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New Year Open Day 2019 & Warhammer World

Writing this on the train home, my head is swimming with ideas and dreams for the coming year, after the New Year Open Day at Warhammer World.

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And what a day it was. Release the troll!!! I will come back to him.

It was a day full of reveals, loads of great miniatures, and Games Workshop staff around to ask the only real question. “So when can I buy it?” A bit of painting, shopping, some demonstration games and Warhammer celebrity spotting.

The Open Day

So what was new for Blood Bowl …

Helmut Wulf and Karla von Kill were both available to buy, having gone on pre-order the day before on the Forge World website. Not a huge fan of the sculpts beforehand, but seeing them in person means that I have certainly warmed to them.

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Specialist Games were present in the Studio area being held in the main event hall this year. So anything new you ask? Well you probably have already seen but they had previews of the three Goblin positionals (Pogoer, Doom Diver and ‘Ooligan), the Nurgle Rotspawn and last but not least the new troll.

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Or as the sign said ‘Troll 2’.

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And am I glad we finally have a sequel. I love these new miniatures. The Goblins are fun and OTT as they should be. The Rotspawn is fat and ugly. And the troll is … well how a troll should look. Not a baseball pitcher! A+ all round. I hear we should expect a February release for these.

The usual attempts to cajole, bribe and threaten the Specialist Games staff to provide more details was fruitless (note that I did none of these). But it is always worth a chat with the guys who design, make and write Blood Bowl for GW. The most striking thing you notice when talking to the Specialist Games team is the sense of enthusiasm for the games. They actually love it. And this shows through in the quality of what they produce.

Other than Blood Bowl they had announcements for most if not all of the other GW game systems. Previews for Kill Team, Black Fortress, Necromunda, 40k and Age of Sigmar.

The other Blood Bowl related interest on the day for me was the new Gloomspite Gitz range. With the new Squigs and Squig Hoppers on show. I am looking to put together a Squig Herder team for a local league, so these have come at a great time. The new Troggoths releases could also make for some interesting conversions for Blood Bowl.

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Elsewhere they had a demonstration game of Blood Bowl running along with all the other GW games. It seemed quite popular throughout the day which was good to see. I did think about asking to play a bit of a game as they had painted Human and Orc teams. Most likely painted by the GW Army Painter team. So much better than my standard of painting but I thought I should let others get involved.

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They also had the usual stands for miniature and terrain designers, artists, painters, writers and White Dwarf staff on hand for any questions.

New this year was the Paint a Model and Construction Corner (Building Terrain) areas. I got to use a fully stocked painting station on a Chaos Warrior. This included paints, brushes, GW palate paper, one of the new paint pot holders and painting handle to use. And best of all you got to keep the miniature. Although what GW would do with my effort I would rather not know.

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This was great fun and I spent a couple of hours here. The typcial miniature painter experince tends to be solitary one. But here I found the communal aspect of sharing paints and brushes a welcome change. And the kind comments from on-lookers was something very different from the usual dungeon at home. Brushes for Dry brushing and water pots seemed in short supply but we all muddled through as best we could.

And finally the exhibition. This was free to enter for event attendees and is always a highlight of any visit for me. So much inspiration and excitement is gained by visiting these four special rooms. Which just happens to exit into the shop. I wonder why …

Takeaways

Speaking of the shop. Did I buy anything? Well of course. You cannot spend several hours in a building designed to enthuse you about lumps of plastic and resin and then not. I had a budget and stuck to it, mostly. A trip to Warhammer World always makes the wallet cry a little.

Having been lucky enough to visit Warhammer World previously I have all the mugs, and T-shirts I could want. But I did pick up the new releases for myself and fellow league members. Saving on Forge World shipping is always useful perk.

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Overall a great day. I have been to the two previous New Year Open Days and this one was defently the best. The cost of the ticket was covered mostly by the entry to the exhibition alone. And the chance to see upcoming products and meet the people that make Blood Bowl related things is always a treat.

A couple of preview/painting seminars during the day would have been a great additional but I think a lack of space is the issue here.

We even got a free cup cake when we arrived. Happy 20th Anniversary Warhammer World!

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Blood Bowl at Warhammer World

So what else does Warhammer World have for a Blood Bowler?

Well, they have the goods. By that I mean they have probably the most extensive Blood Bowl selection anywhere I would think. And if they don’t have it on the shelf, just ask. In the case of Forge World products, if you ask during the day they will try to have it for you by 5pm if not early. Otherwise they will ship it to you for free. A great service especially if you are making a special trip or drop in on the off-chance.

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The main section for models, dice, pitches is now in Forge World. With the mugs and T-shirts in the main shop. I believe these are Warhammer World exclusive so always nice to have. Not much of a tea or coffee drinker myself but a Blood Bowl themed mug makes a great painting water pot I find.
Top tip: Just don’t accidentally drink the water!

Forge World also has a specially made mini Blood Bowl pitch. Created by Ashley Reid at GW, it is used for teaching customers the basics of the game. This is a fun item and looks great. If you ever fancied making a pitch this would be a great exanple to follow.

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Black Library

This is tje only Black Library shop in the world. Not the biggest bookshop you will ever visit but for fans of the lore, a must. Browse some of the background fiction, and pick out some limted editions. A couple of comfortable chairs and some Open Copy books on the table make it somewhere you could easily lose a good few hours.

Published Blood Bowl fiction is limited at best. With the novels by Matt Forbeck and the recently released Blood on the Pitch anthology really being it. A couple of copies of the new anthology book were next to a copy of the Blood Bowl Starter Box interestingly. A copy of which is currently sat in my reading pile at home. More on that at a later date …

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The Exhibition

If you need one reason to visit Warhammer World. The exhibition would be it. A benefit of going to events at Warhammer World is that usually the exhibition will be free for attendees. Normally it is around £7.50 to go in. But it is worth every penny. And more! I would have happily paid on the day if I had to. And if you don’t think you will make it back soon or ever, it is a must.

The sheer volume, scale, quality and cost (lots of miniatures) is mind blowing. For anyone who has ever built or painted a miniature from Games Workshop, you will instantly appreciate the effort required to fill these exhibition rooms with hobby awesomeness.

Blood Bowl is represented but is limited to only two small cases showing two matches in progress. And then a cabinet with the newly released teams from 2016 onwards with the original Blood Bowl trophy in the middle.

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Noteworthy here are the two Blood bowl pitches used in the dioramas. These were photographed and used as the basis of the pitches supplied in the 2016 box release. And they are real works of art. Complete with some appropriately battered looking sideline advertising boards (an idea which I have already borrowed for my local league).

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It might be interesting to use the two moments displayed as the start of a ‘What If’ scenario to see what would happen next. Setup a board as close as possible to the diorama and then play out the drive. One for the future perhaps.

The extent of the range of miniatures and paint styles on display in the exhibition means that inspiration is fully on show. I like to look for new and interesting paint schemes for future projects. The armies of the 40th millennium and the Age of Sigmar provide quite a spectical, with lots of ideas in every case. The Golden Demon winners on display are also worth a look. A chance to see how the real hobby champions do it. The odd Blood Bowl model might be lurking in there too.

Bugman’s Bar

And as is tradition, no visit to Bugman’s Bar is complete without a pint of Blitzer’s Best. Or at least I would have done if they had not run out. Supposedly it was also a cherry flavoured one. Not very Blood Bowl if you ask me. So I opted for the Orca Cola instead (cola drink). Hmmm… maybe next time I should ask for an Orca Cola and see what I get. A funny look most likely.

They had a special New Year Open Day menu. So no Blood Bowl themed items as they have had previously. I believe you could take the Bob Bifford’s challenge which consisted of a plate fit for an Ogre, pilled high with food. Receiving a certificate for finishing it all in 30 minutes. It might still be available on normal days. Check before you travel on that one.

And Finally …

Well that was all the Blood Bowl I could spot. I haven’t covered the other systems from Games Workshop. Others more involved can do that better than I. But hopefully this has given you an idea what Warhammer World is all about for a Blood Bowler.

Already looking forward to the next Open Day at Warhammer World and I might just see you there.

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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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