There have been a few tweaks under the new Blood Bowl 2020 Second Season rules that affect the approach coaches can take when it comes to team building. The most obvious one of these is probably the price adjustment to a lot of players and the introduction of 5k price increments, rather than then 10k increments we’ve been used too for a long time.
The other change which coaches now need to consider is the change of Fan Factor over to the new Dedicated Fans system. For a long time if you were starting a league team it was highly recommended to start your team with the maximum 9 Fan Factor and this would be the starting point for most coaches in league team creation. This was so important to teams that in an open league environment you would see teams that started with a low Fan Factor struggle to get matches.
Fan Factor wasn’t designed to have such an impact in this manner and the rules got changed to minimise the impact on the team’s income. This enabled you to concentrate on getting more positional players, rerolls or even an apothecary on your team instead and was a welcome change all round.
Due to this I’m a bit surprised to see that we’ve gone back to a similar system under the new Dedicated Fans set up. Thankfully it’s not as impactful but it still needs to be considered as they can generate your team more income each game.
Do I Need Dedicated Fans?
There’s nothing stopping you starting a team without putting any initial outlay into dedicated fans. The biggest factor when it comes to whether or not you will want any will be what sort of environment the team is playing in. You’re more likely to want dedicated fans if you’re playing in a league environment. If you’re playing in a resurrection tournament format where you team resets every game then the extra income generated from having dedicated fans is useless to you and you will want to spend your money elsewhere. Dedicated fans will also have a minor impact on a game when it comes to the kick off table.
Dedicated Fans Return on Investment
As a quick refresher, at the start of a match each coach rolls a D3 and adds their Dedicated Fans to determine their Fan Factor for the match. The combined Fan Factor of both teams will determine the total Fan Attendance. Your team winnings are (half the Fan Attendance +1 for each touchdown your team scored) x 10k.
Each team will start with a minimum of 1 Dedicated Fans but you can pay extra when the team is drafted to get a maximum of 6 (which will cost you 50k of your starting money). For every extra Dedicated Fan you invest 10k into, you will get half of that back every match that you manage to keep them (you can lose them if you lose a match and roll under your current Dedicated Fan total). Likewise you will get half of any that your opponent has invested in as well but you have no control over that.
Any money that you invest in some extra Dedicated Fans will typically take just two matches to pay off. If you lose the first match and your Dedicated Fan amount decreases then you will be 5k short of having paid them off after two matches, from the third match onwards in both cases you will making profit.
As it only takes two games to pay itself off, you can start getting extra money relatively quickly to get those better players, an apothecary or more rerolls. If both sides get the maximum 6 starting Dedicated Fans, then that match will grant both teams 50k extra winnings compared to teams that both started with the minimum. That will pay for an Apothecary after the first game and if you factor in you also get the D3 roll and more money for each touchdown scored, then nearly every team will be able to get an extra lineman, or well on the way towards affording something more expensive instead.
Dedicated Fans Opportunity Cost
If the payoff is relatively quick then why wouldn’t you just pay out for the maximum amount of starting fans like we used to in the old days? (I would generally recommend that most league teams should do this)
Any time you’re spending money on one thing you obviously can’t spend that same money on something else that would potentially help you out. Typically this will mean either sacrificing a starting team reroll, or having to take a lineman over one of your better positional players.
If you’re playing in a league where everyone has new teams then you can probably afford the Dedicated Fans outlay and compete with a league full of teams that are doing the same. What if you’re the only team that doesn’t do it, you’re still going to get extra money from other teams fans but that extra starting reroll might make the difference between winning and losing? If you scored a touchdown you otherwise wouldn’t have, then you get an extra 10k winnings to make up for having less fans.
You also need to consider that if you win a game then your Dedicated Fans may increase anyway at no cost to yourself. If you spent out for the maximum amount of fans already then you aren’t going to benefit from a free increase. If you win all of your first 5 games and your fans increase every time, then your overall bonuses money from fans will be 75k less than the team that started with the maximum 6 fans. Now you won’t necessarily win all of those games and also the more fans you have the harder it will be for the total to increase. That means that a 75k difference in money is the best case scenario and in reality it’s likely to be more than that.
Conversely are you less experienced than the rest of your league, or concentrate more on having fun over winning? If you think that you stand a good chance of just losing all your games, then you run the risk of the fair weather fans leaving to support another team! Do you want to spend that money generating fans early on just to see them walk away when the going gets tough? In the reserve situation where you lose fans every game you earn 75k less than even the team that draws every game and you paid 50k to do so, that puts you 125k in the hole! You’re also 50k worse off than the team that didn’t spend any money generating fans for the new team but gained all their fans organically.
