Organised play rules

Regional Cup
Organised Play Rules

Last updated by the Guild Ball Community Project on 26 October 2020

Preamble

The Tournament Organizer (T.O.) always has the final word on Rules, Proxies, and any other disputes during the event.

We encourage every T.O. to use The Longshanks to run their event. This will allow it to run as smoothly as possible. You can also find many useful tools there, including a pitch generator, the latest cards and rules documents, and a dice calculator.

Events are not limited to a single day and may stretch over multiple days. If the players in the event agree events may span weeks or months.

Online events

Events of the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic have made it clear that playing in person may not always be an option. Events may be run in an online setting using the rules in this document. Two prominent platforms are the Vassal engine or Wartable. Big shoutout to everyone involved in these two projects!

Regional Cup format

The Regional Cup format is the standard format used for most Guild Ball events. It uses the following modifications to the Core Rules in the Guild Ball Season 4 Rulebook.

Tournament length

Regional Cup Tournaments (including National and World Championships) run until one Player has more Tournament Points than any other Player at the end of a round, or the maximum number of pre-determined rounds has been played, whichever comes first. Please use the table below to determine how many rounds are usually required to determine a winner:

Number of players Rounds
8 or fewer 3-round event
9 to 16 4-round event
17 to 32 5-round event
33 to 64 6-round event
65 to 128 7-round event

Roster size

To create a roster, a Player first chooses a Guild and then selects up to 12 models that may play for that Guild. This roster must consist of 1-2 Captain models, 1-2 Mascot models, and 4-10 Squaddie models that play for the selected Guild. If the chosen Guild is Blacksmiths this roster must instead consist of 3-9 Master models and 3-9 Apprentice models.Players may select both an original and a Veteran version of a single named model in their 12 model rosters. If a player is playing a Guild other than Union, they may not include any Union models in their roster.

Tournament pre-match sequence

Please note that the following steps supersede the standard Pre-Match sequence as defined in the rulebook and are specific to tournament play.

  1. Discuss and agree on the type and placement of terrain features on the Pitch. If either player is unhappy with these, they may contact a Judge or T.O. to examine the Pitch. The Judge will decide to alter the pitch or leave it as is.
  2. Swap hard copies of team rosters and set the chess clocks to 45 minutes for each player.
  3. Deal seven Game Plan cards to each player, face down. A player who is playing a Minor Guild is instead dealt eight Game Plan cards. Each player discards two, face down. All Game Plan cards are kept secret.
  4. Roll 1d6 with the highest number choosing to be either the Kicking or Receiving player. A player who is playing a Minor Guild gains +1 to this roll.
  5. In secret, both players select 1 Captain model and 1 Mascot model for use in the match. Blacksmith players instead select 1 Master model and 1 Apprentice model. Then both players simultaneously reveal their 2 selected models and any revealed Master models gain +0/+2 INF and the Captain model type for the duration of the game.
  6. Select the remaining models for the game using the following steps:
    1. The Receiving player selects a Squaddie model from their roster to be in the match and places the model's card on the Pitch.
    2. The Kicking player selects a Squaddie model from their roster to be in the match and place the model's card on the Pitch.
    These steps are repeated until both players have 6 models on the table selected for the match. Only one version of a single named model may be selected for each team.
  7. The Kicking player chooses a deployment zone, deploys their team & designates one model to be the kicker.
  8. The Receiving player deploys their team taking the opposite edge of the Pitch.
  9. The Kicking player performs a kick-off action.
  10. The Kicking player gains 1 MP. The Receiving player then starts the chess clock and performs their Maintenance Phase (allocates Influence). From this point onward the active player must have their chess clock running.
  11. The Kicking player performs their Maintenance Phase (allocates Influence).
  12. The Receiving player takes their first activation.
  13. Follow the Normal Turn Sequence as outlined in the Guild Ball rulebook.

Player responsibilities

Players are responsible for bringing their own "models" (see below), stat cards, dice, measuring devices, markers, tokens, and templates required for play. It is a player's responsibility to mark in-game effects with the appropriate token or template. If a token or template is not present in the event of a dispute, the effect is not present. In Guild Ball Tournaments, all tokens, including Influence, must be clearly marked and placed on the Pitch next to the relevant model.

Players are allowed to use the Guild Ball Manager app on a tablet or smartphone to mark damage without their opponent's permission. If a Player wishes to use a different app to track damage, they must ask for their opponent's permission. If permission is not granted, then physical cards or Guild Ball Manager must be used. While using Guild Ball Manager, if one or more Players loses connection to the game, then the chess clock should be paused while the connection is re-established.

