The NAF Blood Bowl World Cup IV: Dornbirn To Be Wild

If you’re reading this I assume you at least know vaguely what the Blood Bowl World Cup is all about, so I won’t bore you with the details. If you are in the very small venn diagram of knowing and caring about the Blood Bowl tournament scene but not knowing about the World Cup, it’s basically an enormous 1400-player 6-coach-team event. LOTS of blood bowlers, lots of fun, much insanity.

I wasn’t able to attend the third NAF World Cup in Luca sadly, so I was determined to make it to make it to Dornbirn. I sold all of my warhammer, took on some painting commissions, saved up all my pennies, and before I knew it was waiting for my 06:30 bus to shepherd me away to some full on, hardcore nerding.

Travel and Lodging
The travel was, in my opinion, fairly straight forward. A bus to the airport, a plane to the bus, a bus to the venue. Granted each leg took a good 2-3 hours, plus faffing around time, but it wasn’t actually too bad. I coached from Newport to Heathrow, flew from Heathrow to Zurich, and then got the bus from Zurich to Dornbirn. The shuttle buses were much appreciated, and it was great to just make sure I was in the right place at the right time, and I knew I would be picked up and plopped down in the right areas.

We found it hard to find a good place to sleep all six of our team for a non-crazy price, so we ended up splitting into three splinters. Thankfully we were all fairly close, so we were able to meet up in some capacity on each night – in theory. More on that later…

I stayed with Dreamscreator (Hugo) in a nice little two-bed apartment in the centre. We agreed to play a match to determine who got the sofa bed and who got the normal bed. I set it all up on the iPad, quite happily letting him play Orcs… little did he know the Orc team he was playing had only three BoBs, three Blitzers and a goblin/troll combo. Har! Lizards ftw!

6am bus on Thursday

6am bus on Thursday

 

Sunrise over the Severn

Sunrise over the Severn

 
Start as you mean to go on!

Start as you mean to go on!

The Team
My team was BUBBA Legacy. We’d all at some point or other lived in or around Bristol (except Sam), and we decided to add Legacy as only two of us did currently. Eski (Steve – Necro) was our Captain, with Hugo (Orcs), HungDonkeyman (Dave – Chaos Pact), scs.sam (Sam – Slann) and Hawk (Andy – Undead) comprising our six. We collectively had only one tier one team, with the rest solidly tiers two and three. None of us were man enough to bring any  stunties!

http://nafworldcup.sbbm-turniere.com/1/B66.html

The Squad

The Squad

My Roster
I brought Khemri, because #KhemriLife. I have had a lot of fun with them and I would say at this point they are my strongest team (geddit?) My roster was: Tomb Guardian x 4 (Guard Day One), Blitz-Ra x 1 (Tackle Day One/Mighty Blow Day Two), Throw Ra x 1 (Block Day Two), Blitz Ra (Guard Day Three), Throw Ra (Block Day Three), Skeleton x 6 and two rerolls.

http://nafworldcup.sbbm-turniere.com/1/B66/B66A02.html2

My opinion with Khemri is that if you’re not going four Guard Guardians on day one you’re doing it wrong (my mantra is – Guard Wins Games). Then again, I didn’t finish as top Khemri so maybe I’m way off the mark. (Top Khemmers took a Break Tackle Guardian and a frenzy Blitz Ra, so who knows!)

After that, the next most important skill is Block on the Throw Ras. I’ve had many games where a single die block or -2D on the Ball Carrier has dislodged it. Cake Bowl taught me that Block on the Throw Ras is absolutely vital. However, with only one skill allocation left, I elected for Tackle instead. Tackle is just as important in many ways, so it’s a toss up. My thinking was that if I come across a Zon team or some nasty Woodies day one, or even some unskilled Ghouls or human Catchers, that Block/Tackle combo is going to make some people very sad.

Day two gives you an extra 50k, so I blocked a throw ra. I didn’t want to block the other one as it would waste the remaining 10k, so instead of using a double (I don’t think Khemri particularly care for doubles anyway) I stacked Mighty Blow on the Tackler to make him even more popular. Last day I slapped Block on the last TR, then it was a case of what to buy with the last 20k. Dirty Player is a nice skill, especially with a 14-man build, but I elected for more Guard because I’m tonnes of fun.

Fourteen players seems like a lot, and it is, but I had games where I needed them all. AV7 is bad, and even with Regen they like to stay off the pitch. I completely abuse them as well, throwing them into all sorts of nasty situations. Again, you can obviously go 12-man build and bring the third reroll (again with a random 10k to spend on what, Fan Factor?), but I’m not a fan of this. Rerolls come and go, and can be wasted so easily, gained and spent with nothing to show for it. Players are never wasted. Even if he dies in turn one, knowing you have another ready to join in next drive is a great feeling. With 12-players, you only need to be two skellies down before you’re sticking positionals on the LoS, and with the amount of Chaos and Undead, that’s not a good idea… Plus Khemri should (ideally) only throw 3d or 2d with Block blocks (important ones anyway), plus Sure Hands – Rerolls and for when things go wrong. Khemri are a team that can easily go wrong for the unprepared player, so you have to play safe safe safe. Balls to the walls is for other teams 😉

I’m always up for a good debate about Khemri, so feel free to disagree. We can settle it on the pitch!

I blathered on about that for far too long! Let’s get onto the event itself.

Venue
The venue was gorgeous! A lovely great big hall with plenty of room, despite the concentration of nerds. Lots of easily accessible bars, plenty of toilets, nice breakout areas for getting fresh air. There was a big shopping mall two minutes walk away, so lots to see and do.

