I am reviewing the Chapter 1 revision. I'm also trying to close out the Combat GATs section. This, as I've said, is sort of "holographic" to the whole game. Anything we plan to do as a major rules category will likely be represented here. It's a chance to get it all right and make sure we've covered everything we need to have covered.
One of the things I'm looking at are "unlocks" which, as I've said before, are advantages that only show up in certain situations. One of these is: Counter-Punch which is a strike (although we're including the rules for a shot) that is only usable against an attacker after you have successfully blocked them. How much is this worth over an attack you can use first and as much as you want?
This is one of the things we can't (for now) simulate. We're not likely to either--it's a lot of changes for something we can probably ball-park anyway. I think that it's worth something like a .45x cost multiplier. Why? Well, for one thing while you can do it twice a Round you probably won't. Secondly, you can't do it first--and attacking first is a meaningful advantage. Finally: your block might fail in which case not only do you get hit--but your points in extra damage don't kick in.
So shouldn't it be worth maybe less? Like maybe a .20 or .33 multiplier?
Expectations of Optimization
I'm not 100% sure right now--but here's my thinking: in point-buy games (and, really, almost any game) we expect players to make choices to maximize their ability. That doesn't mean we expect or brutally demand that everyone optimize (to the contrary: we want it to be hard to build a grossly inefficient character) but we know a few things:
- A character who has extra damage when they block will, likely, be pretty good at blocking
- Being good at blocking--by itself--is a decent strategy so doing extra damage for said blocking isn't all that bad
- While counter-punching is less dramatic than preemptive punching we think that PCs are a bit more likely to be attacked than attack. Or, to put it another way, PCs will have choice as to when they attack but the GM makes the choice as to when they are attacked in many situations so PCs, in our experience, can often manage to fight defensively in, let's say 60% of their battles. That's a gross estimation--but we think there's some truth to it--for our games anyway.
This expectation of optimization carries over other places too. We don't want to force it--but we want to be realistic. That's a hard balance to strike.