Changing the Face of the Union

With the recent release of Grace and Benediction it seems the Solthecian Church's influence is taking over the sculpting team. We're over the moon to welcome Russ Charles to the Steamforged Blog as he talks about his latest tinkerings with how the Union look. Let's see what he's been up to...

 

Recently, I was asked by Rich Loxam (co-creator of Guild Ball and my boss!) to create some unique Union models for his team at Vengeance. His vision was to make a ‘Solthecian’ themed team to tie into Seasoned Brisket and Grace & Benediction.

Whilst the majority of these models would be simple modifications that added Church masks and symbols to existing sculpts, I saw an opportunity to do something I rarely get the chance to: revise some older sculpts to strengthen their design.

The Union were the last team created for Season 1 and whilst I was very happy with most of them, there were a couple of models I felt lacked impact. The adding of a Solthecian element was a nice chance to revisit their style to emphasise the sense of being slightly exotic. It also afforded me a second go at posing the models and applying the things we have learned about base contact, free floating parts and tiny details!

Coin

For coin, I simply wanted a second chance at the snake’s scales and a way of making him have more of a presence as a miniature. Having him coiled over a broken Solthecian Offertory allowed me to bulk the model out and I liked the idea of him swallowing the Church’s collection plate! I feel the character of lazy, slightly self-satisfied Coin has been kept, but I am very happy with the presence on the table this version has.

Gutter

For Gutter, I wanted to address several things. Her pose, whilst cool in principle, lacked the impact that the profile deserves on the field. Also, I saw this as an opportunity to introduce a unique looking set of weapons.  I chose the circular blades and the shape of her knife guards as being shapes that hinted at the sun, sun beams and other elements that reflected the Solthecian faith. I also added the same scroll work onto her kit that can be found on Grace and Benediction. I chose not to add a mask to her so that she felt different to the main model set. The pose was intended to add action and movement to the model, and the placement of the weapons ensured multiple points of contact, no free-floating parts that could snap easily, and a nicely solid base contact point.

I did re-use elements such as her hair from the original model, to provide some continuity of design.

Decimate

With Decimate, I again wanted to address her pose to give it more ‘oomph’ but overall I felt the model needed less overall design change. I re-used her head, belt and weapons as well as several other elements. Mainly I wanted to streamline the detailing to emphasise the pose and not have a ‘busy’ model.  She does get some Solthecian theming and the ribbons, as well as adding movement, will provide structural strength to the blades. This allows for a model that feels delicate but makes a robust gaming piece.

So, in all three cases, I feel the Union has gained some exciting new models here. I am happy with the way they look on the table and how they hold up as gaming pieces. What happens next with these sculpts is yet to be revealed. Will the other Union get modified in a similar way? Are these even the final versions of these models? Who can say? It has been great fun to seize an opportunity to revise and update some older designs, which is something I would love to do again in the future. For now, I hope this look into the revision process has been interesting!

Thank you for the interesting insight there Russ. What do you think at home? Let us know on Facebook, Twitter and our Forums.

Praise Be! The First Light of Solthecius

Today we’re going to take a closer look at the new Union players Grace & Benediction. Sent by the Church to keep a closer eye on Rage & Brisket, Grace & Benediction strike fear into friends and enemies alike. In this article we will be going through the key abilities of Grace & Benediction and what they can be used for. We will also be taking a look at some potential team line ups for Grace & Benediction.

Grace, Saint of the Bacchal Throne

Both Grace and Benediction were designed to be supporting players for a Union team, although they go about doing this in very different ways. Grace specialises in supporting friendly models from a distance, she has a number of ways to help her team without getting bogged down in a brutal melee. In addition to supporting the team as a whole, Grace has a very good KICK range of [8”] which helps her to score occasional goals when the opportunity arises.

