One man and his Griff, went to the NAFC 2015

Before the NAFC 2015 becomes a distant memory it is probably worth me writing down a quick summary of the games and my thoughts on the event.

First a quick recap. I decided a long time ago to take Humans and to bring along the greatest human Blood Bowl player – nay the greatest Blood Bowl player of all time, Griff Oberwald. As I was told several times over the weekend he’s getting on a bit and isn’t what he used to be, but at MA7 ST4 AG4 AV8 Loner, Block, Dodge, Fend, Sprint and Sure Feet he’s still pretty darn good to me! Yes, he wants a cart full of gold before he’ll turn up but my team was willing to make sacrifices.

My build was therefore 1 Thrower, 4 Blitzers, 6 Linemen, 1 Reroll and Griff. My Day 1 skills were Leader on the Thrower (for the extra RR), Guard on a Blitzer and Kick on a Lineman. Day 2 I was very creative and took Guard on the other three Blitzers. Not the most dynamic lineup and the phrase ‘all your eggs in one basket’ was used more than once in the build up. It was all built around Griff. His people insisted on it. He was to be the star of the show and everyone else was there to make him look good.

Griff's team talk

Griff’s team talk

So how did it work out…?

Game 1 – Dark Elves

There were a lot of Dark Elves in the room. A lot. Not a great match up and it was going to be a challenge. I received and Griff immediately took control of the situation, picking up the ball and shimmying left before breaking right and making a dash for open space. He dashed…but the thought of spending all that gold and the weary old legs resulted in him falling over and dropping the ball when there was nothing but grass near him. Dark Elves being Elves duly picked up the ball and scored, much to the annoyance of Griff who didn’t even have a chance to stand up. He did redeem himself by running in a first half equaliser, which was cancelled out at the start of the second half when the Dark Elves ran in another score to go 2-1 up. With both teams electing to go with 1 reroll and the Leader skill dice eventually caught up with the Elves and Griff’s experience and expertise shone through and he was able to level it on his own to make it 2-2.

Game 2 – Lizards

Lizards. Eurgh! I hate facing tournament Lizards. They’ve got all the questions and I don’t have any of the answers. To make things worse, these were French Lizards. The French are exceptional Blood Bowl players and there was a large group of strong French players at the NAFC…and this was one of them. The Lizards received and expertly maneuvered the cage downfield for the whole half scoring on Turn 8. Griff received in the second half and ducked and dived but didn’t get anywhere. He got bogged down on the left and so charged to the right catching the Lizards off guard. His joy at the way in which he wrong footed an entire team was short-lived as he again tripped over whilst trying to get away from all possible attackers. By this stage the kit-man was being ushered up to the team owner’s office. Something was clearly wrong with Griff’s boots. The Lizards reacted and covered the ball and seeking to kill off the game an eager Skink attempted to pickup the ball. The glare of the sun shining on Griff’s magnificent headpiece distracted the Skink and he bobbled it. Griff stood up knocking the skink down in the process and picked the ball up at the feet of a  shocked Saurus before running away and eventually pulling free to score down the left. The Lizards had three turns in which to get the winner but Griff engineered a good defence and made it hard for the Lizards. One Skink did break free and with the winning touchdown in his grasp, a sudden glare of bright sunlight blinded him and he fell over. Griff put his helmet back on and smiled. Ol’ Chicken ‘Ead had done it again.

Game 3 – Humans

We called this game before the tournament. Two Griff’s enter, one Griff leaves! The Griff-off. Mirror match. Same builds with the exception of one skill. I received and it was very cagey for the first few turns. Each coach trying to find an opening or closing gaps that could be exploited. As time was running out my Griff sensed that he needed to take control of the situation and ran free down the right. The opposing Griff (created by the probability wizards just for this game) attempted to catch up but fell over and stunned himself, which allowed Griff (my Griff, the real Griff) to walk in for the score. At the start of the second half the opposing team advanced the ball with the Thrower and Griff leading the way upfront. I managed to get a player free to knock over the ball carrier and send the ball scattering. It came the way of Griff who caught it in three tackle zones. Unfortunately for me, it was the wrong Griff and he ran free with the ball. My Griff gave chase but fell over and stunned himself, allowing the (fake) Griff to make the easy score. No time to mess about now. Griff took the kickoff and charged down the left into open space. Griff knocked him over but on turn 16 Griff (my one) stood up dusted himself down then dodged out, picked up the ball and sprinted over the line for the winning touchdown.

