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lambolt
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"Fixing" unbalanced scenarios - how do you / would you do it. Wed, 09 April 2014 23:05
Please note, this is not an open discussion on whether or not scenarios need fixing.


I do not like that many of the official scenarios are wildly unbalanced. And by that I mean 30/70% splits or worse as listed on the Days of Wonder website and/or M44 online.

I do not feel that playing each side is interesting in this case (I liken it to taking it in turns to beat each other round the head with a large stick. Painful, and dull, as a contest)


Scanning through the Eastern Front scenarios, Tigers in the Snow, one of the most exciting (in theory) scenarios is listed at 23% for the Russians. In my experience, scenarios with that kind of balance are not won by the occasional brilliant play (between competent players) but by a combination of good dice rolling and fortunate card flow.


How would you / do you go about balancing these? I'm more interested in comparing notes since for these kinds of "flagship" scenarios I'm setting them up for multiple replays trying different ways to bring back the scenario balance at least into what I call the "hot spot" i.e. 40-50% for one side.

Ideas include stripping off entire units from the board, or reducing the number of figures in some of the units, modifying the number of cards in hand, or supplementing the underdog with extra units or figures. Even reorganizing the position of some of the units, or special rules for certain units.

Feel free to discuss Tigers in the Snow as a specific example, but more generic ideas or experiences would be good to hear

Again, please note, this is NOT a thread designed to discuss the merit of this idea, only about your implementation of it or suggestions for implementation. If you want to play the scenarios as published, please be my guest. What you do in your own home is not a concern for me in that case.

Hedgerow Hell 18% allies
Disaster at Dieppe 23% allies
Tigers in the Snow 23% allies
Omaha Beach overlord 22% allies

its very many of these classic battle pack / overlord scenarios that are completely out of whack. I don't really understand why they didn't playtest and adjust these to be more balanced.


Its actually weird, because its almost all the "big name" overlord maps that are messed up. In the Eastern Front, the balance is 44,52,42,39 ... and then 23 for Tigers

Med and Pac 41, 44, (85)

then western front, all pretty balanced except Omaha, Hedgerow, Dieppe.

Of the four Battle Packs, 3 are headlined by scenarios where one side is expected to win 20% of the time. Crazy

[Aktualisiert am: Wed, 09 April 2014 23:59]

      
Sgt Storm
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Re:"Fixing" unbalanced scenarios - how do you / would you do it. Thu, 10 April 2014 00:26
I'd simply look at the stats in the after action reports (AARs) and adjust the victory conditions appropriately, requiring more medals for the side with higher win percentage or vice versa.
      
LooneyLlama
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Re:"Fixing" unbalanced scenarios - how do you / would you do it. Thu, 10 April 2014 00:49
Hi lambolt,

Very interesting question. Those Overlords are very unbalanced. I don't know how they were play tested and still come out like they did. It will take some play testing of your own to get a more reasonable balance. Why not just write your own overlord scenario depicting those battles? If you want to use say Tigers in the Snow as a template, I can give you some off the cuff ideas. The right and left flanks of the Russians are the most unbalanced sections. I might place an additional bridge or 2 over the river so the Russian armor can get in the battle quicker. On the right flank I would cut down on the number of Tiger tanks to say special force armor OR maybe an additional artillery, anti-tank units and more armor for the Allies. Try not to mess with the topography too much and I wouldn't change the card distribution. Try to keep the changes as simple as possible to see if they work. If they don't, add another change. That way you will have a finished scenario not much different than the original. Hope that helps.

[Aktualisiert am: Thu, 10 April 2014 00:50]

      
red_zebra
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Re:"Fixing" unbalanced scenarios - how do you / would you do it. Thu, 10 April 2014 00:51
The "Old" Wargames way: Do not expect a player to do better than in real life.

