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post #1 of 7 (permalink) Old 06-20-12, 07:02 AM Thread Starter
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Default Etc?

So I haven't seen this discussed much around here, but in my gaming group it gets thrown around a lot. So I pose some questions:

1. What do you think of ETC?
2. Has anyone used it in a non tourney game?
3. Am I the only one that feels ETC rules are nothing more than homebrew rules?

IMO, which is what I'm asking people for, I think ETC is this: It is homebrew rules from a bunch of power gamers who started to get beat by newer players with some unbalance lists. Instead of admitting this, and playing better, they decided to browbeat tournament organizers into playing their way (IE theres enough people who want the changes. If the organizers didn't cave, then these players would pull out, dropping the tournament down in numbers...thats just a theory). Some of the rules are ridiculous, assigning "counts as power dice and dispel dice" status to items and such that don't generate either type of dice. Perfect example, Infernal Puppet. Is it good? Absolutely. Does it actually generate dispel dice? No, and there's seriously nothing in the Ogre Kingdoms book that should be tamed? Mornfang Cav for instance? I am all for fairness and balance, but enough. You shouldn't be able to change entire rules to fit how you want to play. I'm not talking about using the GW pdf FAQ's either....these are blatant changes to rules that there is not context for in the rules explanation. Like, how do they justify a Look Out Sir roll for Dweller's Below, Infernal Gateway, or any of the other unit deleting spells. If you don't want your characters to die from those spells, don't put them in juicy targets. All they (ETC peeps) did, was say "Yeah we want the benefits of generals, bsb's and such in a big scary unit, but we don't want the risks." OR! saying that DE can only take 2 of their best items, Cauldron, Hydra, Death and Shadow Wizards, Pendant of Khaeleth....I can only have 20 shades max and 35 Crossbowman? Sounds like someone making up, and I say making up because thats all it is, the rules got a sore spot from DE. Instead of me listing and ranting, just see for yourself.
http://beltway-gamers.com/?p=339

So am I crazy? Am I the only who finds this insulting? Every army has "cheese" components to it, whether its Bloodletters in a horde, a Slann with cupped hands and ruination, Ethereal units in VC that can hold up monsters for whole games, dual hydras, or anything else you can think of. Part of playing this game, I feel, is enjoying the crazy crap you and your opponent bring to the table. Then laughing when it does exactly what you though it would to your army, and laughing harder when it doesn't. Today, I faced VC with Daemons. My Bloodletters, 40 of them 8x5, lost to 30 skeletons, 2 wide. Thats was comedic. The other part, again I feel, is that if someone drops down that unit or character that makes you groan with cheese hatred, you figure out a way to beat it. Complaining and making up your own rules doesn't count, although a little friendly jab doesn't hurt. Like when your opponent drops a horde of Chaos Warriors, "Hey man, you didn't have to roll out the cheese spread for me." Anyway, please weigh in.

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post #2 of 7 (permalink) Old 06-20-12, 03:21 PM
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I play in a region with a lot of Independent GTs (Texas and Arkansas, as well as some going to the US coast tourneys) and many local one day 3-game events. Many players are quite competitive (including ranked players and some participants playing at ETC in the past) but the competition is tempered by sportsmanship voted on in each game (good or bad game vote based on army comp and demeanor) and best sports (choice of best player out of five or six player or first and second best players) being rewarded, as well as painting. We are seeing a lot of balance in 8th edition that results in a conclusion that the extreme ETC restrictions on units and stuff is over-the-top and unnecessary. We are finding that restricting only a few magic items (folding fortress and book of hoeth) and lord level special characters (all special characters in the daemons book), allowing a look out sir for certain unit direct damage spells (like dwellers and dreaded 13th), and tweaking the builidings rules (limiting the number of models that can occupy to building, not requiring the assaulting unit to disengage from combat if it wins combat but the defending unit does not break) are sufficient to allow for a fair game most of the time. Given the advantages of dark elves and lizardmen in the magic phase with their ability to generate extra power dice on each casting attempt, one could argue for modest restrictions on the generation of power dice and dispel dice in the magic phase. Given the issues a few armies face, Beastmen and perhaps wood elves, one could argue for a compensating increase in points allowed and decrease in VPs given up like ETC proposes for those armies if there is a demonstrated competitive disadvantage.

Given the above, ETC is viewed in our area as a over-the-top attempt to balance the game for competitive purposes. It has its place and I support the ETC concept on a limited basis. It just seems to be overly micro-managed to the point of imposing too many army-specific restrictions that interfere with the intended play-style of many of the army books. The proposals to limit the magic lores or make it more difficult to cast certain spells (such as limiting casting dice to 5 instead of six) is too home-brew for many and reflects an attempt to take some of the perceived over-powered magic in 8th edition out of the game.