You’re paying 50k to generate an extra 5k in income over those 5 games, this doesn’t seem worth it. Again though the actual numbers will be somewhere in between and that’s the worst case scenario. It still might be worth putting money towards fans, if you can scrape draws rather than losses you will keep those fans and just because you lost, it doesn’t mean your fans will leave if you can avoid rolling under your current total. You would have to be really unfortunate to go from 6 down to 1 Dedicated Fan count in 5 consecutive games.
Another question to ask yourself would be if you really need all that extra money. What if you are winning games without it, or have one of the cheaper teams that can start with what they want already? Whilst you are gaining extra money from your opponents fans you shouldn’t forget that those extra fans that you paid for will also be giving your opponents extra income as well. Have you got access to cheaper and more expendable players than your opponent, perhaps your rerolls are more affordable too? If so, do you want to provide more money to the other teams you’re facing?
Dedicated Fans and Team Value
Dedicated Fans don’t count towards your team value (the old Fan Factor used to be included) which is something else worth a bit of consideration. Since you can spend up to a maximum of 50k to generate those fans, if you are matched up against a team that’s spent their full allocation of their starting money, then you will be entitled to spend 50k on Inducements. For league games you can spend this on a roll on the new Prayers to Nuffle table (rulebook page 39).
Even if you don’t have the full 50k to get the roll on the Prayers to Nuffle table, you will also get up to 50k in petty cash to spend freely on inducements (page 89). This amount will let you hire either Cheerleaders or Assistant Coaches at 20k each, a Weather Mage at 30k or get the team a Bloodweiser Keg at 50k.
So Should I Get More Dedicated Fans?
Some questions to ask yourself when creating your team, these are just some quick reminders of things to consider, I would still recommend reading the article above which explores these questions in more depth.
- Are you playing in a resurrection format? Then No, the extra income isn’t relevant.
- Are your players and or rerolls expensive to replace? Then you probably want the safety net of more income early on, your generally better players may help you win early anyway.
- Are your player and or rerolls cheap to replace? The extra player or reroll might help you win early and you’re not spending money that will give your opponents extra income.
- Will an extra 50k on players or rerolls make much difference in the first two games? This is tricky to answer and will be very situational. If you can get by anyway then the fans pay for themselves quickly and the extra income over more games may make more of a difference.
- How fragile are your players and how rough is your league? The more often you are going to need to replace players the more useful extra income will be.
- Do you think you can win early and get more fans naturally? Then maybe not but don’t shoot yourself in the foot!
- Do you think you will struggle and lose early which has the potential to lose fans? Maybe that extra reroll will give you an edge early on and you avoid wasting money on fickle supporters.
- Have you got an odd amount of leftover money after buying players and rerolls? You could save this towards an Apothecary etc, though putting it into fans will pay itself back after two games.
- Will you be getting or giving up Petty Cash and a potential Prayers to Nuffle roll? This might help sway you one way or another, or at least get you to stick a bit of money towards some, if not the maximum amount of fans.
So whilst we may appear to have gone a bit backwards when it comes to starting fans and team income, it’s not quite as cut and dry as it was before. You’re guaranteed at least 20k from every match up to a potential 40k assuming both teams don’t start with extra fans and that’s before any money from touchdowns your team scores. Playing against a team that maxed out their fans and you’re going to get between 45k and 65k (again before touchdown bonus money) and if both teams have maxed fans then the winnings will be between 70k and 90k (+touchdown money).
The maths makes Dedicated Fans worth taking from an overall income point of view, as even the worst case scenario you will come out ahead financially. There are cases to be made though for not taking any and the actual “correct” answer will probably lie somewhere in between. It may vary from race to race and the amount of starting gold your league lets you start your team with. Ultimately you need to look at what you will be giving up to get those extra fans and will that difference in income be worth it?
I do feel that the Dedicated Fans rule does help out better or more experienced coaches more and so I’m not convinced it was a good addition (that’s not to say things were fine and dandy before). This is a rule where it adversely affects the players who are already at a skill disadvantage, more than the better players in a league who didn’t need the extra help. It might be worth leagues considering just giving every team a greater starting amount, you could go the whole hog and give everyone 6 to start. I like the idea of 5 or somewhere more in the middle starting with 3. The better players will still benefit more in the longer run as their fans aren’t as likely to diminish, but it should help a bit.
Are there any other factors that you consider or more questions you feel should be added to the list? Then let me know in the comments below!