Blood Bowl Tournament – Birthday Bowl Report

Saturday morning at 4am and my son is awake coughing and spluttering, which meant that I was awake too. Two hours of disrupted dozing later and it was time to wake up and get ready for the two and a bit hour drive up to Swindon for Sann’s Birthday Bowl, a 16 man Blood Bowl tournament hosted by Mike and his family at their house. The drive was clear and quick and as with most things I was the first to arrive.

I’d brought my Norse team the Hellspire Avalanche to the tournament. I chose them partly because it ticked Norse off the list on my Road to 24 and partly because through my recent experiences with Norse I wanted to get them out of the way now because I hate them. Something about me and Norse just doesn’t click. I think the lack of movement, Frenzy and the fact that my play-style tends to emphasise the glass part of the often used glass-cannon analogy.

I took the Snow Troll and gave him Mighty Blow, 2 Ulfs both with Block, 1 Beserker with Guard, 1 Runner with Dodge, 1 Linemen with Guard, 6 regular Linemen and 3 Rerolls.

Through all of my league play with Norse, I’ve seen just how important the Runner is to me and my game. Giving her (I’m using the Valkyrie team from Impact!) Dodge would help in her roll as ball carrier and give me more dynamic movement and make her a Blodger.

Guard on the Beserker is probably an odd choice. I chose this based on my play style. Very often with the Beserkers I find that I don’t know what to do with them. I love Jump Up and it is a skill that opponents often forget about but the Frenzy on the ST3 player means that am generally overly cautious with the player and don’t end up getting them into trouble, or not using them at all. By giving her Guard, I was trying to make her more useful and Jump Up would help give me a little bit more mobility on the team.

There was a nice little twist to the tournament. At the start of each round, each player rolled a D12 and was awarded with a free mutation that could be added to a selected player on the roster. Mutations stayed throughout the tournament, could be stacked and could be added to Star Players. Allowing these mutations on Star Players made for some very scary players!

I didn’t take notes on the games so this is all from memory. I find that 4 games in one day is very draining and writing notes often falls by the wayside as my brain goes on strike for the few moments of downtime between games.

Game 1 – Amazons (Lost 2-1)

I received the kick off and in keeping with my more progressive approach recently I scored early, running it down the right and scoring on T4. Before I forget I rolled Foul Appearance and gave it to the Runner – making her just that little bit harder to knock down (in theory!). I hoped that I could then hold out for the rest of the half. Hope didn’t get me very far as my Snow Troll, who had been menacing on the first few turns, got seriously injured and was out for the rest of the game. I couldn’t hold out, and in the battle of the AV7s I couldn’t break armour and mine was non-existent. I could knock players down but didn’t do any real damage. We went in 1-1 at half time with me to kick at the start of the second. I was down on numbers and in the end the Amazons could just run along the end zone picking off the couple of players that I had in striking range. It ended 2-1 to the Amazons. It was a tough matchup and not the best for the Norse in my mind. Still Cornish is a great guy and a great opponent and it was a fun game. I did learn an important lesson – don’t sit next to the beer fridge at a Blood Bowl tournament.

Game 2 – Chaos Dwarfs (Lost 2-1)

Not a great matchup again. I kicked and was determined to try to hold out. It wasn’t looking good to start with when a Bull picked up the ball and was well protected by teammates as the raging Minotaur tried to kill my players single-handedly. My Snow Troll made amends for a poor first game though by killing the Minotaur early on in the game. Taking out the Minotaur opened up some space in the middle and allowed me to Block the ball carrier and push him to the sideline. The ball was free and my Linewoman with the newly acquired Hypnotic Gaze dazzled a defender allowing me to get some pressure on the ball. It looked like it would be enough and maybe even enough to get me a touchdown of my own but a lone Bull managed to break away and avoid my Blitz to get the T8 score. I received in the second half and was down on numbers which meant that I got stuck in the middle of the field longer than I hoped. I managed to break free with the Runner holding the ball and had a choice – try to stall for the Tie or score and see if one of us could get a result. A Tie doesn’t help anyone so I scored on T14. The reward for my choice? Pitch Invasion and all but 3 of my players, and all of those that could stop the ball carrying Bull, ending up face down! The Bull needed his Sure Feet but was able to get in to make the final score 2-1 to the Chaos Dwarfs.

