Sunday, April 30, 2017

Bend it like Bonesaw II

Right. Another six weeks have passed and so that means that it's surely time for me to play more Guild Ball! And by that I mean another tournament. Seems to be the only play I get these days.


"Bend it Like Bonesaw II" was held down South (where the Tory party lives). A last minute spot opened up and I was in there like a flash. As an actor said to a bishop.

My lineup was only changed in one key regard. I had been sold on the merits of Avarisse and Greede. They are more popular here than breathable air.


"They're quicker than Mist"

"They can also deal damage if it descends into fisticuffs" 

These were the most common arguments for their inclusion and I was sold. But would they do me proud or be consigned to the bin? Read on, my dears. For simplicity I took the same lineup in each game: Obulus, Dirge, Graves1, Ghast, Brainpan and Memory, A&G. Decoys were Scalpel, Casket and Silence. For those keeping score that is indeed 8 players on the pitch. Mind = blown.

Game 1: Union (Matt Burns)

I think Union are in a really strong position these days. Three captains to choose from *and* they get Avarisse and Greede? Beautiful. 


vRage, A&G, Snakeskin, Minx, Harry, Strongbox

I receive the ball and act a bit cagey. I don't push forward too far, wary of just how much Rage can F my S up. Also, and this is very important advice to any aspiring Morticians players, I forget to dodge Memory. At all. Because I'm a moron. Snakeskin (who kicked off) ploughs into Dirge but is quickly surrounded and shown what the dirt looks like close up. I manage to hold off out of Rage's threat range for a good 3 turns.

This does not seem to be how great Guild Ball is played 

However, forgetting to dodge Memory forward costs me the ability to score and things rapidly go downhill. Snakeskin returns and with Clone makes an exceptional ball carrier/hider. Rage finally reaches my lines and I'm scrambling to get the ball. One catastrophic 10 point turn later the game ends 12-4 to the Union.

Where have all the Morticians gone? 

These guys aren't playing around.

Lesson learned (1): When your model has at least 10" of free dodges per turn, USE THEM.

Lesson learned (2): Snakeskin makes a fantastic counter to Puppet Master

Game 2: Hunters (Henry Clark)

I don't know what these guys do. I've been told by Miller that they're terrible and can be discounted. But I don't know what they do. 11 seems very low for influence, but I don't know what they do. They have a Captain with pigtails and a loner guy who I swear looks like an Orc. I don't know what they do.

Skatha, Fahad, Seenah, Jaecar, Zarola, Ulfr


I receive and again set up for an A&G turn 1 goal. I forget to dodge Memory forward repeatedly until my opponent 'kindly' reminds me. Then I realise I've dodged him into Jaecar's charge range. Sneaky hunters. 

A&G snag the goal, but Greede is very shortly thereafter trampled to death by a wild bear. His Captain throws out areas of Fast ground, but Obulus gets better use out of them than anyone else - gliding around like an undertaker on roller skates. The Ferryman loves being 6"/8".

We trade a couple of goals whilst Ghast and Graves desperately take lion taming duty, keeping Seenah locked down.

Obulus clinches a winning goal but my clock was close to running down. 12-11 to the Morticians.

Lesson learned: Despite what the judge ruled (though much later graciously admitted he got wrong) Jaecar *can* trigger his own trap if under the effect of puppet master (or similar). Don't be fooled kids.

Lunch: Coffee shop sandwich. 3/7

Game 3: Union (Kev Bryant)

Kev may or may not be familiar to you. UK wargaming stalwart. Pressganger, Pundit and I'm sure many other things. Good lad. He was playing Union. Bastard.

All the LE models, just for Chris 

All the great measuring stick just for Nicola ;) 

Blackheart, A&G, Mist, Coin, Minx, Harry. 

I kick off and he scores rather rapidly with A&G. I had been tempted to puppet master A&G apart to screw up their "attach/detach" shenanigans but I instead I invite the goal, then put Greede 6' under. Only 7 health, isolated from his team and with a Vengeance token on him, Greede is easy prey. 4-2 down (with Greede back to his board edge) is much easier to swallow than 4-0. Then I get the ball to A&G who try shenanigans of their own. And miss the goal. Ffs.

