Blood Bowl, General

Blitz Bowl! An Unexpected Journey

About this time last year the Blood Bowl community were hit with a single leaked picture on twitter (see below) which led the way to thousands of coaches wondering what this game could be, was it a remake/reimagined edition of the Blood Bowl spin-off ‘Kerrunch’ from the 90′ or was it be an expansion for the fully fledged game? One thing a lot of them did know was that they wanted it, and they wanted it now.

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First image revealed of the game
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Kerrunch, released in 1991

A few months later at Gen Con, Games Workshop finally officially announced Blitz Bowl, what the game entailed and when/where it would be available. This is where a lot of the controversy of this game comes in. They had only planned to release the game exclusively in the US and Germany!?!? see link

https://www.warhammer-community.com/2018/07/31/gencon-carnage-on-the-pitchgw-homepage-post-3/

Why?! This was the big question making it way around the community, for what reasons would they only release the game in these two specific countries? Is it an attempt to make it a gateway game into the full-fledged Blood Bowl in areas that do not have the biggest gaming scenes? I don’t think this is the case as I know that the US has a very extensive tournament schedule all year, as for Germany im not too sure about but they do have the German team tournament, one of the biggest team tournament around.

If it’s not this could it be an attempt to entice the next generation of bowlers into the game early? I find Blood Bowl a difficult game to get new players excited about, once you get them past a certain stage the game does it all for you but it’s that first 10 games or so that can be a slog for new players. Is Blitzbowl an attempt to get people hooked on the fluff and thematic shenanigans without the complications of quite a complex set of rules and skills.

Well only Games Workshop knows the reason behind it and im sure there are some facts and figures behind the decision but that still doesn’t help us astrogranite addicts who do not live in the US or Germany who have to make other arrangements to get our hands on the game which can turn out to be very expensive. I think the question on our minds right now is will this game be released to us in the future?


Its Match Day

So let’s have a look at the game itself, what goodies will we find in the box? If there’s one thing that coaches love in this game is unique goodies that they can use or collect, this can be seen in the sales of Dwarf and Skaven dice when they were first released. They sold out in seconds and people were paying 10x the RRP  on eBay because they wanted these team specific dice, they wanted to bring some flare and something personal to their team. This pursuit of these dice stems from the fact that Blood Bowl is at its heart an RPG game. Dont get me wrong the game mechanics are great and unique and do draw in a huge crowd of competitive gamers but at its base Blood Bowl is about the creation of your team, watching them grow and surrounding them with as much character and history as possible, well in my opinion anyway. So when the contents of the box were announced people got excited about not only the new game but the new dice. Lets have a look!

As you can see above the box is of a high quality, great finish with a unique piece of artwork on the front (for me these little things make a big difference, as much as the old recognised artwork is great, there’s always something special about a fresh creation that keeps the thematic cravings at bay) So what exactly do you get in the box? well here a quick list

  • 6 Humans (3 Lineman, 1 Blitzer, 1 Thrower and 1 Catcher)
  • 6 Orcs (3 Lineman, 1 Blitzer, 1 Thrower and 1 Black Orc)
  • 1 Pitch
  • 2 Sets of dice (2 block dice, 1 D6 and 1 D8)
  • Player stat cards
  • In games play cards
  • Templates and Dugouts

So lets talk about these! Firstly the models, there’s not much to say about these except you get the exact same sprue as you get in the Reikland Reavers or Gouged Eye box sets, the only difference being the colour of the plastic (yellow and red). These are more than sufficient to play this game, the models are great and the fact you get the already loved miniatures in a board game esq version of the game is generous, although one could have dreamt for some unique sculpts, which would obviously not have been possible due to cost. I did say dream!

