Guild Ball: Organised Play Update

I [Mat Hart] was lucky enough to get to Adepticon in Chicago this year. I met a load of great people and had an absolute blast. During the weekend, I got to spend a fair amount of time chatting with the players vying for the US Qualifications and observed a heck of a lot of games. These conversations and observations got me thinking…mostly about how the Organised Play Rules can massively influence the game.

Today we roll out an updated Organised Play Rules document with several key changes.  These changes are detailed below.

Tiebreakers

Guild Ball was designed as a win or lose game, a simple binary state if you like. The intent was that it really doesn’t matter if you win 12-0 or 12-10, a win is a win. However, tiebreakers that are calculated using Victory Points and VP differences goes against this original intent.  Furthermore, they can lead to some weird situations where a first-round loss of 11-12 could actually help you finish higher up the table! 

We’ve overhauled the tiebreakers to use percentage win rate, or Strength of Schedule as its more commonly known. Players are ranked in order of the following:

  1. Their Tournament Points Scored
  2. Their own Strength of Schedule
  3. Their opponents Strength of Schedule

The new Organised Play Document goes through in detail how this is calculated and the Tiebreak platform has been updated accordingly.

Drafting

The way drafting worked, gave some teams an unnatural power bump due to the way their rosters could be constructed, meaning it was possible to keep their captain selection until very late in the draft, resulting in an unfair advantage. Basically, it meant that if you played some teams and knew how to draft properly, then you could almost always be able to counter pick your captain against your opponent. This ended up lifting some teams unnaturally in the meta whilst forcing others down.

To address this, we’ve tweaked the order in which teams are drafted to the following:

  1. Deal and decide on Plot cards, as normal
  2. Simultaneous reveal of Captains and Mascots
  3. Roll to decide who kicks off (and who receives)
  4. Draft the remaining 4 players for each team starting with the Receiving player

Roster Size

Another unusual one, we observed an impact on certain teams that the roster size of 9 was causing. Looking at these teams, whilst the models seemed perfectly strong and competitive enough individually, the team itself struggled to put together a meaningful 2 captain roster of 9 models without severely limiting the remaining choices.

Guild Ball is a game of choices and so we have expanded the roster size to 10 players. The 1-2 model restriction on both Captains and Mascots remains unaffected.

Draws

As mentioned earlier, Guild Ball is a game of winning or losing, there really is no room for a draw and it only served to make the math complex in the rare situations where it came up in competitive play.  We have removed draws from competitive play. The long and short of it is if the players are still tied at the end of the game, after dice-down has been called by the event organiser, then the win is awarded to the player that kicked off at the beginning of the match. Simple.

Round Length

A simple change, we have extended the round length back up to 110 minutes to allow a little more breathing room for people to prepare for the next round.

So there you have it, a handful of changes to the Organised Play document that we believe will make the game healthier and more fun for everyone. Obviously, these changes are effective immediately for any Steamforged Games organised events but, TO’s of upcoming events have the option, for the remainder of May, to revert to the previous system on tiebreak should they wish. If you’re attending an event in May do please check with your TO which system they’ll be using – the old system will be gone forever 1 June 2017.

Let us know how this will impact your roster choices over on our Forum Thread about the changes, on our Facebook Post or Twitter Page.