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The Tyranny of Giants
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bluntfang



Joined: 16 Jun 2008
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 10, 2009 3:35 pm
Post subject: The Tyranny of Giants
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Please forgive the following lengthy rant.

The problem of the Giant Kings:
This list is a bit of an anomaly, but sucks worse than most for a few reasons. Special abilities are like flies…the more you pack onto one model the more effective it becomes. A good case in point here is the phoenix, who has virtually every defensive special and several offensive ones that makes it over perform almost every time. Now what is it about the giants list….

1. All the troops are elite. On a frontage of 3 the worst of their troops can shell out up to 10 skill three attacks at strength 3 (enough to negate virtually any armor) or 2 skill 3 attacks at strength 4 that do d3 wounds. It can kill little or small and for its frontage (base 3) it can pour out upwards of three attacks per base. This is made even worse by the addition of rollers, which provide a shocking 12 skill 3 strength 2 rams for a mere 35 points, that’s up to 32 attacks for 3 inches of frontage, NEARLY 11 ATTACKS PER BASE FRONTAGE. Sure their move drops to 6” if they carry rollers….that means they move as fast or faster than your average infantry man. If the giants can purchase 228 point models with normal troops why cant their lizardman opponent buy his 146 point giant war lizard with normal troop points or the samurai player buy samurai longbowmen (56 points) with normal points.
2. High armor and high wounds combined with the way large models take melee wounds means giants maintain combat effectiveness for much longer than their opponents. Right up to their last breath these beasties shell out major pain, while their “normal” troop counterparts lose gobs of effectiveness each turn as potential attacks are lost with each one or two wounds.
3. Giants are fast. At 8” of movement they will outpace the vast majority of infantry models on the table. This allows them to pick and choose which infantry units to engage much more easily.
4. All giants are fearless. Fearless is a handy attribute to have. When combined with large numbers of wounds it becomes even more useful. If the giant somehow loses a model to missile fire it never has to test because it is fearless. Even when they do test the giants have great morale, and barring a truly horrible test can take the wounds to stay if they need to.
5. The giants all have a missile save of 5! Normal bows have a minimal chance of wounding them. Longbows fare better but are found in a handful of armies. Artillery has a fair chance…if anyone fields it…but one artillery piece cost as much as a giant….and has very little chance of actually slaying the giant before the giant trashes it. Point per point artillery is not an effective counter. If you are lucky enough to have heavy xbows (found in one list) you might have a chance…except for the fact that you will only shoot a couple of times before they reach you….and they wont run if you kill one….and once they do reach you the xbowmen are goners.
6. All of the giants have ranged weapons…and access to artillery for a killer price! The rocks the giants carry allow them a constant barrage of high strength multi wound, and usually high skill, attacks. Now at first glance the ballista and the lobbers may seem to push the cost of the giant up to hefty levels….I would actually disagree. A young giant with a lobber for example costs around 90 points more than a light catapult. However it has twice the move, two more wounds, better missile armor, better magic save, better morale, and fantastic attack capability (4 skill 2 no strength attacks vrs (10)3 sweep or 2/3 multi wound). And the giant only pays 72 points out of his elite allowance, where for another army to field the light catapult costs 166 points of their elite allowance!
7. Negate long weapons. An elder giant pays 40 points (5 per wound) for the ability to negate first strike on long weapons. If he is fighting an equal number of goblin spearmen (20) they pay 100 points for their long weapon ability….they lose their first strike on the first round of combat (which wouldn’t have helped much since the giant isn’t likely to go down in the first round of combat) and the other “benefit” of long weapons, IE fighting in two ranks, is matched by the giants sweep attack, which provides him with an equal number of attacks as they have with a better skill value and strength sufficient to deny any save. They do 10 skill two no strength attacks in RAF, 3 hit, one or two of those are saved, maybe one or two wounds. The giant attacks back with 10 (maximum sweep 5 front and two deep), hits and kills 6. The goblins test on a 5, the Giant tests on 7 fearless for facing a superior enemy in RAF, minus two for remaining RAF models and minus one for the wound taken. Who wins…I think we both know (the spearmen can always skirmish to gain extra attacks against the giant, but as I will show you this does not help since, of which one third will hit (roughly 5 out of the 16), half of those the giant will save(3) for two wounds (out of Cool. His attack back (15/4 4)will hit with 10, all of which wound…they both test, and the skirmished goblins testing on a 2 and the giant on a 9 fearless…. Try the combination with any group, the picture doesn’t improve.
8. No need for heroes. Giant kings have great morale, and they can choose to attack normal troops or heroes….so they can go for the kill or for the mass casualties to force the test. Wait…I thought that was something only monsters, paid for out of your elite balance could do…… The fearless attribute also means they are immune to fearsome attacks, so the only way to make them test is by taking down models (tough) or with superior units (lots of models or wounds, which giants are great at wreaking havoc with).
9. The giants have one weakness, period. Magic. And, even with this, their save of 2 is better than what most armies have. How many armies have access to eldritch attacks to take advantage of this? A handful….and most armies only have one unit that will be able to do it. Wizards can do some harm to giants….if you mount them on something fast and get away before the giants trash the rest of the army! At least they have one weakness, since they have advantages in melee, ranged, movement, and morale…..
10. The most effective way to counter even a normal giant is with elite points, heroes and monsters and spell casters who can dish out enough pain to hopefully get one to go down. But since the giant doesn’t really need heroes, a smart giants player will spend their elite points on monsters that allow them to counter the elite points their opponent NEEDS to counter even the most basic of the giant troops. If the giants can split elite losses with their opponent point for point their regular troops will more than make up the difference.


