likely to help than to hurt regardless of skills, assuming you're hitting him with a lower valued character. Like a halfling. Orcs are a little rougher. Fouling is more likely to hurt than to help. Unless you have sneaky git, anyway. I feel like fouling an orc with a halfling still might makes sense. Certainly against Sceadeau I was happy to take shots at his +1 aglity, +tackle orc. But it probably wasn't worth fouling most of his other players. With sneaky git, on the other hand, I think it makes sense to foul even an orc at every opportunity. 

With a different team, where I don't have a full bench and each individual player is worth a lot more it makes less sense to foul. Again, maybe if there's a really leveled up guy it can make sense. But otherwise the risk just isn't worth the reward. Unless you have sneaky git. Which makes me think it might be worthwhile to give an elf sneaky git so he can run in and foul every turn... And fouling elves at every turn will probably still make sense. Stupid unarmoured elves... Makes me think I should maybe find a high armoured team...

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