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2015-12-08 20:25:16
7 votes, rating 5.7
Creativity and BB tactics
How important is creativity to a good BB coach?

The more games I seem to have played, the more board situations look alike, with me choosing a similar solution.

Is creativity in BB a thing? Or is repetition overlord here.

I kinda wanna go back to thinking 3+'s never fail, things seemed more fun then:p

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Comments
Posted by Mateuszzzzzz on 2015-12-08 20:34:44
Play drunk more.
Posted by pythrr on 2015-12-08 20:36:04
creativity is very important.
Posted by Timetis on 2015-12-08 20:36:20
I wish I could rate comments too - thats a 6
Posted by koadah on 2015-12-08 21:03:27
I figure that the better coach you are the less 'creative' you need to be. ;)
Posted by mrbibitte3 on 2015-12-08 21:15:45
I feel creativity can make a coach very good. In "casual man to man" league, I often find the creative personalities dominate. But they are also more prone to "brain farts" and though good creatives are often playing with a dash of genius, they have a tendency to be somewhat less optimized.

In the ultimate end, very well organized, experienced and computerized coaches do have the edge over creative types... but hell are they boring to play against !!!

***

The Vampire team is made for creative types...
Posted by PaddyMick on 2015-12-08 21:17:10
Some of the best game winning moves i've done or spectated have been what you might call creative. I'm about multiple chainpushes, -2d pushes to force a score and such like. Also they are risky which isn't always the optimum way to play. Yes the best coaches know how to take risks. Here's the thing though that could be classed as creative and is absolutely essential: Adjusting to whats happening - which in a dice game very varied. Have a plan A and plan B, sure - but be prepared to think of plans C, D and E on the bounce.
Posted by Uedder on 2015-12-08 22:22:57
It's very important. But it won't make you a great coach alone. Knowing when to pull out a creative play to get the best out of it - and when to be conservative - is the difference between top coaches and crazy ones.

That said, fumbbl says prov is number 1 and he's the archetypal 'creative' 'think-out-of-the-box' coach.

I'd say you should know how to play solid and conservative but also know when to throw that all away and let madness run wild! :)
Posted by bghandras on 2015-12-08 22:23:30
There are patterns, and pattern recognition is important, but there are so many variables that there is almost never the same exact situation.

My take i that creativity is VERY important. You need to have a 3D visual image (2D of the pitch and 3rd D as time), which starts with the current position, and leads to the perfect situation. (To do so you need to guess correctly what you need to achive, what time do you have for that.) What makes it super complicated is that the risks taken by opponent has a huge influence how risky your plan becomes in reality.
Posted by licker on 2015-12-08 23:43:32
I don't look at much in BB as creative anymore. It's really much more analytical, if you see a position, and you see what tools you have to 'solve' the position, you take the best approach to that solution.

To some this process looks like creativity, but I actually think it's the opposite, just that you've become more like a chess grand master who's innate understanding of what certain positions mean gives you a huge advantage over players who don't see the same possibilities.

I suppose that sounds like creativity, but I think the term is misapplied. Creativity rears it's head far more frequently on the fluff side than the actual game side in my opinion.
Posted by ArthurWynne on 2015-12-09 00:02:29
I would say there isn't any real room for creativity in Blood Bowl, although it may be a matter of semantics. As I see it, good play is a matter of looking at the boardstate and seeing the best options, then making those plays in the way that best manages the ever-present risk of failure. And no matter how creative you are, you can't make options that aren't there.

Now, is finding an option that others would never have thought of creative? (Like using Diving Catch to extend the range of your Bombardiers, to name one that impressed me recently.) I would rather call it analytical, but I can see how there would be room for disagreement.
Posted by happygrue on 2015-12-09 02:38:07
It's an interesting question. I think that there are actually two angles to this, and I'm not sure if there really is a "true" answer.