The net result is almost any “balanced” normal list will be at a strong disadvantage against a giants army of virtually any make up. Lists that are optimized to beat a giants army would have to be extremely lame (such as a wolven list made up primarily of great wolves) and epitomize what I despise most in an opponent, power gaming over playing.

What to do about it? The one that makes the most sense is a new giants army list, one that provides base 9 giants as regular troops that cost less than 100 points, such as the Cyclops. I would also throw in some base 4 troops like ogres. The existing giant troops would still be available for purchase out of their ELITE points.

I would be interested in hearing any explanations of how the existing list is balanced and fair (the magic deficiency is duly noted above).
End Rant. Bluntfang

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the flayed one
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 10, 2009 7:57 pm
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having played against bungles' giants a few times, id agree pretty much with what you are saying.
whilst theyve all been fun games, thats probably more down to bungle being a fun guy to play against. he generally plays units of three with a character in the middle. rollers too, though these guys are easier to kill .
a more varied list would probably make sense, and most of the 'giant' figures from the monster list are less scary than a regular giant from the giants list.

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Khazadson



Joined: 04 Jul 2008
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 11, 2009 12:07 am
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I agree.

I actually dislike the elite system as it stands and think it should be changed entirely. That being said, even under my rules, giants would be elite and a whole army full of elite units which are very cost effective is wrong.

There are two things you said which I think are the most important:

Quote:
The more you pack onto one model the more effective it becomes.


This is very, very true. If you want a realistic point calculator, you need something much more complicated than what we have. Failing that (and lets face it you'd need a genius maths guy) you need better restrictions on what you can do with it. There have been threads on both forums about making restrictions based on the base size of the model, I think this is one of the most important improvements this game needs to make. Base 9 creatures should either not be able to have as many abilities as they have at base 9, or they should pay a premium for each ability they have after a point (just like tax brackets).

Quote:
What to do about it? The one that makes the most sense is a new giants army list, one that provides base 9 giants as regular troops that cost less than 100 points, such as the Cyclops. I would also throw in some base 4 troops like ogres. The existing giant troops would still be available for purchase out of their ELITE points.


