Category Archives: Blood Bowl

Mooaarr Blood Bowl

Some thoughts on the eve of Birthday Bowl, a 16-coach BB tournament at my house, quite exciting!  Thoroughly enjoying my BB at moment, as it’s providing an amazingly rich tapestry of experience for just one game.

My tabletop league stalled a bit after the first round of games, but I’m expecting a flurry quite soon – currently playing Necro, and top of the league, though not sure how long that will last.  I’m playing online on two leagues on Fumbbl – the Team Scotland league, which allows me to keep in touch with my Eurobowl team mates despite not living anywhere near them, and the White Isle League, which I think is Britain’s biggest and has a good selection of decent coaches. I’m also part of the UKBBL on Cyanide, which is allowing me to meet a load more new coaches.

On the tabletop tournament scene, as well as Birthday Bowl, I’ve managed to wangle 3 tournament weekends in a row at the end of May, which is unheard of for me.  The NAF Champs is the biggest individual tournament of the year, currently nudging 130, but I would expect 150 by the time it rolls around, and it’s a great opportunity to meet up with a load of players in one place.  The weekend after is a UKBBL non-NAF tournament, which will allow me to become possibly the first person to play 25 races in tournaments (I’ve done the 24, and will be adding Khorne!).  Then it’s Cakebowl, which is our local 2-day tournament, and the boys will be joining me for that one.  Defending my title too!

ouchPainting wise, I’m looking forward to my Impact Kickstarter arriving with Pro/Dark/High Elf teams and the Scotlings, plus another that I can never remember.  I’m redoing my snotlings, and finishing off a load of individual models. I’m also going to knock together a Duel Entry for the NAFC from my bits box, to support the idea rather than with any hope of winning…

Later on in the year, I’m currently in negotiations with my employer to allow me the time off to be a ref in Lucca for the World Cup, which would allow me to do a load of media work too – writing match reports, live streaming some highlights, it would be awesome.

Fingers crossed, and on with Blood Bowl we go!

Recording Live Blood Bowl

A bit of ongoing commentary on my adventures in recording live Blood Bowl – things I have tried, what works and what doesn’t.  I’ll probably leave a few questions unanswered, so if I do just drop me a line and I’ll happily answer any questions.

Equipment

I have an HP Pavilion G series laptop, if anyone cares to look up the spec – it’s not very powerful, of which more later.  I’m using a Logitech C920 USB webcam, which I have gaffer-taped to an old lamp so it can be pointed in various directions, and a separate USB microphone to pick up the sound.

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Software

I’ve used a few different combinations of software.  Before live-streaming, I had recorded the screen using Debut and then moved on to Open Broadcast Software (OBS), both free programmes.  When using Debut for screen capture I recorded the audio separately using Audacity, and then used Windows Movie Maker to combine the two.  This took an age, whereas live-streaming means the video is available straight away.

I had a look at Twitch, but I had already set up my YouTube account by this stage with a few videos on it, so I didn’t fancy making the switch.

So the easiest way to live stream is through Google Hangouts. This is the default option. To live stream on YouTube you create a live event, which needs an account in good standing (some videos already published, I think). Once you have done that it’s literally a couple of clicks to get your Hangout going.

I then found that it was a bit tricky to get the score, turns and dugout in clear view, so HairyPete suggested using OBS with an overlay.  This is a text box that allows you to put any text over the picture, by setting up a “scene”.  He and I played around for a while, before I put the call out on Twitter, and Christer (of Fumbbl fame) came to the rescue with a snazzy little app that updates a text file automatically.  This allowed me to just have a simple interface for increasing the score etc.

Overlay

In terms of getting YouTube going with OBS, this was straightforward, and there are lots of guides out there written by more technical people than me.

The only problem I found with OBS was the amount of computer power it took, and this is where my poor little laptop couldn’t really take it.  I couldn’t have any other programmes going at the same time, and had to reduce the frames per second (fps) to 10, down from the recommended 30.  I don’t think this affected the quality, however.

There were still occasional hangs, but mostly I think it was OK.  A better camera would probably improve the resolution, and a better computer would speed it up, but I am in no hurry to invest money in a niche activity!

