Considering Guild Ball
Between my disappointment with the Heavy Gear Kickstarter and the local Batman Miniature Game scene moving1 to a night I’m not available I’ve been looking for a new game. One of the games I’m looking at is Guild Ball. The game has a lot of things which appeals to me and something that may turn me off the game entirely.
I love me some free rules. As much as painted miniatures are a primary motivator for me I cannot play a game with rules I don’t enjoy regardless of how much I enjoy the miniatures. Having rules available for free helps me to decide whether I like the game or not. When a game offers their rules for free, like Infinity and to a lesser extent Batman Miniature Game, I am more inclined to want to like the game.
Everthing is Free
Steamforged Games takes the “give the rules away for free” model to a whole new level. Not only are the rules available for free, all the cards for the models are available, along with the Guild Plot cards. There’s even free standies (paper-craft models) so you can fully try the game before you buy. The only thing you need to buy are the models. They even have a Vassal module.
The Rules Are Well Balanced
I’m making a bit of an assumption based on talking to players of the game. I don’t believe you can truly understand all the implications of rules, especially considering all the model-specific special rules in Guild Ball. What I’ve been hearing is that Steamforged Games is dedicated to game balance. I have no problems with games which are designed to be enjoyed as a narrative. These are great for playing with friends, less so for playing with strangers and terrible for tournaments. I’ve been following the comments on a recent post over at Creative Twilight where Thor is finding the requirement for “comp rules”, that is, rules to limit abusive and unfair army composition, something which he can no longer ignore. Avoiding that situations with balanced rules and armies is a big plus for me.
A Healthy Ecosystem
I am a creature of the internet. If I can’t be playing or painting I’m often online watching videos or reading about the games I’m interested in. It’s nice to see that there is so much content being generated for Guild Ball. It is a sign of the quality and popularity of the game. I was also pleased to see the number and quality of the smart phone apps being made for the game. Well-assisted by the free rules and player cards there are multiple groups creating “army builder” and game tracking apps. These are small things but their existence makes me want to like Guild Ball so I can take advantage of them.
As part of my groundwork in evaluating whether I want to start playing Guild Ball or not I visited a local store during a Guild Ball night to speak with the players and see the game live. The miniatures look good and I haven’t heard of an unusual amount of casting or quality control issues. The poses look good and don’t have that over-the-top quality I dislike with Warmachine and Hordes. Should be fun models to paint.
It’s Not A Wargame
This is where we start getting into the negatives. Guild Ball is a fantasy sports game like Blood Bowl and Dreadball. I have a bias towards games which simulate combat which I recognize as unfounded. Considering my painful Dota addiction playing a game with a single scenario shouldn’t be an issue. I don’t know why it even bothers me but it does.
It’s Not Batman
I have two small gangs painted for BMG and need to arrange the tokens and markers necessary to play. Switching to Guild Ball now feels like the same misdirected instinct that makes me want to buy new miniatures when I still have stuff that needs painting. A part of my brain is making the leap from buying Guild Ball to playing Guild Ball while ignoring the time and effort required to get from A to B. Time and effort which could instead be spent building and painting objective markers for BMG so that I can play it.
I Can’t Play for Two Months
The night I visited the local Guild Ball players was the last time I will be free during Guild Ball night for the next two months. If I rushed out, bought a team, painted it and had everything ready I wouldn’t be able to play for two months. I am still going to paint the Heavy Gear Kickstarter, I’m putting my foot down on buying new models without painting them, so it seems like I don’t need to make a decision right away. Although a small voice is telling me that it would likely take me two months to get my team painted and by starting now I’d make sure I was ready in two months.
The Final Decision
So what is my final decision? Sadly, I have none. I’m still on the fence about whether I’ll invest in Guild Ball. I am leaning towards it. If I had my BMG gangs at a full 300 points with all the accessories I’d be more likely to want to stretch out into new games. The discipline to finish projects is fighting with the new and shiney and neither is in the lead.
- Apparently finding pickup games on other nights shouldn’t be a problem and I’m also revisiting by BMG prep. ↩