Saturday, January 31, 2015

Costing Out Initiative Differences

Euriochrome and I have been kicking around some ideas for what the objective 'value' of initiative might be in the game. In the process, we've discovered that there isn't going to be one value, but at least 3 major types. I think I've come up with a decent value to start with though.

Types Of Initiative Value

First off, there's going to be a value multiplier for a unit that might get a bonus or a penalty to the standard attacker or defender initiative dictated by the mission. Conscripts might start the game a point lower than everyone else, for instance. While elite units would start one point higher.

Second, there will be the initiative bonuses and penalties that a unit might have because of a special rule. Examples would be a Heavy Weapon team losing an additional point of IN for moving/running. Or a unit with 'Frenzy' having their IN go up if they move into melee with an enemy.

Third, there will be the bonuses and penalties that are applied because another unit does something special to you. Examples of this would be an 'inspirational' officer boosting a nearby unit's IN upward. Or a model's pinning weapon that would automatically lower the target's IN by one point for every hit, whether they penetrate or not.

To some extent, all of these are going to be arbitrary values. But if we can give some structure to our thinking about them, we can at least make educated guesses.

Costing Starting Initiative Values

Conceptually, this one is the easiest, I think. Here's what I've done:

Starting from left to right on the chart, we have the unit's initiative. Then I've listed how many of the other 10 initiatives that particular value can beat, or be beaten, by. Subtracting the number they can be beaten by, from the number they can beat, gives a result between 9 and -9.

I then divide that number by 9 to get a ratio, and add one to make all the numbers positive. This gives us a nice linear progression from zero worth (IN 1), to double-worth (IN 10). Each step is worth 0.166667 if I cut it off at 6 decimal places.

Then finally, to account for the fact that 7 will be the standard defending IN value in a game, I divided all of the range by 1.33334. Why? Because if you have some number for a unit's worth, and you multiply it by one, your result will be the same as the number you started with. But if you go higher or lower than the standard value, the multiplier will increase or decrease your unit's total value accordingly.

Or put another way, Veterans (+1 IN) would cost 17% more than standard. While conscripts would cost 17% less.

And no, a starting IN of 1 (which would make the unit free) won't be an option. :)

So for the cost of a unit's starting Initiative, we get... (total_unit_cost * IN_val).

Another Way Of Looking At It

I made up this chart of what would happen in a shootout between two 'equal' units that differ only according to their initiative:

Eriochrome fiddled with this some more, and came back with about a 11% gain without the movement advantage, and 32% with it. Averaging those yields 21%, and he's recommending 11-15% as a baseline value. That's pretty close to the 16.7% step value that I came up with in the first table above. So maybe we're on to something here. :)

As for the other value types, those will have to be multipliers to the component values (mobility, weapons and other things) that make up the individual parts of a model's total value. But I think we might have our baseline step value, at least.


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