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Darth Sanguis

Reverse Engineering point-costs

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Okay, so for the last few months I've had a little pet project of trying to sort out (roughly) how FFG prices each unit. I asked around some of the people I know and one of the math oriented people in my circle made the suggestion of looking at a single unit, find the most basic parts of that unit, and breaking them down as +1, 0, -1 values, and going from there. I've started doing that and it seems to work for a lot of stuff, but there are details that don't add up and units that don't come even close. 


I wanted to see if anyone has done any sort of reverse engineering and come close before? 




 

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A summery of my take off for anyone interested (to be edited as I go):


Stormtroopers.png
 I was able to break down the unit as such:

1 HP +1(after a significant number of these, I believe the HP costs +2 for each point over 1)
1C +1 
SP2 +1 (Speed 1 is -1 speed 2 is +1 as best I can tell)
R-D+1 (red defenses +1 white defenses -1)
S2A+1 (surge to attack and surge to block are +1 each, surge to crit is +2)
Melee B+1 (a single white is included, upgrading costs +1 per color per die)
(ranged dice work similar, ranges above or below 3 merit ± values)
core+4 (upgrade slots at +1 each)
Precise 1 +1 (keywords are a big variable so some of them are still questionable)

=11ea mini



Snowtroopers.png

1 HP +1
1C +1 
SP1 -1
R-D +1 
S2A+1 
Melee B+1 
core+4
Steady +4 (This was the first Keyword that seemed to have a much higher value, but based on the free attack, I think it could be correct)


=12ea mini

Shoretroopers.png

1 HP +1
1C +1 
SP2 +1
R-D +1 
Melee B +1 
Ranged B +1
core +4
Training +1
Target 1 +1
Coordinate +1


=13ea mini

Rebel%20Troopers.png

1 HP +1
1C +1 
SP2 +1
W-D -1 
S2B+1 
Melee B+1 
Ranged B +1
core+4
Nimble +1


=10ea mini

Fleet%20Troopers.png

1 HP +1
1C +1 
SP2 +1
W-D -1 
S2A +1
S2B +1 
Melee B +1 
Range 2 -1
R add D +1
core +4
Ready 1 +2


=11ea mini


Rebel%20Veterans.png

1 HP +1
1C +1 
SP2 +1
W-D -1
S2A +1 
S2B +1 
Melee B +1 
Ranged B +1
core +4
Training +1
Defend 1 +1
Coordinate +1


=13ea mini (Vets seem, by this method of accounting, to be under costed. I don't know if this indicates an error in the calculations or if the final price was a post play test reduction. ) 

B1%20Battle%20Droids.png

1 HP +1
1C +1 
SP2 +1
W-D -1 
core +3
Coordinate +1
AI:A -1
Droid-T +1


=6ea mini

B2%20Super%20Battle%20Droids.png

2 HP +3
2C +2
SP2 +1
W-D -1 
Ranged B +1
Melee B +1
Range 2 -1
add Dice +1
core +3
AI:A -1
Droid-T +1
Armor 1 +1


=11ea mini (supposed to be 16 each? Compared to how close some of the others are either armor 1 is hyper expensive, this unit needed to be nerfed, or this calculation is way off. I honestly have no idea)

Phase%20I%20Clone%20Troopers.png

1 HP +1
1C +1 
SP2 +1
R-D +1 
Melee B +1 
Ranged B +1
core +4
Fire Support +2
Clone T +1


=13ea mini

Phase%20II%20Clone%20Troopers.png

1 HP +1
2C +2 
SP2 +1
R-D +1 
Melee B +1 
Ranged B +1
core +4
Training +1
Reliable 1 +1
Fire Support +2
Clone T +1


=16ea mini (This unit appears to be slightly under costed, again, not sure why that is)

Edited by Darth Sanguis

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5 minutes ago, DFocke said:

The game designers have said in at least a couple of interviews (I don't remember which ones, or where to find them if I did) that they do not use a formula for the cost of units. Or at least that is not how they come to a final point cost for release.

