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exlotus

Unsportsmanlike But Legal

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Currently there is a bit of an exploit which gives an generally unfair advantage towards bashy teams. Taking the ball and hiding on the back line of your deployment or corners pulls away from the scoring game.

I have only played a year but have lost many in my region due to the increased use of this exploit, including some bigger names from the warmachine community.

I am requesting a change that prevents such exploitation, and while I have my suggestions, I am asking others to contribute some thoughts on this topic as well.

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I agree with PaW; if a Brewers or Butchers team, for example, has to face off against Fish or Engineers and can't keep the ball out of play part of the game, there's just no way those teams are going to be able to put out enough damage fast enough to stop the footballers from scoring three goals.

Totally stalling out your opponent makes for a game that's not much fun, but it's not much fun to have the opponent run rings around you and plug in three goals while you try to get your mitts on them, either.  Ideally, the footballers have to work for the ball and the bashers have to work to set up their take-outs; that way, everybody gets to play.

Steamforged DOES have a bit of a counter to the worst of this- if the ball is below your goal line as a result of you kicking or dropping it there, you can't generate momentum.  That should help to keep it a bit more "live"- are your opponents forgetting about this rule?

Hope that helps!  If it's still a problem, maybe throw out here who you're playing and what your opponents are usually playing who do this to you?  Maybe we can help you figure out a workaround. =)

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The most important tactic to learn for a scoring team is how to get the ball back so you can score again. 

 

The most important tactic for a fight team is protecting the ball long enough so they can do their work. 

 

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I definitely agree that this is an issue. It seems like not actually playing the game is a very effective tatic to win. And that's just plain unfun. 

At the same time though, I can't see a feasible way to fix this problem with any sort of core rule change that doesn't also include reworking a bunch of stuff. I sort of have just come to accept it. 

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The goal scoring teams should figure out a way to get the ball from any spot on the pitch and to be honest they have really good tools for this. Blacksmiths have kill the ball and huge MOV, engineers have mother, salvo, hoist, locus,  fish are fast AF, sBrisket has sBrisket and Mist. Also the fighting teams need the ball to control the game, use the ball to close the distance, they can't really just leave in the corner and go.

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From my demoing experience and observing new players the problem comes from two behaviors:

- playing football teams like bashy teams

- reluctance to sacrifice players in order to obtain the ball

In tournament scoring you don't really care about how many VPs the opponent gets - it's either win or lose, altogether. You have to learn to exchange your player's life for a chance to take away the ball and attempt a shot on goal or a kick into open space, so that another model can pick up the ball.

If you are playing Fishermen and the opponent decides to hide the ball and tank it away from you, then you have so many repositioning abilties that you can draw some poor schmuck towards you and bash their brains in - sure, you won't get any momentum, but you can pull their turtle/tank/whatever apart.

Also, bear in mind that killing a model requires much more influence and setup compared to scoring a goal - usually you need 5-6 influence to kill a single model, whereas a goal will require 2-3 Influence. A goal will also net you more VP per Influence point spent, and I think you can see for yourself that this relation is much lower for a Influence-to-VP ratio when looking at Takeouts.

Really, a balanced approach is much more efficient, and you can get that ball from them or just bash them in, it just takes some thought (and time, but that you don't actually have that much - clock it away!).

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Why a player with a footbally team cannot run circles around a fighty team is because each model makes its entire activation (move + spend Influence). If Fillet was moved forward to be in reach of at least two enemy models and the butchers go 2nd in the next round, Fillet is still going to be able to engage at least one model (unless some special movement plays were used). This is something I noticed when I started off more football heavy. It's a lot harder to get to a "killed" ball than it is to engage the opponent that doesn't want to be engaged (Hunters are kinda an exception).

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I'd rather have the ball dumped in a corner of the field - that I can deal with (Second Wind on Engineers is soooooooooo very useful).

What is more challenging is a high DEF ball carrier (i.e. Harmony) protected by the likes of Hammer, Mallet, Tower, Brick etc. Try wading Pin Vice into that quagmire and see what happens.

 

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Calling it an "unfair exploitation" is a bit overly dramatic. It isn't an exploit at all, it's how a bashy team tries to buy time. Footballers basically race to score more than their opponents and are oftentimes really good at doing so. I started off playing Butchers. You don't get much more bashy (shush vRage) than that. Yet Butchers are so low ranked that many people question whether they are even competitive any more. That should say something about how "unfair" the tactic is.

There is one win condition. 12+VPs. There are three ways to get VPs. Goals, Take-outs and Clock. The mechanic is built into the game. It's very similar to real life sports where a team with the lead will make ineffective plays while in control of the ball to purposefully RUN OUT THE CLOCK.

