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Subject: PPP 1.2: Healing rss

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Colin Atkinson
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If I had to pick the most controversial issue in MonPoc, I believe it would be the issue of healing. Though I don’t recall too many advocates saying it should be removed entirely, there were definitely debates on what kinds of healing there should be and how easy they should be to obtain. So with that in mind, let’s look at what I believe are the three primary types of healing, their positives and negatives, and possible fixes for them if needed, including a universal fix of sorts.

First Type: Healing Actions

Healing Actions are perhaps the most controversial of all healing types. For the cost of a single a-die, a fair amount of monsters can heal a single point of health every unit turn. And let’s not forget monsters like Cthugrosh who can have a Meat Slave use Bleed on him during the unit turn, and then Sacrifice another unit on his corresponding monster turn. Granted this requires the sacrifice of two of his own units, but two guaranteed health at the cost of 2 a-die in two separate turns is pretty nice. Even Yasheth, crazy healer though he may be, still requires attacks to hit the enemy monster in order to heal (though we’ll discuss that later).

The GUARD repair truck is perhaps the most infamous Action healer, particularly since it can be splashed to help heal out of faction monsters like Tyrannix’s alpha form. But even within faction this little unit is a beast. It can keep top tier monsters like Sky Sentinel and Laser Knight in tip top shape, with Sky Sentinel being particularly easy since he can hang pretty close to his spawning points. Legionnaire and Tryannix can also easily call for some repairs by performing a “morpher retreat” and sending their less mobile parts next to a spawn point for a repair truck to patch them up at next turn. The ease of healing even just one point of damage is not something to be laughed at, and I would argue this is likely the kind of healing that needs to be nerfed the most. Damage on a monster is the most important thing in the game, and therefore being able to negate that at a very cheap cost is something that can easily send a monster into the OP category.

Now this isn’t to say that I think this kind of healing has to be removed entirely. For instance, though Ultra Cthugrosh may have the ability to heal 2 health within 2 turns for a relatively cheap cost, he also doesn’t have any way to deal 2+ damage besides a well laid power attack, so his healing abilities are likely quite fair. On the other hand, a monster like Yasheth having access to Meat Slaves might just be a bit too much healing (I don’t know if this is the case as I’ve never played nor faced Yasheth). So I think the most important thing to do is consider how a universal change to a healing ability will affect all monsters it heals, and how a specific change to a monster instead might make things better.

For instance, perhaps Repair could keep its function, but monsters like Sky Sentinel could be given a new ability that doesn’t allow them to be healed by unit actions. Or, if we think most mechanical monsters don’t need to heal to their maximum HP, then perhaps Repair should be changed to read “Restore 1 health to an adjacent monster with less than half it’s health.” This way, most mechanical monsters can keep themselves at a maximum of 3 Health, but they don’t completely lose access to healing either.

So in order to properly balance each healing action, let’s examine each of them in detail, which monsters they affect, and which solution I think is best at the moment.

Repair:

Monsters it affects: GUARD, Ubercorp, Voltron, Lotron, Tyrannix’s Alpha form

Problem: I personally wonder if this action might be a little on the overpowered side. Although I hardly ever saw GUARD get played during my time with MonPoc, the power this little action gives to some already hard hitters, Tyrannix, Laser Knight, Voltron, and Sky Sentinel in particular, is something that shouldn’t be ignored. I’ve already mentioned how this action can help said figures, including a few others, so I won’t repeat myself. That said, I’m not a fan of how easily this action can help keep these monsters in tip top shape. On the other hand, Defender X, Nova ESR, and all the Ubercorp monsters aren’t considered that much of a threat, even with access to such healing, so perhaps it isn’t as bad as I think.

Solution: Personally, I’m considering changing Repair to state that it can only heal a monster under half it’s health. This way, it can help keep monsters alive, but without keeping them at max health either. Now admittedly, the potential problem with this is that 3 health isn’t necessarily that hard for some factions to take down. Assuming the mechanical monster heals on their unit turn first, the opponent could chip them for 1 on their unit turn, and then likely finish them with a 2 damage attack on their monster turn. These aren’t guarantees of course, but it is a high likelihood. Of course, that’s somewhat my goal. I’m trying to ensure even hard to hit monsters like SS can’t keep themselves out of danger forever, even though his 7 defense still makes taking away that final 3 HP difficult. On the other hand, this might hurt the less powerful mechanical monsters, namely Ubercorp, a little too much, but it’s hard to say for sure. If access to healing with no limits didn’t help them that much before, would this hurt them that much as well? Sounds like some playtesting would be in order.

Alternatively, Repair could be changed to state that it can only repair in-faction monsters (no more easy healing for Tyrannix), while OP monsters like Sky Sentinel and Laser Knight could be given a new ability that doesn’t allow them to be healed by unit actions. It’s a bit messier, and would require Sky Sentinel’s Ultra form to lose an ability (though if we were to bring back the cover buff, Blue Low Flyer might be a bit too strong anyway), but at least it doesn’t hurt the weaker mechanical monsters out there. Any thoughts on this matter?