Game 3 – Chaos Pact (Drew 1-1)

I kicked and started the game by taking some early damage with two players leaving the pitch on the first turn. I managed to even the score a little by seriously injuring the Chaos Ogre with a little help from the new Claws that one of my Ulfs developed between games. I conceded with enough time to try to score the equaliser. Everything was setup – I had three players in scoring range, the ball…but no rerolls. I did the hard bit by clearing out the Troll with Prehensile Tail on a 1DB. Handed off to a free Ulf (slightly better odds than my other choice of scorer) who caught the ball and ran towards the line. “Two dice, anything but a 1”, I said as I went for it twice on T8. Of course one of them was a 1. The Ulf tripped up and spilled the ball ending the half at 1-0. I was doing slightly better in the casualty battle this time around and managed to score but not as quickly as I would have liked. I first tried one side and then other before finally crossing the line on I want to say T14. There wasn’t enough time to score again and the Kick Off table didn’t help either of us and the game ended 1-1.

Game 4 – Underworld (Won 3-1)

Final game of the day was against Glowworm and his Underworld. I’ve played Underworld a bit recently and I know that Glowworm plays them a lot and well. They say that 1s are the Curse of the Elves. You can probably extend that to Trolls and dodging Goblins. I kicked off and managed to recover the ball and run away with it down the sideline to score. I was able to do it again shortly after to make it 2-0 at half time. The Extra Arms that I gave my Runner allowing her to pick it up from the feet of the Troll and Dodge out and away to the protection of the Snow Troll. Not much was going right for the Underworld, including when Star Player Bomber Dribblesnot blew himself up and took one of his teammates with him. I made it 3-0 in the second half before the Underworld’s two Skaven Throwers moved the ball up the pitch and ending the move with a pass to a goblin in two tackle zones who caught it and dodged out for the score. The game ended 3-1.

So I ended the day on 1-1-2 but I must say it was a lot of fun. Four really good opponents, a really relaxed atmosphere and a nice twist on the ruleset with the mutations. I really enjoyed the home tournament vibe and will look out for more of them.

Thanks to Mike and family for hosting and for my opponent’s for making it a really fun day 🙂

My next tournament, and the only one booked in for the rest of the year, is the NAFC in a few weeks time!

Match Report: Norse v Dark Elves (Game 1)

The new Rygas Roughnecks table top Blood Bowl league season kicked off last night and my Norse were facing some Dark Elves in Game 1. It was my second Norse vs Dark Elves matchup in a week and I can’t say I was that confident going into it.

I’ve picked a different build for my tabletop season and have gone with 2 x Ulfs, 2 x Beserkers, 7 x Linemen, 3 x Rerolls and 1 x Apothecary. I like more certainty and control in my game and thought the Snow Troll would be too much of a distraction and that dealing with the Frenzy would be hard enough.

My opponent was new to our club league, having found himself in the same position that I had the year before and just missing the start of the league season. Anyway he had 2 x Witch Elves, 3 x Blitzers, 1 x Runner, 5 x Linemen and 1 x Reroll. We’d never played each other before and neither of us had played tabletop for a while so it was going to be an interesting game.

I won the toss and elected to kick. It’s one of my favourite tactics at the moment as I like knowing what I need to do in a game and getting a feel for how my opponent is going to play. As expected the Elves got the ball, caged up near the centre line just to one side and kept a free player within Dump Off range. The Norse’s starting Block proved useful and I was able to knock over the Dark Elf line and get some pressure on the ball carrier. It didn’t amount for much though as being Elves they were able to skip out of trouble and progress down the field. I was conscious of being surfed by a Witch Elf and likewise I was always looking for a surf opportunity. My recent experience with Norse has taught me that trying to surf with an AG2 to Ulf who HAS to follow up can be very dangerous and could end badly for me. I managed to control myself although there were numerous opportunities not to. I continued to knock players over but not hurt anything and my opponent moved the ball through quickly with a pass. The Blitzer that had broken free muffed the catch though and the ball was free about 3 spaces from my end zone. I pulled players back forcing the Dark Elves to roll dice at least but knowing all the while that a simple dodge and pickup was all that they needed – simple for an AG4 anyway. As you would expect they Blitzer redeemed himself and picked up the ball and ran in for the score.

