Foulbowl Facts

This post brings me no pleasure to write, and I put off doing it as long as possible, but there have been a number of factual inaccuracies floating around following the Foul Bowl tournament situation, and I believe the reputational damage to the NAF and to me means that I do need to state my understanding of the facts.  Then people can at least make their own minds up in full knowledge.  I have not included screenshots and citations of conversations, as it would have taken a while…

I have posted this here rather than on the NAF site as this is not meant to be “the NAF v Frogboy” or even “Sann v Frogboy”, but me trying to protect the community and the organisation that I have spent at least five years trying to make better.

Foul Bowl is a one-day Blood Bowl tournament in Firestorm Games in Cardiff, run by Frogboy.  I didn’t make it to the first year, but took a car-full (six people) to the second year, and ran Score as well as playing.  It was lots of fun, in a brilliant venue, and I had Foul Bowl 3 on my calendar.  As soon as it was announced I also offered to run Score again, and we discussed the possibility of using the website a bit better before the tournament and on the day.

On October 7th Frogboy posted on the (little-read) NAF forum that he was considering the App races for Foulbowl.  These are 4 races published on the BB App (Savage Orc, Nobles, and Skaven and Dwarf variants).   I immediately posted that I thought this was a bad idea.  He Private Messaged me asking why, and I tried to explain that it muddies the water around the introduction of Khorne and Bretonnians (K/B), and which are sensible and not sensible teams to use in tournaments.  It was a bit tricky to explain so I thought I would be able to talk to him in person about it at Exebowl (on 14th Oct).

Before Exebowl, Frogboy went more widely public with his plans, on Twitter, Facebook and TFF.  He got involved in a somewhat heated discussion on Twitter with Joemanji and JBone, among others, and as it was on Twitter there were quite a few crossed wires .  

At Exebowl, I explained to Frogboy about my concern – that conflating the app teams with K/B was equivalent to saying that the NAF are letting in a whole load of bonkers teams, and as I was planning to be very involved in Foulbowl I would rather he did not include the App teams.

We also talked about NAF sanctioning.  Frogboy had previously put the tournament on the NAF site, which is equivalent to asking for sanctioning, but possibly not everyone realises this.  Gaixo (Tournament Director) approved it, as is standard for returning tournaments as it is often assumed that the rules are basically staying the same.  Frogboy could not remember putting the tournament on the site, but i got him to log in and it showed the tournament on his list – the only way that this happens is if you have entered the tournament in the first place.

At this point I was getting somewhat frustrated and pointed out that it was also likely to be him as he had spelt “tournament” as “tournement”, as I had seen him do this before (and he did it the next morning).  This may have been perceived as an insult, which it was not meant to be. 

He then posted the next day that he was withdrawing from NAF sanctioning, in a long post about the NAF.  I posted that some of the items he has said were not helpful and/or not true, and he called me a bully, along with other unpleasantness.

At the beginning of November Frogboy posted that he was considering making random pairings each round (rather than Swiss).

By November 4th there had been a number of withdrawals from the tournament, and Frogboy posted that he was cancelling the tournament.  This led to a number of posts on TFF and in various places on Facebook that were factually inaccurate and thus drawing wrong conclusions, which led me to writing this.

So, in summary:

  • The tournament rules with the App teams were never submitted to the NAF for sanctioning;
  • Non-sanctioned teams are allowed in NAF tournaments, with games involving those races not being counted in the database.  Tournaments that have rule packs including non-sanctioned teams are discussed on an individual basis with the Tournament Director.

Eurobowl 2017

In October 2017 I was lucky enough to represent Scotland at Eurobowl in Portugal – here’s a quick summary of the Blood Bowl and social experience…

The Scottish team is a combination of the elected Captain, the top three finishers in the Scottish tournament series, and 4 of the Captain’s picks.  With 3 caps under my belt and a handful of tournament wins, I made the wild card selection and was given Skaven to play as I said I would use any race.  After a few vaguely unsuccesful tournaments, and when our Undead player asked to switch races, I switched to Undead and managed to win Exebowl (3 game one-dayer) before heading to Portugal.