I dance around Blackheart for a bit, score, and even take out Avarisse after two turns of surrounding him with Obulus, Ghast, Dirge, Graves and Brainpan. Obulus makes a heroic sprint across the pitch, 2"  +6" +1" +8", puppet mastering the ball off Mist 17" away and getting it to Brainpan for a winning goal. For some reason B&M with 4INF is infinitely better than with 3. No idea why.

Lesson learned: When separated from Avarisse, Greede is really very vulnerable to a half determined effort.

Game 4: Fishermen (Conor Rooney)

This feels familiar. Shark Fishermen.


Shark, Greyscales, Tentacles, Angel, Siren, Sakana.

This was definitely the Shark show, as it so often is. I don't think Greyscales and Tentacles got more than 1 INF for the entire game, and Angel/Siren only got a couple.


We trade two goals apiece until he kicks the ball into space near my goal rather than attempting a snapshot. I'm at +3 on the deciding initiative roll and of course lose it along with the game. Such is life vs Fish I guess. 12-8 to the Fishermen. I'm tempted to try more keepaway practice.

Lesson learned: You can't puppet master a model to pass to a member of their own team. I'll claim that it was late and my brain was fried.


 An overall record of 2-2 saw me place 8th of 16. Top half! Not the coveted second place that I was hoping for though. There was also a raffle where I won....nothing. Boo.


I won none of this bounty :( 

I came away having had a great day, but not overly enamoured with Avarisse nor Greede. When things go well they're beautiful but when seperated (e.g. after a first turn goal), things can go downhill for both of them rapidly. If Greede is forced to return to play miles away from Avarisse then things are going to be rubbish for a turn or two. I'll also add that having 8 players in the pitch ate up my clock faster than me attacking a wedding buffet. 

Final lesson learned: I think I'll head back to the loving embrace of Mist for the time being. 


I've got a couple more irons in the fire so to speak, will update you when I do anything of any note: whether you like it or not.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Theron's Fading Light

- an article by Peter Williamsky, Winner of the Billy "Wargaming Legend" Award for Excellent in Wargaming

Foreword: this is pre-Heralds of Winter, I will give my thoughts on playing them at a later time. Also, there are many ways to play Guildball, this is just how I have found the most success with playing the Hunters. Might want to grab a coffee or something too before reading on. I am unsure if any of this is going to be really helpful to anyone, because Guildball is such a situationally-dependent game.


Hunters are a team that are competitive, you just may have to work a little harder than most teams in order to play them well. Anyone who points to stats saying Hunters are clearly the weakest, I will just point out that those same stats suggested Morticians in season 2 were middle of the pack with Obulus being fair and balanced.

Let’s be clear about this: Hunters are indeed the hardest Guild to play. Part of the reason for this, is they don’t hit as hard as other teams such as Brewers or Butchers and most certainly can’t keep up with the footballing teams in terms of goal scoring. So where then do the Hunters excel? It’s kind of weird that Hunters actually excel at, well… hunting. Isolating their targets, taking them down and then moving on to the next.

Pro Tips

  • Move in packs: when moving the Hunters around, try to move your players to positions that they will end being supported by other players. Most hunters do damage in some form and gather momentum in doing so (if you look at Hunter playbooks, most have momentous results on all but 1 column - JS), which is often used to heal a player, so it’s important to keep the opponent worried about committing. When moving forward ensure that there is another player that is within range of the aggressor as either back-up or follow-up. Also, it is important not to let too many opposing players be in range of whomever you put forward as bait, as Hunters do not stand up well to scrum fights or getting ganged up on . One last important note about moving is don't be afraid to take a parting blow to move a player back. Often this feels like a bad move, but it will save damage in the long run.

