It’s come to that time of the year when the competitions I’m most interested in, at the club, have kicked off.
Namely the Warhammer fantasy 8th (which I’m running) and the second Blood Bowl season.
As there are bonus points on offer for fully painted armies, my wood elf painting continues and I managed to finish off my Glade Captain on Great Eagle.
I feel like I’m slacking a bit recently as I’ve completely failed to create any fluff as yet for him. He doesn’t even have a name! (A sure sign that he is destined to become cannon fodder!!!)
The model itself is finecast and I am slowly coming to understand why so many people really dislike the stuff. I now own a number of models in it and by and large the moulds are ok. Even with my limited range of them there are a number that are slightly warped or have casting, let’s call them, inconsistencies. My main issue with them however is I don’t particularly like to paint them. The surface feels different to metal, plastic and other resin (yes that is listed in my order of preference).
Anyway, enough of my ramblings. The model itself was painted in the same scheme as the rest of the army. Yep green and fuchsia. To distinguish the great eagle from its smaller Warhawk brethren, it received a double black banding on its wings. I also tried to paint the leaves on it to resemble ivy and I’m quite happy with the effect.
Blood Bowl Kick off
The second season of Blood Bowl has now started and due to the delay of a Kickstarter (I’m not impressed with Willy miniatures at present. A delay I expect but it’s the poor comms that is inexcusable), combined with moving house, meant that I was totally unprepared and so ended up entering my Norse team again.
The commissioners had decided that last years teams wouldn’t carry over from the previous season, so it was the same faces but no skills in attendance. I once again decided to go against the grain and forgo rerolls in favour of big guys! I also took a thrower, something that most Norse teams don’t (at least in the starting lineup). I also favoured a healer over a 12th player. The team chosen was:
Gronn Fjord Raiders (GFR)
Uday Ragekill (Yhetee) – 140k
Erik Longhorn (Berserker) – 90k
Flokki the Swift (Runner) – 90k
Bjorn Grimurson (Thrower) – 70k
Beorg Two Skins (Ulfwerner) – 110k
Cadoc the Bear (Ulfwerner) – 110k
5 linemen – 250k
Apothecary – 50k
Fan Factor 1 – 10k
1 Reroll – 60k
Total – 980k
First Game – GFR vs The Stirling Strikers
Having failed to play all my league games last season and recognising that my club time is limited, I decided to try something different this year. I’m going to leave off playing any friendlies until after I’ve played my club games! I may be shooting myself in the foot but in this vein I lined up my first game vs Si and his Humans.
I won’t profess to being a top player but I’m far from being a newbie. Si was quite new to the game so I made sure to point out any really bad decisions and let him backtrack on a few occasions.
I won’t go into too much detail of the game but it ended up a 3-0 victory to me.
A couple of highlights (or lowlights perhaps) included:
My team were on the end of a complete ‘shoeing’. Seriously, I’m used to beating 10 shades of shit out of other teams and having 6 of my team in the injuries box (only badly hurt thankfully) was a complete turn around.
Si completely surprised me by laying in the boot a fair bit, even when he was seriously down on players (although the sending off curbed his enthusiasm to do it 😂). Such blatant disregard for the rules and underhanded tactics are to be applauded and were the source of much amusement and consternation. With only armour 7 it was a great tactic to use against my team!
At the start of his second half kickoff, I did my usual heavy flank tactic, looking to steamroller down one side. He then rolled a perfect defence and moved all his players to the other side, out of the ‘danger zone’ and looked to turn the tables as he swept up the field to crush my ball carrier. This turn around quickly reversed again as he proceeded to kick the ball out of touch (even with the kick skill), allowing one of my Ulfwerner to run in a quick two turn touchdown. It just shows how things can change in a game and is one of the reasons I enjoy B.B. so much!
Hey there sports fans, Crassious Clay here to present this special episode of the Witching Hour with none other than Diego Mary-Donna.
Thanks Crass and in this special we will be looking at the up and coming Gronn Fjord Raiders (GFR). A Norse team currently residing in one of the lesser known leagues of south east Londinium.