Example, in Omaha Beach Overlord, put a Permanent Medal in each of the exits from the Beach (D-1, D-3, E-1 . . ).
The Allied players get those medals as soon as they reach that hex.

      
lambolt
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Re:"Fixing" unbalanced scenarios - how do you / would you do it. Thu, 10 April 2014 01:16
Sgt Storm wrote on Thu, 10 April 2014 00:26

I'd simply look at the stats in the after action reports (AARs) and adjust the victory conditions appropriately, requiring more medals for the side with higher win percentage or vice versa.



good idea, and of course the average medals won stats are available

Omaha Beach 7.5 - 4.9
either have 7-5 as the target VP or add 2 or 3 location VPs gained just by reaching checkpoints on the way up the beach
or have the allies start with 2 medals and play to 7

Tigers 12.1 - 9.5
another 2.6 disparity, make the medal target 12-10, or add 2 or 3 location medals, or just give the allies 2 medals start and play to 12

Hedgerow 12.4 - 8.9
3.5 disparity, so play 12-9, or start the allies with 3 and play to 12 each. Or, again, add some allied location medals

Dieppe 9.3 - 6.7
theres that 2.6 number again!
as before, play 9-7, or start allies with 2 and play to 9, or add 2 allied medal locations


I like this idea, since you retain the feeling of being outnumbered or overpowered in those scenarios (which I assume is based on some loosely historical references), while in "game terms" making the scenarios even.
      
lambolt
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Re:"Fixing" unbalanced scenarios - how do you / would you do it. Thu, 10 April 2014 01:18
thanks Llama and Zebra (relatives? Wink for your input here also, I definitely think adding allied location hexes (which give VP only to allied side if held) is one way to balance it up in a historical way and also add interest to the scenario by putting some focus on a few key locations additionally.

I think reworking individual elements of the actual setup might be a lot of work and require a lot of knowledge of how the scenario plays out (as it shows in the comments about the bridges etc you'd add!)
      
sam1812
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Re:"Fixing" unbalanced scenarios - how do you / would you do it. Thu, 10 April 2014 02:15
lambolt, if you're going to adjust the medals objectives, keep the favored side as is, and adjust the disadvantaged side accordingly. For example, in Tigers, don't reduce the Germans below 13.

To get close to 50-50, you'd go 13-10. To keep some German advantage, you might make it 13-11.
      
lambolt
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Re:"Fixing" unbalanced scenarios - how do you / would you do it. Thu, 10 April 2014 07:58
Hey Sam!
long time no see. yes, exactly (I only used the avg medals won to show the numbers, I didnt have the scenario in front of me to see the winning medal number). But I would definitely err on the side of "too little" adjustment, so in your example I'd take 13-11 instead of 13-10. I think as a general rule I would just give the allies 2 medals and say "play to 13", but I do think in scnearios like the beach landings, it would be fun to have medals associated with just reaching beach checkpoints added to the map. In others it might be better to have objectives you need to hold. I would also use the win % and number of reports to gauge how "strong" the imbalance is

I'm about halfway through the official scenarios and then I will have an excel sheet with all this info so that you can quickly add in to the setup a rebalancing if you want it. And at least be aware if you're setting up a huge scenario that you're starting out with a 20% chance. I wouldn't want to play chess twice, taking each side once, and black playing without the queen and a rook each time for example so I don't really understand why there hasn't been more active discussion about this issue since the day the game came out. Every time I tried to raise it on other websites it just gets drowned in dissent.

But really, there's no real good reason to have the game set up so horribly unbalanced and use the "play each side" rule as some kind of fix. I don't like playing both sides anyway, and would prefer to play my friends as the same side each time, also that any given scenario which might be the only one of the night has some kind of reasonable balance in terms of who wins the game. Its no fun playing the side winning 80% of the time either, so its not just sour grapes.
      
Achtung Panzer
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Re:"Fixing" unbalanced scenarios - how do you / would you do it. Thu, 10 April 2014 10:24
I agree about not using the 'play each side' approach to Overlord scenarios. That would take around 3.5 - 4 hours play. And to split the swap over several days loses the impact of the final result.

I also agree about the minimum fix. Adding or subtracting 1 or 2 medals for one side max, or adding 2 Objectives at the most.

Good thread and thanks for starting.