Many experienced, competitive players have complained that the new 8th edition rules and magic, in particular, have made certain in game tactics more linear and simple. For example, getting the charge off is no longer nearly as important in 8th edition as it was in 7th edition with attacks ordered based on initiative, supporting attacks, the step up rule, and units able to be steadfast by having more ranks. However, I would argue that the new steadfast, supporting attack and step up rules add a new element of tactical consideration and risk calculation in army comp decisions and in tactics in game that are just as interesting and as or more realistic relative to 7th edition. Similarly, many complain that the new 8th edition magic lores and winds of magic rules introduced more luck into the game with respect getting off certain magic spells that can be game changers and getting more or fewer power dice with winds of magic randomly. Finally. we no longer have guessing of range (which tended to favour experienced, competitive players) and charge distances are randomly determined and that can result in a good tactical decision backfiring or a bad tactical decision paying off occasionally. My response is that this is not chess. There are probabilities introduced into the game by the rules and choices made both in army construction and tactics during each game are then based on those probabilities can allow supposedly weaker players to occasionally beat supposedly better players. If we tried to remove that probability and risk and the better player always won, we would soon see our community of players decline (as it already had) by the experienced players driving out the newer players.

Many of the basic comp and rules fix ideas in ETC are sound (limiting the number of power and dispel dice generated in each magic phase, allowing a look out sir to spells that hit all models in a unit and autokill like dwellers or dreaded 13th, limiting unit sizes). Giving extra points to disadvantages armies is also a potentially sound idea where it is clear one army book is weaker than the others (beastman is most often cited as an example along with wood elves). My view is that it is okay to tweak rules that clearly don't work or interfere with a balanced function of the game but we should always err towards having the fewest tweaks or rules fixes necessary to avoid obviously broken situations and, if that does not balance the game, then consider compensating the most clearly disadvantages armies with extra points for army construction.

Where many object to ETC rules is all the extra army-specific restrictions such as limiting the size of bloodletter units to well below the general rules. I understand the desire to restricit the extreme points denial deathstar hordes, but the limits should be adjusted better to reflect the types of units. The size limits for low cost models (skavne slaves and vampire zombies) should be adjusted to reflect their purposes (such as limiting unit sizes to up the greater of, not lesser of, 450 points or 50 models not including banners with maybe an overall cap of 100 rank and file models in a unit). The restrictions on certain magic item combos and magic item choices and limiting model and unit choices (such as in the case of dark elves) in ETC seem to be far beyond necessity. The limitations threaten to destroy some of the uniqueness and play-style of certain armies without necessarily balancing or improving the game. I understand limiting the book of hoeth and special characters at the lord level such as Teclis and Kairos, but the new 8th edition army books are far better balanced and the limitations should be isolated to specific models and situtations that clearly are broken. For example, allowing hero-level special characters for most books (excluding Daemons) and lord level characters for the 8th edition army books actually seems to balance the game and allow for interesting combos. (High Elves appear to be below average competitively without hero-level special characters but become broken and certain not fun to play with or against with Teclis in folding fortress and the world banner on a BSB in a mega unit of archers).

There always seems to be someone (overly competitive, a young player that does not know better, or someone that does not respect the spirit of the game) that tries (or inadvertantly) to break the game by exploiting broken combos or rules. This is not unique to WHFB. (It occurred a lot when i played Magic the Gathering until I got tired of having to buy new cards and boxes of cards every few months for my two sons and self.) So, there is a need to occasionally fix the rules and rule out broken combos. While GW has shown more willingness to issue errata and FAQs in 8th edition (for example, the change in the power stone rules), it is reluctant to simply ban certain combos or address a few obvious rules issues (unclear or vague, written in a manner not intended, or conflicting with other rules) and, thus, is not willing to go as far as might be required for competitive and/or balanced and fair play. That results in house rules, but they should be as few as required to allow for a fun and balanced atmosphere.

Last edited by olderplayer; 06-20-12 at 04:07 PM.
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post #3 of 7 (permalink) Old 06-20-12, 04:08 PM
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Just got done reading all the rules for ETC. It looked fair to a certain point. When they start changing the rules of actual items in each army book is kind of a drag though. Basically says that "hey! you like taking these items? well they don't have their original rules here so good luck!" It definitely takes the uniqueness out of magic items. It starts to limit how others build their armies, and cause major disruption amongst a community.

@LordofFenris:
I am a little confused at how you came up with your idea of what ETC is. It looks like it is the opposite. It seems more like a bash from new gamers that were getting stomped by power players with unbalanced list. The rules support it, as basically everything that makes an army competitive is being nerfed amongst the rules. Why would power gamers who use these constantly nerf themselves? However, I do agree with you that ETC seems to be nothing more than homebrew rules, just opposite in how it was created. I would try this out in my normal games, but tweak it around so it is still fair for the power players, but points out that you are limited with what you can have.

