Category Archives: Blood Bowl

BB2020: Part 3

It’s launch week!  So to celebrate, played my first game in anger with the new rules against the eldest.  Here’s what I learned!

  • It’s still entirely possible to set up with 10 players.  I did this on my first drive.  Excellent.
  • I’m blaming this on the slightly odd imperial team build that I had to use to make an 1100 tournament team: 2 blitzers, 3 bodyguards, 1 thrower, ogre, 3 linemen, 2 rerolls, gubbins
  • Both teams ended up with 5k spare.  When I build my tournament packs, I’m going to allow 1 Dedicated Fans to be bought for 5k
  • Keeping track of Fan Factor is a bit of a pain – you have to WRITE STUFF DOWN!  This is a step backwards for tournament BB where you didn’t actually need a pen and paper until you submitted your results.  And then it only affects 11 and 12 on the kick off table.  Not a fan.  Opportunity for new swag though.  Or people could use the score track…
  • Saying “on it, not through it” is going to be consigned to the dustbin of history.  As is push as slang for GFI, as Rush is just as easy.
  • Tournament apo now works on a 1-3 on a d8 basically, instead of 1-3 on a d6, so is slightly worse.
  • Assistant coaches are much better than cheerleaders.
  • The boy managed an accurate throw team-mate, and then used the goblin to half dice my ball carrier down!  Broken.
  • It seems particularly churlish to take dauntless from Imperial blitzers and then put them against 6 S4 players in the box!
  • I almost did one jump, then remembered you can’t jump an empty square, only one with a player in.  Makes jump incredibly situational.
  • Brawler is good fun!  Especially if you roll a both down and a pow and then reroll the both down just for lolz.
  • Vomit is fun too.  “Always vomit before scoring” is a new phrase (as it can’t cause a turnover).

BB2020: Part 1

So there’s a new Blood Bowl coming.  Much heralded and much trailed, and then leaked on 2nd August, either by someone from China selling knock-off rulebooks or a cunning GW ruse to build the hype.  Doesn’t really matter.  1200+ comments on the BB Community group later, and lots has been said.  Here are my thoughts, based on a bit of reading, summaries from a few people including GngrNoob, AndyDavo and ketilkn on Reddit.  Thanks to them.  I’m writing from a position of no inside knowledge, with my NAF President days behind me, so these are just my own thoughts and obviously all is my opinion.

At the time of writing the Warhammer Community team either reacted to the leak or put a long devised masterplan into action, depending on your world view, and have shown off the box set and the Imperial Nobility in detail.  This team were in the slightly rubbish official GW app, and those that played them in leagues said they were a bit broken, mostly due to being the only team to start with Guard players.  A new tier 1 roster is not the headline however, the headline is the separation of agility into agility and passing, along with the whole passing mechanic being changed, and it is this that is causing the angst (such as there is) of whether it’s a whole new game or not.

The New Rules

Most of the changes are tweaks that could have been incorporated into an LRB-style evolution.  Some are pointless, like changing the injury table to a d16.  The kick off table has a reduced effect, with Blitz and Perfect Defence being toned down, which will increase the likelihood of the better coach winning due to reduced randomness.  I’m needlessly infuriated by the Cheering Fans/Brilliant Coaching symmetry having been removed, but most of the rest is quite… well, OK, but probably no need.  I don’t think it will make it particularly a better game, maybe at the margins, so on balance I would rather not have had these significant changes.

There has been some discussion about whether the rules have been playtested.  The WarCom release talked about some of the best players in the world having been involved, and there’s every reason to believe this.  If you look at those who have written playbooks in the Spike magazines, then the calibre of (most of) these players is high, and so the chances are these players have been involved in the playtesting.  It’s also likely that some of the most famous streamers have been involved in the development of Cyanide’s BB3, and the rulesets are likely to have been developed in tandem.