I took 4 ghouls (2 block), 2 mummies (both guard), 2 wights (MB and Tackle), 2 zombies and 2 skeletons, 3 RR, 1 FF, 1 AC, 1CL.  Or at least I planned to, but I failed to count my miniatures before coming and my adorable children had taken a ghoul and a skeleton out of my miniature box!  Luckily Skuld from Team Sweden came to the rescue, so my already miscellaneous team (the 2007 TFF Legacy) became even more so.

We travelled on the same flight as the Welsh, and on arrival headed to a riverside restaurant for the local speciality – the Franceshina sandwich.  Amazing stuff.  Accompanied of course with a bottle of port.  The Holiday Inn was then available for check-in, so we headed to the bar and I walloped Loki a few times at chess – good warmup!

The food at the hotel was plentiful if a bit odd at times, which might just have been a cultural thing.  The beer was good, and they were very accommodating with people drinking their own, which was excellent after we discovered a local establishment doing 5 euro bottles of port.

The draw was Friday night, and the vaguely Scottish Norwegian captain Zulu drew us to face Norway in round 1.  It was great to catch up with BB players from around Europe, including the Swedish contingent who were a lot more relaxed than in 2016 when they were hosting.  The socialising and drinking went on late in to the night, so I didn’t feel especially fresh Saturday morning, but I’d decided not to start drinking during Round 1 so that my game did not go completely to rats (because I was playing Undead).

I had Endalos with Wood Elves first game, who did brilliantly last year, and when he had Fame +1 and we rolled Pitch Invasion I was a bit worried!  I was really pleased with my drive though, playing sensibly in the first few turns on offence with both wights stunned, and then manoeuvring around the mummies to stop the tackle wardance doing his thing (the other was frenzy).  Oh yes, and I killed his tree in one of the first few turns.  That was a bonus.  I scored in turn 8, and his one turn score didn’t come off, so I was able to my amazing head coach model facing forward on the brilliant plinth.

His drive was a rollercoaster start, with a short kick and blitz result (sorry Garrick, “defensive blitz”).  I got a ghoul in a cage under the ball, but he dropped it and the ball came out.  He recovered it, but then snake eyed on the dodge out, and after that it was game over as I was able to pick it up and again offer up no more than an uphill block on the ball carrier.  I scored in turn 5 of the second half, and he got a one-turner in order to give enough turns to equalise, but I closed out the game successfully.

Games 2 and 3 were marked by a slight tactical failure on my side (with hindsight), as I allowed Norse and then Orcs (Kithor and the Hungary coach) to score against me in turn 3 or 4, hoping to score back.  Both kicks to me were deep, and I didn’t have enough time to score back (and in fact Kithor went 2-0 up, oops).  The match against the Germans turned into a 4-0 rout as I chased the game, and I got away with a draw against Hungary after I scored in my turn 4 of the second half in order to chase the win.

Saturday night was the Captain’s meeting that I attended to take minutes and because as NAF Pres I felt it was a good idea to know what was going on.  The minutes will appear in time, but it was well chaired by Tripleskull on behalf of the Eurobowl committee, and some important decisions were made as regards getting a proper direction document for future Eurobowls.

Not as heavy a night in the bar after the meeting finished at 1030, but still some good chat about the BB issues of the day.  A few crazies hit Porto at midnight, but that’s never particularly been my style.

Sunday morning brought Pidpad’s Necro, and a fistful of casualties for me (7), starting with his wolf doing a one-die block on my mummy for the attempted surf, and managing skull, reroll, skull, dead, fail regen.  He also made a 4+ dodge to one-die surf my ball carrier, but with a sense of deja vu failed the block on that one too.  Going into his offence at 1-0 up and only facing a sevens side was a bonus, and the game went to bad to worse for him when he was forced to foul with his ball carrier (snake eyes, naturally).

This was our first loss as a team, after two draws and a narrow win yesterdays, so we dropped down from table 3 to table 6 and faced Wales, which meant a mirror match for me against 20phoenix – the only difference being his Guard Wight instead of MB.  One of the big sequence of rolls in this game was his mummy staying in the KO box for 3 kick-offs in a row, and after a bit of forward and backward I managed a 2-1 win, following (one set of) captain’s orders to push for the win after a nailed-on draw.  Unfortunately we got walloped as a team (5.5 – 2.5), so dropped down again to face Finland in round 6, as we did last year.  We were half a point ahead of Poland in terms of hosting rights, so just needed to do better than them in round 6 to bring the Euros to Scotland in 2020.

