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  • Unified Points System (UPS) MkII

    Unified Points System (UPS) MkII

    Fred and I have teamed up to produce UPS MkII.

    Here is our attempt at producing a Unified Points System that all units go through. It’s the same formula for Infantry, Cavalry, Monsters, War Engines and Heroes, yes even Army Standard Bearers use it.

    As before, our Unified Points System has the following;
    -It increases the cost of Calvary.
    -It increases the cost of single Large Infantry/Cavalry.
    -It increases the cost of Troops

    -It decreases the cost of Shooters
    -It decreases the cost of Hordes

    Hopefully Mantic would be pleased with the above as one of their tag says Building Big Armies, it allows them to sell more figures.

    Unlike UPS MkI, UPS MKII points average out to be about the same, so a 1600 point is still a 1600 point game.

    So these points produced by the Unified Points System (UPS) should be modified, if we feel that they are too cheap/dear and do not reflect their effect within their army.

    Thanks to Otto Otto von Gruggen for the Word files of the Army Lists they look more professional now

    The second points value in bold and italics is the UPS value.

    So is the UPS MkII a step in the right direction?
    Thoughts?

    Fred & Steve


    Elf
    -Single Drakon Riders cost 110 points up +40, this will reduce players spamming them.
    -Elf Lord on Battle Dragon down to 250 points, cheaper but as it can be seen over troops, piercing units will still pin cushion it.

    -Sea Guard down in points, now viable as unit choices. They might be too viable, that is spamable?

    -In the Elf Army List only The Green Lady [1] has a Fix Factor/Fudge Factor of -70 points included, this is because she is a [1] and she has so many magic spells and can only cast one per tturn, she should be 270 points, but she is probably too expensive even for 200 points.

    Dwarf
    -Lots of point drops, of note are Berserker Brock riders are about the same price, most other cavalry is 20% more expensive.
    -As before Infantry is cheaper, the biggest point drop is the Rangers.
    -Ironbelcher Cannon and the Warsmith are dearer, but the Flame Belcher and Ironbelcher Organ Gun are cheaper.

    Humans
    -lots of small point changes, Penitent Mob have the biggest points drop.

    b4f7178134117c59df2d778236923238.pdf
    6931edb71ae89741a227070c20eead23.pdf
    2f3ce9d5d5dc59b295313aa6d4ca66f1.pdf


    Goblins
    This is one of the hardest lists to balance with Utterly Spineless. It still misses out on a positive army wide bonus, I was so tempted to just deduct 5% from each units points, as I have done with my own Sauron/Mordor Army list, but I have left the bonus out.
    Cavalry up in points, in line with all other cavalry, Common heroes up, Uncommon heroes down, Infantry down.
    So compared to other armies, overall Cavalry neutral, Infantry cheaper, and Heroes dearer.

    Orc
    Players should be pleased with the points relationship with Gore Riders, Fight Wagons and Gore Chariots.

    Undead
    A very mixed bag, Wights however are cheaper.
    Mhorgoth the Faceless has a Fix Factor/Fudge Factor of -20 points included, this is because he is a [1] and he has so many magic spells, he should be 420 points, but is 400 points.

    To Download Goblins, Orc and Undead go here, post 27;
    http://forum.manticblog.com/showthre...ll=1#post60084

    (The Forum will only allow 5 attachments per post.)


    Abyssal Dwarfs
    Another mixed bag,
    Down are Black Souls, Slave Orcs
    Up are Lesser Obsidian Golem and Greater Obsidian Golem


    Twilight Kin
    Down are Abyssal Fiend, Death Stalker Simulacre, Lower Abyssals*
    Heralds of Woe are looking better, but only because other cavalry are more expensive and have Crushing Strength, they and Human Scouts still need a little rules nudge, maybe by enhancing Nimble.

    To Download Abyssal Dwarfs and Twilight Kin go here, post 39;
    http://forum.manticblog.com/showthre...ll=1#post60640
    Last edited by The Dog; 26-06-2013, 08:06 PM.

  • #2
    I really liked this as an idea, until I saw some of the changed implemented.

