Tuesday, 24 May 2016

First Founding League; Week 1 - Fighting With Honour

The Ghastsile, poised and ready for action
The player base for Guild Ball has quite literally exploded down our club- well, perhaps not literally, that'd be messy and alarming, but you gather my meaning I'm sure. From starting as a humble handful 4-5 weeks ago, we now number more than sixteen which is crazy!

In response to this burst of interest and new players, our dashing young pundit Matty has set up a league in the aim of helping all our rookies grow into the game by having a reason to play matches, and also to throw out the lasso and drag more people into the sport. The initial idea was to have two leagues running simultaneously, to split the field between veterans and rookies and balance out the guilds being played between them. This great idea unfortunately went out the window when not everyone turned up for the league draft, and the league tables ended up a little lop sided. With the leagues balanced like a fat kid on a see-saw, they have instead been merged into a one beefy league!

We are using the standard Figo league rules, rather than the Big League, which I think is a bit of shame. I know it's been selected to ease in newbies, but none of us are stupid or fresh to wargames so I think the intricacies of the Big League would have been fine. Oh well, maybe we'll tackle that later in the year.

The league will be awarding the following honours;

The Figo Cup Winner - Winner-winner-chicken-dinner
The Artisan - Who's the fairest of them all?
The Show Boat - If anyone can find Blackheart's boat, this award is theirs
The Iron Curtain - Award for the most Russian player
The Game Keeper - Otherwise known as The Most Guilty For Kicking The Stuffing Out Of Animals
Infamous - Write me a story, jackanory

For my first game I played Nathan and his Masons, for which I was glad. It's not often you'll hear people happy to play the cheating stone-jockeys, but with a tourney at the UK Games Expo coming up it was important to get at least one game against them before turning up.

My roster;
Obulus, Dirge, Silence, Ghast, Mist, and Avarise & Greede

Nathan's line up;

I've spent many a minute turning over the quandary the Mason Missile poses in my mind. The play is incredibly strong and very hard to stop! I kicked, so had the option of throwing down a late Embalming Fluid and setting Mallet (who was the choice for the missile) on fire. This seems to risky for me, and no where near safe enough. Silence is tanky in a way, but when he's knocked on his arse and Singled Out he'll go down quick. So, I opted for something different, a missile of my own.

Mallet was wearing his Hammer
costume for the game
The Ghastsile.

Yeh, it's as scary and frustrating as it sounds. By playing A&G and kicking off with Ghast, I always knew I was likely to get the jump on Nathan if I played activations correctly. Greede and Dirge sat in front of the goal (I like to imagine Greede riding Dirge, like a Brownie in Willow) and Avarise shuffled up. This meant Nathan had to commit key players, allowing me to Puppet Master Ghast to just outside Mallets threat zone. The old vet jogged up to some cover and ended in Ghast's threat range, who gladly steamrollered into him. He triggered an Unmasking on the charge (hitting Mallet and Decimate) and then knocked the hammer man down. This forced Nathan to spend momentum to stand Mallet (as he wanted to move after hitting Ghast) and then sink Influence into beating on Ghast.

On one hand I gave Nathan a player to wail on, but it took him three turns to finally take the giant orphan down, generating me six momentum for the trouble. I chose Ghast as the missile due to his reach, Rising Anger and Fear. He sucks in players and continues to be a pain in the arse until removed.

As I don't remember in which turns the cool stuff happened, let's just have a look at all the Clutch Plays;

  • Kind of goes without saying, as I literally just wrote 100 words on it, but the Ghastsile going down a treat.
  • Mist used Honour as a maypole and danced about her for an activation, teasing the ball of her, before swiping it cleanly away and hammering home a Screamer! He then jigged back round to my goal side to kill her goal threat on the following kick off.
  • This dance of meryment by Mist was only possible because of a single dice (fluffed two attacks to generate momentum) Shut Out on Honour from Silence. Forcing her to go last meant I could set my turn up as I pleased, and deal with her later.
  • Obulus following the playbook to a tee: 1) Be a dick; popping Rigor Mortis to secure Initiative which led too... 2) Take advantage of Dickyness; Mist smashing in the screamer; 3) Obulus; Grandpappy Obs took out Minx, Decimate and the damned Monkey.

They're the two best friends...
In the end it ended 14-4 to me. Three take outs ala Obulus, and two goals ala Mist. Nathan's four points came from hammering Ghast and Avarise into paste. So what did I learn? That the Ghastsile absolutely won't work every time, but it was nice to give it a run out. I made some errors in positioning (Ghast's charge should have had him end in cover, but stupidly I didn't think of it) and I didn't use Avarise correctly at all. I used him as a punching bag for Mallet which was really what I wanted him to do, but I got too suckered in by the momentous Singled Out, which I really only took advantage of once (with Obulus). I enjoyed using them and really see the appeal in A&G though, and the extra activation could be a huge boost in particular match ups. I need to use Avarise as either a set up tool, to knock down and Single Out a target for Ghast or Obulus, or just to plough damage in. The big guy has some nice high damage and pushes on his playbook, although the good stuff starts on the forth column which can be tricky reaching.
...that anyone could have!

One habit I fell into was filling Obulus' fuel tank to the brim with a full eight Influence, which I don't like to do. I feel that the rest of the team is so strong that it can be a waste to pump him full of the good stuff. I also felt like I didn't really get enough out of it, with him only scoring two VP's for the spend. However, against Mason's I can see it being a reoccurring theme. Outside of the control aspect they do everything better than the Dustmen! They score better, they hit harder, they survive, well, about the same in fairness. They don't have an Obulus though, and he will do what all the legends say; dance about like a slippery shadow, and then creep in and bash your head in when you're not looking. Imagine Peter Pan's shadow, just a lot more violent.

So there you go. A strong start for me, and perhaps a few lessons leant for Nathan. He admitted that he hadn't had the Mallet Missile shut down before, so wasn't sure where to go once I defused it. He also told me after the game, that he had a great plan to second wind Minx down a flank to set up a charge on Dirge and Greede (who spent the game goalkeeping). He should have run with it, it definitely would have changed my tactics!

All in, it was a great start to the league and I'm champing at the bit for my next game!

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