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Subject: Guild Master - A Kickstarter Preview (Detailed Review) rss

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This review continues my series of detailed reviews that attempt to be part review, part resource for anyone not totally familiar with the game. For this reason I expect readers to skip to the sections that are of most interest.

If you liked the review please thumb the top of the article so others have a better chance of seeing it and I know you stopped by. If you thumb the bottom as well, I consider that a bonus. Thanks for reading.

Summary

Game Type – Euro Game
Play Time: 60-120 minutes
Number of Players: 2-4
Mechanics – Action Programming, Bidding, Dice Rolling, Negotiation
Difficulty – Pick-Up & Play (Can be learned in under 30 minutes)
Components – Very Good
Release – 2019

Designer – Chris Antony (Debut Title)

Overview and Theme

In Guild Master, each player controls the fortune of a single Guild. They must deploy their members, upgrade the Guilds headquarters, hire new Adventurers to the cause and assign them to complete Contracts that will earn both coin and Fame.

The trick is that other Guilds are trying to complete the same objectives and there is only so much time to advance your Guilds fortunes in order to be declared the most successful in the city!

Guild Master is the second big box Kickstarter release by Good Games Publishing, the company behind Unfair. This game shares a similar weight, perhaps being slightly lighter than Unfair in terms of the possibilities on offer, but it is no more or less complex to learn and play and it is quite different in nature.

Grab that Contract will you my dear...we have some work to do by the cover of darkness.

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The Components

I usually include quite a detailed components section, but as this is a Kickstarter Preview, I will not go into quite as much depth. Also keep in mind that any component shots I include here are of pre-production quality.

That said, the game is fairly close to its final look and as allows the publisher already has the game looking great.

The Central Board – The central board consists of 3 main sections. To the left are a pair of tracks, one is the Round Track and the other is the Building Track. The other two sections offer card silhouettes, which are assigned a letter or a number designation. The letters represent the spaces where new Adventurers can be hired and the numbers are where unfulfilled Contracts are placed.

Next to the Adventurer spaces are featured two coin values (per space) and this designates the cost of a card depending on whether the moon is in its crescent or full stage (linked to the Round Track).

The background artwork is really well done, lavishly depicting the insides of a guild headquarters. Around the board can be found the Fame Track, whereby the players can register their growing Fame (VPs).

The board is slightly longer than the one featured in Unfair and of the same width.


Image Courtesy of Alice87


Screens and Player Boards – Each Guild comes with a Guild Screen and an Order Board. The Order Board is designed to sit inside the screen and be hidden (so you can set your Orders in private). It has room for a maximum of 4 Orders and a space for your Coin Tokens too. The screen is functional and also has a pretty good summary of a lot of the games actions, icons and play flow. The screens may get some unique illustrations too but that may be dependent on how well the Kickstarter Project goes...I am unsure at this point.

Cards – There are a lot of cards in the game but it is the Adventurer Cards that really provide the game with its visual bling. The artwork is largely completed for these cards I believe and it gorgeously depicts all many of Adventurers with a variety of skill sets based on the fantasy genre. Those skills are prominently displayed on the left side of each card, a VP gain and rank in the top right and any associated power\benefit at the bottom.

You will see a number of these cards throughout this review.

The Contract Cards are less impressive and serve to be more functional. Each card lists the possible skill checks that can be made to try and complete the errand\quest, any additional benefits are listed at the bottom and a coin and Fame gain in the top right hand corner. Some Contracts also feature Events that are in play immediately once the card is revealed. There may still be some graphical upgrades and small tweaks to these horizontally oriented cards.

The other cards are the Order Cards. This are smaller affairs and each player gets a set of these in their Guild Faction colours and livery. These represent the orders you send your Guilds Adventurers on and therefore consist of letters, numbers and a Build card. I think you might know how these work...but if not I'll fill you in soon.

Tiles and Tokens – The game then offers up a raft of Small and Large Buildings, Prestige Tiles and Coin tokens. The Coin tokens in particular are really nice as the 2 and 5 denominations are shaped and illustrated to depict a pair or a pile of their like value.

