N18 Make Bottling Great Again

Al_Weeks

Ganger
Dec 22, 2014
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79
18
So there has been a number of topics about the changes to bottling from the N17 to the N18 rules.

The main change is as follows:

Reinforcements do not count towards the gang size when determining if you bottle. You always use the starting number of models as the number you are testing against for bottling.


This has leads to some of the ‘Defensive’ Scenarios (especially ones with sentries) presenting a real problem. As with small starting crew sizes of 5, just one casually can lead you to start testing for the entire game. (not likely to fail but 2 causualites leads you to failing on a 5+, which even with home turf advantage, will happen at some point).

This leads to the perverse incentive to not sneak around or be cautious and avoid the defender getting re-enforcements, but instead to take out a few fighters as quickly as possible to cause a bottle check to be made every end phase from now on (ingoring the fact of the odd victory conditions of these senarios.

The simple solution to this (which our group adopted) is for reinforcements to count once they arrive on the board to the starting crew size for bottling purposes.

However this along with the generally large crew sizes and rewards at stake towards the later stages of our campaign has led to the opposite, games where despite taking near 50% casualties gangs are still not able to fail bottle roles (example 13 strong gang, has 7 OOA, cannot fail on the bottle roll (as 7+6 = 13). This has led to inconclusive games where players have been timed out.


Thus I started a lot of thought about how to fix bottling.

The goals were:

1) Not to overly penalise small starting crews (especially in games where reinforcements were likely to arrive later in the game)

2) To make bottling for larger gangs actually likely to happen after sustaining near half casualties

3) To preserve the effects of bottling after a bottle roll has failed. This keeps the gangs relatively balanced (as far as that goes) as some like Goliath have great cool, but are generally smaller in number, whereas Escher’s weakness is meant to be their below average Cool.


With that in mind I tired various approaches bases around the current d6 + casualties = target number system, Unfortunately to implement that system in a way that I thought worked fairly resulted in a vast lookup table, that had a complex pattern (that wasn’t easy to work out).


So with that in mind I thought about the Old Necromunda System that used 25% casualties and Leadership tests (done one leaders leadership)


Playing around with 25% (rounding up) resulted in this rather satisfying table


So the way this works is:

Once you have reached 33% (round up) casualties, you make a Ld test in the end phase using your leaders Leadership characteristic (which means it actually has a use now). If your leader is not present or Seriously Injured or OOA, then you use the highest leadership characteristic amongst your active fighters on the board. If you fail you bottle. Then follow all the normal bottling rules.

Reinforcements add to you ‘starting crew size’ once they have arrived, but they arrive at the END of the end phase.

Home Turf Advantage lets you re-roll you first failed leadership test.

Every additional casualty past your bottle threshold gives a minus -1 to the roll (So a Gang with 6 starting fighters starts testing at 2 casualties, tests at -1 at 3 casualties and -2 at 4 and so on).

I actually think this a decent system:

Let’s look at the Leadership characteristics of the various House Gang Leaders:


Goliath 5+
Escher 5+
Orlock 4+
Van Saar 4+
Cawdor 4+
Delaque 6+



So our potential problem children are Orlock, Cawdor and Van Saar.


Van Saar: Generally have smaller starting gangs (in the 6-7 members number, so they start testing after 1 casualties with an 8.33% chance of failure, this ups to 16.67% at 2 casualties and 27.78% after 3 casualties. However once bottled, Van Saar have average cool so that doesn’t seem a massive issue. It does make their small gangs a little more resilient to bottling than they are now.


Orlock: Can have some medium to largish starting gangs sizes with a 9 strong starting gang not unusual. Thus passing the 3 casualties to start testing threshold, so they are going to be quite resilient, only really getting a decent chance of failing the test after suffering 6 casualties. However once they’ve broken, their fighters have generally average cool.

Cawdor: Great Leadership and can be some of the most numerous starting gangs with 9-10 models being pretty average. The present the same issues as Orlock, they generally will have to suffer a decent amount of casualties before bottling. However again there fighters have average cool once bottled.


With the above gangs even if testing at a just a minus -1 modifier would result in over 3 turns of testing a 57.86% chance of one of those rolls resulting in a failure.

With regards the other house gangs

Delaque: Are probally now the easiest to get to bottle, but they do have slightly above average cool on all their fighters, so this offsets it somewhat.

Escher: In the same boat as delaque but inversed. slightly less likely to bottle, but are more affected by it when they do thanks to a below average cool.

Golaith, average chance of bottling along with smaller crews on average, but amazing cool means they still don't really care about it. Probably remain the gang that is most immune to moral effects.