Game 4 – Norse

The start of Day 2 and the team’s coaches were hard at work over night and the three previously unskilled Blitzers all gained Guard – it’s not spamming if it’s not Dwarves ;-). That win at the end of the first day meant that I was on Table 14 for this game. 2pts for a win and 1pt for a draw meant that I was in the realms of players with 2 wins. Good players. And this player was another very good player – he was French. When a French coach tells you that another French coach is very good, you know that you’re facing a good player. Griff got the ball but just couldn’t get through. The four Guarders were causing problems but the Norse are good blockers. Griff was forced to make his move into space with those that could follow. With no tacklers on the Norse team only something special could take Griff down. And it did. He was grappled down and lost the ball. He got up and tried again but was again POWd to the ground. He couldn’t recover for a third time and the Norse gathered up the ball and looked in position to score but the lone scoring threat was taken down by Griff’s teammates and the half ended 0-0. In the second half the numbers were down on both sides 9 vs 9 and then 8 vs 8. Unfortunately one of those was Griff who KO’d himself when he mistook an Ulf for a Beserker and found that he was evenly matched in strength when trying to blitz. The rest of the team rallied in Griff’s absence but couldn’t hold off the Norse who scored on their last turn of the match. Griff didn’t recover from seeing stars and the crowd rioted having paid good money to see him play. The humans made a go of it but ultimately came up short of pulling off the miracle and the game ended in defeat.

Game 5 – High Elves

From table 14 to table 41. There was a sense that this game was going to be different. That Griff was different. The media speculation before the game was that Griff had been seen chatting and laughing with some of the High Elf players before game. The team owners released a statement saying that Griff is a superstar of the game and that he knows lots of players on lots of teams. The Elves kicked off and caught the Humans on the back foot and got the Blitz. Griff went to gather the ball..and failed. The Elves pounced on the ball but it was one back and Griff charged off with it to the right of the pitch before somehow falling over and spilling the ball in the process. The Elves passed their way to the opening touchdown. From the kickoff Griff again spilled the pick up from the short kick and the Elves took the ball. They attempted to pass the ball around the field but the ball was intercepted by a Human Blitzer who broke free…and fell over going for the touchdown. The Elves themselves failed to get the ball and the Blitzer redeemed himself by getting up and picking up the ball to level the score. It didn’t last long though and despite a pretty decent defence managed to get another score before the end of the half. The second half was a similar story with Griff failing at every opportunity. His teammates were dumbstruck and it finished 4-1 to the Elves. Griff posed for a team photo with the High Elves at the end of the game.

Game 6 – Wood Elves

The reward for getting beaten by Elves was more Elves. Griff was wrestled away form the previous team and joined the Humans for the match. The coach instructed the other players to keep an eye on him and when he received the kick off they quickly caged around him and followed him as he moved to the left. The team wanted to make up for the previous result and started to take it out on the Woof Elf lineman, removing a couple of the from the pitch. All was looking good. Then a Tackle Wardancer leaps in and hits Griff (two dice Griff chooses). Defender Stumbles. Defender Stumbles. Griff was down. And he was down hard! Out for the game on turn 3. Plan A gone. The eggs had left the basket. It just got worse from there. The Wood Elves now had a massive advantage and proceeded to make hay. I think the game ended 4-0, but it was a blur towards the end as the players were given the hurry up by the refs and the second half was played at a pace that would make SpeedBowl look ponderous and considered.