That’s right Diego, this is a team that has come out of nowhere and quickly become a fan favourite what with their predilection for ignoring the ball to concentrate on what some have said to be an excessive use of violence in their games.
‘Excessive’ Crass? You’re not talking about PEEVS again are you. Good honest Blood Bowl fans should take it upon themselves to hunt down and extinguish the life from any member of ‘The People for the Eradication of Excessive Violence in Sport’ (PEEVS), using extreme prejudice!
I couldn’t agree more Diego but to get back on track, under the fearsome coaching of the ‘dread Auditor’
Don’t Crass, that man’s grasp of numbers sends shivers up my spine, they say his mother slept with an abacus and he was the offspring of that unnatural union..
err I’m not sure that’s right Diego but anyway crunching the numbers seems to have worked for him as they won two of their first three pre-season friendlies at their Greenvale Stadium.
Let’s take a quick recap of those games before looking at their opening league game shall we.
Game 1 – 02/02/18 – GFR vs Marieni Daulphins (Humans) – Coach – Dan R
The GRN attracted a modest crowd of 3k vs the 10k travelling fans. The numeric advantage meant that everytime one of the opposing human players were knocked into the crowd, they were gentle escorted to the reserves box in the dugout, rather than treated to the infamous hospitality of the average blood bowl fan. Midway through the first half with most of the human team laid out, the Norse runner (Floki the Swift) lived up to his name and scored a touchdown. The Coach of the Daulphins, Dan R, at that point decided to throw in the towel and this incensed the fans so much that they tore the team to pieces and Dan was forced to go into hiding meaning the league had one less team in attendance.
The bonus for the Raiders was that they not only gained both purses (allowing the recruitment of a thrower for the team) but gained both team MVP’s and in a stroke of luck they both went to the Ulfwerner, Cadoc the Bear who gained Mighty Blow as a result. They also siphoned off some of the visiting fans who, unhappy with their former team’s performance, decided the Raiders were the new team for them.
Final score 2-0 (we used the old BB rules where you always won by 2 touchdowns in the event of a withdrawal – though you don’t gain any SPP’s for the additional TD’s)
Game 2 – 10/02/18 – GFR vs The Orcward Orras (Orc) – Coach – Paul R
The second game undertaken was a favour to one of their new sponsors, who had asked them to play against a rookie coach and offer some tips. The Raiders agreed and proceeded to coach the Orcward Orras in the only way they knew how.
Word had gotten round about the new team on the block and the crowd was much larger this time with the Norse pulling in 9k fans vs the Orcs 10k.
In the first half the Norse slowly wore down the orcs using the ancient art of crowd surfing. The dice gods looked unfavourably on the Orcs and the Norse injured, first the Orc thrower (curtesy of Ragna, the No. 9 lineman) and then a Black Orc Blocker (Uday the Yhettee really took a dislike to him). Luckily for Paul they were just badly injured. In the final drive of the first half, the No. 4 Norse Berserker (Eirik) ran home a touchdown.
The second half saw the Norse team stage a classic flank attack, stacking all their big hitters on the right flank.
They easily punched through on the wing and with a sure touchdown in the bag, they couldn’t resist going for a cheeky level up, cocked up the hand off from the thrower to Eirik, which allowed an audacious Orc Blitzer to nick the ball from under their noses.
Not standing for that, the Raiders unsurprisingly knocked the orc into the stands but the orc fans got to the ball first and chucked it half way up the pitch. The Orc No.2 Lineman was first to the ball and passed it into the hands of the No. 8 Blitzer, who managed to scored an outrageous touchdown, using an amazing show of twinkle toes to dodge his way through a mass of tackle zones! Paul’s team then started to improve their Orc Smash! (TM – Paul R 2018) and badly hurt the Norse No.10 lineman Gudmund Stonehand but neither team were able to gain the upper hand and claim the win.
Final score 1-1.
20k winnings each and +1 FF to both.
The Norse MVP was the scorer of the touchdown and this gave Eirik enough points to skill up and unsurprisingly he decided to take mighty blow.
A very fun game and it showed how quickly fortune can turn in this game.
