Loners, through inexperience, arrogance, animal ferocity or just plain stupidity, do not work well with the rest of the team. As a result, a Loner may use team re-rolls but has to roll a D6 first. On a roll of 4+, he may use the team re-roll as normal. On a roll of 1-3 the original result stands without being re-rolled but the team re-roll is lost (i.e. used).
Loner was a new skill mechanism that was introduced to the LRB5 rules book. Its inclusion is used on various different players, each for slightly different reasons. The most common players you will come across with them is probably Big Guy players (representing their animal ferocity or stupidity). Now all players who aren’t on your permanent team roster also have the Loner skill. This means all Star Players that you either hire from your treasury or through inducements come with the Loner skill (representing their arrogance and selfish nature). The last group of players are the newly introduced Journeymen players who you can hire for free if your team can’t field eleven players at the start of their next match (representing their inexperience to the game and with the team).
The biggest issue with Loner is the obvious reliability issue involved with rolling anything that a player with Loner does. Anything that they do had the possibility of being a one shot affair as you can’t guarantee that you can just use a team reroll for it. I’m sure you have had games where you have used your team rerolls up early and how precarious every roll for the rest of the half is. Unless the Loner player has a skill reroll for any given roll, anything that you do with them has this potential.
Of course this isn’t necessarily the case as you do have the option to try and use a reroll if you still have one available for that turn. This is where the other issue with Loner kicks in as half the time you attempt to use a team reroll, you will not only be unable to reroll the dice but you will also waste your team reroll. For this reason I personally treat any players with Loner as being unable to use rerolls at all and use them accordingly.
Dealing with Loners Unreliability:
Previously players who were labelled as “Big Guys” were unable to use team rerolls at all making their unreliability something really consistent. Now the Big Guy trait has been replaced by Loner and you now have an option to use rerolls with a element of risk of wasting them involved. This has made the unreliability also inconsistent as well and it is something that I can certainly be a problem for newer coaches.
The method I have of dealing with Loner players is much the same as the use of Big Guy players from previous editions. That is to say I treat them as though they can’t use rerolls at all and will be very risk adverse and expect them to fail. If you assume that they will fail and look for an alternate plan to take for your turns, then you will not be left ruing your player when they not only fail but perhaps lose a reroll in the process as well.
I recommend to use them at the end of your turn and also try and avoid having a plan that revolves around them doing something successfully. Of course there will be occasions where your opponent has left you with no better plan than to start your turn off using a Loner player. Sometimes you will just have to plough ahead and have your fingers crossed that it works, assuming you couldn’t find another plan for that turn. Remember to keep an eye on how many turns you have left in the drive as well, sometimes if you have quite a few turns you can take a turn to just consolidate the position you are in rather than perhaps go on the offensive.
Loner Effect on Rerolls:
The fact that Loner players can attempt to use team rerolls can have a big effect on the outcome of games that involve them. Due to the risk adverse way I recommend in using Loners, leaving them to the end of your turns and trying not to do anything vital with them, I would just let them fail if the dice go against me. Any time you rashly just decide to try a block (or whatever) with them at the end of your turn (without before considering how bad failing with them would leave your team) you then run the risk of being tempted to try and use a team reroll. Due to human nature I will guarantee that you will remember every time you fail a Loner attempt to use a reroll, which will make it seem more like 90% failure rate than 50%. Successful attempts aren’t as likely to stick in your mind, but either way you still use a team reroll up.
Due to the importance rerolls can have on a game, (see my article on rerolls) the thought of attempting to use one on a Loner fills me with dread. Not only will it use up a valuable reroll, half the time they will waste it and still fail anyway without the chance of re-rolling. This doesn’t cut the mustard for me and unless it is a very important action of a game turning roll, I will just let the Loner fail and save my rerolls.
There are quite a few players in the game now who have the Loner skill and most matches will probably involve at least one. Being clear on the effect they can have and the reliability issues that they are plagued with are key to not hampering the success of your team. Treat them as though they will fail everything and don’t waste your team rerolls on them and you minimise the trouble they can cause. Be aware of what they can do and their limitations and make sure to take advantage of any skills they do have to use and play to their strengths. It is also worth considering Loner and the player’s role in your team if they are a permanent team member, when it comes to selecting skills when they gain new ones.