As mentioned yesterday, I’ve been using BR in order to let players do a bit of customization of their forces for DoW:Battles. Usually that just amounts to allowing a substitution of 3 light infantry for 2 heavy infantry, or something simple like that. I think the BR values do a pretty good job of enforcing fair value on replacements for all the basic troops, even ranged vs melee.
The place where I start to have difficulty is on some of the troops off the exotic creature roster, where it frequently seems like stronger monster troops are underbudgeted relative to the base troop types. I’m currently building a few new units for test purposes. The rules commentary on calculating BR actively encourage a certain amount of formula tweaking to make things “come out right”, but I want to make sure I’m doing things correctly before I start to radically changes values on an ad hoc basis.
There are two common causes of BR “feeling” too low:
The troops have a very good attack throw, and the BR formula doesn’t seem to have any way to account for differences in attack throw quality.
The BR is lowered by the extra 1/2 reduction factor for non-sentient troop types.
I’m actually not sure if I’m right about #1; maybe there is some place in the formula that is indirectly accounting for attack throws, and I’m just not recognizing it. So I figured I’d ask here to see if I missed it.
For #2, it’s clearly listed in the rules, but there I’m wondering if there’s some tactical rule that justifies it in a way I don’t appreciate. I’ve scanned the tactical rules in Battles to see if there’s any consequence to using non-sentient troops – it makes perfect sense to me that there should be – but I can’t find one. They often have extra expenses when taken on campaign, but that shouldn’t factor into BR. So I’m feeling like this is a basic disconnect between the fast combat resolution system involving BR (which penalizes hunter and guard monster units heavily) and the full tactical system, which lets them run wild.
Sometimes both of these effects combine together to make a BR calculation feel very wrong to me. The example I asked about a year or so ago was the T-Rex, which is currently “priced” (in BR) at around the same value as a comparable unit of beastman infantry (a bit cheaper than a unit of heavy orcs), but seems substantially more powerful: 6 attacks, better attack throws, better morale, excellent saving throws, and superior armor, with no drawbacks of similar significance.
I think I also singled out the purple worm, which is currently worth BR 0.069, less than four human heavy infantry (0.017 each). When I questioned this before, Alex pointed out some drawbacks to colossal units (bulky, fragile). I can also see some simulationist rationalizations (maybe phlanx/schiltrom might work well at repulsing stupid creatures like purple worms?), but at the end of the day, it’s still hard to believe a 15 HD monster is only worth four(!) 0th-level(!!) mercenaries. If I were in a company of 120 normal infantry, I would not want 30 purple worms charging at us – even if they did have to come in one at a time, and we were drawn up in a shield wall. That would play out as a slaughter in man-to-man.
My first inclination is that I’m just going to remove the 1/2-factor BR penalty for nonsentients, so BR-based Campaigns fast-combat resolution matches up better with the expected man-to-man Core results and tactical Battles results. But I always ask here first, since I often learn that these issues have been given a great deal of thought and that there’s a good reason for design decisions that I didn’t initially perceive.