Guild Ball: Home on the Grange

In our last article we gave you an idea of how the development process for the Farmers Guild started and we had a quick glance at some of the first abilities that served as the inspiration for the Guild as a whole. If you missed that article, you can go back and read it HERE to catch up on any bits you missed! Today, we’re going to take a closer look at some of the abilities of the Farmers and how they interact with each other. After all, the Farmers are a team of honest labourers that win through determination and teamwork rather than trying to control their opponents like the Morticians or the Hunters. Today we will be looking at the Planters on the team and how they sow the seeds of victory for their Reaper counterparts to take advantage of. Where better to start than their Captain Grange?

Grange is a tough cookie. When leading a Farmers team, Grange is the fixed point at its centre. He supports the nearby Farmers to dig in for the long haul and prepare to push the enemy team back using nothing but grit and elbow grease. Grange brings a huge amount of support to the Pitch for his whole team, starting with his INF attribute of [5/6]. The only other model that generates [5] Influence for his team is Obulus of the Morticians, so Grange is entering a very exclusive club. In addition to his incredible INF attribute, Grange has the Character Trait Planting Season which allows him to place a Harvest Marker on the Pitch once per turn. Since Harvest Markers can be turned into extra Influence points, this means that Grange will sometimes generate 6 Influence for his team!

Grange has been designed in such a way that he doesn’t need to be allocated a huge stack of Influence to be an effective Captain. While you can load him up with [6] Influence and let him go, his abilities focus on supporting his team, even with a smaller Influence allocation. The Constitution Character Play is a great example of this, with it Grange can grant himself or a friendly player the Tough Hide Character Trait for a cost of only [1] Influence! Tough Hide can turn even the most delicate Farmer, such a Bushel, into a player primed to face down the likes of a charging Butcher and survive. If Grange uses Constitution on himself he becomes an incredibly resilient player, even though he has a low DEF of [3+] Grange also has an enormous [26] health points with which to absorb damage.

Grange’s second Character Play, Honest Labour, is another example of a cheap and useful Character Play since it also only costs [1] Influence. Honest Labour has a similar function to the Assist Character Trait, when another friendly Farmer is making an Attack against an enemy player that is within Grange’s [2”] melee zone, the friendly Farmer gains [+1] TAC and [+1] to their Playbook damage results. Remember when we talked about the Reaper player Windle in the last article? Imagine Windle getting to make his full six attacks against an enemy player under the effect of Honest Labour, he’ll be shearing enemy players like sheep! Something else to bear in mind about Honest Labour is that it is in addition to the normal bonus for Ganging Up. This means that in our example, Windle’s base TAC of [5] gains [+1] for Honest Labour, [+1] for Ganging Up, and probably another [+2] for Windle’s Big Breakfast Character Trait. Added together this means Windle will be throwing [9] TAC dice for each Attack that he makes and he adds [+1] to all of his Playbook damage results too! What a monster!

As well as generating a lot of Influence for his team and requiring very little Influence to use his cheap Character Plays, we also know from Constitution that Grange specialises in making his team more resilient. Another way that Grange does this is with the Lend a Hand Character Trait. Lend a Hand makes enemy models that are suffering the Crowding Out penalty from Grange lose an extra die from their dice-pool. This means that in our earlier example where Windle and Grange are both in melee range of an enemy model, if that enemy model tries to Attack Windle it will lose [1] die for Crowding Out and it will lose a second die because of Lend a Hand. As we move through Grange’s abilities it’s becoming very clear that being engaged by Grange is a place that no enemy player wants to be!

Grange can truly solidify his team’s defensive position with his Legendary Play Huge Tracts of Land. Huge Tracts of Land allows Grange to place [2] Harvest Markers onto the Pitch, in addition to the one he gets from Planting Season. This Legendary Play also has a [6”] aura that grants friendly Farmer players the Sturdy Character Trait while they are within its range. A player with Sturdy ignores the knocked-down condition the first time they suffer it. When a player is knocked-down it cannot make melee attacks or kick the ball and it has a reduced number of ways to move. Also, a knocked-down model has its DEF attribute reduced by [-1]. As you can see, ignoring knock-down is a very strong ability! For example, when a player declares a Counter Attack, a common method of preventing it from happening is to knock the player down before they get to make their Counter Attack since a knocked-down player cannot make Attacks! A player with Sturdy is much more likely to make effective use of a Counter Attack, as well as ignoring all the other bad things that being knocked-down does. If you play for Grange’s team, there’s no sleeping on the job! To get hard work done, you’ve got to stay on your feet.

Grange’s last Character Trait helps his team move the ball around with increased range and accuracy. For the Family is a [6”] aura that grants friendly Farmers [+1/+2”] KICK when they make a Pass. This means that a team led by Grange is very good at Passing the ball around to generate Momentum points and trigger useful Teamwork actions like Give’n’Go and Snap Shots.

Overall Grange is an ideal example of what the Planters are all about. They have some abilities that increase their own power but they are primarily meant to make their fellow teammates more powerful or resilient. Grange not only brings a huge amount of Influence to the Pitch which is useful for everyone, but he also brings up to [3] Harvest Markers for any Reapers on his team to take advantage of. A simple activation for Grange would be to Jog into melee range of a couple of enemy players and make an Attack against each of them to knock them down. Knocking players down is easy for Grange since he has a Momentous knock-down Playbook result on his first column. After he’s done that, Grange could spend a third Influence point to use Honest Labour and suddenly the opposing coach is forced into a super tough decision. Which player do they activate to try to escape Grange before someone like Windle comes in and makes mincemeat of both of them?

While the opposing coach is worrying about who Windle is going to tear into, the Farmers coach could be instead planning to use Bushel to score a spectacular goal! When Bushel activates she can remove a Harvest Markers placed by Grange to use her Cabbage Punt Character Trait. Cabbage Punt allows Bushel to reroll dice when she misses a Kick, and not even once, Cabbage Punt applies to every Kick that Bushel makes for the rest of the turn! Once Bushel has used Cabbage Punt she could use her I’m Open! Character Play which makes a friendly Farmer Pass the ball to Bushel. Since I’m Open! causes a normal Pass, it can be effected by Grange’s For the Family which will make the Pass super accurate. Once Bushel has the ball she can sprint forward and bury a screamer.

Catch you next time for an in depth look at the second Farmers Captain, Thresher!

Thank you Jamie Perkins for a brilliant insight into the Farmer's Guild, let us know your farmer tactics in our Farmer's Guild Sub-Forumon Facebook or on Twitter. We'll be revisiting again the Farmer's Guild again next month so keep your eyes peeled.