Thursday, 27 February 2014

Guild Ball Musings

Even those of my readers who are less than enamoured with the one true sport of 'Foot the ball', will probably be interested in hearing about the new table top game that is whipping up a storm on Kickstarter.

I am very excited about the game and plan to blog further once I have tried out the quick start rules they have just released. Im excited by a game where I can paint a handful of beautiful miniatures as opposed to an ocean of models. Im also excited by the possibility of a table top game that can capture the movement and flow of a game of football. (Because I'm useless at the real thing!)

If your  interested you should check out the Guildball Kick-starter below:

In the meantime I thought Id share some of my musings on some aspects of the background of the game. The creators have hinted in their text that the Guilds who run the cities in the game have taken to using Guildball as a substitute to more traditional conflict - to get away from all the messy assassinations and inconvenient civil wars, one presumes.

So how could this come to pass? Well until the game comes out we won't know how the designers have explained it in their fluff. However here are my speculations on how a post-revolution society could come to such a situation.

I repeat these are only my speculations - I have no knowledge of the game beyond what is on their website and don't claim to speak for them at all!

It seems to me that it would likely be a combination of events or social pressures that would bring about such a system as a replacement for more traditional means of conflict. Any combination of two or the below could serve - different city states would likely be driven by different reasons.

Traditions - Perhaps Guildball has inherited significance from previous events. Where the big arenas in the cities previously used for public executions? prisoners trialled by combat against each other or even against wild beasts - they may have been released as proven innocent in their success. These sort of traditions could involve into sorting other issues through Guildball.

Propaganda - Perhaps the old leaders clamped down too hard on street football trying to stamp it out. If this lead to riots or wide spread anger from the downtrodden then football could have been a symbol of the rebellion and when the guilds took their action they could elevate and emulate it to separate their image from the previous rulers.

Religious or spiritual significance  - Is the game decreed to be a way of settling disputes due to divine providence? Football as religion is a concept familiar to everyone who has willed their team on whilst watching their team every weekend. Is there a god of football? is a teams success or failure on the pitch the will of the gods in the eyes of the uneducated rabble?

Political - perhaps the guilds are encouraging this as a way of settling their shaky hold on the city states they wrested from the former governments. Football as a means of democracy - you don't get a vote on important issues but you can support the team championing your agenda and thus feel like your involved in the political process in some way and are distracted from joining any antiestablishment movements or asking whether or not the old rulers where that bad after all.

Notable historical instances - perhaps recent historical instances have set a precedent. One of the guilds could have been left leaderless and the succession was decided between the two most important sub-leaders by their guild halls football teams which the unbelievable commercial success of the match set a precedent and clamour for more of this kind of issue being decided in this fashion. The teams embracing the Guildball as a means of settling issues receiving overwhelming public support the other guilds could not ignore.

Fashion - Whatever the reason the fashion would likely be a big part of what drives it from grass roots to the prominence it enjoys now. Guilds not involved could be weakened by their failure to engage. New guilds set up in competition using the popularity to supersede old guilds.

Honour Code - Once this practice has become established it could quickly become the only honourable way to settle issues. Guilds found acting outside of this way of settling issues could lose much face in the eyes of the people, their peers and the other guilds. Perhaps they may engage in the odd political assassination or bribery but should the guild be caught doing this and it come to public attention it would be hugely damaging. In some cultures or in the future perhaps being caught acting outside the honour code would result in some sort of suicide or resignation of position in being the only escape from the shame.

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