[Aktualisiert am: Thu, 10 April 2014 10:24]

      
lambolt
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Re:"Fixing" unbalanced scenarios - how do you / would you do it. Thu, 10 April 2014 23:37
I'm almost done with 287 official scenarios which means I probably missed one somewhere. Such a ballache manually entering the numbers in excel but hopefully worth it

Pretty clear so far that jdrommel is either the luckiest designer of scenarios there is, or he is the one who best playtests for balance. Oh, actually brummbar44 as well. Those two average something like 2.2 and 4.8 % (Medal Imbalance / Avg Medals won by both sides) compared to 10.6% for Richard Borg.
That means in a typical match first to 6 medals lets say, where you would expect the average to be 6-6, Borgs scenarios are typically 5.36-6.64 whereas jdrommels come out at 5.87-6.13. It might not sound a lot but its a huge difference in the odds. Richards scenarios * on average * weigh in with 64-36% balance. Brummbars are more lik 56-44 on average. Thats not to have a go at Richard, who, after all, made this great game and a lot of scenarios Smile

I don't think I have the heart to get the stats on the unofficial ones but if I make the results of this into something presentable maybe I can convince Days of Wonder to export their database so that we can get at the numbers directly.


Its surprising how many of the official scenarios are absolutely terribly designed from a balance point of view.

[Aktualisiert am: Thu, 10 April 2014 23:53]

      
stevens
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Re:"Fixing" unbalanced scenarios - how do you / would you do it. Fri, 11 April 2014 01:20
lambolt wrote on Thu, 10 April 2014 17:37

Its surprising how many of the official scenarios are absolutely terribly designed from a balance point of view.

I don't think they were intended to be balanced and so judging them on the basis of something not intended seems a little unfair. Like criticizing an orange for not being an apple. Having the scenario play out closest to the results of the actual historical battle was the primary emphasis. The game is intended to mimic history and foster an appreciation for WWII history and those who participated in it.

MEMOIR '44 OVERVIEW:
Quote:

Published in collaboration with the Mission for the 60th Anniversary of the D-Day Landings & Liberation of France, Memoir '44 is a uniquely fun, simple and engaging game.

Designed to commemorate the efforts and sacrifices of the men & women of the Second World War, we trust it will provide all who play it with a sense of history and the desire to learn more about that greatest generation. Our fondest hope is that it will make you want to transmit this unique historical heritage onto younger generations.

Playing from both sides and tallying total medals was the decided mechanism for balance to these historically one-sided events.

[Aktualisiert am: Fri, 11 April 2014 01:25]

      
Sgt Storm
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Re:"Fixing" unbalanced scenarios - how do you / would you do it. Fri, 11 April 2014 04:27
stevens wrote on Thu, 10 April 2014 19:20

lambolt wrote on Thu, 10 April 2014 17:37

Its surprising how many of the official scenarios are absolutely terribly designed from a balance point of view.

I don't think they were intended to be balanced and so judging them on the basis of something not intended seems a little unfair. Like criticizing an orange for not being an apple. Having the scenario play out closest to the results of the actual historical battle was the primary emphasis. The game is intended to mimic history and foster an appreciation for WWII history and those who participated in it.

MEMOIR '44 OVERVIEW:
Quote:

Published in collaboration with the Mission for the 60th Anniversary of the D-Day Landings & Liberation of France, Memoir '44 is a uniquely fun, simple and engaging game.

Designed to commemorate the efforts and sacrifices of the men & women of the Second World War, we trust it will provide all who play it with a sense of history and the desire to learn more about that greatest generation. Our fondest hope is that it will make you want to transmit this unique historical heritage onto younger generations.

Playing from both sides and tallying total medals was the decided mechanism for balance to these historically one-sided events.



Well I disagree of course. As contended above, the scenarios can be simply balanced by adjusting the required medal counts according to AARs. This does not affect any other aspect of the scenario design and therefore historical fidelity is largely intact. The only difference is that more often than not one side might "win" in the game when that is less likely from a historical perspective. A small price to pay to ensure balance.

Further, I generally believe if the scenarios were redesigned so that objectives (not so much kills) based on historical achievements are required for one side or the other (e.g., the attacker) then you would get a better historical narrative when playing the game.
      
rasmussen81
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Re:"Fixing" unbalanced scenarios - how do you / would you do it. Fri, 11 April 2014 05:28
Sgt Storm wrote on Thu, 10 April 2014 19:27

Further, I generally believe if the scenarios were redesigned so that objectives (not so much kills) based on historical achievements are required for one side or the other (e.g., the attacker) then you would get a better historical narrative when playing the game.



