Monday, September 28, 2015

Player roles in Guild Ball (by Maurice)

Hey there, sports fans.

I hope you’re excited for a little digression on player roles in Guild Ball (from Steamforged Games).

Team selection is a critical part of Guild Ball. Each team has a selection of players from their guild to accompany their Captain and Mascot, as well as a handful of options to hire out from the Union. Although each player has a suggested position on their card roughly in line with traditional soccer positions (striker, winger, midfielder, back, etc.), these classifications only go so far once the game starts and the ball, knives and blood start flying about. In order to help assess and respond to a rapidly changing game in the middle of play, I feel it can help to remember a little bit more detail about how each player’s actual skillset can help you follow your path to victory (be it 3 goals, 6 take-outs, or somewhere in between).

What follows is a list of notional categories that you might consider when thinking about a players. Using maybe 2-3 categories to describe each option you have at hand, alongside other data, can help you create a more balanced or focused squad. Let’s take a look:

  • Scorer - this player excels at putting the ball on goal; this doesn’t always mean a high kick statistic and range, but it usually does. Movement traits like Shadow-Like help as well.
  • Ball Retrieval/Control - this player has the tools to go retrieve and/or hold the ball, whether it’s a fast speed, low-playbook tackle, close control, or a high defense.
  • Momentum Generation - This player probably has a decent TAC and a reliable/desirable momentum-generating result on the first column of their playbook. They will give you a good return on your influence investment in the form of valuable momentum.
  • Damage - This player has good damage values and a high TAC, or a play like Scything Blow. Certain players may do extra damage against characters that are knocked down or suffering conditions.
  • Area Denial/Control - These types try to influence where the opponents want to go on the pitch. All players exert some amount of area control, but these players in particular have access to AOE abilities or push/pull plays.
  • Momentum Denial - Another aspect of a high defense and certain character plays is that of momentum denial. Reducing the opponent’s access to momentum can make your damage stick and reduce their ability to score and move.
  • Heal/Cleanse - These players keep your other players on the board, either by healing them or removing their conditions easily.
  • Buff - These players hand out beneficial boosts to your team, whether it be additional TAC and damage, influence or move.
  • Debuff - Conversely, some players are great at reducing the enemy’s capabilities to move, shoot or harm you.
  • Influence - This player has a very good influence generation/demand ratio, or has other abilities to make efficient use of influence, freeing it up for use by other players.
  • Activation Control - One of this player’s best abilities is to control the activation order of the opponent or increase your number of activations.

I’m sure there are more roles you can come up with that I’ve missed. One that comes to mind is that of the Tank: a player able to soak up large amounts of attacks/damage and occupy the opponent. This role has a weird place in Guild Ball, as many of the ‘heavies,’ with their massive health bars, can actually be very vulnerable due to their low defense.

There are many, many, many synergies between players that will drastically alter a player’s role from that when they’re alone. This is also just a theoretical framework to help you frame how you want to use your team at the start of the match and as play develops; any number of other factors can influence how a player should be used at a given moment, and each player could likely be described by five or more of these roles. Each player likely has 1 or 2 primary roles that they perform best in a vacuum, however.

Here’s an example of how I might describe a lineup you could see:

  • Shark - Shark fills Scoring and Momentum Generation roles for this team, in addition to his other benefits.
  • Salt - Ball Controller with his high defense and “Where’d they go” and can buff certain teammates.
  • Angel - She’s going to be Scoring and Retrieving the Ball from opposing players.
  • Jac - His pushes make him a great Area Control player, and he’s also pretty Influence efficient on many turns.
  • Siren - She provides further Area Control with Lure and Seduced, while being one of the better Ball Retrievers in the game.
  • Fangtooth - In this lineup, the big guy is here to further the emphasis on Area Control via Unmasking and Foul Odor, while his easy access to Knockdown makes him important for Debuffing (neutralizing) key opponents.

This lineup is obviously missing a ton of damage, like most Fishermen teams, but has a lot of ways to get the opponent to where it wants them to be, while retaining a good amount of scoring.

Anyways, I hope you’ve enjoyed this article and will take a crack at thinking about your teams in this manner. I’d really appreciate any thoughts, comments and criticisms below.

Stay salty,



  1. What about Kraken, I don't see him in your Fishermen description.

  2. Sorry, was just detailing a standard lineup, not the whole gang.

    With this group, I would likely slot Kraken in to do similar work as Fangtooh, just in a different way. Fangtooth's area denial is a bit passive, while Kraken can effectively project a bit further.