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  1. #1

    Default Death Clock - Balancing a system without Points

    I posted this on Warseer before, figured I would post it here too.

    Had an interesting thought of a balancing mechanic for AoS in competitive play. Rather than playing to a given point limit, games are set up based on time.
    NOTE: I am not saying this is THE definitive solution. There are problems with it, but its worth thinking about. I haven't tested this but felt it was an interesting approach that might be worth discussing.

    For those of you not familiar, the Death Clock is a mechanic used in Privateer Press competitive scene, where both players are alotted a certain amount of time for the entire game... say 60 minutes. This requires a chess clock (or mobile app). During a player's turn, they can spend as much time as they want, but the time is deducted from their total time. Games will play out normally (with scenarios etc) but with the added threat that if your time runs out, you lose the game. I believe there is a minimum amount of time that has to be spent during your turn.

    You would comp it further with limitations on Hero models, monster models, number of duplicate warscrolls, Max number of wounds per warscroll, remove sudden death rules..

    Some benefits of this system:
    - Players have to govern their own list building. Sure you can technically drop your whole collection down... but if you spend 45 minutes with your first turn, you are in serious threat of timing yourself out. The army has to be large enough to accomplish its goals in scenario, but not so large that you are fumbling for time or so small that you risk being tabled. This is based on how well you know the game and make decisions quickly, and puts a little more skill into the list building aspect.

    - It puts a check on summoning more units, as the more guys you bring on, the more time you will eat up. Time required to cast the spell, and deploying 30 models, and then having to move those 30 models the next turn will eat up a significant chunk of time.

    Some obvious problems with this sort of system:
    - It punishes horde style armies. But I would argue that this is true in any timed tournament environment. This problem could be addressed in 2 ways - 1) remove the Sudden Death rule 2) awarding additional time (but not too much time) to players with larger armies. For example, in a 60 minute death clock game, if Player A's army is 1/3 or larger than Player B's army, then Player A gets an additional 10 minutes. This is a small bonus that does not tip the balance in favor of the horde army (ie the army is 1/3 larger but the player only gets 1/6 more time).

    - This system does nothing to address internal balances between units. One way around this would be with some limitations to duplicates of warscrolls taken. Aside from this, I'm not sure you can address these issues. Stormvermin will be better than clanrats without points to balance them out.

    Thoughts?

  2. #2

    Default

    This does not stop someone from breaking the system and showing up with a force that is totally skewed and busted.

    While I like the idea of clocks in general in public events (I use them), I don't think that a clock will stop someone from breaking the game. It does stop people from sandbagging though, which is a "tactic" that I deplore.

  3. #3

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    "sandbagging" as I understand it (in the fighting game community) means purposefully playing worse than you actually are to then later play at your full potential and surprise people.

    Slow play (from magic infractions) are when a player deliberately plays slowly in order to run out the time in a round to win an advantage by time stall, which as you have mentioned auticus, is a terrible way to claim a victory and ruins the game by limiting how much the opponent gets to play.

    However, what 9breaker is suggesting, is each player having their own clock, and when you run out of time you lose, similar to chess, magic online, or some other game systems.

    In general I love the clock as an idea for keeping things fast paced and reducing time spent analyzing potential plays, however in casual play this seems counter intuitive since many people like to relax and chat about non-game related things (sometimes in private gaming sessions some beverages are consumed which further slow down gameplay). For this reason I don't expect people will be too happy about a chess-clock where running out of time means you lose the game. Sure tournament players are used to time limits, but not "you lose" kind of time limits.

  4. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by nsc View Post
    "sandbagging" as I understand it (in the fighting game community) means purposefully playing worse than you actually are to then later play at your full potential and surprise people.

    Slow play (from magic infractions) are when a player deliberately plays slowly in order to run out the time in a round to win an advantage by time stall, which as you have mentioned auticus, is a terrible way to claim a victory and ruins the game by limiting how much the opponent gets to play.

    However, what 9breaker is suggesting, is each player having their own clock, and when you run out of time you lose, similar to chess, magic online, or some other game systems.

    In general I love the clock as an idea for keeping things fast paced and reducing time spent analyzing potential plays, however in casual play this seems counter intuitive since many people like to relax and chat about non-game related things (sometimes in private gaming sessions some beverages are consumed which further slow down gameplay). For this reason I don't expect people will be too happy about a chess-clock where running out of time means you lose the game. Sure tournament players are used to time limits, but not "you lose" kind of time limits.
    Sandbagging as I know it from tournaments is scoring as many points as you can quickly and then sitting on the clock and playing purposely slow to drain the clock out and win on points.

  5. #5

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Auticus View Post
    Sandbagging as I know it from tournaments is scoring as many points as you can quickly and then sitting on the clock and playing purposely slow to drain the clock out and win on points.
    Death clock timers are used in the Warmachine and Hordes tournaments, and works as how nsc summarized it. Purposely playing slow would only be to your own detriment. I don't think we are talking about the same thing.

    My point is to use time as a balancing mechanic in lieu of a point value system. Not to address broken interactions that could come up between individual units. That can be addressed by through means (erratas, faqs, comp system).

    And again, meant for tournament/competitive play and could also be used as a means for a quick pick-up game at the LGS. If you are looking for a more chill, and slower pace casual game with friends, then simply agree on the forces that each side brings.

    Losing does seem like a harsh punishment, but in tournament play, I think it works. In this sort of system, the time keeps the player honest and focused on the game. If you lose due to timing out, it sucks, but it is no one's fault but your own. Skilled players should be able to play within the agreed upon limits.
    Last edited by 9breaker; 08-12-2015 at 01:08 PM.

  6. #6

    Default

    I was saying that I think that clocks solve the sandbagging issue in regards to players willfully playing slow.

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by Auticus View Post
    Sandbagging as I know it from tournaments is scoring as many points as you can quickly and then sitting on the clock and playing purposely slow to drain the clock out and win on points.
    That's my understanding as well and it really pisses me off when someone does this.
    My Truescale Insanity
    http://www.lounge.belloflostsouls.net/showthread.php?48704-Truescale-Space-Wolves

  8. #8

    Default

    My apologies, I misread your comment.

  9. #9

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    Without any other composition restrictions, surely this will encourage 'elite' forces made up largely of heroes and monsters.

  10. #10

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    My concern would be that it would put anybody off from attempting to play Skaven or Goblins, just as much as saying that one Skaven slave is worth the same as a Phoenix Guard.

 

 
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