Game 3 – 19/02/18 – GFR vs Skavenblight Scramblers (Skaven) – Coach – Greg F
How the mighty have fallen. The Scramblers fell from grace in a large way and for several seasons were not heard from. They reappeared this year under a new rookie coach hoping to climb to back up to the lofty heights of their heyday. This fall really showed when the Norse counted 12k fans vs the Skaven’s 7k.
With a team value considerably lower than the Norse, the Skaven were able to hire a wandering apothecary for the game.
The Skaven won the toss and elected to kick. Cadoc the Bear (Ulfwerner) started the carnage by badly hurting Skik, the No. 8 Skaven lineman. Ragna Dagfinn then followed this up by fracturing the leg of Strot, the No. 5 skaven lineman (meaning he would miss the next game). The big guys spent the half knocking each other down with no ill effects to either but the rest of the team added to the casualties with a plethera of knockouts. In the sixth turn, Floki (the norse No. 5 Runner) finally managed to actually pick up the ball and he ran up the pitch and in the final turn of the first half, scored the first touchdown.
In the second half, Eirik (No.4 Berserker), outraged that a skaven player had gained a SPP for a completed pass, smashed the hand of the offending skaven thrower (Skeexranq – No. 10) to try and ensure it wouldn’t happen again. This meant a second skaven would miss the following match. Ragna then added his second casualty of the game by taking down the Rat Ogre but the Skaven apothecary leapt into action healing the damage caused (annoyingly I couldn’t find who had taken down the Rat Ogre at the end of the match which meant I missed leveling him up). With the injuries and knockouts to the Skaven team multiplying, the Norse were able to take down the ball carrier and Magnus (the No. 3 Norse Beserker) then ran in the second touchdown of the game.
The final score was 2-0 to the Norse, who took away a purse of 50k GP and also gained another Fan Factor for the win.
The MVP’s went to the Norse Yhetee, Uday. This was enough to level him up and to follow the trend he took Mighty Blow.
Floki (runner) scoring was enough to also enough to level him up and he took Dodge to give him the Blodge combo.
As an aside, Greg and I met after work for this game and tried out a new (for us) central London venue, hosted by the London Wargaming Guild, a book and play style meet. It was a very friendly place and crowd, hosted at the Seven Dials Club inbetween Covent Garden and Tottenham Court tube stations (almost next door to the Cambridge Theatre). As a bonus it had a bar next to the gaming tables. The only small thing against it was the volume of the music. Don’t get me wrong I like loud music but it was a touch too loud for normal conversation when playing.
Game 4 – 23/02/18 – GFR vs Cold Sea Hawks (Dark Elves) Coach – Chris R – League game.
In the first of my league games, I faced off against Chris’s Dark Elves. There was a good crowd in attendance with 10k of the Raiders fans and 12k of the elves.
We used the alternative inducement rules for special cards, which allowed Chris to take one for 50K rather than the standard 100k.
The Hawks won the toss and elected to kick to the Norse. The Raiders played a card that allowed them to get +1 on their KO rolls for the game and the Hawks played one that allowed one player to be nominated to receive an extra MVP if they were on the pitch at the end of the game. I know you are thinking what I was…challenge accepted!
In the first half after receiving the ball, the Norse tried to undertake their normal tactics of smash the opponents and knock them into the crowd. Although Cadoc got an early casualty against the DE No. 11 lineman and the team crowd surfed a few other players, the Dark elves retaliated and KO’d 3 of the Raiders, meaning by turn 3, both teams were unable to adequately cover the width of the field. With their high agility, the Dark Elves were able to capitalise the gaps in the Norse line and sack the Raiders ball carrier but with some desperate defending against them, the Hawks failed to convert their advantage.
In the second half the Norse deployed in a deep defense (to maximise the number of dodge rolls with modifiers the DE’s would need to take) and with a slight numeric advantage. They quickly increased this with Eirik badly hurting the DE No 4 Blitzer (who had Guard) thus removing the main anchor of the DE offensive threat (edit: it is possible that he was injured at the end of the 1st half rather than the very start of the second). The Dark elf team then proceeded to cage their runner and moved from one side of the pitch to the other (in a manner similar to ‘pong’) waiting for the Norse to make an error. The Norse played the waiting game, slowly closing the net on the cage removing one DE player from the field each turn. Maneuvering for the final sack, the Norse left one lane with minimal cover and the remaining DE blitzer snuck into the Norse half.
