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Lemminkäinen

Will GB die because of the Minor Guilds

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A provocative thread title, yes. Sorry. Hopefully the thread itself will be less cringeworthy.

But I think that GB is a very, very complex game. It takes several games to learn how to play against a new Guild. It already seems like a daunting task to learn the Guilds enough to be able to attend a tournament without autolosses under time pressure against setups with three or more models that you've never faced on the table before.

But the Minor Guilds are now going to double the number of Guilds in the game. Will this make GB completely impenetrable to newbies?

I think that bloat is a true danger for a minis game's longevity. Arguably Malifaux is getting too unwieldy to grasp for anyone but the most dedicated people with a thousand profiles and three thousand combos to learn and appreciate. And I dunno what's going on with WM/H but from a complete outsider's perspective it sure looks impenetrable.

Am I being a chicken little or is there a real chance that the sky is falling? And in the latter case (well, I guess in the former as well), what should be done to mitigate the effects? Do we even need new players?

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It makes it easier if anything having teams that you can pick up and play. GB is a very cheap game to get in to. Pick your guild and play. Get some widgets and dice and tokens and really you can say you are done. the sky is definitely not falling and you always need new players. Everyone in my group is new. Most within the last 3 months and the longest 3 of us started in August. 

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10 minutes ago, Toqtamish said:

It makes it easier if anything having teams that you can pick up and play. GB is a very cheap game to get in to. Pick your guild and play. Get some widgets and dice and tokens and really you can say you are done. the sky is definitely not falling and you always need new players. Everyone in my group is new. Most within the last 3 months and the longest 3 of us started in August. 

Sure, it's easy to pick up and play. But when you join an existing community, you'll be losing a lot and this is going to get worse the more Guilds there are. And losing tons and tons of games isn't very fun and might lead to that new gamer looking elsewhere. If your whole group is new, then you won't have that problem, naturally, until your group "matures" and then new people join.

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It's mildly concerning, but at the same time it's been a looong time since some of the original teams have had a new model to add, so it's a balancing act between flooding the meta and adding new models to get us excited again.

Certainly got me to play Morticians again anyway. 

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I don't see why adding width to a game is worse than depth? Some factions in other games have 30+ models for a faction - GB has at most 16 per Guild?

I think as long as the Minors are balanced, GB will be fine. Whether they are balanced of course is another matter.

With the Minors being a one box purchase (sort of - SFG should really address this by putting the Major Guild models into at least one 6 man box...) that seems good for new players.

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8 minutes ago, EpicChris said:

I don't see why adding width to a game is worse than depth? Some factions in other games have 30+ models for a faction - GB has at most 16 per Guild?

I think that in general width is better and had they added all the new Minor Guild models to existing Guilds the whole game would likely have imploded :D 

8 minutes ago, EpicChris said:

I think as long as the Minors are balanced, GB will be fine. Whether they are balanced of course is another matter.

Just noting that my original worry isn't mitigated by balance as such. Models like vGutter whose scope you can understand pretty well just by reading the card are a lot more important than balance when considering the dangers of rules bloat. Power creep is a separate matter (though it, too, can most certainly lead to an unhealthy game).

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I can see what you're saying, but I don't think the minor guilds in themselves would be the issue. Any time a new player comes in they're goingto face a deluge of information to process. A couple of weeks ago I faced teh Blacksmiths, a team that as being the newest, I was least familiar with. It did put me at a disadvantage, but I still had access to their cards, even if it was just asking my opponent what abilities model X had. Even with your own guild, you still have to get familar with everyone. I think it's part of teh learning process in general for this game, but don't think the minors wil make it worse. If anything, showing up with the newest minor guild may help you depending on how familiar your opponent is with them. ;)

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1 hour ago, Lemminkäinen said:

Sure, it's easy to pick up and play. But when you join an existing community, you'll be losing a lot and this is going to get worse the more Guilds there are. And losing tons and tons of games isn't very fun and might lead to that new gamer looking elsewhere. If your whole group is new, then you won't have that problem, naturally, until your group "matures" and then new people join.

