Throughout the history of wargaming, companies have tried and tried again to appeal to different audiences. There have been sci-fi wargames, there have been high-fantasy wargames – there's even been low-fantasy wargames. But when you veer into the world of sporting wargames, you fall into a niche that is relatively small in comparison, at least for the time being, but very vocal.
Guild Ball is one such sports-style wargame. It is a skirmisher styled after the game of Soccer. One Guild Ball pundit I discussed the game within my research informed me of its premise with the following pitch:
"The free cities call for sport, and the guilds answer! Soccer teams representing worker guilds more in line with a band of mercenaries play for money, glory, and the draw of the crowds. From the bloody work of the Butchers, to the experimental projects of the Alchemists, each guild plays to it's own strengths to secure victory on the pitch."
When discussing the mechanics of the game Neil Burns, the aforementioned pundit, told me this as well:
"The game has players draft a team of six players, with one captain, and one mascot, along with four squaddies. The captains keep to a guild theme (Butchers being very take out oriented as an example), but each captain makes the team play to those strengths in a different way. Squaddies vary from roles like a defensive midfielder who wants to get into a fight, to a winger striker, who wants to rush up the sides of the pitch and take goals when the opportunity arises. The game is played to twelve points, with four [points] for a goal, and two for a take-out."
The game seems like a very nuanced one, and one that Neil was eager to discuss. Knowing a few fans (and even a few regional pros) of the game myself, it suffices to say that they all appear very pleased to know that the following four models are to be released to Guild Ball very soon.
Champ (Mason's Guild)
According to Neil, "Champ [is a] hard-headed, bold mid-fielder [and is] very hard to keep out of the game. [Champ] can come back immediately if taken out." The Mason's Guild as a team is one of support and armor, and while easy to hit, they are resilient and slow to take out altogether, so Champ seems like a sensible fit to the team, mechanically.
Flea (Brewer's Guild)
"[Flea] loves animals, and boosts the offensive capabilities of the team mascots (normally animals in the team)." Because the Brewer's Guild is very much a faction of brawlers, bruisers, and brutalizers, it stands to reason that their models, including the mascots, are all very offensively-inclined already. Like Champ in the Mason's Guild, Flea will make the Brewer's Guild quite a bit better overall.
Kami (Alchemist's Guild)
"Kami [is a] condition-slinging handgunner, adding teeth and more ranged damage to the [Alchemist's] Guild." The Alchemist's Guild plays by a very condition-centric gameplan, poisoning or burning opponents to meet their ends. To do this they use area-of-effect damage mostly, according to Neil. Kami at first description sounds more focused, but nevertheless is going to be good for the Alchemists to have on their team.
Nomad (Engineer's Guild)
Like the Alchemist's Guild, the Engineer's Guild plays a game from ranged distances, but prefer to achieve the objective of scoring points to simply taking players out of the game. Nomad is a Swiss-army-knife type of model, excelling mainly as a striker, but able to do each role in the game fairly well.
According to SteamForged.com, the street release for these models is next Friday, August 30th.