Wednesday, 15 April 2015

Guild Ball: An Unboxing (...sort of)

Those of you with more impressive memories may remember us mentioning last year that we were backing a new tabletop game called Guild Ball.  Games & Tea always has been and always will be a card and board game blog first and foremost, but we are still tabletop hobbyists as well and couldn't resist sharing our enthusiasm about the whole thing when it first hit Kickstarter.

At the time we backed it we had the feeling it was going to be something special - everything from the overall aesthetic to the gameplay seemed beautiful - but we didn't realise just how much it was going to attract the attention of the hobby community.  Now, with the retail release date just weeks away (April 27th) and introduction days cropping up all over the country, our Kickstarter pledge has arrived and we just felt compelled to show you all some photos of our shiney new toys!

Guild Ball is primarily a sportsball game with a bit of combat thrown in, and is based very much on grass-roots medieval English football.  For our pledge level we went in for two teams (6 miniatures per team) all in metal, and resin base inserts were included for both teams.  Once the game passed its funding goal and stretch goals became unlocked, we were also eligible for two additional "Union" models, which are affiliated with a couple of teams, so can hop around and give a bit of flexibility to the rosters.
We also threw in a little extra for some additional bits and pieces - a printed rulebook (the standard pledge just came with a PDF), some Guild Ball dice, and templates and markers.

The rulebook was at the top of the box when we opened it up, so it was the first thing we noticed.  On the original Kickstarter page it was listed as an A5 rulebook, so it was a very pleasant surprise to see a full A4 landscape-oriented book.  Opening it up it's got gorgeous full colour artwork on almost every page, is clearly printed and laid out, and is just basically done to an excellent and professional standard.

Your eyes do not deceive you - this is an otter.

Oh balls...

Once the rulebook had been salivated over it was time to rummage through the packing chips and fish out the miniatures (fairly appropriate, as one of our teams is the Fisherman's Guild).  We had the option of going with metal miniatures or resin, and we ended up going for metal.  Throughout our hobby years we've simply had overall bad experiences with resin, whereas we've always been comfortable working with metal, so it seemed the logical option.  Now the advantage of resin is that it does allow for finer detail, which left us wondering if we'd slightly regret our metal decision, but after having a look at the models today we can assure you we don't in the slightest!  Obviously as with all miniatures of any material there is some flash to trim back and some mold lines to remove, but the casting quality is absolutely amazing, the detailing is going to be a painter's dream, and the dynamic poses of the miniatures will give them pride of place in the display cabinet.

It's all about the base.

The goals and the base inserts for the models were only available in resin, so we had to bite the bullet and hope for the best with these, and we weren't disappointed.  Normally we make our own bases, but the inserts are cast to a great quality, and it'll be nice to have consistency across both teams.

A lot of tabletop systems these days utilise character cards, both as a quick-reference of their abilites and to keep track of their health.  Guild Ball is the latest system to take this approach, and the character cards are printed onto good quality card stock, with nice clear print and more beautiful character illustrations throughout.

And then that just leaves those last few odds and ends.  The dice - embossed with the Guild Ball logo - and templates keep up with the manufacturing quality evident throughout the rest of the components.

To sum things up, there isn't a damn thing in this box which we've found fault with.  Now we just need to assemble our pretty toys and play a few games!
We probably won't be putting up a gameplay review, simply because there starts the slippery slope away from being a board/card game review blog, but if any of our readers were thinking about giving Guild Ball a closer look then we hope this unboxing has helped!  And once we've got some painting on the go then we'll upload some completed models into our miniatures gallery as well for your enjoyment.

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