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Onto the pitch itself, now this is where Games Workshop have done an impressive job in not only creating a fast paced board game in the Blood Bowl universe but have created a platform for enthusiasts to show off their creative ability and love for the lore. Blitzbowl is set around an event in the BloodBowl universe called ‘The Crush’. The Crush is an exhibition/test match used by aspiring players to show off what they can do and convince coaches from around the old world to hire them for their upcoming squad. It is set in a dungeon surrounded by a talent hungry crowd who set challenges for the players to see what they can do. The pitch itself is incredibly thematic with statues of some the most famous star players around such as Griff Oberwald and Morg n’ Thorg overlooking these starry-eyed athletes not realising what they are getting themselves in to. The reason I like what they done here so much is what it means for the extension of the hobby. There are a lot of coaches out there (like myself) who have spent a lot of time painting teams and writing backgrounds to go with them but Blitzbowl allows us to step away from the traditional Blood Bowl setting and start creating smaller ‘teams’ which we can have more flexibility with. For instance in the infamous DBL, last season a team entered made up purely of human lineman name ‘Logan’s Loser lineman’. The idea behind this team is brilliant and despite having the some of the most plain players in the game, the coach did a lot better than anyone expected and probably had more fun than a lot of other coaches. On top of this, the fluff created to go alongside them had a lot of effort put in and really drew the team together. The idea of a team of aspiring lineman lead by the most famous lineman around, ‘Logan’.  Its ideas like this that can really be taken over to or from Blitzbowl to enhance our full on Blood Bowl experiences.

board

One last point I have to add about the pitch is the way that games Workshop have listened and learnt from other companies. They have incorporated a scatter template into pitch to save you carrying it around/losing it. I hoped they would have started doing this on the Blood Bowl pitches but I think they are already too invested into the current format in order to change it now.

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The details on the pitch are great!

minotaurs-collection-004Did you Know!?

The Crush dictates that all available players are placed in a room with representatives from all teams, NFC and AFC, stand outside observing. At the word of “Go!”, all players rush through the small door to get to the team they want before the slots are filled.

The Crush takes place two weeks after the Blood Bowl Championship, the start of summer recess, and then the participating teams spend around a month trading players, negotiating contracts, and commencing training. While many teams use The Crush as a strong recruiting tool, other teams (mostly Orcs, Goblins, Chaos Dwarves, and Ogres) use the time-honored tradition of filling their ranks from their own tribes or clans, or using slaves they “purchased” from random settlements

From Blood-Bowl.wikia.com

The Dice! lets talk about the dice, the reason some people I know wanted the game. Yes as mentioned earlier you do get a set of yellow and red dice, the only problem being they only give you 2 block dice and 1 D6 as that is all you need for this game (we will talk more about this later but there’s no 3 die blocks or armour rolls) On top of that the quality of the dice were disappointing, some of the block dice had misprints and infills missing. It seems like they weren’t produced by their normal supplier. Overall a little disappointed but still shiny new Blood Bowl dice at the end of the day.

dice-tokens


The Teams

The translation of each teams and it strengths/weakness over to Blitz Bowl is a topic that you could discuss for a while but at the end of the day it all depends on how you are receiving this game. If you accept that Blitz Bowl is a stand alone spin-off board game then its a lot easier to accept but when your like me and enjoy intertwining the two thematically its hard not compare how each race performs in each game. Blood Bowl has been played competitively for years now so there is a fairly common understanding on which teams perform well in what situations as we all know the game is not balanced when it comes to team selection. But will those be the same with the relevant race in Blitz Bowl? well in my short experience no, but lets talk about why and look into the statistics of each race.

cards

As you can see from the cards above each positional now only has 3 statistics, Move, Throw and Armour. Move is pretty self-explanatory, this is maximum number of squares that player can take in one move action, Throw is the roll required before any modifiers for a pass action to be succesful and Armour is the roll required before any modifiers for the armour save to be successful.

Lets start with throwing, as I don’t think we need to elaborate on the move statistic. We will talk more about actions in a bit but if you wanted to throw the ball to another player  you would need to roll the equivalent on the players card. Now this is modified by a few thing such if it passes through an opposing player or the target is marked, but if you do succeed the target automatically catched the ball.

