Tzeentch laughs at likely
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: Inside my Head, Bristol, UK
Varying Random Terrain Tables
Currently the random Terrain tables have the potential to produce a battlefield that turns the game from two opposing armies manoeuvring for victory to outwit the deathworld with a chance of fighting the enemy if you live that long. Whilst this can be fun for some games it would be pleasant sometimes to choose that the battle was about defeating your enemy rather than have chance give you a huge edge.
So, I thought I would put up my initial thoughts on ways to add some control without removing some scenery choices completely or losing the fun (and realism) of not being able to know everything in advance.
Buffing or Debuffing the Forces of Order/Destruction
Some scenery (for instance, the Blessed Bulwark and Sigmarite Shrine) apply a debuff to one faction but not another. A quick finger poll of the table appears to show a bias in favour of the Forces of Order.
To balance out the huge advantage this can give, an extra step randomising the target (e.g. replace the Sigmarite Shrine which debuffs Forces of Destruction with "Ancient Shrine - debuffs 1-2 Forces of Order, 3-4 Forces of Destruction, 5 anything not Forces of Order, 6 anything not Forces of Destruction") would make scenery less of a bias.
This could represent a standard battle, with the possibility of special scenarios where the alignment of everything was set but the other alignment got a bonus to compensate (e.g. Destruction of Hope: all relevant scenery will buff Order and debuff Destruction but the Forces of Destruction know it will be a huge blow if the area is captured so have sent elite troops (+1LD), or have sent troops with cursed water (if a unit remains in the terrain for an entire turn they can turn off the buff/debuff for the rest of the battle).
Currently having Scouts make no difference to the terrain, whereas if you have scouts your ability to pick your battlefield should probably be higher, and your level of knowledge would probably be better.
So, I suggest the following possibility (although probably not all of them at the same time):
(a) for each unit with the scout rule a player can pick a mysterious terrain item and know what the rule is: whichever player uses their scouts rolls another die under a cup then looks without showing which is revealed to the other player when the terrain is first triggered; if both players elect to use a scout then obviously the roll can be open.
(b) for each scout unit the player can either force a re-roll of terrain or prevent an opponent's re-roll. The player who rolled the terrain the first time can choose first whether they want to re-roll.
(c) after all scenery has been generated, a player with Scouts can replace one piece of terrain with another of their choosing or prevent an opponent from replacing a piece of terrain. The player who has placed the fewer pieces of terrain (or if this is the same did not place the last piece of terrain) gets to choose whether they do this.
Seeing the Army for the Trees
The impact of special scenery is often inversely proportional to the size of the armies as casualties are a greater proportion of unit size and battle-lines tend to clump at one point rather than spread across the board.
Rather than attempt to rebalance all of the scenery or reduce the amount of scenery, I suggest a reduction in the probability that scenery is special using either a hard or soft cap:
(a) hard cap: after a set number of special items (e.g 1 item per 500 points) all remaining scenery is mundane for its type.
(b) soft cap: the number of special items already present reduces the chance of an item being special. For example, each time a special item is rolled, roll another die: if that rolls under the number of special items already generated then it is replaced with a mundane time of its type, with 6 always being special.
Whilst it is obviously possible to discuss all the scenery and balance issues with your opponent before the battle, I often want to play the game rather than have a long discussion.
All ideas about other ways to do it, what I missed, or why I should further embrace the chaos welcome.