Monday, 13 January 2014

Spotlight: Introducing Guildball!

This is Sparta!!!! No actually its Guild Ball!!
Guildball is a new tabletop fantasy sports game coming soon to kickstarter from the twisted minds of Mat Hart and Richard Loxam. Guildball is set in the backdrop of a historical/fantasy where the guilds set up a sports game to solve conflict between them, and it has evolved to become a massively popular spectacle for the downtrodden masses.
Thus far three guilds players have been shown in art form, a fourth is shown in the teaser pic on the site but no other info has been released on them so far:
The Butchers Guild
Fishermens Guild
Morticians Guild

These awesomely detailed concepts really set out the stalls of the various guilds and of the universe the system is set in, with the grim dark of the Morticians contrasting well with the nautical themes of the Fishermen.

The Players shown are to be the starting line ups of the teams, 5 players and a mascot. The mascot will have a roll to play for the team with building and using momentum (More later!). There are both male and female players in each line up, this will be important during the match as certain special abilities will only effect male or female players so making a one sex team will leave you at a massive disadvantage against a balanced team!

Future releases will expand on these line ups, enabling you to pick and choose your ideal line up to suit your playstyle. The teams themselves will have quite varied abilities; the Butchers are an in your face smashy team, the Fishermen are swift as the wind, sacrificing armour for agility, and the Morticians are crafty devils, and not to be underestimated.

The core game mechanic is the playbook, best described by guys themselves:


"We briefly mentioned the unique playbook each character has last week and then promptly said no more about it….what teases! But we can’t stand the suspense anymore and so this design article examines this mechanic.

But first, a little bit ...of design theory background…it used to be, and still is in many parts of the game design world judging by some recent releases, that the principle of rock/paper/scissors lent itself to creating gameplay. The principle is that the players need to ensure they apply their ‘rocks’ to the opponents scissors, their ‘paper’ to their opponents ‘rocks’ and so on. The idea being that this was a challenge to achieve, especially as your opponent was doing exactly the same thing. Throw into the mix some non-obviously categorised, or hybrid, units/models/pieces and suddenly you can see how a game develops some fairly complex situations.
The trouble is with this model is that if all you have are rocks and your opponent has nothing but paper then you are almost certainly in for a very dull game…on both sides of the table.

It’s probably for this single core design principle that we ended up drifting away from some games as players, so we wanted to avoid this situation in Guild Ball…

Another factor to consider was the key elements in a game that makes it fun and compelling to play. In roleplaying games, board games, card games, wargames and computer games…any game actually…we believe that the enjoyable fun experience comes from making choices...ideally choosing between two equally desirable options is a wonderfully fun agony!

As a player, you need to be given multiple options and it is then down to you to decide the best option to achieve what you want to achieve given the circumstances. Making these choices requires risk/reward assessment, probability calculations, reading your opponents intentions and a whole heap of other micro-calculations you need to make when deciding what to do.

So as game designers we believe that if we can a) ensure you always feel like you have options and b) make them interesting and flexible then you will have a better, fun, experience.

The playbook is critical piece in this design framework. It allows you to use your ‘net hits’ (see previous article) to generate a wide variety of different in-game effects. How? Well, let’s start with the character card. Boar is pretty much the Butcher team’s tank. He’s great at soaking damage and dealing a consistent amount of damage back…don’t get stuck in a protracted fight with him!
There’s a bunch of obvious stuff on the card such as the Stats and the Health blocks across the bottom but right there in the middle of the card, that’s the character’s playbook. Each one is unique to each character but all are used in the same way.

Essentially you read it from left to right…each ‘hit’ you generate as part of your action (see last article) allows you to move one space across your playbook…all effects are cumulative and stack. So the greater the number of hits you generate, the better the results…pretty logical right?

It gets better, from a game design and a player’s point of view, as the playbook branches to allow access to different types of effects. Looking at the card shown, you will see a bunch of different numbers, letters and symbols, what do they mean?
Numbers are damage…and are cumulative. So an attack with 4 hits will deal 3pts of damage. Doesn’t sound much but Boar is awesome at generating hits through the Momentum mechanic (aka this article’s design teaser!) so don’t worry, he can out the hurt out if he wants to!

MP means Boar generates a Momentum Point…like I said earlier, this will be explored further in the next article.

The Guild Ball logos represents triggering a unique ability or effect on the, as an example, Boar’s first ability is called Smashed Leg which reduces his victim MOV by 2” for a turn.
KD means knock-down. So to knock his opponent down Boar needs at least 3 hits on his attack. With 3 hits he’d deal 1pt damage and knock his opponent down.

T means tackle, so if the opponent he’s attacking has the ball, Boar needs 5 hits to take the ball from him, also generating a knock-down (Boar’s not subtle when he wants the ball) and 1pt of damage in the process.

The single arrow is a push…we’re trialling a few options here, currently deciding between a push equal to the amount of damage dealt or a fixed number of say 1”. Any thoughts?

The twin-arrow is a push and an evade…your opponent goes one way; but you also get to reposition Boar afterwards. This is obviously pretty powerful in the right hands and so why this is 8 hits in…at least for Boar, on other characters it’s much easier to get to this effect.

So what this gives us is a flexible system as game designers…we can ‘flavour’ and balance all of our characters to feel unique and special whilst retaining the ability to always have access to tackle, knock-down, push etc. as the game requires."
Now with all this info I bet you want to see some shiny?
This is the render of the Butchers Guild Captain, first model previewed and the first of much awesomesauce to come!!!!


1 comment:

  1. I am very grateful for this enlightening article. I am new to this issue, but for me it elucidated several questions. Congratulations on your knowledge on the subject. Thank you very much.
    Bushido Saga 1.3.14


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