Guild Ball Union Post Errata Game @guildball

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So, a few days ago steamforged games released the rules errata for Guild Ball. It’s a wonderful thing when a company not only makes changes to fix game balance; not only when a company listens to its community ahead of making changes; not only presents changes in a timely consistent manner but also records and releases a video detailing all the changes and the reasoning behind them. Genuinely it is a huge thing to do and definitely helps ease the potential for ‘the sky is falling’ complaining.

Now, I should point out that my two teams were probably hardest hit, the Alchemists and specifically the Union. I could rant and rave about how up my Union team is now far inferior to what it was last week but I won’t. For two reasons, one it’s pointless. Two, inferior is not the same as crap. And actually also because the changes were well explained and I feel OK for the most part. I’m also not going to  go over the changes one by one, or character by character. Instead what I decided to do was play a game.

My previous favourite six Union players were 

Blackheart

Coin

Hemlocke

Mist

Decimate

Gutter
Blackheart and coin are of course (for now) compulsory, but the other four has gradually eased their way into my starting six after many games: they also were the four hardest hit by errata changes. So I opted for a different line up tonight. I was up against butchers in a game against a new player who hadn’t had a game (but being advised by a regular opponent). I opted for 

Blackheart

Coin

Mist

Rage

Minx

Snakeskin

This wasn’t a knee jerk reaction to the errata, just a good opportunity to look at the fringe players (Fangtooth didn’t quite make the cut this time). I’ll be honest I don’t remember most of the game. After a cagey first two turns as my opponent worked out his players and the rules thing started to happen. I charged the dog with snakeskin and missed with everything- the plan had been to at least get a momentum to take a defensive stance when boar charged. Unfortunately boar did charge and pushed snakeskin down to 5 health. Blackheart responded and beat On boar a little as the rest of the team eased themselves away from a cluster of butchers looking to stack damage on,

The next turn Blackheart took out the dog before unloading on boar, who took out Snakeskin. Minx charged and took out boar before rage tore chunks out of Shank and Meathook. Mist then came charging up the field, robbed Tenderiser of a ball he hadn’t expected to get before bouncing away and kickoff the ball into the goal. The ball was blasted up the field into Shanks possession and minx was taken out. Rage responded by taking out Meathook before Mist took the ball from Shank, bounced away again and buried the shot for the win. A final 12-4 victory, having lost snakeskin and Minx.

Now, this was a game against a beginner, so I can’t be certain of the effectiveness of this group of players but here’s a rundown of my thoughts

Blackheart as ever was a powerful and deadly force in the centre of the field, he held the ball when needed and did some serious damage with his playbook. Not for the first time seemed capable of some poor rolling but excellent overall.

Coin probably had its least effective game for me yet as my opponent sensed easy points. Coin then spent most of the game skulking, however bag of coffers helped ensure Mist tackled tenderiser when it mattered.

Mist has suffered in no was at all from the loss of momentous tackle. On the charge I was twice able to get the tackle and a momentous where’d they go before scoring.

Rage was a wonderfully efficient player, causing damage all over the table. I also used tooled up for the first time on Blackheart and it is lovely.

Minx was interesting,she’s efficient with influence and gives out a lot of damage if you set up a decent charge but she is fragile. I didn’t get to play with her character plays but she’s definitely getting more game time.

Snakeskin has always been player seven on my team sheet, she was used as bait here so didn’t get much chance to play but she did poison the dog.
Overall really happy with the team. I want to work Decimate and Fangtooth in there to have around but I haven’t decided who to drop to do so just yet.

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First Guild Ball Tournament @guildball

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So, today I was in Bristol (Bristol Independent Gaming to be precise) for their Clash of Guilds Guild Ball tournament. My Union have undergone some changes in recent weeks but it’s meant Iv managed to paint a full team and extras in about a month, so some real progress on my usual painting speed.
After an enjoyable drive up with some guys from my local club it was a nutritious McDonald’s breakfast and then straight into it.

