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  #1  
Old June 10th, 2009, 11:07 AM
Sarpedon Sarpedon is offline
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100% Theoryscape

Greetings, everyone.

I'm starting this thread so that I and others can post ideas about our beloved game that do not fit elsewhere. Everyone is invited to participate. I myself will post regularly and, hopefully, interesting discussions will ensue. The thread will not be limited to one particular topic, but will be open to intriguing discussions regarding Heroscape ideas/thoughts. I will attempt to set the tone/example with this first post.

I'd like to begin by considering the (usually) standard 24-hexagonal space start zones on most tournament maps. What is its purpose? Which units benefit the most? Which units are diminished by it? Answering these questions will, in theory, help us partially to understand why some units are less competitive in tournament play.

There may be many reasons for the start zone space limit. One reason may be practical: space on the table. However, it probably has more to do with "guiding" the draft. Let's say we have 500 points to spend and we want to have a Venoc Viper-centered army. Thus...

12 x Venoc Vipers = 480
Marcu................ = 20
Total................. = 500

How many starting spaces would be required? 37. As you can see, the effectiveness of this (nearly) one-dimensional army is reduced by the limit on the number of common squads that can be drafted. It is not possible to fit 500 points-worth of Venoc Vipers on the start zone and thus a large chunk of its "commoness" virtue is diminished. The maximum number of Venoc Vipers would be 24, which would never happen anyway because you would have to forego 180 draft points!

Now, consider this 500-point army:

7 x Aubrien Archers = 490
Isamu.................. = 10
Total................... = 500

As you can see, this army would (in all likelyhood) defeat the previous army. Are Aubrien Archers better? Not necessarily. However, you CAN fit 500 points-worth of them (21) in the start zone. THAT is the key difference. The Venoc Viper army can never compete because it is not permitted to fully deploy. If 500 points-worth of Venoc Vipers went up against an equal Aubrien Archer force, the odds would be far less tilted in favour of the 21 Archers (and they might even favour the 36 (!) Venoc Vipers).

This was just a small comparison example, but it served to illustrate the considerable effect of limiting starting zones. The main goals of the limit are, probably, to save time (fewer unit moves to ponder) and promote the use of (relatively expensive) unique heroes. Thus, the Venoc Viper army would probably have to draft the Venoc Warlord and at least one squad of Armoc Vipers.

The problem, as I have shown, is that the more expensive ranged squads are not as hamstrung by the space restriction as are the cheaper melee squads. This, to some measure, accounts for the great effectiveness of squads such as the 4th Mass. and the Stingers. By being able to focus spending almost entirely on a particular type of ranged common squad, a player avoids putting all of his eggs in one basket (one or more expensive unique heroes) and, in addition, enhances/simplifies his order marker decisions.

Last edited by Sarpedon; June 16th, 2009 at 11:35 PM.
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Old June 10th, 2009, 11:14 AM
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Aldin Aldin is offline
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Re: 100% Theoryscape

I hate it when I'm trying to preview and accidentally post. We've had some interesting discussions about the 24 hex starting limit. I'm guessing you're going double-hex commons next...

~Aldin, postus interruptus

ETA The "practical" limit on Venocs is seven because of the 24 hex start zone. That leaves 220 points for up to three figures. The VW makes sense here as does Syvarris. In a way, the commons value isn't reduced because the army is enhanced by both units by offering a boost to frenzy and a long range threat. I would agree that there are commons whose value is seriously reduced by the 24 hex limit, but I'm not sure the Venocs are among them. Marrden Hounds, Deathstalkers and Templar Cavalry all suffer from the start zone limit.

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Last edited by Aldin; June 10th, 2009 at 11:20 AM.
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  #3  
Old June 10th, 2009, 11:15 AM
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Re: 100% Theoryscape

Time is certainly another factor in the 24-hex start zone. The more figures on the board to start, the longer each match is going to take.

I also read somewhere here that the 24-hex start zone was first used because it was convenient since there is a single 24-hex piece.

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Old June 10th, 2009, 11:17 AM
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Re: 100% Theoryscape

I think the biggest reason for the 24 hex starting zone is the 24 hex piece. It's very easy to tell somebody "Oh, that blue 24 hex piece on either end is the dtart zone." It also allows for a mix of Squads and hero's, so youdon't have just squads.

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Old June 10th, 2009, 11:18 AM
Land-based AE Land-based AE is offline
 
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Re: 100% Theoryscape

Start zone space hurts cheap commons and double-spaced figures the most.

Whenever I look at start zone space, the army that always seems to be affected by it the most is the Ashigaru. I would love to play Kato, 4x both sets of Ashigaru in a 600 point game but you sacrifice too much if start zone restrictions are enforced.

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Old June 10th, 2009, 11:27 AM
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Re: 100% Theoryscape

Hunh, not where I thought you were going with that. Your example may not be the best illustration. Here's the problem - if you eliminate the 24 hex limitation, I still think 7xAubriens kills 12xVenocs more or less every time. Use Marrden Hounds. 5xMarrden Hounds + Marro Warriors is gonna crush 7xAubrien Archers whereas 3xMarrden Hounds + 230 points 6 hexes isn't particularly overwhelming.