Summary

So I finished 1-2-3 for the weekend. But, and this is the key I LOVED IT!!! Everyone (I hope) will say that they had great opponents and fun games. I really did. The Griff mirror match was fantastic and David_Hamlin and I had a lot of fun throughout the game as each Griff tried to out-Griff the other. The game with the High Elves was a real highlight. Coach Eldritchfox fully getting on board with the High Elves paying off Griff (even giving him a team talk). I loved the challenge of facing the two French guys – Miyata (Lizards) and Bud_wiser (Norse). Touchdown (Dark Elves) and Thedukester (Wood Elves) played really well and got into the spirit.

The venue is really good and when combined with the stay at the hotel is a fantastic and fitting venue for the NAFC. There were some gripes: the tables were a bit too wide and some of the tables had big ridges in the middle where they’d been joined, the lunch bag was terrible, and the lack of projector for results and draw was a bit lo-fi for me.

I really enjoyed putting faces to the Twitter and TFF names that I’d shared so many conversations with. That was brilliant. Although there were still so many people who I know were there that I didn’t get a chance to see (another minor gripe – name tags would be useful).

Before the tournament I’d fallen out of love with playing a little bit. I just wasn’t feeling it. I enjoyed all aspects of the game and the hobby…except the games. This weekend reinvigorated me though. I want to play with silly teams. Strange builds, Star Players, unusual skills. I want to build my teams and my play around a story and to keep writing that story with the games that I play. A chapter in the story of one of those teams will be the next NAFC.

Thanks to the organisers and players for making it so much fun.

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Blood Bowl – Match Report (Humans v Humans)

I came into this game not really knowing what to play or what I was going to be playing against. I was certain that I wasn’t going to play Elves and that I wanted to be a little more bashy in my approach. My opponent had played Chaos Dwarfs and Orcs in the last two club leagues.

This game though was a tester for ExeBowl and an opportunity really for my opponent to test out a build and to play a tournament style game in a 2 hour time limit; whereas I am often too quick to move and find that I’ve miscounted or not respected the abilities of a player (on the pitch not the opponent) during the next turn, my opponent for this game is one of Blood Bowl’s thinkers and often is up against the 4 minute time limit. It was also a chance for me to play something that wasn’t a squishy Elf.

In the end I decided to take Humans over Ogres. I am probably going to play Ogres at my second tournament, Exiles, in September, and want to try them out before that, but I’ve not played them before and didn’t want to add another variable to the game and not give the opponent the game that we planned. So I went for an Ogre with Block, one Blitzer with Frenzy, one with Guard, two with Mighty Blow, a Thrower with Block, one Catcher, some Linemen and an Apothecary for TV1100.

My opponent had a build more suited to moving the ball with a Diving Catch Catcher, an Accurate Thrower, a Juggernaut Blitzer, a Guard Blitzer, a Strip Ball Blitzer and a Tackle Blitzer. The roster was filled out with second Catchers and Throwers, an Apothecary and Linemen.

I won the toss and elected to Kick. As an inexperienced player, I would normally like to receive and give myself a chance to be in the lead, but this time I wanted to kick and change the challenge in front of me. The opposing coach ran through his Catchers and scored a very ‘Elfy’ two turn touchdown with Accurate and Diving Catch combining on a Long Pass to score. This took me by surprise to say the least! On the one turn that I did have though I managed to Frenzy a player off the pitch 🙂

I set up (keeping the Catcher in Reserve) and received the ball, forming a loose cage and working my way to the left hand side and trying to throw some blocks. My lack of caging experience and skills was evident and I got a bit caught up on the side line at half way and the opposing Guard Blitzer was able to get into the thick of the action and offer an assist to knock over my ball carrier and spilling the ball off the pitch. The ball was thrown in along the half way line and bounced on some prone players before landing pretty neatly for the opposing team. If I remember rightly my Ogre was Boneheaded at the time (no tackle zones) and that allowed the opponent to essentially walk through to got 2-0 up.

Again, I set up and again I moved to the left. This time the cage was more effective and I had a better selection of players and skills making up the cage. It was helped by a failed dodge by an opposing Blitzer that gave me more space to work with. My blocks were also proving very effective and I was knocking opponents over a fair bit. I moved down with in scoring distance and the only thing between me and a score was a speedy Catcher that had managed to get back to cover. There was only one thing for it and I blitzed out for the score (not before I forgot that I had Block on the Thrower and passed up a Both Down for a Push resulting in me having to roll an extra dodge!). The half ended with me 2-1 down.

