Monday, May 20, 2013

Blood Bowl: Mixing Fresh Teams In?

Our little Blood Bowl group has started running mini 8-player round robin leagues. The first one required all teams to be completely new which put everyone on even footing. Some people then wanted to keep playing those teams, but not everyone did... What to do? Ultimately we decided to start a new league for just fresh teams and then a new league for continuing teams or fresh teams. There wasn't really a better option if we wanted to let some teams keep playing, but how bad was the idea? Going forward should we have this sort of mixing or should we try to avoid it?

The mixed league had 3 teams continuing on and 5 fresh teams join in. In the games between a continuing team and a fresh team the continuing team had a record of 12 wins, 2 draws, and 1 loss. If everything else was equal this would indicate the continuing teams had a huge advantage. I'm not sure everything is equal necessarily (I went 7-0 with my continuing team, but that same team had 6 wins and 2 draws in the first league). Teams 1 and 3 from the first league continued and finished 1 and 2 in this one. The top 4 of this league were the 3 continuing teams and the guy who came 2nd in the first league (and rolled a new team). So while there's certainly a relation between continuing on and winning there's also a relation between winning in the first league and winning in the second league.

Inducements are supposed to be a balancing factor, and in general I think they are, but there are a couple of factors at play in this particular situation that don't quite help. The first is that the TV gap was actually really big in some cases. My team is now over double Robb's in TV and when we played it was almost that big of a gap. And while some of the inducements are pretty good value there aren't enough of them to buy with a million bucks. You have to really scrape the bottom of the barrel.

The second issue is an even bigger deal, I think. Most teams right out of the box are not real teams. Either the team doesn't start with any skills or you don't have enough money to buy all the rerolls and positional players you need. Or both. A true starting team is struggling to be a team. A continuing team (especially one that has consciously chosen to continue as opposed to reroll) is going to be a real team. They'll have enough rerolls that they can make plays. They'll have an apothecary. They'll have block on a fair number of dudes, and probably some other important skills too. It's possible that they'll have mighty blow, or tackle. They'll have a guy with kick if they think it's important. If they're a team that fouls they'll have a guy with dirty player. The fresh team won't have any of those things at all. They may all be little things that give you small edges in a game, but those small edges will all add up to be a big difference in win chance.

Perhaps the biggest problem is people didn't seem to be having as much fun. My game against Sky was a Skaven mirror where my team was awesome and his team had 3 games experience. He'd pretty much given up before we'd even started. I only won by 1, so it was close, but it didn't sound like he liked the game as much as he would have liked a game against a more reasonable team.

As such, I feel like running a mixed league again is probably a mistake. On the plus side with 3 finished leagues now we have 21 possible teams to carry over instead of just 8 so we're unlikely to get into such a situation again.

1 comment:

Sky Roy said...

When we played you only beat me 3-2 but that was pretty lucky on my part. I used a wizard to knock down your ball carrier and the ball bounced to the only guy I had adjacent and he caught it despite being in a tackle zone. If that ball bounces to any other square it is 3-1 or 4-1 in your favour I think. A wizard totally makes a 160-250 TV difference playable but a 600 TV difference simply isn't something you can deal with and a 1000 TV difference is a joke.

I did manage to scrape out a tie against the brutal orc team but that was due to him rolling quad skulls on his first AND second turn in the game. When he lined up his dudes across the entire line of scrimmage I couldn't generate an advantage block on any one of his guys. Not one! Huge TV discrepancies just make the game not work properly.