On the other hand, with armour, where as in Blood Bowl you need to break their armour value with 2D6, in Blitzbowl the knocked down player needs to beat their armour roll in order to stay on the pitch. This leads to a lot more removals but as you will see later they do come back. So in order for these player stats to make sense we will need to look into how the game pans out, whats the objectives of the game are and how this can be achieved.


The Playbook

If I were to compare Blitzbowl to another game it would without a doubt have to be what Warhammer Underworlds is to Age of Sigmar. A hugely popular and complex game system condensed down into a fast paced board game which can be played in a pub (well Blood Bowl is best enjoyed in a pub but that’s not the point). The reason I say this is down to two main points.

  1. They both combine cards and tabletop miniatures (Underworlds obviously being the more deck builder esq of the two)
  2. They both run off an action system, slightly different, but both giving the same tactical atmosphere to the game.

I’m not going to go into Warhammer Underworlds here, if you have played it you will know what I mean if not it’s not an issue but lets look at how a turn is structured in Blitz Bowl

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As you can see each player has 3 actions they can make in a turn, these can used to perform a variety of things ranging from moving to blocking. Here is a list of available actions and what they do.

I will be using the term ‘ tackle zone’ but there are not such things in Blitz Bowl. It’s just an easier way to describe it.

Run Action

As you guessed this is where you may move a player their maximum move distance. It is also the only way you can pick up the ball (without an extra skill), in order to do this you just need to run through the square where the ball is and you automatically pick it up. The only problem is you cannot run through ‘tackle zones’

Mark Action

A mark action allows you to move a player 2 square which can be through ‘tackle zones’ but also you must end your mark action next to an opposing player.

Throw Action

A throw action lets you pass the ball to a target player, the throw roll is modified by factors such as whether the target is marked or if the throw is in the second half of the template.

Block Action

Blocking in Blitzbowl is fairly similar but with some small differences that make it a completely different action. In order to Block you need to be adjacent to the target and then roll one block dice. If you have and assist you can roll 2. Assists in this game are not cancelled by other players and even if you have 5 assists it’s still only 2 dice. Here is a list of what each result does.

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As you can see above, even on a both down or skull result you do not knock yourself over and even if you did turnovers do not exist in the game. This makes blocking a lot less risky and takes away a lot of the risk management side to Blood Bowl and changing the flow of the game completely.

Reserves Action

Whenever a player is knocked down from a block and they fail their armour roll they are removed from the pitch and placed in reserves. The difference here is you can use an action in order to bring a player from reserves onto the pitch. This doesn’t make the physical side of the game as irrelevant as I first thought it would as making your opponent waste an action bringing them back is worth it.

Side Step Action

A side step action allows you to move 1 square when you are marked away from you opponent and end your move outside of their tackle zone.

Stand Up Action

You can spend an action standing a player up in the square they were knocked down in

With the amount of available actions each being key in different situations it is crucial to spend your 3 actions wisely as they are over before you know it. For example in order to Block a player who is more than 2 squares away ,aka Blitz, you would be required to use all 3 of your actions. Firstly Run, then Mark to get next to the player and then Block. This really opens ups the games tactically so it doesnt turn into a brawl and shows of some of the more spectacular aspects of the game, just like The Crush was designed to do.


The Scorecard

So what makes Blitz Bowl so tactically different to Blood Bowl is the objective of the game/how you score ‘points’. Where as in Blood Bowl it is purely down to whomever scores the most touchdowns, in Blitz bowl theres is a point system where points can scored in different ways such as scoring a touchdown or completing objective cards. The objective cards are where the game will balance out the teams, apparently. You automatically score 3 points for scoring a touchdown (which is more than most challenge cards) so if you can keep doing this you are most likely going to win the game but in order to balance the game and give slower, bashier teams a good chance a lot of the challenges will include objectives such as ‘claim this card if an enemy player is knocked down or injured this turn’. This gives them more of an oppurtunity whilst the Elves, Skaven and Goblins (we will get to them later) are scoring touchdowns all day long.

