Gaming on a budget – The Challenge (Part 1)

Some time ago I reviewed Tabletop Gaming’s first issue of its magazine and whilst discussing this review with Hairy Gamer Tris we decided that an article about gaming on a budget would be a great idea.  Tabletop Gaming hadn’t done it so we resolved to set a budget and start a new project.

I had also spoken to some old LARPer friends of mine Andy Bridgwater and Andy Thomas who had just invested in Guildball from Steamforged Games.  This game appealed to me because it was a low fantasy american football style game.  It was to Fantasy Football as Game of Thrones is to Fantasy Fiction….no Elves, no Dwarves, no Orcs or Goblins.  It also fit quite nicely with my project to game on a budget as it wouldnt take a huge investment to get involved.  With all this in mind I asked around on the Guild Ball Supporters (Gu.B.S) page on Facebook ( and spoke to the Andy’s and took advice from Alex Cairns who all affirmed my belief that it might be the project I was looking for.

Andy Thomas was kind enough to write a review to give me some idea what it was all about:-

So it’s Sunday, I’m sitting at a table and looking back is my best mate and we are about to kick the living bejesus out of each other!

I’ll explain… At the UK Expo we met up with the creators of a fantasy football game called Guildball and we liked what we saw. I really wanted Dreadball but when we asked for a demo… Mantis weren’t keen so we decided to go back and chat a little further… £60 each later and 4 of us now have full teams and a rule book.

Forward wind to our first game, a 3 on 3 between the Brewers guild and my Butchers! I’m having a strange feeling like I’ve been here before and it’s awesome, but ask me what the something is… I have no idea. I’ve read the rules to death and been mostly confused, tried to learn what my players can do and chosen the three that I’m sure can get me to the 6 victories points I need for a win! At this point I’m still confused how stuff works but armed with my rule book and cheat sheets… I’m ready as I will ever be! 6 points later, I’ve put his leader off the board and his quick player off twice and it’s taken around 30 minutes of non stop action where neither of us had to watch the other move 11 players, resolve 11 actions…fall asleep.

The rules I thought were complicated are actually streamlined and easy to follow, allowing the game to flow like a game should. Because of the turn system where 1 player activates a model then it switches to player 2, you never feel like you are in downtime and for someone with the attention span of a gnat, this rocks!

The players I chose had abilities that complimented each other and by knowing what each could do and how that can buff my other guys or rebuff the opposition I had a range of interesting plays I could bring to the table. Again, my non existent attention span is pleased that it has lots to do but at the same time not get overwhelmed. Then it hit me… That feeling I had been here before, I recognise it as the first time I played Bloodbowl. That little child inside me who loves the idea of fantasy football but doesn’t have 2 hours to play a game just got the cake and ate it.

That cake is called Guildball and if you love Bloodbowl or Dungeonbowl, there’s a new cake you should buy and eat…. It’s called Guildball”

images  download

Well anyone who knows me knows that I LOVE Blood Bowl and have done since it was first released by Games Workshop many many years ago.  I have complete and untouched copies of 1st Ed, 2nd and 3rd ed plus multiple teams.  I also all love all things contact sports.  This sounded just like the game for me.  Having spent many years playing Blood Bowl and primarily the Humans, Skaven and Elf teams I knew I’d favour a team that were fast and agile and quick to score.  I’m not so much of a bash’em’up sort and like flair and speed.  Reading some reviews online and the article in Tabletop Gaming it sounded like the Fishermens Guild would be the guys for me.  So it would be my “gaming on a budget” project.

Fishermen Guild

Fishermen Guild

Having made the decision I went to my FLGS in Coventry to grab a Starter set.  When I enquired the store volunteer hadn’t ever heard of the game and had no idea what I was talking about, which left me rather at a loss.  I would have to go online to try and find what I was looking for.  I try to support my FLGS whenever I can but on this occasion the Internet would need to come to my rescue.  I asked the members of the Gu.B.S. group on Facebook about where was best to buy from and the general concensus seemed to be Element Games, based in Stockport and the same building as Steamforged Games:-

Looking at the website I had a budget of £30 a month which I would need to buy at least a Starter set.  So I picked up:-

Fishermens Starter Set Season 1 (Shark, Siren & Angel) – £19.76

Fishermans Guild Starter Set.

Fishermans Guild Starter Set.

Shark, Angel & Siren.

Shark, Angel & Siren.

Kraken – £12.10



Total – £31.86

I was a little over my original intended budget but I figured I could recoup this next month by spending less.  Once shipping of £2.95 was factored in then I was at a total of £34.81.

For a similar price I could invest in many similar skirmish level games that I had considered in the past such as Judge Dredd by Warlord Games, Batman by Knight Models, a new Corporation for Warzone Resurrection (I already have Cybertronic, Imperial and Mishima) by PRODOS Games Ltd.  I was happy with my final choice.  Now all that remains is for the postie to drop a box of goodies from Element Games through my letter box and for me to get them assembled and painted ready to bring some fishy hurt to the Andys (Thomas and Bridgwater), Pam aka Mrs Andy B and Jason W who had all invested at UK Games Expo.

I should only ever need 7 models to play the Fishermens Guild and once my package arrives I will have 4 of those so I’m a happy, little, lazy painting, budget gamer!

Im now off to download the free Rules PDF so I can read up before my team arrives.  That was another selling point.  Whilst I like a glossy shiny looking rulebook on the shelf in the Mancave the fact that I can get free rules and put off that purchase for another month was a huge advantage for me.

I can also go onto the Guildball Forums to pick up tactics and general Guildball advice.  Here is a link:-

Thats about all for now.  Thanks to the Gu.B.S guys on Facebook, Alex Cairns, Andy B & Andy T for the inspiration and ideas.


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