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PostSubject: Two Potentially Fatal Problems   Wed 1 Dec 2010 - 21:34

Now that I've posted about several of the less severe rules issues we've had, it's time to attempt to tackle the major issues. I have a possible solution to one that I will post under a different topic, but for now I want to hear if other people have encountered this and if so what they have done to remedy the problems. No, I'm not talking about dual wield, armor being mostly pointless, or black powder weapons being too expensive for what they do. While those can be issues, they are not fatal to the game. These are the two issues that have come up in our group.

1. There is almost never a reason to split your group up. Doing so just encourages the other player (who has kept his full group together) to go stomp on your now weakened force and cause your whole warband to route. While this was fine if you have 8-10 models or so, with about 20 models per team (15 max, plus half scout and cook book and a hired sword or two) it just gets annoying. This is also coupled with the trend of staying on the ground floor, as going into buildings tends to split your force up. While technically you should be able to limit this through terrain placement and by using specific scenarios, most of our games (assuming they even fight at all, see #2 below) people still keep their group together as much as possible.

One flaw to relying on terrain to split it up is the placement of terrain at setup. If you take the time to specifically design a map that limits large groups, that's great, but then you have one player creating the map instead of both players setting up the terrain in turns. Which of course leads one to wonder if they even attempted to be fair or if they tailored the terrain to their own warband's strengths. Yet, taking turns placing terrain rarely yields a map that can force groups to split apart.

Some may not even see this as an issue, though, so looking for others' thoughts.


2. This one is the biggie. With the post game the way it is, there is no incentive to even attempt to win a battle. If two people with 8 figures (less models, more gold per shard, plus fewer losses before routing) having 5 heroes and 3 henchmen simply send two henchmen forward to get killed then voluntary rout, they have a better post game than the crazy people who actually fight tooth and nail to get a victory. The warbands that fight will probably have heroes go OOA, possibly leading to deaths or negative permanent injuries, and lost henchmen. This leads to not only costly replacements but reduced income on top of it. While the cheese puffs with 8 figures (yeah, I was one of them and the first to figure it out, took me two whole post game sequences), are garunteed 5 dice for explore, 6 if the other person is cheesy too and doesn't care if he loses. The people who fight it out oftern get less than five even if they win, due to heroes being OOA.

Why is this a problem? Not only are they keeping their heroes safe and getting more income than those actually fighting it out, but their heroes are getting more experience due to an occaisional quick hit opportunity or, more often, through underdog experience. Once their heroes have outleveled the others, and their warband has the best equipment, they fill out the warband and completely stomp everyone who didn't play cheese mode.

For number 2 I have a possible solution that I'm ironing out the final details. The problem has been you can't make victory so attractive that the cheese balls go for it, because then winning becomes a necessity and you create a situation where the strong get stronger and weak get weaker. Many of the campaigns I've seen for area control would suffer the same issues if the benefits of winning (and controlling) territories were enough to make the cheesy guys actually fight. I'm also dealing with people who don't care about story or rpg elements (some 24 years ago we turned Dungeons and Dragons into a monster-slaying, collect-the-loot, dice-fest and we loved it. "What's roleplaying?" When we found out how others played it, we thought they were crazy.) So, has anyone else encountered this in their gaming groups? If so, did you attempt to solve it and how did you go about it?

Problem #1 is sort of a buzzkill, but problem #2 just destroys Mordheim's campaign, and therefore the entire game, as far as I'm concerned.
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PostSubject: Re: Two Potentially Fatal Problems   Wed 1 Dec 2010 - 22:11

1. If Mordheim was real, and I was leader of a warband, no way in hell would I split my guys up. It is perfectly reasonable - both in gaming terms and situational context - to keep them together. I do wish there were more incentive to move above ground level, though. One option we have been experimenting with is to scatter a bunch of bodies around, mostly in out-of-the-way places and generally above ground floor. Tag one of them with one of your warriors and you roll 2d6 on a table that can produce anything from a ghoul (snake eyes) to a wyrdstone shard (10+). We find this idea encourages people to move about more (and sometimes even split up).

2. Don't have time for a long post at the moment, so instead, a quick question: how many people are playing in the campaign?

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PostSubject: Re: Two Potentially Fatal Problems   Thu 2 Dec 2010 - 0:07

mweaver wrote:
1. If Mordheim was real, and I was leader of a warband, no way in hell would I split my guys up. It is perfectly reasonable - both in gaming terms and situational context - to keep them together. I do wish there were more incentive to move above ground level, though. One option we have been experimenting with is to scatter a bunch of bodies around, mostly in out-of-the-way places and generally above ground floor. Tag one of them with one of your warriors and you roll 2d6 on a table that can produce anything from a ghoul (snake eyes) to a wyrdstone shard (10+). We find this idea encourages people to move about more (and sometimes even split up).