I received the ball in the second half and the game started to swing in my favour. I got the ball setup a strong cage with support and marched it down the right hand side of the pitch wreaking havoc. The bash approach was gradually taking its toll on the opposition and the casualties and missing players were racking up. The Ogre accounted for a few as did the Mighty Blow Blitzers. The crowd surfs were helping on each drive but not doing any serious injuries. I walked down the pitch smashing opponents as I went and walking in for the equalising score on Turn 5.

The last couple of turns and the opponent was receiving the ball. He still had his Diving Catch Catcher and his Accurate Thrower. He picked up the ball but couldn’t protect the ball carrier as he was down on numbers – 7 on the pitch I think. He ran through a Blitzer and the Catcher to end his turn. My turn meant covering the two scoring threats knocking over the Catcher, and getting up to cover the ball carrier. One Blitzer ran through to mark the covering player and my Catcher – making his first appearance of the game – sprinted through and went for it twice to mark the ball carrier. The opposing Thrower went for the pass action and successfully dodged away and launched an accurate long pass towards the Catcher. The Catcher though was not able to bring it down under the cover of two of my players and spilt the ball. I moved a few players to cover and picked up the ball with a Blitzer and moved forward but just short of the half way line. My Catcher was still upfield and the Blitzer was still marking an opposing player but within scoring distance. Out of rerolls my opponent made some 1DBs to clear a patch for his Blitzer to make a block on the ball carrier. The path was cleared and the ball carrier was knocked to the floor and the ball landed at the feet of the attacking Blizter but he couldn’t pick it up. My Turn 8 and there was only one thing I could do but if successful it would give me the win. I moved a Lineman up to provide an assist and blitzed the opposing Blitzer away from the ball. My Thrower moved in and using picked up the ball and using his Pass skill launched a Long Pass upfield to the Catcher who caught it and ran in for the final score of the game. 3-2 to me and I won the casualty battle 5-1 as well.

It was nice to win and even nicer to win having been 2-0 down. The bashier approach was a nice change from the avoidance game of the Elves. My Ogre did a lot of damage and it was worth trying to block with him given that he had Block. Loosing his tackle zones on a couple of occasions was a pain but I got better at managing that. Frenzy was not a problem and I didn’t get trapped, but overall I didn’t find it as useful as I would have found a second Guard piece for example. Keeping the Catcher off the pitch until the end was a strategy going in. Being only ST2 he is a natural target and I didn’t want to lose him. I did miss his speed but having him there at the end was really valuable. We got the game done with the 2 hours and didn’t use a timer so it was a good result all round.

I like the difference in game play between tournament matches and league matches. In league play you are always thinking about the risk of death of injury and are looking to spread SPPs if possible. In tournament play injuries are less important as the player will be back next game and SPPs don’t (generally) matter. You can therefore give the ball to a designated ball carrier and move him and the ball upfield. It changes your mindset and although the general risks of the game stay the same their long term impacts are not. This makes for a different overall style of game and one that I am finding increasingly enjoyable.

Match Report: Elves v Humans (Game 2)

Wednesday night saw Game 2 of the local Blood Bowl league and my elves showed up to face a human team that after one game was playing like a killing, passing elf team. The humans won their first game 3-0 vs skaven and won the casualty battle 2-1. The human thrower had 4 completions under his belt. My elves on the other hand lost 2-1 to chaos dwarves but came out of it unscathed at least.

First Half

The humans won the toss and cheered on by the 18000 humans fans that turned up elected to receive. The human team started with 6 linemen, 3 blitzers, 2 catchers and 1 thrower. From turn 1 I could see that this human team wanted to play a bit of elf ball. The catchers running down the wide zones and the caging manual left at home. One lesson that I wanted to take into this game from the first game was that I needed to be more aggressive. I was more comfortable doing that in this game as we were evenly matched for strength, although the humans had 4 Block pieces to my 2. By turn 2 we were spread out, engaged, along the LoS with the humans attacking down my left flank, and me trying to pressure the ball carrier and the players causing a threat. On their turn 3 the human catcher broke free down the right but the support could not get to him and his was left stranded. On my turn 3 I was able to knock the ball free and swiftly move it up the field to one of my catchers for a turn 3 touchdown, 1-0 elves.

