Guild Ball

Guild Ball is the game of medieval fantasy football from Steamforged Games. The Century War has wracked the land, and all that forges the fractious nations of the new Empire together is the blood-sport of Guild Ball, brought together by the scheming Guilds. Will you play the slippery Fishermen, the arcane Alchemists, or the suspicious Union? Read some articles, listen to some podcasts, watch some videos, and maybe you’ll find out which is best for you!

Non-Dojo Game Theory 1

Posted by on 7:37 pm

    There’s a branch of quantitative analysis (nerd math) called Game Theory.  While the word “theory” is in there, I’m not going to pontificate about Hunters under Ossyan’s feat or anything like that.  What I am going to show you is a pretty deep frame work for looking at interactions between two intelligent players.  Oh… and I’ll tie it into Warmachine and Hordes for good measure. Math needs pictures so let’s get into the examples right away.  One of the most popular Game Theory interactions is called “The Prisoner’s Dilemma”.  You’ve got two guys (A and B) involved in a crime together.  Criminal A is sitting there talking to the cops.  He’s got two choices (snitch, hold out).  Criminal B is facing the mirror scenario.  If they both hold out, they each face minor time in jail (1 year) and beat the system.  If one snitches while the other holds out, the cops we’ll give him a break (zero time for snitch, 10 years to the hold out).  If both snitch on one another they each get five years.  On the surface it seems like the two would hold out, beat the system and get off. At right is a diagram and the numbers are “years”. As an example, negative ten means ten years in jail. Criminal A can choose to snitch or hold out on the left side.  B can choose to snitch or hold out on the top.  Let’s look at A’s choices.  No matter what B does, A is better off snitching.  That’s called a dominant strategy.  If you can do one thing that’s ALWAYS better no matter what your opponent does, then you have a pretty easy choice on your hands.  Do that better thing!  It’s rational for A to snitch.  But wait, let’s not ignore B.  B can hope against hope that A’s dumb or hasn’t read this article.  Looking at A’s actions, B will also deduces that he’s better off snitching.  B has the same dominant strategy; snitch. These poor saps will always snitch on one another. That’s the rub.  You can play this game in isolated rooms.  You can play it face to face.  It doesn’t matter.  Rational players will always rat one another out.  I probably should have said [Spoiler Alert] for the Law and Order fans out there.  My bad. If you’re still with me you’ve just digested some heavy stuff.  So how does this relate to Warmachine?  There are three ways to find yourself in a Prisoner’s Dilemma in Warmachine. 1.      List Selection in a Steam Roller Tournament I reached out to a few high level tourney studs for help on this one.  List Selection and interaction holds a lot of subtly.  So here are two examples of Prisoner’s Dilemma in the Steam Roller environment. Courtesy of Keith Christianson; Player A:  Ashphyxious2 (hold out) and Terminus (snitch) Player B:  Caine2 (hold out) and Haley1 Lich2 doesn’t like Haley1 because Temporal Barrier negates his feat.  Caine2 can’t play against Terminus well because Sacrificial Pawn is a ball buster.  The two players end up playing the miserable grind fest of Terminus vs. Haley1 despite likely preferring the Lich2 vs. Caine2 game. Courtesy of Michael Chilly Winters (adding a familiar opponent layer); Winters:  Skarre1 (hold out) and Terminus (snitch) Pagani:  Kromac (hold out) and...

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MoM’s Podcast #15

Posted by on 8:09 pm

MoM’s Podcast #15 Topics: 0:01:20 = Newb Section (Ability Liability and Situational Awareness) 0:21:35 = News & Announcements 0;32:30 = Gargantuan Spoilers 0:43:10 = Diecon Coverage 3:12:20 – Muse on Mail 3:29:35 = Crutch Free Update 3:38:20 = In the Dojo Podcast: Play in new window | Download (Duration: 4:02:04 — 221.6MB)Subscribe: iTunes | Android |...

