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Eugel

How to speed up the game ?

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Hi.

Me (Fishermen) and my friend (Hunters) started playing Guild Ball not too long ago. I think, so far we played 4 or 5 matches.

After our last match, which lasted about 5 hours ! I wondered how we could make the game quicker. Granted, the 5 hour-match was a bit extreme, and I played 3 new models I haven´t played before, so I had to look up their abilities a couple of times. But in general, I still have the impression that we take very long. I think, the rules aren´t really the problem anymore. I think, it´s more the decisionmaking, pre-measuring and the allocation of influence in the starting step. And we still play without the plot cards.

Personally, I still have a hard time to come up with an opening. When the game progresses, I find it easier to react, but in the first turn I´m always a bit clueless. Is that something that comes by itself with experience ? We both aren´t competitive players and unlikely to ever attend a tournament, but still, I´d like to get a match done in under 3 hours.
Do you guys have any tips ?
 

We thought about playing more training matches with just 3 models each, but I feel that we would miss out on a lot of the fun. I´d prefer to practice with a "full game".

Another suggestion was the use of a chess-clock, which I am very undecided on. We already talked about it, and it seems a bit stressful. How do you handle counterattacks or other out of turn stuff ? What if one of us is generally a bit faster ? Doesn´t that make it a bit unfair ?

Thanks for any input/advice :)

 

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Play with the clock. It forces you and your opponent to make rushed, sometimes sub-optimal decisions and keeps the time down while making the game less about finding the best/optimal strategy every activation and more a kinetic ballet to victory (and I think, more fun). I understand why you might hesitate, but it really does focus the mind when you can't spend 20 minutes working out if Shark can/should get a goal. I think it adds to the fun. But that's just me. You will improve such that the time becomes less relevant (especially for Fish - seriously those guys want the game over in 20 mins).

Also you will find part of the problem is Hunters here - Hunters suck time out of the game like a sponge, both yours and the opponents. They play a sort of control game, which often stops things from working as they should which in turn causes both sides to think longer. Hunters are also a problem solving guild so run the clock longer than Fish, but if they work they can cause you to have to think outside the box to get the game back.

So in conclusion, do use a clock, try to play faster on both sides and potentially consider changing one side away from Hunters (e.g. Butchers) and the game length will come down to a couple of hours or less (much less once Fish start kicking in those goals).

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Once you have some of the time-soakers down to muscle memory you can cut out the clock; games may be longer than the 1.5-2 hour mark, but they'll be far from the 5-hour you're describing.

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Use the clock, you dont have to go for the 45 minute each that normal games are. Maybe put it at 60 each to start with that way you know for a fact the game wont go over much over 2 hours. This forces you to be more decisive now that you are learning your characters abilities. Yes there will be mistakes, but its a game and thats how you learn and remember for next time, or the time after. Also download an app like tooled up (which also has a clock) so you can download your teams cards and look at the abilities at times when you are bored or waiting in line with nothing else to do. Helps you know your players abilities for the next game.

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If you don't want to try the regular game clock yet, I'd recommend using an activation timer. Give yourself a limit for each activation so that you get used to making decisions quickly without the whole game being on the line. Have the activation simply end at the end of the timer.

I'd start with something easy - five minutes maybe - and go shorter as the limit becomes easy to follow. Once you can get most activations done in 2 minutes or less, you'll be moving the game along pretty quick.

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Definitely seconding the clock thing. My locals have had matches that stretch forever with very few points scored either side because they play so defensively/non aggressive. We started using clocks in regular games and as a result they've sped up. They could be more aggressive still as a lot of points go to clock, but it cuts down the table chatter about theoretical board states and rules that make games stretch for hours.

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Something to pay attention to is how many rounds your game is going.  In general, what I find causes games to run long is a combination of slow activations and not aggressively pursuing points.  If you're getting to the 4th round, you're probably taking a lot of actions that aren't moving the game towards its conclusion.

It's actually why I find it hard to go easy on new players when I'm trying to teach the game.  Me playing less aggressive doesn't cause them to score faster; it just makes the game take longer and eventually I find 4 hours have passed and I just have to finish things.  That's something I've noticed in games that run long when I've watched new players play each other as well.  It's not that their activations are THAT slow; its that they're in the 5th round and the score is 6-4 or something.

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Sounds a bit like analysis paralysis to me; it's ok to make mistakes and you'll learn more by playing two quick games than you'll learn by agonising for 10 minutes/activation.

 

Using the clock can help with that, but it adds external stress as you note, and if the games are running long because of analysis anxiety then that added stress is likely to make the game less fun.

 

Try to agree with your opponent that you're just going to go with your gut and play quickly, doing the first thing that comes to you (or the second, but no more thinking than that); it's a similar idea to using timed activations but without the tyranny of an actual clock.

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If your games are taking that long, I think you need to give the rulebook a read through a few times as I can only assume you are still trying to learn the rules while playing.  Also use a clock.

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@Eugel turn 1 is tough when the game is new, most models need help from team mates to be effective and wasting inf is hard to swallow, but the good news is you can plan turn 1 more than you can any other turn. The only variables are the terrain, ball scatter and any super fast player on the other team.

I used to spend a lot time thinking about what my plan was for both kicking and receiving, studying the cards and forums for ideas to try. Doesn't take long and both of you will be flying thru turn 1, honestly just have a plan, a crap plan is better than no plan. 

 

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