Firstly, lets dig into how Grace supports her team, particularly with her Character Plays. When developing Grace, we wanted to tap into the idea of spiritual healing. This brought us to the Healing Light Character Play. Healing Light is a short ranged AOE that allows any friendly player within it, including Grace herself, to recover [2] Health Points. A very useful Character Play if you have a couple of wounded players close together, since Grace can heal them all at once! There is also no limit on how many players Grace can heal with Healing Light; the only restriction is how many players you can fit into the AOE!

Grace’s second Character Play is one that has been around since the first days of Guild Ball. Veteran coaches will be no stranger to the Quick Foot Character Play, also seen on the Fishermen Captain Shark. Quick Foot allows Grace to increase the MOV attribute of any friendly player, including herself, by [+2”/+2”]. Quick Foot is hugely beneficial to literally any player in Guild Ball, with it you can increase the MOV of Seasoned Brisket to [8”/10”], Veteran Rage to [7”/9”], or Grace herself to [8”/10”]. The tactical implications of increasing a player’s MOV attribute are incredibly important, Quick Foot can allow a player to score a goal that they otherwise would have been out of range for, or to Charge an enemy player that had attempted to retreat to safety. To top it off, Quick Foot can be used multiple times per turn to increase the MOV attribute of several players.

Turning Grace’s card over to look at her Character Traits reveals even more about her supportive playstyle. The Impart Faith Character Trait cements Grace’s capacity to support her team from a distance. The RNG (range) of both Grace’s Character Plays are [4”], which isn’t very far; however, Impart Faith allows Grace to measure the range of her Character Plays from another friendly player within [6”] of her. For example, Grace is within [6”] of Mist, so Grace can use Quick Foot, measuring the [4”] range for Quick Foot from Mist instead of from herself. In this example, Grace could use Quick Foot on a player over [11”] away from herself!

The Blessed Character Trait gives Grace [2] extra Influence at the start of her activation. Even if you have allocated Grace [0] Influence at the start of a turn, she will still get this extra [2] Influence, meaning that she will be able to play an active role in every turn of a game. Furthermore, Grace’s two Character Plays both have a COST of [2] Influence. Because of Blessed, Grace will always be able to use one of her Character Plays to support her team. Additionally, Blessed states that Grace ‘gains’ the [2] Influence. Normally we ‘allocate’ Influence to our players and a player cannot be allocated more Influence than their maximum INF attribute. However, ‘gain’ means that Grace can have more Influence than her maximum INF attribute allows as a result of Blessed.  Grace’s INF attribute is [1/3], this means that she generates [1] Influence for the team’s Influence-pool and she can be allocated [3] Influence at the start of a turn. If Grace has [3] Influence at the start of her activation, Blessed gives her another [2] meaning that she will activate with [5] Influence!

Finally, the Purity Character Trait allows Grace to do something completely new to Guild Ball, remove enemy ongoing-effect AOEs. If there is an annoying Fire Blast or Noxious Blast AOE on the Pitch, Grace can remove it for you. This makes Grace particularly effective when fielded against the Alchemists Guild, or any player that uses ongoing-effect AOEs.

Benediction, Shield of the Faith

Earlier we mentioned that both Grace and Benediction were designed to be supporting players for the Union. We’ve seen that Grace achieves this by supporting her team with useful Character Plays that she can use every turn from a safe distance, as well as acting as a secondary goal scorer. Benediction on the other hand, is an immovable object that the Union coach can place in the midst of an enemy team and expect him to hold his ground. Having singularly resilient players such as Benediction can be very useful for a Guild Ball coach, particularly against aggressive melee-focused Guilds like the Butchers. Against such teams it’s useful to have a player that can take a few hits and then Counter Attack, while simultaneously distracting the opponent from attacking your less resilient players.

