A Quick One

I was going to write some more about God of Battles, the design philosophy behind it, rule specifics, and so on. Rather than just ploughing on regardless like normal, I thought this time I’d ask if anyone had anything particular they’d like to know about. Or, perhaps, if you already know the game, if there was anything you thought particularly worth talking about and explaining to the uninitiated.

Of course, if nobody speaks up I’ll just have to ramble on at random…

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29 Responses to A Quick One

  1. thedrellum says:

    I’m interested in knowing how units work. Coming from a Warhammer history, I am somewhat turned off by the way Kings of War treats units as, essentially, single individuals. I was wondering what is God of Battles’ take on this.

    • Ben says:

      Do you mean KoW treats them as individuals because you don’t remove casualties and the unit generates dice rather than the individuals within it?

      • thedrellum says:

        Exactly. I suppose when it comes to mass battles, I’m really into the nitty-gritty where each individual figure has an effect. Of course, this is not to say that units shouldn’t have shared characteristics (such as morale, breaking points, etc.) (though that would be interesting, the chance of only a few from a unit running away; also, excessively time-consuming, I would imagine, to keep track of).

        Because God of Battles has smaller armies than either Warhammer or KoW, I was wondering if the individual figures would matter as much as the units themselves.

        • Ben says:

          Though they don’t work exactly the same as WFB units, in this respect they are much closer to WFB than KoW. Individual casualties are removed and the number of attack and defence dice rolled is based upon the number of models remaining.

        • Quirkworthy says:

          To add to what Ben has said already, I think the way GoB treats units is somewhere between the two.

          Critically, every unit has a specific leader model and all ranges, arcs and movements are measured from him.

          Units suffer losses of individual models, visually dwindling as they are damaged until they reach a critical point and the final few are removed at once. Unless, of course, they are Unbreakable when they fight to the last man, dwarf, skeleton or whatever. Numbers of dice for combat, shooting, defence, etc are mainly based on the number of models remaining in a unit at the time (but are modified for type of unit, arc they are defending from, whether they can see the target to shoot, etc).

          Units are treated as a whole for stats such as what they need to roll on each dice, how far they move, etc.

          So a GoB unit is a mix of the two.

          Also, you might want to have a look at Condottiere (also from Foundry). That’s got a combat system where some models flee units, some die, some get injured, etc. It’s a little cumbersome, but an intriguing mechanic and does give you a busy battlefield. As you say, it can be a lot to keep track of.

  2. tornquistd says:

    As magic and special powers seem to be a big factor I am interested in how that works and how game balance is addressed. My main interest is in that part of the rules as I have found magic can be entertaining..

  3. guerreminky says:

    A question for your experience of playing GoB; what is your mind occupied with while you are playing the game? Are you looking for synergistic combos or are you looking for advantageous positioning on the board? Between combo play and positioning play, which do you think has a stronger decision in the outcome? (I might be being vague; combo play could be a sequence in Warhammer, where an player uses a hex to lower an opponents initiative value, and then casts a spell that devastates models with a low initiative value. This type of play doesn’t necessarily consider positioning on the board as it’s first concern.)

    • Quirkworthy says:


      As GoB is a modified alternate action game the combination and sequence of your actions can be critical as well as they way you interleave them with those of your opponent. As it’s got stratagems and miracles, which can both modify your activations, this makes it less predictable (and therefore more challenging and fun).

      You’re looking for an advantageous position from which to deliver your devastating attack. Usually that attack will want to be some form of combination in order to be that devastating, though it could just be more positioning that has left your massively elite crack unit facing his weakest link. I think that the activation system probably deserves its own article too, so I’ll come back to that later.

      To come back to your question, whilst there are a number of more familiar sorts of combos available in GoB, these tend to rely on positioning to exploit them.

      Overall, GoB is more about positioning than combinations of miracles. It’s primarily about managing your resources to get the right troops at the right place at the right moment so that you can act and your opponent cannot stop you. That’s positioning.

  4. Sami Mahmoud says:

    I second both of the above (though interestingly, coming from a WH background I prefer the KoW approach).

    I’m interested in where you’ve used guess range versus pre measuring (possibly also versus random ranging), mainly because I know we have vastly different preferences (not here to debate it again, just interested what you’ve chosen where).

    • Sami Mahmoud says:

      There were only two coments when I posted 😉

    • Quirkworthy says:

      I have universally chosen guess range. Nothing is pre-measured. At least, that’s how I play and how the rules are writ.

      Without wanting to open the whole can of worms again, I was actually reminded of this last night when I was watching a documentary about the latest training for US army snipers. After going through all the fancy tech gubbins they had they went on for some time about how it was all prone to failure and that you had to constantly retrain at the basics (estimating range): “batteries get hot, sand gets into everything…”

      • Sami Mahmoud says:

        TBH my two main objections are (practical) that I no longer enjoy it as a mechanism (in any phase of the game, at least for battle-level games, I find it less objectionable in skirmish games but I can’t really explain why) and (theoretical) I dislike the inconsistency that most ballistic fire (and pretty much any other action a model can conduct) is based on the profile of the model in question (as it should be) then this suddenly gets abandoned for War Machine mechanics.

        *shrugs* It’s fairly easy to house rule out in most rulesets if I really want to and I wouldn’t not play a game because of it. I’m certainly enthusiastic to see this after you referred to it as the game you wanted to write for yourself (or something similar).