I faced Jopotzuki’s Necro, as I had last year, and was pleased with my performance after a tiring weekend, putting enough pressure on him to force a sequence of dodgy dice rolls from him.  They came off, and I played for the draw on my drive, but it was really interesting because we both caused so many casualties.  He rerolled a skull to a pow on my blodging ball carrier, which was slight disappointing, but again I was able to recover for the draw.  Finland also had the best swag of the weekend, giving a miniature of their drunkest player from last year (BeerBeer) to each opponent.  Will make an excellent Mighty Zug!

At this point I was told that Poland had scored the same in the last round, so we were mightily pleased, but then it was corrected to them getting half a point more, so we had equalised, and then we had to wait until the prizegiving for the confirmation that they had a better strength of schedule record, which was the tiebreaker, so we’ll have to wait another year to win hosting rights.  Unfortunately Malta will be fighting for it as well next year, and they came 6th this year, so it will be another challenge.

Many congratulations to all the winners, which included champions England, best defence from Gorgoroth, best individual JimJimany, and an amazing performance by the Scottish Europen team.  I put in my best display at Eurobowl on 321, and finished 3rd in most casualties with 19, and around 40th overall out of 170.  You can find the full results on the website.

All I can say now is bring on Wales next year.  After finishing 2nd Scot I would be hoping to make a wildcard choice again, and will be entering the Sann Clan as a team of 3 into the Europen, which is open to all.  It is going to be immense, and we will be trying our best to bring the Euros to Scotland in 2021 after the World Cup in 2019 and Poland in 2020.

Hope to see you at all of those!

NAF Uploading Tools

While most people (sweeping generalisation ahoy) use Score for their Blood Bowl tournaments, there are a significant minority who don’t, and for these lovely people I’ve produced a new spreadsheet.  If you put the coaches with their NAF names and races in one sheet, and the games in another, then press the magic button, it will generate for you the xml file that will allow you to upload the games without having to do it manually.

I’ve used it myself, but these things do sometimes break when put in the hands of others!  Have a go, and feedback welcome.

You’ll need Excel rather than OpenOffice to use it, as it runs on VBA.  You’ll also have to enable macros, naturally.

Enough already!  Here’s the file: Upload Generator.

TO Learning Points

Having run Score for FoulBowl yesterday (40 coaches), I’m recording a few learning points for posterity:

  • Putting the draw online worked smoothly, despite Frogboy not letting me do one post per round!
  • I didn’t put the team names in, and then adjusted the Score output so that it just showed NAF names, tables and races.  In future I will do the same, and use the team name as follows:
  • With lots of prizes (best Junior, stunty cup, others?) you need a way of keeping track, especially with over around 30 players.  If you make a note in the team name (Stunty, Junior), you can easily keep track of these teams.  This is particularly important with Stunty Underworld, Stunty Lizards, as it may not be obvious whether these teams are going for the Stunty Cup.
  • Also, If you include the team names in the results, then this can build the excitement as you go along as well!  This is slightly affected by the fact that I missed one of the entrants to the Stunty Cup, who happened to win it.
  • Printing the match sheets is really helpful, but more so if you are not playing – playing and administrating was hard work!

Given how many tournaments have been run, there is a slight lack of practical tips around (we have some on the NAF website obviously, but more welcome). Has anyone else got good ones?

Using Paint to annotate OBS

Thanks to cknoor for pointing me towards a tutorial, will link it later!

This is what I ended up doing, for OBS 64bit 0.16.2

  • Open a Paint Window
  • Add a Window Capture and choose the Paint window.  Make sure this is the top layer on OBS
  • Click on Filters, and set the Color Key to those items shown
  • Also in Filters, set Reduce until you can’t see the top window and the scroll bars – this will depend on your monitor (I think, I’m no expert!)
  • Choose the size of the Paint window to match the OBS setup – this is just trial and error.

Score for FoulBowl

Entertainingly, Frogboy has asked me to run the computer for him this weekend at Foulbowl, so will be making all the draws available on here (and hopefully it won’t crash, with all of the 40 people trying to get to it at the same time!).