Bleed:

Monsters it affects:
Lords of Cthul

Problem: Bleed starts off better than Repair in my opinion since it not only exclusively heals monsters within the units faction, but it also crushes that unit when used. This makes the action of instant healing have a little more sacrifice to it, which of course also means it’s a little more expensive if you want to perform it every unit turn. Still, it's possible that this little ability helps keep some Cthul monsters in better shape than they should be able to stay in.

Solution:
Admittedly, I’ve hardly seen the Cthul in action, and though I hope to rectify that shortly in my own personal games, I can’t quite say if the solution to this problem, if there even is one, would involve nerfing Bleed. According to Gearbox’s tier list, the only overpowered threats are Ultra Ancient Osheroth and Mega Yasheth, both of whom I wouldn’t be surprised are that way due to their own abilities rather than Meat Slaves (though I’m sure Meat Salves contribute). As it stands, I don’t think any change needs to be brought to this action, though I’m willing to reconsider should it appear to be more of a problem.

Does anyone here think Bleed needs some sort of nerf?

Sacrifice:

Monsters it affects: Alpha and Ultra Cthugrosh, Ultra Ancient Osheroth, and Mega Mantacon

Problem: This ability is surprisingly limited in it’s distribution (I thought more monsters had it), but this is for good reason. Thought this ability does still require the sacrifice of one of your own adjacent units while crushing it, it can be any unit within your agenda (and when fighting a force with the same agenda it could be your opponent’s unit too apparently), and it’s still relatively easy healing. The good news is, only two of these monsters are considered top tier, while Cthugrosh’s access to Sacrifice doesn’t seem to put him in the over-powered state.

Solution: This is another ability I’m not entirely sure needs changing. In all likelihood the OP monsters who have it are the ones who need nerfing rather then the ability. However, I did come up with one little idea that, while quite a heavy nerf, does add to the whole sacrifice idea. Essentially, when you crush the unit to heal, it’s removed permanently from the game. We would also want to stipulate that you can only destroy one of your own AGN units to help keep opponents in the same AGN from losing too much in the deal (I’m actually thinking this ruling should happen regardless if sacrifice permanently removes units or not). Permanent unit removal is admittedly pretty heavy handed though, which is why I think this ability doesn’t need changing, but instead should only be given to monsters who need it.

What do you all think?

Restoration:

Monsters it affects: Alpha Mecha Cthugrosh

Problem: I don’t think there is a problem with this ability. Though it doesn’t require as much sacrifice as Bleed or, well, Sacrifice, it’s still trickier to pull off than Repair, and if the half health Repair nerf comes through, Mecha Cthugrosh will need all the help it can get. As always, this ability could get worse if given to the wrong monster, but as it stands, I think it’s appropriate for Mecha Cthugrosh’s alpha.

Solution:
None needed. Unless someone disagrees?

Second Type of Healing: Triggers and advantages

I’ve included both of these types of healing in the same subject since the current healing advantages are essentially triggers with the exception that they need a different figure’s attack to succeed in order to heal.

Vampirism:

Monsters it affects: Mega Anglax, Mega Galaxius-4, Dread Tentacle (Ancient Osheroth), Alpha and Ultra Yasheth, Mega Deimos-9

Problem:
I don’t think this, or any of the other abilities we’ll be talking about in this area, are a problem. The primary reason why is that all of them require an attack to succeed in order to heal. Not having guaranteed healing is already a much better ability in my opinion, and while most high odd rolls do succeed, the fact that even a 99% chance attack can fail means these abilities aren’t as bad in my opinion. I would argue that these abilities are really just another way to deal another damage to the enemy monster, and since there are plenty of other triggers that do 2 damage as well, I’d say these kind of triggers are quite fair. In fact, I’d argue these triggers, particularly Vampirism, are arguably weaker than triggers like Weapon Master and Lightning Attack. The reason why is because you can only heal up to your monsters max health, whereas you can always deal 2 or more damage to the enemy monster (until you kill their form, which is still good). Now granted, if you’re constantly finding yourself at max HP while you’re pinging the enemy monster, that’s a good thing, but I’d argue killing off your opponent faster is likely the better option than keeping yourself in better condition, at least when it comes to attack triggers anyway.

Solution: None needed. So long as this trigger isn’t put alongside something like Lightning Attack (assuming Lightning attack has the same trigger as this one), I’d say it’s balanced.