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Old June 10th, 2009, 11:34 AM
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Re: 100% Theoryscape

Raising the hex limit also draws the game even further away from heros. Why bother including Mittens if you can get 3 squads of Venocs instead? Why bother getting Khosumet if you can get another squad of Anubians?

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Old June 10th, 2009, 11:53 AM
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Re: 100% Theoryscape

Quote:
Originally Posted by Aldin View Post
whereas 3xMarrden Hounds + 230 points 6 hexes isn't particularly overwhelming.
A hound lover like yourself can surely see the beauty of Q9+Marro Warriors there. I think that particular 500-pointer came up before when I was arguing that Marro Plague is easy to avoid even if you fill the start zone.

At the 400-600 point level, the 24-hex start zone does kill the playability of some super-hordes of cheap commons. However, it doesn't really kill the playability of commons like the Venocs; it just forces you to have somewhat diversified forces. That's probably not a bad thing in most cases.

What the start zone limitation does kill is certain combinations of commons. If two commons both need a lot of multiples to be effective, then you can run out of space easily. The places where this issue comes up the most are 'trons, Ashigaru, and hive armies.
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Old June 10th, 2009, 11:59 AM
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Re: 100% Theoryscape

Quote:
Originally Posted by dok View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by Aldin View Post
whereas 3xMarrden Hounds + 230 points 6 hexes isn't particularly overwhelming.
A hound lover like yourself can surely see the beauty of Q9+Marro Warriors there. I think that particular 500-pointer came up before when I was arguing that Marro Plague is easy to avoid even if you fill the start zone.
Yup... I've played that army and I like it. I still say two more squads of hounds are better than Q9 for rooting out Aubriens

~Aldin, adding Rats/Double-Spaced to the list of common squad combos that are tough to pull off in 24 hexes (because let's face it, 5xRats+3xRobodogs would be AWESOME)

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Old June 10th, 2009, 12:09 PM
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Re: 100% Theoryscape

Quote:
Originally Posted by Swamper View Post
Raising the hex limit also draws the game even further away from heros. Why bother including Mittens if you can get 3 squads of Venocs instead? Why bother getting Khosumet if you can get another squad of Anubians?


Why bother getting Khosumet anyways?


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Old June 10th, 2009, 12:12 PM
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Re: 100% Theoryscape

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Originally Posted by Sarpedon View Post
There may be many reasons for the start zone space limit. One reason may be practical: space on the table. However, it probably has more to do with "guiding" the draft.
I think most of the reasons are practical. Nyys and Aldin pretty much hit them already.

1. Space, as you already mentioned.
2. The biggest pieces are 24 hexes. That makes it easier to mark starting zones on some maps. I have seen some mapmakers, like Dignan, who have used alternative methods, like having one player start on all the visible rocks spaces, and the other start on the sand spaces.
3. Time. 24 hexes of starting zone fun tends to end games in under an hour. Your proposed Venoc army would probably end quickly because they have such low defense, but just imagine a game with 12x Deathreavers. Count me out.

The more playable you make Ashigaru and Venocs, the further you push the game in the direction of Glads, Blasts, and Deathreavers. Even the 4th Mass are actually quite constrained by a 24 hex limit. They'd ideally want to have their entire army be 4th most of the time, but that's impossible beyond 420 points. I don't really think it's starting zone room that's keeping Venocs and Ashigaru from the top, but their incredibly low defense.

Then what would happen to Minions, Microcorp, and Heroes in general? I could just as easily see people argue for smaller starting zones to really increase army diversity and shorten playing times. Maybe a 14 hex (2 7-hexers) standard wouldn't be bad? As long as we're just theoryscaping...

Quote:
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(I've also played many matches with great, fun people who were using Q9. So using Q9 doesn't make you a tool. But being a tool sure seems to make you use Q9.)
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Old June 10th, 2009, 12:28 PM
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Re: 100% Theoryscape

The 24 hex limit helps cut down on squad scape a bit. Granted, squad scape is still the norm.
Also, as has been mentioned, unlimited start zone may slow the game down, as it would take lots of time to move lots of figures.
I don't think it limits the playability of certain units, it just forces a little diversity. (Somewhat).
Personally, I like to include at least one hero in my builds. Sort of a leader for my forces. Going by this, and tying in Sarpedon's example, I'd drop 3x venocs and put in the Venoc warlord. That would still put us at 30 spaces. Put out 2 more squads of venocs and marcu, add the EOV, and viola.

Venoc Warlord
Venoc Vipers x7
EOV

500 points 25 Spaces.

Still one space over, but droping one venoc wouldn't hurt. Now we have a force that still incorperates a ton of venocs, but gets a boost from the warlord, and is still very theme based.

I'd still love to throw down against venocs x12 though. Maybe with Romans x10. What a battle that would be!!

EDIT: Great new thread Sarpedon. I'd rep you, but I must spread the love, so says the rep box.

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Last edited by clancampbell; June 10th, 2009 at 12:36 PM.
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