This is a great dry run for running Cakebowl last year, so as a Father’s Day treat to myself while the kids are about I have been playing with the Score output files.

In the “templates” folder I edited to the text of “do draw.htm” so that it says this:

<title>@tournamentname@ – Draw for round @round@</title>
<b>@tournamentname@ – Draw for round @round@</b><br><br>
Table @nr@ – @coach1@ (@race1@) v @coach2@ (@race2@)<br>

Which is a lot shorter than the whole table stuff that was there before.  It produces the draw looking a bit like the following, which should be easier to read online, hopefully (the names are the ones from Cakebowl).  Might stick it back in a table though to make it easier for the second person to find their name.  Though hopefully people can use the find function on their phones!

FoulBowl – Draw for round 6

Table 1 – hawca (lizardman) v Frogboy (Orc)
Table 2 – Wulfyn (lizardman) v Rubick (Amazon)
Table 3 – Ceetee (Orc) v Landrover (Norse)
Table 4 – Heff (chaos) v Maverick (khemri)
Table 5 – Gutrot81 (Chaos Dwarf) v dreamscreator (Chaos Dwarf)
Table 6 – Hobnail (Orc) v Besters (chaos)
Table 7 – Gorgoroth (Orc) v Morbo89 (Skaven)
Table 8 – YogiBedlamBear (dark Elf) v Be4ch (Orc)
Table 9 – Glowworm (necromantic Undead) v Angry Hobbit (Chaos Dwarf)
Table 10 – Eski (Orc) v Wotfudboy (Dwarf)

I then tried to update the match sheets, to add in bonus points for fouling (hence the name), but bizarrely using Word to update the rtf file made it all go pear-shaped.  A quick Google and install of OpenOffice later however, and I was able to produce this file, which puts the coach name on instead of the team name and doesn’t waste too much paper.  Save it into the “templates” folder.


Teams in Score

Part of my reason for producing ExScore was that Score cannot automatically produce a score when the Tournament Organiser wants to reward a team win, so if your team of 4 achieves 3 wins and a draw, they should be awarded 3.5 points, for example.

This was the case for Eurobowl 2014, in Belgium, and the way that I suggested the organisers use was to enter all the results for a team at the same time (which is often done anyway), and use the Settings to award Team Points each round.

Say that you award 1 for an  individual win, 0.5 for an individual draw, then 1 for an overall team win , so a team that wins 5-3 gets 6 points in total, each player on that team would gets 6000 bonus points.  As an individual score is in the units or tens, it will never overcome the team score, so will only be used for the individual Swiss.  The team will then have been awarded 48000 team points (e.g. 6000 x 8 players), but this does not affect the actual standings as each team’s points are just multiplied by eight.

Hope that all makes sense, do comment if not!

Streaming Kit

After a request for info, seemed like a good idea to have streaming advice in one place.

So, here’s what I use:

  • A Logitech C920 USB Camera
  • A microphone stand, slightly adapted to hold the camera
  • Sometimes an extension lead for the camera, though the 20m one caused the camera to cut out.  The 5m one worked fine, and I’ve just bought a 10m one to test.
  • A Twitch account for live streaming and YouTube for uploading videos
  • OBS software

When I’m doing commentary I use a USB microphone or headset – the former causes popping, so TheSage says I should use a pop filter.  I did make a homemade one at some point, but it seemed to be taking the whole thing a bit seriously to use it!

Parish Councillors

I received a piece of election literature through the door today, from someone standing as a parish councillor.  This is brilliant – someone taking the parish elections seriously enough to spend money on producing leaflets.  I read a few of the policies (reducing anti-social behaviour, great, new  footpath (good, but in the wrong place), other stuff (not sure you’ll have the power, but good thoughts), but then saw that it was a UKIP flier.  Boo.

Firstly, there is a problem with political parties being involved with parishes.  Our parish will have 9 councillors, rather than the 650 in parliament or 60 in Swindon town council, so they should be able to vote on issues independently, rather than having to decide among themselves in groups what they stand for.  The national issues will generally not be relevant to parishes, and the local councillors should be elected overwhelmingly on individual competence rather than a broad sweeping generalisation on what they stand for.  Sadly, very few electors will put in the effort to find this out, which is one of the reasons that parish elections are flawed anyway.

