Register Register

Author Topic: AS Battle for Tukayyid Campaign Force Point to PV conversion questions  (Read 677 times)

AZ_ST

  • Recruit
  • *
  • Posts: 14
I'm pulling together an Alpha Strike Tukayyid campaign. I have rolled up a 400 FP Clan force (5 Stars currently at 380FP) and I rolled up an equivalent FP Comstar force (6 L2's at 381FP). Not only does Comstar get more units for the FP, which kind of makes sense when you think about BV/PV differences between Clan and IS. But the Comstar units are so much cheaper, that I was able to not only buy 1/3 more units purchasing only assault, heavy and medium mechs, but with equal or higher pilot skills included, basically negating that Clan advantage. And Comstar still gets BSPs on top of that.

Out of curiosity, I took the randomly rolled mechs and stated up the AS cards (400 FP = 1200 PV). For the Clans, a 380 FP force equated to 1017 PV (1256 PV if I include the "free" pilot upgrade). So then I did the same for a 381 FP Comstar force and the PV was 1611! (not accounting for any BSPs) I didn't expect such a big difference. I understand the campaign is skewed toward Comstar, but this seems...excessive? Should the forces be this different? I realize I could just balance equal PV, but the FP tables are a quick way to generate forces so it would be nice if they balanced out in some fashion (not necessarily "equal").

Valkerie

  • Captain
  • *
  • Posts: 2168
  • Gravity always wins.
I think one thing to remember is the Clans bid away so much of their forces.  I'm working with some friends on playing through the Smoke Jaguar campaign in Classic.  We're using BV, but ComStar still has a huge advantage.  But, they are supposed to win...
There is no avoiding war; it can only be postponed to the advantage of others.   -Machiavelli

Greetings, Mechwarrior!  You have been recruited by the Star League to defend the frontier against...Oops, wrong universe.  -unknown SLDF Recruiter

Because overkill is underrated my friend.  -John "Hannibal" Smith

Unit/Scheme of the Month Master Index

AZ_ST

  • Recruit
  • *
  • Posts: 14
I suppose that's true, and it would be nice to have a rules based approach to approximate that bidding. But it doesn't explain the delta between FP and PV. If I choose to balance just on PV per the optional rules, then both sides get 1200 PV for the campaign.

Maybe there is just a heftier premium paid for improved skill on the PV calculations. Looking at the FP table again, there is roughly a 2:1 (2.5 to 3:1 for lights/mediums) cost difference between Clan and Comstar, which I recall was a rough balancing technique back when. But that was for Level 1 vs Level 2 tech correct? Comstar mechs are using level 2?

Just to be clear, I'm not saying imbalanced forces are bad, just trying to reconcile why the two methods would be so different from each other.

wesdyer

  • Private
  • *
  • Posts: 36
I had exactly the same problem and thoughts that you did. I don't think it was intended to be so unbalanced because the book offers an alternate approach of using PV to balance which of course would be balanced. Also, if you do the math, you'll see that certain skill levels are a much better deal than others in terms of PV. I think it is probably imbalanced in part because they need to accommodate both BV and PV in the same system.

But I loved the method of force building using force points because it allowed a much more randomly built force with powerful and less powerful units.

So, I solved this by redoing the cost of Force Points specifically targeted at balancing for PV. I did this by computing the average PV of all possible light mechs for Comstar and using this as the cost basis. Then I computed the average PV of each other category and scaled the force point cost. In the end, I came up with a new set of force points and when I used it, overall the forces were very close in PV even though everything was random.

Here are my new costs that assume clan pilots are 1 skill better and Comstar gets BSP:

Clan Frontline (Veteran/Elite/Heroic)
Light  4/5/6
Medium  6/7/9
Heavy  7/9/10
Assault  8/10/11

Clan Secondline (Veteran/Elite/Heroic)
Light  5/6/7
Medium  5/6/8
Heavy  6/7/8
Assault. 8/9/11

Elemental Point  3/4/5
BSP  4

Comstar (Regular/Veteran/Elite)
Light  3/4/5
Medium  4/5/6
Heavy  6/7/8
Assault  7/8/10

BSP  4

** If on the other hand you want to balance strictly for PV and not give Comstar BSP by default, use the following costs.