Summary – Overall I think the game looks really nice when all out on the table. It takes up a little bit of space, but no more than the average light-medium Euro game.

Set-Up


The set-up of the game consists of two main parts, creating each player's fledgling Guild and then setting up the decks and other possible acquisitions.

First each player needs to choose a colour and take a Screen, Order Board and set of Order Cards in the same colour and faction symbol as their Guild. Each player must then select a group of Novice Heroes to form their initial Guild. These are already pre-set by the game and are featured in the rule book, having been assigned an A to E code. Each player selects one of these groups, which also comes with a Small Building. In relation to how many are playing, the rules suggest which set of A to E cards to use, which I imagine is a balancing issue to help avoid too much initial conflict (in relation to the kinds of Contracts you might pursue). I would suggest that more experienced players do not need to adhere to these pre-set groupings down the track.

Each player will now have a set of 4 Novice Adventurers and each has a set of skills from the 6 used in the game. The Small Building will match the single skill that your starting Guild is most proficient in and it has two sides...with all players needed to select which side they would prefer. One side allows a rolled dice to be changed to a 6 if the Skill Check matches the skill required. The other allows 2 dice to be re-rolled in the same instance I just outlined. Once selected, the tile cannot be flipped and the power is set for the entire game. Each player also starts with 7 Gold. I find it easiest to baggy each of these starting options along with the Gold and the Small Building to speed up the set-up process.

Each player is then dealt 5 Common Contract Cards. Each player must select two of the 5 on offer. One is kept as a Private Contract and the other is added to one of the Contract Spaces on the board (face down). The remaining cards are shuffled back into the Common Contracts Deck and a number are drawn and added to the Contracts section of the board to fill all required spaces (dependent on the number of players).

Now it is time to set up the rest of the game. Each of the Adventurer Decks (Adepts, Heroes and Legends) are shuffled separately and then a number to the required spaces (face-down) until all spaces are filled (piles will form in each space). Once all the cards are in place, each top face-down card at each location is flipped to reveal what is on offer. The players will be looking at a number of Adventurers for hire and a number or Contracts they can try and complete. In relation to Adventurers, there will always be 6 available when playing with 4 players, and 5 when playing with 2 or 3 players.

The Building Token is placed at the bottom of the Build Track (or 1 space from the bottom when playing with two players only) and the Round Token is flipped to the half-moon side and placed at space one on the track.

A pile of coins is placed within easy reach and the Prestige Tiles and Large Building Tiles are also placed on the table so all the players can see them. This should also be done for the Small Building Tiles. It makes sense to make small piles of like tiles in the case of the Large Building Tiles.

The game is ready to get underway. A Start Player is not required as the players will be making decisions largely simultaneously and then executing actions in a set order.

NB – It is important to note that all Adventurers within a Guild reside within a player's hand unless assigned to their Order Board. Regardless of whether an Adventurer Card is on the Order Board or left in hand, any powers provided by those cards are always available in the associated Phase (i.e. they do not have to be part of an Order for their power\ability to be available).

The Play

Guild Master takes place over 9 distinct rounds. Each round requires a Plot Phase, an Order Phase an Action Phase and a Reset Phase.

Before I outline the phases, I need to explain the nature of the Large Buildings and the Round Track.

d10-1 The Large Buildings and the Round Track – The game offers up 3 types of large building. Each player starts with one of each building type at Level 1.

mb Stable – Dictates how many Orders a player can issue each round. Level I only allows 2 orders to be issued each round.

mb Mess Hall – Dictates how many Adventurers can be assigned to a single task (Order) each round. Level 1 only allows 2 Adventurers to be assigned to each Order in a round.

mb Bar – Dictates how much coin a Guild pulls in as a result of serving frothy ales! Level I only earns a player 2 coins per round.

mb Round Track – This track helps to keep track of the 9 rounds that make up the game. In addition the track has 3 distinct features, one on the board itself and 2 provided by the Round Marker.

