Multiple Guild Ball games in one week = a very good week indeed! Taking advantage of the holidays I took the offer of a game from local/national (NZ isn't a big place) Pundit, JS. I think "JS" stands for Jean-Sebastien or something similarly European and super trendy sounding, but we always call him by his initials. Curious.
I cheekily but politely requested to please not be made to lose to Fishermen or Hunters (again) and JS kindly obliged by bringing Butchers and his fantastic, Batman villains paint-themed Union (Solomon Grundy Avarisse carrying Mad Hatter Greede is so full of win!). Asian Nick drops Union on the odd occasion so I asked for Butchers. Excellent. Being a Pundit sadly doesn't give you a free pass from the realities of life so not only was JS literally handed a pile of shit by one of his twin toddler-babies just before he left the house for our game, but he also hasn't actually played a game of Guild Ball for over a month. So this was the perfect opportunity to smash him!
We played at The Shed. The Shed is like ghetto Dojo - beer instead of tea, garage (quite literally: a shed) instead of dining room table, and trash talk throw like daggers (both at others and also liberally self-inflicted) instead of scorched almonds. A very welcoming atmosphere though and a big thanks to Double D for opening up for the homeless and errant nerds gagging for tabletop action. Lovely people those Daves.
The Shed. Cosy.
Anyway, the game...
JS did his best to put together a terrible 9-man roster, running with: Ox, Truffles, Shank (fuck this guy), Meathook, Veteran Brisket, and Harry the Hat. This left Boar, Brisket1, and Tenderiser on the bench. Much of JS's game was spent bemoaning his selection of Harry over Boar. Not sure - Harry's counter-attacks and Rising Anger seemed pretty good but I can envisage the carnage unleashed by a Boar that you think is out of range until he's Quick Timed by Brisket!
Thrilled at the prospect of not facing Fillet (strongly convinced Scalpel is awful into her and I'm still not interested in playing with Obulus) I ran with: Scalpel, Dirge, Casket, Cosset, Silence, and Graves1. This left Obulus, Ghast, and Minx on then bench. Quietly proceeding with "Operation: Portugal", this time most significantly leaving Minx off the pitch. I took Casket over Ghast because it felt like he was just more durable and Butchers have to spend to get around Foul Odour (or as JS calls it, "cancer").
I won the roll off and the ball went to Brisket2 who kicked towards the flank but of course nowhere that Dirge couldn't retrieve.
1. Graves activated first, Tooled Up Cosset and retrieved the ball, passing successfully to Cosset who Dodged forwards and into charge range of Brisket. Harry countered by placing a Molotov blast in her charge path (nice). Cosset had the movement to Dodge around the Molotov template into a big patch of rough ground and then still have the movement to charge Brisket, but she flubbed the pass to Silence and the ball went sideways well into range of Brisket. Bugger. What I should have done is Lure Brisket into the fire, walk away and drop the ball, snapping it to Silence. Bah. Cosset used her last point of influence to run to the left, taking cover next to a pile of rocks that would later become the swing point du jour for 90% of the game. Brisket declined staring a gift horse in the mouth and advanced up to collect the loose ball.
Truffles ran towards Cosset at full clip. Casket activated and advanced, Foul Odour almost extending to catch both Graves and Cosset (love that Foul Odour mini-game where you're constantly fighting screwing yourself with rough ground). He put a Ghostly Visage template onto Cosset which would hopefully save her from most of the attention Shank could maybe later apply. Meathook advanced in Brisket's general direction but far enough away from Harry that I wouldn't be able to set both of them on fire with Silence's Fire Blast. Dirge advanced to engage Brisket and at this point I decided it would be a good idea to read Brisket's card. Ah... Unpredictable Movement - that's going to be a problem. Good thing I hadn't charged her with Cosset then! With Silence nearby on 2 influence Brisket decided not to Dodge away allowing Dirge to land a momentous (and probably mostly pointless) Singled Out. Ox advanced to the centre of the board, well in charge range of Graves next turn. Oh dear.
GG, Graves. GG.
Desperate for momentum but sadly only carrying 4 influence, Scalpel ran into the Ghostly Visage bubble and popped Voodoo Strings to drag in the piggy. I dialled up some damage and JS informed me that Truffles has Tough Hide. Ah. I bought and was going to select the Knock Down result. JS informed me that Truffles also has Sturdy. Ah. Hmm... With reasonable rolls and a Push/Dodge, Scalpel eventually gained 3 momentum and took the pig down to 6 boxes.
