Our Elves are better than you.

 

Elves are OP

Seriously though, a whole team of AGI 4 players? That can really stretch the acceptable attribute balance of the game. It gives the players a huge advantage to ball handling over almost any other team, makes strategic strikes and defensive screens more consistent and makes movement just generally better.

So how do we develop Elf teams? Very Carefully

Mechanically speaking, there are 3 defining features of Elves in Blood Bowl. First, as discussed, they all have AGI 4. Second, they all have agility but not strength access on normals. Third and finally, they are expensive! The price is partially a natural consiquence of the stat lines you often find on Elves, but also helps reinforce that they are "better" than everyone else and want you to know it. Instead, lets focus a little bit more on skill access.

Elves are not strong in the sense of physical strength and this is reflected in their skill access, right up to the point that it starts impacting player templates. An Elf Blitzer lacks the blitzer trait of having strength access. Even the linemen have agility access, as does everything that's built up from them. This goes a long way to create a sense of united identity for the Elves, along with their stereotypical stat line, and is something that 'ought to be preserved.

On the flip side, high agility combined with high speed can easily lead to disaster (just look at Gutter Runners). Elves are fast is a trope that Blood Bowl plays up, so we can't exactly just do away with it, but be was to be exceptionally careful when looking at how we use high movement on these teams.

 

The Roster

No.  Name MV ST AG AV Skills N(D) Cost
0-16 Line Elf 6 3 4 8   GA(PS) 70K
0-4 Blitzer 7 3 4 8 Block GA(PS) 100K
0-2 Thrower 6 3 4 8 Safe Throw, Pass GAP(S) 90K
0-4 Catcher 8 3 4 7 Catch GA(PS) 90K

I'm pretty sure this is the only template team without a big guy. Not really directly relevant to the roster itself, but it seems apprproate that distinction would go to Elves.

As for what is here, it's once again pretty close to what's in the CRP6. The biggest difference for the team is probably in the rule changes coming up! But as for the roster, the main change is the increase of Blitzers. There are a few reasons for this. It moves High Elves a little more towards the center of the elves, leaving more space for other Elves to have their own identity in the hard core agility at any cost territory. It also biases the team just a smidge more towards the niche that Dark Elves filled in CRP6 without actually taking the focus off of passing-biased agility plays.

Aside from that I'd also like to bring brief attention to the Catcher. At 90K here and in the CRP6, it's slightly under-priced. I think this is a case, like the Human Catcher, where it is justified to tweek the numbers to make it work. That extra 10K may not seem like much, but it pushes the whole team into a dangerous place in terms of price that would impact its rookie roster. Moreover, the prices on this team are already it's own worst enemy and I don't expect that to change from CRP6.

 

Passing

The promised discussion. Remember when I talked about all those skill changes that would matter for passing later on? Here is where we dive into that. Err, sort of.

One thing that happens in design is that you need to throw out bad ideas in favour of better ones. Such a thing happened here and as such the mechanics I'll present here don't quite perfectly match up with those hinted at in the first couple of articles. I'll make a note at the end of which skills have changed.

Now, let's look at some photos!

This is the CRP6 Passing table (specifically the NAF one), created by literally taking a plastic range finder and measuring the distance between the center of 2 squares at various ranges and positions. It is not great. This feels like a bit of a relic of the old game. It's hard to use on tabletop and it's super non-intuitive in any other medium. Literally no other action in Blood Bowl distinguishes diagonals from horizontals or verticals. But this thing doesn't even give a layout that's consistent for horizontal squares!

So, here is my proposed solution:

There is a whole lot going on here so let me break it down into point form for easier reading:

  • We've reduced the size of every passing range to 2 for every range except for Quick Pass which is 3
  • We've added an extra passing range in between short and long passes, bringing the total range to 11, 2 short of the previous max range going straight but way further once you introduce any sort of diagonal.
  • With Strong Arm (+2 range to Quick Pass), the effective passing range is the same as before, 13 squares, but without the benefit of not having to make a long bomb at max range
  • Interceptions can occur if a player can catch from a square which intersects with a straight line drawn between the Throwing and receiving squares. This will make interception ranges a bit narrower, but also easier to calculate.

