Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Guild Ball - First Thoughts (by Maurice)

So, when I've found time between work, family and other stuff for gaming, I've been slowly sneaking into Guild Ball, from Steamforged Games. Guild Ball is a Medieval Football skirmish game, in which teams of players representing various mercantile guilds battle it out on the pitch to settle differences between their employers and generally keep the different city-states from going to war with one another. 

I really enjoyed Blood Bowl earlier in my gaming career, and have always been on the lookout for new sports games. I skipped the original Guild Ball kickstarter, as although I loved the art, I wasn't huge on the idea of having weapons in my sports game as a normal thing (in addition to a shortage of $$ at the time.) Well, I finally read the rules and realized my mistake. One quick group order later, and I had my much adored Fishermen on bases and ready to stab some punks with spearguns...and also score goals... mostly score goals.

I've gotten a bit of game action in with them now, and the game is excellent. It offers a lot of dynamism and action, with a good dose of problem solving.

Almost every activation can feel like one of those set-piece puzzles from a No Quarter or old White Dwarf where you try to gin up the best solution to a situation. It does this without generating analysis paralysis or slowing the game down as well, which is really clever.

Basically, each turn you and your opponent alternate activating your players until they've all gone once. Players are assigned influence (action points) to start the turn, which they spend to attack, sprint, pass, etc. 

As you do things, you'll generate momentum points, which you need to do things like trigger heroic plays, exercise effective teamwork, heal mid-turn, and most importantly: shoot the ball at the goal.

Each player has a set of plays that they can carry out, as well as a little damage chart that they use when attacking. You roll a pool of dice for every action and try to score a number of successes. The damage chart for attacks lets you know whether you can hurt or knock down your target, dodge or push them, or trigger a character play, depending on how successful your attack was.

Games are played to some combination of goals (4 points) and KOs (2 points) equaling 12 points. This allows the game to have a reasonable length while not favoring scoring teams over killing teams, or vice versa.

If you want to learn more about the game, I recommend Guild Ball Tonight, an excellent podcast focused just on this game.

Anyways, we're looking forward to getting more games in. Hopefully Scorpio will have some thoughts soon after his Union get in a game or two. 

Here are some photos of my completed Jac and in-progress Kraken and Greyscales.