N18 Balancing scenarios with crews of different rating.

JawRippa

Gang Hero
Mar 31, 2017
1,069
1,380
133
Saint-Petersburg, Russia
This is more of a theorycrafting and thinking out loud rather than a properly written and set suggestion, so bear with me.

Let's say that you have a scenario which deploys D3+5 fighters for both players. What if one player gets to randomly include his leader and a few champions, while the other player is stuck with a bunch of gangers and juves? The resulting disparity in crew ratings will result in a heavily skewed game and probably won't be very fun to play out as one gang has little hopes of winning. Just to clarify, "fun" is a subjective thing and some players might enjoy playing from behind and trying to win, but in the long run games where you have more or less the same chance of victory as your opponent are more thrilling as you don't have a predictable outcome from the get go.

So, how do we make the scenario more fair? There are 2 solutions from GW, for clarity I'll name with the least crew rating as an underdog player.
  • Giving underdog player a tactical card for each 100 of credit difference. First of all, in older books GW suggests giving 1 random card per gang rating, not crew rating, which I think was off. Now this is changed to being a crew rating, so its better, but not by much. Firstly, having a fully equipped ganger is much better than having a tactic card and for 100 credits it is very easy to do. Secondly, having to draw too many tactic cards if your crew rating are wildly off is extremely unwieldy and turns the game into a weird experience.
  • Providing "free" gangers and juves up to a gang difference rating (from old WD article). I'm not a fan of this solution, as it is breaks the narrative of having a gang of "your" dudes when you get nameless bodies to help you out. Also I don't think that you can have more bodies than a scenario allows to have, so they wouldn't help anyway.
Here is a proposed rough procedure:
  1. For scenario with random bodies use the same D3 or D6 for all players. For example, if crew is supposed to be a D3+5 for both players, roll D3 only once, that's how many gangers both players are bringing.
  2. If the difference in crew ratings is exactly 150 credits or less, underdog player gets a random tactical card for each 50 credit difference (up to 3 additional cards).
  3. Then underdog player gets to randomly choose and add fighters from their gang to the starting crew, but no more than half of starting fighters rounding up. So, a crew with 5 starting fighters can have up to 3 additional fighters. If adding a random fighter to your crew would bring it above enemy crew, stop adding fighters.
  4. If after all of the above, the difference in ratings is still presented, receive 1 additional XP from any source during than fighter for every 50 remaining credit difference in crew values.
This way, you have multiple ways to balance starting crews: tactics, fighters from your own gang and finally, motivation for an underdog to play, or at least fight back despite the overwhelming odds. What do you think?
 
Last edited:

Punktaku

Un-Dis-Honored
Honored Tribesman
Apr 4, 2017
7,486
12,550
228
Connecticut, USA
Based on your post, I think a combo of 1+4 would work nicely (not a fan of the cards in general). So if both gangs have the same amount of random fighters, but (with an example of roll of 5) one player scores their leader, a champ, a specialist, and two gangers, and their opponent scores 2 gangers and 3 juvies, the crew ratings would be wildly different, so the opposing gang could really learn a lot if they survive the encounter with the first gangs elites.
 

Heart of Storm

Gang Champion
Mar 8, 2019
456
625
103
3 needs some thought, say in the underdog, I get to draw extra characters, and draw my leader and an expensive champion, which makes my points exceed the opponent - do they then get to draw extra gangers? I can see that escalating
 

JawRippa

Gang Hero
Mar 31, 2017
1,069
1,380
133
Saint-Petersburg, Russia
3 needs some thought, say in the underdog, I get to draw extra characters, and draw my leader and an expensive champion, which makes my points exceed the opponent - do they then get to draw extra gangers? I can see that escalating
I've been thinking about refining the idea - probably you should keep drawing new fighters until one of two things happens:
  1. You exceed additional body limit for the scenario, no more than half of the starting crew rounding up.
  2. Drawn fighter makes your crew cost exceed opponent's crew cost. Return that fighter's card into the deck and play with resulting crew, getting #4 bonus.
There definitely should be no back-and-forth crew editing, otherwise it'll take forever to start the game.
 

Squee

Gang Champion
Jan 11, 2019
275
383
78
Crew balance is definitely an issue. In the last game I initially had to face 8 Orlocks with 3 Ogryns - all my other dudes were in recovery from previous battle. And even considering Ogryn's costs it was still ~650 pts. vs ~1200 pts.

So here's what we do in case there's a 400 pts or greater difference between the crews:
1. As per RaW you can take 1 card for every 100 difference;
2. You can take 1 underdog card per 200 in difference. These cards are drawn from a separate deck, but they are random, so so far nobody has used this option;
3. You can bring Hive scum or BHs costing up to half the difference in cost of the crews. You don't get to chose the Hired guns though, you just chose the type and amount - we have 4 lists of pregenerated characters (weaker Scum worth ~65 pts, fully equipped Scum worth ~90, Cheap BHs and fully loaded BHs) and after you choose how many of each type of characters you need you select randomly from appropriate lists. The lists were made based on the existing minis we have, so some characters were used in previous campaigns and others likewise have some backstory from different games even. These aren't "Your Dudes", but they aren't just random strangers either.
4. For every 100 point that you don't spend on any particular Underdog boon you can claim the Giantkiller Bonus - you gain 1 Rep per 100 pts and if you manage to actually win, you also get 1d6*10 creds per 100 pts.

As far as I can tell this system works reasonably well, giving you a decent shot at winning or at least getting a "fair" fight, without necessarily making it completely equal for the underdog.
 

JawRippa

Gang Hero
Mar 31, 2017
1,069
1,380
133
Saint-Petersburg, Russia
4. For every 100 point that you don't spend on any particular Underdog boon you can claim the Giantkiller Bonus - you gain 1 Rep per 100 pts and if you manage to actually win, you also get 1d6*10 creds per 100 pts.
I love it. "Pick your difficulty" definitely makes it more engaging for the underdog player.
 
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JezzaC

Juve
Jan 27, 2016
14
17
23
Perth WA
Trying to get balanced forces in a random gangs game is really missing the brief. The point of those random selection games is to end up with haphazard and sometimes lopsided forces that players have to make the best of.

If a little bit of randomness is okay, but the current set up is just a little much, then maybe make it 1 random leader or champ, plus D3 or D6 gangers/juves.

The bigger problem to me is that once the game has started, there needs to be a little more incentive for the player with the weaker gang to look for a way to win the scenario despite the odds. Adding bonus XP and bonus income proportionate to the gap in crew rating should do the trick, encourage the gang to shoot for the underdog win. If players still don't like it with that added in the answer is simple - don't do scenarios with random forces.
 

McToast

Juve
Mar 7, 2021
10
37
23
Germany
We have yet to start our first "real" campaign, but we all agreed that onesided battles are part of the charm, and fit well from a narrative perspective (we'll see how that will turn out lol). We liked the idea of "risk vs. reward". So i added an additional underdog section to our potential houserules, where the underdog gets more XP - in addition to any tactic cards -, if the battle is really onesided creditwise: 1 additional XP for any ganger not OOA at the end of the game when at least 250 less gang rating, 1+D3 for any ganger still alive if at least 500 less gang rating. Also more reputation. It only makes sense: Surviving a deadly encounter against superior forces is more likely to hone skills than shooting fish in a barrel.

Also, we're all adults. a.) fun is the main objective, not necessarily winning b.) if random crews are totally screwed (leader + champs vs. juves) we just reroll the crew/s. No biggie. Just like a dead leader in the first game will most likely be changed into a double recovery aka "vanished for a while then miraculously appearing again".
 
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