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!

New Rule: There’s No Apologizing in List Chicken

Posted by on 11:12 am

There seems to be a trend forming in my local meta. It first caught my attention when listening to one of our newer players talk about his lists. He picked up Circle at the end of February and, as with all new shiny things, picked up Morvahna2 the day she came out. He has since been mauling some of the new players–and, to be fair, myself in our most recent tournament. The part that caught my ear was the constant need for him to explain why he purchased her, that he wasn’t aware she was going to be the powerhouse she is and that it was just a happy coincidence. I’ve heard him tell this to every opponent, in every game–casual or competitive. Similarly, MSG’s own John Booher picked up some Cryx a short while back. He’s been playing–unsurprisingly–Denny1 and Gaspy2 during our weekly practice matches. In a similar fashion, he apologizes to everyone he plays for his lists, before popping Gaspy’s feat, every time a Bane does what Banes do, et cetera. I can’t claim that I don’t understand him. I have a deep love for infantrymachine, so when I had the chance to faction whore my way over to Cryx last year, I went all in. A little over a month into it, I had every single model back on Bartertown. Up at our shop, I tend to win more games than I lose, but somehow wins with Cryx were tainted. Winning by using Gaspy2’s feat to assassinate their caster was substantially worse than Kreoss2’s feat turn removing an unrecoverable amount of their army from the table. Single wound, low defensive stat, tough weaponmasters with stealth were somehow completely broken compared to the multiwound, high ARM, multiple attack ones I typically brought in my Troll lists. I’ve silently felt stupid about tossing my Cryx for a while now, but seeing these other players treat their model choices like something to be ashamed of has driven me to make something very clear: there are no off limit models in Warmachine. I think a big part of this stems from the fact that a lot of us have strong Warhammer backgrounds. I mean this as no insult to anyone who enjoys playing the game, but inter-faction balance does not exist in Warhammer. After every new codex or wave of model releases, someone on BOLS will distill the new hotness down to a points efficient, creativity limited ideal that will then see play in game stores across the country. This is why Warhammer tournaments are ripe with soft scores, character limitations and other restrictions designed to flatten an uneven playing field. Warmachine lives in a world of reasonable balance. In the time I’ve been playing, I have never once felt that there was a model or unit that was simply invincible. I’ve never felt that the faction I was playing at the time was incapable of building a list to defeat one of the other factions. There are bad matchups, but a combination of the multilist format and scenario play alleviate most of the pains these cause. There are models at the top and bottom of the power curve, but that curve is minuscule compared to the potential difference in player skill. There is no need for players to restrict themselves to maintain this balance. That’s Privateer Press’s job, and their unspoken...

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Hacking the Cortex: The Bump in the Road

