This is the first in a series of articles where I am going to look at a few situations that look simple enough at face value but caused me a few headaches when I started playing, which seems to be a feeling shared by other members of the community. Those situations being, tactics to use at the kick off, how to generate momentum in the early game (particularly turn 1) and how to deal with going first vs second.
The Mortician’s Guild is my usual team, but I have some experience of most of the current teams. I will aim to look at general tactics as well as some in depth discussion of each of the Guild’s, giving suggestions, but please feel free to comment below.
At face value the kick off seems a fairly straight forward occurrence (you kick the ball forward), but as with much with this game there is a lot more to it. You need to consider; who is going to kick-off, which area of the pitch will they kick too and how far you want the kick to go.
As a reminder the rules for Kick-off are:
p.21 “After both players have deployed their teams, the kicking player activates the kicker. The kicker may move up to their base-move followed by a kick-off action.
The kick-off action does not require Influence but otherwise uses the normal rules for kicking the ball.
After resolving the kick-off, if the ball-token went out of play, or finished within the kicking player’s half of the pitch, then the receiving player may give possession of the balltoken to any model of his choosing on his team.
After the kick-off has been resolved, the receiving player automatically wins the initiative roll for the first turn.”
Initially, you need to think who your kicker is going to be. Will you give it to a striker? They tend to be faster, have longer kick distances but fairly average defence stats.
Will you give it to someone who wants to boss the mid-field? They tend to be slightly slower, have shorter kick distances than the strikers but are slightly more resilient and have plays that will affect the opposition more than themselves.
Will you give it to a defender? They tend to be slower, with shorter kick distances but are more resilient but have some sort of area control, which they would be able to use sooner than if they hang back.
You do need to consider that the player that goes forward may be isolated from their team mates and that does play into the hands of some teams who like to pick off isolated models quickly.
If I am playing with a team I want to brawl against, I would typically give the kick-off to a defender/ defensive midfielder to get them into the action quicker so they can control the board. If I am looking to score more than take out, I’d be looking at strikers or more attacking midfielders to get into positions where they can do the most damage quickly.
I would typically not give the kick-off to a captain as the risk of them being isolated early is too great, but I would be happy to hear others thoughts on this.
Guild Brawling Balling
Alchemist’s Calculus/Mercury Vitriol
Brewer’s Stave/Stoker Mash/Friday
Butcher’s Boar/Meathook Brisket
Engineer’s Colossus Velocity/Hoist
Fisherman’s Jac / Kraken Sakana / Greyscales*
Mason’s Mallet / Brick Flint
Mortician’s Casket / Ghast Bonesaw
Union Fangtooth/ Hemlocke Mist
*I think there is a possible argument to allow Shark to kick-off for the Fisherman’s Guild, but they are one of the team I’ve used the least.
Once you have chosen who is going to kick-off you need to think where on the pitch will they kick off from.
When you think of a Guild Ball (or Football – not Gridiron) pitch you can split the area into 5 (shown below). These are the left and right wings, left and right channels and the centre of the pitch.
Different player want to act in different areas of the pitch. You don’t want Hemlocke out wide, wasting a lot of her potential. Similarly, Mist is going to act more effectively out on the wing rather than the more congested midfield.
As a general rule, the combat will mainly occur in the centre of the pitch with bits spilling out into the channels. With this in mind, you will want players of the ‘brawling’ type to mainly kick off from the centre section, particularly if you want them to control wide areas of the pitch that your opponent also wants to control.
Conversely, your ‘balling’ players will want to make more use of the wings and channels so this is where they will kick off from. Players like Mist really want to stay wide as much as possible, whereas players like Greyscales and Bonesaw will act more out of the channels. Mash may even want to act more centrally to mitigate his slower movement.
That isn’t to say that you’ll use these players to kick-off into the same area of the pitch they are based. You may want one of your central players to kick the ball out towards a wing to either force your opponent to activate one of their wider players early than they would have wanted (preventing them gaining an upper hand in the centre of the pitch) or risk ignoring the ball and activating a central player for one of your wide players to pick it up in the next activation.
Similarly, a wide player may want the ball to be played into the centre to allow them more space to run into unopposed with a more direct route on goal in subsequent activations (Flint and Mist I am looking at you).
Obligatory Flint picture:
Once you have decided who is going to kick-off and where they are going to kick from and to you need to decide how far the ball will travel. As a kick-off follows the normal rules for a kick, you can re-roll the kick-scatter (both distance and direction) on a success.
There seems to be two schools of thought on kick-off distance. Those that want the ball as far away from their goal as possible, who move the maximum possible, followed by their max kick or those that will look to regain possession early who move but only kick so the ball just crosses into the opponents half, meaning an opponent has further to collect the ball and it’s as close to your lines as possible to regain.
These tactics largely tie in with whether you are aiming for a predominantly take out based win or goal based win respectively.
I have also seen a few players who will give the ball to a mascot or slow player, to get them further up the pitch, but kick the ball into their own half or off the pitch so opponent is given the ball so that it is as far away from their goal as possible.
Comparison of maximum kick-off distances (before scatter):
|Guild||Max kick-off (“; before scatter)|
|Harry the Hat||11|
I will typically look to kick off with either Casket, Ghast or Fangtooth from the centre of the pitch, moving them as far as possible and kick the ball so it just crosses into the opponents half, forcing them towards me whilst controlling the space with their various plays and traits – Foul Odour is great for restricting enemy movement in a fairly wide area. However, if I am facing the Butcher’s or a beat down Union team, I would probably kick to wider areas to avoid getting bogged down in a ruck that would be difficult to win.
I have also started experimenting with kicking off with Bonesaw straight down a channel for him to get him closer to where he needs to be.
I hope the above has been useful and I’ll continue next time with looking at how to generate momentum early in the game, particularly in turn 1.
If you have any comments or suggestions please leave them below.
Until next time sports fans!
**Plug for the pitch image used: https://thepaintingmonkey.wordpress.com/2015/04/07/custom-guild-ball-mat/