Rather than howl that things are unfair, try asking a more constructive question: How does a scoring team handle their opponents' hiding the ball? That very much depends on you rather than your opponent. What are your strengths, what players and combos are available to you? Not to make it a personal attack, but it sounds like you need to better select your team members or make use of their abilities. I acknowledge there are some killy teams that can FEEL unfair, like pre-nerf Thresher. However, I usually find that with time and sometimes research that a way to handle them evolves.

SFG is very active about watching for what people think are OP. Their design teams watch trends at tourneys and during their playtesting. Sorry, but I don't think your opinion holds water across the breadth of the hobby.

All that aside, I believe that getting good with a footballer team is much more difficult than learning to bash. Learning to bash is, to me, about learning timing and target selection. Scoring is more complicated. It also needs proper timing, but positioning and setup are much more complicated.

 

You mention your opponents are burying the ball at the back of his deployment... If they are chucking the ball on or behind their goal line they cannot generate momentum. That really makes their game tough. You should have advantage of first turn almost whenever you want, plus heals and Bonus Time... For further advice, we really need to hear what you're playing, and maybe what your opponents are running. The solution could just be a matter of team composition. Also, watch youtube games. Just one or two games a week.

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I am pleased to see some discussion.

For some clarification, I mostly play Obulus Morticians. Obviously, playing Morticians, I am one who likes to kill the ball, but do not feel the need to go hide in a corner while doing it. 

 

Additionally, I am expressing concern for my meta and seeing a decline in participation as many of the games have resorted to ignoring the ball and brawling it out instead. Preventing momentum in these games, by people in this region's opinion, doesn't feel punishing or doesn't feel punishing enough to dissuade them. Extended regions within the Warmahorde community expressed similar opinion during Adepticon. 

I welcome the youtube video suggestion; however, maybe my searching skills are lacking and I am not seeing helpful videos on this topic. Could you suggest youtube videos that can show how to circumvent this exploitation? Tactics, combos, and syngery videos showing models working together would be a wonderful idea for someone with a greater depth of knowledge than I. It would be helpful for me when I branch into Ratcatchers in how to avoid losing 2-3 turns of just running across the table after a mascot with the ball. 

I am not claiming to be great at the game. I am not looking for an excuse for my losses. I am trying to save my player-base. I am enjoying playing this game, as is my daughter (who likes her Scalpel Morts). I am always looking for a better understanding of the game. If something seems off, I think it is a fair and valid idea to open up a discussion.

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Remember everyone the best way to big up our game is to blame people from another game right?

How about we focus on the 'issue' which sounds like a specific meta/play style than making sweeping generalisations about a specific player demographic?

What you describe is a valid tactic for teams playing into control and ball scoring teams. I would second the suggestion of watching some YouTube videos with Morticians play they have their own ways of blunting beating teams charges and attacks :)

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Positioning is key.

 

From a Fish POV: Shark has a 15" operating radius, with some influence to spare. (Pitch centre to corner is about 25 ".) Positioned at the centre of the table it's really hard to hide the ball from him, esp as he can extend his range by dodging around enemies – and if you don't want to lose momentum by kicking it behind your own goal line. Sakana and Greyscales at the flanks help you cover even more ground. Salt can potentially cover 20" if played with Jac (Get over here + sprint + 1").

 

As long as as I have my guys fully functional it's really hard for the opponent to actually hide the ball. The difficulty of course comes when the take outs start to appear, then it's easier to kill the ball. But that's not unsportsmanlike, that's a part of their tactic I'll have to anticipate and prepare for. I think the start of the game (= my first 2 goals) are really frustrating for the opponent, just as the end game (my guys starting to die off, limiting overall pitch coverage) is frustrating to me. Same same but different.

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4 hours ago, DrJekyll said:

From a Fish POV: Shark has a 15" operating radius, with some influence to spare. (Pitch centre to corner is about 25 ".) Positioned at the centre of the table it's really hard to hide the ball from him, esp as he can extend his range by dodging around enemies – and if you don't want to lose momentum by kicking it behind your own goal line. Sakana and Greyscales at the flanks help you cover even more ground. Salt can potentially cover 20" if played with Jac (Get over here + sprint + 1").

Pitch center to goal line at the board edge is just over 21" if I'm not mistaking.
So unless the ball hiding player wants to forgo momentum the ball is seldom more than 1 turn of movement away from a footbally teams ball retrievers. Or at least it should not be further away.

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9 hours ago, exlotus said:

Additionally, I am expressing concern for my meta and seeing a decline in participation as many of the games have resorted to ignoring the ball and brawling it out instead. Preventing momentum in these games, by people in this region's opinion, doesn't feel punishing or doesn't feel punishing enough to dissuade them. Extended regions within the Warmahorde community expressed similar opinion during Adepticon. 

