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Rules What if Interceptions didn't always succeed on 6s?

Discussion in 'General Blood Bowl News and Discussion' started by Zyrael, Sep 8, 2016.

  1. Zyrael

    Zyrael Active Member

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    This is a thought I've been musing on awhile, and while I can play both sides of an argument in my own head, it's usually more valuable to talk to other actual human beings.

    So the question is simple. What if you could cover players and eliminate the possibility of interception? What if AG 2/1 players could never intercept?

    Passing is usually anathematic to sound BB play due to the increased risk factors. And even proponents of passing using a good team for it will be stymied when they can't get thrower and catcher completely clear of coverage. This typically means there are 3 risk factors involved in a pass. The Pass roll, the Catch Roll, and the Intercept roll.

    Would it be a net positive or negative for the game if by using your players to mark possible interceptors you could relieve 1/3 of the risk factors involved in a pass?

    The buff to passing seems partially self corrected by the fact that you'd be basing a bunch of your players. A failed pass, or at least a failed immediate score, is going to bring a lot of reprisal.

    In my mind it would open up the game a bit and maybe add a few pages to playbooks for most teams.

    Thoughts?
     
  2. Jav

    Jav Active Member

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    You can take safe throw. Though it seems nice in principle, it always seems to fail for me when I really need it! I think it needs some kind of buff.
     
  3. Zyrael

    Zyrael Active Member

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    I always thought safe throw should just prevent interception... period. It is a bit jank as it stands and props up an overwrought mechanic with a finicky skill.
     
  4. Zyrael

    Zyrael Active Member

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    Conversely. My proposal would add a LOT of value to Pass Block.
     
  5. MalicWanderer

    MalicWanderer Active Member

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    That everything has at minimum a 1/6 chance of both success and failure is somewhat core to Blood Bowl's design to be honest. The only exceptions are multi-die blocks (which are still never guaranteed to fail or succeed,) armor rolls (which can only be guaranteed a success via massive gang foul vs low armor,) and tentacles/shadowing (which require massive ST/MA differences to guarantee anything.)

    Even Wizards and Bribes, inducements that a team might be basing their entire game plan around, fail on a 1.

    Admittedly, passing is a bit of an outlier in that it has potentially three chances to roll that one (or 6 in the interception case) but a pass also has, I would say, potentially a much higher reward than most other actions. The extreme example: unless you have a pair of natural one-turners, it's impossible to move the ball from one end zone to the other without a pass.

    The way I look at it, the different types of actions are on a spectrum. On one side, you have blocking: generally the safest thing you can do, because multiple dice and you can spend a reroll. But, teams that rely on blocking as their primary strategy are usually going to be throwing a lot of blocks. At least one per turn, likely more, and the more you throw the more likely one of them's going to dubskull.

    Passing is the opposite side of the spectrum: one action requiring up to three rolls makes it quite risky, but generally you're only going to see one pass play per drive. If passing were anywhere near as safe as blocking, that would probably put the passing teams at a big advantage.

    Of course, skills can influence things quite a lot in both cases. For blocking, just having Block makes it dramatically safer, and of course ST and positioning are vital, as well as Guard. Passing depends a lot on AG, and has a great number of skills that make it better/safer, Pass, Catch, Accurate, Strong Arm, Safe Throw, Diving Catch, Nerves of Steel... In both cases, a large number of skills on the team makes the play much much safer, but for blocking you get there by spamming block on Everyone and for passing you get there by building up a star quarterback and a few great receivers.

    And of course, both have skills that can make it harder for the opposing team. Dodge, Fend, Stand Firm, Guard again, etc for blocking, and for passing there's Catch, Very Long Legs, Extra Arms, Pass Block, and anything that makes the receivers life harder, really.

    Point is, there's a reason passing is riskier than most other actions, and making it possible to completely remove part of that risk (more than you already can via positioning) probably wouldn't be great, I would think.