Dying Races

The effect on the various races will be an interesting one to see, and we don’t know the answers yet.  Will Khorne, Bretonnians and Kislev make it into the rules and the new version of the game.  If Kislev do, then Slann will live on, if not then I think the time of the space frogs may be at an end.  It seems unlikely, but not impossible, that the NAF will design a new roster for them including the new statlines.  Will other races be doomed as well, especially those that have not had a new plastic box set and particularly those that have not had the “made to order” treatment either?

The NAF response

It’s virtually certain that the NAF will move to the new rules, the only question is how quickly, and what will happen to CRP?  It has already been mooted that CRP could be listed as a variant in the NAF database, which I think might be a reasonable idea, particularly for those parts of the world who are more resistant to GW’s changes.   If this were to happen the current database could all be moved to the CRP variant, and the BB2020 game records could begin.  As a statistician this would make the dataset more pure and more interesting, and therefore better, and we have the capabilities around now with Glicko and active developers to produce some interesting analysis around the data.

I only really know about the UK tournament scene, and my impression is that the transition here will be fairly seamless, with a few tournaments holding the line and sticking with CRP for a while.  2021 is going to be a turbulent time for Blood Bowl, and it’s fairly likely that some people are going to stop being tournament regulars, unfortunately, but the game will go on.  The tricky ones are going to be the big tournaments, with Poland Eurobowl in October 2021 needing to decide on a ruleset (or in fact, they have decided on a ruleset).  My money would be on this tournament being the last major one (and the last Major) with CRP ruleset, before the new GW rules are fully incorporated.  I’ve been wrong before though.

The Fumbbl response

At the time of writing Fumbbl has already started to respond to the new rules, writing AV breaks as 8+ rather than greater than 7, for example, so every indication is that the client will adjust and adapt.

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

The Good:

  • change can be invigorating.  There will be new tactics to learn, and something to talk about in the BB world for a good few years to come.  I actually love learning new games, and am excited to learn the new rules.
  • GW is sticking around, with new figures to come for a few years to come, it would appear.  This leads to a persistent trickle of new players, which is good for the game.
  • It looks like there will be a standalone rulebook, which if it contains all the rules needed for the game would be a major step forward.

The Bad:

  • some people will stop playing, and these people will be a loss to the community.  Or they will stick around and complain a lot, which isn’t great either.

The Ugly:

  • there are a whole raft of new rules coming in, and unfortunately GW’s reputation precedes them here in terms of not being able to produce a watertight set of rules.  There will be typos, there will be mistakes, there will be unforeseen consequences of interactions of rules.  This is going to be a bit of a pain, and GW’s approach to FAQs is pretty terrible, unfortunately.

That will do for just now.  This was Part 1.  Thoughts welcome!

Waterbowl 2020 Day 1

Blood Bowl never seems to disappoint in terms of stories to be told, and Saturday was no different.  The big takeaway from me is that I like to win at Blood Bowl!  Shocker.  But the reasons are interesting.  I like to do stuff to challenge myself a bit, and in the BB world this means playing against the best coaches around.  It’s why Eurobowl is great, it’s why the NAF tournaments on Fumbbl are ace, and it’s why winning games is good, not good because of the warm fuzzy feeling from winning, but because it means that your next game is likely to be against someone at least as good as the person you just played.   On the flip side, it also means that if you lose then your next game has an increased chance of being against someone who is less good than the person you just played, or is using a less good race, and in both situations it’s non-ideal for the purposes of playing challenging games of BB.

So, my day.  Game 1 was against Varag, a lovely and enthusiastic (loud!) Spanish player using Wood Elves.  I was using High Elves, with 3 dodge catchers, a leader thrower, and frenzy and mighty blow blitzers.  I didn’t particularly have high hopes going into the tournament, I was using HE on my quest for “the 52”, which I’ve decided is getting all 26 races to at least 10 NAF games each (just a thing I’ve made up, really).  My first block killed a lineman, and in the next few turns I deleted another couple and built a nice cage near his endzone.  All good.  He failed the one-turner, and then scored in two turns at the start of his drive, and then again I got fairly comfortable in his half with the ball.  Only fairly comfortable though, because both wardancers were still alive!  At this point I had a nailed-on draw, or the possibility of stalling out for the win. Or, as it turned out, a third possibility, which was to leave the ball slightly unsafe, get turned over, and lose 2-1 after some serious dice.  He was very happy!  I was less so, but at some point I’ll learn not to overexaggerate the inevitability of the wood elf score, and take the touchdown for the definite draw and possible win. They’re not called mind sports for no reason (by those who call them mind sports).