After Scoring a challenge card you get to take it into your ‘hand’ On the back of every card is a ‘play’ which you can activated in order to give you some sort of bonus, this where the games creeps even closer to Warhammer Underworlds. Some examples of the plays are that you gain an extra activation that turn which is extremely helpful or it allows you reroll one dice that turn.

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When you start playing with different teams and find out how they play, you quickly come to realise how well this game has encapsulated the thematic of each team and how they are expected to perform from their fluff. It’s very hard to do this in modern complex games as there will always be a meta where theory goes out the window **cough** 40k **cough**.

One thing I would have hoped for would have a larger variety of challenge cards and not as many duplicated, im not sure how that would turn out, whether too much variety would destroy the balance I was just talking about but would be good to give it a go. Finger crossed hey!


Other Teams, GOBLINS!!

Alongside the standard Orcs and Humans that come in the box game, they do supply you player cards for other teams, so that you can use your Blood Bowl models to expand your game. In the box I believe you get Skaven, Dwarfs, Pro Elves, Chaos Chosen and Goblins. I think this is a nice touch from GW as they didn’t have to supply them giving them the opportunity to expand on the game making more revenue in the future. I’m not sure if this means that they will not be supporting the game much further therefore giving you as much as thy can in the box or if it was simply a generous touch.

Blood Bowl Alternative Teams
additional teams player card

So in order test out the game longevity we had a few more games with different teams. First of all I decided to use Goblins, they allow you to have 8 standard ‘lineman’ and nothing else, I had to see how they played as 8 Goblins running around seemed great fun. In this Game Chris decided to see how Skaven turned out, their Gutter Runners still move a ridiculous amount on such a small board.

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Soooooo…….Goblins? from my first two games with them I have to say they are awesome in this game. The reason for this is their skill Small and Stuny. What this does is allows Goblins to move through ‘tackle zones’ when they make a run action meaning they can pick up the ball when it’s marked. Now this nullifies a lot of standard tactics. Normally being such a small pitch you can block of the opponents route to the end zone or mark the ball denying the opponent the opportunity to pick up the ball without knocking your player down (which takes all 3 actions) but with Goblins you can’t. They are extremely slippery and frustratingly good in this game. It was a pretty simple victory for the Goblin and I could see the frustration on Chris’ face when there was nothing he could do stop touchdown after touchdown without being able to pick up the ball himself.

So in the second game we decided to swap, Chris took Goblins and I gave Pro elves a go. Now this game went a bit different to the first one and this was mainly due to the elves getting the right challenge cards at right time. As we spoke about earlier, touchdowns are great, but if the opponent can capitalise on the challenge cards every turn it will be a tough game. The Goblins performed like the previous game, slipping through tackle zones, picking up the ball and scoring touchdowns but the Pro elves were able to keep up with passing plays and killing goblins to score points every turn. This seems to be the only way to have  chance to beat goblins, you need to get some luck with the right challenge card and really make sure your playing to score them.

I wouldn’t go as far as saying Goblins are broken but they are surely a very strong team in the game. They have the ability to be consistent in their scoring forcing your opponent to make sure they keep up and take every opportunity they get.

In regard to any of the other teams, we are yet to try them out but will be definitely doing so in the near future.


The Endgame

When going through the rulebook and learning how to play the game, they suggest you leave this bit out until you completely understand the rules. The reason for this is that ‘The Endgame’ are extra challenge cards that are put at the bottom of the deck so that they indicate the end of the game is approaching and opening up the game. The reason these cards open up the game is that they are on the extreme side in terms of not only how to achieve them but also how many points you gain and also what ‘play’ you receive on the reverse. Now this adds a lot of randomness to the game and can also make what has happened up to this point irrelevant as one player could get fortunate and win a few challenge cards winning them the game. Once again whether you like this side to the game depends on how you are receiving it. If you are playing for the competitive aspect and really want to win then ‘The Endgame’ could make the game inconsistent and frustrating but that is not how this game was designed. It was designed in the shadow of Blood Bowls crazy shenanigans and unbalanced randomness. I suggest playing with these and not taking this game too seriously, I doubt there’s going to be a Blitz Bowl Grand Tournament any time soon.