The Round Marker has two sides, one depicting a crescent moon and the other a full moon. The phase of the moon will change from round to round and Plot Phase abilities are only active in a given phase of the moon. The board also depicts 3 Blood Moons, which do much the same but also have some implications in the Reset Phase.

A good understanding of these 4 elements will help the rest of game explanation make much more sense. So let's take a look at each Phase in their order. Each of these Phases will occur in each round of the game.

d10-2 Plot Phase –
The Plot Phase allows any players with Adventurers to use their Plot Phase abilities...provided the moon phase symbol on their card matches the current phase of the current round. Some Adventurers are more versatile like the fellow on the right. He has a Sun icon, which means his ability is always available. Sometimes these abilities can affect other players and so the players are allowed to negotiate ways to avoid any negative penalties, or to persuade another Guild to use those powers on others. devil

The player with the most Fame at the present time can carry out all such powers they have before the next player on the Fame Track gets to use theirs and so on. It is quite possible for one or more players to not have any usable Plot Phase powers at their disposal. In our experience this round takes 1-2 minutes at the most.

Each player should then declare the amount of Coin Gold they have at their disposal before moving to the Order Phase (this is otherwise hidden behind their screens).

d10-3 Order Phase – This is the first semi-involved phase of the game. Here the players are planning what actions they wish to take and assigning those plans to their Order Board, which is tucked inside their Guild Screen and away from prying eyes.

The Order Boards have room for up to 4 Orders to be issued, however only 2 can be issued at the start of the game due to the restriction of your Level 1 Stable.

Likewise no more than 2 Adventurers can be assigned to a single Order space as per the restriction of your starting Mess Hall. Thankfully you only begin with 4 Adventurers, so they can all be deployed...although you may not always want to due to some of their abilities.

What is important to note here is that all 'Order 1' actions will be executed around the table before Order 2 Actions and so forth. In addition, actions are always executed from the far left of the central board (Build Track) to the far right (Fulfil Contract Action).

I'll go into more detail later but rest assured that the timing of your actions will usually be critically important.

mb Assigning Cards to the Order Board – To reflect the nature of your plans you will allocate a number of Adventurers to the Order locations on your Order Board. Then you must select the Order Action Card that matches your plans and place only 1 at each used Order location. In this way you have outlined which Adventurers you have chosen to carry out your desired actions. Some of the actions will also require Coins and the appropriate amount should be placed on any actions that need funds.

Let's take a closer look at the Actions on offer in the order that they are executed for each Order space :-

d10-4 Build Action – This action allows a player to upgrade the assets of their Guild and to take their Guild in a certain strategic direction.

Players can build Small Buildings (represent added training that your Adventurers can benefit from and these are linked to one of the 6 skills used in the game). These are of the same form as the tile your Guild begins with, but you can chose from one of the other skills you don't yet have to give your Guild more flexibility.

The Large Buildings represent upgrades to your Level I infrastructure and allow you to place more Orders, have more Adventurers take part for a single Order or to earn more income each round.

The final thing that can be built are Prestige Tokens. These represent end off game objectives to earn additional Fame points. So thematically I guess they represent your Guild's strategic direction.

mb The Building Mechanism – Guild Masters has a rather unique way of dealing with the costs of the build action. Each of the 3 elements that can be built\bought depicts a number of hammer and anvil symbols. Each of these symbols costs an amount of coin to acquire using a single Build Order. A player can buy as many icons as they can afford, but for each one bought, the Build Track Token is moved up one space, which is more than likely going to raise the cost for the next Build Icon you wish to buy.

