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"What is “Balance” Anyway?" Topic

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634 hits since 13 Feb 2018
©1994-2019 Bill Armintrout
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Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP13 Feb 2018 12:12 p.m. PST

"This blog – and the mini wargaming community as a whole – talks about "balance" a lot. Is the tournament scene balanced? Is the new Killslayer Deathskull Codex balanced? Is the ITC mission pack balanced? You get the idea.

But we often fail to define our terms, assuming that we all agree to what "balance" is.

Do we?…."
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Lupulus13 Feb 2018 1:38 p.m. PST

That was a really well thought-out and well written article. Good find, Armand.

robert piepenbrink Supporting Member of TMP13 Feb 2018 3:32 p.m. PST

Well, he's got a point--and I really hate to say that about anyone who can't spell "miniature." But his "within codex balance" is pretty much a science fiction/fantasy gaming thing. Elsewhere, when we observe that war runs heavily to a limited range of troop types and tactics, we shrug and wargame something else. We can't demand an improved reality for the next edition.

And his "series of games balance" can only be a tournament thing. No one's going to go into his Saturday afternoon game and think it's OK that he doesn't have a chance because next week his opponent won't stand a chance.

Which leaves non-tournament historical gamers right where I came in--with single-game balance, which is trickier to determine than he really considers. I take it we're all familiar with the army which gives good results--but only once you've played it a lot? Or the "balance" which shifts when someone works out a new tactical system for one of the armies?

I generally figure that if you come to the table with a chance in three, you can improve it by good decision-making, and the decision-making is more important than the die rolls, the game designer has done his job.

Call it the "any given Sunday" standard. I don't have to win 50.0% of my games, but I do have to have a chance of winning every time. Anyone have a different standard?

UshCha14 Feb 2018 1:38 a.m. PST

Cetainly I would be hard pressed to say what a win was in our games. I can tell you what a Good Game is. "Balance" is a bit meaningless. Like most real world battles, ours are in the main, attcak/defence (which really includes counter attacks). A senario has objective that the designer expects to be achieved but sometimes the forces are inssufficent. However the game is about the story and the play. An attacker achieveing an objective is not a win its what is expected. If both players fight tooth and nail with the battle swinging from side to side its a good game. In reality WHO CARES WHO WINS and how would you know? If the game is a massive overmatch then its no fun and could be said to be unbalenced. However an experienced scenario writer is unlikely to get it that far wrong.

Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP14 Feb 2018 10:06 a.m. PST

Glad you enjoyed it my friend!. (smile)


Personal logo etotheipi Sponsoring Member of TMP14 Feb 2018 1:58 p.m. PST






Wargame Balance – At least ten playtesters have played one game of each side of a scenario against at least three other players and the win outcomes are roughly evenly distributed across the sides.

Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP15 Feb 2018 11:12 a.m. PST



Personal logo War Artisan Sponsoring Member of TMP16 Feb 2018 2:38 a.m. PST

Balance is a chimaera
A mythical beast, much hunted
But never caught

Balance is a slimy eel
The harder you try to pin it down
The more it slips away

Balance is a fiction
A fairy tale we tell ourselves
To increase our glory in victory
And give us comfort in defeat

Rallynow Supporting Member of TMP18 Feb 2018 4:49 p.m. PST

War is not balanced.

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