Tabletop tournaments is something new to me. When playing the game initially in the 90’s, it was purely for fun against a few friends. The idea of playing Blood Bowl in a tournament never even crossed my mind. Having come back to the game with the 2016 release and being introduced to the NAF (not actually sure it stands for), tournaments seemed to be a prominent part of the Blood Bowl scene.
After a bit of research and understanding what the terms Swiss and Resurrection mean in relation to tournaments. I decided to find a local event to give it a try.
Well it turned out that many events were taking place in my area. It was around this time that Games Workshop announced a one day beginners tournament at Warhammer World, Nottingham. Having never been to the home of the Warhammer Universe, I jumped at the chance and got ticket.
Mighty Blighty Underleague – February 2017
To be honest everything that this event was a bit of a blur. Trying to take in the awesome surroundings of Warhammer World and also playing my first tabletop event of any type was a lot to take in. Now this was not the most competitive event. In fact, winning didn’t really matter. This was a fun (and free) event with the emphasis on learning the game. For example my first opponent had only played his first game the night before against his son. So most of the day was spent teaching some less experienced players the game and learning from everyone I played. It was a great introduction to gaming events in general. I could not wait for my next event.
Crash Bowl – March 2017
So I arrived at Asgard Games in West Bromwich very early on a sunny March morning for Crash Bowl.
I expected this to be a much more competitive environment, filled with serious Blood Bowlers keeping their optimal rosters close to their chests. I could not have been more wrong. Yes, everyone wanted to score touchdowns, cause casualties and ultimately win. But they also wanted to just have fun. It was a smallish event but had some great prize support. The event organisers were owners of a local micro brewery so a few sample beers helped the day run smoothly.
After a bit of a nervous loss with my Skaven (Furham Athletic) against Norse in round 1, I came back with a couple of wins over Dark Elves and Humans. So I left with a 2-0-1 record and some cool swag.
Blood Bowl Grand Tournament, WarhammerFest – August 2018
Having never attended a WarhammerFest before or the previous incarnation, Games Days. I was excited to see what the two day ‘Festival’ of Warhammer in Coventry was all about.
The Blood Bowl tournament was five games over two days, the rules pack was a 1.3m build and allowed the use of Special Play Cards. The inclusion of the cards is unusual for tournaments due to the random nature of the effects, some of which are can almost guarantee a result one way or the other.
Following a late start due to the security checks, the four games on day one ended for me well after 9pm. The event as a whole seemed a little chaotic at times. Last minute changes to the number of games to be played each day. And then rearranging the Specialist Games Preview Seminar on the Sunday to a time that Blood Bowl players were not playing in the tournament. But credit to Games Workshop for reacting to feedback and make changes to try and improve the event. No giveaways or tournament mementos also left a sour taste, simply due to the cost of a tournament ticket. Overall it was fun event and if you are interested in the Warhammer games systems or worlds in anyway I would most definitely recommended a visit.
My 15 player Skaven team (due to not having a painted Rat Ogre) came away with a 1-2-2. record. No prizes this time but my first two day Blood Bowl tournament was done and I still had something of a functioning brain left at the end of it. A good sign for the future.
Twisted Cup III – June 2017
If you have ever been to Folkestone you will have seen the massive Grand Burstin Hotel which towers over Folkestone harbour. The hotel may be past its heyday but we had a huge room all to ourselves down in the basement.
Another outing for my Skaven brought home a 1-0-2 record. The highlight was a final bottom table match against Ogres. Having never played against them before, I soon learnt that they can throw things, lots of things in fact to quite good affect. I managed to get the win and avoid the wooden spoon. Which I was quite pleased about as the prize was actually a trophy in the shape of someones… Well I think I will leave it to your imagination. Sorry no pictures either.
Top tip: If you ever find yourself in Folkestone checkout the great seafood kiosk right by the harbour. Serving lots of freshly prepared seafood stir-frys. I went home happy, full of seafood and with more event dice in hand.
Hard 6 Superbowl III – September 2017
Now this is how a tournament should be … in a pub! Forget clever rules packs, dice, or awesome prizes. Just hold it in a pub and they will come.
The place was packed with over 40 players and my Underworld went 1-2-1 on the day. My only loss coming against a fellow league members Dave in the first game. This is where I learnt that a 3+ pick up with Sure Hands always fails.
Blood Bowl, with great pie and a drink fuelled Saturday evening made this an event to attend in the future.
Warboar Tournament – October 2017
Perfect, my local games shop decided to put on a Blood Bowl tournament. A great opportunity to meet more of the local players and generate some interest in the shop league. However due to it only being announced a few weeks before the day, attendance was low with only seven players. No reserve player meant one player got a bye for each of the three rounds. After a 2-2 draw against Norse with my High Elves, I was drawn against my regular opponent Dave. The odd man out in this case was a young lad playing in his first event. Dave and myself decided that as we played each other so often we would roll to see who would switch with him. So a bye in the 2nd round meant that I was playing Dwarfs on table one. A tight game which ended with a last minute Dwarf pass play failing to get the equaliser. A 2-1 victory.
The results came in and I took top spot, winning a copy of the miniature Blood Bowl trophy.
Winning was great, albeit a small event. But the best thing on the day was meeting more of the local players area. Many of which have since joined the Warboar league. Local events are always worth a go no matter the size or prize fund and supporting to local shops only helps the hobby.
Burmayhem Bowl II – December 2017
And the best trophy ever goes to …
Sadly I did not get to take this beauty home but a Minotaurs (or is it a bull?) head as the trophy was just awesome.
My Skaven came away with a 1-2-0 record. I was happy with 7th place and some more tournament dice. As it turned out, if (and a very big if) I had managed to stop my last game Lizardmen opponent from scoring in turn 16 I would have come second. But every Blood Bowl coach has many a story to tell where if only I had rolled <insert dice roll> then I would have won.
But the OTT duo did not go home without any kind of prize. Tom took home the coveted Gloworm award for coming in 4th. I understand that this has pride of place above his toilet but I cannot confirm or deny if this is the case.
UKTC V – January 2018
My first team event on the road and I am sure it will not be my last. At the UKTC teams of four face off against each other, with prizes for both team and individual performance. The Dodgefathers as were called (not my fault that one) came a respectable 33rd out of the 40 teams. A 2-1-3 record with High Elves for myself. Notes for the future include maybe not drinking so much on the Friday night and then more on the Saturday night. Hangovers and any kind of thinking do not mix well.
Hard 6 Superbowl IV – February 2018
And so for a second time I took Underworld to a Hard 6 tournament. In part to get my three NAF ranked games, but also so that I could take eight skills with Underworld being Tier 3 at the event. I took eight different skills in an attempt to confuse my opponent as much as possible. With Underworld you need every advantage you can get.
Two games in and I found myself at the lofty heights of table four, I think it was. With victories over Norse and Dark Elves. My strategy was paying off!.
But then reality came crashing in on my dreams of glory. After two loses (another one against Dave and his Orcs … grrr) I end with a 2-0-2 record.
The traditional post tournament beer flowed and the night ended in good cheer. Always a great event and have I mentioned the great lunchtime pie yet? Well it is awesome.
So why play in a Blood Bowl tournament?
Quite frankly, tournaments are just great fun. You get to spend a day with like minded people. Yes, there are other crazy people just like you who love playing this game. Play a bunch a games. At the end of which a small group of people huddled around a laptop will announce a winner. Making sure that the required offerings to Nuffle and to his prophet ‘Score’ are made. If you are lucky you may even take home an award. First, runner-up, most casualties, or my favourite, the International Gloworm award (4th Place). For all those coaches who come 4th and go away empty handed.
Oh and you often get something cool to remember the event by. I have often said the two best things in life are dice and free stuff. Combine the two and I am there.
I have a number of tournaments planned for later this year. So I suggest you go find a tournament near year, small or large and spend a great day or two playing more Blood Bowl.