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 Post subject: A more interesting blocking game
 Post Posted: Fri Jan 13, 2017 1:06 pm 
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Last night my mind wandered to the ubiquity of the block skill and what changes could be made to blocking more "interesting" (i.e. risky). When a team has block on almost all players, their turns become very predictable. What follows is my attempt to create two-tiers of "both down" result on the block dice, rather than "you have block. you stay on your feet". I remember reading suggestions that Block could be split into defensive an offensive variants. What if the blocking skill of the two players was compared, with a more risky outcome for the less skilled player? It's just based on my personal experience that this would improve the game, nothing more, but here goes:

Remove the wrestle skill, now there are two skills: Block(1) and Block(2). Block(1) can be upgraded to Block(2) in place of a General Skill, this is the only way to get Block(2). If a player has neither, they are assumed to have a Block(0).

Outcome of both down result:
    One player has a block skill level exactly 1 higher than the other: The player with the lower block skill is placed prone.
    One player has a block skill 2 or more higher than the other: The player with the lower block skill is knocked down.
    Both players have the same block skill level: Both players knocked down. If the attacker has Block(2) or higher, both players placed prone. If the defender has Block(1) or higher, his/her coach may choose for both players to stay on their feet.

The coach with the higher block skill can choose to treat their block skill as being the same as their opponent (if they'd rather have both players fall over). Turnovers only occur on prone results if the ball carrier is placed prone and it's their turn.

and the part that makes all this interesting (and deals with unknockdown-able players):
When a player makes a blitz action, they are treated as having a block skill one level higher for any blocks they throw.

with a couple of minor changes to skills:
Fend: In addition to preventing follow-ups, a blitzing player does not receive the block skill bonus from making a blitz action.
Juggernaut: As standard rules, fully cancels the new Fend skill above as part of a Blitz action. Wrestle does not exist.

Now we have a much more varied blocking landscape! :-) Even the most skilled fending, blodging ball carrier is sack-able on a both-down, but perhaps only on a blitz action and with a suitably skilled player. Blocking is safer if you are more skilled than your opponent, but risky if they are also skilled. Teams with plenty of Block(1) are safer against Block(0) opponents, but won't break armour this way until they hit Block(2). Block(1) vs Block(1) is risky!

Every player that currently has Block would have Block(1). I'd be tempted to give Dwarf Blitzers Block(2) and hike their cost by 20k, to make the team a bit more interesting. Chaos might suffer for how far behind they are on the Block skill progression. Big guys would get a little better as now they can effectively Blitz with Block(1).

This can probably be filed in the same folder as "should we replace the d6 with the d12?". But I welcome any feedback to improve the idea.


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 Post subject: Re: A more interesting blocking game
 Post Posted: Sat Feb 04, 2017 7:06 pm 
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I like it. However, I did something similar but used the ST of the player rather than the level of Block. I'm also thinking of moving Block to Strength category as that is the anti-block skill as Tackle is to Dodge.


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 Post subject: Re: A more interesting blocking game
 Post Posted: Sun Feb 05, 2017 12:33 am 
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Great. What was the outcome in your system if both players had the same strength value?

The reason I got thinking about this was playing dwarfs vs norse, with both teams slugging away at each other and the major tension being "who's going to roll the most double skulls and use up their team re-rolls first?". Yes, players with the block skill should be able to throw blocks reliably, but only against players who don't have block as well! Making block vs block a 1/9 chance of turnover opens things up.

I actually quite like the alternative idea of moving block to strength category. That means wrestle is going to be used much more. Which teams/players would suffer? All catchers (except norse), because they want to stay on their feet, skeletons/zombies because they're slow. Maybe witch elves and werewolves, who want to avoid being fouled. But block being taken on a double feels fair for most of those players. You'd probably need to create an exception for Big-guys/Mummies/Tomb Guardians otherwise they'd become too strong. I can't think of a better mechanism for doing that than saying "players who have a starting strength of 5 need a double to take the block skill."


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 Post subject: Re: A more interesting blocking game
 Post Posted: Sun Feb 05, 2017 10:09 am 
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I don't like it TBH and here's my reasons why:

In a game with timed turns it sounds way too complicated. Wrestle seems like it does all the things your trying to achieve already, well except cause turnovers i guess.

I don't like the reason to change Block, causing more turnovers. Turnovers are very frustrating, having Block creates a better team, more reliable in Blocking. I think it would drastically increase the randomness of the game to make the skill worse.

Then your making changes to other skills to counter the knock on effect of your new block skill which obviously will change the game completely.

Also the different degrees of Block you describe would mean a players having to spend a considerable amount of time to become a level 3 blocker, half the time in game being level three would be redundant if facing teams with no block.

Block is one of the fundamental skills, Block Dice... just saying

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 Post subject: Re: A more interesting blocking game
 Post Posted: Sun Feb 05, 2017 12:35 pm 
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Hi Frogboy. My starting point for this is that block is almost certainly the best skill in the game AND it makes games between teams with lots of block boring. If you want to create a player that hits other players, give them block. If you want to create a player that doesn't get knocked over, give them block. It's a no brainer. For me, that reliability (1/36 failure + RR) available to most players, for one simple skill roll makes the grind game dull.

