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      Union in Chains Pictures   10/14/2017

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Looked at a friends Kick Off and was impressed by the quality.

It holds less details than metal or resin, but is better than TheOthers, Blood Rage and Privateer Press plastics.

I'm not concerned at all with the quality of this material moving forward.
I have some concerns about single pose, single cast, but I think that will be better moving forward with Farmers et al.

I'm eagerly awaiting any alternative to metal, as I've quit using that in my hobby.

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The kick off figures are better than I expected.  There are some things that I found troubling though.  Everyone with a big stick(Tapper, Mallet, Hooper) has it held close to their body, and the detail disappears at the interface of their stick and their body.  Aside from that, the detail is crisp enough, and the mold lines are not significant.  The figures themselves seem to be single pieces of PVC, while the bases look to be injection molded plastic that is glued onto the figures by someone in the production process.   

 

That being said I've been finding a lot the metal products to be behind the curve on miniature quality.  There are often significant gaps in the models, and half of my hunters took considerable effort to assemble such that all of the parts line up properly.  Yesterday I was clipping my Engineers from their sprues, and I found that often the sprues are attached tight in the middle of detailed parts like gears and chins.  Poor mainspring has his sprue attached directly to his face.  I had to scratch a new woodgrain where I clipped the little bugger.  

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I'll admit, it will be nice to have a more durable material. I don't think we are going to lose much detail, if any, so long as they are using a good plastic and molding process. The plastic miniatures of today are not the plastic miniatures of ten years ago.

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5 out of 6 for Quality

Mallet's pose is horrible and all the staves bend/droop at the slightest nudge.

 

Everything else though was impressive...for board game plastic.

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Cool cheers all. Can't wait for it to arrive. I also hear that the plastic going forward will be higher quality than what is in Kick off which would be nice given your feedback.

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Impressed with the quality of the figures and the value of the box.

I did notice that on the 1/2", 1", 2", 3" measuring template the 1/2" is reverse printed on one side :)

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Just received my copy of Kick Off and I am quite happy with the product. I compared the plastic miniatures to their metal version:

Honour, Harmony, Mallet, and Flint - are about one head size larger than their metal version. I was for the most part ok with the metal size, but now I have the plastic ones, they do look extremely small ^_^.

Spigot and Stave - the plastic versions are significantly smaller than their metal counterparts.

The plastic mascots might be slightly bigger than the metal ones but not that obvious. The other models are fairly the same size.

The plastic miniatures are glued onto the base, so it is possible to remove them with not much of a hassle. For better or worse one of the miniatures I received had one of its its pegs not glued very well so that I could removed it from the base rather easily.

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I picked it up from my FLGS and am very happy with the quality. The mold lines weren't bad and cleaned up easily with a hoddy knife and file. I personally am not a fan of the flat bases and I am replacing them with lipped bases. Some came off without any issues but a few pegs broke and had to be pinned. My advice if you decide to rebase them is to be very careful with the minis that have small feet since pinning them will be extremely hard to do. My only other tip is to clean up flashing/mold line on the ends of the plastic dial connectors. If you don't they don't press the cardboard together tightly and the dial is really loose.

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I picked it up at SteamCon and I couldn't be happier with it.

It's my first experience with Guild Ball so I can't comment on the quality versus the metal figures, but the plastic is a good quality that stands up to other board game plastic. As for the other stuff in the box, the board is really good. Nice and thick and it's helpful having the full pitch on one side and the 3v3 pitch marked out on the other. The dials are great, but as Butler said, some of them need a bit of work to get nice and tight. The tokens are nice too and have survived around ten games unscathed, but I've already got some acrylics in the post. I was pleasantly surprised that two sets of range rulers and templates came, I was expecting to be passing them back and forth so that was nice.

I took it to my local game club and two pairs have already ordered two boxes to split between them. Just a shame we can't have a mix of teams!

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Was listening to some of the latest D6 Generation podcast http://www.thed6generation.com/

Rich Loxam says the Kick Off models are about "70%" of the quality they think plastic can get to. Farmers are designed to work specifically in this material and would have "deeper cuts" and "sharper lines".