Clan Frontline (Veteran/Elite/Heroic)
Light  5/6/7
Medium  7/9/10
Heavy  9/10/11
Assault  10/11/13

Clan Secondline (Veteran/Elite/Heroic)
Light  6/7/8
Medium  6/8/9
Heavy  7/8/9
Assault. 9/11/12

Elemental Point  3/4/5
BSP  4

Comstar (Regular/Veteran/Elite)
Light  3/4/5
Medium  4/5/6
Heavy  6/7/8
Assault  7/8/10

BSP  4

AZ_ST

  • Recruit
  • *
  • Posts: 14
Thanks for the information! I'm curious why you calculated without Comstar getting BSP? Did you find the free BSP alone was too unbalanced? Or was that just for playing with Full BSP where both sides get some? I'm okay with the campaigns being unbalanced a little bit in Comstar's favor, but the force building rules as written for Force Points just seemed overly so. Maybe I can simplify and just setup total force size as 1200PV for Clans and around 1400 for Comstar.

Scotty

  • Alpha Strike Guru by appointment to the FWLM
  • Catalyst Demo Team
  • Lieutenant Colonel
  • *
  • Posts: 11803
I was under the impression that the tracks describe a portion of either the attacker or defender's force, and then relates that to the other side as a proportion of PV?  Having a larger force overall therefore does not affect scenario balance, though it may result in ConStar being more strategically flexible due to having reserves and a near-guaranteed supply of units unhindered by individual tactical disasters.

... which is a pretty accurate description of ComStar on Tukayyid.  I'd hesitate to call it unbalanced though.
Catalyst Demo Agent #679

Kansas City players, or people who are just passing through the area, come join us at the Geekery just off Shawnee Mission Parkway for BattleTech!  Current days are Tuesdays in the afternoon and evening.  I can't make every single week, but odds are pretty good that somebody will be there.

nckestrel

  • Scientia Bellator
  • Freelance Writer
  • Lieutenant Colonel
  • *
  • Posts: 9582
  • All your tulips belong to us.
Force Points were created as part of the goal of making Tukayyid useable by owners of the Clan Invasion box set and related force packs.  Battle Value has not been a part of previous box sets or even Total Warfare, so Tukayyid needed something as a value in units.  The values for FPS were based on approximate BVs, not PVs.
PVs are already in the base Alpha Strike rulebooks (as far as adjusting for skills and what they are) so AS didn’t need another system.
I assumed AS players would use PV for balancing.
Left of Center blog - Nashira Campaign for A Game of Armored Combat, TP 3039 Vega Supplemental Record Sheets, Combat Manual Lite series [Steiner, Liao, Marik, Calderon, Invading Clans, Comstar. Also Record Sheets for the CM: Kurita and CM: Mercs unique pilots]

wesdyer

  • Private
  • *
  • Posts: 36
Quote
I'm curious why you calculated without Comstar getting BSP? Did you find the free BSP alone was too unbalanced?

No, I used BSP and it's super fun and gives a lot of unique flavor. If you're using BSP like the recommendation then ignore the second set of costs. I just included it because I also calculated that as well. Essentially, the second set of costs assume the Clans don't get a free skill upgrade. So ignore it.

One other thing that I forget is that you'll need about has as many FP as recommended in total if you use those costs.

Quote
I was under the impression that the tracks describe a portion of either the attacker or defender's force, and then relates that to the other side as a proportion of PV?

As I understand it, that is true, but the attacker sets the base PV. So if the clans are attacking then yeah it's alright that they have less total PV. But if the PV is very imbalanced and Comstar gets the initiative in the metagame then they can really stick it to the Clans.

Quote
I assumed AS players would use PV for balancing.

I tried to use PV to balance, but it wasn't as easy or as fun. The trouble is that balancing by PV is like going to the buy something and not knowing what you'll be charged until much later in the process. FP works beautifully well. You purchase the weight class and skill level you want and then roll to fill it out and you don't need to worry that you got in over your head. Additionally, it's fun to get better or worse units than the average. With PV, you need to do it more incrementally, iteratively or be prepared to run out of PV during rolling. When I updated the costs like I indicated, then I could use FP and things are balanced well. For example, with 200 FP, I ended up within +/- 30 PV for each force.
« Last Edit: 14 May 2021, 18:31:38 by wesdyer »

AZ_ST

  • Recruit
  • *
  • Posts: 14
I was under the impression that the tracks describe a portion of either the attacker or defender's force, and then relates that to the other side as a proportion of PV?  Having a larger force overall therefore does not affect scenario balance, though it may result in ConStar being more strategically flexible due to having reserves and a near-guaranteed supply of units unhindered by individual tactical disasters.

