Blood Bowl

Games Workshop, Kickstarter and 3rd Party Miniatures

In this post I would like to talk a bit about the evolution of Blood Bowl miniatures and how the game was able to keep refreshing on this side of things even when it seemed that Games Workshop had turned its back on its child. What I mean by that is as you may be aware the original Blood Bowl First Edition was released in 1986 but there was a period between roughly 2005 until 2016 that the game was no longer updated by Game Workshop.

This didnt deter the loyal players of the game and it flourished during this time opening a gap in the market for fresh new teams. This is where the 3rd party miniature companies came in offering a range of new models keeping the astrogranite full of character and stopping it from going a bit stale. Dont get me wrong if everyone had to continue to use 2nd/3rd edition models/converted teams through this time I don’t think it would have been a huge issue but from talking to coaches who played the game in this time I believe that they kept the enthusiasm high all the way until Games Workshops rerelease in 2016 giving the game a running start and leading to the creation of the incredible community that surrounds the game right now.

Games Workshop 3rd edition Chaos team
Games Workshop 3rd edition Dark Elf team

The pictures above shows a bunch of the last models that Games Workshop released for Blood Bowl before letting the game be absorbed by the community and progress that way. As you can see they looked quite dated very quickly as they stopped production at a time when the advancements in model design manufacturing were progressing at a rapid rate which fuelled this demand for new Blood Bowl Miniatures to play out the communities highly imaginative and thematic ‘fluff’. Where as with 40k or AOS (Warhammer Fantasy back then) you can add personal touches to armies to a certain degree with paint schemes and lore but Blood Bowl took it to a new level. Players wanted teams that were unique, eye-catching and reflected themselves in some way and this is exactly what Third Party Miniatures supplied.

Greebo Games Obsidian Dusk Dark Elf Team

So where does Kickstarter come into this?

Kickstarter was founded in 2009 and opened a door model companies to reach a wider market. As you can imagine some of these miniature producers are a small set up and don’t necessarily have the cash flow to produce teams and then sell them, this also comes with a big risk if they are not taken well by the community and don’t sell. with Kickstarter they were able to create one set of models and 3D renders to show to the potential customers and gauge whether it will sell. If they do not get enough backing then they have only wasted a minor part of what they would have doing it the traditional way. If on the other hand the project it fully backed they then have the orders in and cash flow ready to start production. This less risky way of producing models has seen a huge increase the output and startup of new designers.

Two Drunk Flings podcast Halfling Team
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Greebo Games Chaos Warriors

Obviously this is all great news for us sports enthusiasts but what are the key differences for the consumer in these 2 options?

Lets start with buying the official Games Workshop plastic, this is more often than not the cheaper way to get hold of a new team. Games Workshop have released all their teams up to now (24th November 2018) at a price point of £20 with additional goodies ranging from £7 for dice to £24 for the team specific pitches. Secondly, GW’ quality and customer service is second to none in my opinion, so you know you are getting a great product and experience. But as discussed earlier there was a gap in the market for these unique teams therefore the cheaper option is not always the most popular. So with that in mind lets talk about what third-party miniatures can offer and why they are still booming in a market where Games Workshop has reemerged.

One of the most common complaints I hear about the new teams released by GW is that they do not give you the correct amount of positionals for the optimum build in that team. Now I can understand why this is frustrating but do not blame GW for this and do not see it a huge deal as even after buying 2 boxes in order to obtain the extra positionals it will still only cost £40 with models left over. This is where these third-party designers are putting out teams with the right amount of each positional in order to play competitively saving the need to buy another box but more often than not still at a higher price.

The next point is something that has recently drawn me to other manufacturers over the mighty Workshop and that is the lack of unique models. Lets take the GW Human team for example, the box comes with 2 Blitzers but in order to be competitive you ideally need 4. The issue occurs when you have to get another 2 of the same Blitzers meaning you now have 4 models on your team of 11 all looking the same. Now for anyone who still uses 3rd edition minis this is a common sight but when the quality of models you see around tabletop games has advanced to what it is now (just look at the new 40k models being released) a lot of people are screaming for more. This is why splashing out £70 on kickstarter knowing you are going to receive a unique team with each player sculpted in different positions and a full roster of positionals is better value for money than 1 or 2 £20 boxes of mass-produced plastic.