When developing Benediction, we took inspiration from ideas like the Knights Templar or the Teutonic Order, paladins of religion that stand as watchful protectors of the faithful. To this end, we gave Benediction a [2”] melee zone and a Playbook with very easy access to Momentous Push Playbook results. Easy to access Push Playbook results mean Benediction has very strong Counter Attacks, particularly against enemy players with a [1”] melee zone. After a player has used its Standard Advance (a Jog, Sprint, or Charge) most players don’t have another method of moving around. If Benediction Counter Attacks an enemy player after it has moved, it is likely that he will be able to choose the double-Push Playbook result on his second column, and Push the enemy player out of melee, so the enemy can no longer Attack him! On top of this, Benediction has the Poised Character Trait, meaning that he can make [1] Counter Attack each turn without spending Momentum!

Added to his excellent Counter Attacking potential, Benediction has two Character Plays that increase his defensive capabilities even further. The first being Braced. Braced increases Benedictions ARM by [2] for the next Attack that targets him, meaning that for the first Attack he will be an incredible ARM [4]! Having a high ARM attribute is very useful for any player, but it is particularly useful on Benediction if he has declared a Counter Attack. The enemy’s Attack will be largely nullified by Benediction’s high ARM and he then has a good chance of Pushing the enemy player out of melee altogether.

Benediction’s second Character Play, Stand Firm, is similarly useful. Stand Firm allows Benediction, or another friendly player, to ignore the knocked-down condition the first time they suffer it. You may detect a theme here, but what is this useful for? You guessed it, Counter Attacks! Why? Well, when an enemy declares a Counter Attack, one of the most effective ways to deny it is to knock the Counter Attacking player down before they have chance to use it. If Benediction declares a Counter Attacks while benefiting from Stand Firm, the enemy player won’t be able to knock Benediction down to stop him from making his Counter Attack. Although, since the knocked-down condition is one of the most commonly used in Guild Ball, Stand Firm is useful in a lot of other situations too.

In contrast to Grace, Benediction has an inverted version of the Impart Faith Character Trait, called Impart Wisdom. Impart Wisdom allows other friendly players to measure the range of their Character Plays from Benediction, as long as they are within [6”] of Benediction. This is great for players that have effective but short ranged Character Plays such as Veteran Rage. If Veteran Rage is within [6”] of Benediction, he can use Red Fury, measuring the [4”] range for Red Fury from Benediction instead of from himself. In this example, Veteran Rage could use Red Fury on a player over [12”] away from himself!

Line Ups of the First Light of Solthecius

Now that we’ve explored what’s great about Grace and Benediction individually, let’s throw them into some team line ups and see what happens:

  • Blackheart (C)
  • Coin (M)
  • Benediction
  • Grace
  • Rage
  • Snakeskin

Blackheart is the utility Captain of the Union, He can apply himself and his team to scoring goals or taking out enemy players in equal measure, so both Grace & Benediction are excellent choices. Benediction will be incredibly useful here as a central defensive player, taking the brunt of enemy Charges where he can make the most of his excellent Counter Attacking potential. Additionally, Blackheart’s On My Mark Character Play benefits enormously from the increased range that Impart Wisdom provides. Grace’s capacity to improve the speed of friendly players with Quick Foot is fantastic in any team, but especially one that has strong goal scoring potential. Increasing the MOV of Blackheart, Snakeskin, or Grace herself turns any one of these players into a top notch goal scorer.

  • Veteran Rage (C)
  • Strongbox (M)
  • Benediction
  • Decimate
  • Gutter
  • Minx

Veteran Rage cares much less for the finesse of Guild Ball, instead preferring to put enemies to the sword… or… the cleaver in his case. Benediction is an ideal choice in a Veteran Rage team for holding the line in the centre of the melee, pushing enemies out of Rage’s path so he can Charge into the fray again and again. Earlier in this article we mentioned how useful Impart Wisdom is to Veteran Rage, allowing him to dramatically increase the range of Red Fury. With Benediction on the table, Red Fury has the potential to target almost any player that you need it to!