So what if we could split block into two skills, so that in order to get the full reliability of block a player would need two skills, not one? My approach was to move a wrestle-like ability into these block skills.

frogboy wrote:
In a game with timed turns it sounds way too complicated. Wrestle seems like it does all the things your trying to achieve already, well except cause turnovers i guess.

You're right, it is much more complicated. Wrestle was such a good fix because it was nice and simple. I'd like to simplify my change further, it could probably also do with some clarification. Most of the complication comes from trying to address two contrasting situations:
  • Two players with block(1), one blocks the other. There should be a chance of turnover for attacker.
  • Player blitzes ballcarrier. If they are equally skilled, both should end up on the floor (to counter blodge). If the defender is more skilled, he should get to stay on his feet.
frogboy wrote:
Then your making changes to other skills to counter the knock on effect of your new block skill which obviously will change the game completely.

The boost to a player's block skill level during a blitz action is quite a big change. I can see it reducing the effectiveness of cage play a little. I couldn't think of another way to deal with blodging carriers. But I quite like it.
frogboy wrote:
I don't like the reason to change Block, causing more turnovers. Turnovers are very frustrating, having Block creates a better team, more reliable in Blocking. I think it would drastically increase the randomness of the game to make the skill worse.

Block(1) would still be reliable, but only if your opponent has Block(0). Block(2) is completely reliable (although you may end up prone on the floor if your opponent has Block(2) as well).
Turnovers are frustrating, but they're also what makes the game exciting! I can't agree that it would bring more randomness as the block skill level of the players is what causes the turnovers.
frogboy wrote:
Also the different degrees of Block you describe would mean a players having to spend a considerable amount of time to become a level 3 blocker, half the time in game being level three would be redundant if facing teams with no block.

There's only two levels of block skill: Block(1) and Block(2). It's just one extra skill for players to learn on their path to being a reliable blocker.


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 Post subject: Re: A more interesting blocking game
 Post Posted: Sun Feb 05, 2017 1:16 pm 
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What about skulls, you already have skulls which add this random unreliable event. I think it works fine as is. Double skulls followed by double skulls is an awesome sight at a tournament. With your new rules it would be almost a common thing that blockers are being knocked down, there would be no reliable blockers.

Still don't like it I'm afraid, but sounds like you put a lot of thought into it.

How about an additional skill with the current rules, that gives an advantage to a blitzing blocker or a defending blocker. You could have dedicated offence and defence players then to bring on and off the bench. Just off the top of my head, "Block defender, allowes defending player to force a re-roll on any of the block dice in this action"
"Block offence, if rolling two block dice and roll two both down results can apply the defender down instead"

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 Post subject: Re: A more interesting blocking game
 Post Posted: Sun Feb 05, 2017 9:56 pm 
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Not for me either. Too complicated for a major part of the game, especially when the have simplified the game in many areas. And what you see as boring (two Block-heavy teams bouncing off each other) others see as a technical challenge - "if I can't rely on knocking my opponent down or out of the way, how to i plan to get that player from A to B?".

If your opponent has posts of Blodge then get Wrackle.

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 Post subject: Re: A more interesting blocking game
 Post Posted: Sun Feb 05, 2017 10:48 pm 
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Hmmn, I can see I haven't convinced either of you on the justification or the execution. Darkson you're right that the game has been simplified a lot since 3rd edition early days, to its great benefit. I think I was possibly trying to fix too many areas at once - looking at it again, I can't justify the complexity.
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Don't worry, Homer. Nine out of ten house rules fail in their first year.

But I would still prefer an actual progression to be required for a bash team to become more reliable at blocking against players with block. Having to choose for some players to be better at blocking rather than just picking Guard/Mighty Blow/Tackle. To that end, I'd go for the below (forget all the blitzing bonus stuff):

Skills: Block(1), Block(2), there is no Wrestle skill.
Outcome of both down result (coach with the higher block skill can choose to lower it if he/she wants):
  • One player has a block skill level exactly 1 higher than the other: The player with the lower block skill is placed prone.
  • One player has a block skill 2 higher than the other: The player with the lower block skill is knocked down.
  • Both players have the same block skill level: Both players knocked down. If both players have Block(2), both players placed prone.

Even if I haven't convinced you on the rationale, could you shoot some holes in that idea as a rule change? Other than poor, poor Chaos/Nurgle who have no starting players with block yet want to bash people. They might need something.


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 Post subject: Re: A more interesting blocking game
 Post Posted: Mon Feb 06, 2017 12:40 am 
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The other problem with this is your trying to limit the blocking game, but if this rule was introduced then everyone would be racing to spam block level two. All the other skills would be ignored and you'd end up will all teams being completely useless at blocking.
So you'd potentially spend hours getting a player to 15sps only to realise that it was garbage, what other choices are there, no wrestle. So now any ball carrier with dodge is even better, imagine trying to knock Jordel Freshbreeze down in a tournament with no wrestle or reliable block.
I know bash teams seem evil because they are good at bashing and inevitably killing players but it would be a massive advantage to elf's and other "agility monsters" too.

Possibly...

No goblins were hurt in the production of this post, all claims are wild speculation and absolutely no maths was used.

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 Post subject: Re: A more interesting blocking game
 Post Posted: Mon Feb 06, 2017 4:47 pm 
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If two players have the block skill then they both go down, like the wrestle skill. If both have block but one player is stronger, the weaker player goes down. Armour rolls included, unless both down because of the same Strength


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