I imagine they must have some basic level of costing, likely subject to change upon testing, I can't imagine they just throw a number at the wall to see what sticks. lol 


That said, I'll look into it. I may be able to shake that interview loose somewhere. If it's true, they are pretty good at eyeballing this stuff. 

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30 minutes ago, thepopemobile100 said:

I can tell you right now that if B2s were 11 points per mini they'd be way too overpowered. It'd make them the most efficient source of HP in the game and still be brutal once they get in range.

Oh yeah, I agree. B2s feel about dead on in power/survivability to cost. 

What I'm having a tough time with is understanding why the difference. If the costs seem to align on other units do you think this method is accurate and they just adjusted the cost after testing? 

 

Edited by Darth Sanguis

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12 minutes ago, Darth Sanguis said:

What I'm having a tough time with is understanding why. If the costs seem to align on other units do you think this method is accurate and they just adjusted the cost after testing? 

I think that's exactly what they do. Got to remember that theres nothing saying they have to use/stick to a formula, at the end of the day they can say the points for a unit are whatever they want it to be.

I bet they use formula similar to the one u have come up with to get the initial cost in the ball park of what they want it to be. But by the end of there testing if they feel the formula has undercosted/overcosted a unit they just change the point cost to be where they think it should be. Hence y your formula doesnt add up on some of the units

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2 minutes ago, lunitic501 said:

I think that's exactly what they do. Got to remember that theres nothing saying they have to use/stick to a formula, at the end of the day they can say the points for a unit are whatever they want it to be.

I bet they use formula similar to the one u have come up with to get the initial cost in the ball park of what they want it to be. But by the end of there testing if they feel the formula has undercosted/overcosted a unit they just change the point cost to be where they think it should be. Hence y your formula doesnt add up on some of the units

Makes sense. 

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I do have some experience in play testing miniature games (not legion), and while there are a number of ways to initially come up with point costs, generally speaking it starts with something like deciding on an arbitrary number of points for a standard game. You want the number to be large enough so that you have granularity in adjusting point costs, but small enough for the numbers not to be intimidating. Then you come up with a point cost for your baseline unit/miniature. So for example if you are going for your basic grunt to cost about 1% of the total points for a standard game a 1,000 point game would have basic grunts be 10 points. Then you go from there for other units. Maybe a commander costs about 10 times that of a grunt, an elite trooper 50% more, and a total bad a** 20 times more. These are just your initial estimates that will very likely change during playtesting. Sometimes you adjust point costs, and sometimes you adjust stats/abilities.

 

Originally Legion was going to be played at 1,000 points (again from interviews or live streams. I don't remember exactly where), but during playtesting it was found that a game was taking too long. So the point level of a game was dropped to by 20%. However I don't think it is a coincidence that the game was originally designed for 1,000 points, and that a rebel trooper costs 10. I would not be surprised that if early on in the design of Legion stormtroopers also cost 10 points each, but were found to be a little stronger than rebels so got a 10% point increase. A strict formula for how much a unit will cost is usually not a good way to balance a game. Some abilities will synergies better or worse together effecting the strength of a unit that will not show up in a points formula. Also how well a unit will synergies within its own faction should effect the price. Two units identical on paper can have vastly different power levels depending on what else is available to a specific army. These are some of the considerations that need to be taken into account when pricing a unit that a formula will not show.

 

Again, I have/had no part in playtesting Legion. So this is all just speculation on my part based somewhat on my experience as a playtester for other systems. Coming up with a points formula for units can be fun, and useful for initial ideas for homebrew units, but it is not likely how existing units received their point cost. But if it is something that you enjoy doing, I say keep at it! I do find it interesting what you are coming up with. I thought I'd just share a small piece of how the sausage of game design is made.