2. Don't have time for a long post at the moment, so instead, a quick question: how many people are playing in the campaign?


1. Sounds like there might be something there, I'll think on that one, thanks.

2. 6 players with 4 of us using two warbands (because two players don't have as much time and the rest of us got bored) so I guess 10 warbands, with 6 players.
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PostSubject: Re: Two Potentially Fatal Problems   Thu 2 Dec 2010 - 0:32

Our first campaign has illustrated your second point very well.
Two of us are next to each other on the map, kicking each others teeth in every turn, the other two warbands are cruising round the map taking territory, earning victory points, not fighting. Neither me nor DarkFury understand the concept of voluntary routing, every game is a bloodbath.

What you need is what i am working on for our group now, a set of campaign rules that make you fight for everything.
Do away with territory control entirely. Anything that allows you to score points or get loot by doing nothing should go.
Come up with victory (or campaign endings, it doesn't have to be declaring a winner, it can just be telling a story) that reward people for taking the risk of sticking in a fight to win.
Have npc warbands that contest campaign objectives if no other player does.
This has two benefits, first you have to fight to achieve anything.
Second, the person playing the npc warband will not be trying to protect it, as it is not theirs.
This means the objective will be contested hard.
The player trying to win is likely to get a pounding which will set them back a bit, giving others a chance to go for glory, or just catch up a bit.

The campaign rules i am working out at the moment do all this, and will make people fight to win.

I have a thread about campaign rules somewhere that some learned friends on this forum posted in, making me thing about this stuff.

Edit- Grouping up your warband is ok, nothing wrong with it, but makes it easy to flank and outmanoeuvre. A good tactical player can really make you pay for not being flexible.
For horde warbands, whose strength is in numbers, large groups are almost mandatory.
But a large block of troops is an easy target for a shooty warband with men in buildings for example, and that block of 15 goblins will still find it difficult to charge my Troll, with 4 toughness 4 armoured Orcs behind it, whilst my xbows are dropping your back markers from a high vantage point.


Last edited by qboid on Thu 2 Dec 2010 - 0:50; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : had a thought)
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PostSubject: Re: Two Potentially Fatal Problems   Thu 2 Dec 2010 - 3:16

Oh dear.

I'm really sorry to say this but I don't think Mordheim is the right game for you and your group!
Sad

You are playing it all wrong for a start.

The reason it doesn't matter if you win or not is to keep a balance between players who are really good and thrash everyone and players who are awful or just don't care about winning and play for the story element. If winning games made your warband better the gap between the winning warband and the loosing one would increase every game and the weaker warband would have less and less cance of winning every game as the campaign went on!

As it is the campaign can continue with (nearly) balanced sides because the results of individual games don't matter so much. "Winning" a campaign depends upon the objectives agreed by the players or set by a games master, not winning the most games.

As to splitting up warbands; I do it all the time! The half with crossbows climb high for a better field of fire. The half with combat skills rush into the fight. Sending the shooty ones forward would mean they can't shoot.
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PostSubject: Re: Two Potentially Fatal Problems   Thu 2 Dec 2010 - 4:20

WarbossKurgan wrote:
Oh dear.

The reason it doesn't matter if you win or not is to keep a balance between players who are really good and thrash everyone and players who are awful or just don't care about winning and play for the story element. If winning games made your warband better the gap between the winning warband and the loosing one would increase every game and the weaker warband would have less and less cance of winning every game as the campaign went on!

As it is the campaign can continue with (nearly) balanced sides because the results of individual games don't matter so much. "Winning" a campaign depends upon the objectives agreed by the players or set by a games master, not winning the most games.

You might have misunderstood what I was complaining about. The problem comes about that it is actually better to not fight at all than to risk your units in battle. It's okay though, I think I have a way around this. I'm just looking for more than one solution in case mine falls flat on its face.
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PostSubject: Re: Two Potentially Fatal Problems   Thu 2 Dec 2010 - 4:37

Considered making warband rating an important part of the campaign victory conditions? This would reward people who get stuck in and achieve scenario victory conditions.