Mat Hart explains that metal miniatures can be flexed out of the mold (I think because the mold is rubber) but plastic miniatures have to come out straight from the mold (I guess the mold for plastic is metal, so you can't twist them out). This means the plastic minis can have lots of details in one direction (eg. front and back of model) but have to be smooth in the other direction (eg. on the sides) so you can take them out ... so nothing gets stuck coming out of the mold.

Mat says that what you can then do is have "attachments that go on the side" to cover up the smooth parts of the model, such as glue-on belts and satchels.

The miniatures would be using "next-generation" PVC that can hold more detail because it hardens more than traditional PVC. Before seeing this in the Chinese factory, they had been thinking of using HIPS plastic (which I think is "Games Workshop" plastic).

Mat says people are short of time, and they want to help save time on gluing/assembling etc. and get people straight into playing the game.

...

The farmers do look good and am looking forward to picking some up next year. The current line-up does look a bit static, "farmers on parade" though. All the models (including metal Tater) are pretty much two legs on the ground, facing forward, standing to attention.

That's the same as say, Rage, who is a great model, but maybe there's some way to put more variety in. Plastic Honour is on one foot ... the plastic Masons/Brewers have a bit more movement to them ... so they can do movement in plastic. Maybe some future models will be made in a few more parts (and glued in the factory) allowing more interesting poses.

I think a good option could be to make the six man plastic teams for people who want those, and then maybe have a few of the other players, or limited edition versions of the plastic line-up, in metal. Then you could play the basic team out of the box if you want, and the painters/modellers could have the option of also using, say, limited edition Bushel or Harrow in one of those crazy dynamic Guild Ball poses that have helped define the "look" of the game to date. They could do the metal as web-only exclusives or something so as not to confuse general retailers. They've been doing some interesting stuff with models like Tenderizer and it would be sad to lose all that.

...

Anybody got ideas for the packaging for future plastic teams? A nice thing in the Kick Off Box is the minis come in a re-useable box with a tray to put your painted models back into. That could be a good style for the future teams ... if they design the packaging with the aim that it can be used as an ongoing carry-case for taking your painted models to tournaments etc.

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I'd be reluctant to put painted minis in that kind of carry plastic. They're fine for stopping board game models from getting squashed (the set that comes with Blood Rage makes packing that up much easier!) but my painted stuff will go in my case with my other painted bits...

I think it's only really Harrow and the one with the Saws that look in anyway static really - Bushel and the big guy have quite interesting models to me. To be fair, having movement in models is nice for variety, but it works better with some models than others - limited edition Flint mid shot looks cool - regular Mist looks worse than the very static limited edition one. 

I agree though, that a mixed approach would suit me best I think - plastic 6 man starters, with extra players available as metal singles would be quite nice - we'll have to see what happens. 

With hind sight, it might have been better to have the limited metal Tater in a more dynamic stance though for variety - I really really love that Tater model though, so it's difficult... on that point, I wonder how to get the new card for Tater without having to rebuy him? Hopefully they can stick his card in with the starter set or something, as I'm keen to start taking these guys to events as soon as possible, and it would be good to have as many models available from the start as possible!

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Others have discussed the minis at length, so I'll offer my feedback on the rest of the materials:

1) The "Kick Off! Read This First!" manual: Failure to Launch
Beautiful idea absolutely hobbled by the tremendously small size of the images depicting the tutorial. It's simply impossible to see which characters are supposed to go where, and you've got to step through the whole thing and work backwards via a process of deduction to try and sort out who goes where. All this before you get to the actual "playing through the tutorial" part. It's made harder by the fact that the tiny profile images used to depicted the player tokens in the board state images feature artwork that is not repeated on the player cards. The only 100% positive ID comes from the two medium base characters - the rest you have to deduce and infer, and it makes the whole process needlessly confusing and unpleasant.

The end result makes the entire Quick Start guide a bit of a fail in my book in the sense of quickly, clearly and comprehensibly explaining the game to an absolute newbie... and isn't that the intended audience for this very board-game-like set? The actual descriptions of the rules and how they work is great, but the execution of the example images leaves very much to be desired. If you're an experienced Guild Ball player, you'll of course have no trouble filling in the many blanks, but that of course completely misses the point and in no way excuses the product. The consensus of my group was to scrap the tutorial and simply get on with playing the actual game, as it'd probably be less confusing and more fun. Whomp whomp.

