As I mentioned a few weeks ago, one of the games that several people are trying to push for in the local scene is Guild Ball. It certainly looks interesting - designed by high-level Warmachine players, and straddling the line between sports game and skirmish game.
Last night, Sean (one of the players in the ill-fated Blood Bowl league I tried running) and I were given a demo by Tom and Keyvn, two of the major backers for the game in the area.
Since this was a demo game with cut down rules, Sean and I only had three players each
Kevyn brought an absolutely stunning play mat, and was also showing off his resin Alchemist team.
Since this was a demo game with cut down rules, Sean and I only had three players each with cards that weren't as detailed as the standard versions. I chose the Butchers Guild (with Brisket, Ox, and Boiler), and Sean had the Fishermen Guild (with Siren, Angel, and Shark).
I tried taking pictures after every turn, but with Sean and I focused on learning the game, and with Tom and Kevyn answering all of our questions and giving advice, the results are a little sparse.
After a dice off, I had won initiative (and would continue to do so for the rest of the game) and elected to receive the ball. I then apparently channeled some kind of inner connection with the Butchers, as I then proceeded to ignore the ball and focus on hitting the Fishermen.
Sean's team proved to be as slippery and quick as advertised, and I was forced to give Broiler the ball, instead of Brisket (who is the Butchers' best ball-handler).
Brisket was engaged by Siren, and Ox charged into Shark, and Broiler was left alone for the moment as Angel had been forced to retreat after taking a severe beating.
This gave Broiler the chance to pass to Brisket. Shark, however, dodged away from Ox (who ran after him, but ended up just out of reach) and engaged Brisket as well, tackling her and taking the ball away.
Brisket responded by tackling Shark during her activation, getting the ball back.
During the next turn, I loaded Brisket up with Influence (the resource that models in Guild Ball both generate and use to make actions). She dodged around Shark, activated her Super Shot ability, and scored, earning me 4 Victory Points.
I then learned how insane the Fisherman's passing game can be. Once a team scores, the ball is thrown up to 10" back into the field from the goal zone in a direction of the goal-owning player's choice. Sean had set up his team so that Siren received the ball, passed it to Angel, who then shot and scored a goal! In just a couple activations, it was a tied game.
In doing so, however, Sean had left Shark in the middle of a Butcher scrum, and the Fishermen Captain was quickly knocked out. That earned me another two Victory Points for a total of six - enough to end the demo game.
If I'm honest, I was pretty much hooked about a third of the way through the demo. The game is fairly complex, but no more so than what I remember having to deal with when I played the first version of Malifaux years ago. My Influence management was poor until the very end, but it was a learning game, and I did start to get the hang of it.
Tom gave me some paper cut-outs for the Masons (apparently a very balanced team), and I want to try the full version of the Butchers as well before deciding to put down money for these (relatively expensive) miniatures.