If you're bothered about problems with the different warband sizes, calculate it on a per capita basis.
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PostSubject: Re: Two Potentially Fatal Problems   Thu 2 Dec 2010 - 4:42

You might also want to consider introducing a higher break point for warbands to voluntarily rout and/or some sort of penalties for repeatedly doing so. Leadership penalties for the captain? A surcharge for hired swords? After all, who'd want to fight under someone who lacks bottle.
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PostSubject: Re: Two Potentially Fatal Problems   Thu 2 Dec 2010 - 5:03

Eagle5 wrote:
You might have misunderstood what I was complaining about. The problem comes about that it is actually better to not fight at all than to risk your units in battle. It's okay though, I think I have a way around this. I'm just looking for more than one solution in case mine falls flat on its face.

I don't think I misunderstood, I was just saying why it's like that using the opposite case by way of explanation. Very Happy My point is that winning or loosing games doesn't matter, as you said. Success in campaigns should not be not based on winning games though.

But I hold by the belief that if you are playing Mordheim you have to like the story / roleplay element. If you like non-fluffy, ultra-competitive games then there are other games that may suit you more.... Blood Bowl maybe?
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PostSubject: Re: Two Potentially Fatal Problems   Thu 2 Dec 2010 - 5:41

With your second problem, there are two potential solutions.

The first, others have mentioned: make the campaign rules such that aggressive warbands are rewarded, and skulking warbands fall behind. We had one a few years ago where the ultimate victor was decided by "fame points", and you gained fame by doing things that would create a buzz about your warband - winning the game, taking out an enemy captain, killing an enemy hero, etc. You lost a fame point every time you voluntarily routed.

The second option is that the aggressive warbands form a temporary alliance and go stomp the crap out of the warband(s) that are employing the hide-while-everyone-else-fights strategy.
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PostSubject: Re: Two Potentially Fatal Problems   Thu 2 Dec 2010 - 6:29

If you play a map based campaign you could rule it that if you rout you lose the teritory and must fall back to an adjacent friendly or unclaimed one. If you realy needed to be cruel you could say that if you cannot fall back to another territory your warband is destroyed although that seems a bit over the top.
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PostSubject: Re: Two Potentially Fatal Problems   Thu 2 Dec 2010 - 6:44

To me, voluntary routing can ruin it. Have it so voluntary routers get a maximum of 1 Exploration... that way, they either stick in until they win, or until their leader fails a rout test.
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PostSubject: Re: Two Potentially Fatal Problems   Thu 2 Dec 2010 - 18:11

The problem with some of these suggestions is that sometimes voluntarily routing is a really, really good idea - no sissy hiding, you went to put the boot in, and now half your warband is gone, and your captain and another guy in melee just went from stunned to knocked down, but are gonna clearly be whacked... nothing wrong with voluntarily routing under those circumstances. So you don't want to hobble voluntarily routing too much - you just want to make sure it isn't abused. In that sense, leaving the rules alone and using the gang-up-and-stomp-them-until-they-stop-it option works pretty well.
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PostSubject: Re: Two Potentially Fatal Problems   Fri 3 Dec 2010 - 8:25

Good thrad, Eagle5. You are totally correct. Players who contradict you appreciate Mordheim for other things than the strategy setup. Which is perfectly fine. But people who want more strategy and better rules should take to revise them as they see fit.

Two recommendations, to solve your problems:

Have you played Company of Heroes? Mordheim could learn a lot from this game.

1
Basically, you each have a deployment zone. You don't deploy your entire warband at the start, instead you have a fixed about of deployment points.

2
You can spend deployment points as you see fit. Heroes cost more to deploy, henchmen less. A Vampire costs more than a Dreg, and so on.

3
Each turn you can get more deployment points, however, if you occupy certain checkpoints (such a static markers, high up in buildings) you get extra deployment points.

4
This means, that groups will be split up quite automatically. It also means that players will push and strugge to capture the checkpoints that give more Deployment Points.
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PostSubject: Re: Two Potentially Fatal Problems   Fri 3 Dec 2010 - 14:19

Flip the coin on this if everyone plays the let the henches get taken OOA so I can route, and look for loot then everyone is making more money. So it will balance out. Then all it takes is one guy to say, forget this and by pass the Henchmen and run for the heroes, or start making leadership checks to shoot at something other then the closest model.
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PostSubject: Re: Two Potentially Fatal Problems   Fri 3 Dec 2010 - 14:25

The way we have our table set up is with many crosswalks, bridges and modular 2 inch platforms of cobblestone.

My group NEVER has a problem on getting off the ground as half of the table is at least 6 inches off the board. Lots of initiative checks too.