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Player Habits – Don’t be an Excuse Player

Posted by on 11:00 am

All players have different habits or personality traits that define what kind of player they will are.  One type of player I see too often is the “excuse player”. The moment the game is over, and they have lost, they have the excuse ready as to why they lost. (“I only lost because you rolled a 9 on that attack” or “I only lost because I didn’t know that model had Beat Back”.) Their first instinct is not to congratulate their opponent or think about mistakes they made and how to improve in the future, or even think about how the entire 70 minutes of the game played out and how every move/placement/dice roll by each player all factored into the game results, it is to make an excuse.  I believe many of us all have that moment after a loss, where we think “I can’t believe I forgot ability X on my opponent’s model”.  With 115+ casters and model combinations, this happens to everyone.  I believe there is a big difference from a player realizing they made a mistake and a player that needs to justify that loss with an excuse.  It is ok to lose a game. You don’t need to justify it immediately with an excuse.  Vast majority of game losses occur due to one player making more mistakes then their opponent or one large bad timed mistake.  (The various types of mistakes could be an entire topic of many articles.)         I find players that accept that a loss that was made by a mistake (in combination, with their opponent being good enough to take advantage of the mistake to win the game) tend to learn more from the games, where the player that loses and cares more about making an excuse often manages to lose more games and cling to their excuses and improve slower.  I believe most of us have played those games where we had complete control of the game but your opponent goes for a bad odds assassination attempt because they had no other hope and they successfully kill your caster. They needed some crazy roll, like an 11 to hit on 2 dice followed by a 15+ on 3 dice to succeed, and they somehow manage it.  Both of you realize they just pulled that win out of thin air.   Two thoughts on this; first, if you let your opponent roll dice to win the game, and they succeed, realize that is going to happen now and then.  Bad odds don’t mean impossible to succeed.  Think about where your caster was on the field. Did he need to be where he was? Did you move him forward because you were overconfident in your win?   Maybe you could have protected him even better.  Second, congratulate your opponent on realizing their only chance was to go for that long odds caster kill attempt, and not just sit back and die horribly. They were smart enough to realize how screwed they were and took appropriate action. Your mission should you choose to accept it – When you lose your next game, think about what your first thought after the game is.  Try to keep too many negative thought at bay. Think about the entire game overall, and how you can improve u/pon your...

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The Oathkeeper

Posted by on 9:42 pm

Well welcome to another exciting article of the Dark Horse nature.  This time taking a look at the one our own Muse team member, the mighty Mr. Crump, has used to beat the great Legion of Jake.  Though this article will focus more upon what I have played with in the past and have had some success with.  Well lets first take a look the list shall we:   Cassius and the Wurmwood +6 Megalith 11 Woldwarden 9 Gallows Grove 1 Gallows Grove 1 Shifting Stones 2 Tharn Ravager White Mane 3 Tharn Ravager White Mane 3 6 Tharn Ravagers with Chieftain and Shaman 13 Wolf Lord Morraig 5 10 Wolves of Orboros with Officer and Standard 8 Total:  50/56   Now lets take a look at our warlock shall we.  There are a couple of things about this warlock that are kind of contradictory to what he is trying to do/get out of his abilities, though I will cross this bridge when I look at the Wurmwood.  For a Circle warlock he of course comes with the oh so ability of pathfinder that is always common amongst their kind.  His Fury stat is a little low for a spellcasting type of warlock, though this is due to one of his abilities with the Wurmwood, again will be covered when we look at the Wurmwood.  His DEF is a little below the average though his ARM is above average for a spellcasting warlock, thankfully you get to combine this with his awesome life span that matches power houses like the Butcher and Terminus.  His MAT is average as well as the POW of his only melee weapon with reach when comparing him to other heavy spellcasting warlocks, though that same ability that holds him back due to Wurmwood helps to off set these things.  On top of that when he boxes a living or undead model he turns that model into a small AOE forest and then removes the model from play.  This is great for keeping models from returning to play and helps him get use out of his Treewalker ability.  He does get to ignore the firing into melee penalty when making magic attacks against models in Wurmwood’s command range, which is way above average.  He does have the ability that the Tharn Ravagers where he gets a bonus to DEF against melee attacks, as well as ignoring forests for LOS and able to move through other models and obstructions, though remember this moving through models does not allow you to ignore them for LOS or ignore free strikes.   His spell list is a little limited as he has 3 attack spells and 1 movement spell for him and his tree.  His first spell is an offensive upkeep spell called Curse of Shadows, this moderate cost spell with below average range targets a model/unit and puts a penalty to the ARM stat, as well as makes it so that they can not make free strikes and allows models to advance through affected models as long as they can move completely past them.  His next spell is a high cost spell with below average range is called Hellmouth, this average POW spell does nothing if you miss but if you hit, whether it is an enemy model...