    One example, dwarf ironwatch troops. (Or infact, any size.) Currently, really, really poor choices compared to other stuff. Hey ho - They've gone up in points, becoming even more useless, whilst the better options, like bulwarkers, have gone down - There doesnt seem to be a rhyme nor reason, and it doesnt fit with your MO.
    Not to be confused with the Frantic Man-Boy seen running around Lenton.
    Now taking commissions for deadzone and dreadball - Check out my blog to see what my works like, PM me and we'll arrange something

    Comment


    • #3
      Most people (me included) seem to think that the point allocations in KOW are a bit skewed, and that the creation of a unified points system for the game is a very worthwhile project. However publishing lists is probably not the most effective way to do this.

      I think that a "unified" points system needs to start with a representative troop type and then use a system to apply a cost to any changes from that standard in a transparent manner. That way, people can assess the point allocations and give much more specific feedback.

      Using Humans as an appropriate representative army list, the obvious representative troop type is:

      Shield Wall Troop: Inf, Sz 10, Sp 5, Me 4+, Ra -, De 4+, At 10, Ne 10/12, Pts 70.
      Optional: Banner & Musician (separately costed)

      The Shield Wall Regiment differs in 4 respects:
      1. Unit Footprint = x2
      2. Nerve = +3
      3. Troop to Regiment = eligible to include +1 WM and +1 Hero
      4. Points = +10

      Additional relative unit footprint is a disadvantage so warrants a reduction in cost. Increased Nerve is an advantage and warrants an increased cost. The game mechanic triggered by changing from troop to regiment warrants an increase in cost. So on balance, you have allocated a cost of 10 points for the cumulative effect of these changes. The question is, how is this cumulative effect evaluated?

      One example would be:

      1. Standard Unit Footprint (Troop) increased to Regiment = - 10 points
      2. Standard Nerve (10/12) increased to 13/15 = +10 points
      3. Troop to Regiment change = + 10 points

      Net effect = + 10 points.

      When the unit size increases to Horde, the unit has the increased size disadvantage plus the increased nerve and number of attacks advantages. You have costed these changes as +60 points. Using this as an example:

      1. Standard Unit Footprint (Troop) increased to Horde = -20 points
      2. Standard Nerve (10/12) increased to 20/22 = +30 points
      3. Standard Attacks (10) increased to 20 = +50 points

      Net effect = +60 points.

      As a further example, if a Human Shield Wall Troop costs 70 points, a Dwarf Shield Wall Troop with the same characteristics, would have the same basic cost, plus the cost of whatever you assessed as the relative value of Headstrong.

      I'm not saying those are correct values, or that I have taken everything into account, but a unified system would adopt this approach for all units, regardless of race, applying a cost to all changes in attributes in a unified manner, and applying a consistent formula across all units. I haven't analysed the costings in your army lists to see if that is the method you have adopted, but you should disclose the formulae and values you use to obtain the final unit costings, so that it would be easy for anyone to see the relative advantages and disadvantages of each attribute. For credibility, during the development phase it is the transparent method that is important, not the outcome.

      I don't think a credible unified points system can be created unless some variation of this method is adopted. Other methods are likely to lead to arbitrary adjustments that can be debated endlessly.

      Comment


      • #4
        The issue is that in the end, there are factors you cannot measure that will impact the final cost of a unit.

        A truly balance army list would dynamically balance whole armies based on the opposing force and its composition, the type, size and density of terrain and finally the actual composition of your own army (synergy producing force multipliers that make them worth more than individually).

        The proportion of ranged units to melee units will affect how much additional units might be worth.

        Making a single representative unit from which all others derive is going to measure units in a one on one comparison. So you'll be able to state that a game consisting of that single unit vs the core unit is 'balanced', but when you multiple the type and variety of units into a full army, it becomes far less obvious. An army with CS1 isn't going to find CS2 as useful as an army with no CS gaining a CS2 unit. However, that CS2 unit by itself isn't going to be worth a huge amount either, because in isolation it's abilities are easily picked off. So the advantage isn't as obvious until you take multiples of the unit and then their relative cost will go up until it plateaus and then goes down again.

        It's a mistake to think that this sort of thing produces entirely balanced armies. They're good starting points, but not the be all and end all.

        And given just how flexible KoW's army lists are where you can take an entire army of nothing but archers, or penitents, or orclings, or anything inbetween, the variation is huge. Add in ally rules and it becomes even more so.

        Hellebore

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by Hellebore View Post
          The issue is that in the end, there are factors you cannot measure that will impact the final cost of a unit.
          No doubt personal preference cannot be costed - some people like slow, tough, high impact, melee units whereas others might like fast, slippery, skirmishing units - but as soon as you start factoring perceived "synergies" into a system, you have left the path of points unification.

