If you’re a regular reader of TGN, you’ve no-doubt seen how, in the past several months, I’ve become a member of the cult of Guild Ball. It has, very quickly, become one of my two favorite miniatures games that currently exist. I was giddy when the fellows over at Steamforged Games asked if I’d like to review the system. You can see the results of that here. Then they announced a new Guild coming to the game for Season II. It was going to be the Hunter’s Guild.
They had a bear.
So when they asked if I’d like to check out the new Guild and give you all my thoughts on it, I very literally got up out of my chair and rain around the office going, “Woo!” with my arms above my head.
So put on your shin guards and helmet, it’s time for another TGN Review. This time around it’s the Hunter’s Guild for Guild Ball from Steamforged Games.
I’ve gone back and forth a bit on how, exactly, I wanted to present this new team to you. The best way I’ve figured is to give you a player-by-player bit of analysis, from model to stats, and then give a final overview of the team and how it plays. I’ll start with the Starter Set (seemed like a logical place) and then move into the two extra players you can currently get. The Starter comes with Theron, Fahad, Zarola, Jaecar, and Egret. Seenah and Chaska are the two extra players.
Some quick notes about the photos. The ones where you see the individual pieces for the figures: those are taken before any cleaning has been done. They are literally “out of the bag, in front of the camera.” So any flash or sprue you see there you can expect to see on one you pick up. The assembled photos are taken before any sort of gap-filling or green-stuff has been added. I wanted to show off what you’d expect to get without having to go into any “mid-level techniques” like rolling out green-stuff.
We’ll begin with Team Captain Theron. His miniature comes in three pieces, which you can see there. His pose is having just shot an arrow, quite possibly into the knee of one of the opposing players. Theron, being the captain, sets the theme for the Hunters. His traits include causing the Snared condition (which causes -1 DEF and -2”/-2” MOV) whenever he damages an enemy (you’ll see this in a couple places in the Guild, as many of their other abilities play off of Snared). He also ignores forests when drawing LOS. “But I didn’t place any forests on the field.” I hear you say. Well, to start off, that’s silly. And second, Theron brings his own forests. Once per turn, he can place a 3” forest within 8” of him (but not closer than 3” to another terrain feature). Theron’s a bit unique for Captains in that he doesn’t have a Legendary Play. He, instead, has a Heroic Play. It allows one other player within 6” to us a Cost 3 (or less) character play without spending Influence.
Moving on, we head to the team mascot, Fahad. Fahad comes in 3 pieces. Pro-tip: attach the legs before you attach the base (which is a 40mm). I attached the base first, thinking, “that way, I’ll make sure the feet touch the base.” Yeah, don’t do that. Being a large cat, Fahad is, of course, pretty fast, moving at 6”/8”. They’re also pretty lithe, coming in at defense 5+. Considering their one Character Play is Nimble (Cost 1. They get +1 DEF), not a lot of enemies are going to be hitting them. Fahad can charge for free and gets +1 Damage against Snared Targets (told you stuff that interacted with Snared would show up). Fahad is also linked with Zarola, meaning that Zarola can activate immediately after Fahad, if you want.
After that, it seems only right that we go to Zarola. She comes in three pieces, positioned in a crouched pose (not the only one we’ll see today). Pro-tip: also don’t attach Zarola to her base before you attach her one arm that’s touching the ground. Yup, did it twice. It’s alright, though. Zarola’s also rather lithe, coming in at DEF 5+. She’s also got Unpredictable Movement (letting her make a 2” Dodge if enemy ends their movement in her melee range), as well as Light Footed. She’s also linked with Fahad, so the two can switch up who activates first, but then the other can activate. Her Chain Bolas have an 8” range and can Snare targets. She can also make your own team a bit faster via Midnight Offering, which lets a friendly model make a Jog immediately.
Next up will be Jaecar, because I wanted to continue with the “crouched stance” characters. He comes in 4 pieces. I was very happy with how well the swords on his back fit into place. Nicely slotted there. Good fit. Jaecar has a lot going on in terms of Character Traits. He’s got Anatomical Precision, meaning enemies have less ARM versus his attacks. There’s Light Footed, which we’ll see often in the Hunters. Then there’s Back to the Shadows, which gives Jaecar a 4” Dodge at the end of his activation, as long as he damages an enemy. Then there’s Pitfall, which stands him apart. During his activation, you can place a 40mm Pitfall Trap (provided) within 2” of him. If an enemy moves within 1” of the Pitfall Trap, they suffer Bleed and Snared. You can only have one Pitfall in play at a time.