The humans next drive saw them change tactics with the thrower picking up the ball and immediately caging up behind the blitzers on the LoS. They then proceeded to try to block their way through my line while my side-steppers tried to break into the cage and hit the ball carrier. Although they were hitting me hard, they weren’t able to break my armour until turn 6. When they did though, they did it properly, killing one of my linemen. I decided not to get my newly purchased apothecary out on to the pitch his magic sponge as he didn’t have any SPPs. That decision proved wise as on turn 7 they broke the armour of a blitzer killing him too!  I used the apothecary and he did his work patching the player up so that he can take to the field again. While all of this was going on the elves were defending stoutly and had prevented the humans from equalising. The human turn 8 came and went with no touchdown being scored. I think what happened is that they went for a pass which despite having Pass and Catch ended up on the floor. It’s a bit hazy a few days later. The last turn of the half and there was a chance for me to score though as I had a MV 8 catcher within range although he was on the floor as the turn started. It was elf ball time. Pick up by the blitzer who handed off to the thrower who in turn made his way up to half way. The catcher stood up and dodged his way out and into the endzone. Long Bomb. Was accurate. Catch. Was made! 2-0 elves at half time.

First Half Analysis

The scoreline may have gone my way but I ended the half with 5 in the KO box and 2 in the Seriously Injured/Badly Hurt box. Why 2 you say? Well despite the apothecary being successful on the blitzer, I didn’t actually put him back into Reserves. I blame this on playing too much computer Blood Bowl and not enough tabletop. Another lesson for next week. I was overall happy with my play, the aggressiveness was working but I need to remember skills as a few times I forgot about side-step. Again, not enough tabletop I think.

Second Half

The second half started with me seriously down on numbers. Only 1 of the 5 KO’d players made it back on the pitch and I started the second half with 5 players against the full strength humans. I received the ball and predictably the humans ganged up on the players that I had left surrounding players and getting multiple blocks on each. The normal 2+ elf dodge roll becoming significantly harder especially when I ran out of rerolls early on. I did have the ball though and retreated back towards my endzone to protect the ball. The human team was eventually able to apply so much pressure that I couldn’t hold out any longer and they scored on turn 4 to take the score to 2-1.

2 more of my KO’d players came out of the KO box but I had suffered 2 more casualties in the meantime, one a smashed ankle -1 MA on a lineman. I received the ball again and drew the humans in while trying to apply a little more threat with the few players that I had left to spread out the human players. The High Kick result allowed me to more my blitzer under the ball and he managed to catch the ball. The humans again surrounded my players but in their focus on bashing my players didn’t put enough into ensuring that they could get the equaliser. In my last turn I was able to knock down the only human player, a catcher, that was in range without having to Go For It. My blitzer had the ball in the side line, with a lineman backing him up and the human catcher on the floor next to him. That meant that the last turn of the game ended with the humans needing to knock over the blitzer, pickup the ball, throw it, catch it and then do 2 GFIs with 1 reroll left. Possible. But more possible for elves 😉 So the blitz was made and block dice were rolled. Double Both Down. Reroll. Both Down and…Skull. Game over. The elves win 2-1.

Second Half Analysis

The second half was just about me running away and trying to keep the ball away from the humans for as long as I could while they surrounded as many of my players as they could. The humans blocked as much as they could while applying tackle zones around my players and slowly advancing reducing the space available for me to play in. Conceding one was inevitable, so the plan was always to try to stop the second score. The second drive was more about safety, by giving it to the blitzer, and trying to form a 2 man cage on the side line. It worked and in the end the dice went my way on the final turn of the game.