... which is a pretty accurate description of ComStar on Tukayyid.  I'd hesitate to call it unbalanced though.

Yes in the tracks you are only using a portion of the total force. But the cheap cost of Comstar units means they can stack their Level II's with Assaults and Heavies and bump up pilots to Elite or above and still have way more units than the Clans. Also, if/when Momentum shifts to Comstar, 33% of 1600PV is more than half the Clans total force if it even still exists at by that point. This and the few accounts available from actual play (using BV) seemed to indicate the balance is far in Comstars favor to the point either some house ruling was required or the games just fell apart. Since I'm planning to run this at my local flgs for others to participate in, I just wanted to be sure I wasn't setting the endeavor up to fail. Looks like some playtesting may be order before starting anything in-store.

AZ_ST

  • Recruit
  • *
  • Posts: 14
Force Points were created as part of the goal of making Tukayyid useable by owners of the Clan Invasion box set and related force packs.

That makes sense, I actually didn't notice BV isn't in box sets even though I have all three of the new ones. :)

I assumed AS players would use PV for balancing.

That's listed as Optional along with BV. So I assumed they were both relatively balanced, give or take a bit. I like the idea of FP for quickly and easily building up the forces. But I got nervous when Comstar could buy more, heavier, and better piloted units using FP. Then, out of curiosity, I converted them to PV to compare.

I'll probably just grab a buddy and play a track both ways to see how it goes.

AZ_ST

  • Recruit
  • *
  • Posts: 14
I do want to thank everyone for their feedback! After we have a few tracks under our belts, I'll follow-up with whether it was really an issue or not. Would still love to hear feedback from others or experiences you have with the campaign. It sure looks like it will be a lot of fun!

jasonf

  • Sergeant
  • *
  • Posts: 123
I tried to use PV to balance, but it wasn't as easy or as fun. The trouble is that balancing by PV is like going to the buy something and not knowing what you'll be charged until much later in the process. FP works beautifully well. You purchase the weight class and skill level you want and then roll to fill it out and you don't need to worry that you got in over your head. Additionally, it's fun to get better or worse units than the average. With PV, you need to do it more incrementally, iteratively or be prepared to run out of PV during rolling. When I updated the costs like I indicated, then I could use FP and things are balanced well. For example, with 200 FP, I ended up within +/- 30 PV for each force.
I'm really liking the FP system as a more general part of the Chaos Campaign for exactly this reason (the point is also true for BV).

Force Points were created as part of the goal of making Tukayyid useable by owners of the Clan Invasion box set and related force packs.  Battle Value has not been a part of previous box sets or even Total Warfare, so Tukayyid needed something as a value in units.  The values for FPS were based on approximate BVs, not PVs.
PVs are already in the base Alpha Strike rulebooks (as far as adjusting for skills and what they are) so AS didn’t need another system.
I assumed AS players would use PV for balancing.

The above being said, is there a chance that the Clan FPs are too expensive? I played a handful of Tukayyid campaigns vs the Bot on MegaMek and the Clans rarely won (regardless of whether it was me or the Bot playing them).

I used the FP to balance the tracks (i.e., Attacker/Defender deployed the listed percent of their FP) and I noticed that Comstar regularly had 10%-25% more BV deployed than the Clans, even when excluding the conventional forces they got from BSP. I'd assume one would have the same issue with PV differences, too.

I worked through a bunch of math to see what would balance things when deploying forces using equal FP on Megamek. It wasn't clear how even things should be given BSP and the built-in experience difference in the optional BV rules, but I found that adjusting Clan FP costs by a point or two made a difference. I'm happy to share but I don't want to pull the thread OT.




nckestrel

  • Scientia Bellator
  • Freelance Writer
  • Lieutenant Colonel
  • *
  • Posts: 9582
  • All your tulips belong to us.
The above being said, is there a chance that the Clan FPs are too expensive?

Just a note, I'm not going to argue/defend/give my opinion.  I feel it just gets in the way of my listening.

