Friday, June 28, 2013

Blood Bowl League 'Fair' Starting Conditions

A topic that seems to keep coming up is if teams in a Blood Bowl league need to start on even footing or not. And if not completely even footing, should you get close? How close? And how to approach it?

The first season of our Cyanide league the rule was every team had to fit under a 1500 TV cap, with cash counting against you. So you could be 1500TV with no cash, or 1450TV with 50k cash like I did. You could also be less if you wanted, so we had one team that was just 1000TV. But even in getting down to 1500 different teams took different approaches. I'd decided fan factor was terrible and conceded games to burn it all away. A couple other people believed my analysis and did the same thing. Some people didn't have time to level up, so I conceded games to them so they could get free randomly assigned SPP and cash in order to catch up. Other people brought in teams from other leagues and had to fire tons of guys in order to squeeze in, but kept their fan factor because they thought it wasn't appropriate to concede games to get rid of it, or they didn't think to do it.

The end result was that we had a bunch of teams that all 'legally' were 1500TV with cash but were at pretty wildly different power points. My team was probably the most powerful starting roster in part because I was Dwarves, in part because I was able to induce an agility potion, and in part because I had no fan factor so I basically got a free guy with a skill over some of my opponents. Compared to the fresh team guy it was no contest. He finished the season 1-6, with his win coming in week 6. I finished 8-2 including playoff games.

The second season had a lot of dissenting opinions on how we should let new teams in. Some people took the stance that you had to start at 1000 TV. They didn't like the way some of us had built our initial 1500TV teams for the first season and didn't want a repeat. Or possibly they did want a repeat of the 1000TV season? Regardless, sticking a fresh team up against my then 1830TV Dwarves would have been an exercise in frustration. Randy campaigned pretty heavily to allow all new teams to farm their way up to whoever was the highest legacy team from the last season. He likened it to deck building in Magic. The fun part of the league was going to be taking even teams against each other and seeing how they evolved. Forcing him to start with a starter deck while I was running ProsBloom wouldn't be fun, interesting, or fair. Neither side ended up getting their way and ultimately the decision was made to let teams in under the previous entering condition. 1500TV, be as cheesy as you wanted, but you're still down 330 TV to my Dwarves.

Even that compromise had detractors. Some people with a new team have complained that they're just outclassed. Some people with old teams have complained that carrying a lot of fan factor is unbalancing against the incoming teams. This is especially relevant since some of the old teams were actually worse than the incoming new teams. At any rate, through 36 games I wanted to take a look at things...

Old teams currently hold a record of 5 wins, 6 ties, and 7 losses when they played against new teams. If I change things around a bit to count the old teams that came in sub 1500 as new teams that changes to the old teams having a record of 4 wins, 5 ties, and 6 losses. In either case the results are incredibly even with possibly a slight edge to the newer teams.

What about if we look at playoff odds? The 5 new teams currently have, according to the Sports Club Stats website odds of 100%, 84%, 71%, 24%, and 11%. With half the teams making the playoffs this group looks to have 2.9 playoff slots, which is more than the 2.5 they should have. Bundle in the 2 sub-1500 old teams and their 98% and 4% odds and the group has 3.9 playoff spots which is more than the 3.5 they should have.

All told these numbers are pretty close. There are skill disparities between different players, of course, which complicate matters. But if one of the two categories was a way better starting point then I'd expect to see one group really dominating the games and the playoff spots. Instead it feels more like play skill, race matchups, and dice are playing bigger parts than initial TV. The 1500TV teams clearly can compete with the 1800TV teams. My gut feeling is still that I have a big advantage as a team that started at 1800 but the numbers seem to make it out like there's no advantage to a minor disadvantage to having started at 1800. I donno, but I guess it worked out ok. Much better than the league with 3 1500s and 5 1000s!

1 comment:

Brent Oster said...

I believe a big part of it is that the 1500TV teams are developed, whereas the 1000TV teams were not. Just having a bunch of level 2 guys running around is a BIG deal.

Also, the 1500TV teams (mostly?) had actually played against opponents. So people already had a better feel of how they played.