Game Summary

The first half went really well, with the elves doing what elves do, but this time with more aggression. The second half was the elves doing what elves do and getting bashed up. I will say that the human injury rolls were running really hot. I held out for 6 turns with no armour breaks but one they came they didn’t stop. I was really pleased with my second half play. Elves are one of the few teams that can still do a lot with only a few players. 2+ dodges and speed and agility across the team mean they can keep the number of blocks down to a minimum and move the ball away from danger.

I’m still not sure if I did the right thing in stalling for 4 turns with only 5 players. In the end, I think I was right as I got the win. I took a call that the human armour and injury dice couldn’t run as hot as they had been. But they did. Every time he broke armour he took someone off the pitch. I paid the price a bit but am pleased with the result, if the humans had one more turn to score then they would have scored for sure.

The extra aggression played a part in the victory and is something to take into the next game. I need to spend more time with the rules and thinking tabletop, rather than computer game. Silly things like forgetting to move the apo’d player and that I had side-step could have been much bigger mistakes than they were.

All in all a good game and hopefully it will set me up for my next game which will be in a couple of week against an equally bashed up dark elf team.

Completed – Blood Bowl 2nd Edition Human Team

Finally! 😉

It seems like forever since I first started painting this team. It was back at the start of the year that I took my old childhood collection of Blood Bowl 2nd and 3rd edition minis and started to catalogue them and prepare them for Blood Bowl league and tournament glory…well participation.

I had a lot of human figures but didn’t have quite enough of the positional figures to make a coherent roster; I like my minis to be consistent on the pitch both for me and my opponent. Consistency in terms of basing, colour scheme and above all choice of miniature. I don’t believe it’s fair if the opposing coach has to spend some of his turn time identifying which player is a blitzer and which one is a catcher! So I spent a little bit of time on eBay trying to get the missing minis. The other reason that I needed positional players is that I had minis for positions that no longer exist, namely kickers and blockers. I’ve repurposed the blockers as beefy linemen. That’s why I’ve ended up with so many minis for this team; there are 20 in total.

The colour scheme is based on my favourite NFL team, the Miami Dolphins and I’ve numbered the players based on some of the Dolphins’ all-time greats. I also tried to add some new painting techniques from those that I used for my skaven. It is still a tabletop paint job, but at the very least it is one that I am proud of. I can see progress which is all I can ask for. I get a lot of pleasure from the whole process of getting a finished mini to the gaming table and the time that I get to spend on my hobby life varies week-to-week.

The overall result is quite nice, although close up and personal you can clearly see where my skills and technique can be improved. Faces and skin detailing is one area that I think could help elevate my painting to another level and will be something that I look into for future projects.

The aqua is a base of GW/Citadel Sotek Green, one coat diluted about 50/50 with water and then a second coat with only 80/20 to give a more solid finish. I then applied a wash of Coelia Greenshade and a few highlights using Template Guard Blue.

The orange is a base of Trollslayer Orange using the method as for the aqua followed by a wash of Reikland Fleshshade.

The white was done using a technique that I found online for bright white. It’s a base of White Scar followed by a wash of Nuln Oil followed by a dry brush of the base colour. Unfortunately the finish of the white is too powdery for my liking and I’ll be looking for a better technique for getting a bright white for future projects.

I’ve then applied various freehand finishes using the same colours.

I like the team. I like the models and they were nice to paint (Not like the pesky 2nd ed elves that I’ve just started. More on that later)

Here are a few pictures of the finished team (there are some other pictures in this blog). I hope you enjoy them and as always appreciate your constructive comments.

Human Blood Bowl Team Progress

My latest painting project is my metal 2nd edition human Blood Bowl team and I’m pleased to say that it is nearly completed; only a few finishing touches and basing to go. It’s taken a while, but I’ve been trying a to learn from the experience of painting my skaven team.

If you remember, painting the skaven team was my re-entry to the hobby after many (many) years away. Although I am happy with the end result, the techniques used are very basic and I wanted to try and improve on the next project that I took on. I selected the humans mainly because I had enough models to fill out a roster, but partially because of the features of the models themselves. They all wear some kind of uniform and armour and there are no chaotic flesh tones or fur to cope with.