    Besides, who wants to live in a world where Trees can't intercept? ;)
     
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  6. Valcurdra

    Valcurdra Active Member

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    Good topic,

    I am opposed to making passing easier because it is already pretty damm easy anyway.

    One of the things I don't like about the interception is that it is almost equally easy for all players. Assuming you can at least put 1 TZ on the interceptor then all players need a 6, catch helps of course with the re-roll and there are skills to boost your chances, but basically its a flat roll a 6 ftw.

    It just seems a bit unfair that bash teams are just as good at this type of catch as agility teams. Not saying unbalanced, just saying I don't like the flavor of it, feels like a free hit for bash teams and is a big FU when that mummy makes the int.
     
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  7. Jav

    Jav Active Member

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    If we're talking flavor I can't get over the fact that you can intercept a ball that we haven't determined has actually been thrown yet (and not fumbled)! And if its a scatter pass the possible players to intercept could be different!
     
  8. Valcurdra

    Valcurdra Active Member

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    Yes that also annoys me a lot.
     
  9. MalicWanderer

    MalicWanderer Active Member

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    Rolling for interception first is kind of the price you pay for simpler rules. Same with 6+ being the hardest it gets. Sure it's a bit weird, but just think of it as an abstraction rather than a pure simulation.

    Also, fumbles and inaccurate throws did change interception, that would make pass block (and interceptions in general) quite a bit worse, and it's already bad enough you hardly ever see it. So I think that would probably be bad.
     
  10. Zyrael

    Zyrael Active Member

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    @MalicWanderer and yet the RISK of an interception makes the offensive life of Blood Bowl much staler than it is designed to be. Players too jaded on risk of passing often just give up on it altogether.

    How many teams have throwers and passers that are considered 'vestigial' or only useful for sure hands? Surely that can't have been the vision.

    As is, I see pass plays in 2 circumstances:
    • A quick or short pass (gotta be 2+) with both sides in 0 tackle zones and no chance of interception... done with pass/catch or a RR at the ready. Almost the sole province of elves.
    • Desperation
    In CRP, Blood Bowl is slanted too far away from being a Ball Sport. BB2 exacerbates this with it's incomplete meta.

    Someone above compared the hitting part of the game to the ball handling. A mummy has a 1/6 chance of intercepting... always. In 8 tackle zones under 3 disturbing presences... 1/6 still.

    2 red dice against a blodger... what are the odds? 2.8% ... 5.5% with RR.

    It's way easier for bash teams to benefit out of their type from good dice than non-bashers to benefit from good luck. In fact it is 8x easier for that Mummy to become a star receiver than a human lineman to knock down a blodger with ST 4.

    That's askew. To say the least.
     
  11. Nikolai II

    Nikolai II Super Moderator Moderator

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    High and pro elves easily make the game into a passing game, even if high elves are generally the ones to occasionally pass over opponents.
     
  12. Zyrael

    Zyrael Active Member

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    You, of course, aren't incorrect. But should an entire aspect of the game. One of the core actions available to players really be primarily relegated to 1.5 teams of 24?

    Hell, far more teams have access to mutations.
     
  13. MalicWanderer

    MalicWanderer Active Member

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    Catching the ball one time is hardly a "star receiver" frankly. But that aside.

    Thing is, blocking is something that happens, as I mentioned, a LOT. Pretty much once a turn at minimum. The only time you'd ever see anyone passing once a turn is to farm SPP, and frankly you shouldn't want to see passing every turn, that'd be weird. Maybe not so much if BB was based on say, soccer, or basketball, or ultimate frisbee, rather than american football. But it's not.

    There are two scenarios when you pass in blood bowl: you plan on scoring immediately after the throw, or you really need the ball somewhere else and can't walk it there. That second scenario is gonna be a desperation play by definition. The first is also usually desperation, because the standard blood bowl strategy is to wait to score as long as possible. That means either scoring on the last turn of the half, meaning if you fail to do it right now this turn you won't do it at all, so you do whatever you need to do score. Or it means your opponent has pressured you enough you don't feel safe stalling, so you score immediately, same.