          The significant issue is how many more points a unit with an additional attribute should cost, compared to an otherwise identical unit without that attribute. There is no reason why a unified system could not produce troops according to a known formula, and leave the mix of those troops up to personal preference. In my view, the synergy between army composition and battlefield tactics should determine how effective an army really is, not whether some units are discounted or over-costed with respect to their attributes.

          Originally posted by Hellebore View Post
          It's a mistake to think that this sort of thing produces entirely balanced armies. They're good starting points, but not the be all and end all.
          In this, I think you have missed my point. The intent of a unified points system is not to produce balanced armies. The intent is to create a balanced unit base, using a transparent method that allows for point allocations to be debated. Racial characteristics and unit restrictions that determine the character of each army come afterwards.

          I think the best example of how this has been achieved in practice, albeit in a historical context is "DBA" (aka De Bellis Antiquitatis). All unit types have the same characteristics, but historical army compositions differ. The less well known fantasy variant "Hordes of the Things", has the same structure, but also includes a point table for troop types. Both sets of rules are well recognised for their balance. KOW uses different mechanics, but these games show that a unified points system is not unachievable.
          Last edited by Chaotic; 17-06-2013, 12:54 AM.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Chaotic View Post
            In this, I think you have missed my point. The intent of a unified points system is not to produce balanced armies. The intent is to create a balanced unit base, using a transparent method that allows for point allocations to be debated. Racial characteristics and unit restrictions that determine the character of each army come afterwards.
            ... don't you use the points costs of units to create an army? How can generating every unit's cost with this on an individual basis NOT affect the final army balance?

            Racial characteristics and unit restrictions don't change the fact that a single unit was balanced in isolation based on a single unit profile and given a point cost based on that comparison.

            And KoW barely has unit restrictions, so unless you're planning on rewriting how army lists are actually put together (not necessarily a bad thing), that won't have much if any affect on balancing the overall army.

            The point I was making is that it's a faulty assumption to look at a wargame balance on a unit by unit basis. The game isn't fought with one unit per side. Balancing individual units won't balance the whole army and it's the whole army that's being used to play the game.

            A base line comparison is certainly a good place to start to help build up a relative difference, but it shouldn't be taken as the end of the process. You have to then playtest how those points costs work together and change the values after the fact.

            Hellebore

            Comment


            • #7
              Interesting discussion.

              Originally posted by Hellebore View Post
              And KoW barely has unit restrictions, so unless you're planning on rewriting how army lists are actually put together (not necessarily a bad thing), that won't have much if any affect on balancing the overall army.
              I like the idea that allies can form part of an army. In my view this is one of the strengths of KOW, but this same strength reinforces the need for an internally consistent and balanced point structure. If units can swap between armies, then consistency between the abilities of units and their point costs is important.

              I can see no rational purpose for identical units having different point costs, unless it is to build in a bias towards certain units in certain army lists. This is exactly what a UPS tries to eliminate. Of course, if you want that kind of differentiation between army lists that is fine, and many games do it this way ... but you cannot then have a UPS. You have racially specific point costs like Warhammer Fantasy, with special troop types and special items available only to specific races. All of the games structured in that manner run the risk of "the Cheese Factor". Unpopular army lists (often those perceived as weak) are frequently re-balanced to make them more competitive, and this begins a cycle of re-balancing as armies rise or fall in favour. This is an excellent model marketing technique for a business, but it is very costly and frustrating for their customer base.

              Originally posted by Hellebore View Post
              The point I was making is that it's a faulty assumption to look at a wargame balance on a unit by unit basis. The game isn't fought with one unit per side. Balancing individual units won't balance the whole army and it's the whole army that's being used to play the game. A base line comparison is certainly a good place to start to help build up a relative difference, but it shouldn't be taken as the end of the process. You have to then playtest how those points costs work together and change the values after the fact.
              Yes I agree that you cannot balance a wargame on a unit by unit basis ... but again, that is not what a UPS tries to achieve. A UPS is intended to create units that are balanced with respect to the points they cost. A side effect of achieving that balance is that a wargame will not then be unbalanced by mixing units between armies. Army list "character" is achieved by varying the racial characteristics of units, which are costed into the point structure for that race. Additional variation can be achieved by specifying minimum requirements for each race.