At the kick off the weather changed and we had to play out the rest of the game in the Pouring Rain (Edit: I originally said Blizzard which would have modified my GFIs. No we were in the Pouring Rain which affects ball handling). This was not what a team with no ball handling skills wants and rerolls were going to have to be saved. The kick was deep and my designated ball carrier picked it up (first time) and I was able to cage up in my own half. My objective was simple but the challenge was difficult. I was still knocking players over but the best that I had done was KO a couple of Dark Elves. The Dark Elves would pick themselves up and reposition making my forward progression tough. One of the Witch Elves dodged her way – very aggressively – to get one dice on my ball carrier but it was one dodge too many and she Badly Hurt herself. I can’t say that I was disappointed as the Witches had been a pain so far. It helped me move forward but I would still need full movement (MA6) and 4 GFIs with the ball carrier to score. We got to the last turn of the half and the Elves had one last chance to get to the ball carrier. A failed dodge meant they couldn’t get to her though (I am using the Valkyries) and I made the two 2+ rolls to go in 1-1 at half time.

I received the ball in the second half and the numbers were in my favour; the Dark Elves being down to 7 players and me still at 11. Again in Blizzard conditions I was able to pickup the ball and cage up. The cage slowly made its way forward down the left had side and the Elves would base me and attack at every opportunity. The cage got stalled and swung round to the right but was loosing players as they got stuck in tackle zones or only managing Pushes. There were lots of Skulls being rolled by both coaches including quadruple skulls by the Dark Elf coach at a very inopportune moment. On Turn 8 the Norse ball carrier was in scoring range and again it was the turn of a Witch to save the day. A series of 3+ dodges to the ball carrier required the use of the Dodge reroll and the 5+ to get to the ball carrier proved too much and she was tackled to the ground leaving the Norse to run in for the winning score. The game ended 2-1.

Overall it was a very good match and despite lots of blocks thrown there were no (blocking) casualties on either side. I got a normal/single skills on a Lineman and will probably take Tackle. The reason being that there are 3 Human teams in the league and it would be nice to have safety player to take out the Catchers. If not Tackle then it will be Fend to give me that extra bit on movement flexibility.

It was amazing the difference that rolling dice and moving miniatures has on my game compared to the pixels of FUMBBL. I confirmed to myself that tabletop is my preferred format of the game (although the ability to replay online is fantastic!). My next two opponents are Humans and Khemri so two very different challenges ahead.

It was good to get back to the club and to tabletop Blood Bowl 🙂

 

RTTNAFC : Game 2 (Norse v Dark Elves)

A quick post about my second game of the RTTNAFC tournament. After my first round win I was paired with a Dark Elf team (one of many Elf teams in the competition) and I was a little bit concerned. Like a lot of people I have a problem playing against Dark Elves. They can do so much and have so many weapons and yet are a bit tougher to knock out than most Elves.

To cut a long story short, I lost 1-0. My opponent elected to kick to me in the first half which meant that I was receiving; something that I don’t really like doing. I caged up straight away and initially thought I was doing quite well. My opponent knew what he/she was doing and kept the right amount of pressure and distance. I was more wary of my player’s Frenzy skill and probably too conservative as a result. In the end I didn’t manage to score in the half which was a disappointment and really put me on the backfoot.