I started off with the Miami Dolphins’ uniform and colours as inspiration but I wasn’t going to make a rigid copy of them or make every model adhere strictly to every line and detail. I wanted an overall cohesive scheme but wanted to keep it within the bounds of my capability with a brush.

So here they are.

From the very start I thinned out the base coat with water and did two thin coats rather than the single ‘from the pot’ coat that I did on the skaven. It was so much easier to apply and even though I used a production line to get them painted it seemed to be an easier job than with the skaven, even though I had to do the whole squad twice.

I then applied washes to all three main colours. I used the colour chart on the GW website as I’m still nowhere near confident enough with paint or colour to stray too far from what is recommended. I wasn’t sure how to do white uniforms, but a quick look on a few internet painting sites had said to dry brush with the base coat colour after a wash of Nuln Oil. It’s here that I had an absolute freak out when I applied the wash to my nice, white uniforms. I thought that they were ruined to be honest. The uniforms and armour were a dark grey, almost black and I didn’t know how I was going to make them white enough again. Apprehensively I applied the dry brush over the top, and although the finish is a little too powdery for my liking,  the colour has come back to a white again.

It’s here that I then tried to apply to highlight layers to the models. This isn’t something that I did on the skaven, so I wasn’t exactly sure how to do it or indeed if I had the brush skill to do it. I used the suggested colours from the GW site again, a palette and a fine detail brush. I must say that the end result is pretty pleasing. I was liberal with where the light source was coming from and it’s not consistent, but I’m glad to have used a new technique and the result is quite nice. I did suffer a little from my painting area not being lit properly. I need to invest in a couple of daylight bulbs before I start the next project.

I then applied a little dry brushing where I though it needed it and then started some of the details. I wanted to put lines on the helmets, shoulder pads and legs in keeping with the Dolphins’ images used for inspiration. I was very nervous starting out as I wasn’t sure my hand was steady enough to accomplish the kind of end result that I needed. Again, here I impressed myself with what I managed to do. It’s not perfect but it really finished of the team. Without the details I don’t think the scheme would work.

I’m probably going to base them with a grey sand/rock type material as a little homage to the Astrogranite pitch of the 2nd edition.

Any constructive comments on technique or finish would be welcomed as I am always looking to improve.

Match Report : Eshin Academy (Skaven) vs Humans

“The Eshin Academy step out into the Blood Bowl arena for the second time and I must say Jim they are looking more confident. No need for the extra portable latrines this week. Bob, let’s hope they’ve spent a lot of time on the practice turf as they made a lot of rookie mistakes last week…”

“…the humans have made good progress down the middle, pushing the Academy’s line back and punching a hole through the middle..and yes, it looks like they’re about to make play the catcher has broken free and the thrower is advancing into the space created in the middle by the smashing blitzer. Here we go..and oh he’s made a mess of that the ball is wobbling through the air and lands next to the catcher…it bounces..but nobody gets a chance to pick it up. Bob, that’s unlucky. They would have been closing in on the endzone had that landed. Yes, Jim and now the Academy have a chance to make the most of the turnover. It’s the thrower, Gareek Shade, who’s making the move on the ball he grabs it and moves into some space but he’s still in the rat’s half. He’s going to need some help and he it comes as the free Academy players rush to support him. The humans are trying to put pressure on the ball Jim but they need to be careful, we know how quickly the ball can move. Bob, it looks like the Eshin Academy are going for it, Gareek sprints left and gives it to runner Hythe Throttle, who charges down the left…and scores. 1-0 to the Eshin Academy and that’s the teams first score Jim…”

So what happened. I lost the toss and kicked off. The humans made a hole in the middle of the line. Nothing too bad though; not like last week. The skaven were being pushed around rather than knocked over and when they did go down the armour held and when it didn’t they were only stunned. This held all the way up to turn 5 or 6 in the 2nd half. The missed pass got me off the hook a little bit, as it was looking like a quick score against. I was pleased to be able to capitalise on the drop though; sure hands on the thrower helped and then the runner burning it with the help of two GFIs was fantastic to perform and see. A sweeping zig-zag across the pitch for 1-0.

