Friday, February 28, 2014

Guild Ball - Demo game?!?!

Yes.. Ok.. I have stated in previous posts and articles that I was not going to back any more kickstarters until the ones that I have done are finished and delivered. And possibly even have some paint on them.

But this is different.. promise!!! And in actual fact it really is.

This is another post about my experience at Smogcon last weekend.. and a chance encounter with one of the creators of Guild Ball! Top chap named Mat Hart who was running demos of his game throughout the weekend in Guildford, UK.

Now looking at the premise of the game from their website you can see that it is based in form from fantasy football. You have 2 teams, there are goal posts ( literally.. look above.. they are just posts! ), and you have a ball ( like a European Football ) to kick and pass around the board.

Immediately you think.. ok.. I play ( insert any of the football games out there now ) and this should be simple enough.. he goes, I go.. blah blah.. whats so special about this?

Ok.. stop.. halt.. go no further.. we will be having none of that comparing to other systems non-sense right now. Instead Guild Ball picks up said ball, and runs with it in their own way and direction. And when I mean in their own direction I mean, zig, zagging around the genre in such a way that not even Shark or Siren could catch them...

How are they going at it differently.. well they are leaning on other games in other mediums to put to the table. And the end result creates one heck of a fluid game play that is very simple to get going, but can get understandably more difficult as you become more familiar with the dynamics.

Thankfully you only need a limited amount of models to get going. 6 to start, and you pretty much have everything you need to go.

Extras that you need will be dice, influence tokens, a bigger dice to hold your momentum points, wound markers, and your stat sheets. Sounds like a lot, but honestly not too bad. For game play you only need 3x3 foot of space ( heck this is starting to look like it can be done on a coffee table! ) and the goal posts. And that last piece can pretty much be anything really.. though the current kickstarter has some resin versions available with some of its pledges.

But Mr Lee.. I can hear you ask... how is the game play??? Get on with it already!!!!

Ok.. right.. gameplay.. quite important for the gamers there even if the models are perfectly suited to just painters alone!

Right.. so lucky me I had Adam nearby when being asked if we wanted to do a demo of the game. And so we got stuck right in. Me with the fishermen, and he with the butchers. Both of us completely overwhelmed by Mat's explanation of the rules but I chalk mine up to being tired more than anything else.

We sort out who is who on the cardboard cut outs that we were using here. And try to understand the stats a bit better.

Even this was quite easy, with the only mix up for my side was between the 2 ladies on the team. Once that was all sorted, we got to set up and begin to understand the game more.

First thing that we learn is that each player generates influence automatically that allows you to take actions within the game itself. And that once a player takes an action, regardless of what it is, he is finished for that turn, and the opponent gets a chance to take an action. This goes back and forth through out the "turn" before you re-roll to see who goes first and continue on.

But it while performing actions that you then can also generate momentum points as well which can be used for extra dice, passive moves and most importantly... Scoring on the goal!!! Oh and if you have any left when the turn ends.. then it gets added to your roll for who goes first! Momentum points are created when doing things like special moves, kicking, some special tackles from within players cards, etc...

The other things that we learned, which I think is pretty awesome, is that you don't have to roll to pick up the ball.. nope.. it just kinda goes to you when your within 1" of it! Makes the game a bit faster and easier to play as well. Lets you focus more on the real things in the game like strategy and tackling ( killing? ) the opponents instead.

During our game, we had no idea about a lot of the finer details of the game. Such as the combos that exist within the team for when players are near certain other players. For me.. I put the combo players on the opposite sides of the table and then continually moved them further apart from each other. Yay go me!!!! Something that after a game or 2 I think would be quick to pick out and use more effectively.

Though Mat was cool enough to give me one simple trick that I believe kind of won me the game.

My main big guy for the fishermen was Kraken who has a 2" reach for hitting. So it was suggested to put him in the middle between 2 of the opponents. And using 1 INF tackles on each, I basically laid them out flat on their backs :) Oh, wait, did I forget to say that if I get at least 1 tackle through that it can be a Knock Down effect.. I didn't.. oh well.. he does, and he did.. often. Actually those poor guys laying down up there were basically on their back the entire game. I am sure they could have gotten out, but it was still funny to see that happen, over and over and over again. Sorry Adam, but it was :)

Actually.. at this point I think it is safe to just link up their YouTube live stream that literally JUST finished as I am writing this.. this YouTube video of theirs basically goes through all the different characters in the main 2 teams, Masons and Fishermen ( Go Fishermen!!! ), and what all the different stats are. Really.. it was quite in depth. And they even answered questions from the pundits that were in attendance ( yeah.. am using it Mat.. I think it has staying power! ). They can explain a lot more about the characters and such than I can at this point.

The overall game just continues until one side scores 3 times. For us, that was Shark. Who basically camped out near Adam's goal post, and just waited for someone to kick the ball to him. Fairly straightforward, and with his kick dice and range he makes for an excellent scorer here!

Main things I can say though on the game overall is that it was quite easy to play. Even when Mat took off to grab some water and do an interview ( which we kinda crashed at the end.. hope I didn't come off as a muppet there! ) we were able to continue playing with minimal problems. A few minor questions came up, but they were answered by others who had played the demo just before us. How cool is that! Seriously!

I think if we were to do a rematch ( which I think is very much needed Adam! ) then the game would play out a lot differently and be a bit more entertaining :) I foresee many more casualties on the Fishermen if the Butchers can get their steam going and just smash them for a turn or 2.

So yeah.. good little demo.. great little game.. something that as much as I should not be backing another kickstarter what with 4 or 5 still outstanding.. I think this is something that will be getting my monies. And with them just under the 50k line.. they could use a bit more community love here for their project! Heck they even have a competition on right now on their facebook page. It is so basic such as promoting their game and KS via banners they made, and you could win the chance to have a special character made to your spec! Wowzers! Now to see how I can support that better!

Anyways.. will leave you with the art for the 2 starter teams.. both of which I will probably, already, maybe, will do get from this KS!

Check them out, and enjoy the weekend. I am on the fence currently with regards to if I should go to another miniature convention just an hour away or not... will see what happens and report back next week! Enjoys!


  1. I am a little bit jaelous, that you could enjoy the game first hand :-D

    1. But there are photos.. that is pretty much like being there right? :)

  2. Teehee, I got whooped! I'm really looking forward to the models personally, but a rematch is definitely on and the seal is going down...

  3. Hola
    Buena partida
    Los proyectos de futuras figuras muy buenos
    un saludo


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