Jamie Perkins gives us a review of his games at the Element Games Guild Ball Cup.
SEASON ONE STORY
Following the tragic death of the young apprentice Quistis, Ballista took to his workshop for several long weeks whilst he healed, even once his body had recovered from the accident. The guild’s Magisters despaired that the Lord Artificer might never be drawn out from his lamentations.
Salvo, also keenly affected by his sister’s death dwelt on his loss, but instead planned a tremendous memorial to her life, a celebration of all that she had promised. Whilst his master locked himself away from the world, so too did Salvo shut himself in the workshop. But whilst Ballista raged and spat bile, Salvo constructed his tribute, a mechanical figure in Quistis’ image.
Even in his self-imposed solitude, Ballista eventually noticed the absence of his apprentice. He found him as Salvo had at last exhausted his own ability to work with the metals and gears of his trade, the project limited from achieving his vision by his inexperience. Ballista might have chafed at his apprentice’s forthright nature on occasion, but never had he been a man to mistake devotion or loyalty when he saw it. On that day, the pair vowed to see the completion of the manikin.
With Ballista’s considerable skill and knowledge, suddenly Salvo found the project launch forward in leaps and bounds. Each day brought new understanding, as Ballista taught him the practices and science of the craft. The Lord Artificer’s influence opened new avenues with previously aloof workshops across the land, which now sent materials and pieces to fit into the figure. As they progressed, both men knew that they were likely constructing the most vital invention of their lives, with the potential to change the world forever.
At last, the project was finished. Both men wept to see its completion, as the figure began to move. Slowly at first and unsteady, but quickly adopting a fluidity and grace which neither had dreamed possible from a mechanical automaton. Soon there was only a simple elegance as it darted around like the fastest flashing steel of a duellist.
In Velocity, Quistis lives on, as the fallen have achieved immortality
Velocity is available to order now as part of The Instruments of War
SEASON ONE STORY
For the young Salvatore, a street urchin from the streets of Annamura, nothing was of more interest than the great public works of the Engineer’s Guild. Hand in hand with his older sister, he would rush around the city and visit each of the mechanical marvels in turn, the pair of them staring in rapt fascination. It was of no surprise to their parents when both apprenticed at the Engineer’s Guild, first Quistis and then Salvatore a year later.
Quistis thrived and jealous of his sister’s stories from the year he spent in sulky frustration, Salvatore threw himself into learning as much as he could, soon demonstrating an remarkable aptitude to his teachers and attracting the eye of the gruff Lord Artificer. Soon to considerable jealousy amongst his peers, he joined his sister as a second apprentice to Ballista, a much vaunted role within the guild and marked for greatness.
No man could have been more proud when Ballista first took on the mantle of Guild Ball captaincy than Salvatore and then again short time after, when his master adopted Quistis into the team. Watching each match from the sidelines, Salvatore at last found a rival for his attention to engineering in the game which fascinated him.
After his first game, he retired to the workshop and began to develop his own weaponry to take to the field himself, based upon the huge crossbow that Ballista favoured. Too heavy for the sleight young man to wield, instead he developed two much smaller handheld variants, miniaturised versions of a standard crossbow.
He would get his place in the side unexpectedly and in the worst way possible.
In the aftermath of Quistis’ death, Ballista sat and quietly talked to Salvatore. His master had long since become more a father figure to him than his biological father and in the kindly, soft words there was the promise of vengeance that Salvatore wanted. He accepted, becoming both first apprentice and Guild Ball player in one.
Since then, Salvatore has taken to the pitch as Salvo the Marksman, each game viewed through bitter eyes that perceive the sport entirely differently to how he had previously. For Salvo, the machines of the Engineer’s Guild only now have one goal. Domination.
Salvo is available to order now as part of The Instruments of War.