The loss took me to bottom table (it’s random based on those on the same points, I think) and cjblackburn’s halflings.  He stole all my rerolls and didn’t roll a single take root.  Two interesting dice moments, where I took a 3-dice block with block before scoring, and managed to roll triple skulls, and puggy double skulled but passed the loner.  Apart from that I scored in 8 turns and then he scored in T16 with the Ag4 halfling, after I’d done everything I could with my limited players.  1-1 draw, where I think I did everything right, so frustrating times.

Game 3 was more wood elves, but a less experienced coach (mahwell-skel).  He was using the GW halfling dice, and my table manners may be affected as I think I may struggle if I ever see a knife and fork again!  The first half was comfortable, with me scoring in 8, but towards the end of the first half and the beginning of the second he managed to score 7 casualties!  He scored in turn 12, so I was attacking with 4 against his 9.  Made a sideline cage in his half, such as it was, but he turned the ball over and then had 4 turns to trundle up the pitch for the win.  A possibly unnecessary hand-off was punished by Nuffle, and a snake eyes allowed me to scoop up the ball and go 2-1 up, leaving him 2 turns to score with rerolls in hand.  The ball scattered to one of his line-elves on the line – he moved down the pitch and handed over to a wardancer, but not very protected, so I was able to get two dice and a pow, and then collect and protect the ball to only leave a one-die blitz.  The knockdown didn’t come, and I’d managed a win from somewhere.  Respect to him for taking the insanity well!

The clan had mixed days – no good dice for Alex’s cage-diving in games 1 or 2, but then a 4-1 win with his pro elves in game 3.  Linus won game 1 using bretonnians, then was podfreyed in game 2 and lost game 3.  There’s another U16 competing for the chocolate bear, and jip and I are both on 1-1-1, so the competition for star of the car is also fierce.  Lunch not included next year, so the takeaway prize for the latter takes on extra importance!

Finish with a big shout to Ringbeard for being top of the table – definitely rooting for him to keep the Waterbowl trophy at its home!  Also to kfoged for running the scoring and Alex for exemplary organisation as ever.  Bring on day two!

World Cup 2019

Much wordage has been written about the World Cup in Dornbirn, but more is always good!  I was originally going to be a ref, but got tapped up to join Team Wales, who are a lovely competitive bunch of chaps who had their eye on the podium, and I was fairly quickly persuaded into participating, rather than being in the refs’ office, as per last year.  With each of us with multiple NAF shields, and ranking in the top 10 based on NAF ranking with the races we were using, we were probably in one of the 20 or so squads (out of 250) that had a realistic chance of being on the stage at the end, which was pretty cool.

The team was made up of me (Lizards, completely block spam, stand firm on the krox), Dionysian with non-Roxy Amazons, Hawca’s super-dominant Wood Elves, 20phoenix with his solid Undead, and media star AndyDavo on Dark Elves.  The 6 was rounded out with BB2 expert MikeTheMachine, who took humans, and ended up being at or near our table 1 for the entire weekend!  Also a great guy, which is always good when you’re spending all your time with someone.

We stayed in a fab chalet in the mountains, and hired a car, which allowed us to trundle about including the two other halves and Davo’s baby who were also in attendance.  This was particularly entertaining because another team were staying in the very next set of rooms in the middle of nowhere.

When we arrived at the venue, the much-vaunted queues were already in full swing.  I met Galak, said hi to Gaixo and a few others, registered, and promptly gave up on the skill rings having spent zero time queuing, which I was quite happy about it. We hung around for the awesome drumming, but then headed off for home-cooked food after a day’s travelling (which had gone amazingly smoothly, and was a massive weight off my shoulders).

