Narrowing the Tiers 2015: Plasmoids CRP+ & NTBB
[NTBB2015 Rosters & Summary] [Changelog] [NTBB inducement hand-outs]
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2. Narrowing the Tiers: Why?
When BBRC developed the current (CRP) rules for Blood Bowl they decided to tie each of the power-tiers to a specific win percentage and as a result made minor modifications to a few official team lists - essentially reeling in the top teams and bringing up the rear. That trend continued on Galak’s list with the changes to the Human team. I think this was a brilliant and bold move by the BBRC. Even so, I wish they would have made the gap between the tiers a lot narrower.

With my NT Roster changes I’m taking that idea further. Further – admittedly – than the BBRC themselves would have wanted.

To do this, I’m using inferential statistics to examine which teams have been overperforming or underperforming under CRP rules. For further details read on here. It is worth noting, that I’m not using the same definition of the tiers as the BBRC – most notably I use 30-40 point TV bands rather than lifetime performance, I don’t include mirror matches, I raise the bottom of tier 1 and I move up tier 2 and 3. The result is a narrower definition of the tiers which in turn leads to changes to teams that do not seem imbalanced under the BBRC’s definition of balance.

The results is changes to 10 of the 24 official rosters indicated by the inferential data.
As for the particular changes made, they were based on online polls, personal preference and feedback from players. They were not based on match-level statistics, and I do not pretend that these are the only ways that these rosters could have been fixed. In short, the changes are intended to nerf or buff particular teams, but whether they work as intended remains to be seen.

When choosing the specific changes, my rules were simple enough:
a) No overhauls: The changes are intended to be small, simple and significant.
b) All team changes must be unambiguous nerfs or buffs.
c) No new miniatures required (or made obsolete) - your painted up team is still good.

The ambition is to rein in the strongest starters, while buffing the tier 2 teams (Vampire, Underworld) to the cusp of tier 1, and giving a substantial boost to the tier 3 teams (Goblin, Halfling, Ogre) without making them equal to proper tier 1 teams. My ambition is not equilibrium - I just want teams to suck or shine by a narrower margin. Or to face the grandaddy of all strawmen: 'I don't want every team to become 0-16 6338 linemen' and 'I don't want BB to become chess'.
My ambition is the exact opposite! I want more variety and more fun, by having more teams widely played - I want the joke teams to be funny on the pitch, rather than just in the back of the rule book. And I want a wider field of contenders in tournaments and short leagues - rather than so many duplicates of the strongest starters.

But why aren’t all teams equal in the first place?
The disparity between the teams in BB originated in first edition and has carried over into 2nd edition, 3rd edition, the LRBs and finally into the current rules - the CRP. Somewhere in 3rd ed. the Blood Bowl community dubbed this the 'tiers', and sorted teams into tier 1, 2 and 3. The main argument for the inequality seems to be that some coaches love or indeed need a challenge, and the tier 2 and 3 teams provide a challenge, that can be played 'balls out'. But why should a good coach be limited to so few (and mildly redundant) options?
And why is it 'balls out' to play a team gimped by the rulebook - yet somehow not 'balls out' to play a team gimped by your league commissioner?
There are so many easy ways to gimp a roster - or better yet, assign a TV increase to the coach in need of a challenge, and let the inducement system take care of the rest. With such a simple rule in place, there's no reason not to make all rosters reasonably competitive. The übercoach can have a challenge with any team, while everyone else get more interesting options to choose from. This is what the NT Rosters intend to provide.

The NTBB Rosters - [Click here to see the full rosters, rulebook-style]
Tier 1 - minor nerfs

Player

Qty

Price

MA

ST

AG

AV

Skills

Talent

Doubles

Wood Elf: Wardancer

0-2

120K

8

3

4

7

Dodge, Fend, Leap, Block

GA

PS

Wardancers trade Block for Fend. This most likely will push Strip Ball back a bit on the development curve, giving other teams some time to respond.

 

Player

Qty

Price

MA

ST

AG

AV

Skills

Talent

Doubles

Undead: Mummy

0-2

120K

3

5

1

9

Regenerate, Grab, Mighty Blow

A

GAP

Mummies trade Mighty Blow for Grab - making the Undead team less potent against opponents with a shallow bench.

 

Player

Qty

Price

MA

ST

AG

AV

Skills

Talent

Doubles

Amazon: Linewoman

0-16

60K

6

3

3

7

Dodge

G

APS

Linewomen takes a price hike to 60K, making the team less min-maxable, and in turn making Blitzers, Catchers and Throwers better value for money.

Tier 1 & 2 - minor boosts

Player

Qty

Price

MA

ST

AG

AV

Skills

Talent

Doubles

Chaos: Minotaur Lord

0-1

150K

5

5

2

8

Loner, Wild Animal, Frenzy, Horns, Leader, Mighty Blow, Thick Skull

SM

GAP

The Chaos team is a slow starter (and with Plasmoids CRP+’ nerf to the killstack, they don't get as good later on). Starting with a leader helps get them off the ground.

 

Player

Qty

Price

MA

ST

AG

AV

Skills

Talent

Doubles

High Elf: Thrower

0-2

90K

6

3

4

8

Pass, Safe Throw, Accurate

GAP

S

The High Elf team struggles in early play and is by far the least popular of the elf teams. Their signature player gets Accurate for free, making them truly the best thrower in the game.