Into the second half and my opponent was able to move the ball forward, I did get a 1DB on the ball carrier to try to stop him from scoring but rolled a Push and that was that. 1-0. I still had a few turns with which to equalise though and thought I got myself into a decent position. On Turn 8 I needed things to go my way but I had a reroll to help me. I tried a Blitz to push a marking Dark Elf out of the way but misclicked and messed up my plan. In the end I tried to Blitz down a Wrestle Witch elf with a Beserker and 1 Dice but could only Push again. Only thing left was a handoff, some dodges and some GFIs. I did the *hard* bit but failed the important final dodge and fell over. I lost 1-0.

It was a funny game. I’m not normally one to have a plan and to be thinking too far ahead, but in this game I felt as if I couldn’t see the plays very well. I think that this was partially my mindset and partially mu opponent’s play. I’m not taking anything away from the opposing coach as they deserved the win. I am disappointed in myself though for not making a better go of it.

The draw for Round 3 is made on Friday so we shall see what I am up against then.

For those that are interested, here is the position that I was in on the final turn of the game. As well as what I actually did (the misclick was that the Ulf was supposed to Blitz) and the full game replay.

I’d love to see your suggestions for what I *should* have done! 🙂

 

RTTNAFC - Game 2 H2T8

RTTNAFC – Game 2 H2T8

Update – 29th January

So I’ve been thinking about this some more! I also played a tabletop game last night and it made me think more about positioning and movement. I then watched the play again and even with the misclick I don’t understand why I pushed the Witch towards the sideline. I’m guessing that I was thinking only of knocking her over. Both blocks were 1 dice and two pushes were good enough – and that’s what I got! I could have pushed her inwards and left the sideline free. With the dice that I then had (assuming they would have been the same) I could have handed off, dodged out and GFId for the touchdown.

RTTNAFC : Game 1 (Norse v Skaven)

As Round 1 of the RTTNAFC tournament comes to an end, I thought I’d quickly summarise my first game. I was playing my 1100TV Norse team. I’ve taken a Snow Troll, one Ulfwerener, 1 Runner, 2 Beserkers, 7 Linemen, 1 Apothecary and 3 Rerolls. For my three normal skills that I can select for the first three rounds I have given Mighty Blow to the Troll, Block to the Ulf and Sure Hands to the Runner.

Hellspire Snowstorm

My reasoning behind the selections are based around never having played Norse and never having managed the blocking and positioning risks of Frenzy to this level. For that reason I only took one Ulf and have given him Block for the extra level of protection. I sacrificed the second Ulf for the third reroll. The rules don’t allow you to pick Double skills until Round 4 and I wanted the Troll to be useful early; he’s my riskiest piece but also a potential killer (ands therefore target) when the Mighty Blow is combined with his Claw.

So onto the match. The skaven that I was facing had 4 Gutter Runners, 2 Blitzers, 1 Thrower, 4 Linerats, 2 Rerolls and the Star Player Hakflem Skuttlespike. Hakflem is basically a stronger, mutated Gutter Runner with the skills to let him go anywhere and do anything. The coach had selected Guard on both of the Blitzers and Wrestle on one of the Gutter Runners. I suspected the tactic would be to get the ball to Skuttlespike, protect him with the Guard Blitzers and let him do the rest.

I’m not going to go into too much detail as the beauty of FUMBBL is that you can go and watch the replay for yourselves 🙂 Basically though, I kicked off to the Skaven who took the ball down their left and attempted to get it Hakflem. It took me a couple of turns to get used to my players, the prime example being surfing a Gutter Runner with my Ulf…and getting him stuck there to be surfed himself next turn. The first few turns played out as expected except that I was doing it without my Runner in Reserve. A FUMBBL bug triggered when I mis-marked the player at kickoff meant he was missing for a drive (the bug has been logged and didn’t affect the game). The first score took a little longer than expected after the Skaven’s handoff to Hakflem failed which gave me a chance to recover the ball. The Guard and my positioning didn’t give me the ball for long though and I was 1-0 down.

It did give me the chance to get the ball and attack the Skaven players though. I was able to get the ball, cage up and march downfield for the Turn 8 score causing quite a lot of destruction along the way. I received in the second half with a numbers advantage and this continued for another 8 turns as I made my way downfield with the Skaven valiantly trying to stop me. The Wrestle Gutter Runner was proving to be a real pain and when he did find himself on the floor my players rushed to him and made sure he didn’t get up!

