View Full Version : Some Brood Over Powered?
02-01-2007, 01:23 AM
After doing some play testing with my recently arrived copy of Evolution and crunching some numbers on a few of their units, my gaming group has come to a few conclusions that I was curious how others felt about.
One is that the Gazelle's dual kick, while interesting, is too powerful. Even with a rate of 1 it will often (70% chance) knock a medium figure back an average of 12cm doing a total of a PW 6 and 4x2 hits and could do a 22cm move with a PW 11 and 4x2 hits. PW 11? Lets see how many weapons have that...God's Light energy weapon...nope...Abomination ion cannons...nope...but a kick attack yeah that makes sense. Not to mention the ability to send a Dragyri trueborn flying back the length of a football field with a good roll and automatically getting a KP result on the kicked unit plus perhaps other unit that were in its path. Perhaps the KB rule should be changed to 1/2 the distance of the d20 roll.
A second issue is the puds. While the changes from an AS 8 PW 5x2 to AS 5 PW 4x2 was a step in the right direction, they are still over powered for effectively a 13 point unit. Especially as they now regen, have a DF 3 (rather than 5), are immune to KP and immune to entangle. I am not sure of the logic of why a feral unskilled eating machine would have an AS 5 (although the PW makes sense for such a critter) basically equal to a trained Forsaken soldier. Seems they would be more on par with and point balanced by making their AS more like a Dragyri slave in the 2-3 range. This also puts them in line with their more mature Broodling type.
A final issue is not so much with game balance as with it not making much common sense that I can see. A Mandible has a DF 1. DF is supposedly higher for larger units and only reduced by factors such as very nimble units, very defensively skilled units or shield bearing units. The Mandible is a "mutant" Sawblade but has no shield (which accounts for their excellent DF) and judging from the picture it is certainly no nimble Lasher type creature. So why is its DF not something more like a 5.
Please don't take this the wrong way but recently we had some people say the dual kick wasn't powerful enough :D so I kinda chuckled when I saw this.
That being said I'd like to point out a few things, first the PW attack is only if the KB unit hits a unit equal or larger, or a terrain piece i.e. a wall. Regardless the unit affected by the attack will take a 4x2 attack(with consideration to charging and gang up modifiers of course) The PW of the attack will of course be determined by the roll of the distance of the KB max 20 cm, so max PW of the attack will be 10, granted keep in mind the PW is limited to the actual distance traveled, So say you roll a 20 but the KB'd unit hits a unit at 10 cm then the KB'd unit will only take a PW 5 hit.
Also when attacking larger units always subtract 2 for each size larger from the attacking units chance to actually do the KB portion of the attack, opposite for smaller sized units.
As for Puds remember they do not get the gangup bonus that most models do get, and although they may seem overpowering they do tend to fail their AR saves quite a lot. Also with any of the Brood minis they may seem nigh-unstoppable, but if you take a Brood model down to 0 or less HP regardless of what their Regen score may be if they have not activated that turn they are auto dead.
Mandible, the reason why he has such a low DF is partially due to its lack of armor. Sure its only 4 points below the Sawblades, but it can make a difference. Also Mandible is a bit more feral owning to the fact that it has to rely on puds to feed it and clean it, almost a symbiotic relationship to what is considered a mindless Brood.
I hope this helped feel free to ask for more clarifications or reasons! :D
02-01-2007, 07:13 AM
I'm SO glad to see this :D
Pud and Gazelles don't do anything for me.
Broodlings, sawblades, lashers and Grist is where it's at if you ask me.
02-01-2007, 11:27 AM
02-01-2007, 11:44 AM
I understand your points on the dual kick but with decent terrain setup if you roll 10cm or more it is very likely that you will impact terrain if the Gazelle player is at all smart with their angle of attack. Even if you ignore the damage and knock prone effects it still seems like way too much distance to us as this unit can apparently make a field goal with a hulking Dragyri (with KB still working 60% of the time).
Our problem with the puds is not really their game play or being too hard to kill. The problem is that they are not a point balanced unit at only 13 points with their current stat line. Let's face it there is no reason to take Broodlings at 20 points each when they are inferior (but balanced) in every way (except for possible ganging up bonus) when you can take pud controlling units.