Not every Guild Ball team in the Empire of the Free Cities can boast that they possess a monster amongst their number such as Boar, Ghast or Katalyst. Such a disadvantage can often be the undoing of a lesser side, as they are simply muscled off of the pitch by a more aggressive play style. This was something which Ballista was acutely aware of when he adopted the mantle of captain and refused to let become a disadvantage for the Engineer’s Guild.
After a short period of deliberation on the issue, Ballista decided that he would bend his considerable skill to crafting a new type of war machine to answer this deficiency. It was to be as devastating as the enormous siege engines that he had once delivered to the Sovereign States during the Century Wars; on a considerably smaller scale to allow for mobilisation during the game. The resulting triumph astounded supporters and critics alike, and forced the other guilds to take notice of the Engineer side at once.
The Colossus is an unstoppable juggernaut on the pitch, slamming the opposition aside with its sheer bulk and power. Eschewing the brute force approach of other teams, Ballista has insisted that his finest creation be able to use his strength for the benefit of the team as a whole. Through gruelling months of practice Colossus has become a ball playing marvel, utilising great reach and height to protect and deliver the ball wherever it is required.
The current driver of the Colossus is a man named Axle, an enthusiastic Raed Engineer that worked on the project with Ballista from its beginnings. For some, the inherent danger of operating a machine such the Colossus would likely cause them to reconsider volunteering to do so; especially given the fate of the first driver, torn to pieces when a part of the drive train detached during a match. But Axle is only fearless as he faces down the opposition each game, dismissive of the potential danger.
And resolute Axle must be, for all of which the device houses immense destructive power, it also attracts the attention of the most dangerous figures in the world of Guild Ball, each of which would sincerely like to be the one to topple the Colossus.
Colossus is available to pre-order now as part of The Instruments of War
SEASON ONE STORY
Not for the first time that day, Ratchet cursed Ballista’s lack of inventiveness. Everything was always so rigidly limited by old regulations and practices, most of which as far as Ratchet was concerned were long out of date or obsolete. It took an age to achieve anything under Ballista’s leadership. The man was so ponderously slow in everything, his mind dull witted and unable to grasp even the basic principles of the new discoveries that were being made daily in the larger city guild houses.
This was not why he had left his homeland of Indossa, travelled halfway around the world and learnt a new language. He had come to escape the torment of being overshadowed by backwards thinking in a wretched and forgotten place, filled with minds concerned only with the words of their prophets and gods; only to find that here, despite being so very close to enlightenment, individuals like Ballista barred his way still.
At least he had managed to make some impression and advancement. His first creation, a tiny automaton in the shape of a man which moved on tracked wheels had been greeted with mixed reception and was quickly forgotten. But Ratchet had learned from that failure.
The Mainspring device was his finest creation yet and had met with much greater success. The simple introduction of outlawed explosives and a handful of design changes had created a powerful new weapon. He didn’t care for the protests of the old guild members whom remembered the horrors of when such materials were implemented during the Century Wars. They were short sighted, stuck in the past. Ratchet grasped at the future.
With significant backing and new power, he had manoeuvred into a position on the Guild Ball team, better so that he would be able to administer the dangerously volatile creatures first hand, rather than risk passing his knowledge on to another. Ratchet jealously guarded his secrets and didn’t trust anyone other than himself.
He would use the Mainspring to propel himself further up the ladder of advancement within the Engineer’s Guild. There would come a day when the old devices and instruments would be seen for what they were, outdated relics of a time past, along with those that hid behind them. The time was to look forward, the path of mankind at last to be wrested from secular isolationism through violent invention.
Ratchet is available to order now as part of The Instruments of War.
Sports Fans across the world we have exciting news regarding the independently run Guild Ball World Team Championship!
Not only will Steamforged Games be in attendance with three teams (Team Paint, Team Fun and Team Fun Sponge – click the links to see the teams) but we will also be taking over Team Stream, though they won't be playing in the event instead they'll be commentating on various games throughout the weekend!