There will always be people on both side of this argument and I personally believe that since GW has woken up and realised that the Blood Bowl Community is huge and will continue to buy their products whether it is because they prefer their models or if it purely to support the game in order for it ensure its longevity (belive me I know a lot of people who do this), their sculpts and flexibility/ability to listen to the community has notably improved. There has been a lot of coaches who have been left deflated by the most recent official releases, in particular 2 specific positionals, the Chaos Warrior and the Nurgle Pestigor. I personally belive the reason a large group of people found these models underwhelming is down to the expectation of what Games Workshop ‘should’ do and they have not gone along with that. What I mean by this, taking the chaos warrior as an example, is that the majority of models depicting this position, whether it be by GW or a third-party, have more often that not been designed in a way to resemble a Chaos Warrior from the Warhammer Fantasy Universe in battle armour (see picture above of Greebo Games Chaos). Whilst there is nothing wrong with that, and if people prefer that then that’s their rightful opinion, BUT one of the greatest legacies that 2/3rd edition of Blood Bowl has left behind besides the extremely well play tested set of rules is the characterful models, artwork and ‘fluff’. This is what Games Workshop are trying to do, they are taking a chance and creating something different and I commend them for it. They are producing a new set of teams with their own character so that the 2016 edition is something that will be remembered just like 3rd edition is now.

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Willy Miniatures Chaos Warriors

Above are Willy Miniatures version of Chaos Warriors and as you can see they have gone down the same route of depicting them as Fantasy Warriors in Battle armour. Dont get me wrong these are awesome models and look incredible but I am glad Games Workshop went in a different direction and their take on it (below) has really grown on me.

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Games Workshops take on a Chaos Warrior

Recent Hits and Current favourites

In order to round-up this discussion I would like to share my thoughts on some of the recent teams that have caught my attention and some that are in the pipeline or even live right now. So to kick things off the most obvious choice would be …


Greebo Games Obsidian Dusk

As mentioned earlier Greebo Games released their Obsidian Dusk Dark Elf team not long after the 2016 Blood Bowl release. It came at a time where there was influx of new player and the offering of a team not yet re imagined by GW drew in a lot of orders making it a hugely succesful kickstarter campaign but that aside the quality of these sculpts was something new, something innovative that the community hadn’t really seen before. With Blood Bowl 2016 being released in a 32mm scale this allowed Greebo to do the same naturally allowing a lot more detail to be added creating this vastfully more characterful and unique team.

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Greebo Games Obsidian Dusk

Iron Golems Buzzed Bumblebees

Say to a coach the ‘Buzzed Bumblebees’ they may struggle to realise what you talking about, but mention ‘Two Drunk Flings Halfing Team’ and you will most likely be met with a different response. This is down to the incredible amount of networking and marketing that the Two Drunk Flings podcast put into this team designed and produced by the incredible designers that is Iron Golems, the same designers that came out with one of the best Wood Elf teams around.

The reason I have listed this team is somewhat down to how its was marketed and its journey from kickstarter to now (I believe they are being shipped as I write this) has been something spectacular. The work the Drunk Flings have done to keep everyone involved has been incredible, bringing models to tournaments, even giving one or two away as prizes for the stunty cup. Dont get me wrong this is not the only reason, the models are spectacular also. Every single Halfling is unique and if you have ever played the team, you need a lot of them. Not only is each model different, they have all been given as much time and care as each other creating a team of 14 (I think) halflings with so much character, exactly what anyone looks for when buying a halfling team. For example there is one with a cake, one with pots an pans for armour and even fighting Irish one.

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Always eating!!!

These are my two favourite recent kickstarter campaigns, there are to many impressive projects to talk about, I would be here all day but I would like to move on and talk about a couple of campaigns that are either live at the moment (depending on when you are reading this of course) or have been teased for the new year.