That is part of starting anything new. You have to accept that when you start something new. If I started playing hockey I'd expect to lose a lot. If you cannot handle that and just go look elsewhere then the problem starts all over again. 

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 I do think Minor guilds will be an issue that causes a lot of players (New and Old) frustration. 

 The way I see it is that minor guilds really don't work well as stand alones. They feel like they are meant to be an expansion if you already play the major guild. Something that gives you extra choice for a few players and an alternative side guild option to shake things up.  

 Just when I felt like the lack of individual model sales were not going to be an issue (As we've been in full box only mode for a while now), they do the minor guilds. 

 Take for example Falconers. I love the look, I would love to play them. However, I do not want to spend another 100+ dollars just to get the final 2 models to round the team out! It's ridiculous. Falconers only seem reasonable if you already own hunters and have VHearne and Egret. 

 I can just see a new player picking that box up. Going "Oh this one other player looks really nice! How do I get that player? What do you mean I have to spend 75 USD as the only way to get one model I need?". 

 As far as a competitive standpoint, I don't see the factions being a major issue. Table top gaming across the board has issues with needing to memorize "Gotcha" moments. Warmachine was terrible for that, more than factions you had to know the rules for every potential caster. I don't think rule wise Guild Ball is any worse than the other major competitors. 

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Well based on the Ratcatchers they most definitely will be viable as Stand Alones! Have you seen their abilities? These guys are going to cause people to tear their hair out. I'm not even sure Reverie is balanced! 

Of course you will ALWAYS have the issue of lack of variety in the basic 6 - but that will only kick in after months/years (YMMV) and then you can look to expand into Morts or go another way. 

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5 hours ago, Lemminkäinen said:

Something, something...autolosses

Whilst I THINK I see the point you are trying to make I very much disagree with the idea of an auto loss.

A miniature wargame lives and dies by new releases. Limited formats are for PC games, Magic the Gathering and by the look of it Godtear. Steamforged are looking to cater for that audience but Guildball isn't it :)

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Guild Ball players are at least fairly easy to learn. You can take in their abilities from a quick scan of the card. Malifaux cards are more complex.

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6 hours ago, Toqtamish said:

That is part of starting anything new. You have to accept that when you start something new. If I started playing hockey I'd expect to lose a lot. If you cannot handle that and just go look elsewhere then the problem starts all over again. 

Sure, if you take all nuance away, then it works like that. But diving into Frostgrave is a bit different from diving into Guild Ball. And diving into Guild Ball in 2016 will be very, very different from diving into it in 2020 from the looks of it.

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8 hours ago, EpicChris said:

With the Minors being a one box purchase (sort of - SFG should really address this by putting the Major Guild models into at least one 6 man box...) that seems good for new players.

They should just include alt sculpt models in the minor guild boxes. Making them 8 model boxes. 

Really annoying the way it's handled right now. 

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6 minutes ago, Balefirestorm said:

They should just include alt sculpt models in the minor guild boxes. Making them 8 model boxes. 

Really annoying the way it's handled right now. 

I don't know that that would be any better - some people would then be unhappy because the box cost £55 and included two models they already have. 

The only way to not upset any customers would be to have each of the dual guild pairs available separately, but then that makes them more expensive because of the extra packaging and different casting quantities needed, and instantly bloats the SKUs which annoys retailers. It's impossible for them to not have someone complain at how things are packaged, because people want different things.

It's not a perfect system, but it makes the least mess this way (I had this conversation with folks at steamcon, and that was the conclusion then).

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I do understand where you are coming from.  Entry barrier for GB can be tougher then other games due to the information you need to know.

 

with only one set scenario for win conditions older players likely have strong ‘plays’ that newer players could struggle with.  Any long standing game will always have a barrier for entry.

 

but on the other hand I do think Minor Guilds are a good thing. Increasing the current guild rosters by say another 6-8 players will open up too many combinations and counter pucks in the tournament environment, while also creating a more difficult design space to make ‘every player’ viable.