We had such fun commentating at Vengeance 2017 that we just had to take our gear on the road and cover this fantastic event! If you haven’t had a chance to watch the Vengeance 2017 Stream then go visit our YouTube Channel to see the high quality uploads.
The Guild Ball WTC is sure to show off some of the highest-level Guild Ball play around, and we can’t wait to bring it to you on twitch.tv/steamforged
For more information on the Guild Ball WTC in Belgium visit the organisers webpage!
SEASON ONE STORY
“They call them Mainsprings. The construction of them is one of the Cogs most closely guarded secrets, along with how they get them to move about under their own power and without needing too much guidance. I know a whole host of people that would love to get their filthy hands on the design of it and use them to their own ends.
Trouble is, same reason that the little bastards are good on the field stops them from falling into the wrong hands too. Anyone that has managed to pick one up and make off with it rarely lives to have regrets once they start dissecting the thing. I heard one Cog call them tamperproof. Reckon the stories I hear confirm that and then some. I wonder if even some of the Engineer’s don’t get nervous around them.” - Flint, Mason’s Guild Vice Captain
Mainspring is available to pre-order now as part of The Instruments of War
SEASON ONE STORY
“Ballista? Like most of the rest of them, he’d happily spend all of his days in the workshop if he could, just tinkering away with whatever latest mechanical marvel he’s come up with. But he’s got a strange sense of tradition for an Engineer. Everything has to be done to the right measurement, carefully adjusted and precise. I know that the rest of them can get a bit that way, but he’s on another level.
It’s probably because he’s old school, used to giving the orders for long years past. He made his fortune for himself and the guild back during the Century Wars, creating weaponry and siege engines. Some of them were a marvel to behold if you weren’t on the receiving side. Massive trebuchets, bigger than you’ve ever seen before, bolt throwers that fired four or five darts at once, immense towers with steel plating for armour so they couldn’t be set alight.
But the worst were the fire breathers. Each one had great big tanks full of this thick, black oil, with a furnace under them to heat it up and a huge bellows at one end. The other was a long funnel with a blackened mouth. I shudder to remember when it fired, belching flames forward out of its maw and incinerating the soldiers unlucky enough to get in the way. One moment, a regiment standing proud; the next, all of them just ashes floating in the wind.
Thing is, he tried to bring something like that to Guild Ball once upon a time. It was much smaller, looked like a crossbow, but with a long barrel instead of arms. First couple of games it fair decimated everyone. He’d just sit in the back field with that girl apprentice of his as a reloader and pick his shots.
Then they played the Alchemist’s Guild. Always been close those two, in on it together. They supplied Ballista the powder that the weapon needed. I don’t know rightly how, but all I can tell you is that right there in front of the stands, first time he tried to fire it, the thing exploded. Threw him backwards, put him out of the game for a while from the burns. The apprentice wasn’t so lucky, took a huge lump of shrapnel right through the eye and out the back of her skull. Killed her dead where she stood.
That was the last time anyone in the Empire of the Free Cities saw anything like it. Ever since then, Ballista took to the field with a huge crossbow instead. Less effective, but good, old fashioned and reliable.
The saddest part in all of it is that I know he’s a sentimental soul really. He’s not the vicious type you see in some teams. Has a strict code of honour and pride, a rigid idea of right and wrong. For all that over the years he’s brought misery with his inventions, all he ever considers them is tools. It’s the people around him that he cares about, trying to keep them all safe and remembering the past ones with due respect.
They might not win as much with him at the helm as they could, but he’s a good captain, and the game could do with more like that by my estimation.” - Honour, Mason’s Guild Team Captain
Ballista is available to pre-order as part of The Instruments of War
“They have the most devastating potential of all teams at their fingertips.”
— Midas, Alchemist’s Guild
Former dog of war. Ambitious tinkerer. Volatile genius. Ballista’s brilliance is as intimidating as his past. No longer squandering his talents on the waste of war, his newest gadgets and gizmos seek to quash the natural talents of man. Why train to be the best when you can simply build something better?
