Play Stats Needed to Balance Homebrew Rules

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Play Stats Needed to Balance Homebrew Rules

Postby LZBrickMan42 » Sat Jul 31, 2010 8:53 am

So, I had been meaning to give BrikWars a try for ages, and I finally organized a QuikWars session with some friends the other day. It quite wasn't as awesome as I had hoped, but then again QuikWars is designed as a quick and dirty game that relies on the players being big Lego nerds, and two of the players weren't.

After reading through the full rules a few times and some thinking, I've written up a more rigorously point-based homebrew of the rules to make it all work more like Hero System does. That means buying effects as atomic things and literally building the rules you want your guys to play by, along with a little more flexible unit construction from the get-go and all d6 rules. Everything works the same, you can just link things up a little more consistently and have more flexibility in how you dudes work in a "strict rules setting."

I was a little surprised to find that the rules actually fit in quite nicely; everything ends up costing the same or is one point more or less expensive.

Anyway, before I even consider sharing it (which I will only do if anyone is interested) I need to ask you guys for a few statistics about games of Brikwars:

-How long in rounds of play does the average battle last?
-About how many times is something like Armor or Attack used by a unit before its inevitable demise?
-How many times would you expect a single unit to use Armor or Attack each round?

Basically I need to know all that in order to price the recharge options on Ammunition so that costs cancel out at the right levels and the ability mod isn't a massive loophole for buying extra dice on the cheap.
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Postby Ross_Varn » Sat Jul 31, 2010 3:18 pm

Hrm. The impression you just gave me reminded me of the Lego Mech Warrior game that originally led me to Brikwars.

I'd say that a typical battle with 50+ minis can last ten turns, which is why you usually see "Game-Ender" feats- people run out of time to play. It really depends on how many units you field. Typical minis can go down immediately in a hail of fire or can last the entire game, it all depends on the dice.

The catch is, Quikwars is a highly distilled version of Brikwars. Brikwars is all about streamlining combat and eliminating the need for giant stacks of paper tracking every single unit on the field. It sounds like this supplement would bypass this rule and make units highly customizable, which might be fun for elite units but using it for everything would be time consuming. It's up to you.
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Postby LZBrickMan42 » Sat Jul 31, 2010 7:49 pm

(I am basing things off of the full BrikWars rules, in case I gave the wrong impression there).

Ten turns, ehh? Wow, most table top games last about four (*cough* WARHAMMER*cough*). Thanks for the info; now to refactor the Ammunition rules.

It very well could push the game into complete unplayability, but the only rule I've actually added that wasn't there in the first place is Ammunition-based abilities (charges in Hero System), which give you duplicates of an ability that you expend and are completely replaced after a given length of time (per turn, every 4th turn, and Never for simplicity). And some alterations to AOE attacks so you can have fun things like Lasers that shoot through multiple opponents. Other than that no rules changed, they can just be in more places.

The intent is, of course, that you should only use the real gameplay downers like Ammunition or very special rules on things that warrant it and are special elements of your army. The text says so explicitly. Furthermore, the stock things in the rules come out to the same price (or very close to it). Engineering the "behind the scenes" points for those things and getting it right should mean that the special rules you can build balance out construction point wise and at a bare minimum be compatible with the stock elements of the rules.

I wouldn't suggest using this stuff on one's entire infantry on a per squad basis. Even then, all you could really do is give some dudes +1 against anything green (yup) or only three missiles for their rocket launchers. Things that are easy to remember. I also built in economic incentive for good/entertaining/hilarious explanations of how something works and for using actual parts to represent an ability. You could, for instance, make those missiles even cheaper by putting your dudes on 2x4 plates with the actual missiles on them, removing them as they are used up.