I tend to think that a great many high-level coaches tend to play a very analytical game, as licker outlines, that has a lot of risk-reward thinking and feels like a cross between poker and chess. Much like a "real wargame", actually - but wrapped in our weird and lovable fantasy sports theme.

On the other hand, I can think of some top notch coaches that I've played that have REALLY surprised me by doing "the wrong thing at the right time". They've come up with some really crazy plan that half of people watching would dismiss as too risky and the other half would dismiss as foolish. And yet, sometimes the game state is one that you can very carefully lose all game and you NEED to do "something bad" to get out of it. Here is where creativity comes in.

I can think of games that I lost by playing too carefully all game long and then realizing that at some point I should have taken a bigger risk. I can think of other games where I have played for several turns in a row with what probably looks like a bad plan to anyone watching, but trying to do things that I don't have a firm plan for, but are instead focused on just trying to make my opponent do something unexpected and hoping to react to these.

It's not your A plan, but in some situations I think this sort of play is your best chance of actually winning the game. This kind of place is where real creativity comes in. Consider those games where you are winning, and you feel that all you have to do is hang on to the lead... you play carefully and then it comes down to your opponent doing something unexpected or getting really lucky. If you are more creative than your opponent, the odds are good that he has few unexpected plays in those situations.

Or maybe licker's right. Nuffle save us!
Posted by koadah on 2015-12-09 07:54:03
If you "NEED to do something bad" then you are just making the right move for the situation.

If you are playing against a weak coach then you can often just sit an wait for the mistake. Against a better coach you know that the mistake will not come and they will eventually out position you. So, then you need to be more bold.

That is not being more creative it is just weighing the risks. 1/36 can still fail. Why do it if you don't have to. Against a better coach your chances will be limited so you have to take them when they present themselves.
Posted by bghandras on 2015-12-09 10:38:27
And beyong the coach factor there is the matchup factor.
Posted by the_Sage on 2015-12-09 10:48:17
I'm with licker on this one.
It's extensive experience, deep analytical skill, complex problem-solving, pattern recognition, some mentalizing, but not really creative.
However, I do want to give a shout out to all the great player bios, fluff writeups, match reports, player portraits and logos out there. There IS a lot of creativity in blood bowl, it just doesn't have much to do with the rules.
Posted by bghandras on 2015-12-09 10:57:36
Isnt it creativity when you imagine something which is not there, but would be super nice?
How to get there is analytical of course. But many planning starts with a visual of the ideal state. (Most of the time the getting there is number crunching, but sometimes you may very well manipulate the opponent into something.)
Posted by Verminardo on 2015-12-09 11:44:27
I used to think the best coaches were those who would be able to see the opportunities I couldn't see. To find that one spectacular play that opened up a seemingly hopeless situation and made them pull an improbable win against the odds. Maybe that isn't even creativity in the strictest sense, by licker's argument, but eh, close enough. The perfect example was rafadavila, I remember one game, I think it was a Major semi, where he is one up against Fleetfoot's Revenge and he has maybe three Wood Elves left and no Wardancers, and Malmir is stalling for T8 score, and rafa says, "I see an easy -3d on the ball", and proceeds, with two -2d chainpushes, so set up a -3d for the surf that even Malmir didn't see coming. And Malmir says "this is gonna work isn't it." (It didn't.) And I thought woah, mind blown.

But really, as happygrue says, that kind of play is only for when your plan A fails. And it's not really what makes the greatest coaches great. It's also not what the game is all about, at a certain level. When you reach a certain point of coaching skill (which I've only recently reached and I feel is slipping away again if I play too few games), yes, you don't have to think that much about organizing a single turn or setting up a single position. These things become somewhat repetitive, even though certainly even the best coaches will still find ways to improve. But the game becomes more about anticipating your opponent's next move, controlling the pitch and the clock, thinking one step ahead, understanding what your opponent wants you to do and making your opponent do what you want them to do instead. That's the [i]real[/i] game and once I realized that, I felt like a door had been opened. And it is this, the strategic or maybe macro-tactical level, where you really develop your unique style, and where you really take the decisions that matter, and where there is room for (some) creativity.