Austria is gorgeous. The mountains! Swoon

Day 0 – Thursday
Well, it had to roll around some time. Day 0 was the day for everyone to get oriented, to see what was going on, meet old friends, and it was the day for the Captains to get everything ready with regards to registration etc. Unfortunately, this is where things started to go a little awry.

It was a mandatory requirement for Captains to collect their teams welcome packs, containing a couple of goodies plus their lanyards, and their mandatory skill ring allocations. It was a great idea. In anticipation of the language barriers, a predetermined allocation of colours for each skill had been communicated out in the most prevalent languages, and the entrance fee included your required skill rings, all magnetically enhanced, so there would be no doubt as to yours and your opponents skills. Each ring was in fact a base with a raised rim, consisting of four small puzzle pieces that could be interchanged with other colours to create stacked skills. Good idea, right? Right.

However…

For whatever reason these had not been prepared ahead of time. What this meant was they were being constructed live in front of the waiting captains. They were fiddly little things, with four puzzle pieces and small sticky magnets. Multiplied by an average of say 9 skills per coach, 6 coaches per team, you’re looking at around 12500 skill rings. That’s an awful lot of fiddling about. We started queueing in the first main queue to get into the second hall. We were there for around an hour and a half, then we were able to progress to the second queue… which we were in for almost three additional hours. We joined the queue at 6pm and didn’t leave the venue until quarter past ten, well after the final bus to the town had left. People were getting frustrated, myself included. I offered to help in any way I could, perhaps I could take a team at a time and just dump the needed skill rings in their respective captain’s goodie bag for him or her to figure out, but it was declined.

I had started to get annoyed by about 8pm.

I can sympathise with the organisers. I run a few small tourneys and that’s stressful enough, I imagine such a large event must cause a few headaches. I talked with many people, including those who had run similar-sized events (albeit all smaller – this was the largest BB event ever run remember.) I had a mix of responses. Some said that until the naysayers had run events of that scale, they had to right to complain. Others said that this sort of delay was simply inexcusable. It’s a hard one. Remember these are volunteers, not paid staff. But then again, also remember that we players have travelled a long way (very long way for some) and paid a lot of money to play a few games and have a laugh, not to wait in a hot stuffy room for over four hours.

It meant that I missed dinner on the Thursday, and missed the opportunity to socialise with my friends, other that what we could manage in the queue (I played a few matches on the ol’ iPad). I did make some new friends though (how could you not, when standing next to them for that long? I spent longer with them than some of my opponents). I also missed the opening ceremony, the band, and the bus home, meaning I had to lug my suitcase all the way to the flat.

I do not know how long people were there until, but I imagine it was until the small hours. I know there were lots of people queueing again when I arrived at 8.30 the following morning. Thankfully it wasn’t the same queue!

I did manage to buy myself a little prezzie while waiting though.

from this gent!

And saw some really cool things.

https://photos.app.goo.gl/gBHKHUsCaMQ5qRE57

Day One – Round One – Friday

 

Due to the skill rung delays, round one didn’t actually kick off on time. Coupled with some technical problems surrounding the customised ordering within the teams, even as far as 10.30/11am the organisers were asking people not to start their games. Myself, with many others, decided to start playing anyway. We thought that if we had to start again due to mismatched pairings, in the words of my opponent: We would have had all this fun for nothing. So we started anyway, and said we would count this as the proper result.

Our first opponents were the Dutch team BUBBLE, and I was playing poor Mepmuff, who had recently had an accident on his bike and was in a wheelchair and cast combination! His Undead boasted a Block mummy on day one, plus a Tackle Wight with Guard.

Ours was a funny old game. It was Pouring Rain and I lost the kickoff, but the weather immediately changed to normal, so that was nice. I ground up the pitch, but my drive was stymied and stopped, so I went into the second half without anything to show for it. We agreed that the dice were completely normal. No wacky stuff, nothing failed on either side, and only a KO’d Tomb Guardian was the only real removal. The only Reroll I used was on turn 8 for a block that needed a knockdown hoping for the handoff-blitz-ra play, but it was not to be.

The second half was a whole separate kettle of snotlings. We both failed and flubbed all manner of simple things. All of our rerolls were gone by turn 4. My favourite part was this: He broke away for a sideline cage. I tried to tag a corner with my Tackle BR, but snake eye-d the GFI. He ran his side-cage down, but in trying to get the zombie to protect the corner, snake eye-d the GFI! I laughed when he shook his head, then smiled and said “Don’t you hate it when the dice are fair?”

I pushed his Ghoul into the crowd, the throw was fairly favourable, but I snake eye-d another GFI to pick it up. Basically we both failed to do anything much, but I did secure the ball in a janky cage to stop the score. End of game: 0-0.

My vegan lunch was actually really tasty. Jacket spuds, rice plus herby tomato sauce. Nice and filling, and the queue was thankfully fast moving.

Bad tidings again. There was a problem with the software that managed the rankings and the draw. A poor ref would stand on stage, tell us it’s all in hand, and only a 5-10 minute wait until the draw was done. Then nothing for an hour, then another 5-10 delay… We were eventually told that only two games would be played today, and there may be scope to play the extra game on Saturday. It wasn’t until 17:30 that we were finally able to start round two – or so we thought. Again we were told not to play, but plenty of us did anyway (just for something to do!). Many people were trying to be good natured about it, but the disappointment and frustration, particularly after Thursday night, was palpable. Around 20 minutes after we started our round two, we were told there was a redraw, so we all packed up and shifted over to the new table allocations. We kicked off at 6pm.

Round Two
What iced the cake for us was after all this – we were playing another team from the south west of the UK! What are the odds! My opponent, the wonderful Skab and his Humans, were in the same league as me.

