G’day! How’s it going? My name’s Adam and I recently took the dive into learning the highly praised sport/fantasy/war miniature game Guild Ball. I’m no expert in anything and I’ve never really jumped into any tabletop gaming until this year, but I’ve always wanted to. Gaming is all about having fun with friends. The “friends” part is pretty necessary in my mind, so I had to pony up the courage to stand outdoors to meet and make new friends. Terrifying, I know.
Cut to my demo game with our friendly, local Guild Ball Pundit. My first reactions were along the lines of: “OH GOD! SO MANY MECHANICS!!”
“This is just the demo game, so there aren’t as many moving parts here compared to the full game”
This is a simplified version?! I’m screwed. I’m too stupid for this. I need an adult.
I played the Fishermen. A team centered around fast movement, grabbing the ball and scoring huge amount of goals. It is a sport game we’re playing after all. The only issue is, that my opposing team was the Butchers. They don’t really care about getting goals, they’re on the field to maim and, well, butcher my innocent and attractive crew. Victory is achieved by doing any combination of these main activities; scoring goals and taking out the enemies. The concept is simple enough. It’s all the cogs underneath that bring depth and longevity, and for me, a nice handful of confusion. My first game was very slow.
“What can I do now?”, “Mmmhhmm. Yeah, totally. Ummm, but, what the heck does that mean?”, “But my captain has beautiful hair, so that counts for something, right?”
The biggest thing I took from this first game was the awesome Momentum mechanic. As you make cool actions and moves, you gain Momentum points. Which is essentially the crowd going wild and hyping up your team. Awesome imagery. For my Fishermen that involved actively putting myself in harm’s way and dodging out of it. I love the idea of sprinting up to a knife wielding murder, who, seeing you, stabs wildly, but you shift your weight to the right keeping eye contact and giving them a smug grin. Then just before you dash away from the psychopath you hear the crowd erupting in shouting for you, giving you the huge hit of adrenaline needed to dodge away and kick a goal.
Technically I won my first game, but I am very happy to admit it was not my doing. I had other players walking by saying things like “Are you sure you want to do that? I’d actually move Siren first”. So I have a lot to learn, but I love the art, the style and the narrative that this game creates. I’ve got a long road ahead of me that I can’t wait to go along. And of course, I’ll keep you posted as I go.