Left of Center blog - Nashira Campaign for A Game of Armored Combat, TP 3039 Vega Supplemental Record Sheets, Combat Manual Lite series [Steiner, Liao, Marik, Calderon, Invading Clans, Comstar. Also Record Sheets for the CM: Kurita and CM: Mercs unique pilots]

jasonf

  • Sergeant
  • *
  • Posts: 123
Just a note, I'm not going to argue/defend/give my opinion.  I feel it just gets in the way of my listening.

Oh, I have didn't mean to get into a debate about it. Sorry if it came off that way!

If anything, I've been toying with trying to put together an FP system that could be used outside of BoT campaigns (i.e., with different tech levels, with conventional units, etc.) So, I was more curious about some of the design decisions that went into the FP system if you guys were able to share.

Given the units Comstar can use via BSP and given the numerical Clan vs. Comstar differences you'll have under any system,  you might not want BV/PV equalized for a Track (in which case the imbalance I noted is not an issue),  but others might think BV/PV should be the gold standard for balancing. 

I'm still getting back into the game after many years out and haven't played enough with differing tech levels on two sides to have an opinion. I think in the 90s, our most sophisticated game-balancing was IS tonnage = 1.6 * Clan tonnage...  :-[

AZ_ST

  • Recruit
  • *
  • Posts: 14
Play tested a scenario yesterday using forces created using FP build system, but balanced the scenario using PV. Played a Breakthrough scenario at 33% of total PV for both sides. Balanced by PV in this method both Clan Jade Falcon and Comstar had an equal number of 10 units. We played with Desert 1 and Desert 2 maps side by side then faced off on the shorter side so the Clan units had to traverse the open desert and CS defending the canyons. This is more constrained than an actual play area for a force of this size in the campaign, so engagement area was condensed.

The opening rounds the JF units really put a hurt on the CS forces with their longer range damage (we play multiple attack optional rule). We haven't used the BSP yet, and artillery and aero could have had an impact in this early phase. I used the JF "Wrath" ability to challenge the CS mechs into dueling with my Assaults and Heavies, while the JF Med/Lights made a run for the defenders edge of the board. As my opponent did not give me the +1 to hit for refusing my challenges, this worked well enough that while my heavy units eventually fell to the CS forces, it was a near thing on the last turn as one of my lights I was hoping to get off board was taken out, and I had to get a lagging, but jump capable Summoner off board while still maintaining his honor duel. Had CS taken out the Summoner, JF would have been defeated.

Overall the scenario ended up feeling pretty balanced, but I think my Comstar opponent felt like he was at a disadvantage early on, constantly pummeled by Clan units. I rolled something like 6 or 7 natural 12's on top of that, though converted less than half of them into an actual crit. But a very lucky roll near the end where I rolled a 12 to crit and followed it up with snake eyes to fell a mostly unharmed Flashman, that very likely could have stopped my Summoner from escaping swung the final result in my favor. But the last die rolls of the game could have gone either way, and the clans might have been stopped. So on the whole, I felt the scenario was balanced.

Had we balanced the scenario on FPs then CS would have had a few more mechs than the JF, and might have felt more like a fair fight for CS initially, and it would have slowed down my advance significantly as it would have tied up more of my units even with Challenges. I'll probably suggest we do that for our next play.

Even though the JF won the first mission, if this was an actual campaign, I would now need to repair/replace 5 mechs, plus repairs on the mechs that got off board. Only two were untouched meaning nearly 2/5ths of my entire force would be unavailable for next track. Comstar on the other hand would have a much larger pool of reserves to pull from for the next tracks, despite having a similar number of damages units. And I could see this attrition being the deciding factor across the entire campaign. And we didn't even use BSPs yet for CS.

In general, I'm feeling a little better about the balance. Its definitely in Comstar's favor and it will be a tough task for the Clans to win their campaigns, but seems like it could be fun challenge. If you wanted something slightly more balanced, then using strictly PV instead of FP might make more sense, or use the adjusted FP numbers mentioned above.

Phaedros

  • Corporal
  • *
  • Posts: 85
  • The Wolf of the West
This discussion sounds very familiar to something I noticed with two lists I built and played with against my opponent. The IS side had 3 more units and 22 more pips of A/S with about equal total firepower at 350 PV. Pretty much you are at a disadvantage if you play Clan 'Mechs with XL engines and Specials, SL 'Mechs hold up better because you aren't losing pips to the XL or Specials, not to mention having to pay the Clan Skill Tax (though in my game both of our forces were mostly Skill 3, so that's kind of a moot point).

 

Register