Today was the Guild Ball Game Day at The Sentry Box. We managed to have three tables running with eight people playing games and about the same number watching, asking questions and checking the game out.
I had my Engineer team (Ballista, Ratchet, Salvo, Mainspring, Hoist and Colossus) as well as the Union Starter set in case anyone wanted to use it as a minimum team for a demo. My game was against Orrin with his Alchemist team (Midas, Katalyst, Compound, Flask, Vitriol and Calculus). This was the first time I was able to get in an actual game as was the case for Orrin.
The first few turns of our game were a bit of a mess as neither of us really had a clue what we needed to do in order to maximise the impact of each team member. The best way to use each player’s Playbook was also something that was much different in a game than while reading stat cards and theorising about the game.
I was actually quite surprised by the level of strategy in the game. It was apparent from reading the rules and the stat cards that there were many opportunities for characters and their abilities to interact. What came as a surprise to me was just how much you had to build up to particular plays or actions in your turn either by creating the proper conditions for a play or by having to build up Momentum.
The immediate reset of the game after a goal really caught me off guard. I am used to this from playing Dreadball but the size of the field and the speed at which you can move the ball (if you know what you are doing :-) caught me flat-footed. After my goal Orrin used Compound to boot the ball downfield, snagged it with Midas and had it in scoring position within a few plays.
I actually found it rather difficult to build Momentum with the Engineers. The team is designed in such a way that you can either do damage or you can do some other play that also builds momentum. So there was a constant clash between trying to build momentum and doing damage to try to take models out. There is clearly a lot that I have to learn to get a better grasp of the game.
Happily it was still a fun game even with the learning curve. I won the game 12-10. Both of us scored a goal (Orrin’s was much better executed than mine :-) and the rest of the points were gained by taking out characters. The game was one with Salvo using Floored Bolt to do the final point of damage to Midas. I had to do this twice as Orrin carefully put Clone on Midas so I needed to hit him twice. Once to remove Clone and then a second time to do the last point of damage.
What really saved me was that Orrin forgot many of the Character Traits that were on the back of his cards. Especially on Vitriol. I suspect that if he was paying more attention to how she interacted with her smoke clouds that he may have been able to do some serious damage to me. It was the case with both of us though as it takes a bit of time to become familiar with the Traits for each player.
Some of the highlights of the game:
- Missing a 2″ goal kick with hoist on four dice.
- Getting Ratchet to use Overpowered on Mainspring who then walked up to Katalyst and Compound and exploded taking out Katalyst.
- Orrin’s awesome pass and goal kick with Midas and Vitriol.
The system itself was a lot more fun and a lot more strategic than I thought it would be so this is definetely a game that is going to get a lot more play.