It’s taken a while but I finally got my Blood Bowl pitches made. These are the ones that I made from scratch last year. I’m really pleased with the quality and look forward to giving one of them a run out on Wednesday when I have a league game.
My first tournament of 2015 is next week and there’s a nice little addition in honour of the event being held on a dairy farm.
“Daisy you’re a little star
Strange things happen on the farm in wildest Somerset. Some of the more inquisitive cow based locals have become interested in what’s going on, each team will be allowed to have one Minotaur Calf join their team at the start of the tournament, they have the following profile:
Minotaur Calf 5 3 2 7 Loner, Horns, Disturbing Presence
The calf joins the team as a regular player and may take the number of players on a team over 16 but only 11 on the field at once please. The calf will not carry SPP’s from game to game and cannot gain skills in any way. The calf will ‘regenerate’ at the start of each game, same as the rest of the team.
We would like those attending to provide their own ‘Minotaur Calf’; there will be an award for best painted/most imaginative interpretation of this. Please be sensible in the interpretation, approximately 28mm scale taking up about one square would be appreciated.
There will be some spot prizes for Calf related antics.”
I’ve modelled my Daisy using a 2nd Edition human lineman with a simple head swap for a Hornby cow. The paint scheme is a more pink variant of my Chaos team’s uniform because Daisy is the baby of the team. Don’t think it will win any prizes but I like it 🙂
Ever since returning from my first Blood Bowl tournament (yes, I am still going on about it) I have been buzzing with Blood Bowl hobby ideas. One of the things that I did like were custom markers for turn, reroll, score and casualties. Not everyone uses them but I did like them and given that I’m working on some custom pitches an dugouts that have smaller squares for each of those game elements, I thought I would have a go at making my own.
The simplest of all are these casualty markers. They are tombstones from the Warhammer Fantasy Vampire Counts army that I found on a Bits site. I’ve stuck them to a standard 20mm square base, given them a simple base using some grit and some static grass and painted very simply. In terms of game play they can be used to show on your own sideline/dugout whenever you cause a counting casualty.
Still simple, although with slightly more effort are these custom markers that I’ve made to use on one of my new pitches. Very simply these are sections of a wooden drinks stirrer glued with wood glue to a section of match stick. I’ve then filled in the slot of a 20mm square base and pushed the matchstick in. Let this dry and then base and paint as you like. I’ve free-handed the lettering on each marker. This was only a quick project and if I make some more I think I would weather them more – cut some gaps in the main board and maybe score it to bring out some extra wood grain. I’m going to fill in the underside of the base as they are very light and I’m used to playing with metal miniatures that have more weight to them.
A few days ago I posted some pictures of my custom designed Blood Bowl pitch that I’m going to get printed on to vinyl. To help push things along a little bit I managed to print the pitch out on 9 sheets of A4 paper and sellotape it together to get a full size version. This was a really useful exercise as it helped me to check the practical aspects of the pitch – size of the markers and dugouts – but also the graphic elements such as foreground and background layers and image opacity. I’ve got no experience printing anything on this scale or on a medium other than paper so some of the details may change again.
Following my print out checks and some great feedback on Twitter I’ve done a final version which I’m getting printed. When I have samples back I’ll share them here.
I’ve made the dugouts bigger and moved the score markers to be above the turn and reroll markers. I’ve also reduced the font size on the weather, casualty and injury tables and moved them slightly. This has helped me to move the throwing table up into the dugout area rather than on the pitch. As a result I’ve moved the scatter template to the middle of each half. This helps keep the pitch itself much tidier. I have removed the number markings on the pitch as I felt it was a bit too ‘busy’. I do really like the numbers though so will probably end up adding these back in a future iteration and think they will end up in the wide zones.
The overall pitch dimensions have remained the same and when I took the paper version to the club on Wednesday it fits all of our tables with plenty of room. The next league season should be much easier and I should be able to keep my match report notes next to me rather than on the floor where I forget about them!
Comments and suggestions are still welcomed. Have you tried to create a custom pitch or board for your game of choice?
When I first got back into Blood Bowl the first thing that interested me was the miniatures both collecting and painting. I recovered a lot of my old collection and went on a spending spree to get new teams and individual players. I then starting painting again at a rate of 3 or 4 teams a year, mainly all done in the winter months. A while ago though I started to look into other aspects of the hobby and my recent experiences at Gert Bowl have only increased my desire to customise my Blood Bowl playing experience. I started to create a pirate ship pitch using strips of cardboard and PVA glue and have some green felt in the cave ready to be turned into a pitch. These are on the workbench in the cave in need of some more attention, pushed aside while I focused on painting. At the games club a few weeks ago a fellow BBer said that they could access a printer capable of printing on vinyl. The mind started racing and before I knew what I was doing I said that I’d try to create a custom pitch that we could print out for the club and for the ExeBowl tournament…
The big problem with this is that I am terrible with graphics programs. I’ve used computers all of my life but graphics programs have always been alien to me; I understand some of the basic concepts but actually achieving them is beyond me. Despite this I thought I could do it.
I wanted a pitch that combined the dugouts and markers as well as some of the more frequently used table such as the weather and kick off tables. It was always in my mind to combine these into one mat but it was reemphasised to me at the tournament because table space is limited. We have this problem at the games club too and all to often I’m struggling to get everything on the playing table comfortably. I also wanted a pitch that I could customise to some extent and ultimately theme.
The basic Blood Bowl pitch is very simple – it’s a 26 x 15 grid of 29mm squares. The dugouts need markers for each team to be able to track turns, rerolls and score as well the boxes to be able to clearly identify players in reserve, players knocked out and players that are hurt or injured. Other nice things to have are the scatter template, the throwing template and tables and references.
I started trying to do it all in Photoshop which isn’t really designed for vector graphics like this. I quickly found that this was a pain and turned instead to Illustrator to create the main grid, dugout and marker shapes and then pasting them into the Photoshop image as smart objects. Once I had the main layout I added the background colours to the dugouts and endzones and other pitch embellishments. These are all done as individual layers so changing it down the line is a quick process. I also added the thicker pitch and wide zone lines as separate layers. This was learnt through trial and error a little bit as aligning the grid and the other markings was the hardest part of this whole design. I was having to learn all sorts of things about sizing, resolution and alignment and getting it precise was hard work initially. I originally wanted a pitch with the main grid marked out as little crosses at the corner of each 29mm square but I just couldn’t get it right. I created the pattern that I wanted but matching it up with the outline properly was time-consuming. I will come back to this in a future version.
Here is what I’ve put together so far.
The next steps are to get some samples printed up so that I can check how each of the layers work and how the colours and textures look together. There’s still lot that could be done with this but getting a version completed and printed on vinyl is the target. When I know that the proportions all work together I’ll be able to put more effort into themes and customisation. I started with grass texture from a link to a tutorial that I was sent and although I like the grass pitch I think I prefer the granite style one.
There’s no intention to sell these, it is just a bit of fun and a way of the club and the club players having some more interesting games. Because of the way that the turn, score and reroll markers are sized it also means that I will be making some custom tokens for us to use. The squares are each 20mm so I’ll be making something with square bases. To start with it will be painted and weighted bases but they will be customised with painted miniatures and other goodies over time.
Big thanks to @Big_6Z and @SteveLemky for sharing some of their work with me whilst I worked on this project. I didn’t end up using any of it in the final design as it is a project that I wanted to do myself. But their input was timely and helped me understand the processes required and pushed me to work it out for myself. Thanks guys 🙂
When I’ve got the finished product in hand I’ll share some pictures. If we can get it all done and it doesn’t end up breaking the bank then I would love to be able to give one of these pitches as a prize at ExeBowl in October.
If you’ve got any comments or suggestions about the pitches then I’d be happy to hear them.