While most of us gamers prefer to stay indoors and enjoy our hobby, it doesn’t necessarily mean we hate sports. Games like Blood Bowl and DreadBall have been a huge hit on the tabletop and have seen much success. Another game has emerged, this time taking football into medieval times and spinning some elements of a wargame into it. That game is Guild Ball.
In Guild Ball you take the role of a team coach and take under your wing a team of football (soccer) players that represent a specific guild. Each team has their own combination of tactics and strategy, adapting to different play styles. While on the field, players not only have to worry about scoring in the game, but there are also secret political objectives and agendas to be completed as well.
Here’s a description of the game from its Kickstarter page:
Guild Ball takes place in a land now known as the Empire of Free Cities; it’s essentially a pseudo-historical setting with strong European flavours. The lands of the empire are made up of a huge variety of climates, cultures and landscapes each controlled by a sovereign City.
Mob football is a game generally played between neighbouring towns and villages on feast days (hence the popularity). The game was originally played in the middle of towns and villages where the objective was to take the ball to the opposing side of town. But to prevent the inevitable collateral damage it rapidly evolved into being played in the surrounding countryside, often in a special field set aside for the purpose. At its core, players on opposing teams, clash and struggle to control leather wrapped inflated pig’s bladder and attempt to kick it into the opponent’s goal. Over the years, rudimentary leagues and tournaments have sprung up, there have even been some national level games between city states.
The Guilds have taken advantage of the huge popularity of the sport and have invested vast sums of money, creating professional teams and structured leagues. The public went crazy as the game was elevated to new heights of spectacle. Guild Ball was born amidst a blaze of interest and publicity and with it, a whole new business and revenue stream for the Guilds. Games are now played out in front of vast crowds of fans, whilst behind the scenes the results can mean fortunes are won or lost on the kick of a ball.
What I absolutely love about the idea of Guild Ball is that it applies the rules of a sports game to the functional gameplay of a wargame. You aren’t playing on a board – you’re playing on a battlefield. You control a group of models and bring them to your own created tabletop world. As a Warmachine and Hordes player myself, this is especially intriguing. The models look fantastic, and the gameplay is set to suit them. The guilds in the background offer a lot of behind-the-scenes plots that make the game much deeper than just a past-time sports game.
Guild Ball is already funded, and that means that stretch goals are coming down the pipeline. For around $100 you can pick up two full teams to play with, a digital rulebook, and much more. It’s perfect for two players, and higher pledges can earn more models. Guild Ball looks like it’s going to be the next big sports tabletop title, so don’t miss out on it. Check out the Kickstarter for a great intro video and more information! What guild will you choose?