Leach:

Monsters it affects: Alpha and Ultra Anglax, Alpha and Ultra Yasheth, and Mega Ancient Osheroth

Problem:
I’ve already said it before, but I don’t think this ability is overpowered either. While it’s true that most of these monster forms have access to healing on their monster turns (Anglax with High Occupancy buildings, and Yasheth with Vampirism), it’s worth noting that not only is it usually more difficult for a unit attack to hit an enemy monster, but that such an attack usually comes at a cost of not attacking your opponents units, meaning you might be slowly relinquishing your board control. And as I mentioned with Vampirism, if your monster is at full health, this advantage doesn’t help you very much. Now yes, it’s true that an ability like this can allow your monster to hang back and stay in peak condition until your opponents monster comes over to lay down the pain (assuming they don’t have access to unlimited healing themselves), but so far the current monsters who have it need to get close to the enemy monster if they want to attack as well. In other words, if a monster with a heavy focus in blasting were to get this ability, it would likely be OP. However, since the current monsters who have it need to get within 3 spaces at minimum to attack the enemy monster, I’d say it’s pretty balanced. As always certain match-ups can make this ability more advantageous at times, but considering other match-ups can make it nigh impossible to use (such as facing a monster with 7 def in both forms), I’d say that about balances things out.

Solution: I don’t think anything is needed here. If I had to choose one ability out of the three in this subject area to nerf, it would likely be this one though since it does potentially allow the monster who has it to force the enemy monster to cross the board, but I don’t think it’s too bad overall. As it stands, the only possible nerf it might need is requiring units to specifically target the enemy monster for the allied monster to heal, rather than letting something like explosion or radial attack have the same effect. This way a clever opponent can’t also get rid of their opponents units as easily, thus making constantly attacking the enemy monster a greater sacrifice.

Munch:

Monsters it affects:
Terrasaurs, and Alpha and Ultra Krackenoctus

Problem:
Once again, I also don’t think there’s a problem with this one. While it’s true that on one hand it’s generally easier to hit an enemy unit with a monster than the enemy monster, meaning you healed more easily than you would have with Vampirism, on the other hand, taking out an enemy unit is generally less impactful than hitting the enemy monster for more damage, so I’d say that balances things out. When you consider that most monsters have to spend their while attack phase to just heal 1 health from an enemy unit, rather than trying to deal 2+ damage to the enemy monster, I’d say that makes this ability not only balanced, but possibly even a little weak. That doesn’t mean it can’t be crazy though, since monsters with Blitz can make this ability more insane, not to mention morhpers due to their being able to split up their attacks (I’ll never forget witnessing an Alpha Tyrannix healing 3-4 health in a single turn due to a strategically summoned Green Fury Van). However, I think problems like that are problems that potentially need to be fixed by changing the monsters themselves, rather than the ability. Even Krackenoctus, who has the ability to munch a unit and throw it at the enemy monster (essentially dealing 2 damage), I’ve found rarely finds this combo useful. It often seems better to try to find power attack avenues instead.

Solution:
None needed. Though technically easier to pull off than a trigger like Vampirism, I’d say the sacrifice in attacking a unit with your monster over the enemy monster itself makes this ability not that strong overall.

Third Type of Healing: Buildings


I suppose technically this type of healing should be labeled Reactions, but considering the only healing Reactions right now are on buildings, I think that distinction makes this type more unique.
I’m not going to bother making a Problem and Solution subject area, because not only do I think this kind of healing isn’t a problem, it’s possibly the best type of healing. The reason for this is for two reasons. It’s not guaranteed, and it’s limited.

The not guaranteed part I’ve already covered in the Second Type of healing, meaning attacks against a building for health might fail. But the second reason of limitation is more important since destroyed buildings cannot be brought back, which means not only do you have a certain amount of times you can heal, but your opponent can actively do something to ensure you cannot heal. If your opponent wants to make sure you cannot get any health back, they can try to destroy any buildings that have a healing reaction for your monster. Now yes, this does mean they will be sacrificing their unit or monster turns to, at least in part, take out some buildings they might not otherwise, but if it is essentially taking away an ability for you to deal one damage without getting close to the enemy monster, it might be worth it.

And to throw in another reason I’ve mentioned earlier as to why this is balanced, the fact that your monster has to sacrifice their attack for the turn to heal health is a pretty big deal. While monsters with Blitz and/or Demolish can help mitigate this sacrifice, and morphers in the future might be able to take advantage of it too much, in general spending your whole monster turn to heal 1 health is a move that, admittedly, isn’t worth making all that often. Assuming you have a way to deal 2+ damage to the enemy monster, that is almost always the better avenue to take. True, brawling a building for health will also net you more p-dice than something like Munch will, but it’s still not that heavy of an impact either. In all honesty, when not considering monsters who have abilities like Blitz, healing from buildings is only advantageous if you can and should retreat to your side of the map to heal up. But considering I haven’t found that move to be the best decision too often, I’d say no matter what your opinion is on healing in this game, this type of healing has to be the most balanced.

But now the real question, what about universal healing?