His team’s playstyle is one of accuracy and control. Their gadgets and devices excel where humans fall short, allowing the team to push around players and the ball from a distance. Resilient in combat, this team excels in the mid-game. Geared to command the pitch with calculated precision, these Engineers are perfect for coaches who like creative scheming and calculated plans.
Masters of mechanical manipulation, this set includes a ball, 6 player cards, bases, and 6 players: Ballista, Mainspring, Salvo, Velocity, Ratchet, Colossus.
SEASON ONE STORY
“She’s a real sweet lass that one. Pretty little thing, all doe eyed and nervous grins. Hasn’t been around very long and gets on with everyone already. I reckon half the team has a soft spot for her, as well as the people that come to see us every week. Yessir, she fits right in like a fish in the sea. You’d think a kid like that is too innocent for a violent, brutal and downright vicious game like this one eh? P’haps.
I’ve seen enough players to know when someone special comes along though, and Angel? You mark my words lad, she’s going to be the biggest star in the history of the game one day. You can forget your Shanks and Boars, all those Meatheads that are only muscle; won’t even remember the real creative ones like Honour or Spigot either. Hells, people will even think her name before they mention ol’ Greyscales. Never going to be able to say Fisherman’s Guild without her name in there somewhere.
Yeah, I know, big talk for a rook still wet behind the ears. But I gots me a feelin’ about this one. A real good feelin’. Helps she’s already this season’s top scorer, don’t it? You watch boy, that won’t change for a long time; no matter how much Harmony pouts, or the Butchers beat up so many people, or ol’ Brisket gets another hat trick. Yep, this girl comes in and in less than a season already puts her mark on the map. I hear from the ol’ crow’s nest that other guilds have put out a bounty on her head already. But don’t you worry none boy, we ain’t about to let her get wasted any time soon. If you’re going to learn one thing about this guild, it’s that we look after each other around here, not like those Spooks or Meatheads.
Oh, so you want to know more about her now eh? He, I can see that look in your eye young blood, I can tell what you want to know. Word to the wise there, she won’t be interested in you. She’s got her eye on a much bigger, more impressive catch, a predator himself. I don’t think he cares for it, but if she does net him one day then that’s a haul you won’t want to throw down with.
So, you’d be advised just leave her to get on with what she does best, and that’s winning us games.” - Greyscales, Fisherman’s Guild Vice Captain
Angel is available to pre-order now as part of The Changing Tide
SEASON ONE STORY
Distant and aloof, the Siren is a mystery to all. Rumours abound as to where she came from, how she came to join the Fisherman’s Guild and why she plays Guild Ball. The most commonly held understanding is that one day the pair of Siren and Kraken simply walked into the Fisherman’s guild house in Boujonte and demanded to join the roster. Another is that Greyscales and Corsair found her out at sea, in a ghostly abandoned shipwreck. There are many more, ranging from the fantastic to the utterly mundane, commonplace to the surreal. Even her team-mates know little about the Allure of the Sea, leading some to mistrust her concealed nature.
Still, the Fisherman side have come to rely upon her ability to lure the opposition players out of position rather than to beating them into submission like a common thug. Once her crew have taken advantage, Siren almost fades away, only to appear back in the game once again some distance from danger. It is an old magic trick in a new age which refuses to become obsolete.
One day perhaps more will be known about the enigmatic pair and their intentions, but until then, all eyes are upon those which stare out dispassionately from within her hood.
Siren is available to pre-order now as part of The Changing Tide
SEASON ONE STORY
Kraken jogged alongside Angel, his long loping strides that propelled him forward as fast as her legs carried her at full sprint. He barely ever spoke. Always instead with that kindly, gentle smile and look, completely at odds with his size, dwarfing everyone around him. Angel was always struck by a sense of gentleness about him for some reason she could never quite reconcile. That and how much physical power emanated from the man. It was almost impossible to see past that. When the other teams tried to bring him down, he always seemed an immovable object, like a cliff facing down the waves crashing against it. Then, like a mighty creature of myth, he would smite them aside with one giant swipe of a heavily tattooed arm.
