Want to see how your Guild has changed with Season 4? You can! Take part in a Season 4 Playtest Event at The Forge in Manchester on July 28th.
Last week we introduced you all to some of the initial ideas going into Season 4, as well as showing off our first ever Season 4 model, Horizon. Today we’re going to be exploring a few more of the more general changes coming with Guild Ball Season 4 and Guild Ball organised play.
Before we get into the meat of this article we wanted to announce that we will be moving the regular Thursday Guild Ball Blog articles to Wednesday (starting after Fathom this Thursday).
Influencing Actions and Stuff
This one is quite a small one that doesn’t affect many models, but has been a commonly asked question for a while and this is a great opportunity to fix it. In Season 3, the vast majority of models within Guild Ball can only be ‘allocated’ influence. This means that they cannot have more influence than their maximum influence stat. Ox has a 4/5 influence stat, meaning that he can’t ever have more than 5 influence at once as a result of allocation. However certain models can also ‘gain’ influence, which allows them to have more influence than their maximum influence stat. Perhaps the most common example of this is the Mason’s captain Honour who allows her whole team to ‘gain’ 1 influence with her Legendary Play, Topping Out. The difference between allocating and gaining influence can be quite confusing for both newer and veteran players alike.
In Season 4 we have done away with ‘gaining’ influence, meaning that no model will ever be capable of holding more influence at once than its maximum influence stat. We took this change into account when developing our Season 4 model changes. For example, Blessed on the Order model Grace currently allows her to ‘gain’ 2 influence. In Season 4 we have increased Grace’s maximum influence stat from 3 to 5 and Blessed will instead ‘allocate’ Grace 2 influence.
Stupid Rock Wall… Always Getting in My Way…
Another minor change that most people probably won’t notice, but goes some way to cleaning up our terrain rules, is to Obstructions. Guild Ball has always had fairly simple terrain rules, some of it slows you down, some of it speeds you up, some of it you can’t move through at all because it’s a giant boulder! But Obstructions have always straddled the line between simple and complex, because you can move over them while jogging or dodging, but not by sprinting or charging. In addition, in Season 3 it was possible to end your movement on an Obstruction. This may sound like a fairly simple thing, but it often involved balancing miniatures on odd angled terrain pieces, disputes over whether a miniature could even fit on top of a certain Obstruction, and it had weird interactions with pushes.
In Season 4 you will still be able to move over an Obstruction with a jog or a dodge, but a model can never end a move with any part of its base overlapping an Obstruction. Or in plain English, models cannot end their movement on an Obstruction. This functions in much the same way as a model with Flying being able to move over impassable Barrier terrain, but also being unable to end their movement on top of a Barrier.
So, What’s the Difference Between a Trait and a Play?
One of the things we became quite fond of when developing new models in previous years was the idea of cost zero character plays. These allowed us to do some quite interesting things with how players spend influence, and it gave us even more flexibility when deciding whether to make a new ability function as a character play or a character trait. A great example of this is the Mason captain Hammer, who was designed to spend his teammate’s influence to fuel his own abilities.
The more we used cost zero character plays the more we started the blur the line between how a character play is different to an active character trait. Functionally, in Season 3 there really isn’t much mechanical difference between how Furnace’s One At a Time Lads! character play and Ferrite’s Get Over Here! [Iron] character trait work. Both of these abilities have no influence cost, both of them are actions that the model must choose to perform during their activation. This has ended up causing a little confusion from time to time but also it makes it genuinely difficult to determine any mechanical difference.
In Season 4 we have removed cost zero character plays and made adjustments to every player that had one. To return to our above example of Hammer, his Iron Fist character play now has a cost of 1, but Hammer’s maximum influence stat has been increased from 5 to 6 as a result.
But I Want to Play with ALL of Them!
In the earliest days of Season 1, our original tournament format allowed players to select an 8-model roster, from which they could choose 6 to play with in each game. Over the years this has slowly expanded, first up to 9-models, and eventually 10-model rosters with the advent of multiple captain options for each major Guild. Roster sizes are meant to make you choose most of, but not quite all of the models available to you to take to a tournament. So naturally over time, as Guilds have increased in size, the number of models you can take in a tournament roster has increased to match it.
For Season 4 we considered removing the maximum roster cap completely. But after much discussion and research, we learned that a lot of players enjoy the discussion of which models to take on their roster, as well as which models to select for each game. It is true that there isn’t a huge ‘list building’ element for Guild Ball, since we have never used ‘points values’ or similar ideas. But even with the lighter element of roster building that we have, it still generates some exciting and quite deep conversations between players.
In Season 4 of Guild Ball organised play the standard roster size will increase from 10 to 12. This means that you can all bring more of your toys with you to choose from, but you still have to narrow that down to just 6 for each game!
That’s all we have for you today, we hope you enjoyed your second sneak preview of what’s to come with Season 4. Join us again later this week to see the reveal of the Navigator Fathom, the Wave Runner.