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Made in us
Cabin Zombie






Steamforged has officially announced the game is done. When it sells out, it’s gone. The made the perfect competitive game and this is entirely not their fault.

https://steamforged.com/sfg-news-blog/10-8-2020-announcing-the-end-of-guild-ball

 
   
Made in de
Longtime Dakkanaut




Well, COVID-19 had a big hand in this, but being quite a bit too competitive and overtly obsessed with balance also hurt the game's longevity and starved the game of new blood by the designer's own admission. Not unlike Warmachine, if your game is defined/dominated by the competitive crowd, you're probably in trouble.


Be careful what you wish for. We set out to make the cleanest, most balanced miniatures game you could play at that time. And we achieved this hands down, flat out, nailed it!

Guild Ball truly was a competitive player’s dream. It rewarded player skill and experience, with a very flat probability curve to minimize variance. The competitive scene grew and grew.

But this ended up hurting the lifespan of the game.

Guild Ball became the type of game where you win your first game (demo) and then lose the next 100 games. When matched against a lesser skilled or inexperienced opponent, a better player would simply win the vast majority of games.

As the competitive scene began to dominate, the design space for wilder, more ‘fun’ elements began to shrink. New minis were either ‘OP’ or ‘trash-tier’ the second they were announced. Why take a new model when model XYZ already filled the role?

The style of gameplay changed to low-risk, ultra-conservative play where the ball was often deliberately side-lined.



This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2020/08/10 13:26:30


 
   
Made in us
Cabin Zombie






The problem is they’d stopped doing anything Before Covid hit. And new players couldn’t get into the game because they didn’t have product to sell them. Three quarters of the teams were unavailable for Months. Those captains they said gave them a look at their community? Sold out instantly with scores of people lamenting they weren’t able to get one. New product was constantly delayed for months. They were flat out unable to make as much of the game as people wanted to buy. If they want to believe it’s because they made their game Too perfect, that’s on them I guess.

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2020/08/10 13:27:41


 
   
Made in de
Longtime Dakkanaut




Stocks running out / low towards the end was a symptom of its failure, not its cause.

it's not like this is the first game to fail on the basis of being overtly balanced / tournament-focused to its own detriment and eventual demise.

   
Made in eg
[MOD]
Keeper of the Adeptus Arbites Flame






Cairo, Egypt

That's a shame there were some gorgeous models in there. I hope someone picks up the line for the models alone.

My guess would be it's a case of designers being good at making games but not the business end, out of stock once is a sign of success. But prolonged stock issues means you can't meet demand.

 
   
Made in pl
Dakka Veteran




Everyone loves perfectly balanced skill-based gameplay until they realize they're not as skilled as they thought.
   
Made in us
Longtime Dakkanaut





Personally, I find this news to be rather sad. I didn't play Guild Ball, but I appreciated what it was trying to do and the way it managed to exactly what it wanted with some degree of expertise.

Sunny Side Up wrote:
Not unlike Warmachine, if your game is defined/dominated by the competitive crowd, you're probably in trouble.
I've been saying that for years, and here's another one for the evidence pile. Competitive gamers are, bar none, the absolute most dangerous threat to the healthiness of a game system over a long period of time.

I'd be curious to see what games have lasted the longest and been the healthiest through the years. I'll bet that they are narrative (Necromunda), feature randomness as an equalizer (Blood Bowl), or have frequent rotation/reboots to keep the competitive players in a constant state of flux (Magic, 40k).


Automatically Appended Next Post:
Sunny Side Up wrote:
Stocks running out / low towards the end was a symptom of its failure, not its cause.
Or, it could be that this move has been planned for a while - and that they resisted announcing it while the stock was still high and risk getting stuck with a bunch of models to sell for a dead game.

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2020/08/10 13:43:54


 
   
Made in gb
[DCM]
Decrepit Dakkanaut




UK

I'm not too surprised as the community certainly seemed to be both dwindling and tightening up with those just in it for the occasional fun game falling away meaning a double barrier to entry

and while the switch to selling whole pvc team boxes may have made it easier to manage for stores it certainly cut out buyers who were just in it for the minis to collect/paint as the 'stuff I didn't want' tax was too much (no idea whether this made any real sales dent but I know I've a few of the metal singles, and several of the folk I know who never played do to)

but at least they're officially ending it, rather than just staying silent while selling off their stock behind the scenes

 
   
Made in us
Rampaging Reaver Titan Princeps




As the competitive scene began to dominate, the design space for wilder, more ‘fun’ elements began to shrink. New minis were either ‘OP’ or ‘trash-tier’ the second they were announced. Why take a new model when model XYZ already filled the role?

The style of gameplay changed to low-risk, ultra-conservative play where the ball was often deliberately side-lined.


This does not sound like the kind of game where the devs 'nailed' game balance. In fact, that seems like a ridiculous claim to make in the face of all releases being either must have or trash tier, and the gameplay warping to such a degree.


Traidionally, though, that's where second and revised editions come in. Why are they throwing in the towel rather than trying to improve the game?

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2020/08/10 13:53:41


Efficiency is the highest virtue. 
   
Made in de
Longtime Dakkanaut




Cronch wrote:
Everyone loves perfectly balanced skill-based gameplay until they realize they're not as skilled as they thought.


Yes and no.

As those games age (without shake-ups, power-creep, edition re-boots, etc..), the backlog of stuff you need to learn before being competitively good simply grows.

It doesn't mean that there aren't people who enjoy that. New chess grand masters do appear every so often, and many more attempt (and fail) at being highly competitive chess players.

But it's a very, very, very steep mountain to climb and usually takes a) starting at a very young age, b) being insanely talented, c) decades of practice and probably d) all of the above.

Miniature games, for many people, scratch a different itch. And while everyone likes "winning", having the "meta" be levelled every few years and allowing people (who just want this to be their hobby, not a more-or-less-full-time-profession/obsession) to come in at the ground floor over and over and over again helps a lot.

   
Made in gb
The Daemon Possessing Fulgrim's Body





Devon, UK

The stock issues have not been "planned for a while." Large swathes of the range have for what feels like the majority of my involvement with the game been out of stock.

There were production delays, inadequate quality requiring replacements, inadequate quality requiring a complete abandonment of a manufacturer and starting over with another one. A total fire sale of one medium meaning that the stock vanished literally overnight when the replacement medium was months away from being ready.

That's just the stock issues. Let alone the lack of communication, lack of follow through, launching a community playtest event after lockdown was instigated and the employees they didn't let go after dangling on the string for months were on furlough.

The list is long, and it doesn't confine itself solely to GB. SFG appear to have systemic issues which will continue to hurt them until they're solved.

We find comfort among those who agree with us - growth among those who don't. - Frank Howard Clark

The wise man doubts often, and changes his mind; the fool is obstinate, and doubts not; he knows all things but his own ignorance.

The correct statement of individual rights is that everyone has the right to an opinion, but crucially, that opinion can be roundly ignored and even made fun of, particularly if it is demonstrably nonsense!” Professor Brian Cox

Ask me about
Barnstaple Slayers Club 
   
Made in gb
Dakka Veteran




Second the stock problem. Originally the game was metals and options for fancy resin. Stock was ok, even in the initial growth phase as the manufacturing was in the UK & EU. But metal costs, and a move to plastics made sense but only if the supply chain could be managed. That was an epic failure it seems that was never resolved
   
Made in gb
Regular Dakkanaut







The Game being too competitive is a terrible excuse... Infinity and Malifaux are doing just fine and are very much those kinds of games (I'm sure they will be doing even better now with ex GB players looking for a new home.) Is it hard to balance well a game that's played that seriously? Heck yeah it is , that's why it needs the right kind of people constantly passionately working hard on it.

Truth of the matter is, these kind of games are still unfortunately quite niche and just are not as profitable as the well known popular IP board games full to the brim with minis, that easier to play, that they are now pumping out. With little to no financial risk using the kickstarter model too. They are just chasing the money now, going for more mainstream appeal and sadly quality often goes down the toilet in doing so.

It's a real shame, because it really is one of the best miniature skirmish games created in recent years. Maybe there is hope someone else buys the IP from them, but its doubtful.
   
Made in fi
Decrepit Dakkanaut





Sunny Side Up wrote:
Cronch wrote:
Everyone loves perfectly balanced skill-based gameplay until they realize they're not as skilled as they thought.


Yes and no.

As those games age (without shake-ups, power-creep, edition re-boots, etc..), the backlog of stuff you need to learn before being competitively good simply grows.

It doesn't mean that there aren't people who enjoy that. New chess grand masters do appear every so often, and many more attempt (and fail) at being highly competitive chess players.

But it's a very, very, very steep mountain to climb and usually takes a) starting at a very young age, b) being insanely talented, c) decades of practice and probably d) all of the above.

Miniature games, for many people, scratch a different itch. And while everyone likes "winning", having the "meta" be levelled every few years and allowing people (who just want this to be their hobby, not a more-or-less-full-time-profession/obsession) to come in at the ground floor over and over and over again helps a lot.



And there's simple resources. Not everybody can play enough games to learn every trick. Using warmachine as example as that's where i ran into it. That time 4 machine factions, 4 horde faction. Each has whole bunch of casters each affecting force significantly. Now even if you learn it perfectly in one game how many games you need to learn all? Then if you get 1 game a week and maybe odd tournament here and there? That's my 40k and aos schedule. Tricky to learn all the combos.