 

the Minor Guilds offer both older players of established Guilds an ‘add on’ to both vary play style and models.  While also offering newer players a ‘play out the box’ experience with a low entry level cost and lots of faction CHOICE.

 

i won’t go into the boost to sales and keeping the game fresh.  I do think the biggest barrier is the perceived complexity and the big gap between a new and established player.  You can get easily locked out in GB against more experienced players without a cats in Hell chance of scoring a lucky KO punch and find yourself being ‘thrashed’ on a regular basis.

 

this is true of many games but from my experience in games it feels more unforgiving in GB.

thats my 2 cents worth though :)

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This is an interesting topic. The concern that the minor guilds add so many models and rules that it will be impenetrable is minor for me. I mean look at games like 40K. It's got a truly overwhelming range on minis and a library of rules (none of which are free). It also has a major power creep problem. It's doing pretty well despite all that. Variety can attract people as well. GB has the advantage that it's very cheap to start and if you don't get on with your guild you can switch to another one relatively cheaply, and probably sell the old one quite easily. 

More important for attracting new players is resources online and friendly established gaming groups who are prepared to take the time to teach you, not just stomp you. The group I have the pleasure of playing with is generally very experienced and I lose most of the time, but those guys will point out mistakes I make and will explain (if asked) the logic behind their decisions. It can still be fun to lose if you have a couple of "ah-ha, now I get that" moments in the game, and once you start stealing the occasional win and realise that nobody is unbeatable it is very motivating.

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 "You can get easily locked out in GB against more experienced players without a cats in Hell chance of scoring a lucky KO punch and find yourself being ‘thrashed’ on a regular basis"

 

I will be completey honest here, and say in my opinion this is a good feature of the game. The reason I play guildball over other games is mainly the balanced and competative nature and it doesn't have this element to it. I find it rewards skill, planning, quick thinking and strategy....and I hugely disliked in things like wm/h rolling and hitting that 5%  caster kill as a way to win. I want to beat my opponent based as much as possible on my skill, against an evenly matched opponent it often comes down to the smallest decisions rather than dice spikes and this is a nuance I value.

 

Sure you can play riskier plays and they close out the game or put you ahead but its requires other things during the game. Watch some of Timmy's games where he can play like this in conjunction with smart positional play and decision making. He consciously chooses to play a riskier play and tries to mitigate any downsides.

 

Games you lose, i have found often offer the most for learning from and improving your game.

 

Why should someone new be able to beat a world class player who has practiced and spent hours honing their play? In nearly any other competative game/sport this wouldn't even be mentioned or considered.

 

Anyways just my 2cents as they say

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@Stephen78 - yep I totally agree in the sense it can be a draw to some players and a turn off to others.  Some like the luck element to spice it up. I have tried explaining to some people at tournaments that the high ranked players will win it due to the way the game is set up with that ‘lucky hail mary’ being something that doesn’t happen.

 

you tend to lose if you make a bad play and your opponent doesn’t. I know that full well playing at various spectrums of tournament level.  But for new players that don’t have the experience of the game it can be pretty galling getting no where.  So I’m more thinking and raising the point as a barrier for entry.  

I’ve just started up a new tournament system splitting players into ‘pods’ of 8.  So 24 man tournament has 3 x 8 player pods.  Pods are based on Longshank Rankings.  This then gives players great games in their skill level (I know the LS ranking might not be directly linked to skill level but it’s the best we have right now haha).  So mini tournaments, the top play the top.  The new play the new!

 

It seems to be attracting newer players who may worry about the curb stomping they may get otherwise.

 

but I’m in danger of derailing this thread which was more about Minor Guilds rather then barrier for entry :)

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Yes minors will increase the number of player cards/strategies/situations for which folks will need to be mindful. Will this turn off new players? I really doubt it.

Think of learning an instrument. You don't get intimidated by the number of possible songs there are to play. I don't pick piano over guitar because "Rock is too much to learn". You just pick up what you see other folks enjoying and what peaks your personal interest. More variety inside the game doesn't strike me as a turn off for new players. They might not even realize that variety exists.

