Completed – Blood Bowl Goblin Team

I have never really been a fan of stunty teams in Blood Bowl. There I said it. I don’t have anything against those that play them, I’m not against them being in the game. I am not in any way gamey or ultra competitive either, so it’s not about win percentage. It’s just that I didn’t really see any positives in them – not the fun, not the mass casualties on both sides of the ball, 3 die blocks everywhere. Crazy I know! Anyway, that was until I painted my Goblins!

Most of these were from my original collection of 2nd Edition miniatures and I filled in the gaps with a couple of purchases online. They’ve all been stripped and painted several times in their life time and the detail and definition on these little models was never brilliant in the first place. As I approached painting them then I must say that I was a little nervous and wasn’t really expecting a good result. I wanted to keep them quite bright and cartoony and wanted them to feel fun and crazy. I was helped by the sculpts just oozing wackiness with wide grins and sharp features.  This team also features two of my all time favorite miniatures – the troll with both his arms down by his side and the loony with the chainsaw raised above his head.

I picked some bright basecoats in the hope that I would be able to keep the brightness in the final version. The goblins are mainly Moot Green with a couple of stars done with Warboss Green. The trolls are Calador Sky, Teclis Blue and the star player Ripper is Kabalite Green. The orange colour on the uniforms is Jokaero Orange and the other armour colour is Calador Sky. The various metals and leathers are Mournfang Brown and Leadbelcher. I was conscious not to end up with a team that looked like they were all wearing exactly the same uniform. I like the thought that the kit man leaves a pile of shoulder pads, loin clothes and then the players all bundle in to pick out what they want. I did the same thing with my Chaos Dwarf team and I really like how they turned out. I wasn’t that happy with the quality of my base coating. I found them too small and fiddly after only having painted four miniatures before this after several months of no painting. I decided that an all over wash of Nuln Oil would help to cover my base coating sins and would bring all of the colours together. It worked really well and when I came back to them after it had dried I had a renewed energy and they already seemed more fun. I then reapplied the base coat, leaving some of the darker shadows still showing and then mixed in white with the base coat colours to highlight up two or three times. It’s very basic and not true-to-life highlighting. I tend to pick out some edges and sections that I think need highlighting.

I’ve got another bomber and the star player pogoer to paint still as I only got these after I started the rest of the team. I’ll get these done over the next few weeks.

I’m really happy with how they turned out and I am really excited about playing them. I may even play them in the next league season!

 

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Completed – Blood Bowl Khemri Team

The Autumn/Winter is when I make the most progress on my painting and with my hobby stuff in general. This year is already promising to be very productive since I have already completed painting two Blood Bowl teams. Ultimately I want to have painted one team for each of the 24 Blood Bowl races, so getting these done so early in the year is a fantastic achievement.

Khemri are one of those teams that I want to play in a NAF tournament one day, but have very little connection to. I’m not even sure Khemri existed as a dedicated race when I stopped playing Blood Bowl as a student. Anyway, knowing that I was only intending to play up to six games with the team, I plumped for the Pharaohs team from Impact! during the Kickstarter. The models themselves are not very good and from the moment that I unpackaged them, I was down on them as a team. I’ve experienced this with the other Trollcast teams that I’ve purchased but they – the Chaos Dwarves and the Norse – turned out ok. Yes, they are very cheap and you get what you pay for, but I’m not sure I’ll be buying them again. In fact I know I’ll not be buying them again. They are too light, they are a pain to clean up, they break too easily and they lack clarity and detail. They serve as a good entry to the market for beginners, but given that I really enjoy the collecting and painting part of Blood Bowl as much as I do playing, I think spending more money will still be worth it.

Anyway, I got them based up and primed which is more than I can say for the other two teams that I got..more on that another time. They were very much an interim project to be done after my Goblins (more on them later too) and before my next ‘major’ project. I wasn’t happy when I was painting them and just wanted to get them done. The process was very simple. I picked a basic red for the armour and clothing and then base colours for each of the positionals. I applied the base coats and then did an all over wash of Agrax Earthshade. The Tomb Guardian are Ushabti Bone, Blitz-Ras are Calgar Blue, Throw-Ras are Sotek Green, Star Players are Warboss Green and the Linemen are Dawnstone. The all over wash helps to fill in the gaps and ties all of the base coat colours together. It is a very simple an yet very effective technique. It feels like cheating but the end result is what counts! Once the wash had tried I was able to reapply the basecoat colour as a highlight and then pick out some gold details using Retributor Armour. I then painted the already sanded bases with Zandri Dust and then applied a dry brush of Ushabti Bone. The figures themselves are so light that they are too light to play with on the table top so as before I have glued a metal washer to the bottom of the base for weight and stability.