If one Player's device loses power, then the other device should be used to continue to track damage, or the current health of models can be transferred onto cards. If only one Player is using an app to track damage, and their device loses power and loses track of all current marked damage, that player immediately loses the game.

It is the responsibility for any player using the app to make sure their device is charged and they have sufficient power available. We believe that the following situation should almost never occur, but we must account for it just in case it does. In the exceptionally rare event that both Players are using an app and both devices lose power and lose track of all current marked damage, then both Players should roll a die, rerolling ties. The Player who rolls highest wins the game.

If a player wishes to use an app other than Guild Ball Manager to track damage and/or keep score, they must ask for their opponent's permission. If permission is not granted, then physical cards or Guild Ball Manager must be used.

Modelling & painting

Miniatures to play the game may come from any manufacturer. Players are allowed to use proxy models. Models must be fitted to the correctly sized base for the represented model. Players may use paper cut outs so long as they are fitted to the correct size base.

If you are not using official models or have heavy conversions, you must make models clearly identifiable by having the original model name clearly visible or by having a perfect aesthetics match. As a rule of thumb, the T.O./Judge must be able to immediately identify your model.

It is perfectly fine to play with models at various stages of painting. However, we encourage Players to field a fully painted team, games with painted teams are more interesting to watch and generally enhance the experience for all.

As the community explores alternate sources for models this document will contain a list of good replacements and proxies. This list will not be exhaustive and at all times the T.O. has final say on models used.

We encourage players to exercise their imaginations and painting skills! A Guild Ball Goal can take a wide variety of forms; from an old archery butt to a head on a post, we would like to see our community at its most inventive. However, we recognize that not everyone has the time or the talent to model their own goal and therefore goal-posts may be represented with a 50mm token or base.

Sportsmanship

A fair and honest in-game environment is required in order for everyone to have fun. Players must accurately execute the rules of the game and fully cooperate with opponents to honestly answer any questions that arise before and during the game. Players are also responsible for holding their opponents to the same standards.

Sometimes at a tournament the pre-weekend rush means we forget to bring the simplest of things. From dice to templates, tape measures to tokens, we would encourage the community to help out its forgetful (or disorganised!) members and share resources with opponents who may have inadvertently left their tools behind.

Models may sometimes be moved accidentally during the normal course of the game. This may occur if a model is hit by dice or otherwise knocked. A small margin of error may be allowed in the repositioning of models in these situations so that the pace of the game is not unnecessarily affected. Players should not abuse this margin of error, and they must use the tools required for the game to be as accurate as possible. Using excessive force when placing components to intentionally move other components is expressly forbidden. In the event of a dispute, the Head Judge has the final authority on ruling and will be encouraged to rule against the offending Player.

Players should be polite and courteous to their opponents, the T.O., and all Judges. If Players cannot hold themselves to these standards, the Head Judge may decide that they immediately forfeit their current game or are disqualified. The Head Judge may also disqualify any Player from the event for any behaviour which is inappropriate, such as bullying, abusive language, constant rules arguments, or cheating. Disqualified Players are not eligible for any awards or prizes and may not participate further in the event.

While Guild ball is a highly competitive game, the purpose of any hobby is to have fun. It should be all players' objective to make sure both they and their opponent enjoy their experience.

Use of Timing Devices

Each round of a Guild Ball tournament has a set length, at the end of which 'Dice Down' is called and play for that round stops.

Chess clocks are used in Guild Ball tournaments. At the start of each game, chess clocks should be set to 45 minutes per Player. Clocked out Players receive an additional 5 minutes on their chess clock. Round Length is 110 minutes in total, of which around 20 minutes is allocated for Admin/Clocked Out time. At the end of this Round Length, 'Dice Down' is called and play for that round stops.

The active Player MUST have their clock running at all points, except where noted below. Once they have completed what they're doing they must 'flip' the clock over to the opponent's timer.

The clock may be paused at the Players' discretion to resolve rules queries. Excessive pausing of the clock will be considered time wasting by the judges and may be penalised.

In order to ensure timing in tournament games is fair and reasonable, at the end of the Activation Phase the clock is immediately paused. Both Players resolve the End Phase and select Game Plans. Once Game Plans are revealed and which team has initiative for this turn is decided, the clock is then restarted. Players will then, in Player order, resolve any immediate effects of their Game Plans. Then Players resolve their Maintenance Phase, as described by 'The Normal Turn Sequence' section of the Season 4 Rulebook.

Clocking out

If a Player's clock reaches 0:00 that Player is immediately clocked out. The Player then receives an additional 5 minutes of time on their clock and the game continues as normal. Each time a Player who is clocked out ends an activation their opponent is awarded 1 VP. If a Player's clock reaches 0:00 after the additional 5 minutes, that Player immediately loses the game regardless of the current game state.