Match Analysis

In order to wrap this up and decide whether or not this is a game you should buy we should go over some of the key points from above

  1. If you wanted a new Blood Bowl game that you can play competitively and will be as widespread as the original you may need to adjust your expectations of the game if you are considering the purchase. This is 100% a throw in your bag, pub/coffee shop game that can be picked up and played without much setup and played in an hour.
  2. Another thing to consider when purchasing the game is its longevity. Yes they have given you extra teams but that still only mounts up to 7 (including the dark elves that were free in the American White Dwarf). We do not know if they will be expanding this game further in the future and if they do not, it could become stale quickly if you play regularly. Like I said above, I think this game was designed as an every now and then game.
  3. If you are a Blood Bowl enthusiast and simply crave everything about the game, this will give you the fix you’re looking for. The rule book has a little fluff and artwork and overall the quality of the product is great.
  4. How to get your hands on the game if you’re not from the US or Germany? If you do not live in the only 2 countries selling the game it can be fairly expensive to get your hands on. A £40 game then turns into an £80 game which may not be worth it. Is it worth holding out and seeing if they release the game elsewhere? I think so, not that anyone knows if its going to happen but £80 is is bit steep.

So overall I would highly recommend this game, if you know someone who has it I would suggest having a go. The copy we played with was Chris’ but after our first couple of games I am already working out how I am going to get my hands on it.

Here is a copy of the rules for you to have a read over

Blitz_Bowl_Rules

OTT Attempts – 0 (I don’t think its possible in this game)

General

Small packages

The summer saw an explosion of Blood Bowl events in the London area with several taking place over a couple of months. Earlier in the year we’d had the London Grand Tournament, but from June we had three of the more established events on the calendar.

First up was Pearly Kings and Queens XIII, 30th June-1st July.

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Having recently started playing in the ECBBL, the best ‘Blood Bowl league in London’. So it says on the website. The annual Pearly Kings and Queens tournament run by the ECBBL fell onto my calendar. This was the 13th edition of this event so it certainly has a history. The event has a skill system which I had not come across before. This used points instead of a number of skills. The higher the points cost for the more popular skills. The higher tier teams having less points to use. Any duplication skills also would cost additional points. So taking just block on your players would mean you would have less skills to take.

Now going into a tournament you would typically review the ruleset and see what race would be the best fit. However as I continue to try and reach the fabled 26 Races for the NAF, this left me with only one painted team to choose from. This is not a race I particularly enjoy using but they have one of the coolest positions in the game… the mighty Deathroller!

Game 6 vs Dark Elves_B_PK&Q_20180701

So Dwarfs then. One of the most divisive races to play within the Blood Bowl community. I say that but the typical reaction from most coaches, as you put down your little bundles of joy on the pitch, is a slump of the shoulders with a muttered, grumbling comment.

“Oh great, Dwarfs!”

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DAY 1

So it started with a glorious sunny day in south London. Luckily I was going to get out of all that nasty sunshine and headed into the Mad Hatter Hotel just south of the river Thames near Blackfriars Station. Despite the name, it was both a hotel and a pub. Which I have come to find means three things for Blood Bowl tournaments. Small tables, great food and lots of beer.

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So I registered with Rob, TO on the day and a fellow ECBBL league member. After a bit of chat with a few familiar faces and we were into round 1.

Game 1

First game was against Firebreather and his Goblins. Ok I thought. You have dodge, but I have lots of tackle. You have some high strength guys and Mighty Blow but I have high armour mostly. I got this!

Game 1 vs Goblins_PK&Q_20180630

So as we setup I was facing two Trolls, Ripper, a Chainsaw, a Pogoer, a Bomba, Fungus the Loon and a bunch of goblins. So lots of different positions to deal with, but this games standout player was the chaotic Fungus the Loon. This guy took out the caged ball carrier twice in the game. The goblin Pogoer took advantage in the first half by outrunning the Dwarfs to go up 1-0 at half time. I successfully made the Argue the call roll for my Deathroller (love that rule), so felt confident about causing some casualties and scoring in the second half. Unfortunately the reverse happened. With casualties piling up against the Dwarfs, I only just managed to squeeze out the turn 16 touchdown for that hard earned draw.  