FACT. Plain and simple. Just like gnoblars + ogres, orcs + goblins and halflings + centaurs; Giant Kings need a weaker troop to balance them out or add character. Trolls, Ogres, human slaves; it doesn't matter what you decide on, this army need a counterweight. Lets face it, the army creation rules were purposefully broken in order to make this army and that alone should have alarm bells ringing.

Good post bluntfang
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magokiron



Joined: 15 Jun 2008
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 11, 2009 1:40 am
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I'm with you mate.

Restrictions and premium prices for stacked abilities should be present in the CCF.

I remember that Blood Bowl point calculator (even if it only contemplates 4 stats) has several break points for speed, agility and strenght where they cost much more than before.

AND there were a limit to the abilities a model could have.

The CCF isn't perfect, and it can be stretched as in Giants Kings case to near unplayable levels.

Good post BF, thanks.

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Warhound
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 11, 2009 6:49 am
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I agree in principle to caps on abilities but thats a whole other thread and a half.

As to the argument that the giants should stick to the normal elite rules and fill up the core with slaves, ogres etc - I think this would detract from the whole essence of a giant kings list.

Any army as it stands could use their elite allowance to take giants. In this respect you would just have a regular list instead of a giant kings list and probably an underpowered one. For example now I could pick the best of the Ork core selection and then take all my elites as giants if I wanted. Forcing a giant player to use their elites on Giants prevents them taking anything else elite as well.

Don't get me wrong - I think some changes are needed but I don't think the elite / core restriction is the way to go.
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Khazadson



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PostPosted: Sat Jul 11, 2009 7:45 am
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Warhound wrote:

I think this would detract from the whole essence of a giant kings list.


I hear arguments like this too often; whether it be "detracts from the essence of the list" or "changes the original intent of the author" et cetera. IMO you can't let things like that hold you back, if something is wrong it needs to be fixed. I respect that you think this "character" or "essence" needs to be preserved, but only if it can be done whilst fixing the rules. IMO either a change is made or the entire list or rule in question should simply be removed (which really detracts from the essence of the list), because the list should not have been created in the first place.

That being said there are surely ways to achieve a sensible rule as well as maintain the character of the list. (P.S. perhaps some of your own thoughts would help?)

I maintain that the giant kings should have to follow the same restrictions as every other army. It is absurd that a system designed to help balance armies out can be completely ignored for one army. The simple logic of this statement can not be denied imo.

The first step would be simply to create giants which cost less than 100 points. One issue here is that there is not enough of a gradient between the 3 grades of giant. Increase the gradient drop of movement (shorter legs), wounds, armour, morale, weapons skill and strength (which is the same for all giants wtf??). Maybe some of the other stats could be lowered too.

I recommend dropping adult giants to the current stats for young giants, and using that gradient drop to create a new young giant. Perhaps lowering the strength and range of their attacks on top of that (for both young and adults). Young giants might even drop to base 4, assuming restrictions are implemented this will help keep young giants in line.

Tweaks might be made to the above recomendation as necessary of course.

Another thing you can do is take giants off the monster list. A primary race should not be on the monster list imo. Warhound pointed out the exact reason why this is the case.
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magokiron



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PostPosted: Sat Jul 11, 2009 8:19 am
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Even so, AFAIK giants of the giant king army are better than "common" ones.

Among other things, they negate long weapon advantages without true reason, and their points don't seem right, as they are better but cheaper.

I have never liked the giant list.

Too much "exceptions" in an otherwise pretty balanced game.

BF reasons are more than enough to at least question the legality of the list.

Best wishes.

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Warhound
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 11, 2009 8:44 am
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Khazadson, don't get me wrong - I respect your opinion and agree with it to a large extent. I'm simply trying to point out that a giant list without giants as core will simply not be a giants list - it will be an army of slaves etc with a giant player trying to make up the theme using his elites.

I actually believe (as you have suggested) that a re-write of the list is necessary whilst using more of the common conventions or"caps" that are suggested.

For example -

Base 4 young giants with stats a bit better than ogres.