However, the big impact of having party political allegiance is that for lots of electors the broad sweeping generalisation is what they will vote on, which brings us back to UKIP.  I will never vote UKIP, for a few reasons.  In the beginning they were a dog-whistle racist party, in that not everyone who votes UKIP is racist, but if you are racist you are likely to vote UKIP, and equally if you are racist and want a mainstream political party to represent, then you are likely to choose UKIP.  Therefore, the broad sweeping generalisation that comes with being a representative of UKIP is that you are a bit racist, in the same way as Conservative means low tax, and Labour means high public spending.  Lib Dems, still not sure.  Green, lots of good things, but we don’t have anyone standing for Green in our ward.

In addition, UKIP’s reason for being is Brexit, which I am very much against.  It has been, and continues to be, a massive distraction from the actual important issues.  There is very little time for actual governing, while ridiculous number of hours are given over firstly to campaigning for the referendum, and now putting into place a decision made with a majority of 52-48.  No-one can know the actual economic impact of coming out of the EU, so it seemed to me to be a completely irrelevant choice, fundamentally based on a certain amount of xenophobia.

So, in summary, I wish that parish councillors were all standing as independents, but if they do choose to align themselves with a party, this will lead to me ruling some out due to this, and then choosing from the rest on the basis of perceived competence.  Not that I have much of a way of finding this out, as none of those standing has ever got involved with any of the community activities that I have organised over the last three years…

Using GW Boxsets

One of the most common questions (and to be honest, complaints) about the new box set concerns the lack of positionals to make a good team.

So, what do we have?

Dwarfs: The GW set comes with the 12 dwarfs you need for a basic team.  Job done.  The Deathroller is nice to have, but a competitive team would not usually have one, as it’s so much Team Value for something that’s not likely to have a huge impact on the pitch so it’s very optional.  The only problem is when you play in a league and want to go to more than 12 players, obviously.

Orcs: Comes with 2 Blitzers, 2 Black Orcs, 2 Throwers, and the best teams have 4 Blitzers, 4 Black Orcs, and probably only one Thrower.  Plus they have a Troll, which has now been released.  My most efficient recommendation for this would be to use the figures that are nominally Blitzers as Black Orcs, possibly marking the bases of all of them with a green strip to make it clear.  You can then put a red strip on 4 of the spikiest lineorcs, and use them as Blitzers.  Job done, or if you wanted to be fancy, you could do some head swaps, so that all Blitzers were not wearing helmets. Finally, add a troll.  For this you can use almost any fantasy troll model, as they are not usually carrying inappropriate weapons, or if they are they can easily be snipped.  Stick him on a 30mm or 32mm base, and you’re done.  A few Goblins might be nice too, but again any goblin figure without a weapon would do the job here.

Humans: Comes with 2 Blitzers, and you want 4.  You may want extra catchers too, but not such a big deal.  Simply use 2 of the bottom left linemen as Blitzers.  Colour code all the Blitzer bases red.  You should also be able to pick up some spare human linemen if you want them from people who bought the box set, or those who bought two boxes to fill out the positionals.  Finally, get an Ogre.  They’re awesome.  Either the GW one, or the GW Morg, or literally any Fantasy Ogre not holding a weapon.

Skaven: only 2 Gutter Runners.  Nightmare.  Easy peasy though, use the Throwers as Gutter Runners.  No one will mind.  Then nominate one of the linerats as a Thrower (you could stick a ball in his hand, from the sprue).  You will want extra linerats (my current tournament team has 13 players, rats are squishy, but almost every Skaven player will have bought two boxed sets for the multiple Gutter Runners.  You probably won’t want more than one Thrower in your team, unless it’s a long league.  Rats die.  A lot.  You will want a Rat Ogre model, and these are harder than the Ogre or Troll to proxy, but there are some good plastic options out there, or the GW Blood Bowl one.  In old ranges there was a Headsplitter model, which I like a lot.  The other option for extra Gutters is the Deathrunner from Warhammer Quest: Silver Tower, as the box comes with 2.  The weapons would be need snipping though, which is a shame as it’s quite a nice model.

Hope that’s helpful!  Thoughts welcome.