So it appears that Mandibles have the low DF for game play as we expected but I did point out that our issue with it was one of logic since it does not make sense within the parameters of what defines that stat in the game. It would probably be more true to the game mechanics if it was raised and their point cost lowered a little.
While on the subject, was a MAL rating omited from the Grist and Plight units? With no such MAL (and even though they are partially organic weapons clearly some Bio-gens have MAL ratings) that tends to make these units also a bit over powered (the x3 PW already makes them higher damage than Ravages or similar units) not to mention not really in line with most Dark Age template attackers. With its point cost this does not appear to be a game balance issue with the Plight compared to other spray template units but the Grist is another story.
I should point out that my group loves Dark Age and we only want to express our play balance concerns to make sure that it does not suffer from power creep with each new release as certain other unnamed games have a nasty tendancy to do in order to get people to buy the new figures, especially when they are re-releases of existing forces.
The MAL for Plight and Grist were taken out to represent the fact that the Brood Mere does not breed weknesses, the Bio-gens are different however because they are something new added to the mixture, a change to the genetic make-up of the new offspring so it hasn't been perfected by the Mere yet, hence the MAL's. As for Broodlings they may not look like much but with 2 APs instead of the Pud's 1 AP they can get around better and when you want, remember Puds only activate in the Lingering Effects phase, most players I play against try to take them out before then, because they know Puds will win the game for me :wink: It may seem like a power creep but trust me it isn't, They may look nasty on paper but the older armies still hold their own against the Brood. We welcome these comments, they keep us on our toes and help give you guys a little more insight on how and why things work. We may not satisfy all your concerns but we will try, keep 'em coming :D
02-01-2007, 01:07 PM
although i am not currently in the play test arena, we play tested those units very very intensively. some of us play that army and some of us don't.
you will not find a better play test group or bunch of people. as playtesters, it isn't how powerful we can make a unit, but how balanced they are throughout. keep in mind that the units you mention are specifically hand to hand oriented and need that boost as they have no way to deal with any other shooty armies .. and yes, the brood are very powerful for what you get.. the problem is that you don't get much.. maybe 6 or 8 models compared to 10-12 or more in other armies. yes, you might be able to take all your AP and dual kick me, but you leave yourself open to counter attack and some serious ranged attacks as well.
It's a balance I believe.
However, we do appreciate your candor and believe me, mr.Sota (playtest leader) will keep them in mind as things progress.
02-01-2007, 01:08 PM
The MAL for Plight and Grist were taken out to represent the fact that the Brood Mere does not breed weknesses, :D
hmm, that's a new one to me, as far as I remembered, the brood mere was still psychotic and the systems she learned were still suspect (in otherwords, the brood you see on the field are the ones that survived, the other less powerful brood were/are either destroyed or never make it out of the reclamation pool.)
02-01-2007, 01:20 PM
Todd, if you go to GenCon Indy this year, look me up. . . I owe you a coke.
Don't know how many points I will get through a once here, will probably reply at couple times over the day (wishful thinking that I will have time):
First on the Gazelle, certainly the double hitter of PW12 and the PW4x2 is possible. However, as you point out it will average to a PW 6 + PW 4x2 overall. Dwelling too much on the PW12, IMO is a bit of a falicy (5% chance), The chance is equally good the model will only travel 3cm.
If we break it down, the Dual kick effect isn't much different than:
1 weapon AG's with ED, only its multiple AR saves (good and bad) - From Genesis you can compare this with a Junker (PW 8 is a reasonably fair comparison). No moving enemies and a bit slower, but the Junker is cheaper.
1 Attack Group with 2 weapons, here multiple CA rolls are required, but that increases the chance of hitting at least once (so again, good and bad). There are lots of examples, but you might look at Blades. He as a considerably better stat line (of course slower) and 2 4x2 weapons in the same AG (not to mention a dual RA and Furious charge) at 75 points.
That said, she's a beast. Some folks don't agree with me. As mentioned above, some people think she is too weak. I think she fills a much needed role in the Brood army: She's their cheapest Solo. I've found the Brood are often short on activation count. She gives a much needed extra stop, and grants some nice board control.