I stopped using the overlay more recently, and adapted one of my boards to have a mini-dugout on it, copied (I think) from a Dutch Open design.

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Once an event appears on YouTube, you can edit it, trim it etc, but only if it’s less than 2 hours, which I learned to my cost as some of mine have half an hour of nothing at the beginning while I wait for my opponent!  Will do first half and second half in future, I think.

Hope that was helpful, questions and comments welcome!

Blood Bowl v NinjaHamster

I had the webcam set up to livestream Lycos’s 1000th game, and then recorded game 2. Took a different approach to game 3 by using the webcam to take snapshots at various points in the game. This is my Humans with a wizard against NinjaHamster’s Necro.

I kicked, and this was the starting set up.  NH set up fairly deep, with only 3 on the line – I tend to pack the line when receiving to get as many blocks in as possible, hoping to remove the line of scrimmage if possible.  When kicking I have 3 on the line, with the big guy behind to dissuade following up.  My 3 blitzers are protecting the vulnerable catchers and throwers behind.

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The kick went short, and NH gathered his forces at the top of the board.  After a few turns this was the position.  He pushed forward after this and I managed to dodge out but not get down the blodge ghoul.  Thought about using the wizard, but was not in a position to capitalise.  After 3 games where I have kicked I am starting to think that when having a wizard receiving is actually the better option, as it keeps the psychological effect in play for longer.  After this position NH scored, giving me a few turns to score back.

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A wiser man would have taken a pic of my setup, but I forgot.  The kick went deep, but my thrower and ag4 catcher combo meant that after receiving I got into this position with my cage just over the line and the catcher within scoring range.  NH put some nice pressure on and I used a reroll early in the turn, leading to two unprotected GFI for the score.

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Made it!

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I received in the second half , and a touchback meant that I could get the catcher in a nice cage early on (top of picture).  Still no wizard used.

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Nice little position here, little tricky to see.  Start of NH’s turn, and my catcher has retreated a bit after it got a bit crowded near the sideline.  NH has a flesh golem a couple of squares away, with a werewolf nearby, so spots the opportunity for a nice chain push to put the golem next to the ball carrier.  Does so successfully, but doesn’t get the reward of a pow or both down (neither golem nor catcher has block).Snapshot_20150221_8

After the chain push:

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It was one of those positions though where the manpower needed to make it work means that if it fails (i.e. no pow) there is a gap, so my lot zoomed through the line and protected the catcher.  At 1-1, and with a wizard in hand, I should have scored rather than stalled.

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But I stalled, running the catcher over and not protecting him properly.  The wight (NH happily pointing at him!) needed a dodge and then two gfi’s to hit me, which I realised but allowed. Oops, both down (last reroll gone on the dodge).

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Ball bounces in to the end zone.  Not a problem, my catcher at the top of the screen can reach it and… fail the pick up, bounce into the crowd, head towards half way line.  Argh!

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Many shenanigans ensued, and I eventually had to lightning bolt a ghoul to get the ball back, and do a quick pass with the blitzer to get the score.  The morale of the story, if you can go ahead and still have a wizard, don’t stall!

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Fun game, excellent opponent.  Finished day 2-0-1.  On to Sunday!

Thrudball 2014

Thrudball has always been a special tournament for me – it was my third ever BB tournament back in 2007, and a massive step up in size after the 12-man Strongbowl and a one dayer as part of Conflict South. I took Ogres back then, and was very pleased to get the Most Sporting award and a 1/2/3 record, including a 3-0 win over MattWhile’s Orcs in his first tournament (he’s had plenty of revenge since). I had to miss a load due to the unfortunate scheduling of a wedding anniversary and various family holidays, but returned last year and found it bigger and better than ever, with free camping in the grounds of the community centre and all the foolishness intact.

I took Lizards as part of my training for Eurobowl, as I am part of Team Scotland, having last participated in Spain in 2008. I’d played them at Crumbbowl (201), NAF Champs (420), Cakebowl (420) and Gert (312) and was enjoying them immensely after previously going all round the houses and completing the 24 races. This tournament was also special as it was my eldest son Linus’s first tournament at the age of 9. Exciting times!