 

Game one was against Carl from the Smashed Shins podcast. My hopes of getting a win dropped as he pulled his fishermen out of his case (my last game against the fish was over by turn three as I conceded three goals to nothing). What was especially interesting was the inclusion of Fangtooth from the Union- him being a model I love but not matching that with ability- though I had theorised he’d be an excellent addition to a team of fishers.
The game turned out to be far closer than my previous as I focused on Shark and took him out twice, preventing him from bouncing around scoring goals. With him out of the way I had more opportunity to play my game, instead of chasing the ball all the time. I did concede- and I’m not convinced my team/ play style is capable of a complete shutout against them- but with the score looking close at 10-8 in my favour, the death clock ticking down and the fish in possession of the ball I made the honourable move of stabbing Salt in the eye with snakeskin, pulling off the victory with 46 seconds remaining to me. 
I should point out that Salt is the otter mascot of the fisherman guild and any honour I claim for taking him out is entirely fictional.
The game was really intense all the way through and aside from needing a breather I had a really good time (not just because I won). Carl was a really good opponent to play against- you always risk coming up against someone who takes toy soldiers too seriously at a tournament but he was in no way that guy. It was a challenging, enjoyable game which could have gone either way at any point. The highlight of the game was Fangtooth ending up with the ball in an advanced position and attempting to shoot on a single dice, this would have won the game so it was a relief, but would also have been a worthy and unlikely moment to make defeat worthwhile 
After a brief break the match ups for game two came up- a player from my club, who Iv played more than anyone. Iv had a few wins against him recently as he’d been alternating between guilds to find his preferred option for the day, but now I was up against his engineers and all their shooting attacks- not to mention the legendary mine field play. 

 

I kicked off and he immediately raced his mascot up the field to pass back to his players, when I took inspiration from my winning move of the last game and charged the mascot with Snakeskin, knocking some health off and poisoning it. The next turn I finished the job to open the scoring before Mist claimed the ball and broke away to score- this happens a lot with Mist.

We both then took out a player apiece (can’t remember who though he hates hemlocke so it may well have been her) before he got into a scoring position with Colossus. He took the shot but blasted it past the goal (never seen him miss). The ball ended up scattering off the pitch to be placed back in the centre (prime position for Blackheart to grab it) before scattering back to Colossus, who still had the influence and momentum available to retrieve the ball and blast it at the goal a second time, this time not missing and providing possibly the most amazing moment Iv known in a game of Guild Ball (if not any game). 

I managed another take out (Salvo I think) before Blackheart came striding forward from midfield, battered the engineer with the ball and coolly blasted the ball into the goal for a 14-6 victory (capped at 12 I believe). This gave me my second win of the day after another close game.
A short lunch (back to McDonalds of course) and game three was posted. At this point I was pretty nervous as I’d won two games, putting me on a par with the better players- if I’d been overachieving I was in real trouble. The match up came in and I was up agains the Masons guild- not one I’ve faced before.

I knew the masons were well armoured, but the only other insight is had was a member of my club telling me he felt they were a little dull. As it turns out my opponent knew his team really well and I just couldn’t get a break against him. Blackheart struggled to reach the better end of his playbook due to the armour and the lighter armoured members of my team took beating after beating, hemlocke really suffering after a knockdown (taken out twice). My last move of the game saw me sat at 10-6 down before Coin (yes really) passed the ball from the opponents deployment zone to Mist, stood infront of the goal. My senses left me for a moment and I didn’t declare a snapshot and my opponent swiftly took out Hemlocke to claim the win. I knew the defeat was imminent but a 12-10 defeat (especially with a goal) would have been so preferable to 12-6
My winning run over- and feeling well and truly outplayed in that one- I was drawn against another player from my club, a fisherman player. In fact the exact same fisherman player who beat be 12-0 in the game I mentioned previously. Determined to do better than last time I set out on a mission to smash some fish into the floor. Unfortunately Blackheart decided he’d had enough killing and spent at least five turns doing very little- I thought it was going to start well as he got a turn one charge on Salt but failed to kill, before spending five influence the next turn to finally knock it out. Three further turns he ineffectually beat on fish, consistently rolling 2’s when I needed 3’s and 3’s when I needed fours.

 In the end I took out two players and conceded three goals, so a slight improvement on my previous match against him but still painful. I do feel had blackheart not decided he needed a break then the score could have been far different (at least 2 points for killing salt).
When the results came in I placed 9th out of 16, which was well above where I expected to finish. I was also pleased to see the snapshot I ignored didn’t affect my position.
The tournament experience overall was excellent, I had a really good day with some excellent games of guildball. The games were all fun, even the defeats and I learnt a lot in every game I played. I’m already looking at future events to get along to…

Life, I’m not dead

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so, I remember a previous blog id been working on died a slow death, and at the time I read that you should never post to apologise for an absence. But that seems silly.

I have been busy, with various things going on so my long list of prewritten posts all published and I hadn’t found the time to write more. Fear not though more stuff is on the way this week 
If anyone has specific posts they want written then comment below and I’ll get them done this week 

Books, short stories once again (again)

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so, another batch of short stories read through.