Now it could be a turn off from making the jump from intermediate/casual to tournament-level, but even then it's more or less just improved clock management. Just like the music example there are patterns in everything despite the number of combinations. I consider myself to be pretty decent at this game, but I certainly don't make an effort to memorize every bit of text on every card.

Examples:

  • I know Mist has one of the longer goal threat ranges in the game. What I don't memorize is exactly which abilities move him how far. 
  • I know fillet will mess me up. I know she wants to hit her 4th PB result for blood rain. I have almost no idea what the rest of her PB looks like off the top of my head.
  • Theron is going to try and pin me. How far away can he feasibly do so? I wanna say 16" but again I'd have to check the card.

I don't think that minor guilds will sufficiently disrupt the patterns we see in Guild Ball. Ultimately they still need 12VPs through some combination of take-outs and goals. Strikers will still generally be low TAC and HP, but faster and decent DEF no matter what guild they're in. Your big bruisers will still be slower with less DEF and some sort of damage mitigation ability. Think of player cards like sheet music. You don't need to memorize it because you'll always have it in front of you, However over time you'll grow to be less reliant on them.

 

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There’s a lot of good thoughts in here.

I don’t think the minor guilds will change the barrier to entry to the game - as @tehlon said, you play what you see people enjoying (I’d add “and enjoy playing, even if you lose” to the end of that). Which makes the biggest factor in a game growing or shrinking the people you end up playing, not the complexity of the game.

I’ve never walked away from a game because there’s a lot to learn, if I’m enjoying learning it. I have walked away from games because the community wasn’t welcoming or helpful to newer players, or considered casual play beneath them, or didn’t know how to turn off top-table mode, which made starting out a trial rather than fun :)

So the minor guilds will hopefully add more variety to play, bringing in some newer players and maybe giving older players something new to mess with.

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@Strahleo I like this idea! The Heroics I attend attract a wide variety in skill level, and we always seem to organise ourselves into the same three groups at the end of the day. 

In topic, I do wonder if new players will find them more, or less attractive than half of a main guild. I do see Ratcatchers as an add on for my Morts, so interested how others might feel that don't already own Morticians. 

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9 hours ago, DanB said:

This is an interesting topic. The concern that the minor guilds add so many models and rules that it will be impenetrable is minor for me. I mean look at games like 40K. It's got a truly overwhelming range on minis and a library of rules (none of which are free). It also has a major power creep problem. It's doing pretty well despite all that. Variety can attract people as well. GB has the advantage that it's very cheap to start and if you don't get on with your guild you can switch to another one relatively cheaply, and probably sell the old one quite easily.

40k isn't very skill-intense and often a simple switch of forces will let you defeat very seasoned players since army choice plays such a gigantic role. And even though there's a ton of rules, the combos and synergies and clever interplay doesn't play such a big part. 90% of the models all you need to know is how tough they are on a very rough scale and how they shoot/melee. Often the mere outward appearance of the models gives you enough of a clue so that you can play against them competitively if you know what your own models are capable of.

8 hours ago, Stephen78 said:

Why should someone new be able to beat a world class player who has practiced and spent hours honing their play? In nearly any other competative game/sport this wouldn't even be mentioned or considered.

I don't think that anyone has suggested that a noob should be able to beat world champs. And it is entirely possible that I'm just somehow dense but I tend to lose the first three matches against a Guild I haven't played before if the opponent is somewhat competitive and knows my Guild. With the minor Guilds the number of these "learning autolosses" is pretty crazy and you need to immerse deeply into the game to keep your know-how up.

2 hours ago, tehlon said:

Think of learning an instrument. You don't get intimidated by the number of possible songs there are to play. I don't pick piano over guitar because "Rock is too much to learn". You just pick up what you see other folks enjoying and what peaks your personal interest. More variety inside the game doesn't strike me as a turn off for new players. They might not even realize that variety exists.

I think that's a very bad analogy and not at all applicable here due to a crazy number of extremely fundamental differences between learning an instrument and taking up Guild Ball. Sorry.

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