So where to begin? a few months back we came across this local (when i say local i mean no longer than 2 hours away) tournament on the Blood Bowl Community page on Facebook, a great place to discover smaller, local events to fill in the gaps between the major Tourneys. As you can see from the event image above it was extremely appealing, a 1 day, 3 games swiss event with 1.3 mil build and the squigball rules released in White Dwarf a year ago used throughout all 3 games. For those of you who don’t know what the squigball rules are, here is a snippet from the rules pack.
As you can see at first glance they add a level on unpredictability to the game but it is not until you actively use the rules that you come to realise that it adds a completely new level of tactics and decisions. Dont get me wrong I’ve played games like this when its had absolutely no game changing effect on the match but I have also experienced the other side of the sword where the roll of a 1 at the wrong time loses you the game. But Hey!! it will be fun right?
So the team building framework! This, for me anyway, was the first difficult decision that had to be made. The event allowed to take a team with a budget of 1.3 million gc, without an additional skills package BUT 2 players were able to skill up after each game. The first thought that jumped into my head was the fear of the squig continuing to jump out of the hands of the players meaning the continuous need to pick up the ball but also the opportunity to steal it if it jumps from my opponents clutches. Because of this I was determined to stay away from the low AG teams such as Dwarfs, lizards or Khemri and lean more towards the high AG team i.e elves. I honestly thought that the majority of the field would have had the same thought but with a 1.3 mil build you have many options with a lot of other teams. After a lot of deliberation I decided on playing Dark Elves as they are only Elven team that I have the models for and have not yet played in a NAF tourney therefore creeping one step closer to hitting the infamous NAF 24. The other half of the OTT blog, Chris, decided the same and went with Wood Elves fearing the potential mischievous behaviour of the ball.
So what I did I go for? With a 1.3 mil build I was able to put together a decent Dark Elf roster and also include the star player Hokron Heartripper, the combination of stab and multiple block has always seemed like a lot of fun. But the one question that kept me thinking right up to the day before the event was whether to take 12 men with 2 re rolls or 11 men with 3? Personally for me 2 re rolls is not enough but I had the option to take the leader skill after game one guaranteed which made it a bit more of appealing choice. On the other hand even though Dark Elves are the toughest of the Elves they are still only AV 8 and some 7 meaning taking an 11 man roster was a risky move.
In the end I went with the 12 man choice with the fact that i would take leader as my first skill up. Here are the Har Graef Slavers
2 x Witch Elves, 1 x Runner, 4 x Blitzers, 4 x Lineman, Hokron Heartripper, 2 x re rolls, 1x fan factor
As a regular Tournament attendee, the location can either make a good tournament incredible or forgettable, of course I am not claiming in order for an event be good it must be held in a great location but it certainly helps. Lets take the Hard 6 Superbowl for example, it is a smallish event (even though it has grown substantially in the last year) but is held in an excellent venue, The Spit and Sawdust Pub in South London. It is one tourney that I really look forward to due to not only the way its run and the great people but topped off by an awesome venue where everyone stays until closing time. Seriously if you have never been to one and live close enough London you should definitely check it out, you will not regret it. (http://www.hard6.co.uk/superbowliv.html)
So where was the squig let loose? Well the ALDERSHOT Squigbowl was held, as you can guess, in Aldershot Hampshire but more specifically in the Local Gaming Store ‘The Games Shop’. This was my first time at this store but I must say its great! The first thing that jumped out at me was the size of the place, normally with games stores they aren’t the biggest and more so in London but this place had walls covered with different games systems, fridges for food and drink, tables for playing smaller games and that’s not to mention that numerous gaming rooms they had on the 1st floor. When I arrived I was greeted by the staff and told I was in room 1, which was strange as normally you don’t need to be told where the blood Bowlers were, you could normally hear them.
When you get to the first floor you then have a range of rooms separated for playing multiple gaming systems at once which was perfect, this meant we had an entire room (which was very reasonably sized) all to ourselves. Overall I was very impressed by ‘The Games Store’ and also jealous of the locals who have this great haven on their door step.
Before we start this was the race breakdown given to us a few days before the event.