Exit 23′ Zenobian Zeniths 

The first of these projects are the highly anticipated Zenobian Zeniths, the Amazon Team that goes against the mould (pun intended) brought to us by Exit 23 Games. The Zeniths were the brain child of Christopher Chant or @choibot on twitter, someone who I have had the pleasure of being league opponents with at the esteemed ECBBL in London, and a great member of the local community and always a joy to talk Blood Bowl with. I believe the idea behind the team is to give an alternative aesthetic for an Amazon team due to majority out there being bikini wearing, busty women. It’s a valid point, see below some picture of how Amazons have been depicted in the past including the pc game.

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Willy Miniatures Amazon team

As you can see there seems to be theme of what is expected from the Amazons but not necessarily what is practical. The Zeniths really hit a gap in the market that from what I hear from the community is very welcome and breath of fresh air.

So let’s have a look at them..

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So here they are in all their glory and they do not disappoint, they actually look like they are ready to play  Blood Bowl and just like with the Buzzed Bumblebees, each model is unique and full of its own characterful presence, I catch myself becoming curious about their story. Well this is where the project get better, the project page on kickstarter (I will link below) is full of detail ranging from the original sketches by a comic artist, to the 3D designs and finally Graphic novels available which I am very excited on getting my hands on. What does it for me is the subtle steam punk theme, not too in your face that you forget they are athletes but enought to give them that edge.

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So there you have it, if you’re in the market for an Amazon team (even if you’re not) I suggest you take a look at these quickly as I believe there is only a few days left on the project. But I shall leave you with some more pictures below

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/exit23games/zenobian-zeniths-fantasy-football-team


Greebo Games Lizardmen Team

Now this hasn’t been confirmed 100% confirmed yet but Greebo Games have released the below renders of their potential new lizardmen/Slaan team. I have no further details but I couldn’t write a post about Kickstarters and not put these up here. Just look at them, I am very excited about these and think I will need a separate post when these arrive.


What Now?

The main objective of this post was to give people who don’t know about the huge selection of third-party miniatures a bit of an overview of what to expect and how they come to fruition. The reason I wanted to do this is as prerequisite to a new page on the Blog. We want to start keeping track of the best current projects. A place where you can go to see if there is something you have missed or just havent been checking. So keep your eyes peeled for OTT’ Project page including the best current projects being funded on sites such as Kickstarter and Indiegogo.

If you know any project going live or live right now send us an email at 1turntouchdown@gmail.com and we will post it on the new pages.

If you enjoyed this post please share with other coaches!

General

League Play!! My introduction to the DBL

I have been playing Blood Bowl competitively coming up to 2 years now but it wasnt until earlier this year that I dipped my toe into the world of League Play. For those of you who are new to Blood Bowl, there are 3 core ways to play the game

  1. Exhibition Play – this is what you will most like take part in during the first few months of you Blood Bowl journey. This is purely a friendly game between you and a friend. The great thing about this is you can decide to use a vast range of optional rules that GW have provided which can conjure up some incredibly theatrical games.
  2. Tournament Play – it is by travelling to local tournaments that really kick started my addiction to this game. Tournaments can range from 1 or 2 day events and even 3 days when it comes to the World Cup which comes around every 4 years. Each event has its own unique set of rules to allow organisers to put a personal touch on their day. A small one day event will see you playing 3 or sometimes 4 games in a day with a winner at the end whilst the larger 2 day events will see 5 or 6 games being played over the weekend.
  3. League Play – this is where an agreed amount of games is played over a certain time scale, i.e 8 games to played in 12 weeks. It is then up to the participants in the league to organise all their games over that time. After this there is normally a play off stage to see who is the overall winner of the league. The interesting part of a league is the development and evolution of your players as you earn SPP.