  • Plan on losing the momentum race: One thing that has struck me with the Hunters, is actually to give up (for the most part) on the attempt to go first. Spend that momentum on healing players! It’s very important to not give up the VP’s, whereas going second isn’t usually that big a deal. Your players have decent counter attacks (a lot of low pushes/dodges), to place the opponent on edge. I personally also often want the last activation of the turn in order to give a player full information when activating. Being a momentum-starved Guild, the free momentum for going second does help :)

It’s hard to discuss how to play Hunters without going into specific players, but as a Hunters player you typically want the opponent to commit to you. I have found that whenever I have  gone over the halfway line too quickly and overextend, I usually end up losing. Hunters have enough ranged elements to ensure that the enemy will have to commit to you at some point. Just be patient and try not to blink first.  You know what they say: patience is virtue.

Token Bear high five image


The main line up I tend to run is:

Theron, Fahad, Jaecar, Seenah, Egret, and for my saucy Union choice, Minx.

That is 3 Furious models and 3 models with Back to the Shadows.

Theron is the main tank of the team, basically you want to snare as many people as possible. He will generally only be able make ranged attacks and be allocated 4 or more on the first turn after that he will give the team influence, allocating only 2-3. Why is he the tank? Well he can give himself cover, which he will usually do by dropping the forest on himself and he has the best defensive stats of all the Hunters (4+/1 with 18 boxes). Ensure that you keep him healthy by healing him whenever he activates (keep this in mind for any player, but players can only heal 4 a turn if they have already activated and were undamaged) So try to ensure that he activates after he has suffered a little bit of damage for maximum efficiency, and to get up to 8 healing per turn.

I would suggest after the first turn that you don’t even bother using his ranged abilities (situations will obviously occur that you must do this to stop goals). He is mainly a guy who gets into a fight and after the first attack snares the target, he will usually do 2 momentous damage per hit . It’s that first attack that can be a little bit of kicker, so try to have a momentum (for Bonus Time, if needed) if possible before activating him. He gets a bad rep for some reason as a terrible captain, but at least he isn’t Hammer (who is useless). The flexibility of Theron is actually pretty decent but he is definitely not a super star captain who receives max influence, nor he is a captain that supports (ie. buffs) his team.

Fahad usually hangs approx. 4 inches behind Theron, often wasting his activation by sitting around doing nothing, as mascots often do, and is usually the first to activate when trying to delay activating key pieces. It’s usually not worth committing the kitty unless the target is snared, so be patient and wait for it. He is usually a hit or miss player, which either generates crucial momentum or never gets a chance to do anything. But for a mascot who receives no influence, who cares?

Jaecar is all about reducing the health of the player that went into Theron, Gut & Stringing him and reducing that defence even further. Or he can go in on some other enemy player and dance back. 4+/0 defensive stats ensures that you need to be careful with him. Although he has Back to the Shadows, if he gets targeted, he will go down. Again, try to keep the guy in reserve to respond after your opponent commits. My advice would be to always Gut & String (even though it’s non-momentous) someone if you get 4th column play book result, then place the trap next to them, buy an attack and dodge back your 5 inches. Most players can’t even reach you at 6 inches away this point, as they'll trigger the trap by moving and get Snared.  

Seenah!!! Keep him behind and wait for them to have committed into Theron, as they are probably snared up. Jaecar has likely thrashed them for a fair amount of damage so they are effectively -2 DEF. This is enough for you to wreck them and probably get the Bear Hug off reliably. Unfortunately, after doing this once, he is on the front line, but you should have netted yourself a sweet 3VP. You should be in 6 vs 5 scenario and the bear doesn’t really go down that easily because of Tough Hide. I have been told people will now farm the bear for momentum, but it is not infinite damage and will take some dedicated pressure to kill.
3 VP is a big deal, it now opens up that easy to kill mascot, or to set up another Bear Hug. This is fairly easy to be honest, although harder than the first. Use the same method as before. Use a couple of punches from Theron for snare and apply another DEF debuff.
If Seenah ends up in-front of the rest of the guild, something has probably gone wrong, or you feel sufficiently safe that he isn’t going to get quickly isolated.
He really isn’t a player that you can send forth by himself. I recommend trying it though at least once, experiencing the pain is a good to remind yourself not to do it again.

