Tactical Command

[Tyranid Special Rules] Spawning
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Author:  asdepicas [ Mon Nov 28, 2011 2:51 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: [Tyranid Special Rules] Spawning

been testing both nyd lists (v10 and leviathan), i like how they are working, but not the spawning part. in my opinion the hive mind tests their enemies with each assault sending more specialized units in each attack until it finds the way to defeat their enemy. i find actual spawning too limited and insuficient to make gaunt units worth using. 9.1.2 list had a spawning method not so limited that worked better in my opinon

Author:  zombocom [ Mon Nov 28, 2011 2:59 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: [Tyranid Special Rules] Spawning

A recent poll showed that the 9.2.1 style was incredibly unpopular. The most popular options were no spawning at all, a spawning queue and individual formation pools. We went with a variant of the individual pools idea.

Author:  Kyrt [ Mon Nov 28, 2011 3:28 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: [Tyranid Special Rules] Spawning

If swarming is to stay then I think as simple a solution as possible is needed - no tables, pre-assigning, remembering etc. To that end I like the regroup mechanic.

Blitz guards regrouping every turn is a big problem if they can go above starting strength IMO, so perhaps a "never more than starting strength" limit is needed just like void shields. If it is restricted to gaunts and gargoyles (according to the simple logic of which synapse creatures are in the formation) no book-keeping is necessary. As to the end phase, I think an automatic return 1 lost unit is fine too. This would basically make it the Imperial Void Shields rule. Borrowing an existing rule from a rulebook army is much more elegant than any of the other mechanisms IMO.

If you wanted to allow swarming more than one unit in the end phase, you could do the equivalent of the regroup - i.e. instead of removing half BMs on a successful rally you can swap some for units. It undermines the simplicity of borrowing the rule from void shields though, so I'm not so keen. The other problem is that there may be situations where a damaged formation is not allowed to rally because it has no blast markers, which would be odd, so that would need another exception. I think the automatic 1 is better on balance - the other benefit being it is the same mechanic as Regeneration.

Author:  zombocom [ Mon Nov 28, 2011 3:31 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: [Tyranid Special Rules] Spawning

Right now I think we need to playtest the Swarming rule we currently have. There will come a time when we look at other options if necessary, but for now we want to focus on trying out what we've come up with.

Author:  asdepicas [ Mon Nov 28, 2011 3:34 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: [Tyranid Special Rules] Spawning

ok, will test more then... just wanted to note that the spawning part seems to be the part that is not working well in our games

Author:  zombocom [ Mon Nov 28, 2011 3:36 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: [Tyranid Special Rules] Spawning

Thanks for the feedback, we really are taking note.

Author:  Kyrt [ Tue Nov 29, 2011 12:37 am ]
Post subject:  Re: [Tyranid Special Rules] Spawning

Ah my apologies, didn't read the dates on the posts properly and thought it was being opened up for options.

Author:  nealhunt [ Tue Nov 29, 2011 4:36 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: [Tyranid Special Rules] Spawning

Tiebreak: I am with the camp that thinks the "half formation size" should not float. If Nids end up with an advantage in tie-breaks, that's fine, as long as the overall list design takes that into account. Have people complained about this seeming unfair in play, or just in theory-world?

Swarming as a replacement for BM removal: I really don't like that as a concept. It never worked well with Necrons. You end up with weird situations where it's beneficial to hold onto BMs because it increases the number of models you can bring to the board. You end up with other weirdness on the opposite end, where an unmolested formation, relatively withdrawn from enemy threats actually cannot regenerate/spawn because they don't have BMs to fuel the process. In practice, it's basically never beneficial to remove BMs unless you've maxed out units.

Prescribed Swarm Options: I think this is workable. Since the lists have gone to formations that are largely defined, it would be a simple matter to note what units the formation may spawn, like E&C proposed. It's just a column on the army list chart.

Discounted Swarm Pool: I think this should probably be be an either/or with spawning dead units. If you can swarm dead units, there's very limited need for pre-purchase. You'd only ever need a handful to last until casualties built up. Also, the amount to discount might be tricky. It would be dependent on how fast you can bring the units on board. If it's fast, there's very little discount, or even a benefit, as you would be effectively keeping units off-board out of harm's way while an on-board formation acted as a delivery system (like Chaos Daemons). On the other hand, if it's too slow it could be cheap but possibly fail in the goal of creating an ever-growing hoard feel. And, of course, any unused units will be perceived as "wasted" points.

Compared to other systems...

v. Chaos: I think the lesson on Chaos is that the summoning system became cumbersome. The multi-stage purchasing system was implemented in an effort to more closely link the purchase price to the value of the units on the board. It was successful, but experience has shown it should have been simplified, a fact which was overlooked based on the rushed time-line for chaos development (as SG was imploding). Also, it's intended to be a "gotcha" power, allowing a formation to ambush the enemy with a daemon swarm, which is not a goal for Nids.

Spawning/swarming needs to avoid a cumbersome system and provide something slower and steadier than daemon summoning but perhaps not entirely devoid of a small "gotcha" element.

v. Necrons: I think the biggest lesson for Necrons is the BM mechanic failure. Turning a system that degrades a formation into a potential benefit is not a good idea. The "void shield" analog system is smoother, and slow and steady. Between that and the replacement-only restriction, it does a good job of creating a resurrection/repair feel.