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Road to War Episode 9

Posted by on 9:46 pm

Road to War In this episode, we cover Skorne. 00:00 Intro and Faction Overview 05:17 pHexeris 09:40 eHexeris 22:36 pMakeda 30:54 eMakeda 37:35 Mordikar 42:29 pMorghoul 49:24 eMorghoul 52:25 Rasheth 55:52 Xerxis 1:00:53 Zaal 01:08:55 Naaresh 01:12:18 Tiberion 01:14:17 Questions 01:28:21 Announcements Send us an e-mail at aroadtowar@gmail.com with any questions!   Podcast: Play in new window | Download (Duration: 1:29:51 — 82.3MB)Subscribe: iTunes | Android |...

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It’s the Humidity – Part 2: Heat Index

Posted by on 11:39 am

As promised in my previous article, (which can be dredged up from the depths of MOM here.) in this installation of It’s the Humidity, I will be discussing traits a meta should posses that make that playgroup a competitive force to be reckoned with. Also in this article, I will be outlining some methods we are using locally to acquire those traits among our own group.  So, let’s get started. In order to aspire to become something, you must define what it is. A “competitive meta” is a playgroup whose players typically perform very well over the course of a convention, or tournament. Their players are well known; their meta is well recognized and revered on the merit of the talent of their players, as well as those players’ sportsmanship. They win Mayhem Cups (a Midwestern travelling tournament), they win team tournaments, they populate the top 16s at Masters events, and they are the homes of the nationally recognized, powerhouse players. So what do “Competitive Metas” have?  Strong players This should go without saying, but I will enumerate some points here. There is an interesting relationship between a strong meta and a strong player. A strong player can exist without a strong meta, but the inverse cannot. Without this turning into an article on “what makes a strong player,” let it suffice to say that strong players have a good working knowledge of all the rules, are capable of evaluating an analyzing the game at a high level, and possess high levels of sportsmanship. More to the point, strong players can support and uplift a weak meta, but it is unlikely that a group of weak players will create a strong meta, without becoming strong players in the process. In a similar fashion, a group of strong players does not a strong meta make. There must be much more than personal skill at the game, which brings me to my next point.   Strong community A group of strong players must have a strong community. This is a social game and community is the single most important aspect of it, as such, I will be spending the majority of this article on this topic, so buckle in. Without community, this game simply does not exist and it is the challenge of every miniatures game to build a community around themselves, to help propagate the spread of their product. This mindset applies perfectly to the existence of a spirit of competition within a playgroup. Players talk to each other openly about their own faction, their own lists, their own weaknesses and strengths; as well as talk to each other about their opponents’ (friends’) factions, their lists, etc. What this open line of communication accomplishes in a playgroup is many-fold. Firstly, it builds camaraderie among the members of the meta as a group of players that can talk to each other about their games and receive open and honest criticism, advice, or praise, quickly becomes a group of friends. Secondly, it allows individual players to have a library of knowledge available to them, which ultimately strengthens them as a player, thereby enabling that player to, in turn, strengthen the meta he belongs to. So ultimately, building a “competitive meta” is more about building a strong community, which promotes the growth of...

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MoM’s Podcast #14

Posted by on 11:03 am

MoM’s Podcast #14 Topics: 3:45 New Player/Hobby Tips 19:50 News & Announcements 29:30 Colossals Caster Review 139:20 Muse on Mail Podcast: Play in new window | Download (Duration: 2:58:21 — 163.3MB)Subscribe: iTunes | Android |...

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The height of hills and coping with foreign norms