Posted by on 8:25 am

In the last two posts, we’ve seen how experts chunk complex behaviours into single actions, and how conditioning processes act over thousands of iterations to produce expert behaviour. The long road to mastery (10,000 hours, and hundreds of errors) is one worth walking, and when you get to the end of it, it often manifests in the form of a “gut instinct” about certain game states. The goal is a certain level of automaticity with regard to the best plays in a given situation. But as that automaticity begins to set in, there is a dangerous slump in your learning curve. When a person (or indeed, an AI) learns a complex task in which there are many rules, but some exceptions, there is a predictable upsurge in errors at the middle of the curve. The best example of this in psychology comes from children learning the rules for conjugating verbs. (I don’t mean via formal education here, but rather their absorbing the rules unconsciously from their language interactions with adults around them) Most verbs in English follow strict rules with regard to how you conjugate them. For a regular verb, when you are speaking about the past you add “-ed” to the root (e.g. “I jumped”, “I climbed”). However, a number of very common verbs are irregular (“I ran”). When children first learn to speak, they learn each verb as an individual set of rules, independant from one another. They make increasingly few errors with irregular verbs. But at a certain point in the curve, they begin to internalize the regular rules – they “chunk” the rules for conjugation and start applying them to everything, and errors such as “I runned” become commonplace. This is called overgeneralization. After a while longer, with sufficient feedback from their environment, these errors reduce again and the child reaches true fluency with verbs. (Generalization is a well established idea in Operant Conditioning research, and is core to modern behavioural explanations of language and cognition. It’s also probably the source of a lot of our cognitive biases) I think overgeneralization is a big pitfall that you experience in learning to master Warmachine. As far as my own play goes, I’m pretty convinced that I’m sitting right on that point of the learning curve. I was really disappointed in my performance at the recent Irish Masters, and in analysing the games afterwards I realised that most of my losses could be put down to going on “autopilot” and not reacting properly to an unusual game state or particularly canny play by my opponent. I’d trained enough with my lists that I had mastered the gameplan for it, but hadn’t yet gotten over the overgeneralization stage and so kept calm and blundered on when I should have realized I was in an irregular situation. The autopilot phase is inevitable in learning a game as nuanced as Warmachine. You have to learn the basics and get them down hard before you can improve your game. You need to know your lists inside and out, to intuitively know its standard plays so you can make it work under time pressure. To be a master, much of your performance must be automatic. Watch great players at the table, and you’ll see it in action as they position their units or eyeball...

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MoM’s Podcast #51 – A Warmachine and Hordes Podcast

Posted by on 10:44 pm

  MoM’s Podcast #51 — A Warmachine and Hordes Podcast Topics:   Time Stamps: 0:01:30 = News and Announcements 0:25:45 = Newbie Section 0:48:50 = Faction Review: Cryx Podcast: Play in new window | Download (Duration: 3:10:54 — 87.4MB)Subscribe: Android |...

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Nemesis: The Lich. 5 – Inertia Dampened, Reverse Polarity!

Posted by on 7:22 am

“I’m going to activate this guy and run.” “He’s inside temporal barrier, just about.” “I thought that. And Haley’s right behind stormwall… So. Yup I have the space.” “Wait… what? You’re not able to feat against Haley tha-“ “SPECTRAL LEGION! ASSEMBLE!” True story. Not my true story, but MoM fans will know what I’m talking about. Jokes aside, though, if any faction can be considered a hard matchup for Cryx, it’s Cygnar. Cygnar is filled with stealth ignoring accurate guns, a plethora of infantry hating special rules, and denial out the wazoo. The stormwall in particular elicited many cries from Cryx players. Not Lich players. Lich, like plenty of other Cryx lists, can ‘gotcha’ a stormwall. No-one does it with the panache Lich does. It’s the one game you can be sure he’ll feat in. Check out the first two articles for background on Lich. Cygnar also have a rarer, but very effective, tool in this matchup, charge denial. Not line of sight blocking, no position games, just straight up ‘you cannot charge me’ kind of denial. It’s a very potent tool. It’s on Haley1, who is considered the game’s best hard counter to Lich, and most Cryx lists. She is also often thought to be un-fun. I, however, think she’s going to get a revival with ponies, probably of both types. Armoured ponies, which is to say storm lances, are also pretty bile thrall resistant. I have long been on the opinion that medium infantry are what Haley1 wants to run. She increases attack numbers, impedes swarms and weapon masters, and has arcane shield. Cavalry are kind of like 5 box medium infantry (a lament for another day), and get all of those benefits. And more taking ride-by into account. Arm 20 and un-chargeable is a pretty tough nut to crack. Like many young women, Vicky always secretly loved ponies. I’m going to suggest not running her with a stormwall. That big robot is a hungry sort of fellow, and she doesn’t like spending focus. Instead, accept your fate as a boring warcaster, cast TB every turn, then upkeep arcane shield on Haley. Protect her from stray reaper and pistol wraith shots with a sentinel. Sentinels really like the -2 Def from TB. The fun can come from your army and models. I’m going to suggest lots of ponies again. Is it expensive? Hells yes. But suggesting Haley with a stormwall and a few gunmages is awfully blasé. The new tempest blazers are incredible with her. In a straight forward way, and they adore being rat 9. They can actually be the raptors everyone compares them too. Storm lances, perhaps, warrant some more discussion. They have the usual dilemma of cavalry units- you get one good charge turn, then your unit dies. It’s not even a good charge turn if you charged into a tarpit. Instead, play to Cygnar’s strengths and use them as a combined arms unit. You can always position them just at the edge of threat range with a run first turn, then they get to ride-by, strolling forward, making some effective rat 7 electro-leap shots before backing up a bit. And your opponent can neither run to engage them or charge them. A turn or two of this will do a number on almost...