    Just because you don't see pass plays very often doesn't mean they aren't good. And it's not just elves that do it, altho of course they're the ones who do it the most, just look at their descriptions in the book. It specifically says they're all about the passing game.

    I've also already mentioned, passing has a much higher reward potential than anything else you can do. With even a short pass I can move the ball 6 entire squares, that's almost 1/4 of the pitch, forward, over the top of entire enemy team. Does not matter how many tackle zones are in between me and the target. The only other way to do that is to dodge through, and if you aren't stunty that's a very tall order. Plus, stunty or no, it costs you 6 squares of movement, which is a lot.

    A human team, with just a thrower and a catcher, could pull that play off with one 4+ and one 3+, skill rerolls for both. That works out to 66.7%. A 2 in 3 chance to move the ball six squares up the pitch, over the enemy team, in addition to the six squares your thrower could already move before passing, and then you still have 8 more squares of movement on the catcher. That is really friggin good. And even if they fail the 4+, as long as it wasn't a 1 they've still moved the ball up the pitch. Add Accurate to the thrower and now you can go 10 squares straight ahead, again in addition to all the movement. That's potentially 24 squares of ball movement, with two dice rolls and a 2 in 3 chance of success, no team rerolls necessary. Or it could just bring the six square pass up to a 79% success rate. And that's with Humans. Elves (or even Humans with some more levels) are even more ridiculous.

    Hell, Skaven aren't usually built for passing because gunners are so damn fast anyway, but if you did build up a skaven thrower and give a gunner catch, their ball moving potential would be massive. You could literally go end zone to end zone with a 73% success rate, again two dice rolls and no team rerolls, with just one normal level up on each of them. And you'd have an extra square of movement besides, for either a slightly diagonal pass or having one of them run around somebody that's in the way.

    That is, assuming there isn't anyone to intercept. Which of course, there will be, because I did say you're throwing over a bunch of tackle zones. But that's my point, taking out interceptions, even just the 6 is always success factor, makes passing really, really good, with nothing at all the other coach can do to prevent it, other than base the catcher or try to prevent the thrower getting into position to throw. That last is hard, because the thrower stands in the back field with his whole team in front of him, and the first doesn't do anything to prevent the ball moving up the pitch.

    You could try to make intercepting with ag 2 or less, or in tackle zones, harder without making it completely impossible, of course. But that would require a more complicated interception rule (since it can't be done while still being just a single d6 roll,) and the passing sequence is already pretty complicated. And all you'd do is make passing even better than it already is against non-agility teams. Who are already the best people to pass against, not because they're worse at intercepting, but because they're worse at capitalizing if you do fail. Being intercepted by an elf probably means the other guy is going to score. Being intercepted by a Kroxigor, not as much. At least not immediately.

    One last set of numbers, developed human passing team. Let's say normal rolls only. So Thrower with Accurate, Safe Throw, catcher with Diving Catch, plus probably other skills so he doesn't fall down and stuff. 10 square pass, for 24 total squares of ball move, with a 6+ interception chance, 66.8%. Just barely over 2 in 3. 69.8 if you have a reroll for the safe throw. Add one doubles on the thrower for Strong Arm and you've got 79.2%, 82.8% with a reroll. One more double for NoS on the catcher and he doesn't care about TZ's anymore, and one more normal on the thrower and neither does he, making it easier to get into position for the pass. That's all Humans with no statups, and at most two doubles. And they're actually all a bit too low, because they don't factor the chance of diving catch grabbing an inaccurate throw.

    Norse can be just as good, minus one square movement, if they take catch on the runner(s.) Amazons same, minus two squares. Bretonnians same, but swap a square off the thrower onto the catcher and it takes the thrower some more time to develop. Skaven are the same but more squares, and the catcher doesn't need diving catch. Orcs even, same minus two squares and you need to spend a skill on catch. Even freaking Khemri can manage quick passes (short with accurate) on decent odds if they buy the catch-y star player.