Shank ummed and ahhed and eventually decided to just advance and throw a Thousand Cuts at Cosset, dealing the necessary one point of damage to make Damaged Target live for the following turn. Silence put a successful Fire Blast down on Meathook and advanced to cover the goal in a vain attempt to stop Brisket from scoring next turn.
0-0. Bloodshed imminent.
2. I won initiative and activated Cosset first. She went Crazy and punched the pig inflicting a mighty Screeching Banshee. I was practically licking my lips rolling TAC8 into DEF2/0 and Cosset did not disappoint, removing the filthy animal and netting me 4 momentum in the process (after healing). I was particularly pleased to be able to use the "Push/Dodge to disengage, Furious charge back in" trick.
This left Scalpel open to a charge from Ox however and in he came, triggering his own Legendary Play Get 'Em Lads! Lucky for me JS is so rusty because he neglected to use Tough Skin before coming in. Standing next to cover Scalpel managed to dodge most of the TAC11 charge and tickle him in return for a Push/Dodge, disengaging and feeling quite pleased with herself. I was far from having it all my own way however. Scalpel ran around Ox to punch Shank. She managed a meagre 2 hits, taking the momentous Dodge before Shank rolled like a champ for 5 damage and a double Dodge (Ox aura, Ox Legendary, and a fucking dice explosion). Not good. Sensing death and unable to punch with her remaining influence, Scalpel used both Wake the Dead and Second Wind to re-engage Shank after healing for 4 hit points. What a waste!
And/or wasted influence.
Harry advanced into Graves and momentous Pushed him into Ox's aura, ready for the Meathook carve up. In response Casket came in, flooding the middle of the board next to the big deal pile of rocks with rough ground and stuffing everything up for all concerned. He knocked down Harry non-momentously, bought an attack and put a momentous Heavy Burden onto Shank, and used his last influence to put down Ghostly Visage, properly hosing Meathook as well. The plays and counter-plays of this game are just amazing!!! I opted not to deal damage to Harry in order to avoid triggering Rising Anger.
Shank punched Scalpel around a bit, disengaging from her melee range but otherwise keeping her in his while trying to stay out of Foul Odour. Graves durdled next Harry. Brisket punched the bird for damage and Dodges, advanced but couldn't get Silence out of the ball path, and Bonus Timed a shot at goal on three dice. She missed! The ball scattered off the table! The ball scattered from the centre of the table and was taken by Ox after a contested snap with Cosset. JS took it all pretty well.
Dirge jogged to engage Brisket who used Unpredictable Movement to Dodge away. Meathook, looking a little worse for wear from fire damage wandered over to a nearby wall for some cover. Silence engaged Brisket.
3. I won initiative and set about widgeting for a fun but dicey play. Graves on 4 influence used his 3" of movement (cheers, Foul Odour) to manoeuvre around the knocked down Harry and into his melee range of both Harry and Meathook. Swinging into Harry after using Tooled Up on himself I needed to hit the 5th column on every attack to Take Out Meathook with Scything Blows. Unfortunately I missed with my second attack (dealing 3 momentous damage to Harry instead... still seems pretty good!). Meathook was left on 2 boxes, bleeding and on fire while Harry took a total of 11 damage and bleeding to accompany his knocked down condition.
Before I could consider healing her up, Shank wound his way through models, terrain, and Foul Odour to get stuck into Cosset, removing her easily and staying engaged with Scalpel. With his last Dodge resolved he failed to get within 8" of Meathook in order to heal her up for which I was very grateful!
Crossing my fingers that the setup was enough that even he couldn't screw it up, Casket ran around Harry to engage Meathook, used his Legendary Play and managed to remove her last two hit points to Casket Time her off the table! Hooray! Brisket punched Silence to disengage and lined herself up on the goal for a snapshot. Instead of attempting to re-engage her, Silence just moved to stand in front of the goal again.
Ox whaled on Scalpel for a bit before growing bored with adding to the huge amount of momentum JS had accumulated. He Bonus Time passed the ball to Brisket looking for a snapshot. And failed the pass! JS took it all pretty well. Again. The scatter was kind and the ball snapped to Brisket. Scalpel continue to touch up Ox with all the weight and import of a feather duster and I spent down my momentum as much as possible given that JS was so far ahead in the race. Rather than trigger Unpredictable Movement again, Dirge flew to engage Harry who had stood up, gone Crazy, and taken a swing at Graves.