 
The Sleep of the Dead by Darius Hinks. Fantasy

A group of well to do individuals meet for a regular drink and smoke and to share stories of horror, chaos and other unseemly tales. One individual recounts the tale of his doctors journey north in the hunt for gold. The story was presented as a group of curious men with too much time and money looking into things they shouldn’t, yet the tale they heard (that scared them) was dull. It also gained little from the setting, and would have been better presented as just a standard tale over an anecdote within a tale.
Path of Warriors by Neil McIntosh. Fantasy

An origin story for the Stefan Kumansky books. I haven’t read them, but from the description I found they’re typical warriors. In this book the boys are young and face an invasion of Marauders. While they are hidden the men of the village prepare to fight off the enemy. The story was ok, but ended fairly quickly.
Rat Trap by Robert Earl. Fantasy

A mercenary is hired by a down on his luck merchant whose staff have been seeing strange ratmen in the well. Seeing easy money the mercenary heads down the well to look for the rats. I enjoyed this, the focus on the disbelief in skaven is always entertaining given the broade knowledge readers have of how serious a threat there is. The tension and danger is well placed too.

Rotten fruit by Nathan Long. Fantasy

A prologue to the Blackhearts novels (another series I haven’t read), setting a dirty dozen style suicide squad in amongst a beleaguered castle under seige by chaos forces. Seeing no way of victory the team look to escape and bring back reinforcements before they’re missed and killed. Unfortunately whilst they have the protection of their ‘controller’ the reinforcements may not be so lucky. I enjoyed this, the small squad focus is often fun and the not quite good guys allows for far more flexibility in its characters. 

Leechlord by Frank Cavallo. Fantasy

A fairly standard short story about Festus Leechlord, a character of the warhammer world Iv liked without knowing much about. A knight is recovered from a battle with horrendous wounds. His fevered shouting calls for his healers to kill him. Flashbacks show Festus enhancing the infections in the Knights wounds. Whilst the story itself was a little straightforward and predictable the sheer amount of description of Festus and his motivations and desires made it a really interesting one to read.

 
Necessary Evil by Rob Sanders. 40k

A sequel to the Atlas Infernal novels (another I haven’t read), as Bronislaw Cvezak lands on a world in the Eye of Terror in the hunt for a powerful relic. Taken in by the indigenous people/mutants he needs to find it quickly as the Thousand Sons are approaching to claim it for themselves. This was entertaining, I don’t know the history between the inquisitor and Ahriman but seeing another renegade from the imperium still fighting the good fight was nice. The open ending was interesting too, I may need to find Atlas Infernal to have a read.

 Faith by Robert Earl. Fantasy

A bretonnian knight is deep in the wilds with winter approaching and no sign of a visit from the lady, or of a suitable trophy to return home. With his brother recently having been graced by a visit the jealousy is driving him onwards to find glory. This story however is seen from the perspective of his servant, an ageing man who served the Knights father. Whilst the adventure is average, the point of view and observations are really good, and add some additional focus in the light of recent End Times events. There’s a semi twist at the end which highlights the pride of the Knights.

Portrait of my Undying Lady by Gordon Rennie. Fantasy

A worn out, out of favour artist is employed by a vampires to paint her portrait, if it’s perfect she’ll reward him, of its not he’ll be ‘rewarded’ in another way. These stories that focus on the non war elements of the warhammer world are often a nice distraction and this definitely provided that. If have maybe preferred a slightly longer story with more delving into the vampiress’ character as I feel this would have enhanced the painters finding her ‘true’ self.
The Rite of Holos by Guy Haley. 40k

A beleaguered female imperial guard / planetary defence force is reinforced by a force of Blood Drinkers in a a battle against Genestealer Hybrids, but as the Astartes head into battle they’re fighting their own red thirst too. A fairly standard storyline though the collateral damage and loss to guard life is well covered.
Death Stares Back by Alex Helm. 40k

Not strictly speaking a black library publication, but the winning entry in a spoken short story competition. A tank crew on a standard mission against tyranids suffers engine failure and are soon swamped and surrounded by ‘nid forces, slowly hacking through the armoured panels. This was over quickly (not surprising given the word limit) but the closed environment and issues that causes were well handled.

Books, Earth air fire and custard by Tom holt   

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So, my third read of Tom Holt’s fantasy comedy series- earth air fire and custard. It has become apparent that Tom holt has written these books with a very vague plan, as events shift and continue to become more and more convoluted as they progress- even more complicated book to book.