The second possession for the humans went very similar to the first – hole created through the middle followed by a pass to a free man. This time it was to a blitzer. I had left him open to allow me to put more pressure on the ball, but didn’t bank on him being able to catch the ball. He did and ran into the corner needing 2 GFIs to get the score. He made the first but fell over on the second and the ball bounced inbounds. This is where I could have done a bit better I think. I managed to get back to the ball but was then isolated with the ball. The opposition coach is very good at getting multiple players free when he needs to and he did just that, knocking the ball carrier over. The ball bounced again and the blitzer was able to stand up and pickup for the score. 1-1 at half time. Getting the ball was one thing but leaving one player in the corner on his own was not solving the problem of having the ball and several of their players near my endzone.

I received first in the second half and set up more aggressively. I managed to blitz a path down the right and with another gutter runner charge got rat and ball a few squares short of the end zone. I knew I had the covering human blitzer to deal with and was lucky that after some rerolled block dice still only ended up being pushed against the sideline. I still thought one dodge out and 9 moves round the blitzer to score would be the plan. But again, the experienced human coach was able to get another two players to put tackle zones around me. Suddenly this became a much tougher challenge. I thought about having the runner pass the ball to a near by runner, but thought with 2 tackle zones on me that the short pass was too risky. So I went for it, straight down the side line and the grasping arms of the humans. Started with a 1 but used the Dodge skill to reroll that, then needed to burn a team reroll..but made it. 2-1.

The human’s possession was familiar and the ball and ball carrier were deep in the corner near the end zone with only a couple of turns left. The skaven armour was feeling the pains of the game by this stage and the players closest to the action were lying stunned. I dodged out with a runner, blitzed the ball carrier and the ball was left on the ground with the humans having 1 turn left. Familiar? Well the same thing happened. The human catcher managed to stand up, dodge to the ball, pickup the ball and score. Final score 2-2.

In hindsight I think I would have at least tried the pass with the runner at the end. There was another runner up the pitch available to catch. Even if the ball was fumbled, or missed then the ball would have either been further up the pitch out of harms way or it would have been no worse than it already was. I’ll remember that for next time. I did attempt to force more dice rolls from the opposition coach this game and wasn’t afraid to use the runners more this game. Both things I learned from last week. I do need to think about blocking assists more carefully and need to spend a little time trying to stop holes being punched through the middle of the line as easily. I may have owned the wide areas but the humans owned the middle and made the most of it. The skaven were much tougher this game and I made more of the risky dodges than I did last week. That’s the luck of the rolls though. I also managed to think about what I was going to do more and apply some sort of strategy to each turn. It was a very enjoyable game and it was nice to see some improvement.

Now to organise a game for next week 🙂

Eshin Academy P2 W0 D1 L1

My next painting project is..

My skaven Blood Bowl team – the Eshin Academy – is nearly finished (only basing and numbers to do tomorrow) so I have been thinking about what to do for my next painting project.

I want to make teams out of the 2nd edition miniatures before I buy anything new. I can make several teams of metal minis, with only a few auction site purchases needed where I don’t have enough positions for the LRB6 rosters. My four choices, based on models, are :- humans, chaos pact, orcs and elves. My elf team needs a few extra models and is a bit to similar to the skaven team in terms of playing style, orcs just aren’t doing it for me at the moment and chaos pact is too advanced in terms of actually playing with them. So the winner is humans. I’ve never played as humans before and am looking forward to their versatility.

Given the NFL Draft is tonight and the upsurge in my interest in the NFL over the last few years, I’m going to style them on my favourite team the Miami Dolphins. I’m a Marino era fan and I’d like to base them on the uniform of the era and the Dolphin’s all-time best players for the rest of the fluff. Need to pick up a few more paints but the undercoat is on and I’m ready to make a start this weekend.

Dan Marino

P.s. Pictures of the completed Eshin Academy will follow soon and they are due to make their competitive debut in the next week or two.