Her breath was torn out of her as he barrelled into her sideways, sending her sprawling. Winded, gasping, she rolled over, trying to desperately draw air into burning lungs. Through blurry eyes she could see Kraken wrestling with another figure. Angel tried to stand, to get to her feet, but fell to one knee. She waited for the blade from a second assailant to end this as she helplessly tried to use her hands to push herself up.
It was a hand attached to strong forearm that grasped her wrist and pulled her to her unsteady feet. She found herself looking into the eyes of Siren, impossibly blue, piercing her from underneath that hood, with no clue of anything that their owner might be feeling. Angel hacked up a cough and just about recovered in time to see Siren turn and nod to Kraken, standing stoically a few paces away, an unconscious assailant now at his feet.
A sensation, which Angel never could shake whilst around the pair, was that of being impossibly and uncomfortably awkward. Neither ever seemed to speak to the other, yet you quickly felt like you were out of place, an intruder to something primal, some ethereal connection. Whatever it was, the feeling was a complete mystery.
Now was not the time to waste on considering that though. They were already in front and there was a game to win. Quickly, Angel turned and ran up the pitch, looking for the pass to Greyscales...
Kraken is available to pre-order as part of The Changing Tide
Last week we revealed most of the blocked out section of the Master Blacksmith Anvil’s player card, if you missed that article you can find it HERE. Today, we’ll be taking a look at the other side of that coin, Anvil’s Apprentice Sledge. There’s plenty of juicy stuff to talk about with Sledge, especially since there’s already so much going on with him! A [2”] melee zone with Push results and Knockback, a free Character Play each turn from Tutelage, and a semi-ridiculous Momentous  damage result! What else could there possibly be to make this guy even sweeter!? Kick back and let me tell you…
Set ‘Em Up And Knock ‘Em Down
We’ve explained in each of our previous articles on the Blacksmiths that they’re at their best when the Masters set up a target, or take possession of the ball, and the Apprentices annihilate the target, or score a goal. While Sledge has quite good KICK attributes at [3/6”], he specialises in dealing enormous amounts of damage with his brutal melee attacks. We have seen how Anvil can help Sledge to unlock his terrifying potential, through knocking down a target and using the Singled Out Character Play on them. But just how good is Sledge with that hammer of his?
Sledge isn’t bad at using his hammer at all, it turns out. Over the last few weeks we’ve been watching the forum and social media reactions to the Blacksmiths, and a number of you guessed that Sledge’s TAC would be  or even lower. We’re glad to ‘disappoint’ you in this regard! Indeed, when attacking an enemy player that is knocked down and Singled Out, Sledge will be rolling a total of  dice when making an Attack and the enemy player will have [-1] DEF due to being knocked down. Sledge will be rolling  dice if Anvil is still engaging the enemy player thanks to the Ganging Up bonus. Now, this is pretty good but we’re probably still only looking at hitting that Momentous  damage with each attack, assuming average results on the dice roll against an enemy player with reasonable defensive attributes.
Sledge has an INF attribute of [1/3], this means that he is capable of making  Attacks or a Charge and  extra Attack during his activation. In our above example this means that Sledge would inflict around  damage during his activation. However…
Can You Smell What Sledge is Cookin’?