Please note the precise order in which VP are earned in tournament Guild Ball. If a clocked out Player scores a goal and the VP gain takes them to or beyond the win conditions for the match, the game ends immediately, BEFORE their opponent is awarded the usual 1 VP at the end of their activation. If they have not yet met the win condition, their opponent receives 1 VP and the game continues.

Example 1

Jamie has 10 VP and his opponent Dave has 8 VP. Dave clocks out during his activation and goes into the additional 5 minutes of time. At the end of this activation, Jamie is awarded 1 VP. The score is now 11 VP to 8 VP. Dave has used 30 seconds of his additional time. Jamie does not score any VP in his next activation, but still has time remaining on his chess clock.

Dave scores a goal during his next activation, but spends 4 minutes to do it, leaving 30 seconds of additional time remaining on his clock. Dave receives the 4 VP for scoring a goal BEFORE his activation ends. The score is now 11 VP to 12 VP. Dave has met the win condition for the game and the game ends. Jamie does NOT receive 1 VP, as the game ends before the end of Dave's activation.

Example 2

Sarah and Max are playing a game and each have 8 VP. Max clocks out in the Maintenance Phase and gains 5 additional minutes of time. When he flips the clock, Sarah does NOT receive 1 VP since Max has not ended an activation. In her activation, Sarah declares an attack on one of Max's models. Max declares a Counter Attack. After the attack is resolved, Sarah flips the clock to Max, who resolves the Counter Attack with his clock running. When Max flips the clock back to Sarah after the Counter Attack is resolved, Sarah does NOT receive 1 VP since Max has not ended an activation.

During his next activation, Max spends a lot of his time, but manages to take out one of Sarah's models, putting him in the lead with 10 VP. Max flips the clock to Sarah, who gains 1 VP at the end of the activation, making the score 10 VP to 9 VP. Sarah then advances with a model during her activation. Max declares a Counter Charge at the end of the advance, so Sarah flips the clock to him. Max's additional time runs out while resolving the Counter Charge, so Max immediately loses the game.

Dice Down

Once the total round time has expired the T.O. will call 'Dice Down.' At this point, if the active Player has already begun to physically move a model, they finish the movement for that model and then their activation ends. If a Player is in the process of making a roll of any kind, they complete that action and then the activation ends. Any 'end-of-activation' effects now trigger (such as a 'clocked-out' Player's opponent being awarded 1 VP). The current turn and game then end.

When 'Dice Down' is called, if the VP totals are tied, the Kicking Player is declared the winner.

Tournament scoring

At the end of a game both Players are required to enter the following information on their Player record sheets. Each Player records the name of their opponent, the result of the game (Win/Loss), the selected models used in that match, the number of Victory Points they scored and the number of Victory Points scored by their opponent.

Please note the maximum number of Victory Points available for a win in Guild Ball Tournaments is determined by the win condition used for the tournament. Players cannot score more VPs than the win condition.

Players score Tournament Points (TPs) based on the outcome of each game.

  • A Player scores 1 TP for a win.
  • A Player scores 0 TP for a loss.

In the event of two Players scoring the same number of TP by the end of an event the T.O. should apply the first tiebreaker. If Players are still tied, then the T.O. should additionally apply the second tiebreaker.

First Tiebreaker — The Player with the highest cumulative 'Strength of Schedule'.
Second Tiebreaker — The Player with the highest cumulative 'Opponent's Strength of Schedule'.

Strength of Schedule

A Player's Strength of Schedule is each of that Player's Opponent's own Win Rates, added together and then divided by the number of Opponents, including byes, that that Player faced.

A Player's Opponents' Strength of Schedule is the Win Rates of all of that Player's Opponents' Opponents added together, and then divided by the total number of Opponents that that Player's Opponents faced.

A given Player's Win Rate is the number of wins that Player earned divided by the number of rounds played by that Player. Where a Player's Win Rate is less than 1 in 3 (0.33, or 33%) then that player's Win Rate is 1 in 3.

A Bye counts as a losing player who has only played one match and therefore has a Win Rate of 1 in 3.

Example

Player A participated in a 3-round Tournament. Player A's Strength of Schedule is calculated by averaging the Win Rates of A's Opponents (Players B, C & D).

B won the tournament, and therefore has a Win Rate of 3/3 (100%).

C won 2 of their 3 games, and therefore has a Win Rate of 2/3 (67%).

D lost all of their games, and therefore has a Win Rate of 0/3 or (0%). Since this is less than 1/3 (33%), that figure will be used in place of D's actual win rate for this calculation.

A's Strength of Schedule is: (3/3 + 2/3 + 1/3) / 3 = (6/3) / 3 = 2/3 (67%).