Not a great start but I could have easily lost that game so felt I had got away with one and looked forward to my second game.

DRAW 1-1
Casualties 2-4

Game 2

I faced Wulfyn in the next game and his Underworld. Another ECBBL regular so a tough opponent but a favourable match-up I thought. His dodging Goblins against my tackle. A few secret weapons and lots of skills but take out a few players and things should go as planned. Kill a few Skaven, base the goblins and grind out my first victory.

Game 2 vs Underworld_PK&Q_20180630

Well I got the casualties in bucket loads. Ending up with a delightful 7 before the final whistle. But I was struggling to pop the ball loose and get clear with the limited movement. So I had to rely on another turn 16 scramble to eek out a 1-1 draw.

DRAW 1-1
Casualties 7-2

Game 3

The draw was made and I found myself playing Geggster. If you are not aware, he is a regular player for Team England at the Eurobowl and has hundreds of NAF games to his name. But most of all he is a really nice guy. Having not played him before I was looking forward to it but did not expect much of a result. Although he was using Chaos Renegades, so a few untimely 1’s and I should be in with a chance.

Game 3 vs Chaos Renegades_PK&Q_20180630

The Koolbeards kicked to start the game. The Renegades got straight to work with the Minotaur getting lots of hits but not any injuries. Despite this the Renegades scored, after dominating the field for the half. My opponents then explained to me that as I had chosen not to field my Deathroller in defense and as I had only 12 players, he was desperately trying to get a casualty and then score in turn 8. This would then have forced me to play my Deathroller for my turn 8. Resulting in a likely early bath for the Deathroller. Luckily in this case I made a KO roll so that I could save him for the second half. This was something that I had not really considered before. One to remember for the future I thought!

So with the Deathroller in play, the plan was to bash a couple of big guys with the Deathroller and scored in turn 16 for a draw. This time the dwarfs couldn’t make it. Geggster did a great job of slowing me down and it ended 0-1. A fun game playing a great opponent.

Now during this game both my opponent and I were a little distracted by the French national football team playing on the big screen. In my case I had them in the office sweepstake so was keen to see them do well (Spoilers – France did quite well in the end!) But I have to stay the crowd noise from the TV actually made for a bit of a stadium atmosphere for the game which was great fun. I don’t think much of the cheering was for me but it sounded good.

LOSS 0-1
Casualties 3-2

So the end of day 1 and I was on a record of 0-2-1, Not great considering the races I had played. If you said Goblins, Underworld and Chaos Renegades would have been my opponents, I would have expected better by the days end. I had played some good coaches and I found out that with that last game I was only 1 or 2 behind on the Most Casualty award. Winning was out, so the plan for the remaining games was to get at least win and cause lots of casualties. Day 2 would surely bring better things I thought.

DAY 2

Game 4

It finally happened! We all know it will at some point but today was that day. Spoiler alert – I lost to Ogres! Oh the shame.

Actually I have to say this was a really fun game despite the result. My opponent was Tom from the DBL. One of the largest leagues in the London area and a very vocal bunch wherever you find them.

Well once again armour 9 continued to fail and those pesky Snotlings just would not die. Suffering 5 casualties in the game got both us bogged down in the middle of the pitch for most of the game. The Ogres received first half and failed to pick up the ball 6 times in a row. I only committed one player initially to pressure the ball, which turned out to be a mistake as that Blitzer could not free himself and the ball from the Snotlings.

Game 4 vs Ogres_PK&Q_20180630

0-0 at halftime but the Koolbeards were receiving. Casualties started to mount and the Dwarfs got stuck in the middle of the pitch. With Dwarfs and the ball knocked around all over the place, a Snotling managed to pick up the ball in multiple tackle zones. A quick hand-off to another Snotling who is then thrown clear for a TD. A reroll wasn’t even needed. I looked on in disbelief as this unfolded but it was great fun to watch.

