Learnin’ Guild Ball: Part 3 Momentum, Terrain and Plots

And we’re back with another entry to the Learnin’ Guild Ball series. This one may be a bit short on rules as we’ve covered everything but the momentum resource, terrain and league play. It’s not too shabby of a system so far, the rules are concise and short and the cards are begging to be digested. But we’ll hold off on digging into Engineer synergy for a little while longer..


So in Guild Ball there is one more resource we mentioned in the last posts but have yet to explain and that is Momentum. It represents the ebb and flow of the game and the rise in tension that accompanies displays of athleticism (sports). Momentum affects the initiative roll and can never be reduced below 0. If a team has possession of the ball behind their goal line then momentum cannot be scored and if the ball itself is behind their goal line as a free ball (resulting from a kick or missed shot). When a model scores a goal his team gets 1 MP. When resolving the shot on goal if two or more sixes are rolled during the TN the shot is considered a ‘screamer!’ and the team earns 2 MP. The idea here is the goal was real impressive in some way the crowd roars their approval which spurns your players on to greater things. Successful passes to friendly models generate 1 MP. Inflicting the ‘taken-out’ condition on an enemy also grants your team a single MP. There are (on some cards) options to choose a momentous result when selecting effects for damage from your models playbook, (Learnin’ Guild Ball Part 2) if you select that effect your team gains 1 MP.

A model may use MP to take momentous actions (go figure 🙂 ) unless noted on the ability it counts as an action. The first of these is scoring a goal which we are already familiar with from our kicking lessons. You must pay the MP in addition to any INF cost. Counter attack: a model about to be charged can declare counter attack and spend an MP to take an attack against the charging model. (once per turn per enemy) A Counter attack doesn’t generate momentum via the playbook and a counter-attack can’t be declared as a response to a counter-attack. You dogs. After a charge the target may spend 1 MP to take a defensive stance instead of counter attack, The defensive stance will give +1 DEF for the duration of the charge (not an action). Teamwork these are a type of momentous action that can only be taken after a successful pass. You can choose 1 of the options if you have the MP for it. Give’n’Go lets the active model dodge 4″, Pass’n’Move allows the receiving model to spend an MP for a 4″ dodge. The last is ‘Snap Shot!’ the receiving model can spend 2 MP to make an out of activation shot that cost 0 INF, a snap shot! Needs two hits to score a goal. (normal kicks are just one). One could still score a screamer with their snapshot kick spending 2 MP to gain a goal and 2 MP back is nice after all!



Run the length! Is a momentous action that allows the scoring model to take a 4″ dodge after scoring a goal. The ‘dodge’ happens prior to the goal kick as far as timing is concerned. Bonus Time! Allows a model to spend 1 MP when making a TN test to add a die to the pool (after all other mods) this isn’t an action. Take a breather! Allows a model to spend a single MP to recover 4 HP or remove all conditions. While this can only be used once per turn its awesome right? Allowing your players to stay on the field instead of get icy sponged and such. The next momentous action we’ll discuss is very similar to Take a Breather! It’s called ‘Come on mate!’ active model targets a friendly within 8 inches to heal 4 HP or remove all condition. ( a may only be the target of ‘come on mate!’ once per turn) So models could heal 8 HP a turn and remain condition-less if you had the 2 MP to spare and an ally running alongside them. The last MP use in the book is Gliding it’s not counted as an action but allows the active model to spend 1 MP to move across rough-ground with no penalty for the rest of the current turn.


Okay before the momentous actions I was a little worried about the book ending before adding more crunchy. This extra MP resource and it’s uses will be awesome to pair with the myriad of characters and their individualized playbooks. The last major bit of mechanics we need to cover are those regarding terrain and ground and guild plots. If you recall back in Part 1 each player has three secret guild plots. I’m curious about how or where those come into effect. But ground and terrain first so we.. Ready for it? So we.. know where we stand of course.  Initial suggestion say to go without terrain and ground at first. I’m not one to play half a game or part of one so we’ll see about all that jazz. There are doc on the Steamforged site that recommend terrain shapes and quantity but they’re only a recommendation. All the cats I see playing Guild Ball use no terrain but they don’t seem like your typical grumbly wargamer so perhaps they enjoy being shot to pieces on an open field? Haha I don’t know how much it’ll actually matter with these mechanics but I imagine it could be a pretty big deal. The pitch with no terrain or ground is considered open-ground and open-ground has no special rules. Rough ground would be things like mud or streams or something ridden with trip hazards like legos strewn out on the kitchen floor in the dark. Step lightly. Models entering or activating in rough ground suffer a -2\-2″ to Movement. Fast-Ground like ice patches, slick mud, and sonic-go-fast-arrows grant +2\+2″ if entering or activating in fast-ground. With ground out of the way we’ll cover the four terrain types.