Then you'll love the D-Day Landings scenarios! The terrain control rules do a good job of reflecting the need for both sides to control the towns, bridges, or towns. Smile
      
lambolt
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Re:"Fixing" unbalanced scenarios - how do you / would you do it. Fri, 11 April 2014 07:54
ah Stevens! long time no see either! Alright my friend, I'm not really criticising, in fact, I pointed that out I believe - but from a balance point of view the scenarios are not well designed and as I (and others apparently) believe, adjusting medal requirements preserves the "unequal" forces in historic scenarios, but allows for an even "game" which after all is what this is.

I always wonder what people mean with "designed to reflect historical results" because in history exactly one result happened. One side won, or didn't. So what is a scenario where one side wins 60% of the time against 80% of the time saying? It cannot be anything more than someones guess at how likely a win is, do you think Richard Borg designed all those scenarios, consulted historical sources and decided, for example on an individual scenario basis, hmm, the Tigers in the Snow scenario, which I assume was "won" by the germans was probably an 80% probable result,so I will playtest my placement of units so exactly as to recreate that? I do not believe that for one second.

More likely is that units were placed in some accordance with historical setup, including elite units and special units and because he didn't allow himself any flexibility in how many figures per unit (well, extremely little flexibility), the imbalance comes as a result of that. If he'd experimented perhaps with different medal requirements, turn limits (underdog having to hold on for X turns), or adjusting figures in some units (what happens in Tigers if some of the german units have less figures) it could have been better, in my opinion

Aren't there some scenarios that are very well written about as being "tremendous successes" for one side that are actually balanced the other way - Pegasus Bridge I remember reading about for example, a lot of discussion whereby some of the Allies units should even be better (elite), which would only push the balance even more towards the Allies - historically that mission wasn't a cakewalk IIRC. (I may be misremembering this particular mission so dont get caught up on that)


I do not understand why people defend the "play both sides" aspect because as I said, in extremely imbalanced scenarios, what is the point. If I play one side at 80% and then the other side at 20%, its just like we played chess twice, taking it turns to play one game without some of our pieces. Sure, we might end up "1-1" but both games have been unnecessarily lopsided. I do not see ANY point in setting up huge overlord scenarios for example with all those units to set up, only to go through the motions of one of us taking turns to slap an 80% success rate at each other. The bigger scenarios take too long to play twice sometimes, and why shouldn't you be able to play a scenario once. I think this "both sides" system is actually a bit of a lazy way to balance the system. I don't particularly like switching sides either.


This is not meant to be a criticism of Richard Borg the person, but a critique of one aspect of his game. I don't think it's been particularly well done and I do not agree that it had to be so, or that historical context is what led to carefully crafted scenarios that are very often completely out of whack.

Anyway, the good thing is by collating these stats (and after all they are only based on player AARs, so they are not fool proof either) is to give people the information to see that a a scenario has X% balance, with X vs Y average medal count, and to be able to have the opportunity to try playing it with the medal target adjusted (or starting medal count), or to add in "location targets*", or even to make adjustments to the setup - as you yourself see fit. It doesn't detract from the original game because it will be completely optional.

I am really surprised that there are people who feel that playing Tigers in the Snow at 80-20% balance is acceptable. I cannot think of any other game, including wargames, where so many of the scenarios or missions are so horribly one sided in how they play out. On the other hand, in smaller scenarios which are quicker to setup, where the medal count is lower this imbalance is not necessarily such an onerous problem, but for me personally, I would prefer to setup the scenario such that the placed units reflect one sides historical superiority but adjust the setup or medal situation such that the game allows each side an equal chance of winning the game - albeit with the proviso that an underdog winning at a lower medal count is claiming a "moral victory".

If I play an equally competent opponent 5 times and win 1 time, I am only going to assume and feel that the 1 time I did was having good cards and/or rolls and/or opponent having bad cards/rolls.



Anyway, I'm at the point now where I'm not interested in just blindly waving my flag at everything, far too little criticism in the hobby in general, and far too little of people putting forward suggestions for how to improve experiences for them. As always some people seem to be offended by that, even though by its very definition this is a personal criticism, a personal "variant", a completely optional system and basically just providing a criticism, providing some numbers to back it up and providing a simple, easily introduced way to (in my opinion) improve the experience.