So a 2-1 win in my first game and 4 casualties leaving me on +3 points. I’m very happy with that especially as I think I grew into the team and once I got used to them I was more successful.

Interestingly this was my opposing coach’s very first game on FUMBBL. It was therefore a great example of bring tabletop or Cyanide players to the FUMBBL environment. I hope that it works the other way too and brings online players to the tabletop game 🙂

Round 2 is sure to bring a new set of challenges for the Hellspire Snowstorm!

If you want to see the game then you can take a look at the replay here – https://fumbbl.com/FUMBBL.php?page=match&id=3643073

 

Road to the NAF Champs

After much umming and arring I decided to enter the Road to the NAF Championship tournament on FUMBBL. The RTTNACF is the first NAF-sanctioned online tournament and marks a new phase in the history of Blood Bowl.

Tabletop tournaments have been the traditional domain of the NAF but last year they ran an event on Cyanide (‘s version of Blood Bowl) which gave the winner entry to the NAF Championship in Nottingham. This year they have taken it one step further and actually created a sanctioned tournament with the good folks over on FUMBBL. The winner gets a ticket to the tabletop tournament in May.

As you may know I have a love-hate relationship with online Blood Bowl. I want to play more games but am not really a fan of computer games and I don’t really like being watched playing them*. Even when I spectate games I feel like a voyeur. It makes me uncomfortable. anyway, I’ve already got my NAF ticket and won’t win the RTTNAFC but thought it would be good to get a few games in and to try to work my way into enjoying online Blood Bowl more. I’ll be playing 1 game a week for the next 6 weeks. It is Swiss style and resurrection so as much like a tabletop tournament as you can do.

I’ve picked a Norse team (again). At the time of writing I have still never played them. Here’s my team – https://fumbbl.com/p/team?team_id=793157

I’ve taken a Yeti and want to try to use him. I’ve only taken one Ulf and have given him Block on Day 1 which means that other than the Yeti all of my players will have the Block skill. I’ve taken Mighty Blow on the Yeti and along with his Claw and Frenzy hope to do some damage.

Other than that I just want to have some fun and to be part of the first NAF sanctioned online tournament. If all goes well I’ll take part in more throughout the year and maybe get to the online and tabletop 24** over the next few years.

*my cunning solution to this is gaffer tape over the spectators section on the client and turn the sound off 🙂

**playing all of the 24 official races in NAF sanctioned events.

Completed Blood Bowl Norse / Amazon Team

I got the Valkyrie team from Impact! Miniatures several months ago now, when the cave was finished and I was braving the world on non-GW miniatures for the first time. They arrived and I took a look and wasn’t impressed and got stuck into other projects, and as with most hobby deliveries they stayed in their original packaging and sat on the shelf.

Fast forward to the summer and I assembled and primed several team, including the Valkyries, in readiness for the winter when I can prime less and paint more. Skip forward again to just a few weeks ago when, having not had a real painting project for a while, other than trying to improve, I surveyed what was ready to go and picked them up of the shelf; being able to play the team as Amazons and Norse was a factor in them being selected but I also though that they would take the blue and white colour scheme that I had been using on the Warhammer High Elves.

I applied the same lessons that I had learnt in painting the elves both in terms of how I built up the colours and the technique used, to the overall process of working on a few models at a time, the brushes used and way that I held the miniatures while working on them.

The more that I worked with the models, the more that I came to like them. The detailing is very poor compared to the GW plastics that I have been working with a lot recently, but they do come together well and at ÂŁ22 for a whole team you can’t complain. I made the decision not to go into some of the very fine detail that I would attempt on better models. My skill level isn’t at the level yet where I could attempt that on these miniatures and get decent results.

I am really pleased with how they turned out. REALLY pleased. I think that they are my best looking team and I can’t wait to get them out on the pitch. I like that I can see a definite improvement in the quality of my work and yet I’m sitting here looking forward to bettering it on the next team 🙂

(I will do some better photos)

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