Should you Build before someone else in the same round, you will push the price up and they will be looking at much higher costs than they anticipated...potentially making their Build Action very limited or pointless! angry

When a player selects the Build Order Card they should also assign an amount of Coin that they think will be enough to satisfy their Building plans. A player can elect to allocate more coin than they actually need (in order to cover increased costs of someone else ratcheting up the price) with any coin in excess of what they need being returned to their treasury.

mb Build Limitations – A player can never build more than 1 Large and 1 Small Building using the same Build Action. If a player wishes to acquire a Prestige Tile, they cannot buy anything else for that Build Order.

d10-5 Recruit Adventurers –

This action allows a player to recruit a new Adventurer to their Guild. There will be either 5 or 6 Adventurers on offer each round (depending on the number of players) and a player can only hire an Adventurer from the exact location they selected with their Order Card (A-F).

Each location has a set cost to hire that Adventurer based on whether the moon is in its Crescent or Full Phase. One will be cheaper than the other so it might pay to wait for the low cost moment...of course someone else may hire them before you have the chance if you wait too long. whistle

Adventurers are always hired in turn from locations A-F. Once an Adventurer is hired, any power they have can be used immediately provided that the icon matches the current Moon on the Round Track, or features the Sun icon.

d10-6 Fulfill a Contract – A group of Adventurers assigned to one of the 4-6 Contracts on offer [numbered 1-6] (depending on the number of players) can attempt to complete that Contract by making a Skill Check. Some Contracts have a single Skill that is required to complete it, others offer 2 or more different Skills, allowing the active player to select which skill they will try to complete it with, based on the Adventurers they have assigned to the task.

The game makes use of 6 Skills with an associated icon and colour. What they actually are is not that relevant except to realise the theme of the game a little. But in reality it is the target number that is of the most importance (as well as ensuring you have the right Skill Set to attempt a given Contract).

For the sake of making this review complete, they are; Might, Arcane, Guile, Logic, Charm and Spirit.

How many dice a player gets to roll to try and match or beat the target number is determined by adding up the numbers that each Adventurer has in the selected Skill. Suddenly how and why a player would select certain Adventurers to form a group and give them a certain Order Card is highly evident...you are trying to acquire Adventurers of given Skill Sets and then send them to where they can be most effective.

These 3 Actions are all that your Adventurers can be asked to do.

NB – One thing that is important to note is that when an Adventurer is hired or a Contract is completed, it is not replaced until the end of the round. So what happens if another player was going after the same thing with a later Order? Well...

d10-7 Wander or Attempt a Private Contract – If a group of Adventurers cannot do their planned Order (someone hired the same Adventurer or Completed the same Contract before them) or they no longer wish to (perhaps the cost to Build was increased by too much), the Group can choose to do one of these actions.

Attempting a Private Contract uses the same technique as outlined above, but only a Private Contract held in reserve by a player can be attempted.

Wandering allows the group to make a Skill Check (in their best collective Skill) in order to earn Coins and Fame. 1 Coin and 1 Fame can be earned for each multiple of 10 rolled up as a total. So rolling 20 would earn 2 Coins and 2 Fame. If a total less than 10 is rolled...only 1 Coin is earned but it's still better than nothing.

The Order Phase might take a little time given the options open to the players, how many Orders they can issue and how many Adventurers they have in their Guild but because each player is carrying them out simultaneously it should take no more than 2-5 minutes at most.

d10-8 Action Phase – This is where all the action happens. The players assess each Order 1 Action selected by one another and they identify the order of execution. The same is then done for Orders 2 through to 4 as required.

With each action the required Coins are paid and the needed skill checks are made, with success or failure resulting. If a player fails to complete a Contract because they failed the Skill Check, the card in question remains in play and may be attempted again in the future.

There is one small catch however in relation to Order Execution and that is that rival guilds may be in Conflict for the same action during the same Order. Conflicts must always be resolved...

d10-9 Conflict Resolution – Each of the 3 Main Orders have their own unique way to resolve a Conflict. Again a Conflict only occurs if 2 or more Guilds go after the same action in the same Order position.

mb Build Conflict – If 2 or more Guilds want to Build at the same time they will have to resolve a Skill Check of their choosing featured on the Adventurers assigned to this task. The Guild that rolls the highest result gets to Build first and of course that may jack up the prices for subsequent Guilds taking this action in the round.