2) Tapper / Hopper and Harmony / Honour: Which Mini is This, Anyways?
Further exacerbating the confusion caused by the quick start guide, as part of that alleged "Quick Start" process you have to try and figure out which of these nearly identical-looking miniatures pertains to which of their cards. The cards feature different poses than the minis, so you're left with the task of carefully studying the artwork and trying to divine which of the miniatures is "most like" the drawings presented. Sound like fun? Not for someone brand-new to Guild Ball with no idea who the heck any of these characters are, nor what they look like.

3) Hard smooth board surface + plastic minis = Guild Ball on Ice
The minis slide around quite easily on the supplied board surface. It's not a total dealbreaker (not in the way that playing, say, X-Wing on such a surface would be), but it does lead to a bit of fuzziness around positions. In a game where precise measurements /can/ be extremely relevant, it's a bit of a miscue. With that said, both sides of the board are beautiful and it will make for a fun play surface, so long as sufficient care is taken to avoid jostling.

Anyways - these are just visceral feedback on the box contents. I am quite a fan of Guild Ball and Steamforged and don't want this feedback to sound too harsh, but I just feel strongly that the Quick Start guide in particular needs to be addressed if this box set is really going to be able to stand on its own as a tool to boostrap new players. Maybe offer a link to where people can see a web page with the Quick Start guide in glorious high resolution? That'd be a completely fine solution, something that a new player could pull up on their phone and then really sink their teeth into. The examples given are great, it's just that the execution is quite lacking in my view. Hopefully a better solution can be found.

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3 hours ago, surfimp said:

2) Tapper / Hopper and Harmony / Honour: Which Mini is This, Anyways?

Further exacerbating the confusion caused by the quick start guide, as part of that alleged "Quick Start" process you have to try and figure out which of these nearly identical-looking miniatures pertains to which of their cards. The cards feature different poses than the minis, so you're left with the task of carefully studying the artwork and trying to divine which of the miniatures is "most like" the drawings presented. Sound like fun? Not for someone brand-new to Guild Ball with no idea who the heck any of these characters are, nor what they look like.

Maybe I'm misunderstanding since I don't have the kickoff box yet, but I doubt the average tabletop gamer is oblivious enough to not look at the card art and say "this guy has a hat vs this guy with long hair/this girl is wearing a tank top and this one is wearing armor"

But then again i wouldn't be surprised if they are.

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I agree with Surfimp about the Quick Start / Tutorial booklet...and I am one of said complete newbies to the game. I was able to follow the flow of the written part and rules descriptions, but the images were really hard to make out (to the point where I stopped trying). It should be noted I was only reading and was not trying to play through the actual tutorial. I remember thinking "why did they make those images SO small" lol.

I'm less concerned about cards-to-minis issues. I'll figure that out.

I've been a painter/modeler for many, many years through all kinds of materials (metal, plastics...heck even lead way back when). Although my preference is HIPS (GW plastics), these minis in the Kick Off box are more than adequate IMO as gaming pieces. They wouldn't stand up for entering into painting contests and such, but I don't really think that's the point of these. Also...I hate to say this...I've only seen a few examples of painters of Guild Ball who I think would even need to be concerned about the sculpt quality. The average painter isn't going to turn these into masterpieces anyway, so I don't see the big deal if they aren't razor sharp perfect metal minis. I'm quite enjoying painting them actually and I really don't miss assembling them that much. In fact I even have an assembled metal Fishermen team that is languishing 30% painted and yet I find myself eager to paint these plastic Brewers :)

Really nice set but yes hampered by the tutorial booklet.

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9 hours ago, Ik-tornado said:

Maybe I'm misunderstanding since I don't have the kickoff box yet, but I doubt the average tabletop gamer is oblivious enough to not look at the card art and say "this guy has a hat vs this guy with long hair/this girl is wearing a tank top and this one is wearing armor"

But then again i wouldn't be surprised if they are.

The issue isn't whether someone can figure it out - they for sure will, given enough time and motivation. It's not too difficult.