The first type is ‘Cover’ a model that attacks an opponent who has cover suffers -1 to their TAC for the duration of the attack. (targets need to be within an inch of the terrain to benefit from cover) Obstruction is the next type, these are small to medium bits like a crate, statues or a wagon of hay. Models within 1″ benefit from cover. Models may climb up and over and even be placed on obstructions if there is enough room. Models may not sprint or charge over them and when in control of another players models you can’t go over obstructions. (in control you say! Do we have mind control abilities sitting on one of these teams?) When a ball marker comes into contact with an obstruction place it in contact with it along the ball path. Barrier is next, barriers are impassable and represent things like cliffs or buildings. Models within 1″ gain cover. Barriers block LOS and a model may not be placed on nor climb them. The ball stops if it comes into contact with a barrier. Forest is the last type, forests are trees.. Lol or bushes or flowers or maybe barley for the brewers. A forest is rough ground and a model in it benefits from cover. Making a kick to a target model or spot within a forest applies a -1 mod to the kick dice-pool. You can draw LOS into or out of a forest just not all the way through it. Well that’s it for terrain. Seems a bit lack luster but only because I really wanted to see a rule about kicking the ball into impassable or barrier terrain to bounce it or scatter it back a different direction and speed?! Wouldn’t that be awesome, Steamforged you can have that idea for season 3.
Guild Plots are the last thing to cover today. Turns out the world behind Guild Ball is Machiavellian and many folks are vying for money and power via the games’ outcome. This means each play gets their sneaky plot cards that they can achieve for an in game benefit. To choose your plots you draw 5 random and discard two after you take a look. They are usually kept secret until revealed. Each plot has a requirement, if\when that requirement is met there is a reward to be had also specified on the card. They must be immediately revealed after scoring them. (satisfying their requirement leads to scoring or playing them) If the reward isn’t claimed they can’t retroactively be claimed later in the game. They can be claimed but you’d need to meet the requirement once again. If that’s not possible then the plot is effectively lost. One wouldn’t be able to retry a card with a requirement that said something like ‘score the first goal’. There are 12 season 2 plots available no idea if the season 1 plots are still valid. I’d imagine they are but the season 2 plots are just more ‘current’ and perhaps ‘better’ in some way. I may go over each in a later post but for now that’s the whole kit and kaboodle friends. The next section (pp 42) of the downloadable pdf has some timing sequences to clarify the order of things and function as a quick start reference of sorts.


**The last section of the book may warrant an additional post down the line it’s all about campaign play and seems to go into a good deal of depth. Time will tell if this is needed. Remember I still haven’t played so my perspective is ‘unique’.


You now have the knowledge to be a Guild Baller like myself and several other chaps of upstanding caliber. Seriously though the game is blowing up in my area so I couldn’t resist diving in and taking a look. I just missed a league that started last week at my LGS so that’s a bummer but look for more Guild Ball goodness to come including a play test and some battle reports but not before we do a faction overview on the Engineers!


****** I played my first game with a Ballista starter + Ratchet, Compound and Mother. It was a horrible match as I didn’t utilize momentous inspiration on Ballista. This grants MP for damaging with character plays within 3 inches of him. This is HUGE and without it I was just an annoying road bump to victory for the experienced Hunters player that got me. The game is fast and swingy the only thing we didn’t use were plots. A lot can change in a single activation or two. I did have a majority of the hunters knocked down for the first few turns which was nice and paired with more MP should be a lot of fun (look for a post on engineers later!). I dig the game a lot. It’s light and quick but offers some real tactical depth with a healthy chance of luck   and dice rolling. I’m going to collect the engineer’s and I look forward to grabbing a physical rulebook soon. It’s a great game with a low entry point that seems to have made the rounds. Jump on the bandwagon folks, get yourself a starter. I think this game will be an awesome thing for the miniatures industry in general because I’ve heard that it’s many folks’ first miniature game. I’m hoping to get a couple to demo Malifaux or even Bushido to open their eyes. I like crunchier heavy miniature games normally, but Guild Ball or my extreme loss was a lot of fun. I’m trying to get a second game in this week. If I do I’ll drop Compound and add Decimate or colossus for more downfield play.





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