Should there be a tie for the highest Skill Check, the Guild that assigned the most Coin gets to act first. ninja

mb Hire Adventurer Conflict – Should 2 or more Guilds want to hire the exact same Adventurer during the same Order position, a Conflict will occur. The Guild that gets to Hire first is the one that assigned the most Coin to the Hire Action. So although a set value is given to each location on this part of the board, it can be wise to pay 'overs' to get the Adventurer you want. In the event of a tie, a Skill Check is required. If you do pay more than required, no 'takesy back-sies', the Coin is lost.

Any Guild that misses out due to a Conflict, can be re-assigned to Wander or attempt a Private Contract.

mb Contract Conflicts – If two or more Guilds attempt to complete the same Contract in the same Order position a Conflict will occur.

This one is far more involved and I won't go into the nuts and bolts of every potential outcome here. Essentially the conflicting parties must negotiate how they would split the rewards and powers bestowed by the Contract. Once a basic agreement is reached, each Guild involved must take a Conflict Resolution Token and decide if they will form an Alliance or elect to Reneg (show the green or the red side). What the players select will determine what happens next.

Essentially the players may agree to work together, in which case they pool their best skill together and make the Skill Check, abiding by the deal if they succeed. If one or both look to turn on the other, they can still attempt to make the Skill Check separately but Conflict Penalties will be incurred to make the roll much harder.

Tell Me About the Moving Parts - What are the Strengths of the Design and is it Fun?

d10-1 Show me the Scarcity! –
In the world of strategy games one of the defining aspects of many (of them) is that the players have limited access to resources with which to further their plans.

In Guild Master there are no resources in the traditional sense, but there is a sense of scarcity...a scarcity of Orders, a scarcity of Skills to complete Contracts and a scarcity of time. You see, Guild Master is really a game of timing, because when it comes to what you can do...it's about doing it before the competition beats you to the punch.

All of that adds up to...

d10-2 Player Interaction – This is no game of multi-player solitaire...what and when you do things will deeply impact the other players. You're just hoping to come out on top.

Having everyone announce their coin totals before the Order Phase is really important because it gives you a gauge on what their options and movements might be. You naturally want to do four different things but you only have the means to do two of them. First you need to prioritise your most pressing needs, assess your resources to do so and then eyeball the rest of the table and work out if they intend to do the same...and if so, are they better placed to do it before you?

The game feels a bit like a group of adventurers sitting around a table in an inn drinking a mug of ail. Someone bursts in to announce that the royal stables are on fire and the guards have left the treasury unguarded to help put it out. Each of the Adventurers are thinking the same thing. They all want to rob the treasury blind but they know if they are seen helping at the stables it would help clear them of any theft and perhaps gain them some royal favour should things go sour in the future. But how to be in two places at once and how to beat this pathetic lot around the table? One eyes a fast escape route by jumping out the window, stealing that horse tied up outside and getting to it. Another knows that a quick run up the stairs will give her access to the closely adjoining roofs of the town and have her at the treasury in minutes. A third considers pinning the mage's hand to the table with their dagger, throwing a few buckets of water on the fire first before skulking off to the treasury...

Ok so it's nothing like that laugh my analogy stinks...well it kinda works. My point is that the setting Orders part of the game is...

d10-3 Full of Tension – There really is a tension that sits in your stomach as you ponder over your options in the Order Phase. As a player you will have access to no less than about 8+ options each turn but you also have to factor in your rivals. Getting beaten to something is always painful...not a disaster...just painful. That's because there are always other great things to go after (next time)...but...it will cost you time! You only have so many Orders to issue in a game of Guild Master (9 x your available Orders...which start out at 2) and to be denied priority number one means a set-back in your plans (at best) or at worst it might require you to alter your plans going forward.