Unfortunately due to work and the location of my local leagues it has taken me this long in order to take part in one. In February earlier this year I decided to get stuck in and joined the infamous ECBBL aka The Blackshirts. Now this league is highly competitive and highly skilled, many of the coaches are playing for or have played for Team England for example. For me this seemed to be a good opportunity to try to learn and improve my game. I was aware I would not do great but seemed a great opportunity to progress. Unfortunately due to the location and day they met up I struggled to get my games in, and had to cancel on opponents more than I would have liked to. So when I heard about another league in London that was more convenient to get to and played their games on different days throughout the week making it easier to complete my games, I had to find out more. Truth be told I already knew about the DBL, I had the pleasure to play against a few at local tournaments and had attended their first Backbreaker cup back in 2017. So lets talk about my first month into DBL18!!

‘not only is the depth and complexity of how the DBL is being run too impeccable to encapsulate in one word but I believe the effort put in deserves more’

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The DBL and its Organisers

The DBL is a Blood Bowl League Based in Covent Garden, London and is currently knee-deep in its fourth season since being established. Here is a brief biography taken from their website http://www.dragon-bowl-league.com

The Dragon Bowl League or the DBL for short started back in 2015, the first league didn’t last long. But with a bit of perseverance the second season was a success with 18 coaches vying for the coveted Dragon Bowl trophy. In the end the Niveeungos a Wood Elf team took the title, and in the third season the mighty Marienberg Mariners stole the show ensuring that the trophy ‘stays with the Elves’ so to speak. The DBL18 will begin again this year, who will take the title this year? We will have to see…’

As you can see, like most leagues, they started off small, with 18 coached taking part in the second season but as of now I am currently competing in their 4th season with a whopping 50 coaches! No that’s not a typo, there are 50 (fifty) coaches blitzing it out for their chance to win the Dragon Bowl trophy. This leads me nicely onto the topic of how is the league organised? With 50 coaches, making sure everything goes smoothly is surely a task for the bravest of commissioners?

Well from my experience during the first half of the group stages I can sum it up in one word………scrap that, not only is the depth and complexity of how the DBL is being run too impeccable to encapsulate in one word but I believe the effort put in deserves more.

So, how do you make sure 50 coaches play all their games in the set out time, answer any league disputes and make sure everything runs accordingly all whilst making sure people are enjoying themselves (as that is the most important thing at the end of the day)?

Let me explain how the DBL set out to achieve this in a very fashionable way.

‘Seriously!! what other league does this? It is incredible! the community that these guys have built in and around London is superb!’

The Divisions and Draft Night

Before the coaches were able to roll some skulls there was the small question of divisions, who plays who? With 50 coaches the organisers decided to split us up in to 5 divisions of 10 teams which were then divided further into conference A and B. The divisions were named North, West, South, East and Central meaning overall each coach would be placed into a conference with 4 other coaches which they would have to play twice over the period of 12 weeks demanding a play rate of 2 games in 3 weeks. This to me is an optimum pace giving coaches who find it hard to get games in some leeway whilst on the other hand not forcing the others who can play regularly into having to wait weeks after they have completed their matches. In order to decide who is in which division it came down to the draft night!

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The Divisons/Draft Night

Before we move on as you can see from the image above there in an extra division represented with the letter ‘U’. Now believe it or not after enlisting the 50 competitors there were still MORE people who wanted to join in but unfortunately were too late to join or capacity had been reached. Due to this they decided to put together a division separate from the Dragon Bowl League in order for them to get involved and there it was, The ‘Underworld University’ was born! Seriously!! what other league does this? It is incredible! the community that these guys have built in and around London is superb!

So lets talk about the draft night. The first official meeting of the DBL 18 included, if I remember correctly, roughly 35 of the 50 competing coaches getting together in order to sort out the divisions. Now how was this done? Well there was a set theme to the evening which was the 80’s and we were encouraged to come in fancy dress, some of the costumes were great but I was not brave enough! To top this off the bar had an offer for £3.50 a pint all night. Very early on I could see where this night was heading but due to having to work the next morning I had to resist the temptation and be sensible. So for the cherry on top of these antics, the draw itself was done using a bingo machine with each team having a dedicated number, it honestly felt like we were involved in a 80’s saturday night TV games show. After this anyone who had an opponent to play were able to get going and play their first game. It was a great night of Blood Bowl and a superb way to kick off the next 6 months of the Dragon Bowl League.