While perhaps healing by buildings is the most balanced way to heal, it’s worth noting that only two types of monsters, and therefore only 5 out of the 12 factions, can heal this way. Nature monsters and Nuclear monsters currently are the only ones who can heal from buildings, and while Nature monsters have quite a choice of buildings to get their health from, Nuclear monsters only have one (the Nuke Plant), meaning they can only have up to 3 possible points of healing on the map at a time. And then of course it’s worth talking about the factions who have no access to healing whatsoever, which are the Elemental Champions, Subterran Uprising, Planet Eaters, and Shadow Sun Syndicate. Now while it’s possible that the Now factions in that list could be getting some healing units or installations, I don’t believe the ability sheets have indicated this, and I honestly don’t think it would fit with their theme very well (with the possible exception of the Elemental Champions). And in terms of the Rise factions, while I do wonder if the Planet Eaters could use some healing (shouldn’t eating the planet give them energy?), it’s often been noted by the community that the one thing that helps keep the SSS from being in completely broken territory is their not being able to heal.

However, what if we were to give each and every faction the ability to heal from a building, even if that building is on their opponent’s force? Essentially, what I am referring to here are two abilities I’ve noticed on the compiled ability sheet that I believe were planned for a type of building we are long overdue to see city wise, namely a hospital. The abilities in question are an action called First-Aid and a reaction called Medicine. Both of these abilities heal any type of monster indiscriminately, and both seem to fit the theme of a Hospital perfectly. For those of you who haven’t seen these, First-Aid states my suggested fix for Repair, only it isn’t exclusive to mechanical monsters. Namely, if an adjacent monster is below half it’s health, it can heal 1 HP. Medicine simply heals 1 HP to the monster who destroyed it’s building with a brawl attack.

This is an interesting proposition to me, because I think it affects the game in more ways than we realize. Now admittedly, I think the healing action of First-Aid would rarely get used. Trying to secure a building while having your under half health monster be adjacent to it sounds like a very unwieldy task. But having a reaction that allows any monster who brawled the building to heal is interesting to say the least. Suddenly, factions that could never heal can now do so, and factions who either were limited in their healing, such as those with Nuclear monsters, or had an abundance of it, now have more. And the ultimate question I’m wondering is, is this a good thing or a bad thing?

On the one hand, considering this is the type of healing that can actively be stopped by an opponent permanently, it could be quite balanced since a player against a faction like the SSS could do their best to destroy whatever hospitals they include in their force. Although I admit that the fact that this ability is non-discriminant in what type of monster it heals does mean there’s a chance even an opponent won’t want to necessarily destroy their opponent’s hospitals since they could possibly take advantage of their opponent’s hospitals too, meaning some interesting strategies could form. On the other hand, this could also mean that hospitals could become an auto include in nearly every army, since creating a little healing base for yourself might not be a bad idea for most factions. Or would it? I could certainly see most SSS armies including this building in their armies in the very least.
Another reason that I think might be why this “universal healing” might be a bad idea is because it makes certain factions and energy types less unique. If every monster can have at least some form of healing, why does being a nature monster or a mechanical monster matter anymore? True, these monsters would have access to more healing, which might be unique enough in itself, but, to somewhat quote Syndrome from the Incredibles, if everyone is a healer, no one is. But is that a bad thing?

This is the main question I’m curious to get responses from. While it’s true that it would doubtless send a certain faction over the edge of brokenness (Shadow Sun Syndicate), I personally think that faction is due for a little nerfing anyway, universal healing or no. So not counting them, do you all think it would be a good idea if every faction had access to either a little or just more healing? Does the fact that this type of healing could also be taken by your opponent make it more balanced? Or should an ability like this just not exist at all? To be honest, if we all agreed that the Medicine reaction shouldn’t work the way it does, I wonder if reversing it and First-Aid’s abilities would make them more balanced. In other words, Medicine can only heal a monster who is under half of it’s health, while First-Aid can heal a monster at any time. We could also scratch Medicine entirely if we think that’s still too easy a way for monsters to heal.
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Joshua Christensen
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Haven't read through the entire post yet but wanted to get in a few quick thoughts.

I don't think healing is the problem, the problem lies with the individual monsters. The way Privateer Press' tournament rules worked it heavily encouraged not playing monsters like Yasheth (monsters that have no easy way to deal multiple points of damage but can heal a lot). Like you said SSS has no healing option at all and yet they were super dominant in tournaments (though you do talk about nerfing them).

I don't think you'll be able to come up with a good universal rule that nerfs the too powerful thing while not hurting the factions/monsters that are more heavily focused on healing. You will probably just have to look at each top tier monster individually. Even just changing the repair action doesn't sound great. If it's just a couple of monsters that are too strong with having this healing option look at specific ways to change them.
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Louis Brenton
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First, full disclosure: I'm a Voltron player. He's my favorite monster & I've made most of my "accomplishments" in Monpoc competitive play running him.

However, I agree that healing is something of a problem, unit-action healing is a bigger problem, & that GUARD are the worst offenders. (I don't include Voltron in that because Voltron needs to cross the map & get close to the enemy to play his game)

Regarding the Repair action:
I think your proposed solution might be a good one. A max cap on repair would work & would just involve changing the wording of an ability, no icons gained or lost. It would discourage the Sky Sentinel--Laser Knight--Mega Legionnaire bunkering we tend to see.