Player A's Opponent's Strength of Schedule is calculated by finding the average Strength of Schedule of each of A's opponents during this Tournament.

Tournament organiser responsibilities

At their discretion, a T.O. can make an exception to any of the rules within this document.

Logistics

The T.O. is responsible for ensuring a smoothly run event. This will include some pre-tournament preparation work. The T.O. must ensure that they have an adequate amount of available tables and terrain as well as sufficient gaming space in which to play. Each game must take place on a 3'x3' pitch. In preparation for the tournament, the T.O. must decide upon the event start time, the round timings, finish time, and any potential prize pool. Tournament Guild Ball matches are played using both chess clocks and stopwatches. The T.O. must ensure an adequate supply of these are available. Remember most smartphones have access to apps that can perform both of these roles. The T.O. must be aware that between rounds they must allow an appropriate length of time for data entry, publishing of new round pairings, and the subsequent movement of players between tables. If you don't know how and/or where to get suitable gaming mats, clocks and terrain, just head over to our Discord server.

Terrain

Before the tournament begins it is the T.O.'s responsibility to arrange the terrain for all pitches used during the tournament. The T.O. must endeavour to create balanced play environments. As a general rule, an average Guild Ball pitch should have four to six pieces of terrain evenly spaced with no terrain in either player's deployment zone. A mix of different types of terrain is encouraged with the following restrictions:

  • A minimum of 50% (rounding up) of the terrain pieces per Pitch must be Obstructions.
  • There must be no more than 1 Forest and 1 Barrier per Pitch.
  • Obstructions must be no larger than a 3" by 3" square.
  • Barriers must be no larger than a 4" by 4" square.
  • Rough Ground and Forests must be no larger than 6" in any dimension.
  • Fast Ground must be no larger than 3" in any dimension.
  • In addition, Fast Ground must be placed completely within 6" of an edge of the Pitch.
  • No terrain feature can be placed within 6" of another terrain feature or a goal-post.

In competitive Guild Ball tournaments, the Guilds make sure they find Pitches that allow the teams to play without undue interference from badly positioned trees. The spectators are there for the game, not the gardening, hence the restrictions above! The Pitch Planner is a good tool to create randomised pitches.

Pairings, byes, and odd numbers of players

It is recommended that the T.O. secures the services of a 'standby player' to avoid byes - it's a better experience for everyone if no one has to sit out a round. Pairings for round 1 must be randomised by the T.O. However, the T.O. may decide to adjust the pairings to ensure that players from the same gaming group are not matched together. If this decision is taken it must only apply for the first round. From Round 2 onwards, players should be randomly paired against other players that have the same number of Tournament Points to form a match. If there is an odd number of players with the same Tournament Points, randomly select one player from the next lowest Tournament Point bracket to be the pair up. T.O.s should avoid pairing the same players together multiple times during a tournament where possible. In the case of an odd number of players, one player receives a bye each round. This player receives 1 Tournament Point (a win). In the first round, the T.O. randomly determines which player receives the bye. In subsequent rounds, the T.O. randomly selects a player from those with the lowest Tournament Point totals. The T.O. must ensure that the same player does not receive a bye more than once per event. We recommend using Longshanks (longshanks.org) to arrange and distribute round pairings. All players require an internet connection to use this system.

Judges

The T.O. must ensure that an appropriate number of Judges are available to adjudicate matches and assist with data entry. In most events, the T.O. will serve as the Head Judge, however the T.O. may also nominate another person to serve as Head Judge. When making decisions, Judges should refer to the Guild Ball Season 4 Rulebook and the Guild Ball Errata document. If they cannot come to a decision based on these sources of information, they should refer the question to the Head Judge. If any player disagrees with a ruling made by a Judge, they may request that the Head Judge be brought over to the table. The Head Judge's word is final, however, and any player who does not accede to the Head Judge's ruling will immediately forfeit the current game.

Painting and modelling awards

Tournaments aren't just about winning, they're also about players showing off their painted and modelled teams. The T.O. will decide if their event is going to give Best Painted, Best Goal Design, or other modelling and painting awards. If so, the simplest method of deciding a winner is for the T.O. and Judges to look at the teams and goals at the event, and decide winners amongst themselves. An alternative option is to have all players taking part in the tournament vote for which players should be given the awards; a space is provided for this on the player Record Sheets. A player's models & goal-post are only eligible for modelling & painting awards if the owning player painted all of the miniatures themselves. We expect nothing less than complete honesty from attending players in this regard. If the event is awarding best painted and/or best goal design it is recommended that sufficient time is allowed in the event schedule for players to display their guilds and inspect other players guilds.

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