The most disappointing part was that I had managed only 2 casualties in this game. With those Snotlings on the pitch I was hoping for a real bounty of death to push for the Most Casualties award. But the injury rolls were not working in this one. But a really fun game despite the result.

LOSS 0-1
Casualties 2-5

Game 5

Only my second ever game against Bretonnians for this one. After hearing a lot of talk about how good they could be, I was intrigued to see how it was going to go. My opponent was Ewuan who was down from Scotland for the event. Pretty cool!

The Brets received. And I didn’t choose to field my Deathroller again. Surely my Armour 9 will hold up this game so I was confident of keeping my players on the pitch. Early on I managed to pop the ball free, gathered it up and pushed right through a big crowd looking to roll up the Brets. Unfortunately I had forgotten about the Brets Frenzy blitzer, who proceeded to surf two of my players in his next turn. I was now players down. Crucially 1 was injured the other KO’d for the rest of the half. My opponent took advantage of the player advantage and scored in turn 8.

So came the KO roll for my 11th player. And I failed it! So my Deathroller had to come on, with only one turn (turn 8) to my his mark. Argue the Call did not come to my rescue so I lost him for the second half. That Frenzy blizter is now on the Grudge list!

Game 5 vs Bretts_PK&Q_20180701

The strategy for the second half switched to getting a draw and causing as many casualties as possible, but Nuffle decided not. My opponent rolled a pitch invasion and with his +2 FAME, I had only 4 players standing for the start of my 2nd half drive. Lucky all the stunned players made a screen behind which I could hide with the ball. Unfortunately this required a one die block to free my blitzer. A skull it was and the Brets did not need to be asked twice. The next 4-5 turns were my attempts to get out from a ring of Bret players and try to progress forward. Eventually I ran out of players to form a full cage and the Brets scoped up the loose ball. It ended with a comprehensive 0-2 loss. This game was a bit of struggle where little went my way, although I did make a couple of mistakes for which I was punished. Again causalities were not forthcoming so onto round 6 looking for maybe a win for a little bit of pride.

LOSS 0-2
Casualties 0-1

Game 6

The final game of Pearly Kings and Queens had come. Would it be a final humiliation or perhaps I could salvage a bit of pride. I was drawn against Richy, again form the ECBBL and someone I had lost to before. Today he was using Dark Elves so I didn’t have too much hope. But any hope of prizes was gone so it was time to have some fun, and pound some elves.

Game 6 vs Dark Elves_PK&Q_20180701

Well I thumped them pointy-eared *****! Straight into the KO box. Ending on only 2 casualties by the end, but not suffering any for the first time. And another turn 16 TD, to claim my classic comeback 1-1 draw.

DRAW 1-1
Casualties 2-0

Finishing day two with a record of 0-1-2, which gave me an tournament record of 0-3-3. The 17 casualties being the main bright spot on an otherwise poor tournament, putting me 32nd overall.

The Champion was Stu (stu2) with Chaos Dwarfs, again from the ECBBL. Did I mention that they are the best Blood Bowl league in London!

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In summary, I think my positioning was not great with the Koolbeards. I allowed myself to get bogged down by the opponents in the last third of the pitch. Tending to base and not leaving myself free players to push forward and progress. Thankfully this was 6 NAF games for the Dwarfs and so I will not need to use them again for 26. Maybe one day I will bring them out of the box but not quite sure when that would be.

I really enjoyed this event. The venue created a fun atmosphere with the World Cup games going on in the background. Maybe tournaments could start putting on some background crowd noise to add some of that atmosphere. Play a game while the football is on at your local and see what you think!

Lunch on both days was included in the ticket price and was excellent. And very much appreciated as I was looking to get into true character with my team by indulging in the food and drink throughout. Finishing early and living locally meant I was home in good time to enjoy the last of the warm weather.

A big thanks to Rob for running a great event, with everything going smoothly throughout. Definitely one for the 2019 Blood Bowl Tournament 2019.

OTT’s Achieved: 0 (not a surprise really)

Grudges to be settled:

  1. Fungus the Loon – A guided missile all game.
  2. Snotling TD scorer – Because…
  3. Bretonnian Frenzy Blitzer – Two player surf in one turn!

 

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!

General

POW’s mean prizes – A year of tournaments

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

WHW

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.

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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.

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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 …

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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.

General

The beginning times…

My Blood Bowl journey began in 1990… something. While at a New Years Eve party, a friend of a friend whose name I cannot remember happened to mention a game he had recently played. The game involved Orcs and Humans playing some kind of American Football on a board. This person’s main comment was that as they played, his opponent always seemed to constantly interrupt his turn by quoting a rule which explained why they had failed something. Little did I know how accurate a description of a game of Blood Bowl this would turn out to be. As a keen American Football fan I was interested. A quick trip to the reading outpost of the Games Workshop empire and I was the proud owner of what turned out to be a copy of the Blood Bowl 3rd Edition box set.

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At this point, I was not aware of any local gaming clubs or shops so my early games were against friends and family. To my surprise, my interest in the game was not universal and I soon had burnt through all of my possible gaming bridges. Most were just not interested in playing an American Football based game for more than 2 hours. So I soon found the main obstacle to playing not just Blood Bowl, but most tabletop games. Finding someone to play against! A few friends were interested in the hobby but most focused on 40k or Fantasy. So with the very occasional game becoming the norm, my tabletop Blood Blood career slowly dissolved to nothing over the next few months.

The following years were punctuated with the occasional Blood Bowl moment. A brief outing with the Ronald Lokers’ Blood Bowl Tool, a PBeM (Play By eMail) application. Which still appears to be around, a quick Google search seems to confirm. And then the release of the first Blood Bowl PC game by Cyanide was my only Blood Bowl experiences since those early days.

But then came the Blood Bowl 2 game on the PC. This was the small stone that would become the Blood Bowl avalanche. I soon discovered that Games Workshop were rumoured to be re-releasing the tabletop game. A few preview pictures online peaked my interest. So I waited with anticipation to see what Games Workshop would come up with.

November 2016 arrived and the game was released. I picked a copy from my newly found friendly local gaming shop, Warboar Games in Bromley. A place I would be soon returning too with great regularity.

I loved all of the new content and could not wait to put them together and play my first tabletop game since the 90’s. It was at this point that the reason I stop playing back came to the fore. I have a cool new two player game, but who the hell am I going to play? Well my searches online for a copy of the game had also inadvertently provided the solution. Your friendly local gaming shop probably has a social media presence, and therefore a way to find pick up games. A quick post online and my first game was arranged. I showed up, my opponent didn’t! A small setback, but I was soon playing one off games most weeks. I meet other similar coaches who had just picked up the new release and were getting back into the hobby. These games, lead to regular weekly games, then leagues and then my first tournament.

As GW released more content my involvement grew, and I am now involved in a few ongoing leagues and have played in several tournaments around the UK. And loving every minute of it.

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So what next? Well, if I am not playing Blood Bowl, I am reading or talking about it. So why not write about it. A blog seemed the logical choice.

I met the other 50% of the One Turn Touchdown blog at one of those early Blood Bowl tournaments at Warhammer Fest. Tom and his Dark Elves against my Skaven, which ended in a 2-2 draw, I think. One of my better results for the weekend. We soon discovered we both lived in the London area and were looking to play more Blood Bowl. Tom mentioned the idea of a blog and I jumped at the idea. And so the One Turn Touchdown Blog was born.

This blog is a chance to share my views and experiences of the game. Hopefully entertaining and informing along the way. Tournaments, league play, rules, releases and all things Blood Bowl related are all on the agenda going forwards. So welcome to the blog and remember…

Nuffle doesn’t like you… but he loves me!

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.