Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Rambling about the Huzzah Hobbies Guild Ball Fall Scrimmage event

I spent some time last week talking about my return to a game champion role (in this case a Pundit) along with a bit of venting over my frustration getting support from my local store. I want to return a bit to that post with an after action discussion on how my event went last weekend.

I'll start out by saying the event was a smashing success. I am very thankful to Huzzah Hobbies for letting us use the space in the store for the event. Even being pushed to the "back room", we ended up taking over half the room with Guild Ball games. That right, we ended up with approximately 20 people coming by during the day to demo and play Guild Ball, with 9 of those being brand new converts to the game. I ended up running numerous demo games all afternoon and at one point we had 7 concurrent games of Guild Ball running.

The Demo

We had a couple people come through during the day who already had a team they owned (although they had not played a game yet) or had an idea of the team's they wanted to try. I made a decision to limit the demo's to Fishermen and Butchers, using the demo cards. I think the only part I missed in my preparation was printing out a set of Quick Start rules for people to reference and take away with them. I'll do that in the future.

I had some beautifully painted Fishermen and Butchers to put on the table, so the demo player got to use actual models. In place of the recommended 2x2 table for demoing, I used the full 3x3 field giving players a full experience. Players used the demo cards from the quick start rules, plus played to 6 points, giving the ball to Ox for kick-off and using the standard quick-start demo set-up.

I was especially pleased that my daughter jumped into a demo early in the day. Not only did she enjoy the game but then she came back later in the day and had convinced another players daughter to try a demo as well (picture to the right). I've since received reports that Dad and Daughter are doing well and daughter is rabidly digging through the Guild Ball story to find a team that appeals to her. As for my daughter, she preferred the Butchers to the Fishermen and is looking forward to our next game. In her words "Scoring goals is boring..... well more boring than beating people up!". Oh no... what have I done?

Games Played

There were two ideas I combined into the Fall Scrimmage event. The demo's were important but equally important was some casual play for both new and experienced Guild Ball players. I really liked the idea of combining these two aspects because new players who just got a demo can jump directly into playing some games. Too often I've experienced demo days where a new player gets a demo then walks away, often to buy a team but does not return immediately to play games. Combining the casual play with the demos gave new players an opportunity to jump right in and reinforce what they learned in the demo. It also kept the energy up and showed new players there was a lot of interest in this new game. I was also able to keep an eye on the games and match-make players for new games, keeping everyone playing different players and teams where possible.

I faced a challenge on two fronts in relation to the match-making/casual play. First, new players who just received a demo don't have teams to play. Second, Guild Ball is new in our community so many people only have a single team.  I solved this by producing a double set of cards and paper-dolls/standees for all 8 teams currently in the game. This provided a great opportunity for players to try out teams they were interested in and check out how they played. It also gave those players without teams the ability to grab some standees and play some games. It really worked out well and was very much worth the effort in putting these together.

We had a fantastic turn-out of players during the day and everyone seemed to have a really good time. There were a ton of games being played and all the guilds were represented on at least one table during the day. I even got to take a spin against the Engineers at the end of the day, my second game facing them.

Game Mats

I want to take a moment to talk a bit about game mats for Guild Ball. Thank you very much to local Guild Ball pundit Maurice, who brought out some additional mats for games. Without his help we would have been short a couple spaces for people to play. We had a couple copies of the official Guild Ball mat, specifically the full field design. This mat looks fantastic and the neoprene material makes it an absolute pleasure to play on. Anyone who has not picked one up yet I recommend these highly.

 We also had two different mats from Mat's by Mars. These are vinyl mats, but also very nice and work incredibly well as both secondary mats and more economical primary mats. I absolutely recommend them as well, and plan to pick up more as I broaden my collection to support larger events.

I do not have a copy of the proving ground official mat, which is the one that marks out both a 3x3 and 2x2 field. After running the demo's over the weekend I am considering picking one up for future demo's, but only when I plan to run the smaller demo's on a 2x2 board.

Photography and Models

We were particularly privileged to have an amateur photographer stop by for a demo game and to hang out. He brought his fancy camera with him and grabbed some great pictures of models and games during the day. I was particualy pleased to see that when I get someone with a good camera who knows what they're doing, my models actually look pretty good:

Beyond that I thought I'd share some of the other pictures he took:

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