              Finally, for an example of what I mean, have a look at Kings of War Historical Army Lists at: http://www.hourofwolves.org/?view=ar...lAncientCombat which does all of this really well. A similar effort is at: http://forum.manticblog.com/showthre...00BC-to-1700AD. Of course, I haven't played enough games to determine whether the army lists produce "historical" results ... but that is really just my arbitrary opinion. The system adopted seems to work very well and the posters should be commended for the great effort to expand KOW into a new genre.
              Last edited by Chaotic; 17-06-2013, 04:44 AM.

              Comment


              • #8
                @ManticfanboyLAD
                We had many discussions about making the Ironbreakers fit, but decided that its only one unit, out of so many that do fit the MO, we thought we would leave it to the community to fix.

                @All
                As is being discussed above the UPS is the starting point for points, it base lines the units and does not attempt to balance them within an army.
                As an example ManticfanboyLAD wants to have a Dwarven shooty army then if most players/Steering Group/Mantic want to make the “Ironwatch” unit an army defining unit then its points in this case should be dropped by an agreed amount, say -10%.

                @Chaotic
                The formula will come, but after the all the army lists have been published. Players can easily compare the before and after with army lists. The problem when the formula is published is that players will not/never agree with the weightings we have adopted. We know the UPS is not perfect and will not please many people, but we are hoping that it will “do” or be a guide to Mantic as to what we as players are after, until the official revision arrives.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Ogre shooters are still mighty expensive.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    I think generally you're still massively overestimating the effectiveness of shooting. Paying for a pitiful shooting attack when your defence drops one just feels wrong. Either shooting needs to be buffed across the board or the "upgrade" should be free. I'd feel that Ironclads better defence for Ironwatches' poor shooting to be an even trade, certainly not something to be paid for.

                    This is extremely apparent with Mounted Scouts vs Sergeants. While Sergeants are slightly more expensive than scouts, scouts are absolutely and utterly uselessly pathetic. They seem to be paying a premium for a pitiful ranged attack and are inferior in every single way to Sergeants. What's the point of having nimble if you have almost no chance of damaging the enemy? Reload is a huge hit for a unit that's supposed to be geared around mobile shooting attacks so paying an extra 10 points for rifles is just wrong.

                    The loss of Defence 5 makes Ogre Shooters feel like they should cost the same as regular ogres. Seems like a valid set of free upgrades to me - Defence 5, OR Defence 4 Crushing 2 OR Defence 4 small amount of ranged attacks.

                    Are you aware that it's extremely rare for a missile unit to be shooting without modifiers? Usually -1 for long range, quite often at least a -1 for cover, if not for moving making most shooting attacks to be fairly useless.

                    I like a lot of your infantry changes, though there are still some puzzlers (Pole Arms should cost the same as Shieldwall, the same as elite infantry's trade 1 De for 1 Crushing). I like the basic infantry options for Dwarfs much more now but think that the cannon's cost increase has hit them dearly. I'd very much like to see better missile infantry and a boost to the organ gun, but I believe that the problems with the Dwarf list are very much with the stats of the units more than the points cost now. Ironwatch at worst should cost the same as Ironclad, if not dropping their Ranged value to 4+ and keeping them at 20 points more for a Regiment (30 points is steep for a Troop).
                    Kings of War Rules Committee Member

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by The Dog View Post
                      The problem when the formula is published is that players will not/never agree with the weightings we have adopted.
                      I'm not sure what you mean by "weightings". If it is (for example) "Elite" should cost 10 points, and "Headstrong" 15 points, then healthy debate is necessary in order to reach a consensus. If it is Elves get "Elite" for 10 points but Elite costs 15 points for other races, then I fear you are on very much the wrong track.

                      In either case, agreement is too much to hope for! But I'll continue to watch with interest.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I'll type up the formulas and some notes later this evening.

                        Basically the idea is to do some maths to calculate the effectiveness of movement, melee, shooting and resistance (nerve and defence) of each unit. We have added in special rules, but the points costs for these are best guesses. Stuff like nimble is hard to point, whereas Crushing strength, or Piercing is easy to model into the combat scores.

                        Shooting is interesting, as different players feel it has very different impacts. Dwarven players feel Ironwatch is useless because of Reload, in our group we would rather take KoM crossbows to gain the piercing. KoM Scouts are rather useless and generally seem incapable of causing damage.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          UPS v2 calculations

                          The intention is to use the same method for calculating points for all units.

