BB2020: Part 2

Following on from BB2020: Part 1.

A few more days have past, more leaks have come, and the big development over the past few days (for me) is that the core OBBLM (online blood bowl team manager) team have said that it does not make sense to try to adapt OBBLM to the new set of rules.

I wonder if the phrase “OBBLM” ever passed anyone’s lips at Warhammer World.  If not, this shows a distinct lack of knowledge about the people who play in BB leagues around the world. If so, it would be interesting to know if there was a plan.  If there was no plan, it shows a distinct lack of regard for those people.  I doubt we’ll ever find out.

While OBBLM existed for many years before the NAF got involved, it was on my watch that the NAF took on the idea of providing a central league hosting service for those who did not want to host it and do the admin themselves.  Since then numerous leagues have used the service, and the OBBLM development has become more of a NAF service with the various patches needed for the new Spikes, and it’s been great to see the community effort behind this, which is one of the brilliant things about the NAF – individuals come and go in how involved they are, but the organisation continues to thrive.

There is now a NAF effort being put into developing an OBBLM replacement, but that will take lots of volunteer time and effort, unless there are some bonus funds found or a crowdfunding approach, both of which seem unlikely.

So this got me thinking about the other things that will need to change or become obsolete.  Along the same lines as OBBLM, the other league management systems (principally Aros and Halfling Scribe, but also the NAF STARS I suppose) will need significant individual effort if they are still to be used.  I’m hoping to look into a Google Sheets alternative to facilitate league management, but we’ll have to see what happens.

Away from leagues, there are many tournament roster sheets that will have to be rewritten, from the individual tournament ones (such as mine for Eurobowl 2021, if it changes rules) to Battlescribe and the like.  Depending on their complexity, this will be a variety of effort needed, and there is no guarantee that all of them will get the effort, so some may become obsolete.

Obsolescence is also a problem for various bits of statistical analysis that I’ve done over the years. I touched on the NAF data issue in the previous blog, but it’s pretty certain that there will be a significant rebalancing in the tiers, so the existing analysis will be less applicable (and therefore potentially less interesting – insert gag about this not being possible).

As well as that, loads of my youtube stuff will become out of date.  Some will stand the test, with chain pushing etc still being a thing, but the basic “how to play BB” with 100,000+ views will need a new version, if no-one else gets there first.

And the final couple are that various teams may not be usable in the new rules (but I’m not above proxying) and the 24/26 will become an anachronism as the number of teams changes frequently, but these are minor considerations.

So what do we take from this?  Basically a significant change is coming (obviously) and it would be nice to know how many if any of these changes GW took into account when they decided to change their rules (which of course they are entitled to do).  Additionally, lots of people seem to be a bit cross, and while I would never tell people how to feel about a given topic, I can look on the bright side of a new set of rules coming – new blood to the game, and a new set of tactics to learn. 

So if I can, with my 100s of hours of investment being chucked out of the window to a greater or lesser extent, perhaps others can too?


4 thoughts on “BB2020: Part 2”

  1. Really interesting read, thanks.

    I hadn’t really thought about the mechanism for league management and how much effort will need to go into an alternative to obblm; I wish everyone luck. The part of me that started gaming long before an online manager, wants to suggest that the introduction of a hardback rulebook is part of the solution – it really is easier to scribble on your roster with a hardback manual ;-).

    Tournament roster sheets though! That will be a challenge – these have been a huge enabler to people – and especially newcomers – joining in at tournaments and being confident in their build being legal and that they understood all the skill additions, stacking, trades for doubles, gold bars etc. Maybe a bunch of 1mil no skill tournaments could be a transitional solution.

    For me this week, the other platform that may find some need to adapt is the Facebook bloodbowl community. The rhetoric this week has been such that many posts have been a challenge to contribute to and maintain – I’ve found myself turning off notifications from some that I joined in with; must have been a challenge for the admins. I wonder – as per your part one – if there is some CRP continuity, does this mean parallel rulesets? Parallel communities? It would be a shame, I think. The current community seems to manage the crossover between cyanide players, tabletop players and those who model and paint too – I really hope it gets through this phase of the change curve.

    I’ve noticed, too, a lot of ‘I’m a something-or-other coach’ posts. I only really play blood bowl nowadays, so I don’t know how many necromunder gangs, 40k armies etc folk collect, but I wonder whether this is thought about by the marketeers. In my WFB days, playing multiple races wasn’t an affordable option. Fielding a 1000+ pt Dark Elf army used more of my income than I planned. I wonder whether the new rules would see some players trying new and possibly more teams, leading to increased boxes team sales.

  2. Interesting reflection, thanks for sharing it.

    In reference to the abandon of Blood Bowl League Management Software (OBBLM), I have first hand information that, is working and preparing its League Manager for the next version to support the changes in the rules of BB2020. It’s not free, but at least it will support the community players who need one and may find themselves helpless. Maybe with a gesture of collaboration it could make room in the NAF community.

    Good block!

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