On the Friday I did have to do some queuing, but spent it with Heartsbane, which is always nice.  Got to the front and they tried to tell me that I could only have day one skills, but because I’d cunningly made a great big list I got round that one and got all of them for the whole team.  Then luckily had quite a while to give them all out, because of the delay to game 1.

My game 1 was against rookie Nurgle, and I felt fairly confident when I kicked and she only set up to hit one of my saurus – bit of a tell that someone’s quite new.  Lewdgrip failed the pickup in turn 1, then a both down on a single die in turn 2 before the pickup, and it was 1-0 to me.  The game finished 4-1 I think, and with a solid win for our team, except for Hawca’s brand new wood elf miniatures being pitch cleared by some Chaos.  Much fun.  I also had one of those nice sporting moments that you can afford when you are multiple TDs up, where she had rolled the Really Stupid roll in the dice cup and I pointed out that it was a 4+ before she revealed the dice, so she could change her mind.

Then the mega-delay, and as the person who organised the software for Eurobowls in Belgium, Sweden and Wales as well as the last World Cup, I had a particularly viewpoint on this, and it was that my heart absolutely went out to the organisers, who had poured heart and soul into this tournament for the last 3 years and it was starting to go to rats.  I just wanted it to work, and my help was offered, but they needed to sort it for themselves.  And eventually did, happily.

I didn’t write games 2 or 3 down, and the NAF results aren’t up yet, but they were against rookie squads, and so we finished “day 1” with 3 good wins, which as we were using Tier 1 teams (mostly) meant that we had avoided the main banana skin – as an example, my Lizards were now up to 5 block, so in a lot more of a comfortable space.  The only slightly dodgy moment was in a Lizard mirror match when at the start of my turn I stood up one of his players and then used that player as an assist for a 2-dice block, which my opponent thought was a half dice (which it was, but only because I had stood up his player!).  I think in the end I took the dice roll back but left his player standing, but it was all a bit confusing.

Our game 4 was the most painful – we played Team Alfea, and it was a 123 loss.  My game (and the squad) was looking incredibly comfortable at half time, but I got blitzed and it went wrong for a couple of others, including a snake eyes for hawca over the line.  They were a good team, but it could have been very different!

Submarine time, as we faced Team Poland in all but name, and had a good chat about Eurobowl 2020 (I’ll be helping with the scoring!).  I got my first wood elves, and when my skink failed the pickup, the game was pretty much over before it began.  A 312 win for the squad though happily, and it definitely felt like I was taking the wood elf bullet for the team.

Pingu was next – not the lovable plasticine penguin, but a load of quite experienced Spanish BB players!  I played against Pro Elves, and he proceeded to pretty much have the worst dice I have ever seen across the board from me.  I did my best to give him some chances, but it finished 3-0 as he couldn’t do anything. Our first draw of 3 in a row, bizarrely.

Next was Pilou, a good French team, and more wood elves for me.  I played ridiculously well in this one so only lost 1-0!

Next up was the Lutece Noobz, and my favourite game of the tournament against the splendid MaitreTactac and his Chaos – the first Chaos I’d faced.  He received, and I bit my nails for the next two minutes, but I survived the LOS hits, and then felt happy as I proceeded to bully his team for the next 8 turns, finishing 0-0 at the half and with 11 players.  I scored in 4 or 5 turns, which wasn’t super comfortable, but I was pleased with my “skink sacrifice”, where I left a blitz target next to the sideline which if he took meant he was out of position.  He did, and he was!

I then defended and should have been able to keep him out, but one skink was misplaced at a critical point, and when he made 5 or 6 3+ dodges in a row he managed to squeak a draw.

With our 4-3-1 record, we then played a slighty easier team, and I got Underworld to finish my tournament off.  It should have been super comfortable again, as more bullying pushed him deep into his own half, but some audacious dice rolling from skitter meant that I could have had a comfortable draw or push for a win.  I pushed for the win, and was rewarded with a Glart double skulls, then a skitter snake eyes, and a 3-1 win, so a nice way to finish.