It was then we got to meet our divisions ‘Guvnor’. Let me explain, im guessing due expansion of the league and how it grew over a couple of years, the commissioner now has Guvnor’s who look after a division each. They try to arrange the best ways for everyone to get their games in, report back to the commissioner on any issue and keep records up to date. You didn’t think it was all done by one person did you?

The Teams and Fluff

In this section I would like to talk about, for me, one of the most important and enjoyable parts of the game, the fluff and role-playing side to the sport. In my opinion the DBL are one of the best in the business when it comes to this. I would like to talk about why I believe this and just how dedicated the majority of the coaches are to the game which rubs off on the rest making it such an enjoyable league to play in. Lets start with the Teams, when naming a team and players etc I have known a lot of people to come up with a pun for the team name and fill the roster with unimaginative names and call it done. Well not these guys! let’s have a look at the quality and effort put into some of the team names and Logos below.

Alqualonde FalconsTaylor and the SwiftsArtful Dodgers

I’m sure you will agree with me about the quality of these logos, well it doesn’t end there, this effort is followed through with everything they do from match reports to the paint jobs. The character that is created in some of these teams is second to none.

‘It really allows you to immerse yourself into the league and community they have created and leaves you itching for more’

This brings me on nicely the next topic, match reports/commentary. On top of everything the DBL do in order to make a coaches league experience as enjoyable and thematic as possible we have not come to mention the match reports, commentary and publications. As a coach competing in the DBL there is as much Blood Bowl action to get involved in off the pitch as there is on. It’s an absolute pleasure to be able to keep up to date with games in your division as they are happening with some great commentary and pictures. These updates are posted through the leagues Whatsapp group and can have as many as 12 games going on at once. Its something I’ve not really thought about until now nor thought that there was a need for it but I will be the first to admit that I have been caught checking scores in the pub and having my non Blood Bowl playing friends ask ‘oh, who’s playing?’ Trying to explain I was checking the score of a board game that’s going on was interesting.

See below for an example, of course numbers blacked out etc.

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Alongside any weekly commentary posted on the groups whatsapp page, the league also publishes an article every week to sum up some key highlights from the past weeks games. This is where the league excels, the level of professionalism is incredible. All of this combined really gives you some great Blood Bowl content to enjoy throughout the week and not just on the night you end up playing your league game. It really allows you to immerse yourself into the league and community they have created and leaves you itching for more.

‘high quality Logos, team photos and History, not to mention a weekly publication show casing this brilliance really brings out the magic of the beautiful game that is Blood Bowl’

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On top of the weekly Backbreaker Sport articles shown above, once a month they publish the ‘Backbreaker Bulletin’. Now the bulletin to too long to show screen shot here and I wouldn’t know where to start in order to describe how immensely inspiring this content is so I will leave a link below for you to admire and succumb to the jaw dropping creativity in this document. It is everything you dream of when you were a kid just getting into the hobby now being fulfilled by these extremely talented individuals who are passionate about the game as anyone I’ve ever crossed paths with, Bravo!  link below.

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The Deadwood Rams

523344387_preview_BBLoading_ChaosSo the only question left to answer was, what team should I play? After my first ever league season at the ECBBL playing humans and finishing as mediocre as I thought I would, I was set on playing a team with a bit more diversity/character. I wanted to play with a team that had a clear plan going into each game, with humans it changes quite a lot. One game you may have to play the agility, passing/ throwing game against dwarfs for instance well on the other hand you can hold your own bashing against teams like Skaven. Well it was not long after GW had released their Chaos Chosen team the ‘Doom Lords’ that DBL18 was set to start and I had really appreciated the chaos models since I frist saw them. On top of that the team is fairly unique, 4 strength 4 pieces and then the rest beastmen with horns, not to mention the ability to hire and Minotaur and upgrade your players with mutations which is great fun. So that was that, I would be playing Chaos Chosen in DBL18. I present to you the ‘Deadwood Rams’

Deadwood Rams-01

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I must admit this is the first time I have sincerely put together a logo for a Blood Bowl team and I loved it. It was my first time using any sort of graphic design/editing software and don’t get me wrong it’s nowhere near as good or professional as a lot of the others but something as simple as this really adds a level of enjoyment to the hobby. It adds to the role-playing element to the game and really brings the league together, it’s not just Dave vs James (not the actual names of the following teams), it’s the ‘Alqualonde Falcons’ vs ‘The Artful Dodgers’. Yes, I know you can announce games with their team names by just naming each team, but when they are all backed up by high quality Logos, team photos and History, not to mention a weekly publication show casing this brilliance really brings out the magic of the beautiful game that is Blood Bowl.