Spawning/swarming should be mostly slow and steady like the Necrons, but a bit faster and a bit more varied (or less predictable, depending on how you look at it).


So, for brainstorming...

Allow only dead units to spawn.

Give formations a defined set of units they are allowed to swarm/spawn.

Allow formations to get bigger than when they start, but cap the total formation size. That will keep the "monster blitz guard formation" from happening. I would think something like +20% formation size as being about the maximum a formation should be above starting. That's a nice boost if the enemy ignores the formation, but won't create an uber-swarm. As background it can represent limitations on synapse control. Size cap would be noted in the same place as unit choice.

Past that, the player can choose freely on the order of spawning and which units to pick first.

Keep some sort of randomized amount of spawning that is a bit more aggressive than Necrons, but not big enough to allow a big balloon of unexpected units appearing in the enemy's face. I actually think the current system of d3's is decent.

A formation might look like this in the Onachus system:

Name - Units - Cost - Extras - Swarming
Nexus Swarm - 1 Dom - 350/na/na - [extras list] - +8 units, any
Tyranid Swarm - [units] - 200/375/550 - +2 units (+4/+6 for big/uge), gaunts
Trygon Swarm - 3 Trygons - 200/375/550 - +2 units(+4/+6), Raveners

In a Leviathan system, it would be linked to the Synapse clusters and might look like this:

Synapse Cluster - units - cost - Swarming
Warriors - 2 warriors - 100 - +2 units, gaunts
Tyrant - 1 tyrant - 100 - +2 units, gaunts
Tervigon - 1 tervigon - 125 - +2 units, raveners
Dominatrix - 1 Dom - 400 - +8 units, any
[swarming would be fixed at creation for simplicity, not dependent on SC casualties]

Support swarms would basically be the same as Onachus, above.

Those example numbers would put the max growth at roughly 35-40% of of the SC points or 20% of the total swarm cost, depending on the system. A larger swarm would not grow as quickly in proportion to itself but it could store up over several turns, which a smaller formation could not. That would help offset the spawning benefits of lots of small formations getting more dice - not a lot, but it's something.


Too fiddly?

Author:  Dave [ Tue Nov 29, 2011 5:05 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: [Tyranid Special Rules] Spawning

nealhunt wrote:

Many of my nids games have gone to tiebreak, while I agree that they should have an advantage I think they already have it via swarming. I like Tiny-Tim's suggestion for Tiebreak over 9.2.1 and what I've done in the past for Onachus:

Synapse Swarms ignore brood units for the purposes of determining formation strength during tiebreak

It keeps things simple and avoids all the end-phase spawning trickery. In the two games I've played so far both have gone to VP, and despite lots of brood being on the table the loss of the non-brood units in the Synapse Swarms have made the point totals much closer/fairer in my opinion.

Swarming as a replacement for BM removal

I agree with you. Given most Synapse Swarms are going to have very few BMs to begin with (because of lots of expendable units) I think you're more likely to see a higher rate of return using something like Void Shields/Necron then with the 9.2.1/10 d3 system.

Prescribed Swarm Options

Currently this is enforced via this paragraph in swarming:

A formation may only return units to play if it started the game with that type of unit. For example, if a formation began the game with Termagants but not Hormagaunts it could return Termagants, but not Hormagaunts, via swarming.

A column on the army list is another solution but that would involve referencing a GT army list in an army rule that won't always be used with the army list (say in a scenario with predefined formations). I'd rather fully encapsulate it with the paragraph note. It get's us 90% there anyway, the only thing it prevents you from doing is swarming a gargoyle/ravener back to a Synapse Swarm if you didn't take one as an upgrade.

Discounted Swarm Pool

Given the current rate of return I don't think a pre-purchase is necessary either.

cap the total formation size

The ever growing BTS is definitely a worry for me, and something I'm hoping playtests will illuminate a little better. I think capping a formation will definitely be fiddly (lots of counting, remembering what it started the game with, a bit of meta-gaming to figure out the best combination of units to return, etc). If the growing BTS proves to be a problem I'd rather find other ways to circumvent it (kill all non-brood maybe?).

However, if people don't think it's fiddly we could try it if they think it's needed. Rather than tie it to the formation though I think all we'd need to do is tie it to the number of synapse units in the formation (WE count their DC). So a formation with 3 warriors would be capped at its starting strength plus three.

Author:  nealhunt [ Tue Nov 29, 2011 5:47 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: [Tyranid Special Rules] Spawning

Dave wrote:
A formation may only return units to play if it started the game with that type of unit. For example, if a formation began the game with Termagants but not Hormagaunts it could return Termagants, but not Hormagaunts, via swarming.

A column on the army list is another solution but that would involve referencing a GT army list in an army rule that won't always be used with the army list (say in a scenario with predefined formations).

Yep. You're right. The same applies to the total formation size if you want to allow them to get larger than beginning strength - something GT-neutral would be needed.

In retrospect, I don't really like the idea I posted, but that's what brainstorming is for.

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