  • Seasoned Brisket (C)
  • Coin (M)
  • Avarisse & Greede
  • Grace
  • Harry ‘The Hat’
  • Mist

Seasoned Brisket is almost the ideal Captain to lead Grace onto the Pitch. Both players are adept goal scorers and, in a Seasoned Brisket team, Quick Foot will have a use almost every turn. Seasoned Brisket loves to lead a team of goal scoring players at blistering pace, so an ‘on tap’ speed increase is exactly what she wants. Additionally, because Grace has the [Solthecian] model type, she is another player that can trigger the Motivated Character Trait on Mist which increases Mist’s speed without spending any Influence at all!

Match Report - Vengeance [Part 2]

Match Report - Vengeance [Part 2]

Yesterday we shared Game One and Two from Vengeance 2017, and today we have the joy of bringing you Game Three and Four! These will round off Day 1 of Vengeance, during Day One we selected games that we believed would be interesting match ups. Starting tomorrow we will be releasing Games Five, Six and Seven which are from the top table of the event.

Guild Ball WTC - Team Fun Sponge

Meet the Team

  • Team Captain: Loxam
  • Players: Jamie and Jay

Loxam:  I’m the Managing Director at Steamforged Games, I spend most of my days being part of the Development Team ensuring that our quality products go out the door on time and keeps SS Steamforged chugging forward! For the Guild Ball WTC I’m feeling like using...Hunters! I want a new challenge, and I love the look of the new Winter's Moon set so will be exploring them over my next few events, but for the meantime I’ve been playing my Solthecian themed Union, and after a decent showing at Vengeance 2017 they might come out instead. I cannot wait to meet the variety of people who play Guild Ball around the world and seeing how far the game myself and Mat worked on in our bedrooms has grown.

 

Jamie: I am one of the Senior Game Developers for Steamforged Games Ltd. I tend to spend most of my time working on Guild Ball development. This means that my work involves supervising the steps that each model takes on its way from concept to public release. I also spend quite a lot of time working with our playtesters as well as playtesting Guild Ball for myself.

I’m really excited to have the chance to play at the Guild Ball WTC because I love seeing all the weird and wonderful ways that people use our models on the Pitch. It’s a fantastic thing to see our fans take a new model and use it in cool ways we didn’t expect.

At the WTC, I’ll be going back to my roots and playing the first Guild that made me fall in love with this game, the Morticians. When it boils down to it, being an evil supervillain is something I find incredibly fun and you get a real sense of that when playing the spooks.

 

Jay: I’m Jay the Head of Operations for Steamforged Games and previously the Pundit Quartermaster so I have a history of engaging our wonderful community! I run day to day operations and fulfilment in the business which is a passion of mine (yet far removed from the cool jobs like designing games for a living and playing with toys!)

My history of Guild Ball goes all the way back to the beginning of season one where I spent the first 6 months playing every guild to get a good understanding of the game.  From there I settled on Shark Fishermen and involved myself heavily with the early tournament scene with relative success (although Giblin loves to remind me I never won an event!) In season 2 I fell in love with my girl Fillet and that’s what I have been using ever since! For the WTC however I feel in need of a change….Either reverting back to the mighty Shark or something new entirely…I have a tendency of changing my mind at the last minute!!

I can’t wait to get to the WTC and spent time meeting you all, catching up with old friend I have made though Guild Ball and playing games and having fun! That’s what it is all about for me.

 

Guild Ball WTC - Team Fun

Meet the Team

  • Team Captain: Jamie
  • Players: Ed and Adam

Jamie: As Community Manager for Steamforged Games I’ve run my fair share of events, and competed in them too. When I was informed that I was being made Captain of ‘Team Fun’ for the Guild Ball WTC it was with a big ole’ smile that I accepted the privilege. I secretly hope that my team will perform the strongest out of all our teams, but we’ll do it AND leave a smile on our opponent’s face. Since Season 3 started I’ve tried my hand at a few Guilds, namely the Alchemists and Butchers BUT my love for the Brewer’s Guild has been rekindled recently and I’ll be taking them to represent Steamforged Games at the WTC. I can’t wait to meet more of our international community and put faces to names that I’ve only seen via FB, Twitter or through email. Good luck to all.