Not gaining momentum is a huge penalty. It may be that your meta doesn't make as much use of it as they could, but without momentum you are losing counter attack, condition removal, healing, Defensive stance and  heroic plays.  I would often expect to see 12 influence give 6+ momentum, so that's potentially 6 extra attacks, or 24 extra health that the team that hasn't killed the ball gets each turn. Going first can also lead to the removal of enemy influence by killing a model before it activates.

 

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I think, that nothing about killing the ball is unsportsmanlike or an exploit of the rules, but i play Butchers exclusively so.. :P

First off, the amount of pitch where you an hide the ball is minimal, unless you want to stop the momentum train coming in and that is as hard a blow to any team as losing a goal. Then there are players like Shark, Piper, Shank, that have so good reach You will probably fail at killing the ball in a corner. 

Now how i tend to kill the ball? I have to think killing it will be beneficial at the start of the game when picking my players. SO that already influences my choice of the team (my oponent will be bashed much less cause one player will be keeping the ball). Most of the time, how I kill the ball is put it on OBrisket, get her to cover and maybe get Swift Stance on her. (if i feel real unlucky go put Tough Skin too) That makes a 5/1 or 6/1 player with Unpredictable Movement in cover that Fish or whoever plays ball has to get the ball off. Now is that frustrating? People who say ball killing is an exploit would probably say YES now.

 

But tell me please how is that more frustrating than Shark, scoring 1st turn, then grabbing the ball on top of T2, scoring again and Legenadrying away? That puts any bashing team at 0:8 (well 2:8 probably now without Knee Slider) and a lost T2 cause of low ranges. 

 

I don't want to soun rude, but there is a reason scoring teams are top of the meta right now and bashing teams are not. Thing is GB is such a wonderful game, that almost nothing is broken OP and everything has a Chance against anything. You just have to play better than the guy in front of you.

 

So, to end my banter here, didn't want it to sound like that, but maybe think about getting a better understanding of the guild You play and test some things out rather than say someone is unsportsmanlike and exploits bad rules.

 

NOTE THIS POST ISNT TARGETING ANYONE, IT'S JUST A SHOT AT VENTING MY HOT THOUGHTS AFTER READING THE THREAD.

 

Cheers to all and may you play long

Varred

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One problem I see is this:  The scoring team just runs away.  Ball is dead, no points are being scored.  SO is it purely a clock game at that point?

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13 hours ago, exlotus said:

Additionally, I am expressing concern for my meta and seeing a decline in participation as many of the games have resorted to ignoring the ball and brawling it out instead. Preventing momentum in these games, by people in this region's opinion, doesn't feel punishing or doesn't feel punishing enough to dissuade them. Extended regions within the Warmahorde community expressed similar opinion during Adepticon. 

This is largely a carryover from other combat-based gaming systems. When folks take the time to learn to play the game for a few months they will realize how much of a terrible strategy this is. The ball is a resource to be used, just like momentum and influence. Yes, even for a fighting team. Honestly I'd challenge you to figure out a method to overcome. If you are having difficulty, perhaps next time this happens to you take a snapshot and we can provide suggestions? All striking teams have the ability to weasel a ball away, but it does take planning and foresight.

3 hours ago, Varred said:

I don't want to soun rude, but there is a reason scoring teams are top of the meta right now and bashing teams are not.

I agree with most of what you said, however this part is just not true according to recorded tournament results:

  • 3.1 Meta. Yep this is the last time we really see primary goal scoring teams super taking advantage of the field, but this era existed between 8 & 15 months ago. As you statement says "right now" I think it is fair to ignore this. Also big nerfs happened.
  • 3.2 Meta had fish on top of win rate followed by union (mostly Corsair/Rage). While Corsair can run a scoring list, if scoring was "top of the meta" would we not expect shark? I doubt we can consider Vet Rage to be a scoring list. Tournament wins were lead by Masons, and believe it or not, followed by Butchers then Union. Admittedly the Butcher wins are much more focused around smaller events, but this doesn't hold true for masons.
  • 3.3 Meta largely dominated by Thresher. Certainly not a scoring team. Had the highest win rate and tournament wins. Yes fish and alchemists come in behind him, but those teams saw Corsair and Smoke leading the way versus their more score-focused options of Shark and Midas.
  • 3.4 Meta what about right now? Less than a month of data to go on, but take a wild guess who is the top performing guild/captain... go ahead and pause and guess.... Did you guess Butchers/Fillet? They're leading the pack right now (blame @Slothrop). Then you've got Corsair beating people up as always, followed by Hunters in 3rd??? Wild.
45 minutes ago, Wallied said:

One problem I see is this:  The scoring team just runs away.  Ball is dead, no points are being scored.  SO is it purely a clock game at that point?

Simply not enough space on the pitch to really "Run Away" with any degree of reliability. Smoke's team can do this for a little while, but she's not really a scoring team.