The squad finished 5-3-1, which left us on 15th, which was slightly below par, but still an awesome result, and I was pleased with my own 5-1-1 record (plus 2 wood elf games), as well as the excellent atmosphere in the squad.

Top 5 Blood Bowl prediction game

Possibly of interest for a two-day tournament – I did this at Cakebowl this year.  Publish the draw for the first game on the Sunday, then get people to predict the scores in the top 5 games.  Obviously I built a spreadsheet to score it – I did 10 points for a correct result, then subtracted 1 for every TD difference for each player.

If you do have a go at the fun metagame, do let me know – publish it on Facebook or Twitter to let others join in too!  The big yellow boxes are where the predictions go, and then the Actuals go at the top (I left the Actuals in from the time I used it, for some reason).

Top 5 Spreadsheet

Auld World Masters 2019

Good day of Blood Bowl in IncomGaming in Cheltenham at Auld World Masters, run this year by Thor and FatboySlimming.  It’s a quirky tournament where you start with 4-7 skills and then lose one per round, replacing it with a Niggle.  Orcs were tier 2, so I saw a good opportunity to get them up to double figures of NAF games.  There were also “sponsorships”, where you chose completions, casualties or fouls and get bonus points if you achieved a certain number each round.  I went for fouls so included a few goblins in my roster.

Also in the roster were the two custom stars – one halfling and one orc who played a half for each side.

First up was AngryHobbit’s cool Khemri team.  A deep kick and a blitz result on my kick off made life difficult for him from the beginning, and I went in 1-0, only for sweltering heat to remove a couple of my players for the second half.  I found it quite tricky to get out of my half, and made a bit of a rubbish mistake which left my ball carrier in trouble.  It should have ended up OK, except for a board related error where I miscounted the number of squares his player was from the endzone.  Because the dark elf pitch doesn’t have an endzone marked!

Anyway, I’m over it now.  Only managed two armour breaking fouls in this game though, so my bonus points were gone before they arrived.  1-1 draw.

The orcs were angry now, and were presented with some Amazons to take it out on, courtesy of BethansDad.  It was a battering, and I ended up winning 4-1.

Next up was Cornish, using Dwarves with a Deathroller and going big on Mighty Blow, though only one left by this stage.  His defence was pretty solid, and it was left to the Deathroller to roll a one on a GFI to leave a gap for me to score in my turn 7.  His drive stalled a little, and the lack of guard hurt, so it ended up a 2-0 win.

The halfling star, Jobo Hairyfoot, had scored in all 3 games for me now, so I had high hopes for game 4.  I was pretty sure that 3-1-0 and no sponsorship bonuses were not going to be enough to win the tournament, but Star of the Car was still up for grabs, so when I faced a coach I hadn’t met before using an all Linemen Norse team I was feeling pretty happy (there was a prize for “best all lineman team”).  Unfortunately I played a little loose  and was punished with a double both down, reroll double both down (1 in 81) which left me out of position on defence.

He rode his luck a little, though did have 5 rerolls with which to do it, so that helped!  I did a classic play involving many dice rolls and chain pushing to get a one die blitz on the ball carrier, and the skull was not a huge surprise.  He score in turn 6.

As I pushed for the 3 turn score, things went bad with him tagging the ball carrier and having a player in range to score.  My blitzer chose this moment to double skull, and I went in 2-0 down.  Sad times.

On my drive I tried to score quickly, but some solid defence meant that turn 5 was the earliest I could, and despite causing 4 casualties in ONE TURN he was still setting up with 10 players for his final drive.  It was pretty tense, including a crowd surf by Jobo, but it wasn’t to be and I lost 2-1.  It was TheRake’s 6th NAF tournament, and I would be surprised if his first shield was long in coming.

So I finished 2-1-1, and as most touchdowns was scored by the tournament winner, my 8 TDs were enough to get me the prize.  Not Star of the Car though, which went to Alex (Dementor), along with best U16.

It was a good day, congrats to the Bubba double of Loki and Heartsbane taking 1 and 2, and to all the winners including Oscen who took best backstory (I came 4th… out of 4).

