Ploughman | Season 4 | Guild Ball

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Yesterday on the blog we revealed the fourth and fifth of our updated Season 4 model cards, Anvil the Noble Patriarch and Sledge the Tempered Steel of the Blacksmith’s Guild. Today we’ll be continuing with our model card reveals with one of the unsung heroes of the Farmer’s Guild; Ploughman, the Honest Labourer.

GB-Farmers-Team2-Ploughman.jpg

Too Many Questions… Too Many Questions…

As we mentioned on yesterday’s blog, one of the first things we did when we started the development of Season 4 was to take a look at the intended playstyle for every Guild as a whole, and then each model individually. This process helped us to identify not only which models needed to change, but also by how much and with what purpose in mind. These objectives were in addition to overall aims such as reducing complexity and tweaking game balance.

We spent a while considering the intended playstyle of the Farmers, because something hasn’t been quite right about them and it was difficult to quantify what that was. From watching how you’ve all been using the Farmers a few things have been quite obvious. Firstly, we noticed that there wasn’t as much variety in Farmer team construction as we’d hoped for. Players felt like they ‘needed’ to take too many models because those models brought certain abilities that were seen as essential. The main culprits were models like Tater, because of the power of Counter Charge, Harrow, because of the power of Tooled Up, and Millstone, because of the utility of Take One for the Team. However, on closer inspection it wasn’t really the power of any one of these models that was causing the issue.

After more research and discussion, we concluded that the issue at the core of the Farmers was a matter of complexity. Placing and using harvest markers and protecting them from being trampled is a flavourful and unique mechanic for the Farmers. However, on top of harvest markers you also have the dichotomy between Planters and Reapers, forcing you to consider the types of models that you want to use and all their associated benefits (Planters generate more influence and bring supportive abilities, while Reapers tend to be the models who go and score VPs for the team). You also have more common elements of complexity such as the need to use Tooled Up on an offensive model for it to deal a higher level of consistent damage in one activation. This might not seem like a complex thing to do, but it needs to be considered on top of the placement of Harvest Markers, keeping your team close together so you can benefit from defensive auras and Counter Charge, and ensuring that you can attack a good target with the correct model so you can generate MP. The Season 3 Farmers were a melting pot of complex questions, tactics, and interactions. This had several side effects, one of the biggest being that they have extremely limited team flexibility when selecting models.

We decided to address this issue by reducing the overall level of complexity within the Farmers. However, we didn’t do this in the way that most will expect… hold onto your seats. To keep the Farmers as unique and flavourful as possible, we elected to remove the common elements of complexity, not the ones unique to the Farmers. This means several things. Season 4 Farmers do not have Tooled Up, in fact, they have no damage bonuses of any kind within the Guild, nor do they have any form of TAC bonuses beyond things like Ganging Up and knocking enemies down.

The Season 4 Farmers now have a new and uniform style of playbook. Every non-Mascot Reaper has a momentous 2 damage result on their first column. Every non-Mascot Planter has a non-momentous 2 damage result on their first column. As a Guild, they have the most consistent low-level damage in the game. However, to compensate for this they tend to generate less influence than most Guilds (before counting harvest markers), and their top-end playbook damage does not scale anywhere near as highly as it does for other damage-focused Guilds like the Butchers or Apprentice Blacksmiths. We have also simplified a number of their unique mechanics. What this does overall is cut out a number of the tactical questions that were being asked of the Farmers. They can instead focus a little more on constructing the correct team for each situation they find themselves in, rather than feeling restricted to using the same models every time they play. Which brings us to Ploughman.

In Season 3 Ploughman was a model that was generally considered too complex to use. In addition, the effort you had to put into Ploughman in order to get work out was much higher than for comparable models. As a result, he often ended up left on the side lines. We haven’t changed much about Ploughman’s intended playstyle, but a fair few changes have occurred so that he can be better at it.

Mr Plough, That’s My Name, That Name Again is Mr Plough

A few things to talk about here, so let’s start with the basics. Ploughman’s stat line has remained the same with the exception of him gaining 1 ARM. In Season 3 Ploughman used to be able to gain 1 ARM from the character trait Mud Concealer, but we felt we could get rid of this trait for simplicity’s sake. Ploughman’s number of health points has also dropped slightly from 22 to 20, mainly to bring him into line with most Farmers whilst also remembering that he’s one of the very few Farmers to have any ARM.

Ploughman’s playbook has seen a few changes, but firstly let’s talk about those damage results. A non-momentous 2 damage on the first column and a momentous 3 damage on the last column is what most Planters have on their playbooks in Season 4. The Farmer’s Guild now has incredibly consistent low-end damage, but if you manage to get up to the top of their playbooks their damage doesn’t improve by THAT much. We also made Ploughman’s push and knockdown results easier to trigger to give him a more unique identity among other Planters.

Ploughman’s Season 3 character plays, Furrow and Defend the Ground, were causing tables to become extremely cluttered with a tonne of AOE templates. We’ve done away with both of these and replaced them with Broken Earth, which we also saw last week on Granite. Broken Earth is just a simpler and cleaner way of representing how Ploughman can crack the ground open with his ploughshare and make it difficult for the enemy to move through.

It’s Harvest Time

The back of Ploughman’s card is another good indication of how we have simplified the more unique elements of the Farmer’s Guild. Ploughman’s signature ability was always meant to be Fertile Soil, and hopefully it still is. Instead of interacting with rough terrain AOEs, Fertile Soil is now just a nice, simple aura which lets the Ploughman himself or any other friendly Planter place an extra Harvest Marker once per turn.

Speaking of Harvest Markers, Ploughman can now place his own with Planting Season, which Grange, Harrow, Millstone, and Veteran Honour now also have too. Ploughman can place a Harvest Marker anywhere within 2” of himself, and if he wants to, he can also trigger Fertile Soil to place an additional Harvest Marker anywhere within 4” of himself, all for free!

The final change is just a name change, True Path is the Season 4 name for Tilled Earth. Renaming this character trait allowed us to use it on Ebb of the Navigator’s Guild and have it make thematic sense on both models.

That’s all for today folks. We hope you enjoyed today’s reveal of Ploughman and a sneak peek of what’s to come for the Farmer’s Guild! Join us next time to see the reveal of the Season 4 player card for Scalpel, the Spirit Weaver of the Mortician’s Guild.