His humans had three Guard and a Tackle (or was it MB?) blitzer, plus Guard on the Ogre. It was a great game with some tough back and forth. With that much guard on the pitch, it’s always a slog to fight your way through. Unfortunately for me, my drive was again stopped due a combination of good positional play and the blocks slowing down, so started the second half with 0 touchdowns.

Skab went for the quick score, which can be a valid tactic against Khemri. Score fast, then throw everything you have at stopping them equalising. That, coupled with the problem of Khemri having to spread themselves out to defend, means you can usually score quite reliably.

Unluckily for Dave, I was able to just about swamp his catcher with enough guys to make it hard to break free. That, and a sneaky Blitz-Ra dodge meant it went from hard to very hard.

A quick note on Khemri dodges – don’t rule them out. Once I’m done in my turn with all the sensible stuff, I will look at any unactivated players who’re being marked by chumps. I will 100% dodge them if they could be in a better position and if there’s no real problem to them tripping. Also remember that a downed player can block an avenue better than a standing one in many ways.

Anyway, with all my guard, it meant Dave had to attempt a -2DB at some point, and unluckily for him it failed. Another note on Khemri strategy – I find many drives will succeed or fail on how lucky the opponent is with -2DBs. If they work, you’re going to struggle. But, the dice are technically in your favour…

With that flubbed, I was able to smoosh the humans with some very friendly casualty dice. I scored five cas in that game, and I think they were all in the second half. Very hard to stop a drive without a team, so I went 1-0. My first touchdown! Woo!

With that, day one ended with only two games played at around 8.30pm. Some of us had been in that hall for 16 hours over the last day, and only had two games to show for it.

We went out for a banging Chinese that night though as we were starving! The issue was that I felt I couldn’t leave the venue for fear the round would be drawn at any moment. In reflection, it would have been better IMO to be told that the round would not start for two hours, so everyone go and get some dinner. But then, I wasn’t there behind the scenes, so I don’t know. I do know that communication is key.

I will state again that I have sympathy for the organisers. It must have been heartbreaking for it to go so wrong at this stage after all their hard work.

We did manage to find a great asian restaurant, which I ended up returning too again on Sunday.

The moment Sam realise that when the chef said ‘Spicy’, he really meant SPICY!

The moment Sam realise that when the chef said ‘Spicy’, he really meant SPICY!

 

Day Two – Round Three – Saturday
It was indeed confirmed that we were going to try to fit in four games on Saturday. With that in mind, we all geared ourselves up for a long day. I stopped by the shop to get some dinner in preparation.

Thankfully, the organisers seem to have ironed out the bugs, and the day actually ran really smoothly. We were relieved, but again a little disappointed : the last game finished around 9pm, so I was completely knackered. I was too tired to socialise. I reckon between 6 and 10.30-11pm is the golden time to eat and laugh together. Instead I had to settle for whatever I had bought from the shop for my dinner at about 9.30pm back at the flat. Sad face.

Anyway, after only a short delay (of fifteen minutes which is fine) we begun…

My third game was against a Swedish coach on the African Impis team. His name was Oberwald_1, and he was bringing Humans with Helmut Wolf. Other than that, it was a standard human team, with guard/MB blitzers, catchers and of course the Guard Ogre. In his drive he scored in two turns, which I was happy with. It meant I had six turns to grind it down in the next drive, then a full 8 turn ubergrind in the second half.

Unfortunately, he stopped my drive on turn 8. Helmut had sat at the back, not getting involved for the whole game, but on the very last turn he charged across the pitch and chainsawed my Throw Ra in his boney face.

My drive started well but quite quickly fell to pieces. The problem with Khemri is when you don’t get any knock downs at all. I was finding myself getting more and more hemmed in, and at about turn 5 or 6 I was completely stuck. More and more -2DBs started working, and before I knew it the ball carrier himself was being assaulted and half my team were gone, gone, gone!. It was certainly not all dice, and my opponent played very well. After turning me over he ran it in on turn 8 for a well-earned 2-0 lead. He ended the day on an amazing 7/1/1, so fair play to him!

Now it was officially ‘Day Two’, so we could bring some more toys into the matches.

Round Four
Game four was versus a Hungarian team in the second hall (our team had lost…). Wolio is one of those rare players: a woman who plays the game. Sadly, our hobby is not the most diverse, and it’s always refreshing to see women competing. That’s a discussion for another time though.

She was playing Bretonnians, and playing them damn well. (Note: Wolio won the award for highest placed Bretonnian at the end of the tourney). She had a Sure Hands knight and two Dodge knights, plus some a Guard Yeoman and a Tackle Yeoman. What was funny is that before the game started, she was leafing through a small pile of A5 pieces of card. She picked two out, looked at them, then told me she was going to inform my captain. It turned out they were invitations to a Hungarian tournament, but I had misinterpreted them and thought they were two Dirty Tricks cards! I was on the edge of my seat the whole round, expecting at any moment a Pit Trap or Trampoline or Custard Pie… Gulp.

Of course, I did the gentlemanly thing and completely destroyed her team. She scored again in two turns (after a hand-off play), giving me ample time for the grindy-grindy. By the time I walked it in, she was down to 6 players (and only one knight). By the end of the second half, she was down to about three.

There was a worrying moment when, after throwing player after player at my cage, she succeeded in the 6+ cage dive! Thankfully for me I wasn’t knocked down. Could you imagine…

She took it all in good spirits, and I walked away with a 2-1. Speaking of spirits, our captain was gifted a bottle of the infamous Hungarian Magic Potion which saw him enjoy his next couple of games immensely, regardless of the result.