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post #4 of 7 (permalink) Old 06-20-12, 06:13 PM
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ETC is a pretty terrible set of composition rules written - or so it very much appears - by and for people who don't actually like Warhammer very much.

there comes a point where composition isn't reining in unbalanced shenanigans, but writing a new game. ETC crossed that line very fast and never looked back.

It also rather seems that many of their rules exist solely to take care of the silly ramifications of their other rules.

They'd not need to put a cap on unit sizes if they didn't nerf nuke spells, F'rex - and they wouldn't need to nerf Nuke spells if they hadn't crippled Dispel Dice generation.

Besides which, allowing LOS! saves for nuke spells is just an invitation to people to form multi-character super-units that are not fun to play against - but they have no restriction on that.

It baffles the imagination.

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post #5 of 7 (permalink) Old 06-21-12, 04:47 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Atreyu View Post

@LordofFenris:
I am a little confused at how you came up with your idea of what ETC is. It looks like it is the opposite. It seems more like a bash from new gamers that were getting stomped by power players with unbalanced list. The rules support it, as basically everything that makes an army competitive is being nerfed amongst the rules. Why would power gamers who use these constantly nerf themselves? However, I do agree with you that ETC seems to be nothing more than homebrew rules, just opposite in how it was created. I would try this out in my normal games, but tweak it around so it is still fair for the power players, but points out that you are limited with what you can have.
I honestly thought the same thing Atreyu. That was until I talked with a few people who are avid ETC fans. Out of 3, 2 admitted they like the rules because it keeps inexperienced new players from entering tournaments with the same cheese lists they would run. I asked why they cared. Their answer? Because a new inexperienced player has roughly a 50/50 chance of winning if they run the latest cheese list. If they were to lose to said new inexperienced player, they would lose ranking and look bad. That's it. So, they took everything out of all the lists that made it easier to win with, just so they wouldn't be beat by someone less experienced by them. Now, less experienced players have no chance of beating a competitive player. My example? I play with a guy who is excellent in Warhammer. I went at him with 40 bloodletters. He responded by moving up 30 skeletons, and reforming them in 2 wide formation. This kept me from being able to wheel and charge his lords unit. It also meant my bloodletters were tied down in combat that didn't matter. I'm not a new or inexperienced player, but that floored me. I would never have thought of doing that. It was an excellent decision, that he knew to make because hes a good player.

Now I'm not saying all competitive players are people who want to ruin the fun of the game for newer players just so they feel good about themselves, but its a very common sentiment.

I'm very interested in keeping this discussion going.

"Take a moment, please. Ponder the depths of your insignificance."

"It would be disappointing if you were unable to overcome this simplest of defenses. Hilarious, but disappointing."

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Other
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post #6 of 7 (permalink) Old 06-21-12, 02:03 PM
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Very interesting point Fenris. It does make sense now as to why competitive players seem to have written that. Bit selfish honestly. So an inexperienced player beat you. It happens. In regular tournaments that is going to happen eventually. Maybe even a regular game. I get stomped sometimes, and I have been playing for 10 years now. Your friend made an excellent desicion in that game when he changed formation of his skellies. I would never have come up with that. Very good example.

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WoC-The Host of Alctheus(0/0/0)
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post #7 of 7 (permalink) Old 06-21-12, 03:03 PM
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I regularly monitor the ETC site for discussions of the rules and issues jsut to understand what abuses are being seen and the perspective of others. It helps to identify potentially unfair or broken army builds and combons and tricks that might be candidtates for restricting or form the basis for discouraging (we use the bad game vote system where enough bad game votes can result in a negative reputation and be very costly in terms of ranking, even if it can occasionally be unfair and is subjective). Also, it helps to identify issues that do need to be addressed due to inadequate GW errata and FAQs, vague or inconsistent rules issues, and clearly broken combos.

The ETC rules are intended to balance the game for the annual ETC tournament. It is intended for competitive gamers that want a balanced, competitive game. It actually performs that function quite well. The goal is to make it such that players on teams participating in the ETC make choices from all the legal army books and the average win rate in points earned in individual battles at ETC is not skewed in favour of one army book or against another. There is a lot of feedback and tweaking of the rules based on tournaments run during the year leading up to the ETC. In that sense, it is a tested set of comp rules and restrictions. Also, a lot of the players in some communities are power gamers, and the rules are designed to eliminate armies and tactics that are deemed unsporting, unfair, or contrary to the spirit of the game. To that extent, I support ETC. It just seems that they get too far into the weeds of the rules in interfering with model, magic items, and unit choices and rules overall and within the books when alternative, less intrusive fixes are available to accomplish the objectives of ETC. This is, in part, a consequence of too many cooks in the soup syndrome and the slippery slope of once one begins to modify the rules to nerf certain combos, models, army builds, and magic items it is hard to know where to draw the line.
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