@Guildball – A @BeardedDice Review

Posted: March 22, 2014 in Gaming, Kickstarter
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So tonight with only a few hours before the Kickstarter ends we finally are able to get a demo game of Guildball in. The dollies have been cut out, the pitch is bare and ready for some blood, sweat and tears.

The Quick Start Rules provided seem quite clear, clean and simple language and notations of what certain key things mean for gameplay. So let’s dive right in!

First up, each team consists of 6 players, 4 normal sized players, 1 large player and 1 team mascot. With the Union players you have the choice of switching out players but for a simple demo we will stick with the standard out-of-the-box teams. Each player in the starting team is also a unique named character. This prevents spamming with certain models. The pitch is a standard sized wargames board – 3″x3″ in size with 1 team goal 6″ from each end line. Models are positioned at the start up to 10″ from their own end line. Whoever rolls highest can choose to kick or receive. The ball is placed at the kicking team’s goal, the ball gets kicked and we are under way!

As the kicking team I set up first followed by my opponent. Placing the ball at my goal I kicked off. To do so you place the ball on the field which must be over the half way line. The goal has a KICK value of 3 so 3 dice are rolled and a 4 or more will mean a successful kick. Unfortunately I placed the ball beyond the maximum range so the ball scattered. There is no pre-measuring in this game! The ball scattered out of play, was thrown in and came to rest in my half! I picked the ball up and gave it to my opponent.

Next the game starts. Rolling 1 D6 for initiative and adding any unspent Momentum Points, MP determines who has initiative to determine activation order. The player with initiative then allocates INFLUENCE to his models. Influence is what the models use to do actions during a turn. All models will generate an Influence pool which can then be used to give models their influence for the turn. There is a maximum number of influence a model can receive.

One thing that I was struggling with during the game was that models can move for free without spending Influence. This is just a holdover from other games where moving takes action points (see Malifaux,Infinity,Bushido etc). So a model with no influence can still move each turn. A model’s MOV stat is 2 numbers. A free move uses the lower value but if a model wishes to sprint they can remove 1 Influence when they activate to sprint in a straight line up to their maximum MOV. Models can only move once per turn.

So what can Influence be used for?

  • If a model is Knocked Down it can spend 1 Inf to remove the condition but this counts as movement for the turn.
  • A model can sprint in a straight line
  • A model can charge up to it’s maximum MOV towards a target for 2 Inf. If this is successful he can attack once with +2 TAC bonus.
  • A model can make an attack if there is a model in it’s Engagement Range – Typically 1 or 2″ bubble surrounding each model.
  • A model can also perform some special plays if it spends the required amount of Influence.

So, with Influence applied and distributed the active player will nominate and activate 1 model. That model must then use all or some of his Influence and once finished his action ends. The opposing player then nominates one of his models and this goes back and forth until every model has taken a turn.

Hitting people – what could be better? If a model has an enemy model in it’s engagement range it can make an attack. Spending an Influence allows an attack or if the model charged it gets a free attack. The mechanics of hitting could not be easier. The attacker uses it’s TAC value to determine a dice pool. The defender has a DEF which tells the attacker what number he needs to roll – typically 3+,4+ etc. The attacker then rolls all his dice pool and any rolls under the target are misses. The defender then tells the Attacker their ARM value which subtracts from the number of successful hits. The final number of successes allows the attacker to unlock his playbook.

A playbook is a unique table for every model. Each successful hit unlocks another column in his playbook. A playbook represents damage inflicted, pushes of the attacker or defender, knock downs, tackles and special plays. This allows the attacker to decide what would be best for him in each situation based on the successes he has achieved. This is a very simple but incredibly deep outcome system.

How do I win? Simple, score 3 goals. That’s right the game is not just about beating up your opponent, there’s a small leather object that is key to the game. The ball is a 30mm base that can be controlled by models in base contact with it. If the ball ends up within 1″ of a model it snaps to base contact with that model. A model can spend 1 Inf to kick the ball. All models have a KICK value which is a number and a range (3/8″). This is the number of dice rolled to determine success and the maximum range they can kick. Whether the kick is to another player, a shot on goal or into the open the process is the same. The ball is placed at the intended target. The distance is measured to the location of the ball. If this is beyond the maximum range the ball is moved back to the maximum range. We now determine the success of the shot. The KICK value determines the dice pool. Generally speaking a roll of 4+ is a success. If a kicking model has enemy in engagement range the dice pool is reduced per enemy. If the receiver has enemy in engagement range the target number increases per enemy. This can be very tricky!

If successful the kicking team generate 1 Momentum Point as the crowd cheer them on. A receiver can immediately perform an out of turn action to spend the gained MP to make a move or take a shot on goal. This again is another kick and follows the above rules. If the shot is successful the team score 1 goal and their MP increases by 1 (by 2 if they roll 2 scores of 6).

First team to 3 goals wins. Once a goal is scored there is no reset or rest. The ball is immediately kicked back into play from the goal which can be beneficial for the defending team and they can try and make a fast break to score at the other end.


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