Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Blood Bowl: Revisiting Huge TV Gaps

Last month I posted about large TV gaps in Blood Bowl teams. I had one team that was way above everyone else in one of our turbo leagues and my opponents by and large didn't like playing those games and multiple people refused to play in another league with them when the TV gap was so big. I'd joined a league that Duncan runs on FumBBL where I'd be on the other side of such big TV gaps. How do I feel about them now?

Well, first of all, I feel like the chance of winning games with a big TV gap isn't actually that bad. Despite the fact that my Skaven team went undefeated and my Amazon team has 3 losses and a tie. The higher team will win most of the time... Ok, so maybe the chance of winning games is that bad? Part of the problem is how swingy the inducements are. Having a wizard and a bribe and a chainsaw can be the difference between winning and losing, but they also hinge on a very small number of dice. Having your wizard miss completely (or, worse, take out one of your own guys while missing 4 of mine like what happened to Randy recently) is basically throwing the game in the bin. Now you're down 150k and have no power to fall back on. But if it knocks the ball loose and turns a touchdown one way into a touchdown the other way it's game changing.

Another problem is the fun factor of inducements. Having a wizard impact the game one way or the other isn't fun. Losing a game to your opponent's wizard getting lucky sucks. Having your wizard do nothing sucks. Maybe fun in this game is zero sum in general, but I feel like a lot of inducements are actually negative sum. I don't have a ton of fun getting a good wizard off, certainly not enough to make up for how bad it makes you feel.

Then there's the team building aspect. Part of the appeal of Blood Bowl is that you level up some guys and make choices about what skills to give them. Inducements take that away. My last game I was down 920k in inducements, lost 1-0, and felt I had a reasonable shot at the 1-0 win instead. But my team had no impact on the game. The wizard and the two star players were keys to the game. My players existed to get knocked over by my opponent or to get knocked over by failed dodges. I play Blood Bowl to level up some guys and kill some guys. My team doesn't get to level up, and they certainly don't get to kill anyone. In fact through 4 games I have one level across my team. And two deaths sustained. I've inflicted 3 casualties but one was done by a chainsaw (who also got the MVP) and one was done by Morg n Thorg. All told my team has earned a total of 23 experience.

So? How do I feel about big TV gaps now? Well, I don't think they're very fun. I don't feel like they're very skill intensive. And I feel like they remove a lot of the team building aspect of the game. I'm not as sure about big TV gaps between reasonably established teams (1500 vs 1800 will be better than 1000 vs 1900) but I don't think putting a starting team against highly leveled teams is a good idea. It actually seems like a really terrible idea.

I guess my Skaven team is on ice until 7 other teams get leveled up really high. Maybe in another 2 or 3 turbos...

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