Regarding Bleed:
I think I'd put the same restriction on Bleed as you suggest on repair. Bleed happens at the cost of a unit, but the whole Cthul faction (considering their Towers of Corruption) spams units all day long, often way forward on the map.

Regarding Sacrifice:
Not sure it needs tinkering with. I'd change my stance to definitley doesn't need tinkering with if Bleed is changed as I suggest above.

Regarding Restoration:
No change needed. It's rare, flavor thing for a particular monster.

Regarding Vampirism:
No change needed as long as it's never put on a super-damaging or lightning-attacking monster. A 3-damage swing would be too much, but 1 damage plus 1 heal is an interesting & flavorful way to present a 2-damage swing. Mega-Galaxius & the Osheroth tentacles are the potential greatest problems, since they can pull off Beat Back plus Vampirism. But I already think Osheroth is OP & needs to be nerfed in general. I've never heard anyone claim that about Galaxius.

Regarding Leach:
I don't see it as particularly threatening. Could cause a problem if added to a new monster with different abilities, but not a big deal in the current set of monsters. Probably no change needed.

Regarding Munch:
Forces monsters to "waste" monster turns attacking units if they want to use it. Probably fine as is. Krakenoctus' tow-the-unit, eat-the-unit, then throw-the-carcass-at-the-enemy-monster tactic is another example of an interesting 2-damage swing. No one thinks of Krakenoctus as a particularly threatening monster, but I want it on record that I think it is the most amazing & amusing combo play in all of Monpoc.

Regarding building healing:
Building healing is fine & adds a lot of great flavor to the game. Causes most monsters to "waste" a monster turn attacking buildings rather than the enemy monster. Also, these two monsters have come to this place to destroy this city, & we have no business stopping them. I think it should be left as is.

Regarding universal healing:
I'd be utterly oppposed to that. Turns something that adds flavor to certain factions into just an overall feature of the game. Boooooooooo!

 
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Jeff Mitchell
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So my takeaway from this analysis is that we as a community have an issue with 1 A-die guaranteed healing. Especially on unit turn.

I'll throw in my analysis on the breakdowns in the article: Building Healing and attack triggers are balanced and acceptable. Leach is a little more powerful than it's being given credit for, but I don't think it's broken.

That leaves 4 healing actions: Restoration, Sacrifice, Bleed, and Repair.

I play GUARD. I play Ultra Sky Sentinel. I have played against Cthul many times in the past. I personally do not think there is a problem with healing. However, if there is demand for healing adjustments, they belong on the Actions that heal.

So here's my proposal: Roll up to 3 A-dice and treat it like a Power Up roll: Success on 1+ strike, failure on all blanks.

This is a little without precedent. No other action allows you to spend more than 1 A-die on it. But rolling the A-die was pioneered by Pathfinder.

This proposal (which I would enforce for ALL healing actions) removes guaranteed healing from the game. There is always a chance to miss, and yet that risk can be mitigated by investing further resources.

I dislike the "Half Health" limit because it usually isn't useful to heal from 2 to 3 health. And if you did heal to 4 because you're Ghorghadratron, then you're the only Monster in the game that can.

Healing is frustrating because it's boring. A Nature monster ripping people out of a collapsing building to eat them is dynamic and fun. Ultra Sky Sentinel sitting behind a screen blasting for 2 and healing for 1 from 7 away is uninspired and lacks tension.

Healing should have excitement. There should be risk and reward built into it. Everything else in the game has a chance to fail; healing should too.

Oh, and the building limit is 5, isn't it? So you can field 5 nuke plants for your Nuke monsters, and 12 different high occupancy buildings for Nature monsters.

*edit* The building limit is 5. Also, when a rule says AGN or FAC it refers only to friendly versions of those figures.
 
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Bwian, just
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I don't think we ever saw Cthul defeated in our local tournaments, so definitely try them out before you drylab too much of this. We did once have a Cthul/GUARD game last over two hours, as well, although when the GUARD monster lost a form about an hour in the writing was on the wall. So my opinion has generally been that, while healing sounds like an interesting game mechanic in the abstract, I found it alternately frustrating and non-fun as implemented. I'm honestly not sure it's salvageable, but I'll follow along and try to remember all the annoying tricks that could draaaag a game out to Cthul's advantage.

First trick: healing monsters can switch between forms if one is getting particularly low. So it isn't good enough to net five or six damage to kill a form. I think we would generally have to net around eight, before the Cthul player would decide it was worth just losing the Alpha form and healing up the Ultra/Mega.

(And yes, I know my local metagame might not have reflected the larger state of the game. Our Cthul player was generally very good, and our SSS player (your humble author) didn't feel Mega Zor Maxim was very sporting. But we played for most of the run of the game, and it's not like we didn't know what to expect when tournament time came around...)
 