 

Ed: My current role at Steamforged involves heading up the Organised Play Team, as well as having a hand in the operations side of the business within the UK.  Which means I should know most rules to Guild Ball, Shadow Games and Dark Souls – The Board Game (or at least I’m meant to!)  I am also involved in maintenance of the Organised Play Rules.

My first love has always been, and always will be the Morticians. Obulus is just such a stellar role model!  However, I’m told that I could also do an excellent cosplay of Windle!  So, it may very well be the Farmers!

What I am most looking forward to at the WTC, is getting to play some excellent games of Guild Ball and meeting players from all over the world.  It’ll be very interesting to see different countries metas’ and approaches to the game. Through competing on the UK tournament circuit I’m becoming fairly well acquainted with some of the Team England attendees, so a weekend away with colleagues and friends is always enjoyable and good fun too! However the weekend pans out I hope it won’t end up with me rolling around in the hay with carrots and claws in a Windle-esque fashion!!

 

Adam: I'm Adam, and I've touched your models... 

Yes, really. No it isn't that weird. 

I am a member of the fulfilment team in the warehouse, and we are the ones who move the models from boxes to blisters to stores. If anything that comes out of Steamforged needed physically putting together then there's a pretty good chance I helped to do it. I've been with the company since November 2015, played longer than that and enjoyed every minute of it!

My original loves are the Brewers, however recently I've been swayed by the smell of Gold and Glory and, well, everybody loves pirates right? The Union hold the perfect mix of punchy brawler, slippery footballer and steadfast mid-fielder. I've had a lot of fun with them, and only more so with the addition of Our August Lord's servants, praise be Solthecius!

Onwards to the Guildball WTC! I'm very excited to be picked for the trip out, and looking forward to spending a whole weekend with folks from all over the world who love the game as much as we at HQ do! Never one to shy away, I look forward to testing my own skill against those picked for national service, and although I suspect I'll come off worse for wear I'll enjoy every step of the way. And I hear that there's beer involved....

Guild Ball WTC - Team Painted

Meet the Team

  • Team Captain: Mat
  • Players: Russ & Sherwin

Mat: Hey hey! My name is Mat Hart and I’m one of the original founders of Steamforged Games but these days my role as Creative Director means I get to work with our talented bunch of creatives currently developing Guild Ball, Dark Souls™ and a few other amazing projects that are super top secret…for now!

I’m lucky enough to work with both Sherwin and Russ on a day to day basis which has meant we’ve been able to strategize our game plan to make a splash at the WTC this year. We’re definitely going hard for the name “Team Paint” with some never seen before sculpts and us all dressed in some snazzy outfits. More on that to come I reckon.

I’m going to be rocking (yes!) the Masons to try and give our team a firm foundation (nailed it!) to build (I can’t stop now!) Team Paint’s chances at glory, fame and hammering (OMG!) the other SFG teams into the dust.

I really can’t wait to get to the WTC to hang out with everyone as meeting old friends and making new ones is by far and away my favourite activity of any weekend of gaming. Look forward to seeing you all there!

 

Russ: I am the Lead Sculptor and Sculpting Coordinator at Steamforged. That means that I am the guy who looks after the freelancers who work on our projects, oversees getting our digital designs into production and, most importantly, I’m the guy who sculpts all the models for Guild Ball!

I’ve been a part of Guild Ball since before the Kickstarter when I was asked to produce two concept models of contrasting captains. These eventually became known as Shark and Ox, and I guess the rest is history.