Lizards x 3
Goblins x 3
Slann x 2
Norse x 2
Wood Elf x 2
That right 3 Lizards and 2 Wood elves
So let’s get on with the games, a 3 game event with the first game being randomly drawn and then swiss pairing from then on. So what are the odds that both halves of OTT get drawn again each other (not that bad actually but still a funny start). Thats right, me and Chris were matched against each other for the first round and my heart sank when I remembered he had brought Wood Elves. To be honest I wasnt complaining I had Dark Elves so it’s not like I had an inferior team and it was quite nice to play someone you know for the first game to break the ice.
Unfortunately there was nothing to write home about in this game, me and Chris play each other often in friendly games and are at a very similar standard so a game where the dice favoured both of us it was a standard elves v elves game. The end result was 2-2 which ended any realistic chance of any of us winning the event although Chris did have the ball in my half with 2 turns to go but had left the carrier unprotected. We had to end it there due to time but i would have had a simple 2 die block to get the ball back. This is one problem with one day events, they can seem rushed sometimes. We had to end it at a tie even though Chris had a (even though slim) chance to win it in the end but it is these endings to games that make Blood Bowl what it is. The frustrations of turning the screw to get your equalizer with not long to go for then a team like Wood Elves to score a two turner (or even One Turn Touchdown 😉 ) to win.
The second game went a bit more according to plan, playing against a great opponent who had recently come back to Blood Bowl after 10 years or so. Whether you win or lose I strongly believe it is down to your opponent whether you have fun or not, it’s no fun having to apologise every time you roll a ‘POW’ or break their armour. A great opponent will accept your good rolls and laugh off any of their ‘unlucky’ results and this is exactly how this game went for both of us.
He brought an Underworld team with 3rd party models, not sure which company they were from but they were incredibly characterful and enjoyable to play against. unfortunately for the Rats and Goblins the first drive from the Dark Elves saw a fair few casualties and knock outs making it easier to turnover the ball in their drive. After that is was time management for the elves and were able to run in for a 3-0 win in the last turn or so.
Its games like this one which can make your day as a coach, playing someone who just enjoys the game as much as you and not going to breakdown if the dice don’t go their way, I know it was most likely easier for me to enjoy the game as it was a 3-0 win but I believe it would have been the same if I lost. After a draw and a win in a 3 game tourney the pressure get turned up, a good win in the next game could see you in the top 3 (even win it if other results go your way) Lets hope the draw is kind.
Well the answer to the last question is NO, NO the draw was not kind! In the last game I came up against Lizardmen, which is without a doubt the team I hate to play the most, I don’t know why, im sure they are not the most notorious of pain in the ass teams but I just cannot beat them. Having 6 strength 4 and a strength 5 Kroxigor with prehensile tail mean they can pin down elves (in particular ones without the dodge skill) fairly easily.
That is exactly how this game went, I would get marked by all the Saurus, attempt to dodge away in my turn and roll a 1. What made it worse he killed my leader runner taking me down to 2 re rolls for the game. To top it all off I believe the squig jumped loose from my possession 3 times in the game. It was one of them games which you wish to forget, don’t get me wrong it was great fun and more practise against the Lizards is always good but there was nothing I could have done to salvage any sort of result from that game. The result ended in a 2-0 win to the Lizards.
That was it, it was not to be a top of the table finish but more a mediocre result which doesn’t negatively affect any NAF results.
The Round Up
So here are the results
Unfortunately you cannot see what races are at the top but i can tell you 1st was Lizardmen and 2nd were Pro Elves (a nasty Eldril Sidewinder and Prince Moranian combo). As expected I ended up in 8th out of 18 pretty much dead in the middle of the table.
On the plus side the other half OTT, Chris, ended up winning 2 and drawing 1 putting him in 7th place (could have been higher but there were a lot of bonus points available which he could not capitalise on). They also gave a results table using the official NAF scoring where he would have ended up in 2nd place.
Over all a great day but unfortunately it was not one of us who brought home this awesome Squig trophy. It was an interesting theme for a tournament and allowed great thematic prizes such as the trophy and squig cake pops but not sure just using the Squig ball rules really made a huge difference. But as a last note it was a great day to play blood bowl in a casual format allowing a but more of a relaxed atmosphere. If they decide to do another I would definitely go again.
It was then time to get ready for the NAF Championship!!!!