Phew! What a weekend! The Guild Ball community has been abuzz talking through new team rosters and game theory since the release of the Guild Ball errata on Friday. If you missed all the excitement of the updated digital cards you can find all that information HERE. Today though, we’re going to give you something else to think and talk about, it’s time for another update to the Pitch Formations public beta! Over the last few weeks we’ve been blown away at people’s response to our first open beta test. There have been hundreds of games played and forum responses posted and hundreds more posts on social media discussing the pros and cons of different options. It’s been truly amazing.
Much like our last update, we’re going to take a look at a summary of your feedback before moving on to look at the updated rules themselves. When playtesting its always important to consider playtest feedback, particularly when trends start to appear. If feedback from multiple different sources starts to indicate a similar fault, this tends to mean that a relevant fault has been identified. Once a fault is identified, we as a development team then need to discuss it and decide on a solution.
As a new model or rule progresses through playtest, another trend starts to appear. If a model or rule is progressing well, then the feedback for that model or rule begins to stabilise. This means that while the volume of feedback received may remain the same, the content of that feedback starts to get more consistent, as fewer faults are being found. This is the trend that the Pitch Formations beta test is starting to follow. During our last update, we identified six different discussion points (although, not all of these points were faults, some of them were just general observations), for today’s update we only have three:
1) ‘Lump’ Deployment of Players Isn’t as Fun as ‘Alternating’ Deployment
There are a few aspects to talk about regarding what you guys are referring to as ‘lump’ deployment (where most, or all, of your team is deployed at once) versus ‘alternating’ deployment (where both coaches take turns to deploy players). There are significant balance implications to both and a big difference in how enjoyable each one is to play.
In terms of how fun each type of deployment is, the feedback has been almost unanimous that the alternating deployment and selection of players is a much more entertaining experience than selecting and deploying players on-masse. Being able to make tactical choices ‘on the fly’ is an exciting experience and it makes each choice feel important, not only to the match-up, but to the state of the Pitch as you immediately deploy the player as well.
2) ‘Lump’ Deployment Has Changed the Balance Quite Dramatically
This is the second aspect of the subject of deployments. Changing something as big as the method of team deployment is going to significantly affect the balance of that process and of the game that follows it. We’ve seen compelling arguments to suggest that the Kicking Coach currently has too much control over the start of the game, as they can counter pick their players having seen the entire enemy team and where they are deployed. Additionally, there is a legitimate issue with players like Avarisse & Greede and Brainpan & Memory as these players can block off a significant amount of space if deployed on the half-way line. This happens because a player cannot be deployed within [3”] of an enemy player and deploying four players on the half-way line prevents enemy players from being placed within [3”] of any of them! This isn’t a particularly fun situation for the opposing coach.
3) The Kicking Team Starting With  Momentum Point is Great
We were very pleased with the reaction to this. Starting with so many players within range to be Charged or Attacked means that at least  MP for the Kicking team is an easy thing to understand. It allows the Kicking team a chance to defend themselves by using Defensive Stance or Counter Attack or to just allow a player to use Take a Breather to clear conditions if they have been knocked down. It gives a healthy amount of options for the Kicking team without making the Receiving team feel hard done by.
Changes to Pitch Formations
Not so much of a visible rule, but given the sheer weight of feedback regarding alternating deployment and how much people enjoy it, we will focus our attention on implanting a form of alternating deployment from this point onward. We must bear in mind that if we even want to consider Pitch Formations for use in standard play or Organised Play that we need to keep it as beginner friendly as possible. However, we are confident that we can do this.
Due to the sheer size of the feedback threads. We will be locking the current ones and starting new threads that should continue to feedback in the same manner. The Pitch Formations testing will continue. Please continue to play games and feedback through our forums using the following changes:
- Within the Formation Criteria, players cannot be deployed within [2”] of an enemy player
- ·Within the Formation Criteria, additional players (such as Greede & Memory) must be deployed in base contact with and on the same line as their counterpart i.e. Greede must be deployed in base contact with and on the same line as Avarisse
- Deployment order now goes as follows:
- Kicking team deploys their kicker and gives that player possession of the ball
- Receiving team deploys two players, ensuring that they meet the Formation Criteria
- Kicking team deploys two players, ensuring that they meet the Formation Criteria
- Both teams continue to deploy players, two at a time, until both teams have six players on the Pitch and both teams meet the Formation Criteria
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 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 kicker must be deployed touching the ‘deployment line’ (the line across the Pitch that is 10” up from that Coach’s edge)
- Starting with the Receiving Coach, both Coaches take turns selecting two players and deploying them on the Pitch, however, both teams must meet all of the ‘Formation Criteria’ outlined 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 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 [2”] 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
- Additional players, such as Greede or Memory, are deployed at the same time as their counterpart, Avarisse or Brainpan, and in base to base contact & on the same line as them
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!