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Baffo’s sculpting table 07 – More urban bases

Posted by on 6:34 am

  This week we will be experimenting with sculpting more ‘urban themed’ bases. As I mentioned in the past, I don’t generally spend too much time on my bases (just use snow for my Khador), but since some of my local players picked up Malifaux and some Wyrd miniature base inserts, they asked me if I could sculpt more base inserts, that they could eventually try casting in resin and possibly use for smaller Warmachine armies as well (we will see how that goes). Anyway, before choosing a specific look and sculpting 20 or more base variants with it, I decided to try making as many different floor patterns as I could, to see how they looked on small bases (basically make a catalog of usable patterns) and work out their quirks and tricks, so it is easier to pick and mix textures for the base inserts my friends will cast. Since I am starting a new faction, I will try giving all the models scenic bases, for a change from my usual plain snow theme. I hope the resin casting experiments go well, since sculpting every base individually is labor intensive (though bearable for small skirmish games like Malifaux and Infinity), but should that fail, I will be researching other tricks to cut corners and mass produce such bases and report back on my findings in future articles…   General sculpting tips For starters, here are some general tips on the ‘sculpting tools’ I use and how to get the best effect with them (especially for those that haven’t read my past articles): Going from left to right: – Metal sculpting tools (the first is the old school GW sculpting tool, the other 2 are from a larger Gale force 9 sculpting tool kit). As I mentioned in the past the GW tool is the one I use the most for ‘rough work’, and I just occasionally use my other metal tools; these 2 are mainly useful to press long lines and flatten larger areas specifically on bases, but you can get the same effect with plastic card (the only advantage of metal tools is that they won’t loose their edge with use), so unless you plan on sculpting a lot, there is no need to go out of your way and buy a full tool set. – Silicon tipped color/clay shapers. These are most useful to sculpt muscles, organic shapes and softly flattening bulges around you impressions (more on that later). Their main quality is that these are soft and don’t have sharp edges, so they don’t leave ‘scratch marks’ on fresh putty like metal tools do. You should be able to get them in art shops for 5-10 dollars depending on brand name and size. If you can’t find any, you can make your own ghetto version, by getting a pencil eraser and using a sharp hobby knife to cut the tip shape you want (it will lose its shape with use, but you can always re-cut the desired form). – Custom plastic tools. You can make these out of leftover plastic (the frames of GW plastic kits are ideal) by ‘carving the desired shape with a sharp hobby knife). I use these for all of my detail work. – *Hexagonal screw/bolt heads. Look around your...

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Running the Gauntlet Volume 2