If we use an extreme example, take the 13 member gang that I used as an example earlier, at 7 casualties (where before they couldn’t fail) they are now testing at LD – 3, so even with a leader with LD 4+ there is a 41.67% chance of failing that test (and the chances are that they would be taking the test again the turn after if they passed at a similar negative modifier).

I like this system as one it make Leadership important, two it means keeping your leader alive, helps keep you gang in the fight longer, and conversely makes taking the enemy leader going OOA or Seriously Injured a tempting strategy for you opponent.

Finally it doesn’t change what happens with the balance after a gang bottles.

It certainly needs a play test, but I’d love to get peoples thoughts. I believe this solves the issue of small gangs bottling too soon and larger gangs not bottling until taking the amount of casualties that would cause hardened military units to flee.

On top of all this there is still the opportunity to voluntary bottle is the situation is just too bad and is not going to get any better.


Constructive feedback and critism is welcome. And I do appreciate that this is in the realms of house rules or N18CE rather than a YAKFAQ sort of thing.
 

Benoksen

Ganger
Mar 15, 2016
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At first glance this seems really good. Bottling in N18 is outright nonsensical on paper and in play, even though the game can be good fun. That large gangs can't really bottle unvoluntarily unless they are more or less slaughtred and that reinforcements does nothing for moral are terrible gamebreakers in opinion. Also, Leadership should defenitely be used for at least some leadership situations, so this is surely on the right track.
 
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Apr 4, 2018
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Bristol, UK
I don't think that maintaining current bottle rules maintains balance between the gangs. This is actually the source of my issue with the rules.

But firstly, the fact that every casualty after the 25% minimum has the perverse effect of punishing cheaper gangs more.
Sure, they'll need to take 1-2 more casualties before they start testing, but those negative leadership mods would stack up much faster.

I think these rules really do give Escher the shaft. When they can no longer prevent themselves from bottling, once they bottle they've pretty much lost, half their gang is gone every round.
Whereas Goliath can continue to fight on pretty merrily in spite of bottling.
Cool might be Escher's down fall, but that already has an affect on games and this houserule massively amplifies it as an issue, since cool defines the gangs ability to fight after the first few casualties.
It's also worth noting that the first thing people will do is buff up their leader's leadership (only 4xp), but increasing the whole gang's cool is much harder.

I support the notion of tying bottling more to % casualties than absolute casualties, small gang fights is absolutely butt puckering for the Escher for the reasons above.
But I just think forcing gangs to bottle early, especially in such a way that makes Escher bottle sooner than everyone else (bar Delaque) will scum up the balance.
 
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Al_Weeks

Ganger
Dec 22, 2014
82
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I don't think that maintaining current bottle rules maintains balance between the gangs. This is actually the source of my issue with the rules.

But firstly, the fact that every casualty after the 25% minimum has the perverse effect of punishing cheaper gangs more.
Sure, they'll need to take 1-2 more casualties before they start testing, but those negative leadership mods would stack up much faster.

I think these rules really do give Escher the shaft. When they can no longer prevent themselves from bottling, once they bottle they've pretty much lost, half their gang is gone every round.
Whereas Goliath can continue to fight on pretty merrily in spite of bottling.
Cool might be Escher's down fall, but that already has an affect on games and this houserule massively amplifies it as an issue, since cool defines the gangs ability to fight after the first few casualties.
It's also worth noting that the first thing people will do is buff up their leader's leadership (only 4xp), but increasing the whole gang's cool is much harder.

I support the notion of tying bottling more to % casualties than absolute casualties, small gang fights is absolutely butt puckering for the Escher for the reasons above.
But I just think forcing gangs to bottle early, especially in such a way that makes Escher bottle sooner than everyone else (bar Delaque) will scum up the balance.
We keep discussing this outside of the forum. I'd be interested to know what you think would be an acceptable solution, that still maintains Escher's poor cool post bottling as a weakness, without making larger gang almost impossible to bottle without massive casualties, and not making it trivial for very small gangs to fail a bottle test very early.

I do agree with your point that the cumulative minus ones for additional casualties can make having more fighters a liability. But I feel that the more fighters that become casualties the more likely it is a gang should bottle.

Also having more fighters gives other advantages (activation advantage) over smaller gangs, beyond moral boosting.

The reason I've got to this stage is that the current bottling system (even with the our reinformcements counting house rule) is just not fit for purpose.
 
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Al_Weeks

Ganger
Dec 22, 2014
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Another simpler alternative is just to have the rest modifier to the Ld test based on percentage casualties brackets.