So how have the Rams been getting on?

Well not terrible but could be doing better, they are currently on a win, a draw and two losses. The first four games have been tough, to begin with I played my first ever game with chaos a week before DBL started in a pre season friendly so it is taking time to get my head around them. Chaos Chosen have a tendency to be unreliable and difficult to get results with until they are skilled up. After the first four games they are getting there and fingers crossed the second round of games will be more rewarding.

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Round 1 Deadwood Rams vs Brain Munchen (Necromantic)

After the last result against Taylor and Swifts amazon team, I now need to beat Brain Munchen in my next game in order to have a chance of doing well in the division, if not the aim of the game will be to progress as much as possible in order to go into the knockouts with the best team possible. That will be a tough game, after playing them twice and a record of one a piece it could go either way but I am currently missing my star beastman with Tackle and Wrestle which could make it difficult. I’m sure either way it will be an enjoyable game, it always is. Also I have to give credit to my division, they are all great coaches which makes the games more challenging. Finger crossed the Rams really take off the next few games.

The Drive

So what software do they use in order to keep track of the games and teams, most league will use the thoroughly tested and loved OBBLM (Online Blood Bowl League Manager). But for some reason that I am not aware of the DBL has gone with creating its own Google Drive with shared documents, team sheets and standings there for everyone to edit when needed. This is something that I will find out more about as to the reasons but it works so why not. It has its advantages and disadvantages, it allows a lot more freedom when it comes to design etc something the DBL is keen on but on the other hand it requires a lot more manual involvement when editing team sheets which I can imagine being an issue with newer coaches. Like everything else, they don’t do anything half heartedly therefore the drive is arguably as robust as OBBLM and at the end of the day is something they can keep improving on season on season.

Summary

So to end this post I would just like to sum up my thoughts on the DBL. Honestly if you are in the London area and are looking for a good Blood Bowl league, I could not recommend this place enough. The effort put in, all for the benefit of the participants is second to none creating such a diverse community ranging from coaches who are there for the social side, have fun and play a game to the others who are very competitive and want to win the title. There is something for everyone!

I cannot wait to continue the rest of the league and, fingers crossed, the knockout stages. Let see what else the DBL has in store towards the end of the league as im sure there will be some more goodies and surprises, for instance I believe they are planning to start live streaming some of the games. Talking about Goodies, every Blood Bowl player loves specific accessories for anything they take part in whether it be a tournament or a league. It is normally just a set of custom dice, sometimes more depending on the size of the event. With the DBL on the other hand, the amount of ‘stuff’ we got just for joining was incredible. We each got given a set of division specific dice, badges with out teams logo on it, beer mat scatter templates (awesome idea) and my favourite, a mug with our teams logo printed on the side. This was a really nice touch!

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So all there is left to say is, Commish and every one else involved in managing and organising the DBL………

TAKE A BOW……

You done it right!

I will be back to discuss the second half of the league and the knockouts soon.

General

The Stunty Bug

Today I would like to take a minute to write about arguably one of the most entertaining sides to Blood Bowl, Stunty teams. Stunty teams are defined by the majority of their roster having the ‘Stunty’ skill, being small and easy to squish backed up by big (but stupid) team mates i.e Ogres and Trolls. The main three Stuny teams are Goblins, Halflings and Ogres. Although these are the most common it does not mean they are the only teams that fit this mould, other teams such as Lizardmen and Underworld have a fair amount of stunty players and the option for the big guys but their other available options (Saurus and Skaven respectively) bring the quality of the team higher than your standard stunty. This being said some tournaments will allow these two teams to complete for their stunty cup if they do not consist of these additional players.