It's also really a damn shame that Richard didn't come up with a points based / unit equivalence system that was official to allow people to choose armies individually, set up in secret or in turn, and give the system a run that way



*(from above), I like for example how the First Assault Wave is a huge imbalance - those beach landings were horrendous obviously, but I would probably adopt the suggestion made above by red_zebra that adding checkpoint medals to award medals to the allies for getting to specific points up the beach is a fantastic way to make the scenario "winnable" by the allies, but with the win explicitly related to a "moral victory" of getting up the beach in accordance with the historical mission, even if your units are getting shredded
      
lambolt
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Re:"Fixing" unbalanced scenarios - how do you / would you do it. Fri, 11 April 2014 07:59
PS
are you guys still playing the M44 online league that I setup a few years back? Last time I looked you'd expanded quite a bit!
      
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Re:"Fixing" unbalanced scenarios - how do you / would you do it. Fri, 11 April 2014 08:00
rasmussen81 wrote on Fri, 11 April 2014 05:28

Sgt Storm wrote on Thu, 10 April 2014 19:27

Further, I generally believe if the scenarios were redesigned so that objectives (not so much kills) based on historical achievements are required for one side or the other (e.g., the attacker) then you would get a better historical narrative when playing the game.



Then you'll love the D-Day Landings scenarios! The terrain control rules do a good job of reflecting the need for both sides to control the towns, bridges, or towns. Smile



great to hear rasmussen! I think adding geographical and physical medals attached to locations and units is indeed a great way to push the historical nature of a scenario
      
stevens
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Re:"Fixing" unbalanced scenarios - how do you / would you do it. Fri, 11 April 2014 13:29
Lambolt, you make some very good points and I am certainly appreciative of your desire to improve the gaming experience by making play more competitive and in your mind "more balanced".
I personally enjoy the game as it is, in part because of the challenge to overcome an enemies superior unit count, fighting force and terrain advantage. I agree that just giving a medal handicap would "balance" things out a bit for players. I did the same thing with my kids when playing games, spotting them points, etc. Nothing unreasonable or untoward in that approach.
To be honest, I often find that the scenarios I play the most on MEMOIR '44 ONLINE are the ones that give a more even chance of victory. The primary reason for this is because, your opponent may not give you a rematch, and no one wants to be on the losing side ALL the time.
However, in face to face and online VASSAL tournaments! I truly like having the back to back alternating sides experience.
My only real point is that saying that something is "absolutely terribly designed" struck me as a bit harsh in terms of criticism when only looking at the result from only one side.
Otherwise, I think you are doing good service for the community in bringing your concerns about "balance" to the community and creating open discussion on a feature that a lot of folks want more options on. So thanks for broaching the subject in a constructive manner.

[Aktualisiert am: Fri, 11 April 2014 13:33]

      
sam1812
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Re:"Fixing" unbalanced scenarios - how do you / would you do it. Fri, 11 April 2014 15:05
The fact that scenarios are unbalanced on average doesn't mean that they're so unbalanced for everybody, nor that there's anything wrong with them. For example, if I'm playing against a weaker or inexperienced player, I'll take the weak side of an unbalanced scenario. (And for strong players, win percentages in situations like that are much better than the "average.") The unbalanced scenarios aren't bad -- they just require more strategic thought.

Actually, the League did a season of unbalanced scenarios this past year, it was great, it gave me and others a fresh appreciation for some of the scenarios that people "never" play, and we had a surprising number of sweeps.

And by the way, the League is still going strong, in its 11th season. Thank you, again, for starting it.
      
rasmussen81
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Re:"Fixing" unbalanced scenarios - how do you / would you do it. Fri, 11 April 2014 16:10
Interesting discussion. Smile I'll throw in my two cents, for what it's worth.

I don't have a problem with the design system that Richard Borg uses for several reasons:

1) Just because a scenario has an 80/20 win percent doesn't mean it isn't a fun scenario. They can still have a very close result, even if the expected side wins (close medal count, units that were almost eliminated, etc). The simple win percent doesn't show the 'fun factor' of the scenario.

