Duel of Wits: Block buff

I’m starting up a new BW campaign soon, 'cause the Codex made me, so I’m re-reading the BWG. I’m reminded of two things:

  • I really like how Strike/Strike/Strike/Strike/etc is nerfed! Block got a huge buff, Set/Great Strike counts against weapon speed, and being at disadvantage encourages defense so well
  • I am still sad that if I know someone will script Point/Point/Point, the best defenses are still kinda implicit (make them repeat themselves), desperate (time your Dismiss), or niche (have more dice and Obfuscate+Rebuttal)

There’s just no good way to block a good point if you’re a worse arguer. I mean that’s kind of a feature? But if it’s not actually a good point, if there’s a great rebuttal, I want that to do more than give me a small advantage in the niche scenario where I have significantly better arguing skills than my opponent. (Yes, I know the threads. For reference, https://www.burningwheel.com/forum/showthread.php?13008-A-Duel-of-Wits-Problem and https://www.burningwheel.com/forum/showthread.php?13028-Duel-of-Wits-Simulation)

Which of these has BWHQ tried and playtested so I can just not think about them?

  • Successful Rebuttal defense gives +1D to next action, or +1 Ob to their next action, for MoS
  • Successful Avoid defense gives +1D/+1 Ob for MoS
  • Successive Points, regardless of repeating yourself, get +Ob
  • Entire new maneuver Assess does something like "independent Ob 1 against Point which tests against Ob 2, note your disposition loss and their argument and your MoS, you may regain disposition lost with future Rebuttal defense MoS, note “with Assess” once on a future Rebuttal to get +MoS in auto-successes and +MoS in dice if you get to test that Rebuttal

Into it! Let me know if any of these tweaks have an effect.

If you were going to playtest these changes, how would you go about it? Try them out one at a time, or throw them all in and slowly remove them?

My preferred method would be to be playing a real game with my group of super analytical players and let each of them decide individually before each DoW which of 4 slightly-more-thought-out variants they wanted to use, record choices and thoughts on what happened, and go from there.

Since that group isn’t currently playing and I’m not gonna introduce variants to new players… my next best method is to hope Fuseboy happens by with his DoW “AI” generator and simulator and does a bunch of number crunching work for me. :wink:

After that, it’d probably be keep the variants in mind in my actual game, note when I would have scripted differently with each, note when they would have changed things given scripts we actually wrote, review several months later.

What I definitely won’t have time to do: make up a dozen situations and characters, invite Analytical Group ™ over for a day of DoW, and try each several times with different characters and players.

Adding them all at once seems like a great thing to try, maybe even first. If you can’t debuff Point with 4 things at once, just one probably won’t cut it…