Minx will always play on the far wing. This girl has ridiculous threat on anyone who is damaged. So she can usually support players even though she looks miles away. She is one of the few players you probably don’t need to support. A solid player, and can score goals combined with Egret.

Egret - the flex player. She is actually very good at holding the ball, probably one of the best players in the game for it. She hangs out behind your team and receives 2 INF. She will either pass/score or fire out a Flurry and walk about 11 inches a turn, whilst doing at least 4 damage. Poison is so clutch to weaken players early, because as previously mentioned Hunters don’t burst players as effectively as some other teams. I actually find she herself won’t score the goals, but she can launch the ball to players such as Minx and Jaecar and have them go score. Final note for Egret and her positioning: she usually doesn’t get the Heroic from Theron because of timing and where Theron is compared to her.


Now for some blurry photos to try give an example of what I have said. Maybe even poor examples but we are not all perfect and mistakes are made. Note: on the second photo, do as I say not as I do :).
For the record I lost 12-6, but only because i fumbled my last few activations, but had a real shot at 6 point activation. I was down 8-0 , but was patient to not over extend, to keep the scoreline ticking in my favour for the next 2-3 turns:

Kick off , kicked aggressively off the board.. oops

Start of 2: notice my mistake? Yup i had egret on the wrong side, meaning the bear couldn't support her by knocking fillet over, pushing her away and heal Egret,

Start of 3, Decimate wrapped on a charge previous turn (wtf) and so i am down 8-0 after she can now kill Minx and score.

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Guild Ball @ Grand Slam 2017

I ran a small tournament at the Auckland Grand Slam this past weekend - an equally small summary is offered below:

Final attendance was slightly misleading given the context of the event. The flagship tournament was a 2-day Warmachine affair, where the top 4 players of Day 1 played the semi-final and finals on Day 2, while the rest of the players durdled in a doubles tournament, or played other games.
3 of the 4 players in the Warmachine finals were intending to play Guild Ball had they not been so good, so we lost a chunk of people there. Aside from that, we had at least 3 other players who were intent on coming but were otherwise disposed due to life circumstances (work, family, etc.) shortly before the event. Them's the breaks. So we fell from a reasonable ~14 player event down to 8.

The bright side of this is that it made for a clean 3 round arrangement, which most people were happy to oblige in the end given the heat and access to cheap beer.

All guilds were represented bar Engineers and Fishermen (somewhat surprising), with Butchers being the only guild to be represented twice.

Final standings were as below:

  1. Morticians (3-0)
  2. Alchemists (2-1)
  3. Masons 
  4. Butchers 
  5. Brewers (1-2)
  6. Union 
  7. Butchers
  8. Hunters (0-3)

Interesting facts:

  • Stave was not present in any roster. This is a huge decrease from my last event, where he was played twice in one game by the same player. Oh Stave, where did you go wrong.
  • All rosters were dual captain with the exception of Union and (of course) Hunters.
  • The Mortician team was the same every game: Scalpel, Vileswarm, Graves2, Ghast, Mist and Cosset. Take that, internet! At least you have that last place Hunters to make you feel better :)
  • When asked about the secret behind his team, our Mortician player said "Hammer is the worst captain in the game". When asked to elaborate, he added: "The trick is to play Graves and Vileswarm as far away from each other as possible after the first turn". Dat synergy.
  • Most goals (unsurprisingly) were Alchemists, with 8 goals across 3 games (1 Smoke, 2 Midas games).
  • Takeout points were (surprisingly?) low, with the high team total being the 14 VP tallied by the Morticians. Turns out Grave Digger is pretty good....
  • While neither Butchers nor Brewers took any Union, other teams took 1x Harry, 2x Minx and 2x Mist.

Thanks to our sponsors Steamforged Games (throwing in some prize support before the official kits becomes available to general pundits), Guild Ball Tonight (for some sweet dice) and Peter Williamsky, the recipient of the Billy "Wargaming Legend" Excellence Award for Wargaming: