Hello again, Champion! Who wants more people to play Godtear? Everyone reading this article. You especially!Do you have at least one champion of each class? Good! Then you can use the method outlined in this article to demo the game and bring more players into it.
Before we begin, I want to lay out that there are many ways to demonstrate a game to someone, and that this is but one way to demonstrate Godtear. I’ve used it at least a dozen times to moderate success, but please feel free to adapt the steps outlined below to fit your circumstances.
Set up the board for Change 2v2.
What’s Change 2v2? I’m glad you asked!
Change 2v2 is an unofficial fanmade scenario specifically made to demonstrate the best features of Godtear in an approachable format. It is designed to be played with two crews in each warband. (community nomenclature reminder: a crew is a champion and their followers, and a warband is your set of one to four crews.)While the rulebook recommends one crew each side on Life for demos, that quickly becomes stale since everyone rushes the middle and sorta slogs it out. Change 2v2 has the advantage of open space, multiple lanes, and a more dynamic and interesting end phase mechanic. Two crews also show how crews can interact with each other with supporting boons and followers blocking off space.
Welcome them to the table and give them The Flier
People who stop by your demo table are curious about what you’re doing. Greet them warmly, with an elbow-bump, fist-bump, or handshake if they are comfortable. Hand them a copy of The Flier, which is the above linked google doc with a one page copy of the rules of Godtear on one side and a “why you should play” pitch on the other side. Don’t be aggressive or rude, but kindly offer them a demo if they are interested.
Let them know the demo should take an hour, more or less, depending on their engagement and experience with miniatures games. Don’t take it personally if they decline; let them take The Flier with them (you did print out a dozen of those, yeah?) and let them know how long you’ll be hanging around to demo.
Once they do accept, and sit down at the table, it’s time to start demonstrating.
Determine which set of 4 crews you’re going to play with.
The first thing to demonstrate about Godtear is that there are no set factions or armies to balance. That you can play whatever looks cool to you and still have a good time.
I have a complete collection, so I tend to hand the person I’m demoing Godtear to (demoee? demoee.) a stack of all the cards and say “Pick out one card from each color that has art you like.” While they are looking I take the opportunity to point out that there are no factions, and that the colors are just classes. By allowing the demoee to choose what’s on the board, I don’t have to worry about having them play a model they don’t like the look of. If I have two tables, I may put out all the models on the second table so that the demoee can pick models, not cards. If you have a limited collection, do not worry. You can use the same method I do so long as you have one of each class available.
If you are going to be running demos for a while, it may be best to run the Borderlands starter (Finvarr/Titus) against the Eternal Glade starter (Morrigan/Nia); if you do, be sure to pilot the Eternal Glade starter yourself for reasons to be outlined in the third step. This way you can hotswap in people who are watching once one player has to go; without having to start the game over again.
Setup the teams in their favor.
You know Godtear, you enjoy Godtear, you’re demoing Godtear. The last thing you want to do in your demo is crush your demoee’s will to play. So stack the teams in their favor. For example: if they pick Luella but no crews with 1 armor followers, then play Luella yourself. This is a great time to set up the board with matchups in their favor, demonstrate that any crew can go into any warband, and to skip over the first turn setup, since that’s just going to confuse them.
We’re here to play Godtear, after all, even though it’s a demo. Giving yourself an uphill battle will make the experience of the demoee’s first game more enjoyable for everyone.
Take the first turn, and try to win it with banner play.
I know that I just said that, as demonstrators, we want to lose the demo game. While there is still some debate on whether losing the first turn of Godtear is advantageous or not; for the sake of this demo, we’re going to say it is.
By going first, you can demonstrate the plot phase, then the clash phase. You can show them how your warband works together, and you can direct the flow of the game. If you claim on turn one (and Change 2v2 lets a lot of champions claim on turn one) then you introduce the banner game as the first principle to the demoee, leading them to see that value early.
By winning the first turn, you can demonstrate the “rubber band” mechanics to give the demoee an advantage in the second turn.
I will admit, this turn tends to be awkward and hesitant. While Godtear is a simple miniatures game to understand (comparative to its competitors) it is the first time the demoee is encountering the rules. They will try to take three actions in a turn, or give a boon to a target out of range, or claim in the clash phase, or make any number of honest mistakes from encountering a new game. This is normal, and that’s why we want to move quickly to the next step.
Guide them gradually into victory
Ask them what they want to do in the activation/phase, and then guide them through how they can accomplish that. When they want to do something they cannot, kindly explain, “Hang on, I see what you’re trying to do, here’s the legal way to do that,” and point out where on the card or the one page ruleset where the contradiction flows from.
Be sure to call out every roll’s total dice, target number, and result. Remind the demoee of all the things they can do before rolling dice, like “Did you want Rangosh to eat a bandit?” You can even fudge dice rolls in the demoee’s favor. “You rolled a 3 on 6 dice and needed a 4. Let’s call it a 4 so that I can show you what happens next.” is a great way to teach the game.
Don’t make subpar plays. New players can smell when their opponent is taking it easy on them for the sake of the demo. But they have a harder time realizing when their opponent is helping them win. Try to win the uphill battle you gave yourself, but don’t worry about whether you win or lose the demo game. So long as you’re not crushing their will to play, and you’re all having a good time, then you’re successfully demonstrating the game.
Point out the moment in turn three where you’re no longer teaching them, they’re just playing Godtear.
There comes a point where the demoee doesn’t need any more coaching on what each number is and how many dice to roll. They know what their band is good at and where your band is weak. They understand the ladder and how to earn points on it. They realize where the bonuses for each class come from. And it clicks,
They’re playing Godtear.
This is the moment that you call out. This is the aha moment where people realize they’ve been having fun for the past 45-60 minutes. This is worth pointing out and celebrating.
Be gracious in defeat.
Now that they’ve beaten you fair and square with only minor assistance in band creation and coaching, it’s time to evaluate whether the demoee wants more. Elbow-bump, fist-bump, or handshake thanking them for the game. Then ensure they take The Flier (you did print out about a dozen of The Flier, yeah?). If they want, talk them through how they can purchase models of their own, when your regular play times and locations are, and how a full game varies from the demo you just held. You probably have picked up what they’re interested in already: models, rules, cost, transport, painting, etc; so home in on what they like and encourage them in that regard.I know this sounds like a sales pitch, but that is what a demo is. You, the demonstrator, are pitching a fun activity to the demoee. You are trying to build a community and people joining your community are committing their time to have fun.
Be kind, be courteous, and don’t take it personally if they decline to join. You just had a fun game of Godtear, and there’s always another person you can demonstrate the game to.
That’s it. That is how I demo Godtear. I hope this article has inspired you to run your own demos, and I look forward to reading about how it goes on the Discord!
See you in the Eternal Glade,
Jeff “Gearbox” Mitchell