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Spartacus: The Serpents and the Wolf Expansion Set» Forums » General

Subject: Is Ball & Chain too Powerful? rss

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Patrick Reynolds
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I won the auction for Ball & Chain during the first Market phase of a game recently, and it allowed me to dominate the Arena phase for several turns.

I equipped it to a 3/1/3 Starting Gladiator and he went undefeated, becoming a Champion and defeating a couple of other Starting Gladiators as well as Crixus.

A first strike directly to the opponents Speed + a Gladiator with a Speed of 3; even one hit on the Ball & Chain nearly ensures that the match is over.

Also, we used the variant that treats the Initiative roll in a similar manner as combat - dice are lined up and compared, highest non-tied result wins.

In the previous game, I defeated Theokoles with the same Starting Gladiator + Ball & Chain.

I suppose that there are a lot of things in this game that, when won early, can lead a player to Arena domination until someone else gets a competitive Gladiator or Gear card, but I think that the Ball & Chain makes a high number of Gladiators incredibly powerful, and effectively limits the available counter options against it. I'm thinking of removing it from my next play to see if things progress a bit more evenly.
 
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The Shader
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It's good but I believe it is balanced. Armor can prevent the damage and Javelin can do more. Plus its one shot, so a bad roll gets you nothing.
 
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Patrick Reynolds
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therealtheshader wrote:
It's good but I believe it is balanced. Armor can prevent the damage and Javelin can do more. Plus its one shot, so a bad roll gets you nothing.


Fair enough. I suppose it's level of OP is situational - get it out early enough and it's pretty dominant, but that can be said of many cards. I think, though, that Ball & Chain combos well with nearly any Gladiator. Put it on a Starter like I did and he's very tough to beat without the right Gladiator or Gear. Put it on a top tier Gladiator and it's nearly unstoppable.
 
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Doc Holliday
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Yes its the best piece of equipment you can buy hands down. If you have a gladiator with 3 attack dies its strong, 4 attack die its a beast, 5 forget about it. Its price is the same as you would see Gannicus/Spartacus/Mag/Had going for.

As for the javelin vs it, only if the gladiator with the Javelin wins int. Otherwise hes not going to have any blue die left to throw.


The counter to the Ball and Chain is The Eqyptian, always moves 3 so you can at least stay mobile.
 
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Patrick Reynolds
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tvbusnavy wrote:
Yes its the best piece of equipment you can buy hands down. If you have a gladiator with 3 attack dies its strong, 4 attack die its a beast, 5 forget about it. Its price is the same as you would see Gannicus/Spartacus/Mag/Had going for.

As for the javelin vs it, only if the gladiator with the Javelin wins int. Otherwise hes not going to have any blue die left to throw.


The counter to the Ball and Chain is The Eqyptian, always moves 3 so you can at least stay mobile.


This is why I am thinking that it might be overpowered - it makes a whole bunch of Gladiators incredibly strong; possibly unbeatable, but you need to have one of a very few specific cards to be able to counter it.
 
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John Karma
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Yes, it's far and away the most powerful piece of equipment in the game; though, as with every other asset, it can't really be 'overpowered' in the classic sense. If you manage to purchase a ball and chain, you're far more likely to win arena battles, but such is also the case with Gannicus and Spartacus.

The real question, then, is how much variance do you want in your games? The ball and chain is probably the most random asset there is and can easily help a mid-tier gladiator crush a top-tier or do absolutely nothing at all.

My play group has removed it from our games, despite my own protest. I imagine it could be rebalanced to fit in a little better with the other equipment, should that be your goal, but I haven't given it much thought since we got rid of it.
 
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Mordante Mordante
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No it isn't too powerful, it's a excellent addition as it addresses the issue of high speed stated gladiators as before this piece of equipment most posts on the forum were about the uselessness of average speed fighters.

Also remember that the ball and chain may not make it into a game and that even if it is you could buy it, break it or just field a better gladitor who doesn't rely on speed.
 
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Syn Egg
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Ball & Chain is easily best card in the game. It is far more valuable than Gannicus because gladiators cost upkeep and there are many ways to disable/kill them. On the other hand you cannot get rid of B&C, at most Sabotage forces it to be exhausted for 1 turn. Plus you can equip it on just about any high ATK gladiator and create a monster.

It's true there are some downsides like you might roll poorly and not do any damage, there are only 2 B&Cs in the game, it is countered by The Egyptian and Shield can block 1 point. However I think it is still too powerful.

I think it should be kept in the game because if it comes out late it is a good way to effectively put the fear of god (Jupiter?) into all powerful gladiators. Everyone loves a good underdog story when a mid-tier gladiator gets B&C and takes out all the big bad bullies who have been dumping on him all game.

However I definitely think it should be nerfed. Here are some possible ideas:

1) Make it melee range. Making opponent 1-2 SPD is crazy enough but doing it from range 3 is just sad. At least melee range they will hopefully get to retaliate once before you run away forever. Plus range 3 is almost certainly first strike.

2a) B&C can only be used against an opponent with equal or higher SPD. I can't really justify this thematically but I guess it is kind of like in war, nuclear bombs/WMDs are always the last resort.

2b) Kind of related/alternative to 2a. A gladiator who wins with B&C does not gain favor. Because it is a coward's weapon and the crowd will boo them off. I guess this means champions may not use it.

3) B&C only damages SPD. If opponent's speed is reduced to 1, any extra damage caused by B&C does not spill over onto other stats. 1 SPD is sad enough, don't kick a guy further after he just got his legs chopped off.
 
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John Karma
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Pretty much agree with all of this, but Mira is the best asset in the game
 
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Jason Ray
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There's a very powerful counter to this called not getting invited to the arena. The last six player game I won I had to do without arena involvement in the end game due to the fact that I had Spartacus, the B&C, belt, and trident. Obviously you're not going to willingly fight that and obviously if you're playing with at least semi-smart people they're going to make you pay for that combo and you're not going win host or see the arena. Ball and chain is uber, but quite balanced for a one shot ability if you're against experienced players.
 
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Vili Rantanen
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I was really puzzled by how anyone can consider the BC overpowered. In our games it sure tilts the battle for the ballandchainer a little but you still have to go close and duke it out with Theokoles who probably would've taken a spear damage out of SPD as well.

Then I realize you guise must play with the book rules. I didn't even remember those are the actual rules. Our group plays only with the blue dice variant and it fixes the whole issue completely. You have way better chances to win initiative only with 1 dice even if you did get ball&chained in the variant.

I've played only one game by the book rules and after that only blue dice variant and haven't looked back.
 
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Pedro Sequeira
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I also think B&C is by far the best equipment, so I try to balance it like this: The defender is only forced to remove dices from SPD until he has 2 left. It's his choice if he wants to be left with 1 SPD or remove from atk or def. the reason is that 1 dice in SPD is just too bad and basically removes all chances to win, even with the blue dice variant.
 
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Patrick Reynolds
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Songok wrote:
I also think B&C is by far the best equipment, so I try to balance it like this: The defender is only forced to remove dices from SPD until he has 2 left. It's his choice if he wants to be left with 1 SPD or remove from atk or def. the reason is that 1 dice in SPD is just too bad and basically removes all chances to win, even with the blue dice variant.


I would say that being reduced to 1 SPD die "removes all chances to win" isn't accurate. It makes it extremely difficult to win, yes, but you could still roll a 6 to your opponents triple 1s or something equivalent. We've seen such upsets happen. They're uncommon, but not impossible.
 
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