Posted by on 11:03 am

What do you mean you can see my dudes!! A question of etiquette and how or when to deal with curve balls   Hello everybody!   So recently I have taken some time off of my otherwise overly demanding job and during that am on something of a personal hiatus.  I thought I would use this time for reflection and a bit of re-evaluation as to where I’m going on this journey called life and what better way to do that then to go back down to Adelaide and chillax with my old crew! Just briefly I’ve been living in Brisbane for the last four years and before I came up here I was living and working down in Adelaide and had been for the twelve years prior to that.  So I have a lot of history and connections there that I was more than keen to catch up on not least of which is my old War machine stable amongst whom remain my best friends. I had brought my RET down with me because nothing clears the head better than some focused fire and imagination as you bring down the opposing jacks in a crashing pile of magically infused quarrels!  Much to my surprise though, Terry Mason (Tilaurin) the local press ganger down here put on an impromptu tournament on my behalf (The Tobias Ford challenge) – well it ended up being a kind of a family affair with seven people coming down and I got to see some of the old guard that I otherwise might not have got to see as well as some of the newer players since I’d left.   //Cheap pop coming//  So thanks very much to Infinity for hosting us and putting up a pretty cool prize considering it was unscheduled and free to enter! Now if you’ll excuse a little more background here, one of my best friends is a guy named Heath Eblen (Kojiro) and he very hospitably has allowed me to stay with him and his fiancée.  Well we have been besties for nigh on sixteen years and have spent many a night discussing / debating rules and minutiae as well as fluff and story over a number of games.  This evening though we were discussing something that had happened during the first round of my tournament.  As I was playing against my opponent it occurred to me that I ought to clarify what height the hills were for this event. Now in Brisbane there is kind of this arbitrary situation that hills are considered to be two inches in height and thusly block los to small based models.  Well when I went to clarify this point my opponent pointed out that – no, I was in fact incorrect on this point and as hills are ‘rolling’ they do not in fact block los.  Not wanting to get into a debate and ruin the flavour of the day I said ok, no worries and explained that it wasn’t what I was used to but adapted and took it in stride. The situation being set, what I want to talk about right now is how important it is, especially when travelling or going to a con that you are otherwise unfamiliar with to ensure that you know the ‘lay of the...

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Into The Mind of a Dark Horse: Diecon Edition

Posted by on 11:52 pm

Well welcome back to another exciting look into the mind of that crazy person we call, the Dark Horse.  With Diecon now over and everyone is back home and into the normal swing of things one starts to take a look back upon some of the things that happened at the convention.  I would like to go through the lists that I used and what my overall plan was with them, though I won’t be going into what exactly each model does as I would with my other articles but will still try to answer any and all questions that might come to mind.  I chose to run Legion for the opening 35 point tournament and for Hardcore as it has been about 2 months since I last got a game in with my Legion.  For the invitational I was attempting the Cygnar challenge.  But before I get started I want to thank everyone that helped work and put together this Privateer Weekend and I am totally glad that I went and that it will be back yet again next year, can’t wait to see everyone there again.  But now what you have all been waiting for:   35pt Tournament, 2 lists, divide and conquer, 5 rounds, Reinforcements (though there were no scenarios with this so I’m not going to type the models I added at last minute) Record:  5-0 (some how, don’t know how that happened) List 1: Prime Thagrosh +5 Carnivean 11 Scythean 9 Typhon 12 Shepard 1 Shepard 1 Strider Deathstalker 2 Strider Deathstalker 2 Foresaken 2 Total:  35/40 List 2: Tier 4 Absylonia +5 Angelius (1) 8 Ravagore (1) 9 Scythean (1) 8 Shredder 2 Stinger 2 Stinger 2 Shepherd 1 Shepherd 1 6 Spawning Vessel 3 Foresaken 2 Foresaken 2 Total:  35/43 Benefits:  1 point reduction on heavy warbeasts, lesser warbeasts gain advance deployment, for each foresaken in the army 1 heavy warbeast gains advance move.   So with it being a divide and conquer format I tried to go with 2 lists that I would be able to use effectively regardless of whether it was warmachine or hordes.  Though I must confess I have played many more games with Thagrosh than I had with Abby.  To me they both have their bad matchups, as everyone does for that matter, but for me I find Thagrosh a little more forgiving if something was to go badly.  Ideally I would want to play Abby against a Hordes army but unfortunately I did not get to face one until the final round and since my final opponent was locked into Epic Vayl I found that Thagrosh would be the better choice.  So I ended up running Abby twice and Thagrosh 3 times.  Normally with the Abby list I would have Forced Evolution upon the Angelius and Carnivore upon the Scythean.  I didn’t even cast Playing God once but I sure did spam the heck out of Tenacity on my army.  With the 2 Shepherds and Foresaken I was more than able to run my beasts hot.  I also chose to have my Ravagore and Angelius make the advance moves due to the tier bonus.  As for the Thagrosh list I normally would have Draconic Blessing upon the Scythean as it would be the first to see...

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