Round Five
Round five saw us pitted against another Hungarian team. There were only three, and we joked that we wanted to play the last one to get the set. This time I was playing Swifty and his High Elves. I can always respect a man who plays High Elves. Only one blodger made me happy, with a smattering of tackle, dodge, block and wrestle throughout the team.

It was a good game. I scored in 8 turns (boring shmuck that I am.) However, there was a moment of controversy that I still feel unsure about…

It was sweltering heat. We played my drive as normal, then started rolling for the players to feel the heat to set up for turn 8 for him. I had lost two TGs to the heat (it happens) and he had lost a player or two. After his his turn 8, we again rolled for each player to feel the heat, and again I lost two TGs. After I told Hugo, he said we shouldn’t be rolling for players that were already off (for KOs or previous Heat). We hadn’t yet started the 9th turn, and had only just set up. We had a quick chat about what to do, with myself saying we should roll again, not including all players who were already off, and my opponent suggesting we carry on as we are now. In the end, as is probably the best scenario, we agreed to roll a dice and on a 4+ we would start the drive again. It was indeed a 4+, so we rerolled the heat but only for the relevant players.

In the end it didn’t really matter as he scored in two turns regardless, but I still wonder if I did the right thing.

I ground up for 7 turns and walked it in on turn 16 for another 2-1.

I also built a cage I like to call: The Paranoid.

Round Six
My opponent was fairly long in the tooth – how long you ask? Well, when I say my NAF number is 21092 (and I daresay yours is not too dissimilar,) Skaffen’s is: 97. Blimey! His first official NAF tourney was in 2002. He had the full compliment of positionals, with Guard on the troll and a Blorc, plus three Block Blorcs and a Tackle Blitzer. I like it when I’m playing Khemri and my opponents bring Tackle. Rehehe.

When I took a sneaky at his NAF ranking before our match (masochist that I am) I saw that his Orc ranking was a less-than-average 128.41. This was from a few tournaments, some as far ago as 2003! However, I can say that he did not play like a coach with a 128 ranking.

Our game was a mad one. I received (I had received in almost all my games – protip, I like receiving with Khemri. It means that at least for the first offense you have all your important players). I had the hard job of trying to fight my way through an orcish wall. It was a tense game of concentrating all my strength and Guard in the centre, forcing him to either risk the -2DB blocks or dodge away. At one point Skaff said “I can’t believe I’m having to do a dodging screen with Orcs.” That’s the beauty of Khemri, baby!

Thankfully, I knocked out his Troll in about three turns (the only removal of the match, except in the second half – where I knocked his Troll out again!) meaning I had the Guard advantage. And, remember what I said before: Guard Wins Games. I was able to breakthrough for a touchdown at the end of my drive, despite it very nearly going all sorts of wrong. My throw-ra was being marked in a way that meant I had to blitz through to score (and I HAD to get a knockdown). Thankfully, it all worked out.

I was feeling at least confident of the draw at this point. He had the goblin OTTD attempt, but it’s a fairly low-success play. It was only when I had set up all my guys right in the back field (with three Tomb Guardians off for safety reasons) I realise he in fact had two turns left to score as I had only run it on my turn 7…whoops. I’ve been victim to the Orcy Two Turn Score before, and I know it’s entirely possible!

He ran all his scoring threats down, that being all four blitzers plus the goblin. I did what damage I could, but I couldn’t stop them all, and a hand-over-eyes turn of expert Orcy ball handling and passing saw a blitzer run it in on turn 8 for the equaliser. Doh!

So it was 1-1 as I was kicking – never a good place to be with Khemri. He was unable to force his way through the Khemri Stodge Wall Of Fun (always a great moment when your opponent looks at your wall of Guard and just goes “What now?”), so he elected to try and charge down the sidelines. I stopped him, and ended up shoving a blitzer off the pitch for his troubles. The throw in was kind to him, and within a few moments an Orc Blitzer was sauntering his way down to my end zone, ball in hand. I had one opportunity to take him down… my Blitz-Ra straightened his helmet, rubbed his hands together, and blitzed like he’d never blitzer before! Not only did I take him down, the Blitzer was actually killed as well. What a hammerblow! I had just enough turns to be able to scoop it up and run it in on turn 16 for a (hard fought) 2-1 win. Whew!

So, after a punishing four games in one day, we finished at around 9pm. That’s a late finish for such a high-demanding tournament in terms of brain capacity. I was knackered, but well happy with my 3/0/1 record that day. That put me on 4/1/1, a respectable result for 6 games, and tied for top Khemri! Exciting!

Day Three – Round Seven – Sunday
Ah, this game! It was an interesting one all right. I was a little late arriving (much to the chagrin of my captain, quite right too), and didn’t realise until a little way in that I was on a clock that had started before I turned up. So I had to get a wiggle on!

Avang was bringing Wood Elves with the standard build of Grab Treeman, Tackle/Strip Ball dancers and a few Block and Wrestle, plus Leader on the Thrower.

Despite my opponent having FaME+2, we both were hit by a rock, and unbelievably his Leader Thrower was killed on turn 0. Blimey! My team were on a killing spree and I reduced him to five elves (plus tree) within a half dozen turns. Unfortunately, even with Block/Sure Hands and all the Guard I could eat, his Dancer leapt into the cage and knocked my Throw-Ra down on a double pow/stumbles (grah!). My Tomb Guardian helpfully caught the ball though, and I was able to walk it in on turn 8.

Check who has the ball!

His OTTD flubbed (mostly because he had no one left), but a couple of elves recovered from their KOs. Stinkin’ elves.