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Colin Atkinson
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ClanNatioy wrote:

I don't think healing is the problem, the problem lies with the individual monsters. The way Privateer Press' tournament rules worked it heavily encouraged not playing monsters like Yasheth (monsters that have no easy way to deal multiple points of damage but can heal a lot). Like you said SSS has no healing option at all and yet they were super dominant in tournaments (though you do talk about nerfing them).

I don't think you'll be able to come up with a good universal rule that nerfs the too powerful thing while not hurting the factions/monsters that are more heavily focused on healing. You will probably just have to look at each top tier monster individually. Even just changing the repair action doesn't sound great. If it's just a couple of monsters that are too strong with having this healing option look at specific ways to change them.


You might be right. However, I think it's still worth examining the most problematic healing abilities, which everyone here seems to agree are primarily Repair and Bleed. Also, it is important to note that though something like a nerf to Repair could particularly hurt the entire faction of Ubercorp, they do still have to get their faction rounded out, so perhaps that will help balance them despite a Repair nerf.

superman829 wrote:

Regarding universal healing:
I'd be utterly oppposed to that. Turns something that adds flavor to certain factions into just an overall feature of the game. Boooooooooo!


Yeah, I think I'm leaning towards that opinion as well. At most, I think the only healing I would want to allow from such a building would be to a monster under half it's health, since I agree with Jeff's point that healing from 2 to 3 HP is rarely that useful. However, that still technically allows universal healing, so maybe any future hospital building should be about protecting units instead (gives red shelter and red force field perhaps)?

Gearbox wrote:

So here's my proposal: Roll up to 3 A-dice and treat it like a Power Up roll: Success on 1+ strike, failure on all blanks.

This is a little without precedent. No other action allows you to spend more than 1 A-die on it. But rolling the A-die was pioneered by Pathfinder.

This proposal (which I would enforce for ALL healing actions) removes guaranteed healing from the game. There is always a chance to miss, and yet that risk can be mitigated by investing further resources.

I dislike the "Half Health" limit because it usually isn't useful to heal from 2 to 3 health. And if you did heal to 4 because you're Ghorghadratron, then you're the only Monster in the game that can.

Healing is frustrating because it's boring. A Nature monster ripping people out of a collapsing building to eat them is dynamic and fun. Ultra Sky Sentinel sitting behind a screen blasting for 2 and healing for 1 from 7 away is uninspired and lacks tension.

Healing should have excitement. There should be risk and reward built into it. Everything else in the game has a chance to fail; healing should too.


Thanks for bringing this idea up! I think I had somewhat toyed with that thought as well, but I forgot about it while writing the initial post, and I didn't have my arguments for it as thought out as you did.

It's an interesting idea for sure, and one that might work better than the half health idea. I do agree that healing from 1-2 HP is rarely that helpful, and to instead make any sort of healing something that requires a roll of the dice does help makes things more exciting. I suppose my one worry about making action healing random is that it might make opponents feel more like the game was swayed by luck (not that it already isn't of course, but that this would make it more so). I suppose that's why your idea of allowing someone to spend up to three a-dice would be better, since it would mirror all the other healing abilities i.e. you can try to mitigate your risk of missing, but your healing is never guaranteed. I suppose that would mean the only remaining problem is that players would have to remember healing actions allow you to spend more than one a-die, but that doesn't sound too complex to me. This is sounding like a pretty good fix!

As to those who have mentioned the power of Cthul, both when it comes to Bleed and the power of the faction in general, I should admit I am aware they were considered (and still are) a very strong faction. It's just that due to my lack of personal experience with them that I'm not sure exactly what makes them so powerful. However, after playing my first game with them about a week ago, it would certainly seem cheap and aggressive unit spawning from Towers of Cthul and Hellfonts are likely one of the strongest factors of their strength (alongside abilities like Transmutate and Manufacture). All I did in my game was proxy three Towers of Cthul, and that was more than enough to help me gain board control. I won't say that Bleed isn't a part of what makes the Cthul so strong either, though I'd imagine making it harder for a Meat Slave to reach the Cthul monsters would make Bleed have considerably less impact. On the other hand, I think some of the Cthul's ability to spawn their units cheaply and aggressively is important, especially since they have so many expensive units, so a nerf to Bleed is likely still in order. We'll discuss other possible nerfs to the Cthul when we get to figure balancing.
 
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Peter O'Connor
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I think the biggest problem when it comes to healing is generating a Damage Difference. If you brawl for 1, then that's 1 point of Damage Difference. If you brawl with Weapon Master, then that's 2 points of damage difference. Similarly, if you brawl with Vampirism, or can munch a unit and THEN brawl for 1, then that's still a 2 Damage Difference.

This is actually a larger balance consideration here. Namely, being able to have a Damage Difference of 1 per turn makes for a weak monster. A Damage Difference of 2 per turn makes for a good monster. However, a Damage Difference of 3 per turn makes for an exceptional or overpowered monster.

Power Attacks are, of course, the exception; they're meant to be able to do about 2 to 3 damage per attack, with collision and hazard damage. Anything more, and it's just poor decision making on the victim's part, and anything less isn't worth it.

