We’re back to talk to you about the ongoing Pitch Formations testing. Firstly, thank you to everyone who has participated with this experiment so far. There has been a huge amount of debate both on social media and our forums. I believe that, as I write this, the ‘Pitch Formations Theory’ thread has reached around 150 responses! Today we are going to take a look at some of the feedback and explain what changes we are going to enact to Pitch Formations for the next phase of testing.
With so many responses being received regarding Pitch Formations there is a huge amount of feedback to process, consider, and discuss here at Steamforged HQ. As a result, we can’t look at every individual comment and respond to each of them, that would take far too long! However, we can collate feedback into groups of related questions and look at those as a whole. Changes to the Pitch Formation rules are targeted at correcting issues that arise. So, let’s take a look at some of the most commonly occurring feedback:
1) Turn one of a Guild Ball match is far more interactive when using Pitch Formations
- Brilliant! This one of the key aims of Pitch Formations and we’re glad this is the case. It’s not super fun when you’re playing one of your regular local opponents and you both tend to play out the same first turn ‘plan’ where one person scores a goal at the end of the turn and the other is just moving players up and trying not to give any easy targets. Pitch Formations give a tonne of opportunities to have a varied deployment and turn one, you can even plan your team selection around how you will deploy them!
2) Overall game length doesn’t seem to be decreasing
- So, this one is a funny one. On the one hand, there is the argument that people are thinking a lot more about their deployments. But at the same time, the total number of turns played does seem to be decreasing as people get stuck into the action straight away. This is one to keep an eye on and we would encourage people try Pitch Formations while using chess clocks to see how long the games take to complete.
3) Initial rules seem to favour the Receiving Team
- This one cropped up quite early on and Senior Developer Jamie Perkins responded to a couple of forum posts specifically to do with this issue. Essentially, the receiving coach getting the first activation with someone like a Captain would allow them to have a huge activation almost completely unanswered by the opponent. Meaning they just had to sit there and watch, additionally, alternating deployments could make this quite difficult to avoid. Absolutely fair, we have made some changes to combat this and would love to see what you think!
4) Models intercepting the Kick-Off has been causing some confusion
- There has been some confusion over whether a player can intercept the ball if it is touching the half-way line since that player is in both halves of the Pitch and a kick off needs to end with the ball entirely in the Receiving coach’s half of the Pitch. A great spot and one we have sought to fix with our changes.
5) After the first turn of a game using Pitch Formations, it felt like a ‘normal’ Guild Ball game
- Again, brilliant! It was not the intention of Pitch Formations to dramatically change the essence of Guild Ball because there is so much to love about it! We’re glad to see that Pitch Formations are only really effecting the start of a game.
6) What happens to additional player models like Greede & Memory?
- A great question! In the case of additional players, the player that actually takes up a slot on your team (in this case, Avarisse & Brainpan) must be deployed in keeping with the Formation Criteria. However, the additional player may be deployed on any of the three lines and does not count towards the Formation Criteria. This means that a Mortician Coach may choose to deploy Brainpan on the Deployment Line but have Memory as a third player on the Half-Way Line!
Changes to Pitch Formations
The Pitch Formations testing will continue. Please continue to play games and feedback through our forums using the following changes:
- The Kicking team starts the first turn with  MP.
- The deployment order now goes as follows:
- Kicking team deploys their kicker and gives that player possession of the ball
- Receiving team deploys their entire team, ensuring that they meet the Formation Criteria
- Kicking team deploys the remainder of their team, ensuring that they meet the Formation Criteria
- During a kick off action, players cannot snap the ball and gain possession, additionally, a kick off action cannot be intercepted – the ball will always start the game as a free-ball unless the kick off failed to end completely within the Receiving half of the Pitch
- (optional) Coaches that wish to time their games should set their clocks to 45 minutes per coach, clocks should start when deployment of players begins
The full updated rules for Pitch Formations can be found at the bottom of this article.
Casual Match Set Up Using Pitch Formations
A full Pre-Match Sequence can be found in the documents linked below, but for those of you just wishing to try this out in a more casual game, a match using Pitch Formations is set up as follows:
- Both Coaches select their Guild and choose the six-player team that they wish to use for the match (including a Captain and a Mascot)
- Deal and select Guild Plots from a shared Guild Plot deck as per the rulebook
- Determine the Receiving and Kicking Coach. The Kicking Coach selects a player from their team to be the kicker. The kicking player must be deployed touching the ‘deployment line’ (the line across the Pitch that is 10” up from that Coach’s edge)
- The Receiving Coach deploys their 6 players on the Pitch, remembering to meet all the Formation Criteria below
- The Kicking Coach deploys their other 5 players on the Pitch, remembering to meet all the Formation Criteria below
- The kicking player performs a Kick Off action, remember, no one can Intercept or Snap To the ball during the Kick Off
- The Kicking team gains  MP
- The Receiving Coach allocates their Influence, followed by the Kicking Coach allocating their team’s Influence
- The Receiving Coach takes their first activation and from here the game proceeds as normal
During the course of setting up the match, both Coach’s teams must fulfil the following:
-  players must be deployed completely within [18”] of their chosen table edge in base contact with the halfway line, a player cannot be deployed within [3”] of an enemy player
-  players must be deployed completely within [10”] of their chosen table edge in base contact with the deployment line
-  players must be deployed completely within [6”] of their chosen table edge in base contact with the Goal line
The Future of Pitch Formations
We said that the future of Pitch Formations would be very much in your hands, this is still the case. Today, we can confirm that due to the positive buzz that Pitch Formations have created and the amazing level of interaction we are having from the Guild Ball community, Pitch Formations will AT LEAST make their way into the Mob Football Association (MFA) document. This means that you will see Pitch Formation events taking place at US conventions where there is a Steamforged Games presence and at SteamCon. It is entirely possible that we could make use of Pitch Formations in more aspects of Guild Ball, such as the Regional Cup document or even as an option for standard play. However, we will await the conclusion of the Pitch Formations test before determining those outcomes.
We’re still super keen to see what you guys think of Pitch Formation rules. A PDF of the full rules can be found at the bottom of this article. Give them a go in your own games and tell us what you think on our forums!