He scored in three turns despite my best efforts (elfs gonna elf!) so I had enough time to grind up. After another leapy-double-pow/stumbles blitz that knocked the ball loose again (gnarg!) it was caught by another Tomb Guardian (wahoo!), who, thanks to his paltry MV4, was not going to make it without some GFIs. I got within 4 squares, but a second Double Skull this drive ate my last reroll, so it was seat-of-pants time. After a failed uphill blitz, my TG was marked, so I had to free him for him to score. Three blocks is what I needed to guarantee success, a 2d with block, a 3d with block, and then lastly a 3d without block. Guess who flubbed the last roll!

And again!

The game finished 1-1. I wasn’t bitter about it. Uncontrolled sobbing

Round Eight

I like Pro Elves. I myself have delivered a drubbing to Khemri with Pro Elves against poor Merrick. A blitz on turn one let me score on his drive, my turn one… ouch.

British_Dog is an exceptional Pro Elf player, packing an interesting and competitive build that featured Eldril plus a Block/Frenzy catcher, and this was coupled with a fairly abysmal turn of the dice for me. If I tell you I lost 4-0, you can probably guess what sort of game I had!

Practically every block whiffed, and those that didn’t did bugger all damage. I must have twatted Eldril a dozen times, but he just-didn’t-die! I can’t really complain, I’ve been on the other side of that exchange… He did some impeccable stalling, and although I was able to force him to score in four turns, he was able to apply mega pressure and turn me over to score again in turn 8.

My favourite turn was this: I received the kick (at this point I was 2-0 down already). I failed the GFI to pick up, rerolled, failed the pickup. It turn bounced into the crowd, and was thrown 11 squares into his side of the pitch, and it was caught by his thrower. Ah well!

Thrower on right, elf with ball on left. Fill in the blanks!

With games like this you just have to laugh it off. You can’t win them all 😉

British_Dog ended up on 7/2/0, placing 6th over all. Fair play!

Round Nine

I was having a bit of a stinker of a day so far. Due to the rest of the team having stinkers too, I was still on the top table heading into the final round. Hopefully I could have a final game that would be a nice, easy, fun win against a newbie coach on a lucky spree. I was informed I was matched against Nicodaz, a man so french he was wearing an actual beret. A quick shufty at his NAF page, and…

Blimey! That’s a high win percentage and a lot of won tournaments, including a world cup win! Maybe ignorance is bliss…

He was rocking a Chaos team. There were lots of chaos teams here, but this was the first I was playing against. He had a claw/juggernaut Mino, three block warriors, a guard warrior, a guard beastman and a leader beastman, all topped off with the new and improved Lewdgrip Whiparm (he has dodge now, sneaky chaos warrior).

I actually kicked this time (not my choice), and the final game started. It was clear the tourney was taking its toll on us, we were both making just silly mistakes and forgetting things. Thankfully for me, the dice were with me meaning my mistakes were less punished and Nico’s were, er, not. His rerolls simply disappeared from a series of flubbed actions, and the final one went on a failed catch to almost guarantee a touchdown. I had pinned Lewdgrip up against the wall (after forgetting he had dodge – I had blitzed with a skeleton when my tackle/block Blitz Ra was in range. Why!!!), so he needed to do something a little special to get free. As I say, the catch failed, and I had enough time to scoop the ball with a plucky Throw Ra and run the hell outta there for a TD on turn 8.

I was now receiving, and decided to play it as safe as I could. Despite that, he still managed to get a block on the ball carrier, knocking him down, but my advantage in strength meant I was able to break through and run it in relatively early in the half. No sense in stalling it out! I was 2-0 up with two turns left. A few more turns of bullshit almost saw me walk in a third touchdown (I had the ball and was 6 squares away), but an amazing turn saw a single beastman blitz his way through tacklezones to down the ball carrier, then Lewdgrip also dodging through TZs to chuck a huge pass downfield, to hand off to a beastman, to score! It was a beautiful thing to see.

The last turn was a nothing turn, so I was able to take the 2-1 win.

That put me on 5/2/2, which I am happy with… Well… I wish that final turn in my round 8 had gone differently. A single push would have put me on 6/1/2, which would have snaffled me Best Khemri as well. But then, that’s the game we play! Still not as bad as losing a tournament on a Quad Skull… I’ll never forgive Sann for that. Lol.

Overall I was placed 182nd out of 1423. That puts me in the top 8th (Well, top 12.78%, so perhaps just past that top 1/8th… I’m taking it, okay!!)

Our squad finished 157th out of 236 overall with a 3/2/4 ranking. In a field as tough as this, I’m proud of them for that.

Probably my favourite moment of the tournament was at the bottom of round two. Our team was against the Hakflem Globetrotters. We had lost three games and won two, so to steal a round draw we needed a final win on the bottom table. Hawk was had inched a touchdown, putting him a 1-1 against some Necromantic with two turns left. We had all finished, so were all watching, cheering, chanting as he had rolled a Long Pass with a Wight, and succeeded, so the ball was with an unprotected ghoul, waaay down in the opponent’s backfield… All he had to do was survive the blitz, then break free!

The Ghoul was a blodger, so a single Pow and we were stuffed. In came the support… in came the Wolf for the big blitz! Push, Skull, frenzy block, Push, Defender Stumbles! The ghoul was up!

A third player tried to pin him in, but slipped on a crucial GFI. All Hawk had to do was get through! A dodge, another dodge! A GFI… A second GFI, and he was over the line for that 2-1 win, getting us a team draw! We were all cheering and whooping and bundling him into a massive team hug. That’s what the world cup was all about!!

At time of writing we’re still awaiting the NAF upload, so I’m unsure at how my rankings have been affected. I certainly won’t have hit 200 yet, but I should be a significant step closer. My love for the Egyptian Boney Boys has nothing if not strengthened. I think I have a problem.