The movement and KP of the enemy remains to be examined. KP is nothing new. The movement is. Here we don't have any real comparison to existing models and effects other than some distant comparisons to some Skarrd Castings.
It grants some spendid Board Control options. But, this will not really break much. The average model with more than one HP will be able to stand and counter-charge her at average distance traveled.
So, you have to be cagey with her, either splatterate your target or knock them back some and then retreat yourself. That 14 AR can be a real liability and this isn't the best Individual to take against a CA Squad. Regen is nice, but it doesn't take people long to figure out its worth having an extra Bane walk up to smash her dying skull in.
She's a head-hunter going after enemy Individuals: Here's a crule tip (if you've actually read this far in): Charge a mondel, normally, Dual Kick it away, Spring Leap a followup charge on the same model. Kids like it, mom agrees! Now she is really beating on something.
In general terms Brood are freaking beat-sticks! Slimey slobbering flippin tanks! You have to adjust your tactics. Fighting Brood is often a matter of single-ing out models and just pouring everything you got into them, while forcing them out of position. They have a complete lack of traditional RA weapons. Sure templates rule. But, if every other model in the force is 40mm or larger and CA, you can draw them in so attacks against you will also clip him.
02-01-2007, 02:44 PM
[Wee, I get to come back this quickly]
Puds have a cool factor, and the swarm during Initiative can be a great counter to the Brood's usual lack of activations (Enemy gets tons of sequential activations at the end of a turn, Puds get them at the beginning of the next).
But, beyond that, they are very situational. Vs puds I find them to be little more than an annoyance after their initial splash:
Pud Throwers are the best option allowing a "smart" hit, of a sort. Even if you miss it isn't really a waste.
Beyond that, they get a single AP during Lingering'. A "Pud Contoller" can activate them, but that uses theirown AP (fair enough), and they must be within 10 cm. This exposes those controllers to the midst of the fray, and don't happen very much with Throwers.
Early stages, if a Thrower is lobbing them to slow my advance, I simply ignore them, as best as possible. If a unit is behind the unit in b2b, I acitivate it first and charge the pud (thus it doesn't slow my forward progress much at all). Or, I simply break. Any unit can easily outdistance a Pud not w/in 10 cm of its controller. This pulls them a full turn behind the main advance.
If I am playing a "stand and shoot" army I am still repositioning most turns (to not do so is to die). So again, I use a Unit on in B2B to charge it (getting a reposition and an attack with gang-up for the single AP). Not a big deal.
Finally, don't forget their forced reactions. During Lingering' they have to go for the closest non-dying. You can use this to lure them away from the bulk of your force, since you will often have the wealth of activations at the end of the prior turn to setup how you want.
In the scrum of the game, with Controllers w/in 10 cm and you locked in CA with the beefer Brood units as well you have to start prioritizing. If they are that close, I would rather the "Pud Controller" use an Ap to use the Pud than attack themselves.The puds themselves remain low on the Priority list, as its the Controller who makes them truely effective. Even then, I will often choose a normal Brood before a Pud or its Controller.
The biggest complication they make, I think, is the scattering of 30mm bases in my way more than the occational kill they rack up. Keep them moving in the directions you want during Lingering and you can pull them out of the way.
Again, I take a very focus stance against the brood. Just hammering individual threats until they are well and truely gone, while trying to force the rest of the army out of position. You need to dance around the Brood a bit. Their staying power and high mobility makes a toe-to-toe battle not the best idea. But winning the activation and placement game works wonders. A problem most people get into it constantly moving forward. There is nothing wrong with pulling back a bit to force the brood to string out more or spread out to engage.
02-01-2007, 03:00 PM
Puds are speed bumps. Well used, they can delay specific units in the enemy force, but should not be relied upon to win the battle. I have had days when Puds just romped through my entire army, and got the MVP award for the game, but mostly they are a nuisance factor. I have noticed that BJ is fielding them less often for this reason. Myself as well, when I actually play Brood. Gazelle has done some damage to me, but I have a very limited sample from which to work in temrs of games vs. Gazelle. She was not, however, a game breaker in any sense of the word.
