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.
Several months ago I started working on a custom Blood Bowl pitch. It was going to be a prize at the first ExeBowl but didn’t manage to get completed in time. I’d pretty much forgotten about it until recently when I’ve seen several people taking advantage of PVC banner printing online. I took the plunge last week and ordered copies of my pitches and was really pleased with the results.
I’ve put so much work into the pitch and it seems a shame not to share what I came up with, so I present to you HairyPete’s Blood Bowl Pitch.
Disclaimer: I’m not a graphic design guru and this was a learning experience for me. It’s basic but does the job 🙂
There are three files. The PSD and XCF files can be used in PhotoShop and GIMP respectively and include some of the main layers that I used to create it in the first place. For those of you inclined to make a few modifications these are the ones that you will want to use. The third is a high quality JPG file that you can submit to one of the many online printers to get your own copy of the pitch.
The pitch is W 78.4cm x H 55cm at a resolution of 300dpi.
I printed mine without eyelets, with clean cut edges to a custom size on 550gsm premium PVC. The exact options will depend on the printer that you choose. I used this http://www.colourgraphics.com/pvc-banner-printing/ (550g Premium PVC Banner) from Colour Graphics. There are many companies that offer this online and there are always discounts available. Find and use the one that you are happy with.
Feel free to use the PSD/XCF and JPG for personal use or for your club or tournament. Use it as a template and customise it as you want. I created an RGB version of the PSD and then converted it to XCF, so that you can use it in a free graphics tool such as GIMP. If you use the PSD or the XCF you will be able to easily change the background, dugout colours and add logos and text as you like. For those that haven’t used these tools before I’ll put together a quick tutorial over the next couple of weeks.
I ask two things 1) Don’t use it commercially or for profit, and 2) Help to get more people playing Blood Bowl!
This is version one. If I get lots of feedback then I’ll consider a version two in the future – but it won’t be fancy! Please leave comments below or send me an email.
I’m not going to add more than that. Enjoy it. Use it. I’d love to see the custom pitches that you make.
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.
I’ve been picking up projects and have been making little bits of progress here and there so I thought that I’d write a short post updating on everything that I’ve got going on at the moment.
I’ve been having a podcast clear out. Only a few weeks ago I had nearly 60 podcasts on the download queue including about 40 gaming related ones. I’ve just got fed up of hearing the same things over and over again so I’ve unsubscribed from most of them. I did have a lot of Warhammer Fantasy podcasts and these especially were getting on my nerves. I’m down to two that I will listen to now. I was always a voyeur when it comes to WFB anyway and I think that I was getting a bit annoyed with it all so have also cut out a lot (but not all) of WFB social media.
To counter this I am very much into Blood Bowl. The league season is coming to an end, but I am getting a lot out of the Blood Bowl Twitter community and I am really enjoying the little projects that I’m working on. The biggest of these is my custom pitches. I’ve wanted to make a pitch for a long time, but whilst reading some of the old Blood Bowl magazines I saw an article about making a pirate pitch with a set of house rules for it. I’ve started making the pitch and will post on this separately soon. I’m also going to make a felt pitch and a variation of the classic astrogranite pitch. I’m not a modeller or crafter in any way really, but it’s a lot of fun and so far I am really pleased with progress. Flicking through the Blood Bowl magazines has been great fun too – it is an inspirational read.
I’m also still working on my teams collection. I’d like to have one team for each of the 24 Blood Bowl races and then after that maybe each of the star players. It is a long term project! I’ve been painting the ogres but needed to get the snotlings primed before I could do anything else. This was also a great opportunity to finally strip and prepare a couple of other teams. I’m always looking on eBay for bargains and recently picked up a 2nd edition dark elf team and a 2nd/3rd edition dwarf team. These along with the snotlings and some warriors and beastmen for a chaos team have been prepared and primed. I also primed the freshly stripped 2nd edition orc players that I’m going to use as thralls in my orc vampire team. The vampires are going to be a mixture of old 40k orks and Warhammer black orcs with the weapons snipped. I’m working on back stories for all of the teams and even the pirate ship pitch. This is really making me think about how I want them to look and play and is helping to drive me to get them all done.
Outside of miniature games, I have been fiddling with building and rebuilding my home media server from an old PC. This is something that I am always tinkering with really. I have also been wanting to play old Nintendo games – Zelda especially. So I have dusted off the Wii and spent an evening homebrewing it. That worked and was really simple, I’ll write something shortly to say what tools I used to do it. Anyway, I can now play Zelda again so will start playing that soon. I’ve not spent any time on it since getting it working as I need to reconfigure the buttons on the controller as it’s not natural to play at the moment.
What else? Oh I’m going to try to get back into playing some online Blood Bowl and am going to make a real effort to play tabletop games at the local club over the Summer. The ExeBowl tournament is doing well and we’re getting a lot of interest which is nice reward for the work to get it to this stage. There are a few bits to do before the event itself but we’re on track for a fun event. I do keep looking to find a Blood Bowl tournament that I can attend as a player, but think I will need to park that for a couple of years. I’ve not played any X-Wing recently but do have a few games lined up for when the Blood Bowl league finishes. I’m sure I’ll get back into that when the next wave of ships arrives.
All in all, hobby things are going well. There’s a lot going on and I am feeling good doing it. I’ll post and share on each of the individual projects as I work on them. At the moment it feels quite good doing a little bit of everything, which isn’t usual for me. I normally like to work on one thing until it is finished. But I think the fact that everything is so enjoyable means I can’t leave a project alone for too long.
I’d love to know what projects you are working on and what is motivating you at the moment.