So, in summary. The world cup was a heck of an experience. I was able to put lots of faces to names. Shout out here to Shawass, Strider84 and some other wonderful people who I met – thanks for the wonderful words about the podcast and the pleasure in meeting was all mine, I assure you! The food was great, the atmosphere unique. Despite the massive issues on the first two days, thankfully it was all sorted by the end, and congratulations to Torsten and the others for pulling off this magnificent event.

Here’s to 2023!

 

Sharing the stage with the Podcasts from the States - Both Down and Three Die Block

Sharing the stage with the Podcasts from the States – Both Down and Three Die Block

 

The South West

The South West

 

After disembarking on Monday night

After disembarking on Monday night

 

Farewall, Dornbirn!

Farewall, Dornbirn!

 

SAWBBowl I – An Experiment In Goblins

I suck with goblins.

I don’t know how to play them. Like Undead or Dark Elves, I just don’t really get them.

Still, like the insane Blood Bowl fanatic I am (pun intended), a bunch of us Bristol peeps (including fellow podcaster Nazgob) decided that taking Goblins to the new and shiny SAWBBowl would be a good idea.

SAWBBowl is Glowworm’s new baby, rising from the ashes of Crumb-Bowl like some glorious phoenix, if the phoenix was northern and sounded like Joe Pasquale. It’s a non-tiered tournament. 1100tv, and you get 6 skills including a double, or you can swap the double for two normals on the same player – provided that player is numbered ‘4’ on your roster. Long story.

Anyhoo, here’s the roster I took:

  1. Ripper
  2. Troll with Guard
  3. Troll with Guard
  4. Bomma with Hail Mary Pass
  5. Looney with Leap
  6. Fungus the Loon
  7. Fanatic with Mighty Blow
  8. Pogo
  9. Goblin with Diving Tackle
  10. Goblin
  11. Goblin
  12. Goblin
  13. Goblin

1 Bribe, 1 Reroll

Experienced Goblin players will probably shake their head at this for many reasons:

  1. Too few goblins
  2. Too few bribes
  3. Too many weapons
  4. Ripper

What do they know, eh?!

I built this roster as a sort of bring-all-the-toys approach, hoping the general pandemonium would be conducive to startling victory.

How wrong I was.

GAME ONE

My first game was against Darkson’s Vampire team. If there was ever a team I stood a chance against, it would be a vampire team. He had only three vampires, one with Block, one with Dodge, and one with Blodge. A smattering of Tackle and Wrestle rounded off the army of thralls, and five(!) rerolls meant he was well prepared for Vampire chicanery.

The game started pretty well, with my swathe of MB causing a decent level of pain. Hitting guys, KOing guys, even a Cas or two. It was all going well. The Bomma was a bit crap though, throwing bombs heartily into the audience.

Unfortunately for me, I forgot that Vampires can actually be pretty amazing. Before I could blink I had vampires all over the place, and my ball carrier was on the floor. The ball sailed beautifully over the heads of my silly goblins, and I was scored against on turn 6. Phooey.

All my weapons were sent off bar the Fanatic, who I was able to Argue the Call for. I brought on the Chainsaw, as I didn’t have enough bodies to sub for him. I didn’t use my bribe, as I thought it would make sense to keep it for the end of turn 8.

Not a lot happened for a turn, and the second drive began.

The chainsaw was sent off, but the Fanatic once again was saved by Argue the Call, so I kept my bribe again.

Cue a bit more Vampire nastiness, and once again they scored, leaving me 2-0 down but 2-0 up in Casualties. I did have two dead goblins, but I’d done that myself by throwing one and running one over with Fungus.

Deciding to up their games, my trolls suddenly went crazy in turn 14. Three thralls on the line, one was KOd by a rock. The other two were killed in one turn, and Troll number 3 blitzed another, took a Both Down and killed the 3rd. Nice!

By the end of the match, there was one thrall left on the pitch, but I was still 2-0 down. Maybe the next match will go different, thought I…


GAME TWO

There are a few teams that are tough to play against as stunties. One of those is Dwarves. Thankfully, I wasn’t playing Dwarves, though Nazgob had managed an immensely respectable 1-1 draw against the beardy team last round. I instead was drawn against Gorgoroth and his Chaos Dwarves.

So that’s ok then.

He pounded me. Lots. At one point I was setting up with three trolls and a pogo. The HMP Bomma did a thing this game, only once though, taking down a ball carrying Hobgoblin. Cheerfully, despite losing 3-0, I inflicted 4 casualties. Two of those on Chorfs! I was feeling pumped, and turned to talk to Nightwing. My excited Most Casualties dream died away though when I saw he’d pitch cleared his opponent’s Norse with his own Norse team. Never mind then!


GAME THREE

Two games, two losses, but I had learned that Goblins were hilarious fun. My last game was against Angry Hobbit, one of the best sports in Blood Bowl, returning without fail to tourney after tourney with Stunty after Stunty after Stunty. This time he’d brought his Ogres, with Brick’Farth and Grotty in tow.

My trolls decided that killing snotlings was so passé, and elected instead to KO as many as possible. The Cas count was pretty pathetic on both sides, with our guys killing themselves more than the enemy. My HMP wasted my only reroll on my first action of the game, snake-eyesing it and stunning himself.

Grotty took down Fungus in a display of immense bravery, before dying on a failed dodge. Snotling after Snotling flew through the air, ball in hand, only to fail the landing time after time. The Bomma did something useful at one point, picking up the ball and HMPing it to the other end of the pitch.

In the end, I scored 3 CAS (the lowest of my three games), but finally won 2-1.