I think you will find that the apparently broken stuff settles itself down nicely when you start playing scenario games, and yes we should have some scenarios to throw at you soon enough. In the meantime contact your local outcats and see if he can sneak you a peek at the X-treme tournament scenarios, and you can see how having a goal besides killing everything changes the dynamic of your unit. Sure Gazelle is tough, but can she hold an entire flank because the Sawblades are busy doing demolition work? Or does she get swarmed and go down and now the Sawblades can either defend themselves or fulfill their scenario objective, but not both.
EDIT: did I just post something useful? WTF is wrong with me today?
02-01-2007, 05:58 PM
Woo, I'm back. Ah, deligation is finally starting to work . . . slowly.
Mandible - This is pretty much a fluff question. Generally I just like to sit back and smirk at fluff questions. But, hey! I got a couple minutes. Here I actually envisioned old 'Dibble as being very agile. He's big and not fleet so no 'Elusive' or similar rules. But, I pictured him using his Mandibles as fourth legs to pivot and spin. But, this would go back to the true fluff masters.
No-MAL on templates - Again fluffy question. How about this fluffy answer: The Broodmere spent that time studying every random bit of info she could in the Instillation's library. Along with MJB and HLX. The weapons utilized by the Brood templates are actually salvaged weapons from that same compound / company. Unlike everyone else on Samaria, the Brood know exactly how the weapon was created and how it should work and be maintained. Further this by the fact they have been grafted into their biology to the point they are merely extensions of their body. You don't see a whole lot of MAL's on Fists, or Feet, or Claws. (Again just my 20 centavos, someone will come along and ask what I've been smokin, I'm sure).
Woo-Whoo, did I answer them all???
02-02-2007, 01:07 AM
Thanks for replies and since no ones seems to mind, here is another barrage.
I am willing to concede to the points raised on the Gazelle but I still think that at least against larger creatures it should reduce the range they are knocked back as well as the chance of the initial KB. I will see what the other guys in the group think this weekend.
I am not certain after reading your responses but I think that my group may have misinterpreted the pud rules based on the pud powers ability saying the lingering effects activation does not interfere with their normal activation. Do puds get a standard activation during the normal turn (without the controller activating them) and then an additional one in the lingering effects phase or only one in the lingering effects phase? Assuming they get one on their own (without the controller spending AP) plus the lingering one then my opinion stands that they are still over powered for the points in comparison to the broodling. If not then we may revise our opinion on them as well. Either way, in my personal opinion, AS 5 still seems high logically speaking for a mindless size tiny eating machine.
Well I guess that is one way to envision the Mandible but all we have to go on is the artwork and they don't look to be one of the most agile units in the game that a DF 1 on a size Large unit with no shield would seem to imply. The DF 1 does not seem to unbalance them though so it is not a real problem as we see it but a DF 3 or 4 with a PV 110 would not greatly harm the unit either and seem to make more sense.
With no MAL rating I guess my current concern is the Grist at PV 60. Compared this to say... a Forsaken Ravage (PV 77). While the Ravage does have an AR 4 advantage which is a definite advantage, this is offset a bit by the Grist's regen plus the fact the Grists should be used as ranged (possibly indirect units) and take less punishment. Plus the Grist hits a lot harder with better PW on the big 4cm template 3x3 vs 4x2, an extra 10cm range and a better KP rating. Throw in the huge advantage of no MAL (and the abilites of all brood of No Fear and No Panic) and they are vastly superior shooters. I guess one could argue that Ravages have better CA attacks and a range of RA choices (but still a RF of 1) but in practice this just seems to make them versatile units that don't excel at anything (Great for small games but poor choices in larger 1500-2000 point games where specialists are much better). While I am not convinced that the problem does not lie with the Ravage being a bit too pricey, in comparison the PV 17 difference just does not seem to make sense.
Btw, I definately plan on attending Gen Con Indy again this year if for no other reason than Rumble in the Wasteland was such a blast last year and got several of my gaming group (all who were in attendance actually) hooked on the game.