2) I often enjoy the challenge of playing the underdog side. I understand that not everyone agrees, so this might not be a strong argument, but in my opinion 'balance' isn't the pinnacle of good design.

3) If all scenarios were perfectly balanced, using your systems or other methods, it would take away a lot of the fun for me because any time I played someone new to the system they would be extremely likely to win. This would be less of a challenge for me, less satisfying overall, and could be disheartening for the other player. As it is, I can play as the Allies in Omaha Beach and both sides will have a good time and usually a good battle.

4) With the hundreds of scenarios available, it doesn't bother me that some are unbalanced. They are fun when I need them but I can pick from so many others that it's not an issue.

5) Based on the popularity of Memoir '44 (and the continued popularity) this major problem you have with it clearly isn't an issue for everyone. Somehow, despite the fact that official scenarios are "absolutely terribly designed", the game is still fun and new players are joining it all the time. This indicates to me that 'fun' is not linked with 'balance' as closely as people might think.

Like I said, these are my two cents so take them or leave them. Very Happy Again, an interesting discussion.
      
lambolt
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Re:"Fixing" unbalanced scenarios - how do you / would you do it. Fri, 11 April 2014 18:23
Good points by all - the good thing about presenting this data is exactly because you can choose to use it or not, on an individual scenario, day, opponent or mood basis. It's not a blanket modification to the game, it's just information (which wants to be free!) that you can use. I definitely appreciate playing underdog scenarios at times, and I definitely like to use that fact when playing against a newcomer for example. Perhaps the wording sounded a bit more harsh than I meant it but I think the problem in general is more widespread than acknowledged - looking at almost 300 scenarios in front of me, its more the norm than not for a pretty big imbalance which I find a bit surprising and don't believe it was necessarily designed to be that way from the ground up, but rather a result of creating scenarios from the other direction.

I do find it disappointing that some of the big overlord scenarios, including almost all of the "sexy" ones headlining battle packs are not just imbalanced but totally out of whack. I don't know that I would routinely enjoy playing a 20% scenario in such a case, but I certainly DO want to play these famous scenarios that we all read about and see in the movies.

Anyway, thanks for your input guys!


(remember that its not easy to know which ones are balanced but with this spreadsheet hopefully everyone can get the info a little bit easier and pick and choose as required)

[Aktualisiert am: Fri, 11 April 2014 18:23]

      
lambolt
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Re:"Fixing" unbalanced scenarios - how do you / would you do it. Fri, 11 April 2014 18:58
here is a lovely message I thought I would share from a "senior member" here

It appears that you don't care for this game a hole lot, the way you keep tearing it apart. It might be a good idea to take your Memoir 44 stuff and put it up for sale on E-bay. Just a friendly suggestion.


my reply was simple
"you are wrong, and stupid".

I love this game, which is why I am spending an inordinate amount of time digging around underneath the surface.

[Aktualisiert am: Fri, 11 April 2014 18:58]

      
lambolt
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Re:"Fixing" unbalanced scenarios - how do you / would you do it. Fri, 11 April 2014 19:08
Well after all my "griping" i.e spending several hours collating data manually by copying and pasting from the not very user friendly database, I have an excel file with 301 official scenarios
it includes where the scenario is found, a hyperlink to the scenario page, win stats and medal counts, session report count, author, date etc.
      
stevens
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Re:"Fixing" unbalanced scenarios - how do you / would you do it. Fri, 11 April 2014 21:58
Just one more thought if I may.
I work at a US Memorial that honors veterans and the service of all Allied Forces who served on June 6, 1944 on the coasts of Normandy. Today an Honor Flight of WWII veterans came in. It was great to see them here, listen to their stories and thank them.
When I play FIRST ASSAULT WAVE (OMAHA BEACH) as Allies, I have about a 19% chance of winning. It is grueling trying to get out of the surf only to be pinned down by artillery and see my armor destroyed with out ever getting off the beach. As a player it is a challenge, but because the scenario is set up to mimic the historical narrative of that day, I get a chance, if I am able to think outside of myself for a few minutes, to imagine the frustration and horror of that experience for those who were actually there. The scenario, although terribly unbalanced, creates for me an opportunity for reflection. It is this experience which helps me to more fully appreciate the sacrifice others made on my behalf. And this is why for me relating to the history and those who participated in it is a major focus of my play and enjoyment. So if balancing to some degree removes that element of truth it becomes something I am less interested in even though as a game it might be more fun.
Thanks for letting me prattle on.