The DE runner attempted a desperate move to clear the ball from his half and used a Heroic Feat that removed any negative modifiers from passing, giving the long bomb a great chance of succeeding. Not happy with the initial roll (due to the modifiers cast by tackle zones) he used a reroll and completely fumbled the pass leaving them in a perilous situation. The Raiders proceeded to sack the few remaining elves allowing their thrower (No. 13) to run in a touchdown in the final move of the game.
Final Score 1-0 to the Raiders.
The Norse took home a purse of 70k and used this with their treasury to purchase another reroll. They also gained another FF moving them up to a total of 5.
Cadoc the Bear (Ulfwerner) got the match MVP, which together with the casualty he caused, leveled him up to Veteran status and he added block to his skills.
This was an extremely close and cagey game one of the closest i’ve had in a long while and a definite learning experience. Chris was unlucky not to score in the first half, a 1 rolled when ‘going for it’ really put paid to his plans. The ability of the elves to slip though the smallest gap and his insistence of dodging out of block zones to minimise hits was definitely playing to their strengths and my one slip up in the second half, again, nearly meant he scored.
oh and just to confirm he didn’t get his bonus MVP as the player was knocked out and off the field at the end of the game. Challenge completed!
With the new club Bloodbowl league fast approaching I finished off repainting my old Norse team and the new additions to the team (in the form of 2 Ulfwerners, a snow troll, linemen and an Empire Great Cannon crewman as the coach (to allow me to argue the call!).
I have a few items still to do with them, I want to add a couple of white lines onto some of the bases to simulate the chalk lines of the pitch (something I saw on a google image but looked pretty good). I’m also going to pick up a white pen to write the names on the bases. I think I prefer this to putting numbers on the players.
I did paint the full 16 figures on the team, even though I haven’t yet finished deciding on the starter roster.
On one hand I really want to have a minimum of 12 players, an apothecary and 2+ rerolls but this limits the number of non-linemen I can field. On the other hand I really want to include the 2 Ulfwerner and Troll in the starting roster, though this means I would struggle to field more than 11 players (but would have the compulsory apothecary) and would also lack any number of reasonable rerolls. Decisions, decisions!
The humans are the classic GW norse miniatures. The Ulfwerner are by Willy Miniatures (purchased from a Spanish company called Comixininos). The Snow Troll was from Gaspez Arts (an Italian company). Both specialise in Blood Bowl miniatures.
So without further preamble I present the Gronn Fjord Raiders.
Bloodbowl is by far my favourite GW ‘board game’ of all time. In the last 3 or so years alone I’ve racked up hundreds of hours of play, however I’ve not touched my figures or the board. This is because I’ve been playing it online instead. This has mainly been down to convenience. My club time is limited and so it’s far easier to log on and find a game this way. Whilst this is fun, it’s not the same and so I will be entering the blood bowl league. This will likely mean skipping this years Kings of War comp but I think it will be worth it.
So with this in mind, I dug all the (mainly) 3rd Edition models I could find (and the game) and bought them up to town.
As much as I love the 2nd ed. board, it is considerably narrower and so that and the box were left at home.
I don’t own a profusion of teams as some didn’t interest me, so what are my options?
Human – The jack of all trades team. They aren’t outstanding at one area but are pretty good in all of them. I still love the sculpts (with perhaps the exception of the blitzers) and also have an addition 4 metal human sculpts and an original Ogre, to go with the box set.
Wood elf – Probably the team I’ve played the least but I love the models (which I believe are more of Jes Goodwins). They were part painted and I’ve primed them for a repaint. This probably the team I’m least likely to go with.
Undead – There are several flavours of undead teams (khemri, vampire etc) but I have the original mixed team, with Mummies, ghouls, wights etc. They are very fun to play and have a wide range of quality (or not) available to be fielded, from total shite (zombies) to solid blockers and blitzers. They have the added advantage of being able to ‘recruit’ opposing players killed and almost never dying (or permanently falling apart) themselves. They are definitely a contending team entrant.
