Is there such a thing as a balanced game?

Discuss Mongoose miniatures game here, including Mighty Armies, Gangs of Mega-City One, and Battlefield Evolution.

Is there a need for some kind of handicap system to maintain balance

Yes
7
18%
No
33
83%
 
Total votes: 40
Kevin Clark
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Is there such a thing as a balanced game?

Postby Kevin Clark » Wed Apr 26, 2006 6:00 am

We all know that ACtA balances the games we play by allowing equal points in the scenarios we generate (unless there are other tactical considerations in the scenario). But does this equality balance the game or does it, in fact, do the opposite?

Take for example, two players of widely disparate ability but equal entusiasm playing an equally pointed game. Odds are, the player with the superior ability will win most if not all of the time. This may be fair, but is it balanced?

The player that loses all/most of the time gains nothing from the experience and will eventually lose interest and the winner cannot feel in any way challenged by these sorts of games.

Assuming that we are not afforded the luxury of being able to find players of similar ability, would it not be fairer to say that games unbalanced by variant ability in the players need some other consideration in order to balance them?

In short a handicap system of some kind. Has anyone else considered this for their private/club competions? Does anyone have a counter point arguement? I am interested to hear from you.
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demonllamma
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Postby demonllamma » Wed Apr 26, 2006 6:28 am

There would be no real way to quantify the need of a handicap without some fairly extensive playing (and slaughtering) in the first place. The second issue is that by losing, you generally gain more than you would if you won. The game uses dice, inherantly random. All things being equal, you should be able to beat a superior opponent sometimes. Lastly, people who are inexperienced in the game tend to do things that would be otherwise unthinkable and just plain throw a monkey wrench in things.
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Postby Rodders » Wed Apr 26, 2006 7:11 am

This problem will always arise in all games systems but after a while with enough determination I'm sure keith will beat you kev :wink:
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Postby Lorcan Nagle » Wed Apr 26, 2006 8:25 am

I don't think there's any reason to put an institutionalised handicap system in place, though there's nothing to stop one player choosing to take less forces that he'd usually be able to.
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Postby H » Wed Apr 26, 2006 8:33 am

There have been a lot of posts about balance in the game, whether it is or isn't, whether people want balance or not, so at last we get to vote on a balance issue.

the simple fact of the matter is no game ever created can have balance at all, it is impossible for such to happen, the randomness of the dice, who goes first, last, the vagries of each fleet, and of course those mad moments when we, as unpredictable, chaos guided humans do something blindingly stupid, or of pure genius. no amount of handicapping can overcome that roll of a 6-4 with a triple damage weapon, the rolling of no crits at all from 16 solid hits, and of course how can you compensate for accidentally flying your warship into the boresight of a Bin'Tak?
Players of course have the opportunity to impliment their own handicapping if they want, be it a minus off the initiative, the dropping of ships, or playing blindfolded with only 4 sided dice in the celler of an ancient house built on an indian burial ground.
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Postby Kevin Clark » Wed Apr 26, 2006 10:10 am

Rodders wrote:This problem will always arise in all games systems but after a while with enough determination I'm sure keith will beat you kev :wink:
It's the other way round actually, but I have a more sinister plan in mind for Keith, I'll have to hang him by the ankles and let my Gordon Setter slime him. :twisted:
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Postby Greg Smith » Wed Apr 26, 2006 10:23 am

It is nice to know that there is someone who thinks ACTA is balanced enough so that skill is a major factor. Too many others on these boards beleive that the Minbari/ISA win everything.
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H
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Postby H » Wed Apr 26, 2006 10:34 am

they don't win everything, I mean if they fight each other one of them has to loose :-)
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Postby Burger » Wed Apr 26, 2006 10:40 am

Never heard of a no score draw? :lol:
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Postby Locutus9956 » Wed Apr 26, 2006 11:01 am

Yet more evidence of the general lameness of soccer ;)

But I digress, I dont think any kind of handicap system is necessary, if a player is more skilled and wins because of this then good for him, I see no reason to institute a handicap system.

If people lose due to lack of skill/stupid moves then it serves them right (that is after all how one learns). On the other hand if you think youre that good that you can beat anyone without a handicap then theres no rule saying you have to spend all your points ;)

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Postby LtLeonJonson » Wed Apr 26, 2006 12:14 pm

well, yes, if i can beat Minbari anyone with some experience can, although my friendly games are that, friendly, and i think its more attitude of the gamer than the balance of the game, I can think of about 101 different tricks at the minute, but how many would work for you, so we each need to learn at our own level and pace and yes, occasional the game was not meant to be won, or some times it is, but that's the die not the player skill.
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Postby katadder » Wed Apr 26, 2006 12:28 pm

if you know your opponent is new or really has no idea then you can always handicap yourself and see if you can win with less ships etc.
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Wulf Corbett
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Postby Wulf Corbett » Wed Apr 26, 2006 6:23 pm

I believe there is indeed such a thing as a balanced game.

It's just very, very boring.

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Postby Hash » Wed Apr 26, 2006 7:06 pm

You've got to be kidding me - institute a handicap for being able to play well?!

May as well put the pretty ships (or counters) on the table and both players roll a single die - whoever rolls higher gets to sweep his opponents ships off the table and dance a victory jig...hey that sounds kind of cool, ACTA v2 perhaps?
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Wulf Corbett
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Postby Wulf Corbett » Wed Apr 26, 2006 8:03 pm

Locutus9956 wrote:If people lose due to lack of skill/stupid moves then it serves them right (that is after all how one learns). On the other hand if you think youre that good that you can beat anyone without a handicap then theres no rule saying you have to spend all your points ;)
Unfortunately, in Campaign games, having to play a scenario with less points is usually an indicator that you lost all the other games...

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Postby lastbesthope » Wed Apr 26, 2006 9:50 pm

No need for a handicap. That's what practice is for.

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Postby Tredrick » Thu Apr 27, 2006 2:45 am

Chess.
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Postby Kevin Clark » Thu Apr 27, 2006 4:58 am

Tredrick wrote:Chess.
Good point. As I understand it, chess tournaments use a system of matching abilities in that after the first round match winners play other winners and losers play other losers so by the end of the tournament the overall winner is determined from the number of wins.

Okay so chess has no random elephant but something like this this could be workable in a club environment. It could also give you a seed rating which does not necessarily determine game outcome but just for a little added colour.
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Postby SpetznazCowboy » Thu Apr 27, 2006 6:57 am

Playability aside, we're talking fleet actions and engagements here. Was the sinking of the Bismark or the Yamato a balanced game? Was Trafalgar a balanced game? Or Tsushima? Granted, we're all not Nelsons or Tojos, but for the most part, the amount of balancing already in the game makes it close enough that one or two decisive rolls or manuevers can make or break a conflict.

Having said that, I am desperately trying to figure out how to beat the Drakh with my Earthers....
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Postby lastbesthope » Thu Apr 27, 2006 6:33 pm

Kevin Clark wrote:
Tredrick wrote:Chess.
Good point. As I understand it, chess tournaments use a system of matching abilities in that after the first round match winners play other winners and losers play other losers so by the end of the tournament the overall winner is determined from the number of wins.

Okay so chess has no random elephant but something like this this could be workable in a club environment. It could also give you a seed rating which does not necessarily determine game outcome but just for a little added colour.
This sounds very similar to the way matches are determined at Mongoose tourneys.

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