The Misty Moon Hornets

The difficulty in winning with these teams is widely acknowledged and as someone who has attended as fair few tournament I have had to opportunity to play against them on many occasions.  In fact I believe I have played them half a dozen or so times and have never lost to them creating a curiosity as to whether my opponents were actually having fun. When ever you play a stunty team, no matter the score, your opponent is more than likely going to say they had great fun. To me this is hard to get my head around, don’t get me wrong I lose as many (if not more) games than I win and still love the game but find it hard to believe that a continuous beating doesn’t become soul-destroying.

As you may or may not know I am trying to work my up to completing the NAF 24 by bringing a different race to each NAF sanctioned event which meant I was fully aware that I would have to give these teams ago in a competitive environment at some point. When the London Grand Tournament came along a the end of May, Goblins where the only models I had that I had not yet played with. So that was it, my first dip into the painful world of Stunties would begin at the London Olympic Stadium.

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Day 2 of the LGT 2018

I was actually looking forward to it for 2 main reasons

  1. The new Goblin team models are awesome and I was really looking forward to painting them in particularly the Trolls
  2. All of a sudden the expectation and pressure to do well was lifted and I was able to enjoy myself more in the first game.

I wont go too much into the LGT itself as there will be a full write up coming soon, believe me there is a lot to talk about, but let me just say I did not do well in the rankings but had a unbelievably fun and relaxed time playing a game I love with some great people. One thing I also noticed was that I was less distracted and tied up with winning my games that I was more aware of my opponents paint jobs, their Blood Bowl story and met some awesome coaches.

Playing Goblins was an experience to say the least but one thing i did  find is it was more of an achievement when you finally get around to scoring a touchdown (especially when you threw a goblin with the ball to run in for the draw) Although i have been pitted against them and knew how they all worked, it was my first time using the infamous Goblin secret weapons. My build was not as competitive as it should have been due to not having the correct models yet but did have the 3 forgeworld Looney, Fanatic and Bomma (Chainsaw, Ball and Chain and Bomb). The combination of these 3 on the pitch at once lead to some great turns and turnovers despite under estimating and seriously struggling without the doom diver and  Po-goer. Movement 6 is pretty standard and any dwarf player would be jealous but when you have to get the ball into a cage quickly due to being strength 2 and easily squishable the extra movement from the Po-Go could have saved the game for me on more than one occasion. The Doom Diver on the other hand wouldnt of made a huge difference as I couldn’t land a bloody Goblin to save my life anyway but seeing the benefit of them in theory I 100% will be working on bringing one next time they come out to ‘Play’.

The first outing with the Goblins has wet my appetite for more Stunty madness in the name of Nuffle. This side of Blood Bowl is something new to me and after doubting whether it was for me or not I can now say I have caught the Stunty Bug! I am now in process of arranging ways to coach the whole range of stunty teams and with the gorgeous ‘Two Drunk Flings’ halfling team from kickstarter it has never been a more tempting time buy a new Blood Bowl team.

So lets see what the rest of the 2018/2019 Calender has in store and what antics await!

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The Squig is on the Loose!!!

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.

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Squigball rules taken from ‘Aldershot Squigbowl 2018’ rulespack

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?

The Build

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

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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

The Venue

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.

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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.

Game 1

Before we start this was the race breakdown given to us a few days before the event.

Vampires
Lizards x 3
Bretonnian
Goblins x 3
Slann x 2
Norse x 2
Halflings
Orcs
Wood Elf x 2
Dark Elf
Elf Union

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.

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Game 2

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.

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Game 3

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

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No races but you can see how bonus points took effect

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!!!!