4. JS won initiative with 11 momentum in the bank and after Cosset came on in a position to charge Harry (engaged by Dirge) took no time in deciding that the bird had to die, and quick! Shank had the honour the bird disappeared in short order. A shame really as I've love to see that charge go off at some point. I went with Cosset next anyway and she pursued her Furious charge into Harry. JS made an error here, not declaring a counter-attack against the charge. I took this opportunity to apply a momentous Screeching Banshee. He declared a counter-attack against the follow-up but it was too little, too late - Cosset hitting DEF2 wrapped to the second column and got the Take Out, healing herself before finishing her activation.
Ox looked like he had his work cut out for him trying to finally rid himself of Scalpel until JS rolled eight 4s with his last attack and she exploded in a shower of gore and regret. Frightening stuff. Silence continued to lurk but this time it was all for naught as Brisket slotted in the Bonus Timed goal putting the Butchers ahead 9-7.
Graves declared a charge into Ox. I proxied a base to avoid being engaged by Shank and Ox and asked JS if he wanted to declare a response. We talked over another advantage of 2" range melee - he couldn't confidently declare a counter-attack because I might not end up in his melee range. As it turned out I decided not to head to the proxy base, instead charging away from Shank. Ox did Defensive Stance however. Graves' attacks took him down to 11 boxes. The piggy advanced.
The goal kick after Brisket's success was very kind and I spied an opportunity for greatness for the hulking beast who surely would clinch MVP if he could make it happen. Widgets out and greatness all but confirmed, Casket sprinted to the Tap In line, collecting the ball on the way in. I Bonus Timed the shot and... Casket scores!! Unbelievable game for the big man! The goal kick went out with the intention of finding Ox but scattered into the middle of the table perfectly to not be claimed by anyone.
5. I won initiative (thank goodness!) and a newly returned Scalpel on 6 influence played the Wingback Plot Card to charge Ox for one influence, landing in base contact. She flubbed the charge roll tickling him for a measly 1 damage and the Push/Dodge. Fortunately for me JS's hot dice rolling on Scalpel deserted him and he only managed 2 damage in return. After knocking him down and with some Ganging Up help from the nearby Graves, Scalpel managed to comfortably finish him off with her last point of influence.
12-9, Morticians win!
What a game! It was so great to play against an unfamiliar team and there were some real shocks in the mix throughout:
- the stack of sweet rules on Truffles
- Unpredictable Movement on Brisket
- the real meaning of fear when you realise the power of The Owner and Get 'Em Lads!
- Shank being an enormous douche bag every time, all the time
Casket was easily player of the match.
- Casket Timed Meathook (who never got to make an attack all game)
- Scored a sweet goal!
- Pushed Foul Odour everywhere forcing frustrating movement decisions (for both sides!)
- Took zero damages
To be fair, Graves was a close runner-up. Took no damage, and set up both Meathook and Ox for their ultimate demise. Amazing work from him.
Scalpel's patchy game mostly seems to illustrate my continuing need to work on when to use her Legendary Play. I spent it to get the first activation in the next turn and the value is questionable. If she had 6 influence instead of 4 she still wouldn't have killed Truffles in Turn One. I really needed Voodoo Strings when Shank got his awesome double Dodge away in Turn Two and she was left looking like a real lame duck on 5 (practically) wasted influence. Awful.
Dirge did well, probably forcing his own demise at the right time. Silence was... iffy. The early Fire Blast made a real contribution over time the Meathook Take Out and his DEF5 was relevant against Brisket's attacks. He healed himself in the turn I was obviously not going to win the momentum race and finished the game on full health. The question for me is - would Minx have been better?
Cosset was very good. Take Outs on Truffles and Harry. She died easily in return - that's partly a measure of her flimsiness and partly an indication of how deadly Butchers can be in the Ox aura.
Cheers to JS for the game. Given that he's about 1/4 of the readership of this blog (me and my Mum making up another 1/2) it seems only right to convey my utmost appreciation for taking the evening out to become the subject of a battle report. I'm sure next time he'll just mercilessly drop Fishermans against me and make me hate life once again :)
Local retailing champions Mighty Ape have a one day tournament coming up soon and that will be my first tournament ever for Guild Ball. Excite!
Till the next time - may all your balls be gilded. (Just trying out sign off lines).