[Aktualisiert am: Fri, 11 April 2014 21:59]

      
LooneyLlama
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Re:"Fixing" unbalanced scenarios - how do you / would you do it. Fri, 11 April 2014 22:03
lambolt,

I would agree with you that an unbalanced Overlord scenario is not a good idea. You're not going to play both sides and since it takes a long time to set up and play, as an author, I want it to be as exciting a game as possible. Last year at the WBC in Lancaster we played one of my Overlord scenarios(Stalingrad) that went down to the last turn where either side could have won. It was very satisfying to see the excitement in all the players. We also played on Vassal two others, Push to the Ruhr, which played out very close and Crossing the Volturno Line which did not.

Right now I'm conducting a tournament where you only play one side! It is really hard to write a scenario that will play as close to 50-50 as possible. Cards and dice are huge factors in a tournament where there is not a lot of games to balance it out. We had just completed a 10 round tournament of the Pacific theater with 20 players and 10 rounds that went down to the 10th round.

However, I have to agree with Rasmussen that it is kind of fun to play regular scenarios where you are behind the 8 ball. Victory is that much sweeter. There is definitely a place for those kind of scenarios.
      
rasmussen81
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Re:"Fixing" unbalanced scenarios - how do you / would you do it. Fri, 11 April 2014 23:57
I can see both sides of this discussion.

On one hand we all enjoy those close battles that come down to the wire.
On the other hand I agree with stevens that some of these misbalanced scenarios help me remember the history that is so strong with this game. I also love a victory as the underdog; it's so much more satisfying that even a close battle where either person could win.

In my view, they both have a place in Memoir '44.
      
sam1812
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Re:"Fixing" unbalanced scenarios - how do you / would you do it. Sat, 12 April 2014 01:55
lambolt opened this discussion by saying, "Please note, this is not an open discussion on whether or not scenarios need fixing," and he asked for people's thoughts on how one might rebalance the scenarios if one wanted to.

It's okay to like the scenarios as they are, or to want them all closer to 50-50, or to let one's opinion depend on the particular opponent, situation, and mood.

Nobody needs to convince anyone, nor to be convinced, about whether unbalanced scenarios are good or bad. Smile
      
rasmussen81
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Re:"Fixing" unbalanced scenarios - how do you / would you do it. Sat, 12 April 2014 06:49
sam1812 wrote on Fri, 11 April 2014 16:55

lambolt opened this discussion by saying, "Please note, this is not an open discussion on whether or not scenarios need fixing," and he asked for people's thoughts on how one might rebalance the scenarios if one wanted to.

It's okay to like the scenarios as they are, or to want them all closer to 50-50, or to let one's opinion depend on the particular opponent, situation, and mood.

Nobody needs to convince anyone, nor to be convinced, about whether unbalanced scenarios are good or bad. Smile


Yeah, I reread that after posting...sorry for my part in sidetracking this thread. Razz

To be fair, this is the comment that actually got us off track (said by lambolt): "Its surprising how many of the official scenarios are absolutely terribly designed from a balance point of view."

A comment like that is bound to prompt a response. Rolling Eyes
      
ad79
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Re:"Fixing" unbalanced scenarios - how do you / would you do it. Sat, 12 April 2014 09:32
After the BT Deck came out I played Omaha Beach and gave the Allies the ability to use On The Move orders(still used a regular de k, just added On The Move when playing Recon, Probe and Attack)
It was a close fight as the Allies landed more troops and put pressure on the Germans, but in the end The Germans still won but the Battle was closer.
(These conclusions were drawn after exactly 1 playtest, so don't take them too serious. But it was fun to play)
      
Achtung Panzer
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Re:"Fixing" unbalanced scenarios - how do you / would you do it. Sat, 12 April 2014 16:08
lambolt wrote on Thu, 10 April 2014 22:37

Pretty clear so far that jdrommel is either the luckiest designer of scenarios there is, or he is the one who best playtests for balance.