E.g.

25% - 32% = Test on Ld
33% - 49% = Test on Ld - 1
50% - 65% = Test on Ld - 2
66% -74% = Test on Ld -3
75% + = Test on Ld - 4

For example for a 9 man starting crew:

2 casualties = Test on Ld
3 casualties= Test on Ld - 1
5 casualties = Test on Ld - 2
6 casualties = Test on Ld -3
7 casualties = Test on Ld - 4


If like Kiro your not a fan of usinga Ld based test you could just assign a d6 roll to those values.

E.g.
25% - 32% = Bottle on a 6+
33% - 49% = Bottle on a 5+
50% - 65% = Bottle on a 4+
66% -74% = Bottle on a 3+
75% + = Bottle on a 2+

I do agree that a leadership upgrade will become more valuable for leaders in the system I propose.

However as exp is not a trivial resource to gain. It might make a nice alternative to the usual advances leaders buy right away (e.g. +1 Toughness and/or +1 BS) anything that makes other stats desirable is a good thing.

Also makes the leader being present help the gang stay in the fight.

Also make Ld advances on other fighters actually worthwhile.

Makes the humiliated lasting injury a little more impactful (especially if suffered by a leader)

It definitely needs further thought but I believe it has legs (but it is right that we examine corner and extreme cases to understand the impact)
 

Al_Weeks

Ganger
Dec 22, 2014
82
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18
I have found the same issue in my gaming group and I consider your solution to be elegant and smart.

I will adopt it for my next campaign for sure
Awesome: please let me know the result in play testing this. I'm not going to introduce it mid way through the campaign in currently running (I wouldn't be fair).

I'm sure it isn't perfect and needs some changes/adjustments.
 
Apr 4, 2018
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I prefer the idea of tying the negative modifiers to % brackets.

Why is it necessary to maintain Escher's poor cool post bottling?
They already suffer from cool in nerve tests mid battle.
And they're not cheap enough to justify cool being this much of a defining stat in the game.

Escher get good initiative (which is okay, especially on SM, but it's not exactly on par with toughness or BS), with XP initiative is rated at 10cr buy things cost less in starting stats. They're the same price as Delaque, who get better cool and no bad stats, and more expensive than Cawdor who get no advantages but no disadvantages statwise either.
 

Benoksen

Ganger
Mar 15, 2016
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An alternative to number of casualties is GR out of action. So a gang might loose juves Bill and Bob without getting shaken, but if Hector the Mighty and Thor of Thunders are lost it's a different story. Might be impractical in play, though.
 

Loriel

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Nov 27, 2013
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One thing that I forced as house rule in our campaign (this was also in the old mundas) was that we count broken fighters also to the bottle test. So effectively serious injury + out of action + broken

I like this solution mainly because leadership skill is really unused ability. (i think gw really failed with the mental stats) as I think it was great to split them slightly for design puprose, but mainly making cool only relevant check is wrong way.
 
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I proposed this change to my croup, that reacted in a far from enthusiastic manner. Especially the chaos cult player, whos leader has an infamous 6+ LD value and was basing his strategy on the "strenght in numbers" trough all the campaign.

It is true that both Escher and Chaos has exploited this mecanics, without getting outright too powerful, but for sure having an edge on the other players. The question is: is this edge THEIR edge?
It should not be so for the Esher, but maybe it is for chaos.

25% seems, in a way a bit too punishing on the "big and cheap" gangs. there is no real difference between having 9 or 11 fighter, while maybe there should be.
33%, seems to be a more balanced number

We are still discussing it though.
 

Al_Weeks

Ganger
Dec 22, 2014
82
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18
I proposed this change to my croup, that reacted in a far from enthusiastic manner. Especially the chaos cult player, whos leader has an infamous 6+ LD value and was basing his strategy on the "strenght in numbers" trough all the campaign.

It is true that both Escher and Chaos has exploited this mecanics, without getting outright too powerful, but for sure having an edge on the other players. The question is: is this edge THEIR edge?
It should not be so for the Esher, but maybe it is for chaos.

25% seems, in a way a bit too punishing on the "big and cheap" gangs. there is no real difference between having 9 or 11 fighter, while maybe there should be.
33%, seems to be a more balanced number

We are still discussing it though.
Really happy for the feedback. Your right maybe the threshold needs to be looked at.

Let me know if you playtest any ideas.

It's a real tricky approach. As the issue is not having small gangs bottle too soon and not having larger gangs becoming near impossible to bottle without causing 50% + casualties
 
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I have done a small chart:

N2fEV0Y.png


The second and third column shows the thresold to start the bottle test with the new rle proposed. The column to the right shows the minimum number of casualty needed to Fail the test with the rules as they are now.