Edited by DFocke

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9 minutes ago, DFocke said:

I do have some experience in play testing miniature games (not legion), and while there are a number of ways to initially come up with point costs, generally speaking it starts with something like deciding on an arbitrary number of points for a standard game. You want the number to be large enough so that you have granularity in adjusting point costs, but small enough for the numbers not to be intimidating. Then you come up with a point cost for your baseline unit/miniature. So for example if you are going for your basic grunt to cost about 1% of the total points for a standard game a 1,000 point game would have basic grunts be 10 points. Then you go from there for other units. Maybe a commander costs about 10 times that of a grunt, an elite trooper 50% more, and a total bad a** 20 times more. These are just your initial estimates that will very likely change during playtesting. Sometimes you adjust point costs, and sometimes you adjust stats/abilities.

 

Originally Legion was going to be played at 1,000 points (again from interviews or live streams. I don't remember exactly where), but during playtesting it was found that a game was taking too long. So the point level of a game was dropped to by 20%. However I don't think it is a coincidence that the game was originally designed for 1,000 points, and that a rebel trooper costs 10. I would not be surprised that if early on in the design of Legion stormtroopers also cost 10 points each, but were found to be a little stronger than rebels so got a 10% point increase. A strict formula for how much a unit will cost is usually not a good way to balance a game. Some abilities will synergies better or worse together effecting the strength of a unit that will not show up in a points formula. Also how well a unit will synergies within its own faction should effect the price. Two units identical on paper can have vastly different power levels depending on what else is available to a specific army. These are some of the considerations that need to be taken into account when pricing a unit that a formula will not show.

 

Again, I have/had no part in playtesting Legion. So this is all just speculation on my part based somewhat on my experience as a playtester for other systems. Coming up with a points formula for units can be fun, and useful for initial ideas for homebrew units, but it is not likely how existing units received their point cost. But if it is something that you enjoy doing, I say keep at it! I do find it interesting what you are coming up with. I thought I'd just share a small piece of how the sausage of game design is made.

Much appreciated! 

That does make me consider looking at them again from that design aspect. Single mini units are proving difficult to cost under the current method. I presumed there was likely a multiplier based on HP or some other prerequisite, but it does seem more logical to  look at it like that.

I'll look into it.  

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armor 1 is definitely worth more than +1 point because its negating an entire hit against the unit each time its attacked.

its better than dodge and nimble because its always active and not just active when you have a dodge token to spend.

thats why the B2s point cost probably isnt coming out right.

Edited by Khobai

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5 minutes ago, Khobai said:

armor 1 is definitely worth more than +1 point because its negating an entire hit against the unit each time its attacked.

its better than dodge and nimble because its always active and not just active when you have a dodge token to spend.

thats why the B2s point cost probably isnt coming out right.

I felt that was likely the case, I'm having trouble pinning down just how much Armor 1 should cost though...  there's a 5 point difference between the printed and the estimated. Considering the Keywords that grant free attacks cap out around 4 points (by estimate), how much is Armor 1 really worth? 

Not too sure. I would imagine at best it clocks in at +3, but I don't have any other multi-mini units to use as a control group. B2s are the only troopers with that keyword so far(I think?). 

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10 minutes ago, Darth Sanguis said:

I felt that was likely the case, I'm having trouble pinning down just how much Armor 1 should cost though...  there's a 5 point difference between the printed and the estimated. Considering the Keywords that grant free attacks cap out around 4 points (by estimate), how much is Armor 1 really worth? 

Not too sure. I would imagine at best it clocks in at +3, but I don't have any other multi-mini units to use as a control group. B2s are the only troopers with that keyword so far(I think?). 

A different perspective is armor X may be worth, after doing the initial calculations, how much it negates in relation to a unit? B2s are 10 per mini if you remove the +1 for armor. Armor 1 saves one hit, or 5 points on a 2 health unit. Add that in and B2s are now 15 which is inline with the rest of you workings. 

