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Commands & Colors: Ancients» Forums » General

Subject: Which Scenarios are most balanced? rss

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Cuppa Jack
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Which Scenarios are most balanced?

 
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Henri Harju
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Though I haven't played them all yet.. I think the following are pretty balanced (as in each side has fair change of winning, which means 40%-60% to which ever side):

Crimissos River
Castulo
Zama

What about the others?

Edit.

There's a rough way to check for scenario balance. This holds water better if there's no terrain present.

For each side:
1. Count all heavy and medium unit types.
2. Count all leaders.
3. Cound cards in hand
4. Add the numbers.

Compare numbers.

Example:
The battle of akragas.
Carthaginians
1. Total 5.
2. Total 2.
3. Total 5
4. Total 12.

Syracusan
1. Total 5.
2. Total 2.
3. Total 6.
4. Total 13.

Another example.
Lake trasimenus.
Carthaginians
1. Total 9.
2. Total 3.
3. Total 6.
4. Total 18.

Roman
1. Total 7.
2. Total 2.
3. Total 2-4
4. Total 11-13

 
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Kevin Duke
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I think Henry's add-up idea is interesting, altho I don't agree with it as it currently stands...


A difference of one leader is vastly more significant than a difference of one medium unit and a hand size difference of a card or two is also much more important than an extra medium or even heavy unit, since hand size not only provides more choices but (more important) also affects how many units can be ordered by many of the cards.

Unit numbers are far less important, as was discovered in a discussion here about Canae, in which someone pointed out that--historically--the Roman force was much larger than the Carth. force, but we all realized that jamming more Roman units onto that map would hurt them more than help them. Since the "race" is to banners, having extra medium or heavy units is not much of a factor, compared to leaders and hand size.

Maybe a multiplier on leaders and a smaller multiplier on hand-size would yield more accurate results.

As for Akragus, I think it makes a fine introductory scenario because it is pretty well balanced-- certainly close to the 40/60 rate mentioned, plus the slight extra Syracusan advantage can be given to the newer player for extra balance. The fact that Henry does not list it on his balanced group-- even though there is only "one point" difference, suggests how important it is when that "one point" is a card, versus one point difference in a unit.

Zama, on the other hand, looks "even" because Carthage has an extra medium/heavy unit and the Romans have an extra leader. Given that 3 of the Carth. units are those so-fragile elephants, if I were playing for money, I know where my wager will be placed.
 
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Dan Becker
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Very good points. I would rate the elements as follows.

1) Leaders and command - 20 points each
These have the most effect on the battle. An extra command card or leader can often nullify a handful of units on the other side. While I don't think this is a truly linear scale (e.g. 1 command card versus 6 would be incredibly lopsided even if you gave 100 points in units) a difference of 1 or 2 leaders/cards would be worth up to 4 units.

2) Units
a) Heavy inf - 10 points
b) Medium inf - 8 points
c) Warrior/Auxilia inf - 6 points
d) Other light inf - 4 points
e) Light cav - 5 points
f) Med cav - 7 points
g) Heavy cav - 9 points
h) Ele or Char - 8 points

3) Terrain or other factors - up to 10 points
Advantageous or disadvantageous terrain.
Late arriving units
Lopsided layouts

This point system is close to the comments most of the others are making.
 
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Henri Harju
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That point system is going to prove itself very usefull when I beging to make my own scenarios, thanks. Though I think that adding light inf./bowmen/slingmen to calculations will only make them more complex.. (that is, excluding them won't make the results eny less accurate..)
 
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Kevin Duke
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It's kind of a toss-up on that-- since CC and range fire die rolls are the same for slingers/bows as well as "light" but slings/bows have one additional hex in range, I would figure they are worth more. If you were doing a 'buy your own" I should think they might cost an extra point or something.

My opinion is putting a point value on leaders and cards compared to troops is very hard. I'm not disagreeing with the numbers here-- just do not have a good feel for it.

I'm mulling a design-your-own system that is more about making choices than it is about points. GMT has already said they have no interest in this either way (points or choices) since none of the other C&C games had one, "there must not be a demand for it." Hmmm.

I'll keep tinkering and when I get something that feels close I'll see about having it posted on the support site, with the understanding that the next step will be "group/world playtest" to get a feel for balance issues.
 
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An interesting question, but one that I have not considered as I don't think scenario balance is important.

In my experience, either side can win in any given scenario in spite of apparent imbalances. Also, I always try to play a scenario twice, switching sides for the second game and using a cumulative banner total to determine overall winner.

In a "card-dependent" game like C&C:Ancients, scenario balance is something of an illusion in any case.
 
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Richard Irving
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The only way to really tell if a scenario is imbalanced is to play it quite a few times and record the result.

Simply counting point values does not work for couple of reasons:
- Point systems inevitably overvalue or undervalue cetain units.
- Even in a "perfectly balanced" scenario one side or the other may have inherent advantages due to terrain, first move, formation effects, victory conditions (not really applicable to C&C), etc.

Looking at some of the systems proposed a big bugaboo seems hand limit. Simply put a 6 card hand is not that much more valuable than a 4 card hand. This is not a game like Up Front, where you can play multiple cards per turn. Since card thoughput (i.e. many cards you can play) is much improved with a larger hand--if you want to play 3 cards, you need only 1/2 you hand to be favorable, rather than 3/4.

In C&C, both players have the same card throughput--1 card per turn. The 6 card hand sees exactly 2 more cards than a 4 card hand during the game. The advantage is minimal. Once you get 2 "useless cards" in your 6 card hand, it plays exactly like a 4 card hand.
 
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Matthew M
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rri1 wrote:

Once you get 2 "useless cards" in your 6 card hand, it plays exactly like a 4 card hand.


That assumes the 4 card hand hasn't been bogged down with any useless cards.

-MMM
 
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