When we were waiting for the awards to be given out, I had a chat to the Hugo. He had beaten a Wood Elf team with his Goblins! A hell of an achievement.

…However, as it turned out, the amount of CAS I’d been inflicting each game was boosting my tournament points, and it ended up that I was one point ahead of Hugo… nabbing me the Stunty Cup! I was certain there had been a mistake, but no!

This means I’ve now won a Stunty Cup with Ogres and Goblins. Halflings, here we come!

Overall, I was pleasantly surprised with Ripper and the Trolls, while disappointed with the Chainsaw and the Bomma. I can never get my head around chainsaws.

Maybe I’m just bad with Goblins.

The Elflympic Games – An Autopsy

Yesterday was the first Elflympic Games, a one-day four-game tournament run by myself. The rulespack can be found both on this blog and the dedicated website.

Here’s a quick summary though: 1,350k GP to build a team. Skills can be bought from the same budget, with no restrictions on doubles or spamming. Normal skills are 20k, doubles are 30k, with certain ‘luxury’ skills costing 40k and other ‘bargain bin’ skills costing 10k (regardless of being a double or not).

Win/Draw/Loss is worth 14/6/1 points, with 2 points per Touchdown, 1 per Completion, 2 per Long Bomb Completion, and 2 per Interception, with no caps on any of them.

This might cause some people – especially veteran tournament-goers – to double-take. Bonus points for completions and touchdowns, with no limits, with these Bonus Points being added to overall score? In fact, it generated so much controversy that it is has over 300 replies on the TFF thread since its creation in August, much higher than is typical of a British One-Dayer.

There were lots of concerns about a number of aspects of the Elflympics. Was it worthy of a NAF trophy? Does it undermine the sanctioning process? Does it invalidate the primacy of W/D/L? Was it competitive? Was it broken? Was it going to be fun? Was it fair?

I’m going to take a post-mortem look at the day, how it ran from my perspective, and analyse the results a bit too to see if we can answer some of these questions (from my own most-likely biased perspective!).

Firstly, I had twenty six coaches pay up, which was the limit of comfortable capacity for the venue. This suggests that either people wanted to come along to see whether the tournament was going to be as insane as people thought, or perhaps (and I hope this is the was the more common motivation!) people were intrigued by the alternative ruleset, and thought it could be fun.

(Just a quick aside – by ‘fun’ I mean the player enjoyed themself according to their own criteria. Different people come to Blood Bowl tournaments for different reasons, my idea of fun is likely different to yours. Some people enjoy the ultra-competitive side, some people enjoy the larks, most people are in the middle. When I say ‘fun’, I mean that the person walked away from the venue having gotten from the tournament whatever it is they wanted to get from it.)

It also helps that Yate (and by extension Bristol) is in prime Blood Bowl territory. It’s slap bang in the middle of the Welsh sides, Bristol sides, Swindon, Exeter, and to a further extent the Southampton/Midlands gaming groups. It has a train line that connects to Bristol/Gloucester, it’s fairly close to a junction from the M4. The Parish Hall itself is literally minutes walk from the train station and plenty of shops, chip shops, fast food, supermarkets etc. So I think that also helped get the numbers in.

One thing that became apparent is that many people rejected the idea of taking elves, despite the obvious bias in points. They went instead with anti-elf teams, with the expectation that they would face plenty of elves and so be perfectly prepared to take them down. What was interesting is that these people were originially in the majority!

I published a few rosters prior to the event, and there was concern from some people that with so many shutdown teams, chances are there would be matches between two shutdown teams that would boil down to a Metapod-off; two teams that are only good at stopping elves failing to impact each other significantly.

I published these rosters for a few reasons. The first was just for my own personal enjoyment! I had a great laugh writing some fluff for the event, and I couldn’t wait to get it out there. Secondly, it was meant as a gentle hint to the overall meta as it stood. Several people, inlcuding the overall winner (Wobert) alterted their rosters entirely when it became apparent the meta was going to Bash teams. Wobert saw there were actually relatively few elves, and changed to High Elves from Chaos Dwarves, and went on to win  the tourney!

People also saw this fairly open style of team buildling coupled with the skill set as an opportunity to build unusual, specialist teams, more-or-less disregarding the meta. At least I think so, can’t think of any other reason why there were so many ogres!

Here’s the race breakdown:

racevoutn

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Why so many Ogres!?

Seriously though, lets take a further look. Six of the twenty four teams were pure Elf teams, with entire teams of Agi4. However, these weren’t the only agility teams. There were also three skaven and one slann teams, with a Vampire team too (however as Gorgoroth was taking them purely for the 24, he only brought one vampire – Count Luthor!).

So with Skaven and Slann, there were ten Agility-focussed teams that could reasonably expect to score decent Bonus Points either through passing or scoring.

There were six stunty teams, so lots of competition for the stunty cup. The remaining teams were comprised of Norse, Chaos Dwarf, Orcs and a Human team. The teams not present were Wood Elf(!), Dwarf, Lizardmen, Amazon, Chaos, Chaos Pact, Khemri, Necromantic, Nurgle, Undead and Underworld.

The Present column represents the amount of teams that this race made up. The Normal column is the percentage of a tournament normally made up by this race (based on these numbers), and the difference is (obviously) the difference between the two.

present-stats

Obviously this was a tiny sample, but it was nice to see lots of normally under-represented races making up a decent chunk of available teams.


Anyway, onto the important stuff: the scoring.

The focus was obviously on scoring quickly and scoring often, with additional points for showing off. To this end most of the Spot prizes were also designed in such a way as to encourage these even more. For example, one prize was for the next coach to score. This meant that if someone was planning on stalling for a few turns, they might instead be tempted to push harder and score now. Another was to make ten Go For It rolls in one turn (which Merrick managed to make!). This was again to make people throw what might be considered good tactics out the window, and instead ride their luck, in the hopes of a glorious payoff.

