Ten Tips for New Players
Updated: Sep 6, 2021
In no particular order, here are ten pieces of advice for new Godtear players.
1. Play Aggressively
In many games, losing a key model is the difference not only between winning and losing, but between having a good time and having a bad time. We’ve all had the experience of lovingly painting a really cool model, putting it on the table, and having it promptly removed. As such, many of us have learned that it is vital to protect our key models in order to keep them around as long as possible. This is not an issue in Godtear.
In Godtear, it is literally impossible for any of your champions to be removed from the table. Read that last sentence one more time. Your toys will be on the table for you to play with them. This is not to say that it’s a great idea to get your champions KOd often, of course. Still, you have a far greater disincentive to play aggressively than in other war-games. Get up in the mix and make some mistakes. You’ll learn and also still have a good time.
2. Try to keep your champions close to the objectives
It sounds a little obvious, I know, but you might be surprised how often I see new players sending their champions on wild expeditions to hunt down enemies, avoid danger, or whatever else. Ideally, you want to end the clash phase with all of your champions adjacent to an empty objective hex so that they can each efficiently make a claim action. This will allow you to use the skills on your champions’ plot phase cards, many of which give out boons and blights. Ideally, you want to end the plot phase with all of your opponent’s banners within your champions’ movement ranges. This is absolutely essential to winning the game because squishing a banner is effectively a four or five step swing on the ladder.
3. Think Ahead
In Chess, the classic advice is to think 2 moves ahead. This doesn’t quite map perfectly onto Godtear, but the essential idea applies. Think ahead. During the Plot phase, think about the coming Clash phase. During the Clash phase, think as many activations ahead as you can. This means that you need to be aware of what your models can do and what your opponent’s models can do. This will take time and practice. Thinking ahead is the key to much of the game, but in particular, it’s the key to using the boon and blight aspect of Godtear effectively. If you can anticipate where the action will go down, you can also set yourself up for success with boons and blights.
4. Do not Rush
I can play a game of Godtear in under 90 minutes, but that’s only because I don’t have to read cards very much anymore. If you’re new, you need to look at the cards all the time. It’s fine. Do it. If your opponent has a problem with it, then They are probably not someone you actually want to play with anyhow. It really is fine to take a bit of processing time, especially during the Plot phase. Some players find their early plot phases a bit overwhelming, and that's understandable. Just take it it one move at a time, plant as many banners as you can, and don't pressure yourself to do it quickly or perfectly. Mastering this phase of the game is the key to high level play. Take your time. Enjoy the puzzle.
5. Focus on Banners
Most war-games involve… well… war. You probably have a feel for the idea of attacking enemy models. Banners are the new element if you’re new to Godtear. What’s nice about them is that they are somewhat deterministic and therefore predictable. There are rarely dice involved. You can tell, at a glance, which models can threaten which banners. Try to focus on this part of the game early on. Get a feel for how to deny access to your banners and how to gain access to enemy banners.
Here are some good ways to protect a banner:
1. Block off an enemy champion’s path with your followers
2. KO an enemy champion so that you can push it away and negate one of its actions
3. Apply a speed blight to the enemy champion
4. Push the enemy champion away
Here are some good ways to get to a banner
1. Apply a speed boon to your champion
2. KO a bunch of enemy followers in the way
3. Push enemy models out of the way
4. Occupy the path to the banner with your followers, then have them move way when the time is right
6. Follow the Battle Ladder
When starting out, it can be very easy to get absorbed in the action on the board to the point where you might lose the forest for the trees. The forest is the Battle Ladder. Ask yourself often: how many steps up/down am I? How many more steps can I potentially score before the Clash phase ends? How many steps can my opponent potentially score? Has either player got this turn sewn up? To determine the answers to some fo these questions, first assess whether there are any safe banners. Then, consider which models have yet to activate and whether they have the potential to score steps by KOing champions or followers. Sometimes in Godtear, a turn is literally unwindable for one of the players before that turn is over. In these situations, it’s best to start setting up for the next turn.
7. Demo 2v2 Modified Change
The game is not fun at 1v1. It’s boring. Personally, I do not think 1v1 should really ever be played to the end. Maybe a couple of turns to learn the rules, but as soon as possible, get to 2v2. Honestly, I think most players should START at 2v2. The Life sscenario, in my opinion, does not show off the dynamic movement of the game since it ends up being a mosh pit. It was chosen as the demo scenario because it scales better for 2v2 games. A really good way to demo the game for players who have many amount of experience with war-games or even just deep board games is to play a Change scenario with the modified setup shown below:
2v2 is far better than 1v1, but 3v3 is really what’s up. The game is balanced around 3v3. Do not do that thing where you repeat the 2v2 game a bunch of times and try to slowly ramp up. Put on your big kid pants and play 3v3 as soon as possible, preferably by your second full game. If you understand the rules well enough to play a game of 2v2, you’ll be able to play 3v3. It will be a bit slower, and you will experience a bit more choice paralysis, but navigating that is an essential step to unlocking the depth of the game. You’re going to have to clear this hurdle eventually, so the sooner the better.
8. Play all the scenarios
Once you are at 3v3, play through each of the scenarios before repeating them. This will give you a good sense of how the board feels and of how the scenarios affect the champions you own. It may be tempting to want to repeat scenarios in order to gain mastery, but I would argue that having a frame of reference for each scenario accomplishes this just as well whilst allow giving you a broader knowledge base to draw on when considering how to expand your collection of models.
9. Figure out how followers work
Follower activations are one of the few parts of the core rules which are a little bit counterintuitive. When you take an advance action, all of the followers move. When you take a skill action (like an attack of some kind), one model takes the action. Just one. It may or may not benefit from having other models in its hex, but one follower takes the skill action. It might be any model in the unit, but it is only one model taking one action. The distinction between advance actions and skill actions is on page 18 of the rulebook. The stipulation that only one follower model uses a skill action is on page 20.
This is different from other war-games wherein each individual model gets to make an attack. Nope. A follower unit with three models makes as many attacks as a follower unit with five models. The starting size of a follower unit, then, says nothing at all about its offensive output and instead affects only its ability to occupy territory. Blights and boons affect the entire follower unit. If one model gets a speed blight, then all of the models in the unit lose a hex of movement the next time they take an advance action.
10. Practice the opening plot phase
Set up the board for a scenario you will play soon. Deploy your champions along with their follower units one at a time. Do an opening plot phase. Look at the results. Did you get any banners down? Maybe it’s impossible, but maybe not. Did you get the models in good positions to threaten objective hexes and project threat across the board? Did you get boons and blights distributed usefully?
Redeploy. Do the plot phase again, but this time do it better based on what you learned from the first go around. Now ask yourself those same questions. Is there a more optimal version of this plot phase?
Redeploy. Do the plot phase again. This time, see if you can do the whole thing in two minutes or less. Once you can do that, you’ve internalized the abilities on the plot phase side of your warband’s cards. This is good because it means that when you play, you’ll be thinking ahead instead of trying to remember what your war band can do. At least in the plot phase, that is.