Math. It's at the core of almost every game, really. Chances to hit. Chances to wound. Chances to have a certain card in your hand. All that kind of stuff. It's hard to find games out there without math in there somewhere. And if there's one thing game designer Michael Shinall likes, it's math. So, it's looking over the math for various units and an idea of balancing the A Song of Ice and Fire: Tabletop Miniatures Game that some units are getting a bit of a tweak.
From the article:
Bannermen, Michael Shinall back again, and today we are taking a look at some of the revamps coming to Combat Units in 2021!
Now, that sentence might have sounded a bit scarier than intended, so let’s just address that immediately: when we talk about revamps, we’re really speaking about some general quality of life adjustments to numbers. There aren’t any mechanical changes or modifications to the system or anything of the sort... No, the topic today is much duller than that: Math.
As part of our full evaluation of units, we had several key points that we knew we wanted to address. Let’s break them down into specifics and go over each in brief detail:
Combat Effectiveness: This really plays into the bigger topic of Units, Attachments, and Tactics Card interactions, so there isn’t really a “simple” explanation here, but essentially the number of raw dice/stat boosts is something we wanted to cut down on. While they were not exactly common, the number of effects and abilities that simply generated additional dice, or increased a unit’s “To Hit” modifier, was a bit higher than we wanted to see. By cutting down on these effects, it put a greater focus on other aspects, rather than just allowing players to go “this number is bigger, thus it is better.” The larger impact this has is a more controlled damage curve. Meaning that the capability to “one-shot” a unit from max Wounds to dead is almost non-existent any longer.
Rank-Effectiveness and Die Numbers: Carrying on the previous point, the term “one-shot” actually is a bit misleading. The ability to reduce a unit from full strength to absolutely dead is actually a rarityin the current format. When players refer to this, they typically mean “making it so a unit is no longer a threat to me”, and this usually ties into a unit’s drastically reduced capabilities when reduced to its last rank. Typically, if you can bring a unit to that point, you could almost ignore it for a lot of purposes because it just lost so much effectiveness. Meanwhile, units at full strength tended to have a very high ceiling of potential to reduce other units to this state-seldom was there an “in between” here-you were either a threat or you weren’t. With the rank-system in the game, the intent was a gradual decline of effectiveness, not a sudden drop-off. We’re worked a lot of the “top-end” numbers and generally increased the “bottom-end” ones, making it so if a unit is alive, it’s always going to contribute and be a threat. Of course, this varies across units, so its more of a “general concept” than “hard rule”.
Cost-to-Effectiveness Ratios: Stats are something you pay for alongside Abilities. Another area we have refined is what this means across the various Point-spreads of units. What you will see most commonly in this regard is that a 4+ to Hit is the baseline, whereas currently units tend to skew slightly more toward 3+. Bottom-line here is, “elite” stats (3+ To Hit, 3+ Defense, Morale, etc) carry more weight when factoring into a unit. As such, most units of 6 cost and below saw a general reduction in their To-Hit, moving from 3+ to 4+. Again, this is a general principle and not the rule, but overall it would be rare to see a unit of cost 6 or less with a baseline 3+ to Hit without some sort of trade-off (or unless that increased stat is one of their cost-benefits).
Let’s take a look at three units across three different point totals to show some examples: