Thursday, 27 February 2014

A Project With Balls...

Geddit?  'Cos it's a sportsball game.

...okay, we'll leave now.

A few months ago we posted an article about a trio of projects we'd chosen to back on Kickstarter, and judging by the number of hits on the entry it seemed to be of genuine interest to you lovely folks.  Well with gaming funds running a little dry of late (our FLGS' ongoing Warmachine league has proven a drain on resources!) we haven't been backing too many projects, but a few days ago our fellow hobby blog Gmorts Chaotica pointed us in the direction of a project which just instantly grabbed our attention: Guild Ball

Guild Ball is a tabletop system with a fantasy take on good old English football (soccer, to our readers across the pond).  The game's creators can put the background into words far better than we ever could (probably on account of the fact that they created it), so here's their description from the Kickstarter page:
Guild Ball takes place in a land now known as the Empire of Free Cities; it’s essentially a pseudo-historical setting with strong European flavours. The lands of the empire are made up of a huge variety of climates, cultures and landscapes each controlled by a sovereign City.
Mob football is a game generally played between neighbouring towns and villages on feast days (hence the popularity). The game was originally played in the middle of towns and villages where the objective was to take the ball to the opposing side of town. But to prevent the inevitable collateral damage it rapidly evolved into being played in the surrounding countryside, often in a special field set aside for the purpose. At its core, players on opposing teams, clash and struggle to control leather wrapped inflated pig's bladder and attempt to kick it into the opponent’s goal. Over the years, rudimentary leagues and tournaments have sprung up, there have even been some national level games between city states.
The Guilds have taken advantage of the huge popularity of the sport and have invested vast sums of money, creating professional teams and structured leagues. The public went crazy as the game was elevated to new heights of spectacle. Guild Ball was born amidst a blaze of interest and publicity and with it, a whole new business and revenue stream for the Guilds. Games are now played out in front of vast crowds of fans, whilst behind the scenes the results can mean fortunes are won or lost on the kick of a ball.

As we mentioned with Mantic's DreadBall, we're not the biggest sports fans here at Games & Tea, but as a tabletop system we do rather enjoy them as an alternative to shooty/smashy skirmish games.  With Guild Ball it's nice to see a game based on soccer, rather than the 'safe option' of American football which other developers seem to flock to.
It promises to be a fast and intuitive game which is quick to learn, but rewards players with in-depth gameplay and tactics.  But above all else we were sold by the lavish concept art and beautiful looking miniatures!  The Kickstarter page for the project contains 3D renders of two of the team captains, as well as a shot of an early Fisherman's Guild captain model, and they are looking rather fine.  The miniatures are available in both metal and resin (with a slightly higher cost on the resins), and having looked at the artwork for the teams (also on the KS page) we're really excited about seeing how some of the other characters will turn out (the Masons Guild is our #1 team of choice).
In the 2 days since backing Guild Ball we're also realising just how much they value the input of their backers.  Unlike many projects which effectively use Kickstarter as a pre-ordering service, the Guild Ball team genuinely seem to enjoy touching base with the people who have shown their support.  Updates are flowing regularly, they've launched some great competitions on Facebook (the most recent of which gives away an amazing "design a character" prize), and they've already released quick-play rules to the public so that their backers can run through an early version of the game and sent them their feedback.  To sum it up, it seems to be a Kickstarter project done right!
Backing for Guild Ball finishes on March 22nd.  £30 will secure you one of the four teams of your choice, £50 will get you two (if you get in before the Early Birds are all taken up!), £82 will get you three, and £105 will get you all four.  We've also thrown in an extra £26 for the hard-copy rulebook, dice and tokens, and there are other add-on rewards to choose from too.

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