Oct 24, 2009

Points and Ramblings

Are points a measurement of how effective a unit is (or inversely the value of the unit in the game) or are points a measurement of restriction to prevent the game from being imbalanced?

I feel this is an important question, perhaps for simply the fact that I am an Eldar player, and I like to organize units into logical chunks of what they are good at. Any unit can be a valuable resource when paired up with the right unit to help it fulfill the role it needs to take on the battlefield to make up for the points you spend on it.

How do you measure (or how does Games Workshop for that matter) just how effective (in the case of Games Workshop, do they measure at all, and to what degree?) a unit is on the battlefield when units and combinations thereof can have many different roles that go beyond the basic and plain values as depicted in the rulebook? How is this considered (or not considered) into the framework of the game, and where do older Codices (yes, that is the correct plural form of Codex, look it up).

I dare say that point values really are nothing more than an arbitrary set of values that really has little meaning within the context of the game world. It can be asserted as a self evident truth that calculating point values cannot be strictly a mathematical exercise, for doing so would require a so much testing that each and every outcome be explored that the next Codex would never come to pass. That is to say that point values are not assigned at random, and that the method perhaps is not scientific in nature; however, I do say that so much attention should not be paid to them outside of making your list fit into the size of game you are playing.

Perhaps one of the most daunting aspects of the hobby today as far as the game part is concerned, is the question “is this unit worth the points I’m going to be paying to use it?” I find that this statement comes up, even for me quite frequently. I try to look beyond the face value of what is printed in a book, even though instinctually, it is the first thought in my head. Perhaps the question that generals, and myself should be asking first, is “how can I make this unit worth its points?” There is a subtle difference in the two sentences, and a leap that I am trying very hard to make.

That is not to say that I am not making strides in this area, as it goes beyond just analyzing what we have been given. This is why I am ignoring all the information of the Imperial Guard out there right now. Perhaps I seem reluctant to take advise and ignorant. I feel however, that if I do not take my army and learn for myself, then I am not forming an underlying basis for understanding the army I am looking to use.

I am torn between two sides of the game. The need to analyze things and improve things through strict logic is immense for a person like me (more on that in another post), however, the other side of me is a very sneaky and creative person willing to exploit weaknesses and improve upon strengths that are not evident at first glance (if I do say so myself) even if they do not follow conventional logic. Overall, I find myself battling between these two halves when playing a game. Perhaps this is why I tend to frustrate my opponents sometimes. I am fickle and unpredictable like the Eldar are, sometimes switching modes from what appears to be insanity to calm collective moves performed in unison. Or is that perhaps simply a reflection I have learned to carry as playing Eldar, as any army does?


RonSaikowski October 24, 2009 at 12:45 PM  

Points for me are absolutely nothing more than a number that I add up to see how close I am to my limit (1500).

Big Jim October 24, 2009 at 7:00 PM  

Points are supposed to create in game balance, but GW left the realm of points via a formula mid third edition. It has become very apparent in some cases that the new arbitrary points values create imbalance in the game.

Both 40k and WFB used to be balanced in the units category up until the late 90's. It was the characters that needed balancing and when used in a limited way the games were really about player skill.

Back to the current situation; in the end thought we just suck it up and use them to reach our desired army size and play the game.


Vinci76 October 25, 2009 at 10:53 AM  

points just give games balance for me.... i never use a unit that i dont like, regardless of battlefield effectivness... its all about having a good time with my mates and nothing to do with points and "uber" units....

for example... i dont use bikes in my marine army as they look terrible and ive only just come round to using a 5man squad of assault marines as up untill now i thought they looked bad too...

but then im a collector and modeller rather than a gamer so the idea of having units i dont want but feel i have too in my army is alien to me...

good post mate.


Barry October 26, 2009 at 4:08 PM  

I agree with everyone else. Points are merely there to limit what I can have on the table. I do try to be cost effective with points though. A general rule I have is that if the unit can easily kill it's value than it's done it's job

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