Don't look back. Look ahead. There's a lot yet to discover. :-)
Posted by Uedder on 2015-12-09 12:29:03
I remember purplegoo addressing this kind of matter in a blog or forum. He said his game improved a lot when instead of going autoplay, he stepped back a bit to think of alternatives, think outside the box and look for some 'creative' play.

I think that's creativity. Analytic process yeah but you got to snap out of your process/habits to see things differently and maybe see things you didn't see before. That's a creative process on its own because it forces you to step out of your chain of thoughts. Use your mental analytic process and not let it and your habits play the game instead of you.
Posted by happygrue on 2015-12-09 15:45:27
I agree, Uedder.

@Sage, I don't agree! It's the "complex problem-solving" that you mention that by it's very nature takes creativity. IMO that's a very creative process. Sure you have a toolbox and you have techniques, but those that go on to really succeed in math do so BY their creativity in applying those tools in novel ways. Even at lower levels (let's say Algebra), I have found many students struggle with the creativity that problem solving requires. You might spend 20 minutes working with them on something, only to have them realize that they drilled some process 3 years ago that does what they want. They knew "what to do", but they didn't make the leap to actually apply it in a somewhat different situation than they were expecting.

I had an old math professor who would occasionally send me away from his office after listing to my question with nothing more than "go play with this problem for a while and come back". Is there creativity in mathematics? If you don't think there is, then you probably hate math!

If I'm honest, I don't play this game for "the joy of the grind", even if I try to do that in many cases. I play for the times when it doesn't work, and with everything going to hell I have to try to mash broken parts together MacGyver-style to salvage a hard-fought win.
Posted by mrt1212 on 2015-12-09 22:45:54
I feel like 75% of the game is basically rote repetition of risk averse concepts and the other 25% is where the magic of winning and losing happens.
Posted by licker on 2015-12-10 00:38:03
Many good points made guys. I think some of this 'difference of opinion' is just splitting hairs on how we individually define 'creative' in respect to playing BB.

Beyond the obvious creativity (as mentioned by some) in fluff and team concepts, there is the creativity of building your roster, and also that of in game tactics.

I think most would agree that roster building is simply not creative at all (assuming the goal is still largely to field the most competitive team you can). There are clear winners and losers as skill selections, and just taking a bunch of stat ups isn't creative remotely even though it opens the door for more crazy/creative/risky tactical play.

I've certainly learned a lot about different rosters than I'm used to playing when I've faced other coaches, grue among them for his slann and elf play. But I'm not keen to call what he does 'creative' as much as I'm just keen to say he really gets the most out of the players and positions he finds himself with/in. Kryten is another guy who I've played a decent number of times in L who really pushes the envelope with what you think certain teams should be able to accomplish.

Still, as much as I recognize these coaches (and others) as being excellent BB players, I don't necessarily see the connection to creative. But... as much as it is a matter of semantics, it's also a matter of being experienced enough to be able to see what they are seeing, and wondering which tactic they are going to choose. When Kryten starts typing 'well... I guess I have nothing else to try...' then you know something sort of crazy (or at least low odds) is coming, but you also know that he only types that when he really has nothing else to try.

So the -2d chain push into a multi dodge 1d onto the ball sure looks creative on one hand, but it also looks desperate on the other. Just that sometimes desperate is all you have left.
Posted by Jeffro on 2015-12-10 03:29:00
If someone paints with poop, but nobody else is there to smell it... is it still considered art?
Posted by Jeffro on 2015-12-10 03:31:23
oh... and play drunk more.
Posted by Jeffro on 2015-12-10 03:33:00
... then use poop to paint a picture of happygrue.
Posted by happygrue on 2015-12-10 03:59:42
Given the number of diapers I have changed in my days, that is a very fitting portrait...