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General

Kick Off!! Welcome to One Turn Touchdown

Welcome to One Turn Touchdown! It’s finally happened, we have began our journey into the world of blogging.Let me introduce myself, I am Tom, NAF name Tommymcg, and have recently been reintroduced into the marvelous world of Blood Bowl thanks to the re release of the game in November 2016. I say reintroduced as like so many like myself i have previously played Blood Bowl in my younger days (i believe 3rd edition).What first attracted me to the beautiful game was how a system with such simple mechanics can be so tactically complex and narratively immersive. The Joy of creating, building and branding your own team, watching them grow (or collapse) and competing against other great coaches all whilst being surrounded by a uniquely characterful portfolio of artwork and fluff to set the scene was incredibly enticing. So when i first heard the news that they were re releasing the game with newly designed models and boards etc my interest was caught immediately.

 

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Blood Bowl 2016

 

The Early Days

Well the first 6 months or so getting back to grips with the game were very slow, building and painting the new teams so that i don’t have to play with the same race over and over again. During this time i think i only played a few friendly games against friends but had a hunger to really get involved competitively. It involved endless evenings browsing the web trying to find local clubs or shops that hel events, little did i know about the beautiful thing that is the NAF website or Talk Fantasy Football.

I remember attending my first competitive Blood Bowl Tournament at IBuyWargames in Woking (check it out, a great hoppy zone), that feeling you get when you complete your first event and set the foundation for the future of your gaming was great. That was it, i was hooked and spent the next few days continuously looking out for Blood bowl tournaments, and didn’t even care if they were local anymore.

The next event i attended was the reintroduction of ‘The Blood Bowl’ by Games Workshop, hosted during their annual convention ‘Warhammer Fest’. This was GW’ first attempt at organizing a competitive tournament for Blood Bowl since the re release of the game, I believe they have been running ‘The Bugmans Full Beard Cup’ at Warhammer world and hosted an event a few weeks after release but this was set to be their first large scale event. Unfortunately in my opinion, and the opinion of other attendees, its was not the most successful first attempt but we won’t get into that now. It was here that i met Chris, NAF name Crit_Hit, another coach who has fallen victim to the addiction of Blood Bowl in the London area. It’s since then that my calendar has been full of Blood Bowl events, having someone to organise games and events with really opened up a range of opportunities to compete and after a year of playing it lead us here, beginning to write a blog about the game.

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‘The Blood Bowl 2017’ at Warhammer Fest promo

 

So why a Blog?

So during the first year of getting reacquainted with the game it was difficult to find places to play regular games so would fill these voids with reading blogs and listening to podcasts. I came to find that what i was looking for as a new player was the experience and opinions of other coaches at the same place in their Blood Bowl journey and being someone that started again during the re release meant there were bound to be thousands just like me. This is where it came to us, if we wrote a blog, journaling our progression as new coaches, it would be beneficial to us as being more involved in the community enriches our overall Blood Bowl experience particularly when playing games isn’t as easy to organise as we would like and will hopefully benefit other new coaches by sharing experiences with other like minded people.

As big fans of the game we believe there are 3 main parts of the experience, Playing, Hobbying and Blogs/Podcasts. Different people will focus the majority of their time on one of those aspects whilst others will be equally involved in all 3. Our personal ambition is to be as involved in all three of these aspects of the hobby as we can so here we are.

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Taking time out from playing 

 

What do we aim to achieve?

We discussed exactly what we want this blog to be and agreed we wanted it to be beneficial to our readers, although we will reporting on our experiences playing and hobbying etc we aim to make it relevant content to help you. Reporting on a tournament we have been to could potentially be interesting to some people but in my experience im not too interested in reading two pages about how someones ogre boneheaded 8 times in a game, i would benefit more from seeing some great paint jobs, learning from roster mistakes or even what works work in certain teams and what to expect from different events. Don’t get me wrong the frustrations and stupid dice rolls is a huge part of the game and can also be hugely entertaining and will no doubt occur on many occasions during our travels.

To begin we aim to cover the following

  • League Play
  • Tournament Play and experience
  • Hobbying, Building and Painting etc
  • The Community
  • New Model Releases

At the time of writing this we have recently been to two great tournaments which we will be doing a write up about shortly, Burmayhem 2 and UKTC 4

So if you love Blood Bowl and want great content on a regular basis about the hobby as whole then follow us here and we will see you soon.