 

Player

Qty

Price

MA

ST

AG

AV

Skills

Talent

Doubles

Slann: Blitzer

0-4

100K

7

3

3

8

Diving Tackle, Jump Up, Leap, Very Long Legs

GAS

P

Slann teams struggle early on, and the Blitzer is not a popular player. 10K off his price sweetens the deal.

 

Player

Qty

Price

MA

ST

AG

AV

Skills

Talent

Doubles

Vampire: Thrall

0-16

40K

6

3

3

7

Thick Skull

G

APS

All human linemen are 6337 + something. Thus the hardiest thralls follow their masters unto the Blood Bowl pitch, making the team less likely to self-destruct.

Tier 3 - the biggest boosts

Player

Qty

Price

MA

ST

AG

AV

Skills

Talent

Doubles

Goblin :River Troll

0-2

110K

4

5

1

9

Loner, Always Hungry, Really Stupid, Foul Appearance, Mighty Blow, Regenerate, Thick Skull, TTM

S

GAP

The Trolls on the Goblin team are upgraded to disgusting and durable River Trolls - making it much harder to take them out.
Also: Plasmoids CRP+’ rules for Right Stuff and Sneaky Git are bound to help Goblin teams in developed play.

 

Player

Qty

Price

MA

ST

AG

AV

Skills

Talent

Doubles

Ogre: Snotling

0-16

20K

6

1

3

6

Dodge, Right Stuff, Side Step, Stunty, Titchy

A

GPS

The puny Snotlings become slightly less puny - but he is still the weakest and squishiest player in the game.
Also: The team gets a 10K discount on both Ogres and ReRolls - and Plasmoids CRP+’ rules for Right Stuff will help too.

 

Player

Qty

Price

MA

ST

AG

AV

Skills

Talent

Doubles

Halfling: Catcher

0-4

50K

5

2

4

6

Dodge, Right Stuff, Stunty

A

GPS

The Halfling team gets a Catcher position with AG+ - as a nod to their unusually agile catchers in 2nd ed.
Also: Plasmoids CRP+’ rules for Right Stuff are bound to help Halfling teams in developed play.

 

Changelog - Locked for 2015
The NTBB project started back in 2009 and with the 2015 version I consider the NTBB rules finished. Changes to the rules were made on january 1st, and are locked for playtest for (at least) a full year. The latest version is NTBB2015.

Changelog 2015

1.     CRP+ Khemri: Due to both feedback from players and the passage of time, the Khemri team reverts to the CRP roster.

2.     NTBB High Elfs: The new 2014 rule for High Elfs was not well recieved, so now High Elfs gain Accurate on top of their CRP statline, rather than swap one skill for another.

Changelog 2014

1.     CRP+ Bank: Bank size is increased to 150K.

2.     CRP+ Right Stuff: Part of Galak's original list I've re-introduced the ability for Right Stuff to protect the player from Tackle on a Block/Blitz.
 

3.     Orc, Dwarf and Underworld Team: Revert to official line-up.

4.     Amazon Team: Revert to official line-up - but the price of linegirls is increased to 60K

5.     High Elf Team: Thrower loses Safe Throw but gains Sure Hands.

6.     Chaos Team: Minotaur becomes Minotaur Lord and gains Leader.

7.     Halfling Team: Halfling linemen revert to official stats.

8.     Gobbo Team: The 3 Secret Weapons revert to official stats. However, Trolls become River Trolls and gain Foul Appearance and Thick Skull.

Changelog 2013

9.     Bank rule changed and simplified: Any cash in treasury above 100K adds to TV. If this money is used as Petty Cash no further TV is added for it.

10.  SG: Roll a d6 after each drive if the player has been sent off. He returns to play on a 4+. Injuries may prevent him from playing as normal.

11.  Slann Team: Blitzer reduced to 100K.

12.  Undead Team: Mummies lose access to G-skills.

13.  Wood Elf Team: Wardancers become 8347, Dodge, Leap, Fend

14.  Halfling Team: Rerolls back to 60K. Catchers cut to 0-4.

15.  Gobbo Team: Rerolls back to 60K. Trolls back to 0-2, but lose Loner. The Secret Weapons gain SG for +10K each.

Changelog 2012

1.     Right Stuff change: Moved to just Titchy - The other stunty sides get a 10K RR discount instead.

2.     Wizard: Lightning Bolt returns, but price is increased to 200K (Approved by Galak and Doubleskulls)

3.     SG: Isn't good enough. New version will be tested - see above (Approved by Galak and Doubleskulls)
22/2 2012: Reaching total agreement on the rules with DoubleSkulls and GalakStarscraper has prompted me to make 2 post-deadline changes

4.     Piling On: Piling on can no longer be used to reroll armor rolls. It's injury rolls only.

5.     Claw: Works on a roll of 8 before modification, (meaning that it does not combo with Mighty Blow on the armor roll)

6.     Orc team: Instead of removing the thrower, Blitzers are priced at 90K.

7.     Amazon team: Short term nerf (Wrestle Blitzers) and long term buff (all-A-access and Diving Catch on the Catchers for free).

8.     Halfling team: Dryads are dropped, so is a rostered Chef. Instead, halflings are split in 2 positions (linemen 5237 and catchers 5246)

9.     Ogre team: Buff not big enough. Snots become 6136, while ReRolls are dropped to 60K - and Titchy prevents Tackle from affecting the block dice.

10.  Vampire team: Loses the ReRoll discount. Their buff is now simply Thick Skull on the thralls.