Finally, the real point of it is to allow the construction of more magical powers, since the framework it all fits into is like that of Hero System and is very accepting of extensions. In short, we can pilfer things from the Hero System rules when we need to with only a few tweaks.
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Postby Ross_Varn » Sat Jul 31, 2010 11:11 pm

Oooh, I see now. You've come up with a viable way to add balanced Specialties. Excellent! I look forward to seeing what comes of this.
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Postby LZBrickMan42 » Mon Aug 02, 2010 12:01 am

Well, there we go, I think I figured out how to do the ammo thing. So here's the initial run through of the rules. God, I am SO bored, why am I doing this?

Anyway, I wouldn't say that I came up with this way; this is just how Hero System does things in a general sense, and I don't think there is a better way to have abilities that you add special effects to. Also, this is completely unplaytested: whatever balance is there is a combination of engineering it to fit the stock stuff, "analogous situation" reasoning, and dumb luck. Though some messing around building things seems to yield satisfactory results; 10 CP for a flame thrower sounds about right given the stuff already out there.

Lastly, don't be swayed by how well things seem to line up with the stock stuff; that is mostly a byproduct of the Creation rules and tidbits throughout the actual rulebook. It is encouraging, though.

Edit: Oops, some issues in there; the cost of Focus got changed at some point to -1/4, but I didn't calculate based on that. I like it better as -1/2, anyway. Also, the Roll Mod for crankiness should cost -3, not -4, so Heroes would cost 12 CP. I forgot to mention I nerfed the power of Crankiness, because -1 to all DICE is kinda absurd, even for a game that is meant to be absurd. And last note, the minimum Use Rating of an ability is 2+; otherwise a 1/2d6 attack would always hit.

Code: Select all
HOW YOU BUY ABILITIES

Figure out the base cost of an ability.  Then, multiply that cost by
(1 + the sum of Advantages).  Divide that by (1 +  the sum of Limitations).
For Momvement abilities, the Structure Level (SL) of the unit is added to
the cost per 2" of movement of a given type.  For all other abilties
OTHER THAN Skill, multiply the final cost by the SL of the unit (still 1/2
for SL 0).

SO WHAT IS AN ADVANTAGE OR LIMITATION?

They are listed here together as "Ability Mods".  They do not have costs in
the usual sense; their cost is listed (or calculated) as a +(some number) or
-(some number).  When an Ability Mod has a positive cost, it is an Advantage
and factors into the cost of an ability accordingly.  When an Ability Mod has
a negative cost, it is a Limitation and factors into the cost of an ability
IGNORING the negative sign.  The negative sign ONLY tells you you'l be dividing
with this value at some point.

SOME ABILTIES SAY THEY CAN HAVE NEGATIVE COSTS?

Yeah, any ability can theoretically be bought for negative points (that is,
you gets Construction Points BACK for buying them); you simply invert the
effect so it sucks for you instead of your enemy.  Any abilty you do this with
is called a Disadvantage. Though, I'm not sure how things like Combat Piloting,
Skill, and Movement would work against you, so the options are rather slim
right now.  This is just built in for any abilities someone cooks up.

Just remember that when doing so, anything that would be an Advantage
normally factors in as a Limitation intstead and vice versa.

WHERE DO USE RATINGS COME FROM?

For anything that would require a use rating (like, say, Attack Damage), the Use
Rating is equal to how many levels you bought in that Ability.  If you buy
2d6 of Attack, for instance, you bought 1/2d6 _four_ times, so the use rating
is 4.

1/2D6!?  WHAT ARE YOU GETTING AT?

1/2d6 are one half of 1d6. That is, roll 1d6 and divide it by 2 and round or do
whatever you feel comfortable with.  The rolling Sixes rule still applies: any
6 that comes up on 1/2d6 gets you another roll of 1/2d6.  The six still counted
as 3, though.

When you buy multiples of 1/2d6, just collapse them into full d6 and a remainder
of 1/2d6 if there is one.  Like this: 7x1/2d6 = 3(1/2)d6. Is that statistically
the same thing?  No, not at all, actually.  Not as bad as it could be, but it
isn't the same.