      • Quirkworthy says:

        In GoB the dice roll needed to hit something is a property of the unit in exactly the same way whether they are shooting bows or cannons. Units that can shoot have the Shoot (x) special rule listed on their stat line. The (x) is the number needed (or more) on each dice rolled to score a hit. Artillery pieces have a set number of dice to roll because counting the crew doesn’t work the way counting the models in a unit of archers would, and a cannon goes boom the same way regardless of how many of its crew are dead (whereas archery effect diminishes with each man lost). Apart from that they’re mechanically the same. Both have to estimate the range to target (just as real people would) and then they roll their dice. Even if you don’t like guessing ranges, the rest of it is the same.

        In Warhammer where the mechanics do vary between bow and cannon I always found the war engine rules to be quite entertaining myself. Of course it is an abstraction, but one I think that could be argued as modelling a different sort of real event than archery. Medieval war engines (which is what we’re really dealing with here even in Warhammer) were not precision implements in the same way that archery was a much practised and finely honed skill.

        None of which really matters if you don’t like it. Right or wrong, if a game doesn’t appeal then you should tweak what you don’t like or play something else. That’s the beauty of there being so many cool things to choose between 🙂

  5. Minitrol says:

    Is it similar to your Greek system? Loose and formed units rolls to hit and then armour remove casualties and then special rules for flavour units?

    • Quirkworthy says:

      Similar, yes.

      God of Battles is a development of the mass battle bit of Tribes of Legend. It’s the same core system in the main, but with a few significant changes and then loads more piled on top (stratagems, miracles, more terrain, weather, etc, etc).

      One major difference is the army lists. If you compare the army lists, in ToL they have only the equivalent of main force (see earlier article for details: https://quirkworthy.com/2013/01/23/god-of-battles-designers-notes-picking-an-army/) and only 3 units to pick from there. In GoB I think the main force options range from 4 to 13 depending on the army, and then there’s command & support on top. Orders of magnitude more choice and variety within the armies, and 10 armies to pick from. Plus something like 20-25k words of background to add depth and character to the world.

  6. What is basing size? 20mm,25mm etc?

    • Quirkworthy says:

      Basing doesn’t matter.

      I’m basing my own army on individual bases, and that would be most obvious for the loose units as the models are (or can be) separated by gaps. Formed units stand shoulder to shoulder and so you could do multiple bases or a mixture in those.

      I’ve played lots of games with models on multiple bases for both loose and formed units. Sometimes one army used one basing convention and the other used another. Sometimes basing was mixed within a single army. The game works fine regardless.

      The only difference with multiply based models is that you need some sort of tiddly-wink, counter, glass bead or whatever to track losses as models are removed individually.

      In terms of exact size of base in mm it really doesn’t matter. Just whatever looks good and stops the models falling over. Whatever looks good is really the term to focus on.

      • Ben says:

        There is one element in which if I was concerned with maximising my chances of victory I may be inclined to larger bases for my formed units and that’s in the zone of control they project. It was something I intended chatting to you about at the open day to see if it had been tested and whether it was just a bit of theoryhammer (or theoryGoB) which didn’t translate to the gaming table.

        • Quirkworthy says:

          I’ve tried units with 20 and 25mm square bases, and then other ones with big square multiple bases I don’t know the measurements of. The problem that big units have is that the force they contain doesn’t expand with their bases size: they still have the same stats and number of models. True, they gain a bit of breadth to the threat area, but it’s the threat’s depth and the speed of the unit to reposition it that is usually more important. When I was playing a lot during the major playtest period I began instinctively using the smaller based models when I had the option.

          As you might often want to attack an enemy unit with more than one of your own, having larger units makes this more difficult.

          Another issue with larger formed units is that they get in the way of your own movement more. Yes they get in everyone’s way, but you’re more likely to want to be moving laterally across the rear of your own line, and the extra width sticks out of the back too…

          And another thing about larger units is that the hole they leave when they die is harder to plug. Just thought of that one 🙂

          So yes, you could maybe wangle a slight advantage in some respects by basing your models on 5mm wider bases. Maybe. Personally I’m not very convinced that bigger is always good. Like I said, I prefer compact and would choose that if given an option. Feel free to try it though and let me know how you get on.

        • Ben says:

          I can certainly see how it wouldn’t work and even if it did I suspect it would only do so in certain very specific strategies. I was mainly curious as to whether it had been tested on the table and what the impact was, which you have answered :).

      • good to know as almost all of my stuff is on 25mm squares

  7. mattadlard says:

    would like to see you take a game through concept to print with tips on areas like how to find publishers etc, and some extracts from noteboks etc.

  8. Phil says:

    Can you tell us about how command and control works in this game please?
    And, now that the rules have been published are there any reviews or battle reports that you know of and could point us to?

    • Quirkworthy says:

      C&C? Hmmm. Probably best dealt with in more space than a comment. I’ll see if I can fit it in later today.

      I’ve not seen any recent reviews or battle reports beyond the one that appeared last year and was based on a read through rather than a play. All the searches just take you back to Amazon, Foundry or here. If anyone does a review I’d be happy to link it.

  9. mattadlard says:

    Yes but after the book release day theirs a lot of info from those of us who were batling away, over in the https://quirkworthy.com/2013/02/28/foundry-open-day/#comments area. And with the idea of open GoB days the first Saturday of the month every month, even more feedback from people.

  10. Matt Price says:

    Any chance I might nudge you to discuss magic and spells more? You hint above that you’d planned an article on it… But I don’t see one yet! I’m curious about GoB, as I have Kings of War, and while it’s fun, the magic / spell system is really quite lacking. I’m curious to learn more about how GoB tackles this.

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