Bubba 2019

Well that was a crazy day’s Blood Bowl…

Took Khorne, because at 1200 TV you can have all the toys – Bloodthirster with block, 2 heralds, 4 bloodletters, 4 pit fighters all with block.

Game 1 was v Lycos’s wood elves, so I wrote off the day, but my armour and injury dice were on fire, and he kept failing dodges.  He stalled in his turn 6 and I managed the turnover – should have been able to go in at 1-0 up except for choosing poorly not to GFI to put myself out of range.  Too excited about all the other dice not working!  Interesting T16 one-turn score situation, in that I rolled a blitz, but because he had sidestep and I had frenzy I could have made the situation worse.  Turned out OK though, 1-0 win, happy days!

Pleased to face Tankface’s Ogres in game 2, always nice when a stunty team sneaks a win in game 1 and then you are lucky enough to be drawn against them.  Or so I thought.  I struggled to get my head around the treemen being used as Ogres, and despite being very familiar playing with and against the team, never really got my head into the game, including blocking in turn one having not taken account of guard properly.  My bloodthirster skulled out, naturally.  A few turns in the first half with no bonehead meant that I was forced to use my blitzes against the ogres instead of removing snotlings, and when he was able to escape from a tricky situation in the second half it was all a bit too late, and I lost 1-0, finishing the game with an attempt to block my own player.  Pro move.

More stunties, but high-powered ones in the form of Duffins’ Goblins.  I made life harder for myself on defence by only setting up 9 players, as two of mine managed to camouflage themselves on the sideline, and counting is hard.  Surprisingly, I failed to stop him scoring, especially after he removed my LOS from the pitch, leaving me with 6 players.  Lucky draw in the end, 1-1.

Brain failing for game 4 against Touchdown’s Dwarves, and as he had been out the night before this was not vintage Blood Bowl by any standards.  The highlight however was me over-enthusiastically lobbing one of my players into the KO box but overshooting so that he ended up down the back of a radiator.  Loki to the rescue with his long pole!

The day ended as ridiculously as it had been all day, with him skull reroll skull and then me pulling off a 3+, 2+, 4+, 3+ touchdown for a 2-1 win and mid-table obscurity.

Dementor took home Star of the Car, having a good day with his Dark Elves including beating 20phoenix’s High Elves, and it was good to be in a room with a substantial number of Welshmen as Wales completed the Six Nations Grand Slam.

Thanks to Loki for yet another excellent Bubba Bowl, which this year was warm enough that I didn’t have to take the next day off work. So it was a win!  Grats to DaPiranha for the win too, obvs…

Importing to Score

I’ve been asked a couple of times recently about importing into Score, so here’s how.

Download this file into Excel/OpenOffice, and fill in the first three rows.  Copy and paste the formulas in the fourth column as far as necessary.  Copy column D into notepad, then save it as something.

Open Score, then go to File…Import Teams.  Done.

A Weekend of Blood Bowl

It’s been a busy one – just seeing how many different aspects of the hobby I can fit into one weekend!

  • Double header of SAWBBL league games on Saturday morning at the marvellous new Firestorm Games in Swindon, spending some quality time with Alex!  A draw and a loss, sadly, but lots of fun.
  • Game on Fumbbl using teams in practice for the Bubba tournament in March – my Khorne against Twelfman’s Orcs.  Managed to get the Bloodthirster to catch the ball but didn’t manage to go on to score!
  • Helped out a US tournament using Exscore to run their tournament using Eurobowl rules.
  • Painting my latest team, a Kislev team using Harlequin Troupe miniatures.
  • Listening to various podcasts, Fumbbl and the World Cup, with the latter talking about my Tableau stats – good to hear them being used.
  • Pleased to see my 2018 BB stats review being shared.
  • Did some more work on adapting the Orc side of the BB16 board into a 7s pitch.
  • Undercoated the Blitz Bowl teams  – hoping to get them painted up soon.

I think that’s everything – what other forms of BB could I have added?