Anywho, tangent aside, this is more a case of tweaking monsters, in my opinion, to balance out the healing problem, or rather, the Damage Difference problem. Healing, by and large, prolongs the game.

However, Repair is the biggest issue, by far. It gives 10 monsters, out of 50, access to generating a larger damage difference. At least some of those can cheese it behind a wall somehow. It is reliant on a unit, but it's done on the unit turn; no real way to stop it. You can't emergency attack the unit to stop it.

Perhaps the rules change might be this: All Repair abilities are changed to (RED), Text is Altered: If there is a agenda unit with [Repair] next to this [Mechanical] Monster, heal 1 damage on this Monster.

Also, Restoration is a pain in the butt. Imagine all the troubles with Repair, then stack that with a monster with a chunk of health that sits in one spot and does nothing but get healed. Fighting Alpha Mechatugrosh is a Slog!
 
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Colin Atkinson
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HiddenElephant wrote:

Perhaps the rules change might be this: All Repair abilities are changed to (RED), Text is Altered: If there is a agenda unit with [Repair] next to this [Mechanical] Monster, heal 1 damage on this Monster.


Ooh! That's another good nerf idea! Although I would say Red Repair should be reworded to: "If this monster is a Mechanical energy type, heal 1 damage." There's no need to check if the unit is next to the monster since it already will be due to it's giving the monster the Red action. But otherwise, this is an excellent way to ensure players cannot repair their monster as easily since the Repair unit will have to survive until the monster turn, and it will also keep out-of-agenda monsters from using the ability as well.

HiddenElephant wrote:

Also, Restoration is a pain in the butt. Imagine all the troubles with Repair, then stack that with a monster with a chunk of health that sits in one spot and does nothing but get healed. Fighting Alpha Mechatugrosh is a Slog!


Huh, I've never seen it that way. Sure it allows Mechatugrosh to heal more than the other Ubercorp figures, but that's keeping in theme with Cthugrosh being able to heal like crazy too. I personally believe it's balanced because power zones are usually out of the way for a monster to get to, and considering alpha Mechatugrosh doesn't have any way to deal 3 or more damage besides power attacks, I haven't seen it as much of a problem. It could just be because my opponent hasn't utilized him appropriately, but so far I don't think Restoration is an issue (especially since we'll likely be nerfing Repair). That said, I will keep him in mind when it comes to figure balancing. Although I don't think we'll be changing Restoration, unless we were to take Jeff's idea of making every healing action randomized, if Mechatugrosh seems too turtlely, especially with what possible buffs set 6 might bring, he could be in for a bit of a nerf.

 
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Jeff Mitchell
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I'd like to dive a little deeper into Peter's Damage Difference model with some specific examples for demonstration purposes.

Example 1) Sky Sentinel from 7 distance away is screened with a repair vehicle adjacent. He flexes into his Ultra, blasts for 2, drops down, and then heals for 1 for 1 unit A-die. Let's say his G1s also land a shot for 4 damage swing over 2 turns (1 point of healing for 3 damage). No real risk.

Example 2) Ultra Yasheth is screened right next to the enemy with a nearby Hellfont. He can brawl to heal 1, then Bleed on the unit turn and attack for Leach. 5 damage swing over 2 turns (3 points of healing for 2 damage). Limited risk due to need to Brawl, but from midgame onwards Cthul tends to dominate the unit board.

Example 3) Alpha Mechathugrosh is screened on a power zone with a UCI MRV and shadowgate adjacent. Flex into Ultra to land a Weaponmaster Brawl, drop down and Restoration. Repair on unit turn. I don't see UCI units landing enemy monster damage very often. So... 4 damage swing over 2 turns (2 points of healing for 2 damage). Medium risk due to the need to be in the middle of the board, mitigated by screening and cloak.

Example 4) Mega Manticon Lightning attack brawls the enemy monster before hit and run back into a screen and Sacrificing. Built in cloak. 3 damage swing in a single turn (1 point of healing for 2 damage). Limited risk due to the need to brawl, but Mega Manticon's mobility and unaligned damage output is pretty intense. With a few Nuke plant aggressive drops, the Mantis does not mind wading into the opponent's board and wrecking havoc.

I bring up these 4 examples to illustrate my point: Guaranteed healing mitigates risk and reduces excitement. It cheapens big risks and makes the safer plan the better plan. Let's set up the rules so that we're not rewarding the safe play. Let's reward the risky play. Let's reward the aggressive play. Let's remove guaranteed healing from the game, and make it another calculated risk in a game full of them.
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Colin Atkinson
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Gearbox wrote:
I'd like to dive a little deeper into Peter's Damage Difference model with some specific examples for demonstration purposes.

Example 1) Sky Sentinel from 7 distance away is screened with a repair vehicle adjacent. He flexes into his Ultra, blasts for 2, drops down, and then heals for 1 for 1 unit A-die. Let's say his G1s also land a shot for 4 damage swing over 2 turns (1 point of healing for 3 damage). No real risk.