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armor 1 arguably saves more than 1 hit if the unit isnt wiped out in a single attack pool.

however armor 1 also comes with susceptibility to impact weapons so it has pretty severe downside

it has some weird interactions with impact weapons and cover that arnt really right.

 

Edited by Khobai

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4 minutes ago, codytx2 said:

A different perspective is armor X may be worth, after doing the initial calculations, how much it negates in relation to a unit? B2s are 10 per mini if you remove the +1 for armor. Armor 1 saves one hit, or 5 points on a 2 health unit. Add that in and B2s are now 15 which is inline with the rest of you workings. 

 

6 minutes ago, Khobai said:

+3 sounds about right

since its better than a free dodge + nimble

and you have a free dodge at +1 and nimble at +1

Both excellent points! 
 

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7 minutes ago, Khobai said:

armor 1 arguably saves more than 1 hit if the unit isnt wiped out in a single attack pool.

however armor 1 also comes with susceptibility to impact weapons so it has pretty severe downside

Impact doesn't really affect armor 1 since it coverts a hit to a crit after dodge/cover. At that point they'd need as much impact as number of hits that went through or armor 1 will still cancel one of them.

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7 minutes ago, arnoldrew said:

I imagine that's exactly what they do, then playtest.

Just seems counter intuitive. At least to me. Starting with a rudimentary "by the numbers" build and playtesting that, adjusting as needed seems like it would take a lot of the back and fourth out of the process if the numbers they started with were too far off. Then again I have zero playtesting experience and zero game design experience, so maybe Legion is just some really sticky spaghetti lol 

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3 hours ago, Darth Sanguis said:

A summery of my take off for anyone interested (to be edited as I go):


Stormtroopers.png
 I was able to break down the unit as such:

1 HP +1(after a significant number of these, I believe the HP costs +2 for each point over 1)
1C +1 
SP2 +1 (Speed 1 is -1 speed 2 is +1 as best I can tell)
R-D+1 (red defenses +1 white defenses -1)
S2A+1 (surge to attack and surge to block are +1 each, surge to crit is +2)
Melee B+1 (a single white is included, upgrading costs +1 per color per die)
(ranged dice work similar, ranges above or below 3 merit ± values)
core+4 (upgrade slots at +1 each)
Precise 1 +1 (keywords are a big variable so some of them are still questionable)

=11ea mini
 

Nice post, but I don't get what is that 1C in red. Courage?

Edited by Vector Strike

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On 9/24/2020 at 4:19 AM, DFocke said:

The game designers have said in at least a couple of interviews (I don't remember which ones, or where to find them if I did) that they do not use a formula for the cost of units. Or at least that is not how they come to a final point cost for release.

Is that why the balance is all over the place?

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On 9/23/2020 at 3:28 PM, Darth Sanguis said:

Just seems counter intuitive. At least to me. Starting with a rudimentary "by the numbers" build and playtesting that, adjusting as needed seems like it would take a lot of the back and fourth out of the process if the numbers they started with were too far off. Then again I have zero playtesting experience and zero game design experience, so maybe Legion is just some really sticky spaghetti lol 

You have to imagine that if a game has a single lead designer/developer for a period of time, that person would have a good idea on the general power level of things and could probably whip up a unit card and ballpark a point cost pretty easily.

Also, I would imagine keeping certain units within a certain points range is just as much a goal as making sure they are appropriately costed for their abilities. So then you have 2 main variables. You can adjust the points of the unit to account for the abilities, or you can adjust the abilities to account for the points. But this also implies there wasn't a formula to begin with anyway.

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On 9/27/2020 at 8:22 AM, lologrelol said:

Is that why the balance is all over the place?

yes.

because if they had an actual point system theres no way a dewback would cost more than 2 tauntauns.

and yes the dewback costs more because you have to buy upgrades for it because the poor thing panics off the board without endurance. and it kindve needs a ranged weapon too even though theyre all horrendously overcosted.

Edited by Khobai

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