Yes Puds only activate in the Lingering Effects Phase and they must move 10cm towards the nearest enemy unit. The only exceptions to this are when they are thrown and they hit a unit or you activate them in b-t-b with another unit, then they get to attack as well. Of course any model with Pud Control may activate a Pud but that is once per turn and it burns up an AP to pretty much give the Pud an AP.
02-02-2007, 04:00 AM
The only exceptions to this are when they are thrown and they hit a unit or you activate them in b-t-b with another unit, then they get to attack as well.
I am a little unsure of what you mean by if you activate them in BtB with another unit, then they get to attack as well. Can you clarify this? Do they get effectively an AP to attack with when the controller's squad is activated or can they only attack (other than when thrown or in the lingering effects phase) when the controller spends an AP of his own?
02-02-2007, 08:51 AM
02-02-2007, 12:51 PM
Todd traditionally games are playtested in 350, 500, 750 and 1000 point games. Dark Age tournaments and games are typically done from 750-1000 point games.
larger games as you mention might have a few "odd conditions" but all in all, it's the balance of the units in an army taht is play tested as well. Not one unit vs a certain other unit. Don't get me wrong, I am not saying don't play large (HUGE in this case) games, but realize that we are looking at armies that perform well together and we have to balance the army as well as the individual. If a certain unit is too good at one thing, then most likely there are other parts of that army that truely lack at it as well.
Brood are not a big shooty army, so to have 1 or 2 units that are extremely good at shooting isn't a bad thing.
compare that with a saint army where shooting is the forte, yet there are 1 or 2 units of solid close combat specialists.. it all balances out. believe me, playtesters really talk and even debate the power and balance of these armies. in doing so, we are able to make sure that one person's pet army isn't overpowered or one person's army isn't ignored..
keep the issues coming, I can't guarantee they will change anything, but Mr.Sota will at least write them down, give them to the playtesters and they will see if they have the same issues you have..
02-02-2007, 08:47 PM
Ok with the clarifications on the pud activation rules I am willing to concur that we did not understand that they did not receive an activation of their own and that they are fine at their current PV. I expect the others in my group will agree as well. I expect our misinterpretation was due in part to my friend's initial exposure to them with the playtest rules during the Rumble in the Wasteland at Gen Con Indy where they clearly dominated the games they were involved in when they had a competant player using them (but clearly with some of the suggestions that were made there and other changes now implemented they seem to work fine). I might recommend in future printings of Evolution as listing their AP value as a dash or N/A and re-wording the pud powers a small bit to clarify this.
While I don't disagree that the Brood are a weak shooting army in general and having a few good shooters helps any army, I am in total disagreement that a unit should not be point balanced in and of itself. The point of having a PV system is to confirm that if I spend 360 points on Grists I get the same bang for my PV buck as if I spent those points on any other Brood unit. Yes, situation and scenario concerns will elevate some units above others but in a general "kill em all" the points should be an accurate reflection of relative strength.
That said, the Grist still seems way too tough for a PV 60 unit. The simple fact that I can take a 6 unit squad of these guys supported by a wall of tough CA fighters in a 500 point force and demolish a Forsaken army trying to do the same using Ravages indicates they are in need of some tweaking IMO (or maybe the Ravages are). While I still believe a MAL rating would handle this best and is in no way a fluff question (and the rationale for why they would have a MAL can be as easily justified as Galyn's fluff answer as to why they don't - but I do like the thought that went into that rationale and would be willing to accept that one if I did not fall into the camp thinking they needed a fix), other alterations could be done as well since as written these guys play more like 70-80 PV units.
02-02-2007, 09:21 PM
Take 6 grists in a 500 point game and see how they fare.
I don't think the last 140 points of melee-evilness will get you far with the brood.
I sure love my grists but you can choke on your activations if you don't spread out. That is one of the reasons why I love the broodlings so much. Cheap ganging-up bonuses, can't be ignored for targetting purposes, fast as all heck and get even worse if they get a shot of adrenaline before being sent off.
Get your buddies to pick up some firestorms or toxic misstresses btw.
ST weapons whoop some proper butt when facing brood.
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