Example 2) Ultra Yasheth is screened right next to the enemy with a nearby Hellfont. He can brawl to heal 1, then Bleed on the unit turn and attack for Leach. 5 damage swing over 2 turns (3 points of healing for 2 damage). Limited risk due to need to Brawl, but from midgame onwards Cthul tends to dominate the unit board.

Example 3) Alpha Mechathugrosh is screened on a power zone with a UCI MRV and shadowgate adjacent. Flex into Ultra to land a Weaponmaster Brawl, drop down and Restoration. Repair on unit turn. I don't see UCI units landing enemy monster damage very often. So... 4 damage swing over 2 turns (2 points of healing for 2 damage). Medium risk due to the need to be in the middle of the board, mitigated by screening and cloak.

Example 4) Mega Manticon Lightning attack brawls the enemy monster before hit and run back into a screen and Sacrificing. Built in cloak. 3 damage swing in a single turn (1 point of healing for 2 damage). Limited risk due to the need to brawl, but Mega Manticon's mobility and unaligned damage output is pretty intense. With a few Nuke plant aggressive drops, the Mantis does not mind wading into the opponent's board and wrecking havoc.


Hmmm, examples 2 and 3 seem fairly situational to me since they both require the monsters to have a screen but be in range to brawl attack the enemy monster, as well as have a hellfont or power zone near them, respectively. That's not impossible of course, but I'd wager such occurrences would be relatively rare. That said, example's 1 and 4 are good examples of how such healing can be easily abused. I do think the question remains though if that means just those monsters are what need a nerf, or if instant action healing needs a nerf (or possibly both).

Gearbox wrote:

I bring up these 4 examples to illustrate my point: Guaranteed healing mitigates risk and reduces excitement. It cheapens big risks and makes the safer plan the better plan. Let's set up the rules so that we're not rewarding the safe play. Let's reward the risky play. Let's reward the aggressive play. Let's remove guaranteed healing from the game, and make it another calculated risk in a game full of them.


I think I like your line of thinking here overall. Dealing any sort of damage, whether it's to the enemy monster or recovering from it, is something that should likely never be guaranteed. I guess I just worry that making every healing action a roll of the dice could make them usually not worth using, especially when they carry other consequences with them such as destroying one of your own units. Granted this would be a good thing when it comes to some monsters, but I worry this might be too heavy handed for monsters like Cthugrosh whose playstyle heavily relies on guaranteed healing. Then again, Cthugrosh or Mechatogrosh don't usually need that many a-die for attacks, so perhaps rolling 3 a-die for most healing attempts would still be worth it for them. I think this is likely the best route to try, but naturally it will need testing.

At this point, there are two possible paths I'm thinking we should take in regards to nerfing healing abilities. The first and most promising one would be making them all randomized in the same way, namely that you can roll up to three a-dice in order to heal 1 HP if you roll one or more strikes (though some, such as Sacrifice, could be tweaked to be likelier to succeed, such as adding a b-die to the mix). The second option would be to take Peter's idea of making healing actions like Repair and Bleed (and possibly Sacrifice and Restoration) red actions that need to be used by the monsters themselves.
 
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Louis Brenton
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I *really* like the Red Repair idea.

I don't care for the randomized healing rolls so much. Rolling for a power up & missing it was always SO gutting & demoralizing. I wouldn't be in favor of more of that.

However, I think the randomized healing is better than no change.
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Kevin Jorgensen
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With very few exceptions, I don't have a problem with healing.
The only time I've been concerned about healing is with Alpha Tyrranix. Gear Jammer BTO blitzing units with a Green Fury Van's Red Munch, then Repairing with a splashed Repair Vehicle, has turned several matches. Most of the time it isn't due to the actual healing, but instead, losing board control due to avoiding that threat.

I will concede a potential problem with healing, it is demoralizing for inexperienced players. Trading positioning, units, power bases, and even forms just to get some damage in; then have it wiped away by a little truck, is rough.
However, with adequate foresight and planning, perceived power imbalances healing creates are mitigated. That planning is what makes Monpoc fun for me. Pushing players into that higher level of play is more beneficial than lowering the bar.

Keep healing, in all its forms, as is.
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Jeff Mitchell
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So if I'm reading this thread correctly, then the only issues everyone but Kevin have with healing are all guaranteed healing for 1 a-die on unit turn.

The ideas that seem to be most popular are:

Mine: Roll up to 3 a-dice for a strike.

Peter's: Repair and Bleed are treated as red abilities and must be triggered on Monster turn.

I like the counterplay available on Peter's, but worry about back to back Guard repair monster turns with Shuffle.

Anyhow, just trying to summarize the thread.
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Peter O'Connor
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I don't think B2B Monster Healing turns will be that big of a problem, namely because you can take out the unit fairly easily, regardless of unit or monster turns.
 
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