I can hear you all going ‘Aaaaaahhhhhh! NOW it makes sense!’ Indeed, Piledriver is the Character Play that really makes Sledge sing as a damage dealer. When developing Sledge, we wanted the player to really feel like he needs to take time to wind up his swing and properly take aim in order to unleash maximum damage. This imagery is the final piece of the concept we had when making the Blacksmiths; the link between Master and Apprentice. Piledriver allows Sledge to add [+3] net hits to his next attack, remember that net hits are the amount of successes that you have when rolling an Attack AFTER subtracting the enemy player’s ARM. Let’s look at some examples:
Sledge rolls his base TAC of  against a DEF [4+], ARM  player and rolls  successes, after subtracting the enemy player’s ARM this would leave Sledge with  net hits. If Sledge makes the same Attack again but under the effect of Piledriver, Sledge would have  net hits instead, opening a lot of Sledge’s playbook to choose a result from.
This time, against a DEF [4+] and ARM  enemy, but with Anvil engaging the enemy player, and the enemy player is suffering the knocked-down condition (so is DEF [3+] and Singled Out. This time Sledge rolls  TAC dice, getting about  successes, reduced to  because of the enemy player’s ARM. With Piledriver, Sledge has  net hits and achieves his Momentous  damage result!
In combination with Piledriver, Tutelage is now an incredibly important part of Sledge’s activation. Sledge needs to activate within [6”] of Anvil to trigger Tutelage so that he can use Piledriver without spending Influence. Our earlier calculation for Sledge to deal around  damage in a single activation is increased to  once we factor in the impact of Piledriver.
Another really cool part of Piledriver is that in addition to a COST in influence, it also has a Playbook trigger on Sledge’s second column. So, if you happen to engineer a situation where Sledge gets so many net hits that he wraps his playbook, Sledge could choose the Momentous  damage AND the Playbook trigger for Piledriver. In this case, Sledge would be effected by Piledriver again for his next Attack too! Quite literally, the more you set up Sledge‘s target, the more devastating his activation can be! From personal experience, in one of the final Blacksmith playtest games we saw Sledge use this method to take-down the Fishermen Captain Corsair from full health in one activation! Incredible!
SEASON ONE STORY
“Greyscales? He’s as old as the game itself, I swear. Can’t ever remember a time when we didn’t see him on the pitch. He’s been the driving force behind his team for years now. Probably the most popular player that the game has, even got some friends in other guilds I think. Tough to not respect a guy with that much history behind him.
The fans love him. You should hear them roar when he runs out there onto the pitch, louder even than it is for the show boaters that shake their arses like Brisket and Harmony. Ain’t never been no time it was ever different either. The Fisherman’s Guild might not always have been the best team out there, but you can always guarantee that thanks to him they get the biggest crowd.
That’s pretty important in this game. A big game means big money for someone and if anyone knows how to make sure they make money, it’s a guild. Word has it that even in the games they don’t win, he’s made the Fisherman’s Guild a pretty penny more than the winners thanks to admission fees alone.
You think that would make him a target, but you’ve gotta catch him first. Like an eel in the reeds that one, the wily bastard. You see a brute like Boar come up behind him, hands poised to grab him by the throat, blink and suddenly Greyscales is gone, leaves them all in the dust.
Never been Captain though, could never work that out. I guess he don’t score very often and he’s not big on wasting other players. P’haps he just loves the game so much he don’t care none if he makes the big time or not. He’s been the first mate for so long, it’s like he’s the unofficial captain anyways. I heard he’s been offered retirement a couple of times now and refused it. Can you imagine? A Guild Ball player gets to be around for long enough to retire, gets offered his due and a happy ever after and then decides he wants to keep putting his neck on the line time after time?
Gotta be something keeping him going. Yeah, I reckon he just wants to be a part of this game more than anything. And I guess if you’re Greyscales, what are you going to do if you haven’t got new bloods to look after, haven’t got someone waiting on you to teach them how to survive out there? Don’t suppose a quiet life would interest you much after all.
Still, I think he’s spent one too many nights out at sea for not taking the easy way out now he’s earned his dues. That’s gotta be a first in this crazy game.” - Brick, Mason’s Guild
Greyscales is availabe to pre-order now as part of The Changing Tide.