Now let's look at the other big change; we're adding an extra die to the passing roll for 2D6! This has a number of benefits, from increasing consistency for moderate pass distances to giving us more granularity in finding the right values. Here are the values I landed on, by the way:

Passing Range  Fumbling Accurate
  2D6 - Tackle Zones (+ 1 from Safe Throw) 2D6 + AGI (+ 1 from Accurate) - Tackle Zones
Quick Pass 5+ 8+
Short Pass 5+ 9+
Medium Pass 6+ 10+
Long Pass 6+ 11+
Longbomb 7+ 12+

Note that all of the above values are without any modifiers involved, so that 8+ is actually 5+ for an AGI 3 thrower.

Okay so this is a lot of scary looking numbers that we're going to try to explain. I did several rounds of different variations until I arrived on this set and, having said that, I want to highly stress that they are not final. This is quite possibly the biggest change I intend to make to the rules and it, more that anything else, should be playtested extensively before being committed to.

That said? let's talk about goals here. I wanted to make closer to medium range throws better without improving long bombs. I wasn't looked specifically to nerf long bombs either and the numbers here actually support that. I'll not bore you will the whole data sheet, but an AGI 5 thrower with Accurate, Strong Arm and safe throw has an 86% chance of throwing the call accurately at a distance of 11 squares. That drops off to 72% in the 12-13 range that's exclusive to Strong on my new passing table. But honestly? I think 11 is enough.

Meanwhile on the other end of things, an AGI 3 player with no skills can quick pass with the same success rate, but they can't do long throws as well as before. Fumbling has also been re-approached to make inaccurate throws a bit more likely.

In CRP6, falling to throw the ball does not result in a fumble, but in an inaccurate pass. A fumble occurs only if the die result, before or after modifiers, is 1 or less. So if you roll a 1, it's a fumble. If you roll a 2 on a longbomb without accurate then it's also a fumble because it's checked before agility is checked.

My approach is a whole lot less complicated and has more places where there's space between "Fumble" and "Accurate" than with a single D6...although I question how useful Safe Throw might be given that fact. Speaking of, this is probably a good time to take re-examine those passing skills, now that we have a better context for the new passing and now that I'm wiser for REBBL feedback.

  • Pass Block
    • I got overzealous on this one and in hindsight it should either require basing/intercepting as before or else not work for Hand Offs. I'm honestly not sure which option to go with, either. I personally like it more as something that works for Handoffs...but just because I like it doesn't mean it's the correct choice. Probably we should try both and pick whichever option we like best. Then we can come back to it in a later revision if it's still just as dead a skill as it is in CRP6.
  • Accurate
    • This is good as is, with the reminder that it no longer reduces fumbling odds. In our new setup that rarely matters anyway. Where it does; it would increase the passing odds above 86%
  • Diving Catch
    • This skill hasn't changed, but I want to make note that it can be used to increase interception range. Interception requires being able to catch from an interception square. It does not require actually being ON an interception square.
  • Safe Throw
    • As it turns out, CRP6 Safe Throw doesn't work exactly how I thought it did. I would like to decouple this skill from AGI so that it's just as good on AGI 3 Throwers as on AGI 4. That said, I'm not really sure the best way to do that. What I do know is that the anti-fumble feature only matters for very short and very long passes with high agility, so I do think it's extra important that the second part of this skill has something for the Humans and Skeletons out there.
    • When an opposing player intercepts the ball, their Catch Skill is cancelled. If they successfully intercept the ball, roll a D6. On a 3+, the interception is cancelled. Add 1 when checking to see if a Pass would result in a fumble.
  • Strong Arm
    • I explained this one exactly how I meant it to work, but I wanted to include it here for a reminder that it increases effective throwing range. At at range other than Quick and Bomb it works effectively the same as Accurate, just like in CRP6. 
  • Very Long Legs
    • Small change here to go along with the change to Safe Throw. VLL will still negate the intercept negation of Safe Throw. However, it will not prevent negation on catch.
    • That's a lot of negations. Still, hopefully it's clear enough.

 

What now?

Now we can stop worrying about rules changes for a couple of weeks and focus on the design theory behind existing mechanics! Yay!

Well, I'm excited anyway. Get ready for more Bash next time

 

- Kaosubaloo

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