As a point of comparison I’m going to use the scoring system from the upcoming Welsh Open (which I recommend you check out – they’re a lovely bunch of guys, and damn talented at the game!). Their scoring system is as follows:

3 points for a win
1 points for a draw
0 points for a loss
No Bonus Points available.

To make it easier, I’m going to multiply the scores by a factor of 5. This doesn’t affect anything, it just makes a straight comparion simpler. Meaning it would look like this:

15 points for a win
5 points for a draw
0 points for a loss
No Bonus Points available.

As a reminder, the scoring for The Elflympic Games was:

14 points for a win
6 points for a draw
1 point for a loss
2 points for a Touchdown
2 points for an Interception
1 point for a Completion
2 points for a Long Bomb-range Completion

The biggest win in terms of Touchdowns at the Elflympics was a 5-0 win with 6 completions and an interception. In a normal scoring system, this would net 15 points, the same as a 1-0 or 2-1 grind. In Elflympics, it granted the player 32 points, worth over double the value of a single win. It would have taken some incredible dice to purely place this on luck, though this is most likely a factor. But it would have still needed a coach to push that luck, and to know when to hold back. Undoubtedly he could have stalled for a 2-0 win, with little to no completions. But because the rules rewarded the crazy plays, he kept going and secured a significant lead going into round two.

There were many other games with similar stories too. The final on the top table was an immense 4 – 4 on Touchdowns and 6 – 7 on completion points, netting the two players an incredible 20 and 21 points respectfully for the overall winner and the runner up.

Interestingly, they knew how many points each other had going into the final, so each knew exactly what they needed to win. If the 2nd place coach wanted to win, he needed to either outscore his opponent or draw, but really rack up the bonus points – or prevent his opponent from doing so. The coach in 1st place just needed the draw – provided he didn’t rest on his laurels and let his opponent farm points. (In the end, it came down to a Perfect Defense roll on turn 16 that prevented a very likely one-turn-touchdown for the touchdown, the win, and the tournament!)

The question is: was this good playing, and did it deserve extra points? If so, how much is too much?

Going into the final the two teams were 8 points apart. The game itself was the last game still being played, and was one of the most tense matches I’ve ever watched!

But lets look at the broader picture. An important aspect that many people are concerned with when it comes to Bonus Points in BB tournaments is what is called the ‘primacy of W/D/L’. What this means basically is that regardless of what happens, the person that wins the most games should win the day, and should not place higher than someone that did not win as many games. If you have the same amount of wins, then the person with the most amount of draws etc.

How did The Elflympics handle the primacy of W/D/L?

Results

These are the results after round four. Now, lets substitute the scoring system for the 15/5/0

table2

There are obviously a few differences! Interestingly Wobert still comes out on top. The biggest casualty is HungDonkeyman’s Pro Elves that dropped a mighty fourteen places. They had managed to place 5th with a fairly unimpressive W/D/L of 1/1/2 because of his 23 passing points and 16 Touchdown points. On the flip side, Barney’s Norse rocket from 13th to 3rd. While they had a relatively decent 3/0/1, with 53 points in total, they had only scored 5 Touchdowns with 0 Passing Points at all. This meant that despite a great performance they didn’t place as high as they should have, were this a normal tournament. Barney’s Norse only conceded three touchdowns all day, less than one a game, which suggests a well-fought grind in several games. While this is good tactics in normal Blood Bowl, in the Elflympics it meant that they did not place in the top half, landing slap-bang centre table.

It shows that a team with a poor W/D/L can place well, if they score well in bonus points. Conversely, a team with a good W/D/L can place low if they play a more conservative game.

Ultimately, this is sort of what I was hoping for. I wanted a crazy no-holds-barred day where people would be rewarded for pulling off the risky plays.

Was it broken? The fact that it came down to the last turn of the last game suggests to me that there was never a clear advantage to one team.

Was it fair? People went in knowing the rules from the outset.

Does it undermine the NAF sactioning process? Hmm, I think people who have been to more tournaments than me will have to answer that. There are teams that placed low in the tourney but did well in terms NAF ranking.

Was it competitive? Every award was contested up to the last game, from Casualties to Completions to Touchdowns. I think next year more people will bring elf and agility 4 teams, seeing how nine of the top ten races were agi 4 teams.

Was it fun? I hope so!

Will it be running again? You betcha  🙂

-T

 

p.s. if you want to play with the numbers yourself, here’s the Score file. I’m sure there are better analyses can be taken from the results.

Episode Seventeen: Moot (bonus) Point

We’re back after a few weeks away, and we thought we’d slide in with a nice, easy, no-controversial-in-any-way episode. That’s why we’re talking about Dungeonbowl, Crumb-Bowl, and, ah, oh yes, ahem, bonus points at tournaments.

We’ll also end it all on another episode of BloodBlusters, of course!

What could go wrong?

ABAO Episode 17: Moot (bonus) Point

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CSWTC Episode 3: Bubbaloody Bubbarilliant

Bubba Bowl III! Bristol’s very own one-day tournament was last week, and all four of us attended. In this feature-length (read: rambling) episode, we talk in depth about the high (elves), the low (elves), and the in-betweens (elves?).

Find out who won the Highest Elf trophy, and how we all fared by taking the haughtiest of the pointy-ears in the third episode of our Chronicle of the South-West Tournament Championship.

And, of course, we round off with another titillating round of Bloodblusters!

Bonus: come check out our profiles!

CSWTC Episode 3: Bubbaloody Bubbarilliant

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