Whilst I have been a firmly loyal Brewer player since those distant days, for season 3 I have decided to increase my painted teams and have therefore been focusing on the Engineers. They’ll be my team of choice at the WTC, and though I already have a completed roster of painted models, there’s something special planned for the event so I am currently working on a new line-up that promises to be quite unique…

I am so pleased to have been asked to represent SFG at the WTC. I am really looking forward to spending more time with our awesome community and getting a lot of great games in. I am also looking forward to seeing how the Season 3 stuff is represented there- I am super proud of the Farmers and hope to see them in action! And finally, I am looking forward to getting team hats, just so Mat has to wear one…

 

Sherwin: Hi guys! My name is Sherwin and I’m the Lead Writer for Steamforged Games, and part of the Development Team. As well as writing pieces for our various games such as Dark Souls™ and Shadow Games (and others in development…) my day to day is spent in the Empire of the Free Cities, writing the story arc for Guild Ball. Unfortunately, chances are if one of your favourite characters has brought the farm, I’m probably to blame… sorry about that!

Much like Russ, I’ve been a part of the Guild Ball universe for a few years now, before the Kickstarter launched. My first piece was called ‘Match Day’, and a few veterans might remember it appearing on our Facebook page way back when. Don’t worry if you missed it however – the story, featuring how a certain pirate lost his leg during a game, made it into the Season One rulebook as the introduction, so you can find it here.

Although I’ve seen table time with almost all of the Guilds, I’ll be taking the Hunter’s Guild to the WTC. As most of you know, I recently penned a Theron Origins story arc which left me feeling fired up to use him a little more – and once I saw Russ’ gorgeous new S3 sculpts, I knew I had to field them.

It’s a real honour to play for SFG at the World Team Championships, and I already can’t wait. Whilst it will be great to catch up with some familiar faces, I’m definitely looking forward to meeting new coaches and discussing their favourite moments from our stories!

 

GUILD BALL NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP DATES

GUILD BALL NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP DATES

It’s that time of year again folks!  That’s right the Guild Ball National Championships are on the horizon! Every Coach the world over, from the most chiselled Mason and morbid Mortician through to the most drunken Brewer and pernicious member of The Union, every citizen of the Empire of the Free Cities pays attention as each nation holds its own competition amongst its most skilful, refined and avid coaches.  Victory means fame fortune and glory! 

The Blacksmiths Guild

The Blacksmiths Guild

Today is one of those rare, amazing days in Guild Ball. Today, we get to talk to you about a brand-new Guild entering the fray. Today we can show you the Blacksmiths Guild. This article will give you an introduction to the some of the core concepts that shaped the Blacksmiths Guild during development, and how we chose to represent those concepts on the Pitch.

Guild Ball World Team Championship

Guild Ball World Team Championship

In September Steamforged Games will be sending three teams to the World Team Championship of Guild Ball to do battle across the pitch with the best players from around the globe. For many the World Team Championship is a highlight of the year, and we are thrilled to see the global Guild Ball community take it upon themselves to run a WTC.

Grace & Benediction Pre-release at Vengeance 2017

Just two more days to go until Vengeance is upon us! We’re getting super excited, so much so that we’ve decided to use the event to pre-release Grace & Benediction!! These will be tournament legal for the weekend, and do not require to be painted!! We expect these to be very popular, so they will be limited to ONE PER PLAYER!

Don't panic if you're not attending Vengeance 2017, Grace and Benedicition are available to pre-order from your Local Gaming Store and from our online store.

If you are dedicated enough to paint the duo in a night we will be providing an award to the Best Painted Grace and Benediction, which will consist of a suitably cool bit of swag for the commitment to fully a painted team, this will be sent out by Steamforged Games after the event.

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On the Saturday night of Vengeance, we have planned a Q&A with Mat Hart and Rich Loxam, the creators of Guild Ball, so get your thinking caps on now and prepare some questions for them. 

See you in a couple of days if your attending, and if not then check back on Friday for some exciting news about how you’ll be able to stay in the loop of what’s going on during the event. Never miss a post by following us on Twitter and Facebook, and by signing up to our Newsletter for a weekly review.