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CidRoman

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About CidRoman

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  1. I love Guild Ball. I love it because it I think it fills a number badly underrepresented niches in the gaming market. I love it so much I've spent more money on it than any one game in a long, long time. But there's a lot about it that frustrates me. There are a number things that I can't help but feel are core problems with the game's infrastructure. Problems that I hope might someday be addressed, or, at the very least, I hope someone will be able to explain to me why I'm wrong, and how these things are features rather than bugs. I want to focus in on one aspect that bothers me in particular. That being the Momentum mechanic. My first impression of it on paper was fairly poor. It seemed to me to be an unfortunate example of a positive feedback loop. Positive feedback loops always raise a red flag to me, as they rarely produce results most people would describe as "fun". For those unfamiliar with the concept, the definitive example of a game that hinges on a positive feedback loop is Parker Brothers MONOPOLY. Whoever's making the most money can buy the most properties, and whoever owns the most properties is making the most money. Before too long you've got a run away leader, also known as the only person at the table who isn't feeling miserable. Because it empties out at the end of each round, the positive feedback loop isn't as bad as it could be, but it's still fairly hostile/tilting for new players. For my first few games, it was pretty aggravating to examine the board state near the end of a round and see that not only was my opponent in a superior position, but in reward for getting there he was awash with resources that would insure he'd be able to keep it. Now that I've had more experience with the game, I think I like it even less. Mainly because I feel it's largely extraneous. Like too many other rules in Guild Ball, I feel it violates one of the most important maxims in game design, "minimum complexity for maximum depth". The more complex a thing, the more often it breaks. The more rules to learn, the higher the barrier of entry. I feel like Counter Attacks, Defensive Stance, Healing and Clearing Conditions, could all be done well and perhaps even be better served by Influence. I think it could create a lot more tension and hard decision making, potentially leading to scenarios wherein one might desire to leave influence unspent on a player in order to protect them. As far as I can tell, there's three things Momentum currently does that are otherwise indispensable. 1) To act as a kind of universal incentive that wouldn't be as overwhelming as VP or strait bonus Influence: Something to make certain strong playbook options comparatively sub-optimal. Acting as a reward for certain actions on specific players due to their traits. Encouraging interaction with the ball. A catch-all candy handed out to encourage a wide variety of specific behaviors. 2) To make going first in the round feel less arbitrary: Its a nice change of pace from most games in the medium to be able to make choices over the course of the round that will affect this incredibly pivotal mechanic. Being able to decide who goes first in a given round is such a big deal that if that's ALL Momentum did I think it might still be valid. Much simpler, less powerful, but still an important consideration. 3) To make goal scoring on the first activation of a round more difficult: I don't currently have any ideas that could replace this. It's an interesting problem and dynamic for footballing teams to solve. Maybe if the only other thing Momentum did was determine who goes first, there could be some kind of minimum Momentum requirement for goal kicks? Like a threshold check? Is anyone else dissatisfied with the ways Momentum currently works? Am I missing anything in my assessment? Are there any changes you'd make to it if you could?
  2. Granite's aesthetic design actually helped draw me to the game in the first place. My subsequent disappointment with her performance on the pitch and analysis of her card, however, make me feel like I'm having some kind of dissociative episode whenever I watch people trying to defend her. It's deeply surreal to me. Perhaps the most damning thing is the arguments in her favor. The most common I've seen on this forum is, "Granite's fine/okay/pretty good, I'd just never ever waste a 1 slot out of 10 to even humor the idea of fielding her.". Along those lines, I've heard a member of my local playgroup try to insist, "She's not bad, she's just 'Masons bad'. The other Masons options are just so good, she's crowded out.". Okay, here's a thought experiment, imagine that Granite is totally factionless. What if anyone could field her! Is there any team that would? I'm sure you can maybe think of some magical christmas land combo scenarios, but I promise you, if you playtested it, she'd underperform. EVERY TEAM IS COMPOSED OF OPTIONS BETTER THEN GRANITE. I sympathize with the case Devilsquid has made. I once tried to convince myself of much the same, but here's the thing, his case for her is essentially just as condemning. In the best case scenario described, Granite is a sinkhole of utility. A huge amount of strategy and resources must be committed in the name of bringing her into a position of being merely functional. Ideally, every piece in a coach's team should grant some kind of advantage, but for fun and balance sake, also contain some flaw or drawback the opponent can potentially exploit. The recurring, bone deep, theme of Granite is that she works the opposite way. She's a drawback that her coach can sometimes potentially exploit for some kind of advantage. But why so? She's got a great playbook with good character plays, decent TAC, good kick, lots of health, and (AND!) out of activation movement. Out of activation movement! Well, lets come back to that. To my mind Granite has three core problems, but the third seems to be invisible to most people, so requires some explaining. So, in order from most to least obvious... 1) She Is Literally Hobbled: At some point in Granite's childhood someone broke her ankles and set them incorrectly to insure she'd never run again. She's so slow that if (when) she gets taken out, she's basically just flatly gone from the game. In most games it'll be a glacial age and a lot of wasted sprinting influence before she can waddle back to a position where she'll be relevant again. At Defense 2, she'll be hit with every single enemy character play, meaning that once you do get her in a good position, your opponent most often can and will easily fix that for you. 2) She Is Easy To Ignore: Her 1'' melee zone is unforgiving and unforgivable. I can understand not wanting her to be able to apply a 2'' zone offensively, but not being able to effectively project gang ups/crowd outs, threaten Parting Blows, or reliably counterattack, means she fundamentally cannot fulfill the basic requirements of her archetype. She's meant to be a viable alternative to Brick, but Brick passively generates a 6'' aura of control for no Influence, while Granite projects 3'' of control for 1 influence and lost tempo from activating. Name a guild and I can point you to a model who does a better job of gumming up the pitch more reliably. More often then not it only takes 1 influence totally paralyze her, to punt her helplessly out of position, or 1 momentum to glide past untouched and indifferent. 3) Most of Her Traits Are Secretly Penalties: 'Determination', 'Between a Rock...', and 'Foundation' are not benefits, they're partial refunds. This, I think, is core to what makes Granite's card objectively bad. 'Foundation' does not grant Granite "extra" moment. Its effect is functionally identical to "This model has [MOV 6''/8''] on the first turn of the game". 'Between a Rock...' is only once per turn, meaning Granite it elevated from hobbled all the way to average MOV for a turn if a friendly model takes damage from an enemy action while within 4'' of her. [DEF 2+] [ARM 2] leaves her so vulnerable so often in practice 'Determination' often feels like, "This (DEF 3+) model has [-1] DEF unless crowded out". I'm partially convinced Granite must have been insanely broken in some early iteration of design, leading Steamforged to massively over-correct before rushing to release for some reason. The easiest way to fix Granite (and yes, she badly needs fixing) might be to just remove all her traits but Sturdy and refund all the deficits attached to them. Would anyone draft Granite competitively if she had [MOV 6''/8''] [DEF 3+] [ARM 2] and Sturdy as her only trait? I think it might be worth trying out on the table. It'd essentially make her almost unique as a model, one who's main gimmick is having virtually no gimmicks, just good to decent stats.
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