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Balancing Henchman leaded games


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Hi!

In my playgroup we have been playing quite a lot of henchman hardcore (HH now on) recently, since we are new to the game and wanted to learn the basic rules with faster games. (In fact I'd recommend it to every newbie out there).

However, we've got tired of playing the same scheme and strategy always and we are planning on going for the next step.

Thus, we are discussing how to play games with henchmen as leaders and if it needs any additional balancing - such as the ones in HH -.

Our first aproach is to play games of 35SS with henchmen as leaders - with no cost for the leader and with effigies as totems -. And with pool limit of 7

BUT we were wondering if we should give extra SS for the pool to the ones leaded by cheaper henchmen. For example, if you choose Ototo (10SS), you got no bonus. But if you choose Huggy or Yamaziko (7SS), you would get 3SS as bonus.

What do you think? Do you suggest any additional limits or tweaks, like minis limit or pool limit?

Thank you if you reaches this point! =D

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I think you're fine with the 35 as limits for all + henchman + effigy... I like this format But : 1) Summoners have a distinct advantage; 2) the map may feel a little bit to big and some scheme will be easier to do (and some will be harder).

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 Generally a good idea for 35ss games is to reduce the hand size to 5 cards, as far as I can tell.

I'm not sure there are that many summoning henchmen? Asura, but I don't think she would be op. Toshiro, but again, not sure he would be op.

I like the idea of adding extra ss for cheaper leaders, but as I understand it, among beginners you likely won't notice the difference.

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If you're going to give a SS boost for cheaper henchmen, might as well just say 45 ss but you have to pay for the leader. You're still going to have some problems because the effigies are not balanced as totems for all henchmen though.

I think summoners should be less broken with no master summoners. Probably want to ban Minako Rei from this format though.

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I would definitely disallow summoning. Toshiro summoning 15 stones of extra models isn't game-breaking at 50 stones, but it will be at 35 stones. Summoners should always be banned at 35 stones I reckon. Also allowing summoners kind of negates the point of 35 stone games (smaller, simpler, quicker games). The base HH rules disallow it for a reason.

I would also consider no-free effigies, if you play with people who don't own effigies.

I'm not sure you need to give free soulstones to the crew that has the cheaper henchman, but it couldn't hurt. Give it a go!

For a scenario to play, I reckon at this stage you could probably play a regular scenario! But if you want a starter scenario, corrupted leylines on corner deployment with only 3 markers can be a good one.

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Thank you all for your responses!

We are taking the following:

- No summoners. We were thinking about allowing them, but does not seem fair at all since not everyone has access to summoners and they would be too impactful.

- Limit of 5 cards in hand. Just makes sense.

- Probably we will be locking strategies, deplyments and schemes for each round (we are planning on a mini league). And would take your suggestion as the first one @Maniacal_cackle, thanks!

 

I'll try to post how it goes 😃

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  • 2 months later...

For anyone interested, things are going fine this far. It has been a good way to keep games under 3h and has helped the most inexperienced players to get a grasp on the strat and schemes.

If anything, there are some crews that seem to be missing some of their pieces to function at their best, such as Honeypot. But games are short and relaxed enough it does not matter that much.

Also, we all are having the chance of trying out both the effigies and emissaries, which is great too.

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Did you lock strategies, deployments and schemes in the end? What did you choose?

Are you considering allowing/trying summoners? It's the sort of format I'd love to play spawn mother in - I don't think many of the summoner henchmen are particularly oppressive.

On that from, do you ban taxidermists, slop haulers and the sow?

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Yes, but we went the lazy path and chose 3 of the 4 maps for April Malifools vassal tournament. They seem to be balanced and interesting already.

Summoners look too strong for us in this format, specially considering I play mainly Last Blossom -Minako and Katashiros are strong enough to unbalance a 35SS game -, and one of the other players plays Neverborn, and having access to summoned stitched looks too strong too in our opinion.

As for the mentioned characters, none of us plays Bayou, so we did not really think about that kind of summoning. I don't know the keywords, so I don't really know what could be done to balance them. Maybe allowing the demise summons, but not the other ones?

 

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I don't think the taxidermist would be an issue... I also don't think spawn mother would be a problem either, but could be on the edge. The sow might need a few games to try - without Ulix to grow, you just getting piglets, and with GG2 they aren't scheming so it's probably fine. However, the sow and slop haulers, and hog whisperers, suddenly you have a lot of summoning together, so that could become an issue. But, it would cost lots of good cards - so i don't really know. Helpful!

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On 5/23/2021 at 9:48 AM, Vessien said:

Summoners look too strong for us in this format, specially considering I play mainly Last Blossom -Minako and Katashiros are strong enough to unbalance a 35SS game -, and one of the other players plays Neverborn, and having access to summoned stitched looks too strong too in our opinion.

As for the mentioned characters, none of us plays Bayou, so we did not really think about that kind of summoning. I don't know the keywords, so I don't really know what could be done to balance them. Maybe allowing the demise summons, but not the other ones?

I'd consider allowing Demise Summons to work properly as those "summons" don't add models to the game and instead allow a model to sort of continue playing (at a much weaker level) after being "killed".  In someways you can think of it as an injured (not the Malifaux condition) version of the original model that happens when the model loses a certain number of wounds.  Demise summons don't allow a player to build up an overwhelming army at these low points levels and instead just add small amount of durability to the models with that demise, at the cost of a lot of output once they've been dropped to their demise state.

 

I might consider allowing the models with Summon abilities/actions (like Minako) to be taken, but disallow the summon actions/abilities.  For some of those models, the summoning isn't the main part of their kit and they can be played without using the summoning on their card.  I'm much less strong about this suggestions as compared to the one about demise summons.

 

Also in Bayou there are two models that summon on deployment.  In effect their base cost includes a free Stuffed Piglet.  I'd consider allowing that summon to happen, since they cannot repeat the summon and it feels like the free model at deployment is part of the Pigapult & Taxidermists' costs.

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