Guild Ball Starter Set Announced
There are few things I find as appealing as a good miniature game starter set. I’m not sure if it’s the value, the variety of contents or how I was brought up on the old great Games Workshop boxed games of Warhammer 40,000 2nd Edition, Necromunda, Mordheim, Epic 40,000 or Battlefleet Gothic. One thing I do know is that I hate not having the accessories needed to play a game almost as much as I hate having to collect them.
Since I have been thinking about starting a Guild Ball project I was very excited when their starter set was announced. Although it doesn’t feature the guild I was interested in I may be swayed. I do tend to cling too loyally to my first choice in these types of situations.
What’s In The Box?
The Guild Ball starter set is designed to act as a complete game system. Not only does the box contain two full teams of 6 but it includes all the tokens, markers, measuring gizmos, templates and other accessories required the play the game.
First off are the miniatures. The box contains two full teams of 4 players and a mascot. This is the same size that is used for all games of Guild Ball. Unlike many starter sets where players can play a few introductory scenarios before expanding their miniature collection to play the “real” game, Guild Balls low model count allows them to provide the full game in a single box. The miniatures are plastic and full assembled. The plastic is described as “board game plastic” which isn’t the indication of low quality it once was. Privateer Press has been creating high quality plastics for their board games for years.
The miniatures are enough to start playing Guild Ball but that’s not all that Steamforged Games includes in the box. There are counters and tokens which would normally be considered luxury items that many current Guild Ball players don’t have. Each ability of every model included in the game has a corresponding token to mark the effect. There are influence tokens, momentum tokens, goal tokens, dials for health and dials for victory points. I’ve noticed that except for a few items everything in the box is duplicated. There is a ball for each team, although only one is needed to play. The measuring widgets and scatter templates are also duplicated. This will make it easier for two players to split the box evenly.
Strangely there are no signs of the plot cards which seem like an obvious inclusion in the box. There are a couple of reasons this could be other than the obvious cost-cutting measure.
First, guild plot cards are being removed from the game. Plot cards are an interesting wild card, if you’ll forgive the pun, but not really a core mechanic. New players are frequently encouraged to leave them out as it reduces the number of things to learn. Once the game rules and player abilities are learned the plot cards can be easily added without causing a large paradigm shift. If I was trying to simplify the game plot cards are the first and easiest thing to dump.
Which brings up another option: they are being left out as the game is being sold as a “beginner box.” I’m not sure I buy that. If this were a board game, an argument which will be made when I try to introduce this on boardgame night, these would not be considered a complicated rule. For those unfamiliar with Guild Ball a sample Season 2 plot card is triggered when the opponent either scores a goal or takes out one of your models and the reward for playing it is gaining two momentum. This is something which could easily be introduced in the second game. In a boxed set where you receive two full teams this doesn’t make sense.
Release and Price
The announcement of this new boxed set leaves in a bit of a pickle as far as wanting to play Guild Ball. When I was considering it I was leaning towards the Fishermen Guild as my team of choice. I was thinking that I would reward myself for painting the first of four factions in the Heavy Gear Kickstarter by picking up the Fishermen starter box. Now I don’t think I could turn down the value of the box. Steamforged has set the price at £49.95 on their website. The starter for the Fishermen is £21.95. The cheapest 6 player team would be 46.80 for the starter, Greyscales, Sakana and Salt. I would still need tokens, templates, measuring tools, a pitch and a whole other team to match the contents of the box.
On Steamforged Games Ltd.’s website they say the release date is November 2016. I’ve heard the actual date will be November 25th. It seems both a long time away and perhaps just enough time to finish all my Heavy Gear stuff so I can focus on quickly painting both factions. That is, if I decide to get into Guild Ball at all. I still have half a mind to keep my next wargame project uncommitted in order to be able to finish what I have and be ready to jump in on something that is booming within the community.
Anyone else blown away by the contents of this boxed set? Leave me a comment. If the miniatures are good enough I think this boxed set could easily catapult Guild Ball to the very heights of its potential popularity.