I took 4 Block Saurus, also with Leader, MB, Tackle and Guard.  This left cash for 2 more Saurus, a Krox and 4 Skinks, plus 2RR and an Apo.  I used the Apo every game, including on a KO’d Saurus in the 2nd half and 3 first half skinks.

Many fantastic plans were made for Friday night camping, but unfortunately the tail end of Hurricane Bertha (Bigfist) hit and most of these were scuppered, leading to fish and chips in the car. On to the games!

Game 1 v FunnyValentine’s Pact

Slightly put out (not really) to be on bottom table for the first game, I was facing a French coach with 2 dirty players going for the Fouling award (as well as the wins).  The game mostly involved his big guys rolling 1s, as they often do, although his ClawJugs Mino was a pain in the backside until it was removed.  I managed to turn him over and scored in turn 5, figuring that a 3 turn score with Pact is hard and if I could sneak a second that would give me the game.  Went in at 1-0 and made it 2-0 in the second half.

Lunch was some fabulous pies, and the sun had come out, so there were lots of activities like Smite, Zorbing and the ubiquitous ball games.

Game 2 v Rubick’s Skaven

The roll of 1 played another important part in this game.  I managed some early pressure on the ball carrier, but the rats would have been away but for an unfortunate snake eyes.  My skinks failed to secure the ball, and when he got it back I was worried, but another snake eyes (whoopee!) messed him up completely, and then the rats left the pitch.  Quickly.  3-1 in the end.

Game 3 v Mozzerman’s High Elves

In his first tournament Mozzerman had just beaten my son’s Undead, so revenge was due.  He had an Ag 5 leaper, but he was left unprotected at a critical point so got a Saurus to the face, which wasn’t fatal but bad enough to mess up the drive for him.  My Tackle Saurus had fun against the blodging blitzers, and the game finished 3-0.

Saturday evening was the auction, and I avoided spending crazy cash on silly things, though was very pleased to see that others did, including £80 on some block dice cushions and many £10s on dice.  All to a good cause!  More excellent food and good gaming action also ensued, and the rain most held off until Sunday morning, which dawned grey and grizzly, but did not dampen anyone’s mood!

Game 4 v Gninocker’s Lizards

At the end of Saturday 4 teams were on 3 wins, and the other two were Woodies and Orcs.  As long as I avoided the former I was happy, and so it proved.  Having had pretty good dice on Day 1, on Day 2 they really went to town, with an opening Blitz for me putting massive pressure on the ball carrier and his Krox dying in turn 2 (no apo for him).  Gninocker had made the trip over from Belgium, and had won most Thrudlike the night before, so was making the most of the experience, including his first time on Table 1.   He had played a lot of NAF tournaments but not with Lizards.  A massive scrum in the centre put his skink in a lot of trouble, but I didn’t take a both down with a rookie saurus, hoping to keep him contained, and he managed to chain push the skink to freedom and score in his turn 3.  A 6-turn and 7-turn drive later, and the result was 2-1.

Game 5 v Basurdi’s Orcs

The Lutece v Lutece game went to the Orcs, but the refs had refused to tell me this, so I didn’t know until the draw came out who I would be facing.  +2 fame for me and a pitch invasion later, and Basurdi was heard to mutter “j’ai perdu”.  It was difficult to argue with that, as the kick was short and the goblin ball carrier ended up in blitzing range of the Block/Tackle Saurus.  An amazing turn 8 sequence of rolls for him (3+,4+,3+,3+,3+,4+,3+,2+) with only 1 dodge reroll to play with made it 1-1 at the half and kept it interesting, as did a mistake by me in turn 16 which kept the TTM play alive, but I held on for another 2-1 win.

Game 6 v Kwek’s Halflings (!)