We come to Egret next. Egret comes in two pieces. With lots of experience, whenever I see a model with a weapon being held in both hands, I roll my eyes and wonder “ok, how big are the gaps here going to be?” I have to say, Egret fits fairly well together. No gaps to talk about, really. As for abilities, she’s DEF 4+ and ARM 1, which you might not expect for someone as Dodgy as she turns out to be. She’s got a 1-cost, Range 6” play that causes 1 damage. That might not seem like too much, but looking over her Character Traits, she gets a 1” Dodge every time she damages an enemy. Also, enemies damaged by her suffer Poison. AND she’s got Jaecar’s “Back to the Shadows” ability. She could very much end up far from where she started her turn.
Then we get to “the big man” of the team, Hearne. He’s on a 40mm base and comes in 2 pieces. Like Egret, I wondered how much of a gap there was going to be since he had his hands on the spear. There is an indent in his side where the spear fits in. But my guy did end up with a bit of a gap in one wrist. For a big guy, he’s Light Footed. And he’s a quick one, too. Once per turn you can pick a forest terrain piece within 4” of him and then place him anywhere within that forest. That’s great with Theron’s ability. Or you can just place a 3’x3’ forest terrain piece on the board. *thumbs up* Hearne also has Theron’s Heroic Play where a friendly model within 6” can cast a 3 or less-cost Play for free.
That covers the Starter Box figures. That leaves the two figures they’re taking pre-orders for now.
The first of those is Chaska. He’s a single piece. Like Jaecar, he has traps he comes with. But instead of one 40mm marker, Chaska has three 30mm ones. So assembling him is just putting the pieces on the base. He can place one of the markers during his activation within 2” of him. If an enemy moves within 1” of them, they become Snared. Chaska’s also Light Footed and has Mud Concealer (which gives him +1 ARM when in Rough Ground). He’s also got a pretty good play called Boom Box that deals 4 Damage and pushes the target 4” directly away. Great for some ground-control. As well as moving enemies within range of traps.
That just leaves Seenah. The bear comes in 3 pieces. The two halves fit together rather well. There was some gaps around the bottom of the neck when the head was placed on, though. But you can’t really see it when the model is on the board. So, I have to say, I tend to pay attention to bear models that come out. Most just don’t look right. They end up looking like bloated dogs or something. Bears have a distinct shape that’s different than dogs. But most models just don’t look right. Seenah, I feel, looks great. It really does look like a miniature bear, as opposed to some sort of overstuffed other creature. Getting to stats, Seenah’s rather straight-forward. Seenah charges for free, does +1 damage against Snared targets, and just does all the damage when they hit. Oh, and you get +1 VP when Seenah causes an enemy model to gain the Taken Out condition. Defensively, Seenah’s got a 2+ DEF and 1 ARM, but they also have Tough Hide, so take -1 damage usually. Seenah’s got 21 HP. So your enemy’s gonna have a bit of a time taking Seenah off the board.
Model-wise, the figures were fairly easy to put together. This is the 3rd team I’ve put together (behind Fishermen, Butchers, and Masons). I feel the figures are better-designed. The first season guys are extremely lithe. And while that might seem good for athletes, it also means a lot of small, soft joints on figures. So before you’ve got to worry about a lot of things bending and breaking. With the Hunters, they seem to be slightly more robust. A small thing to note, though, was I had to clip the tab on just about every 30mm model in order to fit them in the slot on the base. There weren’t a lot of gaps, and they were easy to fill in once I did get out the Green-stuff.
Play-wise, the team is a bit area-control as well as a lot of condition-placement. It’s pretty easy for them to get Snared on much of the enemy team. That can be done either via the various Plays and Traits they have, or via the traps that can be set by Jaecar and Chaska. They’re a fairly fast team with good defense. They’re not Fisherman-levels, but they’re still pretty quick. They don’t have the Kick stat like the Fisherman have. But the Hunters certainly have a lot of beat-stick in their ranks. They might have an issue versus other beat-stick teams, since they don’t have very high Defense (with a couple exceptions) or much in the way of Armor. So smashing headlong into someone like the Butchers might be a bit of a blood-bath.
Personally, I’m going to go with the two trap-makers, Chaska and Jaecar, along with Fahad and Zarola (because Linked is too good an ability to pass up), finishing off with Theron (since you need a team captain) and Seenah (because… bear).
It feels like the guys at Steamforged read up on what sort of models I generally like and then created just that in the Hunter’s Guild. The area-denial via the traps is nice and is a bit like the Alchemists. They’re rather quick and can mostly ignore difficult terrain. And… they’ve got… y’know… a bear.
The Hunter’s Guild Starter Set as well as the two extra players are available to order from the Steamforged webshop. You can also get guild dice, if you want (… which I probably will…).
If you’d like the full stats for the Hunter’s Guild, along with all the other guilds, you can find those on the Steamforged website as well (I love when game companies do that).
Thanks for reading and stay tuned for more team overviews like this in the future.