 

Overall - I think the comments in this thread are largely a symptom of experience. It seems most emerging communities go through these growing pains really since the game began. Butchers are always kind of an early days power house. Eventually folks figure things out. Killing teams work on how to stall the ball. Scoring teams learn how to deal with it. Eventually you'll come to realize how balanced the core of this game actually is. Seems most groups follow this path in some form or another.

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@tehlon, okay maybe i exaggetated a little :P But as said earlier ta hat was half serious post, half frustration about the topic seemingly worked over a few times now. 

Maybe not the top of the top, Shark and Midas are still strong Caps. Way stronger than both Butchers, Esters, Ballista, Honour. All those are subjective and based on my experience playing against various  teams. 

The point is, scoring goals is many times easier than taking players out in terms of resource investment, so there shuold be some tactic to make it that much harder 

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1 hour ago, Varred said:

@tehlon, okay maybe i exaggetated a little :P But as said earlier ta hat was half serious post, half frustration about the topic seemingly worked over a few times now. 

Maybe not the top of the top, Shark and Midas are still strong Caps. Way stronger than both Butchers, Esters, Ballista, Honour. All those are subjective and based on my experience playing against various  teams. 

The point is, scoring goals is many times easier than taking players out in terms of resource investment, so there shuold be some tactic to make it that much harder 

No sweat.

Depends on your definition of "strong". There really are few few "weak" captains in the game. Since the start of the year Shark and Midas are clocking in 51.7% and 46.3% win rates with 385 and 121 tournament games respectively. It's hard for me to discuss personal anecdotes of what folks feel is strong. Personally, I hate Ballista with a burning passion. Doesn't mean I think he's strong/weak.

Resource Investment of scoring vs take out? Maybe as far as raw influence is concerned but your statement seems to downplay every other facet of what a "resource" is in this game. Sure, strictly speaking you can score a goal with what? 3 to 4 influence? Where as a take out is going to take maybe 6 to 10? That's true, but that omits all the positioning, set up, and planning it took to get that goal. Then you miss it. What do you get for it? Absolutely nothing except an exposed striker. Now contrast that to a flubbed take out. Maybe your target is still alive, but you still have them on low health *and* you likely racked up a good pile of momentum to boot. Your board position is still strong. When you do take out that model your board position is even stronger! Yes scoring might net you more VPs, but it almost always sacrifices board position and *always* sacrifices the ball - a resource unto itself. Scoring teams go for high tempo early in the game, but at the end of the day 8vps is worth exactly the same as 0 VPs if you lose.

Now, one thing I will say I do believe. Guilds and Captains which can flex between strategies on the fly are the strongest on average. This is true for opponents as well. Being able to pivot where your VPs come from is crucial. This is actually part of why I love playing Corsair and why I think he's remained strong throughout season 2 and 3. Corsair has no problem aiming for 2-2, but when the situation is advantageous can easily flex in BOTH directions. He can go 3-0s or 4-1 too. A lot of teams can flex between 2-2/4-1, but not many teams can flex in that 3rd 3-0 or 0-6 option.

One thing I would recommend you (and everyone really) is trying out is playing around with the teams that give you the most fits. Once you start to pilot those troublesome models it becomes a lot more clear where the weaknesses are. I think this is especially true for Shark. Anyone who really wants to excel in this game really needs a half dozen or so shark games under their belt. It opens you up to such a different style can make you appreciate spilling a little blood on the pitch.

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4 hours ago, Varred said:

 

The point is, scoring goals is many times easier than taking players out in terms of resource investment, so there shuold be some tactic to make it that much harder 

It can be yeah but it is all or nothing. Tapper, on the other hand, us unlikely to expend all of his inf on attacks and get a single playbook result. Maybe not the ones he wants, but he'll do something to edge closer to vp.

There is a bit if a trend for hiding the ball in these parts, and it can be infuriating tbh, but watch what they do, read your cards and plot how you will stop them next time. 

Maybe some of the original teams are laking in ball retrieval tricks compared to some other teams, but I think the ease at which a team can get 2 goals in a row is a delicate balance point. 

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To the OP I'd like to add that my, and others', suggestions above may come through as Velominati rule #5, but that was not my intent. Rather it was an attempt at encouraging some exploration and trial-and-error. I often play with an opponent who is sooo much better than I am, and sometimes we play with "open thoughts" and explain to each others continuously why we do things. In that way you learn to see the game from the other's point of view. This is so helpful, and sometimes just understanding the rationale behind a certain activation will help you come up with a countermove. (And to understand why you perhaps shouldn't have put yourself in that position in the first place – or you learn a new way to bait your opponent!) Also, try taking a photo of the game state at critical points in the game. Then you an replay the game from there, trying out alternative courses of action.

 

And good luck! (And, of course watch this ;) )

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