It’s amazing to realise Paul Carpenter only took his job a year ago yet has managed to die several times and become tangled up in various events where office politics has moved from backbiting to outright violence and murder attempts. After the events of the previous books everything begins to settle into place for Paul, with a promotion and pay rise before a goblin christening sees him in trouble as events become more and more overwhelming for him and he ends up in a sideways universe called custard space where everything’s just a little different.

I enjoyed this one, the regular deaths were well written- as was the dialogue between Mr Dao (deaths gatekeeper) and Paul getting sharper with every visit. The love story between Paul and shoe felt a little weak as it was the third time revisiting the same struggles. It all feels a little too copy paste and I’d rather they just broke up if they couldn’t develop themselves further.

The custard space bit was wacky and added a new element to the story (and existence) allowing for the usual chaos to become increasingly more manic with multiple Paul’s running around and a mysteriously appearing goblin called Colin appearing at the wrong moments. I’d have liked to have seen more of Rosie Tanner as she’s always a fun element to the books, but hopefully she’ll see more pages in the next one 

Guild Ball, Expanding the Union

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so, after getting Fangtooth and the starter set painted it was time to fill out the team. Games of Guild Ball are played with six players (seven for the Union strictly speaking) so I needed to get two more painted up. I opted for

  
Hemlocke and Rage.

Rage was an easy choice, having played demos using the Butchers team I really enjoyed the sheer killing power of the models and Rage provides that for these guys.

Hemlocke was a tougher decision, as there are so many other good characters to add. In the end I opted for her because she’s near impossible to hit and provides a lot of area effect options, as well as being a decent goal threat.

   
 
As with the starter set the models are nicely detailed with only a few bits to attach. Helocke’s leg was a little tricky to fit but no real problem.

   
    
 
The plan was to get both painted simultaneously, but I had so much fun painting Rage that he got finished well ahead of hemlocke. 
  
In the end I got the base colours in place and got the first wash on her, but it may be a little wait to finish her as the rest of the week looks pretty busy.

Hobby projects, Guildball the Union Starter Box

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So, last week I painted up Fangtooth from Guildballs Union team and when I saw the starter set at a good price I couldn’t resist picking it up 

  
Apparently this one is unique as it includes steamforged games first ‘multi character’ character. I’ll get to that.

  
Everything is nicely organised, with each model separated into its own zip bag. Annoyingly the box was missing the football but an email has gone off to hopefully rectify that.

  
Blackheart is the Captain of the team, an all action killer with good stats.

  
I really like the inclusion of mascots in the guildball game, it adds an additional character that does something slightly different to just an out and out normal guy. In Coin’s case he dishes out additional influence, which is limited so really useful. Some of the other team mascots give out bonuses if they are killed, Coin doesn’t but he/she seems fairly solid regardless.

  
As mentioned, the multi character character- Avarisse and Greede. Strictly speaking Avarisse is the player, whilst Greede sits in a harness on his belly. But at the start of a turn you can drop Greed off giving you an extra player on the field. Avarisse looks to be fairly tough, though lacks any real abilit to kick. This is offset by Greede, his kicking skill being quite high. Presumably the main tactic is to have Avarisse hold the ball, before Greede detaches with it, dodges everyone and scores/passes upfield. I see him being equally useful as a surprise attacker if I can knock down other players.

  
Assembly wasn’t too bad- Blackheart was a little weird in his pose so I think Iv managed to stick his head on slightly wonky, but Avarisse and Greede were far easier than I’d anticipated.

  
Once I’d used my Basius pad (again) it was into painting- Coin first as he was the easiest. It was a simple build up of natural green colours, before spending far too long trying to dot the eyes without him looking cross eyed.

   
 
Next up was Greede- the on field model. Whilst I felt the leprechaun was a little too obvious, I had to do it as my other half is from Norn Arn so I knew it would annoy her if she ever saw it. This was also a test for the scheme as it occurred to me he isn’t going to spend much time in the field outside of Avarisse’s harness.

   
   
Him done it was time to do him again as a part of the Avarisse model. What’s brilliant is the model comes with magnets allowing Greede to be easily removed once he’s scuttling around the tabletop. Pictures of a Greedless Avarisse will follow when Iv finished the replacement belly piece.

   
   
Finally Blackheart got painted. This is the one I’m most disappointed with, I just couldn’t settle on a colour scheme I liked so ended up just doing it brown and being annoyed. I’m keeping an eye on an alternate poses Blackheart to have another go.
The starter set was really good, the Avarisse and Greede models effectively giving an extra model for your money. Next on my shopping list are a couple more characters in order to get a full six player team on the field (and maybe some subs)