    So yeah, passing doesn't happen often, not because passing is bad, but because stalling is so good. Want more passing? Make stalling worse.
     
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  14. TravelScrabble

    TravelScrabble Well-Known Member

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    Very good points @MalicWanderer though I don't think its stalling so much as caging. Guard cages are ridiculously strong, almost impossible to get the ball from without a wizard or a bunch of skills and hot shit dice. This means that on most drives a proper cage will not lose the ball so the game becomes all about possession control and unless you're vamps you don't want to score quickly. Passing is not THAT risky in and of itself if you rely on 2+ passes with rerolls, sure you will fail occasionally but you will succeed a lot more and it does give you the ability to score easily ad quickly so you should get more chances to succeed. Passing becomes too risky when your chances of winning back possession are small, because you have a chance of giving up possession and very little chance of winning it back a lot of the time, so you pass rarely.

    Its not the only way to play, you can play 2 turn scoring game and aggressively attack the cage, lots of elves, especially pros, do that, but its more of a high risk high reward playstyle and most teams cannot pull it off. So to buff passing you need to make it easier to win back possession, which would require a lot of tinkering.
     
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  15. Nikolai II

    Nikolai II Super Moderator Moderator

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    Or make it four quarters of four turns each, with one single drive and no game reset on scoring a touchdown (whatever side did it. Or perhaps only the team with the offensive drive is even allowed to score.)

    Probably no game break either, so bash teams get to keep beating up people even if they one-turn.
     
  16. DireSickFish

    DireSickFish Active Member

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    I'm with the "passing is bad because stalling is so good" idea. Passing is good for quick scores. You send the thrower to your backfield to pick up the ball int he first turn and send the receivers streaming down-field towards the endzone. Then second turn free the catcher, make the pass and score. That's why against any team with any kind of passing skills or agility you have to score on T8 or 16 because giving them 2 turns to score is easy. It's usually easier for me to score in 2 or 3 turns with a team that can pass than it is for me to stall it out for a T7 or 8 score.
     
  17. Zyrael

    Zyrael Active Member

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    This has been a way deeper discussion than I expected. I don't know if I'm yet convinced that 6 should always succeed. But I understand the arguments.
     
  18. Valcurdra

    Valcurdra Active Member

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    Agreed, passing is already OP, its just that scoring doesn't necessarily help you win the game. This is true of real football as well.
     
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  19. Jay Anderson

    Jay Anderson New Member

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    I agree with the Scoring not always winning the Game.
    Standard and Famous tactic for a bash team Vs fast or pass team.
    Let the fast/pass team receive on the first turn. Pin as many of their players as you can and bash the hell out of them. meanwhile you freely let their remaining players walk down the field as fast as possible to score.
    A few of your players following to make sure they dont stall or clean up if a fumble or a chance to get the ball.
    You then have the remaining turns of the half to score, and then receive the next half and score hopefully giving you a 2-1 victory.
     
    Last edited: Nov 21, 2016
  20. coachman

    coachman Well-Known Member

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    Great discussion.

    I pass. A lot.

    I'm, at heart, a woodelf coach. I love highlight reel plays and getting a W with 6 players and a bag of journeymen. I will always try to make an interception free pass. The fact anyone can intercept means there is more strategy to the passing game and more ways to defend. It is already hard to stop elves from scoring so why take one of the road blocks out of the way?

    I disagree that everyones intercepts the same. You can make chunks of the field pass free zones with a couple of woodelf catchers. 5+ interception with catch and ma8 to run away afterwards is frightening.

    I dont think that it is interceptions keeping most teams from passing. It is throw and catch needing 3+ on a good day that relegated throwing to kitchen sink territory.

    Short answer: Always suceeding on a 6 is a good thing.
     
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