I was packing up the tent between games 5 and 6, so missed the original draw that would have put me against PeterD’s CDs.  I’ve never played Peter, despite being at a few tournaments with him, and would have liked to as he is thoroughly nice chap, but had to rub my eyes when the redraw (due to a data entry error and random matchups between those on the same points) put me against Kwek’s Flings, who were having a great tournament and were on 401 (he’s got the hang of them after 200 NAF Halfling games!).  Kwek started very strongly, making me use my apo on a skilled Saurus in turn 1 and then killing my krox in turn 2, but my Block/Tackle Saurus (again) removed a fling a turn, and then when I realised the pressure was getting too much I sacrificed my players against the trees, making the TTM too much of a risk.  The flings couldn’t escape the clutches of the surrounding Saurus, and the moot was doomed.  Kwek is an amazing guy to play, and one of the highlights was when he set up on defence with all 3 trees together and I marked them all with a skink to avoid the blitz.  Turned out I was the only coach all tournament to do that!  At 2-0 I did a corner kick for entertainment value which led to a one-turn score, followed by a Blitz result and a nice kick which could have been nasty, but there weren’t enough little guys left, and the game finished 3-1.

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I had won the tournament, including most TDs and third (I think) in most Cas.  The icing on the cake was Linus winning Dockbowl (BB on a ship, competed for by the bottom 4 coaches at the end of game 5),as well as Most Sporting.

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One more tournament to go before Belgium, with a trip to Exebowl in October.  Already planning which teams to go next, thinking a return to Stunty for a while, and possibly a Thrud-themed team for next year…

See Lunchmoney’s photos here.

 

 

State of the NAFtion

Without my NAF hat on, here are my thoughts about where the NAF should be going and what it should be doing.  Most of this stands whether or not there is a nice new box in October.

The website obviously needs an overhaul.  It should offer members and non-members different things, in a way that might be complicated to set up.
– An easy way for a tournament organiser to provide all the information that potential attendees might need, including an upload of the rulepack, a link to the forum thread, all on one page.  This would improve this page:

tourneypage

– This would need to be accessible to all without paying membership, otherwise it would not be used by tournament organisers (one of the reasons at the moment).
– There should then be a Members section, where you can view the Matches that took place, download the Score file, and read a tournament report.
– The Library section should be a central repository for all things to do with tabletop Blood Bowl, with links to excellent sites like Plasmoid’s playbooks, bbgridiron.com, bbtactics, GW and so on, a catalogue of suppliers of Fantasy Football models.  This is particularly necessary as Googling Blood Bowl I suspect will hit the Cyanide version more often than not.  This should be a Members only service.
– There should be a new League section, offering the service that stuntyleeg offers, or used to, in that any BB league should be able to get access to OBBLM without having to install it themselves.  This would need people to be NAF Members if they are part of the league.
– The NAF Newsletter should go to Members, and all the content accessible to Members only.  At the moment this isn’t possible because of the functionality of thenaf.net, so content resides on nafnewsletter.com.
– The Rankings are excellent, I think, and don’t need any fiddling with.  If the doubleskulls analysis could be automated and incorporated into the website, that would be great.  Rankings and all analysis should be Members only.
– The Forum should be part Members and part non-Members, with all the tournament threads in a non-Members section, but with frequent hints about all the lovely stuff that can be found in the Members section.

Now all of the above is website-based, but some of it should be possible under the current structure.  If there were a new structure at some point, it should bear the above in mind. In terms of non-website things:

– The NAF should have a Recruitment Organiser, who organises and supports demoing by local people at non-BB tournaments and events such as Salute.  Obviously, the NAF is not trying to sell the game, but is trying to get people to play it, which would be a very different take for demo stands.  With a standard setup and a standard set of simplified rules for demo games, this would make organising demos a lot easier.
– Without block dice, the “collectable” bit of merchandising should be rethought – maybe different coloured badges or patches for each year of membership.  These could become as collectable as block dice, possibly.
– The membership should be reduced to around $5, as this will make it a lot easier for people to make the decision to join, and without the draw of block dice something needs to be done.  However, the point has been made frequently that there needs to be something you get for your membership.  All the website stuff that I mentioned above would I think be worth this nominal member fee, but without knowledge of the accounts I don’t know if this would make the NAF viable.

I may think of more later, but I think that’s it for just now.

Mike (June 2013, just before I learned what the plans were for thenaf.net)