Hi everyone,

I'm developing a boardgame and I would really like some opinions on balancing factions.

Some background info; It's squad-based (typically 4-man teams), grid-based movement and dice-based combat. Each soldier has 3 stats; Time units, Hitpoints and Strength. Each stat is a number which has 4 possible values each, meaning that I there are 4*4*4 = 64 possible configurations for the soldiers. Each possible build costs x-amount of points to purchase the soldier at the start of the game.

I posted here a while ago (around a year ago) and got some amazing advice about various aspects of the game (If you're bored; http://www.bgdf.com/forum/game-creation/design-theory/different-factions...) - and I thought I had mostly solved my issues with the factions.

Basically, I have 6 factions, and I've managed to end up with a configuration as follows; when you take every soldier in one faction, you add up all the time units - it equals the same amount for every other faction. Same with Hitpoints, and same with Strength. So this means that each faction has access to the exact same 'amount' of stats, and soldiers, and point-costs (this seems balanced to me).

So - I created a battle-simulator which did the following; Each faction fights each other faction (1 at a time). For each faction.v.faction, I have several Wars. Each War consists of Several Battles, and each Battle consists of several Skirmishes.

Each Skirmish is a random "100 point" Squad from 1st Faction, versus a random 100-point Squad from 2nd Faction.

Each Battle picks new random squads from each of the 2 factions. Percentages of who has won/lost get counted.

Each War allocates the win/lose percentages into data bins.

Now here's the problem; when I take the data and fit it to a gaussian curve, I get results which aren't exactly balanced. Factions 1,2,4 and 5 seem to win 49% of the time. Faction 3 wins 50/51% of the time, and Faction 6 wins only 47% of the time.

Here are the win percentages with the standard deviations (achieved from the gaussian curve fitting).

Faction 1: 49.25 +- 1.92

Faction 2: 49.92 +- 1.82

Faction 3: 50.56 +- 1.50

Faction 4: 49.49 +- 1.84

Faction 5: 49.41 +- 1.49

Faction 6: 47.25 +- 1.39

I guess I just wanted to get your opinions on this, and see what everyone thinks. We're only talking +- 2 or 3% after all.. but there *is* a clear difference. It's also worth noting, that when I do something simple like "add 1 single strength to any of the soldiers in faction 6", then the results skew enormously.

So - do you think this is okay? Should I just remove factions 3+6? The only reason there are 6 factions is so that 6 people can play at the same time - (although there's nothing stopping people from playing the same faction, I guess..) - Is there something else I'm missing? Or am I over-analysing this whole thing...?

Thanks in advance for your time!

FrankM and X3M - thanks for taking the time to reply, I really appreciate it.

Edit:let-off studios - just noticed your reply also - I hadn't refreshed the page - I'll reply separately!

FrankMwrote:The latest simulation run consists of 256 Wars, each having 128 Battles, each having 64 Skirmishes (totaling 2,097,152 Skirmishes). It seems that the percentages vary noticeably somewhere around 100k (i.e. one faction is up, the other is down, and vice versa), and from around 200k upwards the percentages converge (or stabilise, I guess?) on the values I've written in my previous post.

FrankMwrote:Yeah that value is about correct - varies between 6.5/7%. Based on your comments, I ran the sim and accounted for the draws, modifying how the percentage is calculated; it increased Faction 2's wins by ~0.5% and decreased Faction 3's similarly. Faction 6 still stuck around the 47% mark though. I think I agree that it makes sense to leave things as they are though, it's useful to know how many times there is a draw.

FrankMwrote:Yep I tried that previous as well; It turns out that swapping any equal-costing soldier between those 2 factions causes chaos with the stats. I even tried doing a "Put one from 6 into 3, take the one from 3 and put into 2, then take the one from 2 and put him back into 6".... but .. yeah.. all those possible permutations made my brain implode - especially after around 6/7 different attempts, all the stats were still chaotic.

X3Mwrote:But looking at those numbers. Take it from me, you can be proud already. They are balancegasm worthy. I am jealous of those numbers.

Thanks man! Yeah it has been a while (I only get time to work on this every few months) - but the progress to get here has only been possible with help from yourself and others!

X3Mwrote:Here are the results from the latest run;

1v2 48.2

1v3 47.5

1v4 50.2

1v5 50.6

1v6 50.0

2v1 50.5

2v3 50.7

2v4 49.7

2v5 44.6

2v6 53.5

3v1 51.3

3v2 48.1

3v4 50.4

3v5 49.9

3v6 52.1

4v1 48.6

4v2 49.1

4v3 48.2

4v5 49.0

4v6 51.4

5v1 48.0

5v2 54.2

5v3 48.8

5v4 49.8

5v6 51.7

6v1 48.7

6v2 45.3

6v3 46.7

6v4 47.2

6v5 47.0

X3Mwrote:Yeah that's one of the first things I changed. I was previously using D8's with playtesting. On the Attack dice, 5678 is a Hit - And the Defence dice, 678 is a Block. (..the numbers are to be replaced with symbols at some point..) This was fine for physical tests; getting a Hit was 50% and getting a block was close to 40% (around 37% if I remember).

So after running my sims, I then changed it to D10, with 67890=Hit=50%, and 7890=Block=40% - that changed my win/lose percentages significantly - giving me the current figures.

X3Mwrote:Yeah I agree - I also have cards, as well as upgrades.

Cards: During the game, players draw random cards which allow them to do things like re-roll dice, modify dice, increase/decrease strength/defence, etc. These can be held for a while (5 card hand limit) and used at the best time.

Upgrades: At the start of the game, players have free choice to buy whatever squad they want, up to the total points allocated by the type of game e.g. 100pt game, 150pt game etc. Upgrades cost up to 3pts each (each soldier can have 1 or 2 upgrades). Each upgrade can boost strength/defence (and some other things) - but they're not permanent and need to be recharged after a couple of uses.

So there are some player-specific choice (upgrades) to help their squad from the start, and random choice with strategic-timing during the game.

X3Mwrote:Well this is the thing, you can buy 4 cheaper soldiers and give them each 1 or 2 useful upgrades, or you can start with 3 expensive soldiers with maybe 2 upgrades between them. So it is possible to use any combination of squad.

Looking at the win percentages from the latest run - does anything here stand out as being broken?