It's really just a user experience thing. Tiny images in the tutorial, less-than-obvious identifications for minis vs cards, etc. all add up to a subpar purchase experience. It's not a deal-breaker, it's just something that could (and should) have been better.

Take a look at your set, when it arrives, with my feedback in mind. I'm not saying you'll agree with me, but I don't think you'll be able to say I'm dead wrong.

Hopefully it can be improved with time. Guild Ball is a fun game and I hope it is successful. This box set is a fantastic value and a great starter that could have been even better. I offer my feedback only in that regard: towards helping make the next iteration better.

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4 hours ago, MiniJunkie said:

I'm quite enjoying painting them actually and I really don't miss assembling them that much. In fact I even have an assembled metal Fishermen team that is languishing 30% painted and yet I find myself eager to paint these plastic Brewers :)

Really nice set but yes hampered by the tutorial booklet.

Would be great to see the end result. I will not be putting brush to brewer (or mason) for quite some time, Still got three Butchers and 7 Hunters to go first...........oh and then there's my union figures.......

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So,  ran a couple of friends through their first guild ball game using kick off last night and while the minis,  tokens and stuff are fine, the game kinda dragged on and wasn't the dynamic experience I was hoping to give them.. 

This could have been because we left them to their own devices rather than playing the game for them so influence allocation wasn't really that optimum but I'm starting to wonder if putting two average "sturdy" teams against each other was a bad idea.. 

To top it off,  the dice rolled horribly with Honour missing a five dice shot and most combat rolls struggling to get three or four deep into play books..

Honestly,  I found it far easier running 3v3 games with the fish and butcher starters and giving both players a chance of using the shooty and fighty teams so it may be a case of doing that and then going into the kickoff starter once they already have a grasp of the basics.. 

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2 hours ago, Redmaw said:

So,  ran a couple of friends through their first guild ball game using kick off last night and while the minis,  tokens and stuff are fine, the game kinda dragged on and wasn't the dynamic experience I was hoping to give them.. 

This could have been because we left them to their own devices rather than playing the game for them so influence allocation wasn't really that optimum but I'm starting to wonder if putting two average "sturdy" teams against each other was a bad idea.. 

To top it off,  the dice rolled horribly with Honour missing a five dice shot and most combat rolls struggling to get three or four deep into play books..

Honestly,  I found it far easier running 3v3 games with the fish and butcher starters and giving both players a chance of using the shooty and fighty teams so it may be a case of doing that and then going into the kickoff starter once they already have a grasp of the basics.. 

I don't think a starter product is a complete substitute for teaching someone the game. If they were both new, they probably should have followed through the tutorial to learn the game. Probably still a good idea to play the game with one person who wants to learn. Masons vs Brewers is perfectly capable of being a dynamic game that covers every aspect of the game.

I'm not known as the best demo runner for anything, as I'm a competitive player that naturally picks games up, and struggles to make "poor" plays, but I take the view that when I'm playing a new player, they can hopefully learn something from watching me make good plays. I frequently play people who have played multiple games without ever making a counter attack or defensive stance for example. While they can often be applied horribly vs a player that has little to no concept of them, I take the view that they will learn a brutal lesson. My point is, you will always learn a lot from playing with an experienced player that you won't always get from trying to teach yourself with a new player...

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I feel that when starting two new players out it is better to act as an impartial "coach" that prompts them into situations that will allow them to make the mistakes that we all learn from, i.e "you could charge this guy if thats what you think best" followed up with "well now that he's done that you could counter charge him with brick." So helping but not helping. After a game or two they learn quite quickly not to listen to the coach and to do the right thing on their own. Seems to have worked for a couple of guys we have brought into the game. (also sometimes it's just fun pulling strings ;))

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35 minutes ago, masterkdog said:

I feel that when starting two new players out it is better to act as an impartial "coach" that prompts them into situations that will allow them to make the mistakes that we all learn from

Yeah, that's basically what we did.. We (the more experienced players) let them play their own game while occasionally prompting them to look at things on certain cards if we noticed a play was available.. 

That being said, I still think Kickoff is a good set, it was just every time they tried to do anything cool the dice completely failed them which left things feeling a little flat.. 

In hindsight it may have been worth us playing a game to 4-6 points with them watching and just flying through the abilities to show what each player could do before letting them have control..

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