Rough die equivalents:

1/2d6 ~ a flat 2

1d6 = 1d6
1d8,1d10 ~ 1(1/2)d6
1d12 ~ 2d6

--------
THE LIST
--------

ABILITIES
---------
Armor
Attack
Combat Piloting
Feat
Movement
Multi Attack
Roll Mod
Skill
---------

ABILITY MODS
------------
AOE
Armor Piercing
Awesome Fluff
Charges
Context Is Everything
Does Knockback
Encumbrance
Focus
Hardened
Hard to Use
Line of Sight
Range
Requires Skill
Specify Target Type
------------

---------
ABILITIES
---------

-ARMOR-
Cost: 2 CP for 1/2d6 OR 2 Armor

-ATTACK-
Cost: 2 CP for 1/2d6, CC Damage.

-COMBAT PILOTING-
Cost: 1 CP for being able to drive and chew gum at the same time

-FEAT-
Cost: 15 CP to do a crazy Hollywood action stunt.

--Vaiant Roll Rule--
For each narative modifier you add +1d6 of Epic Dice to your Feat roll.
For each narative modifier the opposing player adds to their complementary
disaster version of the stunt, +1d6 FAIL dice.

-MOVEMENT-
Cost: (1+SL) CP for 2" movement, (2+SL) for 2" flying.

-MULTI ATTACK-
Cost: 5 CP for each additional attack the unit can make per Action Phase.

-ROLL MOD-
Cost: Varies

Add a +/-1 to a specific type of roll.  Cost is per the type of roll; if you
want to boost or penalize more than one type at the same time, just add the costs
together.  The maximum you can boost a roll by is +/-5.

+----------------------------+------+
| Roll Type                  | Cost |
+----------------------------+------+
| Feat                       |  5   |
| Skill                      |  3   |
| Armor, MOM, POP, or Attack |  1   |
+----------------------------+------+

-SKILL-
Cost: 2^(N-1) for (N/2)d6 of Skill

+------------+------+
| Skill Dice | Cost |
+------------+------+
|  1d6       |  1   |
|  1(1/2)d6  |  2   |
|  2d6       |  4   |
|  2(1/2)d6  |  8   |
+------------+------+

-----------
ABILTY MODS
-----------

-AOE-

Buy Area of Effect rules for an ability.  Base primary area of effect (PAE) is 2"
of radius or width, depending on the area type purchased.  Full effect dice in the
PAE, remove the lowest die for each 1" further away after that.

Use AOE for explosions, lasers, shotguns, and flame throwers.

+------------------------------+-------------+
| Element of AOE               | Cost        |
+------------------------------+-------------+
| Purchase AOE, base PAE of 2" |  +1         |
| Line of length N x 3"        |  +(1/2 x N) |
| Circle                       |  +1         |
|(N x 45) degree cone          |  +(1/8 x N) |
|(or largest finger cone you   |             |
| can make)                    |             |
+------------------------------+-------------+
| +1" to PAE                   |  +1         |
+------------------------------+-------------+

-ARMOR PIERCING-
Cost: +1

Only half of target's protective ability applies; add up rolls first then
divide.

-AWESOME FLUFF-
Cost: -1/4

Ability has a hilarious, jargon ridden, ingeniously modeled, or otherwise
worthy explanation.

-CHARGES-
Cost: Complicated

Ability has a number of expendable uses, or charges.  You specify how many
charges you want, then how often they are recovered.  Recovery is done via
a 1d6 roll versus a chosen value every turn.  If successful, all charges
are recovered.  If not, nothing changes.

--To Buy--
Find the base charge cost (BCC) of the number of charges you want.  If it is
negative, multiply by the Recovery Mod from the left hand column.  If
the base charge cost is positive, use the right hand column.  If what you get
is negative, then use as a Limitation.  If what you get is positive, then use
as an Advantage.

