Sunday, April 07, 2013

Blood Bowl: Apothecaries

I've been thinking a bit recently about how good the apothecary is in Blood Bowl, in particular when compared with the regeneration skill. The apothecary costs 50k in TV to keep on your roster, regeneration appears to cost either 20k or 30k per player, and you can't buy an apothecary if your team has regeneration (except vampires, anyway). The undead teams tend to have a couple of players (ghouls or rotters) without regeneration but you're probably looking at spending around 240k or so to outfit your team with regeneration. That's pretty much 5 times as much as the apothecary, so right away it looks like regeneration isn't going to be cost effective unless you're looking at making use of it more than 5 times as often as the apothecary.

What does the apothecary do for you? It can be used in one of 3 ways:

  • When one of your guys suffers a serious injury you can use the apothecary to roll again on the casualty table. Then you get to choose which result to take. If you end up taking a 'badly hurt' result your guy can come back and play on the next drive. So 50% of the time you get your guy back with no injury, 17% of the time you still lose the guy for this game and the next game, 17% of the time he still suffers a  permanent injury, and 17% of the time he's straight up dead. Assuming most stat losses are essentially fatal and that you're using your apothecary on the first stat loss/death to a relevant guy you're looking at a useless apothecary 33% of the time.
  • If an extremely relevant guy gets a 'badly hurt' result you can spend your apothecary to patch him up so he can play the next drive. I did this in my playoff game against Mike, because I wanted to win and couldn't see how I was going to score in overtime without my block/dodge/+MV/+AG runner. 
  • If a guy suffers a KO result you can spend the apothecary to turn it into a stun. I guess at the start of a key drive this could be the right play on a super important dude? When you're ok with him missing a turn but not the whole drive?
How about regeneration? Well, it does nothing on the KO result but it works on every casualty you suffer. 50% of the time you don't take whatever the damage was and can come back for the next drive. 50% of the time it does nothing and you suffer whatever the consequences were. This means regeneration can't help in the KO case (but that case seems really small), is as good as an apothecary on every badly hurt casualty, and is almost as good for every serious injury. There is a 17% chance that an apothecary will just make your guy miss next game while regeneration lets you keep the permanent stat loss.

If you use your apothecary on a serious injury you're looking at a 67% chance to save your guy. Regeneration breaks even at about 5 times as often, so it would need to save 3.35 guys. It works half the time, so you would need to suffer 6.7 serious injuries per game to break even. That's just not going to happen. So when it comes to keeping your favourite player alive the apothecary is more efficient than regeneration would be. 

On the other hand, when it comes to keeping guys on the field, the apothecary is only going to keep .5 of a guy on the field per game. For regeneration to come out ahead TV wise you'd need to suffer 5 casualties of any kind. Looking at my past games on my human team that doesn't even seem that likely. Even with all the talk about 'killer' teams who stack up mighty blow/piling on/claw, I've only seen a team suffer more than 5 casualties 4 times in 34 games. Now, sometimes only your chumps get the badly hurts and you'd never apothecary them but you would regenerate them...

I used to complain a lot about regeneration, because it seemed to keep guys in play. But really, it doesn't actually get to come up very often. And you pay an awful lot to get access to it. I've also had a bad habit of holding onto my apothecary to save a serious injury. Now that I look at it more, and see that it often won't work, I think I'll be more proactive about using it on a badly hurt on a key guy so I can win more games!

No comments: