Miniatures games sure look cool don’t they? Clusters of nicely painted miniatures battling it out across richly detailed terrain fill many FLGS and always tempt me. I’ve dabbled with a few though I find it frustratingly difficult to get into them. Starter sets–if they exist–are expensive and offer only a taste of the game. Getting into a miniature game requires quite a bit of money, time spent assembling miniatures and terrain, and a friend to do the same with another faction. Even if you do enjoy the game there’s likely additional purchases to be made to flesh out a team and get the tokens and doo-dads you need to play; it’s frustrating. Well, get ready to play because Guild Ball: Kick Off! takes care of all of that.
I wrote recently about why Guild Ball is so much fun to play. Now I get to talk about why it’s so easy to start playing. Kick Off is the first 2p miniature starter set I’ve seen that is designed to get you up and playing immediately. Two full teams are included, preassembled and in contrasting colors. Every token you need to track statuses and effects are right there in the box. It even includes a full set of movement widgets and templates, something I bought separately after getting into Guild Ball last year.
I mean…look at all this stuff.
That’s a full color double sided playing surface, tokens, templates, miniatures for two tournament legal teams, health dials, terrain templates, and all the dice you need to begin smashing your way down the bloody pitch. All of this for about the price of a board game. That’s the biggest thing that stood out to me. I’m primarily a board gamer and it’s clear that this box is inspired by the board game side of the hobby. I’m used to opening the box and having everything I need to start playing immediately. Now I can do that with a miniatures game.
They also don’t throw you to the wolves (or angry Brewers, as it were). Miniatures games are tactically difficult to set up and play. Movement is free-form, influence allocation is tough to wrap your head around, and there are a lot of decisions to make during the set-up. Kick Off helps you out there as well. Provided in the game is a “First Round Walkthrough”. It gives you an opening set up and influence allocation and walks you through the entire first round. While some of the decisions aren’t decisions you’d make with a little experience, it does an excellent job of showing you why you would do things in addition to what you might want to do.
Brick, the Mason bruiser, is often set up with no influence allocated to him whatsoever. This can feel wrong to a new player so the opening round shows you what he’s capable of and why he needs to be respected no matter where he is on the field. The Brewers excel at crowding a player and smashing them into the ground, using a few quick-footed models to dance around the goal or stab opportunistically. Again, the first round gives you the opportunity to explore their Poisoned Knives and nimble feline mascot Scum, while still lobbing explosive barrels around the board. By the time you end the first round with the Mason’s up 4-0 but the Brewers poised to smash some shins in Round Two, you’re comfortable enough to make decent strategic decisions and not flounder around the pitch like a 2nd grade soccer team.
And when you’re ready to leave your table and head to a local Guild Ball event? You’ve got everything you need. There are more miniatures available for both of these guilds, but what you’ve got in this box is a legal team for organized play or tournaments. The terrain may not be 3D but again, it’s sized appropriately and perfect for a full game. It’s almost unfair to call it a starter set…it’s just a set.
There are no perfect games, but there are perfect products. Kick Off! is the new gold standard when it comes to miniature game boxed sets. If you’re looking to get into Guild Ball or interested in trying out a miniatures game, this is the way to do it.
Featured Image Credits: Rafael Cordero
Image Credits: Rafael Cordero
In addition to Geek & Sundry, Raf Cordero writes for Miniature Market’s The Review Corner and co-hosts the gaming podcast Ding & Dent. Chat with him on Twitter @captainraffi.