+---------------+-------------------+
| Charges       | Base Charge Cost  |
+---------------+-------------------+
| 11-12         | 4                 |
| 9-10          | 2                 |
| 7-8           | 1                 |
| 6             | 1/2               |
| 5             | -1/2              |
| 3-4           | -1                |
| 1-2           | -1(1/2)           |
+---------------+---------+---------+
| Recharge Rate | BCC <0> 0 |
+---------------+---------+---------+
| Never         | 2(1/2)  | 1/4     |
| 6+            | 2       | 1/2     |
| 5+            | 1(1/2)  | 1       |
| 4+            | 1       | 2       |
| 3+            | 1/2     | 3       |
| 2+            | -1/2    | 4       |
| Every Turn    | -1      | 5       |
+---------------+---------+---------+

--Variant: Variable Ability Reserve--
Instead of rolling to recover charges every turn, roll Kd6 to see how many
charges you have this turn period.  Cost of +(2xK)

--Variant: Delayed Delivery--
Unit starts off the game without any charges in their stockpile but cannot
make a Recovery Roll on the first turn.  To add this, subtract 1/2 from the
BCC before multiplying by the Recharge Rate factor.

DO NOT use Charges to model Automatic Fire effects.  For starters, you'd end
up with dice too puny to do damage for each bullet.  Also, you'd have to roll
attack and damage for each bullet.  There are much better rules for that and
they are much more fun.

Also, DO NOT use Charges too much or in a way you can't reasonably track. Equip
big or important things that aren't numerous with charges; they are easier to
remember.  Heroes are artillery are good examples that you don't have many of
and people will easily remember stats of.

That said, we ARE using _construction_ toys here, so you can actually put the
rockets your dudes are using on them or on their base.  Just be sparing with
Charges and make whatever ones you do use obvious to everyone playing.

-CONTEXT IS EVERYTHING-
Cost: Varies

Activation or use of the Ability is dependent on a specified circumstance and
context.  Find the costs in the table of each and add.  A positive result is
an Advantage, a negative result is a Limitation.

+-----------------------------------------+---------+
| Circumstance Is...                      | Cost    |
+-----------------------------------------+---------+
| Very Common: a specific color, minifigs | 0       |
| Common: moutned entities, tanks         | -1/4    |
| Uncommon: aligators, cyborgs, heroes    | -1/2    |
| Rare: Brikthulids, Zombie Vampire Dogs  | -1      |
|  from Mars                              |         |
+-----------------------------------------+---------+
| Context                                 | Cost    |
+-----------------------------------------+---------+
| in the same squad, immediate proximity  | +1/4    |
| within 18"                              | +1/2    |
| in your own army                        | +3/4    |
| in any opposing army                    | +1      |
| on the battlefield                      | +1(1/2) |
+-----------------------------------------+---------+

To count the effect per instance of the circumstance, mutltiply whatever cost
you ended up with by 2.

-DOES KNOCKBACK-
Cost: +1/2 for 1/2d6 of MOM counted towards Knockback

Automatically induce a Knockback situation with the successful use of the
ability with however many d6 of MOM you bought.  Defender gets POP according
to standard rules.

--Variant: Recoilless?  GTFO!--
For each -1/2 of Limitation, 1/2d6 of MOM against the unit using the ability.
If their opposition fails, they go flying in the opposite direction of their
attack.  Independent of successful hit.

-ENCUMBRANCE-
Cost: -1/2 for each -1" of movement the ability incurs by simply being equipped.

-FOCUS-
Cost: -1/4

If you added a cool part or cool collection of pieces to represent the ability,
shave a few points off!

-HARDENED-
Cost: +1/2

Protective ability still counts for full against attacks that use Armor Piercing.

-HARD TO USE-
Cost: +/-(1/4) for each -/+1 to Use Rating.

Increase, or decrease, how hard it is to use the Ability by increasing or
dercreasing the Use Rating. Only applies, of course, if the ability needs
a Skill Roll to use.

-LINE OF SIGHT-
Cost: +/- 1/2

If an ability doesn't need line of sight to be used, now it does for -1/2.  If it
already does, NO IT DOESN'T becasue you just removed it for a +1/2 advantage.