Have this kind of setup also encourages splitting up your group, many stairways and bridges on our table are only wide enough for one model to step on and discourage any kind of swarming tactics.

As far as your second question goes - We play a lot of scenarious with lots of treasure, most of the time if someone sits on the side and sends the henchies in to die and rout, the other team will reap the rewards!
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PostSubject: Re: Two Potentially Fatal Problems   Fri 3 Dec 2010 - 16:52

1) For your first problem I would suggest using terrain and objectives to "encourage" players to divide their forces. If you don't think that good dividing terrain can be achieved in a back and forth setup have a third neutral party set up the table for the two people playing.

2) It sounds to me like winning is the only thing that matters to your group. I have to ask, why don't you guys just throw dice? Mordheim is a game about two warbands fighting, tooth and nail, over the riches of a destroyed city. Avoiding the fight is avoiding Mordheim. I would suggest removing voluntary rout. Perhaps make routing an escalating thing where the more guys you lose the more likely you are to route. Also, consider rewriting the injury tables. Make the death of your figures more rare, this way people won't be afraid to engage. Those are the two suggestions that come to my mind right off the bat.
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PostSubject: Re: Two Potentially Fatal Problems   Fri 3 Dec 2010 - 20:05

There's plenty of ways around the issues you raise though none of them seem to bother my group. Just set up your scenery so it looks awesome and like a real town play the scenarios were you have to split up

and most importantly get stuck in and clobber your opponent, it's all about the action on the table not the paperwork after (unless it's writing fluff or getting me an uber zombie)
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PostSubject: Re: Two Potentially Fatal Problems   Fri 3 Dec 2010 - 21:32

shotguncoffee wrote:
Good thrad, Eagle5. You are totally correct. Players who contradict you appreciate Mordheim for other things than the strategy setup. Which is perfectly fine. But people who want more strategy and better rules should take to revise them as they see fit.

Two recommendations, to solve your problems:

Have you played Company of Heroes? Mordheim could learn a lot from this game.

1
Basically, you each have a deployment zone. You don't deploy your entire warband at the start, instead you have a fixed about of deployment points.

2
You can spend deployment points as you see fit. Heroes cost more to deploy, henchmen less. A Vampire costs more than a Dreg, and so on.

3
Each turn you can get more deployment points, however, if you occupy certain checkpoints (such a static markers, high up in buildings) you get extra deployment points.

4
This means, that groups will be split up quite automatically. It also means that players will push and strugge to capture the checkpoints that give more Deployment Points.

That's an interesting solution. I was thinking about something along those lines like controlling several spots on a map and racking up victory points for each spot controlled. Once you reach a certain amount you win. The only problem I see with that is faster warbands like Skaven will have an advantage (and they already seem to have enough advantages anyway).

Though your non-random staggered deployment is an interesting variation. I'll have to think about that for a bit.

If I have time, I will post my campaign solution to problem #2. We haven't finished with it yet, so I'm not sure how the ending will play out, but so far it has fixed the beginning phase of the campaign and keeps people giving an honest effort to fight and win battles.

EDIT: I posted my Token Campaign here http://boringmordheimforum.forumieren.com/rules-and-gameplay-f1/token-campaign-t4651.htm
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PostSubject: Re: Two Potentially Fatal Problems   Sat 4 Dec 2010 - 8:54

I LOVE Company of Heroes, and I love the idea Shotgun Coffee has. I am probably going to implement something like that in a couple scenarios for our next campaign.
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PostSubject: Re: Two Potentially Fatal Problems   Sat 4 Dec 2010 - 22:32

Hmm, the voluntary routing was addressed as an optional rule in the Town Crier # 7 editorial... to some degree. Thomas even suggest not letting people search for wyrdstone if they rout in the first 4 turns.

Suggested Houserule off the top of my head:

The price of cowardice: Those who are quick to flight, often give up riches in order to preserve their cowardly little lives. If a warband voluntarily routes before half of its members are out of action, it suffers a penalty to the number of search rolls received after the game equal to the half the total members in the warband minus the number of models out of action at the time of the rout.

Example: Sigmar's Spineless, the Witch Hunters, have 12 members in their warband; 5 heroes, 4 warhounds, and 3 flagellants. They must start rolling for route when they have sustained 3 casualties. If they voluntarily route after just the 4 warhounds go out of action, only 3 dice will be rolled for exploration instead of 5, since the captain and the priest are preoccupied with seeking repentance from Sigmar for their cowardice!
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