Base 9 adult giants with stats similar to Cyclops. I think the Cyclops stats are the key to the core of a giants list.

Inclusion of special units like Rollers / ballista giants which have been pushed into the elite catagory and are not simply an upgrade for anyone.
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Khazadson



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PostPosted: Sat Jul 11, 2009 8:56 am
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Seems to be unanimous.

So who is going to write up the new list?
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bluntfang



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PostPosted: Sat Jul 11, 2009 10:07 pm
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Just throwing numbers around....For Example (just throwing things around here)

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I spent just few min on these, but you get the idea. You can do lots with 100 points.

Jotnar : Fast moving wild giants. Their attacks are not particularly skilled but they deliver a fury of blows. The race across the field in a frenzy towards the nearest enemy troops, eager for a meal.

Daitya: A tribe of giants from the forest regions. They armor their bodies with thick slabs of wood and smash into their foes with trees torn from the ground.

eldjötnar Fire Giants. These warriors are immune to fire but fear water attacks. The fire giants take pride in slaying enemy creatures with their burning hammers. They can also project magical fire short distances, but must wait a bit to recharge their energies.

Hrímþursar (frost giants): Mighty giants who are immune to water but fear fire attacks. More lightly armored than their fiery bothers frost giants use their icy blades to inflict grievous wounds. They have a distinct aura of cold around them, and many enemy warriors have frozen to death as they giants wade into combat (the ram attacks).

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Khazadson



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PostPosted: Sat Jul 11, 2009 11:53 pm
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I like it. The only possible concern is that you are really flirting with the elite system; 96, 97, 98 and 99 point giants are so close to being elite you are almost taking advantage of the elite rule. Just consider that if restrictions are made for abilities per base size, these guys might suddenly find themselves above the magic 100 points.

I would probably try to make something with a points cost between Jotnar and Ogres (on top of what you have). Perhaps the "young giant"? I mean having a young giant that is better than all of the giants you have listed there is a bit odd. Or add Cyclops but lower its morale and make it base 4?

Also given the character of the core troops you have created the old mundane giants (which are the elite) could do with a revamp imo. Perhaps rename young giant to stone giant, remove adult giant and elder giant and replace them with the Ettin?

Make the Titan a character perhaps? Or another elite choice?

Now that you have the really cool core troops; young, adult and elder just don't cut it for the elite.
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bluntfang



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PostPosted: Sun Jul 12, 2009 5:56 am
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I'm not completely happy with the fire giants.

As for flirting with the elites, I sure am! I was intentionally packing as much as possible into them to show that I think we can still make a viable list and keep them under. There is lots of room for improvement. There are some changes that need to be made, like a unit that has the negate long weapon ability, that sort of thing. But this sort of list is what I am after. Its food for thought, I am not presenting this as a viable complete list, just throwing stuff around (quickly in the ccf)

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the flayed one
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 12, 2009 11:37 am
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without delving too deep just yet, i like the idea of an ogre warlord .

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ElvenArcher



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PostPosted: Tue Jul 21, 2009 4:21 pm
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One thing that we could throw out for discussion. One thing that brings the giant king down to beatable level is their lack of access to magic other than general spells. I think if we're rewriting the list to make it more like the others, perhaps they should have access to earth or fire, or even air spells (thinking of the Titan and his lightning strike). I don't know just a thought.

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ElvenArcher



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PostPosted: Tue Jul 21, 2009 4:29 pm
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Name Young giant
Type Troop
Base 4
Elite No
Total VP Cost 70
Move 6", none
Wounds 3
Armour Armour 2 Shield or Missile +1
Magic Resistance MR(2)
Morale 8, Fearless
Melee Attacks 2 / 3Str (2)
Melee Attacks Sweep (6) / 3Str (1)

Primary Missile Attack Range (12") 1 / 2 Str (1), 1d3 wnds
Special Base 4
here's an Idea for a new young giant. I think I ran the stats right, but I'm still getting used to the program.

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