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!

Moving Tabletop onto Fumbbl

Hi,

this post will explain how to import your tabletop league teams on to Fumbbl in times of social distancing (and for other occasions!).

The first thing you will need is a “skill ruleset”.  You can use my one (ruleset 1206) or you can make your own using this link.  There is a huge amount of variety available within rulesets, so it is definitely worth making your own.  If you do choose to use mine, note that it:

  • uses Spiralling Expenses not Expensive Mistakes
  • allows Piling On without a Reroll

When you create your ruleset, you will want to make the starting TV large (I went for 5,000,000) so that people can buy everything they currently have. The admin can then reduce the TV as needed.  Choose the name of the ruleset carefully, as you can’t change it later!

There are 5 pages of options in the ruleset options, which are mostly self explanatory.  “Petty cash adds to TV” means CRP inducements.  You will need to add Brets and Khorne into the rosters if you want to use them.  Do this by choosing custom “yes” and then save, and then choosing Add Roster on the bottom right.  The versions marked NAFC are the official ones.

While you are creating the ruleset, look in the url for the number of it and make a note. 

After you have a ruleset, you should create a League.  On your homepage, click Create a New Group on the bottom right.

  • Change the Group Type to League
  • Change ruleset ID to the ID of your ruleset
  • Change status to recruiting

Fill in the rest of fields as required.

Once you have created your league, you should have something like this:

Provide this page to your league chums, and get them to click on Create team for this league, then buy everything they have in their tabletop team (players, FF, goods, rerolls).

Once they have done that, as league admin you can go to the team, and adjust anything that is in red by clicking on it.  To adjust FF or Treasury, this will be through the main team list.  To adjust player skills etc you click on the player first, then click on the SPPs and award the correct number of SPPs. 

You then Edit skills to give the correct skills.  You can also click on the Injuries box and can award injuries to the player.

Once the teams are made, the teams can play each other by clicking play next to the team and using the name of the game as previously decided between the teams.

Thanks for reading, hope all is clear – there may be a video tutorial later, let me know if I’ve missed any steps!

 

 

 

 

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!

The Joy of Swearing

Some thoughts on swearing.

I am one of the admins on the Blood Bowl Community group on Facebook, and one of the ten rules of the group is as follows:

Keep it clean
Avoid swearing. Alternative spellings, implied swearing, asterisks or acronyms are not allowed either. Admin judgement is final. Likewise images and memes are subject to this rule too.

This has been a rule of the group as long as I can remember, and I think I was one of the first 100 members or so, as Pug set it up.  The rule gets questioned every week or so, so I thought I would have a standing post to answer those questions.

In essence, the admins believe there are very few people who would want to read lots of posts littered with swearing, and most forums I use have had a rule against it.  The question therefore comes down to where you draw the line, and in the case of the BB community the line is drawn to forbid most swearing, as above.

In general, this is because there is very seldom an actual need – there is usually a more descriptive word that could take the place of the swearing, and the joy of writing is that you can take time to think of what that word might be.  Swearing when writing is generally used for emphasis, so it is mainly this avenue that is being denied to people, and it’s an admin judgement that this is a reasonable thing to do in this particular group.

Swearing is also commonly used when directed at somebody, and as personal abuse is also against the BB Community rules, and rightly so, banning it in this way is also reasonable.

So in summary, swearing is banned to keep the tone of the group as civilised as possible.  Members are free to disagree with the rules, but they agreed to stick to them when they joined the group, so if they can’t follow them they should refrain from posting or find a more suitable group.

Hope that’s helpful. If it’s not, you know what you can do!

 

Using Score for Underworlds

Just bought Warhammer Underworlds, and my chum Jip is running tournaments for it, so I’ve adjusted a copy of Score so it can be used for those tournaments.   

Download this zip file then unzip: underworlds

There are two files in there – races.txt and do result.html.  Replace the races.txt in the main Score folder with the new races.txt (it contains the warbands up to Beastgrave) and then replace the do result.html in the templates folder with the new one (so the wording on the printed table is correct).

Then when you enter results enter the Glory score into the Touchdowns, enter 0-0 for the casualties, and then when you click “Print Results” it should show up nicely.

Any tweaks needed, let me know!

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

Eldene News/Community

It’s not a great story, but occasionally people ask me why there are two Facebook groups – Eldene News and Eldene Community. Here’s a potted version of the story.

In 2013 I created the Eldene Community group as there was no Eldene Facebook group as a way for neighbours to share interesting info.  It grew fairly steadly, just by friends adding friends, as well as random searches.  A year or so later I went to a community networking group and this grew into the Eldene Residents Association (ERA), which met for two or three years and arranged a tabletop sale, many litter picks, hustings and a few other things.

When the parish council was set up, this seemed to supercede the need for the ERA, and there was a lack of people attending meetings, so the decision was made to wind it up.

The Eldene Community group continued however, and as it grew there were some people who were not happy with some decisions that admins made (by this time there were 3 admins, me and two others), in particular which content would be allowed to be posted.  Not every decision we made was right, but the general idea was supposed to be polite discussion about Eldene.

In April 2018 a person who had been banned from the Eldene Community group for repeated unpleasant behaviour set up another Facebook group and called it Eldene Community, and took the same header picture.  We reported this to Facebook, but received no response, as we are a very small part.  We decided that it was not worth causing a further fuss about, as we don’t actually gain anything from the group, it’s just a public service, so in order to avoid confusion we changed the name to Eldene News.

So that’s the story – from my point of view it’s unfortunate that there are two, but it doesn’t seem like a good idea to shut ours down as the other is run by someone who was banned for unsavoury posts.

KingDomino upgrade!

Got QueenDomino for my birthday, as I already enjoyed KingDomino – quick review here, targeted at those who already know how to play the latter.

Basically the new game adds Towns as a new tile (the red ones) which have some bonus functionality.  When you play a red tile you can build on it from the options behind the big hand in the photo above, and the different buildings offer different victory points bonuses.

We only played one game, so that might be a factor, but it did seem to slow the game down slightly – one of the great things about KD is how quick it is to learn and how quick to play.  It does add a couple of years to the minimum age/intelligence needed to be able to play as well, so if you want to stick to an easy game or play with very young folk then stick to KD.

However, the extra tactical stuff was good fun, the scoring sheets (very similar to those in 7 kingdoms duel) were useful, the different way of playing 3 players was a good idea (discard the unused tile), and I’m looking forward to mixing QD with KD for a 5 or 6 player game, so very happy with the purchase!

Mostly gaming, mostly Blood Bowl!