In this respect I regard Guild Masters as being relatively Strategic in nature but it is also tactical at times too. The tension for me is something of a delicious terror. You seriously hope that things go your way and when they do you feel great. When they don't...

d10-4 Tricky Without Being Punishing – This is an aspect of the game that I quite like. Whilst you can be denied your first option sometimes, the game always allows you to do something else in its stead, in the form of a Private Contract or Wandering. Both of these back-up options reward good planning because you will need the right skills to attempt a Private Contract and the more dice you have when Wandering, the higher the likely rewards.

d10-5 Multiple Paths to the Treasury – If you will indulge my analogy from earlier, Guild Master is definitely an open plan town, offering its players multiple pathways to build their Guild from the ground up. Do you boost your Stables first in order to gain more Orders or do you upgrade the Mess Hall to allow more Adventurers to be assigned to a single Order such as Contracts and thus be the first to pursue more valuable tasks (Heroic or Legendary Contracts)? But wait...coin greases the gears of progress so maybe it is your Bar that needs attention to reel in those thirsty ruffians!

Others may give the building game a pass early on and instead look to boost their Guild's number, hiring new Adventurers to their cause, either making their Guild a real specialist or looking to broaden their Skill Set to open up the kinds of Contracts they can pursue.

Finally, you might elect to go after an early Contract or two. The immediate rewards are minimal in coin and Fame, but the other benefits (card powers) to the Guild may open up new options to you in the future.

All the really great games have this quality and Guild Master, I am happy to say, has it too.

d10-6 Opportunity Cost –
This is a real feature of the game. Often is the case that you have to deal with what you don't have as much as enjoying access to what you do (have). Going for one thing over another is always going to cost you...you're just hoping that it costs you less than the rest of the table. devil

d10-7 The Overall Feel – Guild Master feels very much like a race. You want to be the first to acquire Adept Adventurers as they will give you access to Heroes and then to Legends. You want to be the first to gain strong dice across a couple of skills in order to be the first to attempt Heroic Contracts and then the highly lucrative Legendary Contracts.

Then there is the race to build the various Buildings, because Level III of each of the Large Buildings only feature once. Then...then there are the Prestige Tiles...

d10-8 The Sense of Individuality – The game starts off with each of the players on a level playing field but each Guild is already rather unique in the starting skill-sets their Novice Adventurers provide them. That individuality only grows as the game unfolds and the Prestige Tiles are a major way of pushing a player down a given path. These tiles are all unique and they serve as a way to earn end of game Fame. The challenge is that if you get them too early you may show your hand, leave them too late and you may get beaten to the one you are really after. They also take a fair bit of coin to acquire as they need 3 Building Icons to purchase.

d10-9 Squeezing the Most Out of Every Dollar – Coins are tight in a game of Guild Master. The fact that you may have to sometimes assign more coin than you want to when you Build (in case someone gets there first and jacks up the price) means they can't be used elsewhere. The same applies to paying to hire Adventurers. Sure you can pay the price demanded, but sometimes you need to pay a little bit more to get in first should someone else also like the resume on offer.

What the coin scarcity does is to underline the value of an upgraded Bar and whilst many Contracts might only offer a few measly coins...those measly coins could be crucial!

d10-1d10-0 Synergy of Systems – The final point I would like to make here is that what really makes Guild Master work, and elevates it beyond the sum of its parts is the fact the various mechanisms and levers within the machine are all working together and enhancing the meaning and importance of one another. That is good design.

Are There any Major Negatives are Drawbacks?

I don't think there are any major negatives but I can highlight a couple of considerations that should be raised...

d10-1 Samey Over Time – The game does offer up a large number of Contracts and Adventurers for you to peruse and complete\acquire and of course they are largely based around the 6 skills used in the game. That said, quite often the game can come off feeling a little 'samey' as a skill check is still a skill check. Often the only thing that is different from one Contract or another (and some of the Adventurers as well) is the skill that is required. The benefit or ongoing ability may well be largely the same with a different Skill focus.

I understand why that is the case from a design point of view but you will feel like you've seen a fair chunk of the game after 3-5 plays. The game is likely to get some more extra stuff with Stretch Goals before the campaign is over and if it does well I am sure an expansion could also address this issue.