From my conversation with JDrommel I would it is certainly by design and not luck. I think he's taken scenario design to an art form.
      
Sgt Storm
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Re:"Fixing" unbalanced scenarios - how do you / would you do it. Sun, 13 April 2014 02:23
stevens wrote on Fri, 11 April 2014 15:58

Just one more thought if I may.
I work at a US Memorial that honors veterans and the service of all Allied Forces who served on June 6, 1944 on the coasts of Normandy. Today an Honor Flight of WWII veterans came in. It was great to see them here, listen to their stories and thank them.
When I play FIRST ASSAULT WAVE (OMAHA BEACH) as Allies, I have about a 19% chance of winning. It is grueling trying to get out of the surf only to be pinned down by artillery and see my armor destroyed with out ever getting off the beach. As a player it is a challenge, but because the scenario is set up to mimic the historical narrative of that day, I get a chance, if I am able to think outside of myself for a few minutes, to imagine the frustration and horror of that experience for those who were actually there. The scenario, although terribly unbalanced, creates for me an opportunity for reflection. It is this experience which helps me to more fully appreciate the sacrifice others made on my behalf. And this is why for me relating to the history and those who participated in it is a major focus of my play and enjoyment. So if balancing to some degree removes that element of truth it becomes something I am less interested in even though as a game it might be more fun.
Thanks for letting me prattle on.


I find it odd that by simply adjusting the medal count required to "win" the scenario you could not have the same experience playing the scenario. Everything else is the same in the scenario. Personally, I am able to recognize that while I won by the adjusted medal count, I still fell short of the recommended medal count for the game and I still encountered difficulties securing terrain and landing troops and I lost a lot of casualties. But I guess people are different.
      
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Re:"Fixing" unbalanced scenarios - how do you / would you do it. Sun, 13 April 2014 12:37
I too am entirely happy with historically unbalanced scenarios.

I find it particularly useful when playing my brother. We meet up every Easter and Summer to play some games. He came this week and we played Memoir 44. He is not a wargamer, and only plays these games with me. I find it great fun to give him the side that should win and then try to win for the side that shouldn't. I only managed it once in 11 games! although I twice came within in one figure of winning. Great fun.

But aside from the above, perfectly balanced scenarios in very historically unbalanced situations just don't interest me.

For those that want more balance, it is easy to do. Medals, cards, units etc. Or just play ones that already are well balanced.
      
questioneer
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Re:"Fixing" unbalanced scenarios - how do you / would you do it. Sun, 13 April 2014 19:13
I'm fine with the unbalanced scenarios. If I wanna balance it I do this...

Between two equal strength players, I simply look up the current game report stats for the scenario on my phone (just about every one ever made is there plus extras!!!).

Paper, rock, scissors- winner get to start the bid- ex. for Tigers in the Snow winner would bid to take Axis and give the Allies one medal...other player counterbids- I take Axis and give you two medals etc. Bid continues until one player excepts.

As a guide we use this table for bidding...

54% and under- play straight up- pretty even
55-59%- give 0-1 medal to weaker side
60-64%- give 1 medal
65-69%- give 1-2 medal
70-74%- give 2 medals
75-79%- give 2-3 medals
80-84%- give 3 medals
85-89%- give 3-4 medals
90% and above- give 4 medals ( I don't believe there are scenarios that are above 84% advantage though but you get the picture).

This seems to work very well for us. Playing "a match" is just silly to us when we have the win % of almost every scenario online now.

***Also, using the Air Pack, Breakthrough Deck, or variants may skew these numbers a bit...but again it seems to work very smoothly. Try it a few times before you knock it!

[Aktualisiert am: Sun, 13 April 2014 19:17]

      
50th
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Re:"Fixing" unbalanced scenarios - how do you / would you do it. Sun, 13 April 2014 23:42
I feel some scenarios are going to be unbalanced because from a historical standpoint, they were. Anther reason may be to design a scenario so that the side who actually won the battle has the better chance to win the scenario. In these cases, the unbalanced scenario is for historical accuracy. If you want a perfectly balanced scenario each time you play, you can design a skirmish system with a combat point system. ( I am actually working on a combat point system that is based on # of figs/hits, range, firepower at range, and movement).

My two cents worth! Idea
      
    
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