                          The formula consists of the following components
                          Speed Pts + Melee Pts + Ranged Pts + Nerve Pts + Special Pts

                          For Melee, Ranged and Nerve Points, the idea is to calculate the average damage and use it as the basis of points cost.

                          Speed Pts = Speed * Speed Factor. Speed Factor is 2 for war engines, 3 for shamblers, 4 for standard units, 6 for flyers.
                          So 5 move infantry will get 20pts, Goblin Fleebag riders 40pts, and most flyers 60pts.

                          Melee Pts = ( (7- Melee Stat ) * Attacks * (3 + Crushing Strength) ) / 3
                          So typical Me 4+, with 10 attacks and no CS, would be 30pts, Knights with Me5+, 16 attacks and CS2 would be 106.

                          Ranged Pts = ( (7- Ranged Stat ) * Attacks * (3 + Piercing ) ) / 2
                          This is basically the same calc as Melee, but weighted slightly higher. So Ra 5+, 10 attacks, no Pierce is 30pts.
                          For 12" ranges the cost is halved. Zap and Breath Attack are costed as shooting 4+. War Engines are costed similarly, but assume a standard range of 48".

                          Nerve Pts = this has two identical parts for each of the two nerve values - shaken / break (for shambling units the break value is used twice).
                          ( 6 / ( 7 - Defence ) ) * ( Nerve shaken - 6 ) + ( 6 / ( 7 - Defence ) ) * ( Nerve broken - 6 )
                          The first part [ ( 6 / ( 7 - Defence ) ) ] is turning the defence score in to a multiplier based on the chance to wound - eg for Defence 4+, two hits are required, on average to score a wound, for De 6+, six hits are required to score a wound. Therefore Defence makes nerve go further.
                          Using Nerve - 6 is somewhat arbitrary, but is intended to reflect the Rout test roll.

                          Special Points = this is for various special rules. Crushing Strength, and Piercing are already taken into account above, also Elite or Vicious when applied to a single unit (rather than an army rule) is added in to the attacks.

                          The above seems to give results very close to RaW for many units.

                          Known Limitations/Omissions
                          High CS (and Piercing) are slightly over costed - as these have less effect against low Defence values. I had considered calculating average attacks against all the possible Defence values, then weighting each of these, to get a total value. But a) its too fiddly, and b) any weighting of the different values is rather arbitrary, what %age of the enemy have De6+, what 3+, etc?

                          Frontage / Area not taken into account. But Troops are often a bit more expensive, and hordes a bit cheaper under UPS - which is probably a move in the right direction anyway.

                          Army Rules are free - I don't like this, but it is the current style. I would rather cost them in.

                          Unlocking Heroes/War Engines - only costed in for non-solid Regiments + Hordes, not for Troops.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            I think I see where the ranged units issue is creeping in. Firstly the assumption that the Ranged value is always going to be used when in my experience it's extremely rare for you not to have at least a -1 to hit modifier. Secondly it assumes that you get the benefits of both combat AND shooting. You can only use one at a time..! It might be better to make it 6.5 - ranged stat for the -1 to hit modifier, especially since a lot of the time your targets are going to be over half distance away, and take the average of the melee cost and ranged cost rather than what is presumably adding them together.
                            Kings of War Rules Committee Member

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              @LordOfSmurfs & Daedle
                              Ogre Shooters have Piercing 2 and so will always be expensive. I do think that it was a deliberate design of KoW that it was a Manoeuvre, then combat, then shooting game, with shooting a very poor expensive-points third place.

                              It would be so easy to change the shooting multiplier, this could have the following effects;
                              Humans
                              Bow Regt 85 was 95 points
                              Xbow Regt 90 was 105
                              Cannon 65 was 75
                              Troop Ogre shooters 130 was 145

                              But if you drop the shooting points too much then players will just field shooters and the best armies will be those armies that have good combat and shooting like Dwarf and Elves.

                              But keeping points in proportion to current KoW we should not do this.


                              @Daedle
                              "Pole Arms should cost the same as Shieldwall"
                              They do, its just that rounding produces point differences of plus or minus 5 points.

                              @Chaotic
                              Weightings are the ratio given to Speed, Melee, Shooting, Nerve and Specials.
                              For example Shieldwall Regt sp=20+Melee=30+Nerve=30 = 80 points
                              For example Knights Troop sp=32+Melee=53+Nerve=36 =125 points

                              Comment

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