Thankfully Guild Master is not a multi-solitaire experience, because a lack of real variety in cards can be a real killer in that situation. Guild Master I think gets away with this element because it is not like Unfair or Race for the Galaxy, in which you are keen to see the next unique thing, or trying to find something specific you desperately need. This game is driven by its player interaction and the race for what your Guild needs next.

d10-2 Negotiation Can Be a Two-Edged Sword –
Some players love negotiation games and others despise it, seeing it as a hindrance to the play. The negotiation to be found in Guild Master comes in the form of offering a sweetener to a player that is in a position to take\give coin or Fame to or from other players.

Anyone who likes to conjure up creative deals and get under the skin of their opponents will revel in the moments that arise. For those that don't like negotiation I can report that it isn't a massive deal. In our games so far negotiation was only entered into once or twice per game at most (outside of a proposal for a Conflicted Contract). For me this should not be a deal breaker when considering to acquire the game or not.

d10-3 Scaling and the Best Player Count – We all know that some games just work better with a given player count. Guild Master scales well enough in that it alters how many Adventurer and Contract spaces are available based on the number of players around the table. Of course the fewer players you have the less chance there is for Conflicts at given locations. At 2-players there is less chance of Conflicts at the Adventurer and Contract locations but the Build space can still through them up.

For some this will be a blessing, especially for those that don't like their plans being thwarted. For others they may prefer to play at the 3-4 player count. With two, it just seems to heighten the race aspect of the game as the climax looms on the horizon, which is still pleasant enough.

For me the game scales well and I like the fact that you get a slightly different experience based on the number at the table.

d10-4 The Pain of Failing Skill Checks...The Luck of the Dice? – Some gamers really don't like dice rolls getting in the way of their strategy and you can certainly fail your rolls at times. There is also the reality that you will be making or watching quite a few skill checks over the course of the game. Thankfully the rolling is pretty quick and a million modifiers are not at play.

But the good news is that decent players will only be failing 10-20% (numbers underwent no statistical modelling ) of all their rolls and there is a fair degree of control over the fates if you plan carefully, access the right buildings and send the right team of Adventurers on the right missions. We were easily making 80-90% of our rolls in the games we were playing, which might disappoint some of the 'chaos-ball' gamers out there (of which I am one). But trust me, you don't want to be failing too many of your rolls in this game. The few that you do are there to remind you that nothing is certain and that you might not have been patient enough...or that your rolling just sucks!

mbmbmbmbmb

In true Thomson style I present you with four potential drawbacks and then find a silver lining in each of them.

Long story short...None of these overwhelm any of the positives that the game offers. They are there for your consideration is all.

The Final Word

Guild Master is a really solid gaming experience. It's an intuitive design, which allows it to be learned quickly and anything that doesn't make sense from an explanation tends to make sense during the play almost immediately.

Visually the game is nice to look at and with many paths to victory the game has some good re-playability to explore. Guild Master is quite an easy game to pick-up and play, the difficulty is in executing your plans better than anyone else. We found time frames to be around 30 minutes per player and we could probably shave another 5-10 minutes off each game with a bit more experience.

Is Guild Master in my Top 10 designs? No it isn't, but I would happily play this anytime, anywhere and in writing this review I found myself wanting to play it again. That's always a good sign.

'Till next we meet, get your Guild Groove on!

NB – Please note that I did receive a high-quality preview copy of Guild Master from Good Games Publishing for the purpose of writing this review. I hope you have found my work here balanced and unbiased as these are my aims as a Review Writer.

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For those that like the sound of this the Kickstarter Campaign runs...see below!
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Neil Thomson wrote:
For those that like the sound of this one I think the Kickstarter Campaign runs until the 21st of this month.

Thanks for this refreshingly detailed, considered & great review Neil. We are glad you enjoyed Guild Master.

The Guild Master Kickstarter campaign has just funded, is now unlocking stretch goals and runs until Sept 20 in the US and the 21st in Australia.
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