-RANGE-
Cost: +1/4 for 3" of range

Change an ability to function on a range basis.

-REQUIRES SKILL-
Cost: +/-1 to add/remove the need for a Skill roll to the ability

-------------------------------
EAXMPLES: BUILDING STOCK THINGS
-------------------------------

Basic Minifig:

A minifig is a Size 1, SL 0 Creation.  That means it has a default of 1d6 natural
armor and a SL multiplier of 1/2.  The base cost of this if all 1 CP (1 x 1/2 from SL).

5" of movement costs 2 CP ((1 + SL0) x 2).

A base Skill roll of 1d6 costs 2 CP.

So, a basic minifig costs 1 + 2 + 1 = 4 CP.

Hero:

Still a minifig, so base cost of 1.

We want the next level of skill, so 1(1/2)d6, which costs 4 CP.

7" of movement costs 4 CP ((1 + SL0) x 4).

An extra die of natural armor, so 2 CP (4 x 1/2 from SL).

Heroes have the Feat ability (base 15), accompanied by a very grandiose and awesome
explanation [Awesome Fluff, -1/4), so 6 CP ((15/1.25) x 1/2 from SL).

Heroes also get cranky when there are other heroes in their army for a cumulative -1
to all rolls per competing hero.  You build this as a Disadvantage.

First, the base Ability:
Roll Mod:
-1 to Feat(5), Skill(3), Armor(1), MOM(1),
POP(1), and Attack(1)
Total Base Cost: 12

Context is Everything:
Uncommon:Heroes (-1/4),
Same Army (+1/2),
Per Entity x2
Total Context Cost: +1/4 x 2 = +1/2

Now, this is a Disadvantage, so Context counts as a Limitation:

12/(1 + 1/2) = 8

Final Cost: -4 CP ( 8 x 1/2 for SL)

So, the final cost for a hero is 1 + 4 + 4 + 6 - 4 = 11 CP.

----------------------
Now, for some Stock Equipment:
----------------------

Hand Weapon:
Attack: 1d6 (4)
Focus: Minifig Sword (-1/2)
Cost: 4/(1+1/2) = 3 CP

Heavy Weapon:
Attack: 1(1/2)d6 (6)
Focus: Minifig Great Sword (-1/2)
Cost: 6/(1+1/2) = 4 CP

Short Ranged Weapon:
Attack: 1d6 (4)
Range: 6" (+1/2)
Focus: Minifig Bow (-1/2)
Hard to Use: +1 Use Rating (-1/4)
Cost: (4 x (1+1/2)) / (1+1/2+1/4) = 3 CP

Body Armor:
Armor:+2 (2)
Focus:Minifig Cuirass (-1/2)
Cost: 2/(1+1/2) = 1 CP

----------------------------------
Now, for some not so stock equipment:
----------------------------------

Flamethrower:
Attack: 1(1/2)d6 (6)
AOE: 6" Line (+2)
Hard to Use: +1 (-1/4)
Focus: Flamethrower Pieces (-1/2)
Cost: (6 x (1+2)) / (1 + 1/2 + 1/4) = 10 CP

Head Mounted Naval Cannon:
Attack: 3d6 (12)
Range: 12" (+1)
Focus: A Cannon... (-1/2)
Awesome Fluff: It's a Minifig with a CANNON ON ITS HEAD! (-1/4)
Hard to Use: +2 (-1/2)
Recoilless?GTFO!: 1(1/2)d6 MOM (-1(1/2))
Cost: (12 x 2) / 2.75 = 9 CP

Double-Tap Shotty:
Attack: 1d6 (4)
AOE: 45 cone (+1(1/8))
Easy to Use: -1 to Use Rating (+1/4)
(Its like shooting zombies on a table!...oh, wait!)
Charges: 2/3+ (-3/4)
(That is, it is a little tricky to reload a shotgun in combat)
Focus: Gun Piece, 2 Shotgun Shells on Base (-1/2)
Cost: (4 x 1.375)/1.25 = 4 CP
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