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Single-Shot Indirect-Fire Blasting War Engines

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  • #61
    This is certainly the biggest remaining area where the balance feels a bit off that I was hoping the RC would address. I know that in my games with Dwarves, I find the Organ Gun much superior (for the points) to the Bombard or the Cannon simply because of its reliability, despite its short range. I'd consider a 4+ d3+1 Cannon (with an additional +1 vs larger targets) to be a much closer call given the range advantage just because of the increased reliability.

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    • #62
      Hi All,
      Its been a long time since I have been on these forums. This issue has come up before, and I know one of my regular opponents who plays Dwarves has really come to feel his cannon isn't worth it for the reasons that have been stated above for blast weapons. I had a thought about a potential part of a solution and I was wondering what everyone would think. From what I can see there are three "issues" with blast weapons (one only applying really to indirect weapons).

      1. Unreliable - everything hitting on 5+ with a single shot really makes them feel like all or nothing, which can easily make for a disappointing gaming experience.
      2. High Spike - Some war engines can produce such high amounts of damage that when they work, your opponent feels blind sided, again giving a bad experience.
      3. Can't hide - with indirect weapons, even having a sliver of a unit exposed is sufficient for it to be targeted, and the long range of these weapons mean that there is very limited ways to counter them through maneuver or positioning. The only way to really counter them is to deal damage. This can also be frustrating, particular when combined with 2 above.

      Not sure if everyone agrees with the above points but in my mind it encompasses all the issues. My proposed solution would be to address #1 without making the other two worse. What about adding a "Suppression" rule to all weapons with blast. This rule would state, when a unit is targeted by a unit with blast, if the shot misses, one point of damage is still done to the unit, but no nerve test is taken. If the shot hits, follow the normal procedure. This allows the weapon to reliably do something each turn, does not increase its spike damage, but also wont let you auto delete that unit that miraculously passed a nerve test on double ones last turn.

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      • #63
        I think the RC did a good job in trying to thread a tricky needle with blast weapons, but I think in the end it wound up coming to naught. The really really good ones are almost an autoinclude (Really, just the big Abyssal Dwarf mortars in groups of three). Everything else is meh. It always sucks for someone when you pull the trigger, and that's the problem. Either it sucks for you because your 100-300 point investment failed *again*, or it sucks for your opponent because they watch a Horde vanish without every getting it to the center of the board when your guns go nuts.

        There's no easy solution. You can't do the template thing (though, I do sometimes long for the excitement of the scatter die...). I don't know what the answer is, other than to think a bit outside the box and ask - what if you had *units* of artillery (say, a troop of 2), and they had less piercing but more attacks, etc? What if they were more like batteries of artillery that you could then make more abstract and less spikey?

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        • #64
          Originally posted by Montegue View Post
          I think the RC did a good job in trying to thread a tricky needle with blast weapons, but I think in the end it wound up coming to naught. The really really good ones are almost an autoinclude (Really, just the big Abyssal Dwarf mortars in groups of three). Everything else is meh. It always sucks for someone when you pull the trigger, and that's the problem. Either it sucks for you because your 100-300 point investment failed *again*, or it sucks for your opponent because they watch a Horde vanish without every getting it to the center of the board when your guns go nuts.

          There's no easy solution. You can't do the template thing (though, I do sometimes long for the excitement of the scatter die...). I don't know what the answer is, other than to think a bit outside the box and ask - what if you had *units* of artillery (say, a troop of 2), and they had less piercing but more attacks, etc? What if they were more like batteries of artillery that you could then make more abstract and less spikey?
          Maybe the answer is two shots and smaller damage per hit? War machines have a role in forcing people to come forward and fight, and evening the odds in a battle and giving armies with slower units as lacking many fast and flying options (Goblins, Dwarfs-good and evil, KoM, and Goblins are the traditional war machine armies) a chance to even the odds a bit. But having war machines like the Abyssal Heavy Mortars taken in three and then having a chance of lucky rolls and double hitting and taking out 300+ dragon lords and big hordes each turn at times is quite a bummer for opposing players while having them whiff entirely is a bummer as well for the player using them.

          Balance is very tricky. Slightly too good (Abyssal Mortar and Goblin Rock Lobbers and some breath weapon war machines) and they'll get spammed (except where sports scoring matters); having them not good enough means not being taken at all (Jared Bombards, Cannons).

          One thing that was really clear to me as a math nerd was that less time appeared to have been spent costing the war machines out and/or some things were over and underestimated (too much points value to piercing 4 and flexibility-Bombards- and underestimation of the difficulty of hitting with most reload machines without indirect fire meant a lot of war machines like cannons are simply not playable given their points costs). Thus, the point costing of war machines is on average significantly more uneven in terms of getting them right than for the more standard units. Many war machine options are not seeing play or not seeing much play.

          With the limit of 3 in place (I'd also limit total war machines to say 6 in an army) and unlocks required, war machines should probably be cheaper in points cost and less deadly than say the Abyssal Heavy Mortars. That way they have a role in creating balance for slower armies; 1. are not a serious points sink where if they miss or are played on a table with a lot of terrain that limits or blocks line of sight then the player investing in war machines often loses; and 2. are not so powerful that they cause "no fun" games where it feels like Pickett's charge or the charge of the light brigade in the Crimean War against a shooty army where half of the army is lost before the beginning of melee.

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