It’s a very quick job and took only a few hours of actual painting time over a couple of days. Yes, they’re basic, but they’ll do the job. They’ve actually turned out better than I thought they would but considering the other miniatures that are on my shelves at the moment, they’re not very good. I’ve not got any tournaments in the diary yet, but I think I will play this lot sooner rather than later; you never know, I may actually enjoy playing them!

Shifting Sands Scorpions

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.

Blood Bowl – Tabletop Reference Cards

I don’t play much Blood Bowl; I try but there’s not always the demand at my club outside of the league season and I am new to tournament play. As a result when I do come across one of the more usual races with some of the non-standard skills (i.e. not Pass, Block, Dodge etc) I need a way of remembering how they work and what the basic attributes are. I also need a way of having this information to hand and usable in a small space. A lot of time with Blood Bowl I find that there’s not much room at the table for everything you need. Cases and books get left under tables and chairs and rosters are an afterthought.

At my most recent tournament I saw some small reference cards that looked like they were part of a special play deck. I got inspired and produced my own trading card style reference cards covering some of the key tables, race summaries, essential skills and inducements. They aren’t complete and I will end up adding to these over time as I come across new scenarios.

Version 0.1 of the Reference cards

Version 0.1 of the Reference cards

I’ve taken details from the CRP, the CRP Ickle book and the Rules Clarifications on the NAF website. The cards are 2.5″ wide and 3.5″ tall which means they are standard trading card dimensions (I am told) and you can therefore use card protectors with them. I have printed them onto card and put them into protectors. I intend to use them in games by taking the card for the race that I’m facing as well as the cards for any secret weapons or inducements that I need, and placing them on the pitch in front of me where I’d usually have my dice.

If you’ve got any suggestions for new cards or notice any errors then please let me know and I’ll update them.

Blood Bowl Tabletop Reference Cards v1.0

Podcasts : What I’m listening to

I’m a bit of a podcast junky. I’ve tried many of them over the years, in the car, out running on the trails, or just around the house, they are my connection to my passions.

I have a combination of daily, weekly, and monthly listens. I’m a US sports fan and get my fill from ESPN- Mike & Mike are the mainstay followed by Football Today (on hiatus) and The Thundering Hurd. I also listen to Inside The Huddle, a UK based NFL podcast. Although the more I listen to it the more I think they just listen to the ESPN ones and repeat as appropriate. It’s nice to hear English voices talking about my favorite sport though.

Next I have comedy. This has changed quite a bit over the years as podcasts come and go but BBC Radio is always a good source and I subscribe to most of them. On top of that I’ve got The Bugle, Answer Me This and Hamish & Andy to keep me going.

Then there’s science, news and current affairs. This is the section that changes most frequently. I mean my tastes change most frequently. Dr Karl can be a good listen but tends to repeat himself over time, the BBC Radio shows are always of a really high quality but sometimes can be a bit dull and I end up unsubscribing and resubscribing every four months or so. The Kermode and Mayo Film Review is a must every week though.

The last section is hobby. This is a new section really, only a year old or so. Blood Bowl podcasts are the oldest on my list – Three Die Block and Both Down. But I have started this week (which is why I decided to post this) to try and branch out to other gaming podcasts. I’ve been listening to GoingLastGoingLast, Dice of Doom, Forge The Narrative, Garagehammer and Noobhammer and will probably settle on one or two of them to add to my regular listening. I must say that at the moment Noobhammer and Dice of Doom get the vote. The combination of the content, duration and personalities give them the slight edge so far. I’m going through some of the recent back catalogue to get a clearer idea of what they are about (as I did with the Blood Bowl ‘casts) and will make a final decision when the next episode of each have dropped.

P.s. I’m also starting to watch Tabletop on Youtube.

P.p.s I’m getting in this gaming hobby again 🙂