After 2 years in wm i still had tons of games i was introduced to new comboes i had never heard nearly every game

12 factions for Lord of The Rings
4663
11772 pts(along with lots of unpainted unsorted stuff)
5265 pts
5150 pts
~3200 pts Knights

 
   
Made in ca
[MOD]
Dankhold Troggoth






Shadeglass Maze

I jumped ship a long time ago, as I really dislike how Steamforged approaches their properties.

I think the lack of admission of any fault in this statement is also pretty damming, imo. If it was the perfect game, it would survive. If it's struggling so much you pull the plug after 6 years, there are issues. Blaming competitive play instead of fixing their ruleset is just even more baffling.

Steamforged is very much moving into the CMON model of big boxed games that are released as self contained things, then moving onto the next big project. It's a successful model, but not one I want anything to do with for miniatures games (as opposed to more true board games) personally.

This message was edited 3 times. Last update was at 2020/08/10 14:28:22


 
   
Made in gb
Dipping With Wood Stain





Honestly surprised this didn't happen sooner, the huge mess they made of switching the range to resin can't have been good for business.

Plus, they really seem to have hit something of a wall designing the Minor Guilds. I can't speak for how they play, but sculpt-wise they've all been pretty uninspired apart from the Ratchatchers.

   
Made in us
Rogue Daemonhunter fueled by Chaos






Macon, GA

I think there are two main forces here, and whiel I'm sure both impacted the decision to end the game eventually, I think one really explains the swiftness of the decisions.

First, I think that game designers are realizing that there is a finite amount of options you can include in a competitive game that will see play. You see it in Magic, Warmachine, and you see it in guild ball. magic continues to pump new cards into the game, but it both has multiple play styles (draft, commander, sealed deck) that favor different cards, and it's ruthless in pushing older cards out of play, either by rule or simply because they suck. I really don't think you can continually expland minis games without cycling out old options, both from a game play and store stocking persepctive. But... players wnat to use models they own and painted! It's a conundrum. I think this, plus the success of their other games, was why GB had a shelf life.

But... I doubt that's what they pulled the plug now. First off, a hard deadline like September first rings of some sort of legal requirement. Either they have a sales agreement, or they want the whole thing off the books by a certain date. I'm guessing as a company that still runs kickstarters, cashflow is a concern, and with a supply chain crunch and covid, tossing in the towel might make sense.


My Painted Armies
: Co. B, 37th Praetorian IG: 21,000pts
KOW Ogres: 4500 points
Loyalist Emperor's Children: 2500 points 
   
Made in gb
Executing Exarch





Well thats a big sack of gak

Guildball is my favourite game, never really felt the steep learning curve but that might be due to everyone at my club more or less starting around the same time, cant deny i was gotcha'd a few times but equally i did some gotcha myself

Sad to see it end but playing a 'finished' game may be interesting

also means I wont ever get the minor guild for my beloved Alchemists, boo with fire and poison on top

"AND YET YOU ACT AS IF THERE IS SOME IDEAL ORDER IN THE WORLD, AS IF THERE IS SOME...SOME RIGHTNESS IN THE UNIVERSE BY WHICH IT MAY BE JUDGED." 
   
Made in gb
Beast of Nurgle





When Guild Ball first launched I was a big fan. I loved the resin models being a hobbyist and I truly felt like Guild Ball was a game going places however it didn't take long for the wheels to fall off. The move to PVC was killer for me and Steamforged seemed more interested in the Kickstarter model using Videogame IP's to cash in.

40K - Chaos Space Marines, Death Guard, Genestealer Cult, Iron Hands

AoS - Blades of Khorne, Kharadron Overlords, Lumineth, Nighthaunt, Ossiarch Bonereapers, Stormcast Eternals, Sylvaneth



 
   
Made in us
Longtime Dakkanaut




South New Jersey

I really enjoyed Guild Ball back in the early years and played a ton in Seasons 1 and 2. Unfortunately it was a game that demanded all of your time and attention, and I'm too much of a hobby butterfly to commit like that.

I think this has less to do with the game's competitive focus and more with Steamforged never being able to get over the growing pains that Guild Ball's explosive popularity gave them. Poor reception of the Dark Souls kickstarter, and chasing other IPs for kickstarter, probably didn't help either.

Also, I wonder if this puts a dent in the enthusiasm for Godtear. That just came out, so does it also have until the mid-2020s until Steamforged moves on from that as well?

   
Made in se
Regular Dakkanaut




Sweden

Well, that's disappointing, but at least this is a better way of handling the death of a game than Dark Age got - total radio silence leaving the audience in limbo.
   
Made in us
[DCM]
Longtime Dakkanaut





I never played it but it really seams like all argumenets being made are correct.

It came out and burned quite brightly having lots of the ex-warmahords players going to it. For the first year or two all I heard was how great the balance and game play was.

But balance and gameplay don't pay the bills and new stuff needs to be created and sold. The more you add the less and less clean the balance and game play was.

Also the hyper competitive people figured out the best way to play wasn't to play the way intended (which is a soccer game) which took the fun out of it for the designers.

At the same time it's impossible to ignore how miss managed the switch to plastic was for them and that it really marked the decline of the game. Even when they went back to resins you never saw anything online. Boardgame KSers and D&D minis were the focus of Steamforge and you could tell. The designers and the company really seamed to loose interested in the property 2-3 years ago which is a shame as I think other games in the world could have done well.

Some other general thoughts:

Was Guildball the first game to do the season concept with new cards/pack every years? Seams like they were .

Those pointing out other games are competitive and that it's a poor excuse. While I never played this I did play warmahords years ago and Infinity until maybe two years ago and went to tournaments (like LVO). I've never seen infinity as hyper competitive as Warmahords. At least when I played good infinity players didn't mind taking odd army builds against bad players to even thing out and help point out what someone should be doing.

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2020/08/10 15:12:34


 
   
Made in us
Cabin Zombie






 Mangod wrote:
Well, that's disappointing, but at least this is a better way of handling the death of a game than Dark Age got - total radio silence leaving the audience in limbo.


Well, they’ve been radio silent for a couple few months now. Left GB out of their keynote speech but said it would get its own in the coming weeks. Over the weekend one of the lead people was in the GB Discord telling people the future of the game was fine and to just wait for the announcement.

 
   
Made in us
Longtime Dakkanaut





Part of the problem was the game was never really as well balanced as they claimed. It may have been an incredibly skill based game, but at competitive events you'd always see one team making up 3 of the top 4 with no real competitive diversity. Part of that was the way certain skill elements worked created some absolutely binary encounters. If you played a team with little 2" melee range you might as well not play.

Ultimately though, its the stocking issues that killed it. The PVC teams had none of the flair that made the metals stand out and ultimately felt like a proof of concept to start making board game minis. The drop in quality was staggering, IMO, but even that wouldn't have mattered if you could in any way buy teams. My FLGS actually opened featuring the game heavily and almost immediately got hit with the inability to carry.... anything really. I've never seen a line so thoroughly abandoned while releasing new product.
   
Made in us
[DCM]
Longtime Dakkanaut





 AduroT wrote:
 Mangod wrote:
Well, that's disappointing, but at least this is a better way of handling the death of a game than Dark Age got - total radio silence leaving the audience in limbo.


Well, they’ve been radio silent for a couple few months now. Left GB out of their keynote speech but said it would get its own in the coming weeks. Over the weekend one of the lead people was in the GB Discord telling people the future of the game was fine and to just wait for the announcement.


Hard to tell if that was just standard cooperate PR or of this decision was only just recently made. I really doubt this game ever had a intended lifespan of only a few years but even if it did they may have been, up util this weekend, still planning on finishing the line before ending it (which does sound very odd for a tabletop game which are known to be abandoned quite quickly once support is over by 95% of all the playerbase).
   
Made in gb
Dakka Veteran





Oxfordshire

Ah, it was fun. Had some good times with this but it isn't a surprise. I dropped out of the lawyers last year and I'd assumed it was just me needing a breather. Turns out lots of people were feeling the same. Sadly I can't justify the expense to pick up the last few teams to complete the set - Morticians seem to be out of stock everywhere already anyway.
   
Made in ca
Tormentor






St. Louis

Always wanted to try it, but could never find a starter for one of the guilds I liked that wasn't horrifyingly expensive on eBay.
   
Made in us
[DCM]
Longtime Dakkanaut





Read through the Facebook comments for the fun of it.

Lots of the competitive people are upset at being blamed. Saying you're suppose to win in a game -- don't blame us. I kind of agree with that. If you focus your game to attract that group then it's more your fault then theirs.

On person calling them Spartan Games 2.0 (ouch).

Lots of people calling out what everyone here is. Stock and price issues (as in almost doubling the cost of figures).

And like one or two people saying if Steamforge doesn't want to make the game anymore, which has been evident for years it looks like, they shouldn't and move on. Which I also agree on.
   
Made in us
Longtime Dakkanaut





Matt and Rich definitely lost interest about a year or two in. Pretty much from the point where it was apparently that the first draft wasn't as perfectly balanced as they thought, and the game got stuck trying to figure out what to do about Morticians, Alchemists, and Union.
   
Made in us
[DCM]
Longtime Dakkanaut





How are their other games?

I know Darksouls really got crapped on, though there are some reviewers that liked it, but I haven't heard much about anything else they've released since rules/gameplay wise.

Do they actually tend to make pretty decent games are people just buying stuff for the minis?
   
 
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