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Gremlins - how random are they?


Shimian
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Hey guys,

a friend of mine is thinking about getting some Gremlins into his collections, but worries a bit about their randomness he has read about. Is that true? Do the Gremlings really depend that much on randomness and/or luck? I dont really have a clue about them or their abilities, so I thought I'm gonna just ask here :)

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I wouldn't call them random as much as I'd call them explosive. Potential for great output, but often at the cost of their own health and such. They have a few models with "this model must declare a trigger if able" but even then there are ways to mitagate that (e.g. Som'er) I wouldn't really call them significantly more random than other factions.

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Played well, Gremlins really aren't all that random - in fact, with a lot of Bayou Two Card they can become more reliable than other models since you can cheat away unfavorable results (with the caveat that your cheated card could be worse).

But really they're all about risk management, if you want to play Gremlins well, particularly the ones with nasty negative triggers, you really want a backup plan at all times - Lenny in general works, as does Som'er's Do It Like Dis. Managing your Control Hand is a really big deal, and if you make sure to keep a range of suits and even sometimes a low card in reserve for if things go wrong, you'll be nice and dandy.

I wouldn't say they rely on luck any more or less than most other crews, like Astrella said, when things line up well (from either luck or you setting them up), they do very well, and if things go wrong they can go disastrously wrong and you can end up charging your own slop hauler with a war pig or something.

And it also depends on which Gremlins you play for the luck factor. Models like Lightning Bugs and Sammy tend to be very consistent especially in damage output, whereas things like Bayou Gremlins, Rooster Riders and Pigs tend to be a lot more swingy.

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Their main luck factor is that quite a few Gremlins have access to the Dumb Luck trigger which can result in insane damage on the opposing model and quite a bit of damage on the Gremlin itself. Other than that, a few Gremlin staples have must-declare Triggers that have both good and bad results.

Finally, Pigs have a tendency to Charge anything they can unless minded closely by Gremlins. This isn't random, per se, but can mean quite a bit of havoc if the enemy can take advantage of uncontrollable Pigs.

All in all, not that huge a deal.

This was a bit exaggerated because many of the first releases for Gremlins were these "higher variance"-style models. Now that the model selection has widened, you can easily make a force that isn't any more or less random than any other Faction force if you are so inclined.

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Gremlins often field larger crews of cheaper models.  Many Gremlin models have reckless, which allows them to take damage for an extra AP.  They focus more on attack volume than quality in terms of duels, as the cheaper models have lower stats.  This mitigates their insane damage spread, especially in the case of Som'er or Lenny with Bayou Gremlins backed up by slop haulers.  As many Gremlin models are fairly easy to take down especially when they're doing damage to themselves, they encourage a fast, high-risk high-reward playstyle.  Generally outnumbering an opposing crew, Gremlins often benefit from utilizing their superior numbers and damage spread to find vulnerabilities in an opponent's piece development and begin routing their crew early in the game.  Gremlins will die in this endeavor, but they can definitely leave the opposing crew in much worse shape.

The bayou two card mechanic, with which you can cheat with the top of your fate deck, can often act as a great resource sink for your opponent, and it's especially potent when neither player has a control hand as with Som'er's Bigger Hat than You.  They're a fun faction that encourage developing the skills of activation control and target prioritization.  They can be hard to thwart through careful positioning because of their speed and numbers. but they can be pretty swingy if they don't start tabling the opposing crew, especially if the opponent takes out some key components and avoids swarms of scattershot.

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TLDR: yes, they are swingey.

The luck factor isn't just about mitigating the negatives (of which there are more than their fair share). More than anything it's just mechanics that need to be managed (but also exploited by your opponent). 

The larger issue is they can be very suit intensive for their positive attributes as well. This can be easily managed with somer and lenny, but outside of those two models you'll be depending more heavily on two-card as you'll likely be spending your control hand on your master/henchmen abilities.

Yes, there are builds which can reduce the luck, but you will quickly become static in your playstyle.

If you're looking at gremlins, you have to accept the swings and the luck. You will win big or not at all most times, especially if you're looking at serious competitve play.

If that doesn't appeal to your friend, then there's always Neverborn or Ressers.

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It should be pointed out that if your friend is coming from a background of games they should know gremlin randomness isn't awful like the randomness in some other games. There aren't really any random charge distances or anything like that. Most of the pigs and the rooster riders do have rules that force them to charge but they're pretty easily got around. I would definitely second the above statement. If you embrace the swings and luck you'll have a much better time and if you work to bend them to your favor then you'll have a much more successful time.

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Tend to agree with a lot of the above, Gremlins are really only random when utilized outside of their "theme", or without the requisite support models, or when piloted the first few times. In their themes the randomness is largely offset by the support models for that theme. Probably the most notable example of randomness is the plain jane Bayou Gremlin (mentioned several times already), outside their theme crews they can be very random due to the requirement to declare a trigger with their attack. Within their themes however this negative is largely offset by the models that can provide suits, allowing a choice in which trigger is declared. Pigs tend to be the same way, however when you add in the support they are much less so. Additionally, and I would argue much more so than with many other crews, Gremlins have a steeper learning curve and are much more tied to activation order. Getting the activation order wrong, omitting a support action, or poor positioning of a "link" model is much more detrimental to Gremlins than most other crews which can usually audible out of it. These three things contribute heavily to the randomness of the models.

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I'm still learning Gremlins, but it seems like they're only random when things fall apart. The more you plan and control them, the less luck you need to count on. They have a lot of tools to manage the apparent chaos. Use them and you'll find that they're really dynamic and efficient. Ignore them and you leave yourself to Fate's mercy.

Your Bayou Gremlins have unpredictable triggers? Use Som'er or Lenny to give them the right suit so you can control it.

Your Piglets will charge whatever they see? Plan positioning so you don't accidentally charge the wrong things. Or keep a Hog Whisperer closeby to prevent the chaos.

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Depends on what you play. Womg for example can get very reliable by stacking his deck. Som'er can draw cards when things die. They're only random when talking about the really cheap stuff that has to declare triggers. 

If you don't rely on your Bayu Gremlins to kill their big beater, they're utterly reliable, fast and easy to hide scheme runners. It's not like they have to roll a D6 and on a 1 they must spend their whole activation affectionately patting the nearest scenery element.

Piglets forced to charge? Use Burt to get them in the middle of the enemy crew. They will reliably cause complete chaos and might cause mistakes by your opponent. Be ready with something reliable to take advantage of the mistake.

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I would say the theme is more "hurt themselves to do more" than randomness. The fluff sorta portrays them as silly, not-so-bright, copycats, but in the game it's more "high risk for high reward". If you play it safe you won't be getting the most out of some of the best models in the faction.

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 1/19/2016 at 1:38 PM, D6Damager said:

I would say the theme is more "hurt themselves to do more" than randomness. The fluff sorta portrays them as silly, not-so-bright, copycats, but in the game it's more "high risk for high reward". If you play it safe you won't be getting the most out of some of the best models in the faction.

That is what I was trying to convey. Thanks D6Damager.

And as far as mitigation through synergies, yes there are ways around the harmful triggers, but the machine is very susceptible to being picked apart (arguably more so than other factions). As our solution to most problems is 'more bullets', not 'more protection', recovering is not our strong point. A well-oiled gremlin crew firing on all cylinders is a wonder to behold, but once one plate falls you will have time on your hands keeping the others in the air.

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