Posted by on 4:20 am

Running the Gauntlet Volume 2: The Official Breakdown Hello everyone and welcome back to another installation of Running the Gauntlet. After a bit of a delay I have finally gotten volume 2 ready. In this volume we will look at the official Iron Gauntlet rules and scenarios, talk about how it compares to some other prestigious events in Warmachine and Hordes, and then spend a little time preparing some dojo. The Official Rules First up the actual Iron Gauntlet rules were released about two weeks ago and look pretty cool. I went over a lot of the rules (which were revealed in the keynote from Templecon) in the last article but we will rehash them here a bit. Here are the major points for the Iron Gauntlet rules: A Regional ranking system divided into four regions which are currently: North America East, North America West, Europe, and Australia/Asia A point system that scores the top 16 finishers in qualifying events 2 50 point lists with character restrictions, 10 point specialists, and no faction limitations between lists Death Clock with deployment on the clocks Masters Style Scenarios including: Destruction, Close Quarters, Incursion, Outflank, Into the Breach, and Process of Elimination Iron Gauntlet is run as a season with multiple qualifiers throughout the world at different times during the season. At the end of the season 16 players will be invited to the Iron Gauntlet Finals at Lock and Load 2014. These 16 are chosen in two ways and are seeded #1 through #16. The top 8 seeds will be the top two scoring players from each region and will use event wins and then head to head wins as tie breaks to determine qualifying. The lower 8 seeds will be chosen among the next highest scoring players regardless of region and use the same tie breakers as the first 8 seeds. Alternates will be invited if the current seeds are unable to make the Final event. The Finals will be a tournament style event with the players being ranked 1-16 and then broken in to 4 regions where they again will be ranked 1-4. Another nice benefit is based on your rankings in the Finals you get points towards the next Iron Gauntlet season. Overall I think this is a very solid format and just sounds like a lot of fun especially having a ranking system that you can compare yourself to some of the best players with. Comparing Apples and Oranges and Bananas too! I know one of the things that a lot of people are asking is “How does Iron Gauntlet compare to the Warmachine Weekend Invitational and the WTC (World Team Championship)?” Honestly the way I look at it they are all different events and are all very prestigious. All three events have finals at different times so it isn’t impossible to make it to all of the events (might be some what difficult with WMW and IG qualifiers so far being run at the same time but there are more WMW qualifying events than for the IG so far). The difference in these three events is the type of warmachine and hordes you play in them. The WMW Invitational is the long standing King of warmahordes tournaments and is the most classic of all three tournaments....

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Crippled System: Episode 19 – Conforming to society

Posted by on 8:15 am

Hosts: Jeremy S, Katie S, Brian G, Nathan H, Andy W In this episode, warmachine talk. yay. 00:00 – Introductions and Adepticon discussion 11:54 – Contest announcements and discussions 20:38 – Terminology for new players 39:05 – Privateer Press novellas discussion 41:16 – Casters/lists we would play in other factions if we could 49:54 – Katie’s Korner: Make sure you kill things for a reason 61:43 – Recommendations 69:40 – Nathan insults the Japanese 70:10 – Recommendations part 2   Podcast: Play in new window | Download (Duration: 1:29:16 — 61.3MB)Subscribe: Android |...

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PwMJ – Programming Note

Posted by on 7:07 am

Just a quick note…there will be no Painting with MenothJohn this week.  My youngest, Lich Lord Charlie turns 7.  I will be partying like is 2013 with him. Feel free to drink in his honor.  Judicator!

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Epic FM Episode 7

Posted by on 5:12 pm

Epic FM Episode 7 – WTC Warm-up report and discussion In this cast the Flail crew (Brett, Paul, Tom, Adam and Phil) report on day 1 of the WTC warm-up event and provide insight into list choices and tactics. Episode 8 will include the second part of this event so stay tuned…. Time stamps; 2:00 Intro and list discussions 22:00 start of battle reports 1:48.00 Rampager Enjoy and please send any feedback, lists for us to discuss on the list doctor segment or questions you want us to answer to; Follow us EpicFM_Podcast Podcast: Play in new window | Download (Duration: 2:06:58 — 116.2MB)Subscribe: Android |...

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MoM’s Podcast #50 – A Warmachine and Hordes Podcast

Posted by on 1:18 am

  MoM’s Podcast #50 — A Warmachine and Hordes Podcast Topics:   Time Stamps: This week we talk about Recruits con, Playing the mirror match, and acting like a pirate.  Time stamps coming eventually. Podcast: Play in new window | Download (Duration: 2:31:53 — 69.5MB)Subscribe: Android |...

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