The original rules get bonkers once we pass 10 gang members as you need more then half of your gang down or gone to start worring about the bottle test.

Lets analize a 6 members gang.
with one casualy they have nothing to worry about withe the new leadership based system, but they still have a 16% chance to bottle out with the rules as they are.

On the second casualty they start checking with all system.
A Goliath Gang will bottle 16% of the time if his leader is present. With the rule as they are they have a 33% chanche.

On the third casualty they bottle 28% of the time with their Ld. and 50% of the time with the old system

Now let's see a 12 members Escher Gang

With the old rules they needed 7 Causalties to start worring about the check.
Now either at the third or at the fourth they start testing, starting with a 16% of failure chanche.

Lets have a look at high casualties rate.
The above mentioned Goliath gang now will automatically fail if they suffer 5 casualty, while with the new method thy will still have a 58% chanche of not failing the check.
Same goes for the Escher gang.

Those are the cold numbers and the meta data... I do not really know what to think of it. Big gangs are surely harmed and maybe the small ones are too buffed?
 
Apr 4, 2018
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I like the idea of buffing small gang fights.
It's really lame when it's all over after 1-2 casualties.
But I dislike the idea of using the current cool test rules post bottling. It's a nerf for Escher (who imo are pretty balanced ATM) and it's a buff for Goliath (which imo are the 2nd best gang ATM).
 
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Loriel

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Hmm how would something like the target number for bottle is either the starting size of your gang or 6 which ever is highest. (still doesn't correct the high number gangs advantage, however like standoff having max 10 fighters, and many scenes have less.
 

Al_Weeks

Ganger
Dec 22, 2014
82
79
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I like the idea of buffing small gang fights.
It's really lame when it's all over after 1-2 casualties.
But I dislike the idea of using the current cool test rules post bottling. It's a nerf for Escher (who imo are pretty balanced ATM) and it's a buff for Goliath (which imo are the 2nd best gang ATM).
I disagree.

The rules post failing a bottle test are fine as is and the gangs are 'balanced around that fact'. I'd be interested to know if anyone else thinks the rules post bottling are not fir for purpose. But so far your the only one whos mentioned it as a concern.


The issue that needs resolving is twofold:
1) In very small crew size games RAW bottling happens a little too easily.
2) In scenarios where larger crews can be fielded it becomes very hard to force a bottle check needing upwards 50% casualties to have start forcing bottle checks (this is because for whatever reason the developers either felt that it would be unusual to have large gang fights all the time (what with fighters being in recovery etc, or that most of the time someone would voluntary bottle rather than fight to the end).

There is a good argument around whether 25% or 33% casualties should be the threshold of starting to take LD tests. And it what point futher negative modifiers should start to apply to those tests. (e.g. does each additional casualty or do you just get minuses at reaching the next threshold.
 

Al_Weeks

Ganger
Dec 22, 2014
82
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T
Hmm how would something like the target number for bottle is either the starting size of your gang or 6 which ever is highest. (still doesn't correct the high number gangs advantage, however like standoff having max 10 fighters, and many scenes have less.
Maybe, adjusting the target number for the current d6+casualties taken mechanic was my first port off call but it got very difficult to balance for both extremes, basically the current system is OK for gangs if between 7-10 members, very smalls crews can bottle very easily and any larger become quite hard to break.

My issue with those extremes is they either produce a short swingy game that's not satisfying or a long sloggfest, that goes on for a super long time (part of the appeal of Necromunda to me is getting a game done to a conclusion in 1-2 hours rather than 2hours + that 40k etc takes)
 

Loriel

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Nov 27, 2013
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I just realized one not so obvious drawback in the original N18 bottle rules that might cause larger gangs some bad time. Technically you are not allowed to volunterily fail bottle test, but once you have bottled you may elect flee. Thus in order to flee if fight seems to take a dire turn, larger gang must suffer much damage before they are allowed by rules to flee.
 
Apr 4, 2018
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Bristol, UK
You're able to choose to fail any bottle test you take.
You need to take a bottle test first, necessitating taking a single serious injury or OoA. But that's pretty minor as an issue.
 

Loriel

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are you by RAW, I checked out and failed to find the actual line. it simply state that when one or more is out of action or serious injured make a check, -> fail. I cannot find any rule that would allow you "fail" bottle check,

Not that I would personally play this way, I would allow failing bottle test voluntarily following voluntery flee.