Orc – I really like the Orc team. They are a tougher version of humans. More armoured on average but not quite as flexible. I’ve had some great success with the team and have just gotten the new troll (as I couldn’t find my old one). I just need a Goblin or two to round out the team. These are a potential contender as the team, as I know them reasonably well and enjoy using them, however they come as standard in the new box, so I’m not sure if a number of players will be using them and I have a penchant for using teams/armies that others don’t, if only to add variety.
Norse – These were one of the newer teams before GW re-released the game (that still makes them, damn, maybe 15 years old?). They have all the flexibility of the standard human team, with throwers, catchers etc. but almost every player has the block skill. If they don’t have that, then they have at least a strength of 4 and frenzy. That is my kind of team. Where they fall down is having low armour. Still I like the fluff of having a bunch of raving nutters (more so than even the average player), on the pitch. As you may of guessed, at present, this is looking to be my number one team choice. I’ve even ordered 3 players I’m missing, 2 Ulfwerner from a company in Spain and a Snow Troll from Italy!
A yet to be purchased team. There is however still a chance of throwing in a wildcard. Black Scorpion Miniatures sell a range of teams at a reasonable price. I can’t comment on quality (having not bought any myself, though I know a few players who love them) however many of their sculpts look fantastic. They sell a great looking Greek themed human team and I also like their Amazons but the one that caught my eye was the new halflings releases, with their Knight helmets. They just look amazeballs! (I will add that I’ve seen similar halflings elsewhere but these just had a crisper feel). The only issue is, even with 2 treeman on the team, they will get butchered. But they look so pretty 😉.
One of the chaps at the club has kindly stepped up to run the first Bloodbowl league at the club in a number of years. Draft rules (based on the latest GW set and Deathzone expansions) are on his blog.
In late 2015 when Games Workshop announced they would start releasing new boxed sets, one of those on the list was a new version of Blood Bowl. After a wait of a year they have finally confirmed a release date of 25 Nov.
I started playing Blood Bowl in the 2nd edition in 1988, which was the first boxed set with 28mm miniatures and a foam board representing astrogranite. At this point you started with orcs and humans, all the same model and had to add coloured rings to the bases to represent the different positions (white was a thrower, red a blitzer and yellow a catcher if memory serves me correctly).
I immediately fell in love with the game and of course purchased the next boxed set in 1994 where the miniatures had evolved to actually have different models! (and I still think they are great molds – with perhaps the exception of the human blitzers). This version streamlined gameplay a great deal and introduced dice for blocking. The pitch also become quite a bit wider (in 2nd ed you could almost block it completely with your team – you could still do so here but one successful block could leave your lines wide open).
Note: the human team below was lifted from the net. It isn’t my painting.
Around 2001 Jervis Johnson released the 4th edition living rulebook and this was updated approx once a year to 2007 (small updates were done after this).
By this point I had drifted away from tabletop gaming onto PC’s and consoles but got heavily back into Blood Bowl when Cyanide released Blood Bowl on the PC. The game itself was excellent but the multiplayer suffered terribly due to massive issues with connecting to the servers. This was later fixed but the company was and still is terrible at communication with the fan base to let them know of issues and fixes, in fact just about communication on anything. This rolled over and has continued with the 2nd release for Blood Bowl 2. An infinitely inferior version to the Chaos Edition of the first PC game (at least for the single player mode).
Having rambled on a bit you can see why I might be quite happy with a new release of Blood Bowl and I was lucky enough yesterday to get a sneak peek and half a game in.
So what did I think. I’ll start with the rules (and caveat that I didn’t have a chance to look at anything in depth). They actually haven’t changed a great deal. If you played the 3rd/4th editions you can pretty much pick up the game and continue where you left off. Some of the skills have been streamlined and categories renamed but I didn’t notice any other significant changes. I didn’t get to see the Deathzone rules so can’t comment on them.
The models are multipart (3-4 piece) and in the main look good (see below). I think they have again dropped the ball (excuse the pun) with the blitzer models for both the humans and orcs. In both cases almost the only way to distinguish them is by a greater crest (humans) or plume/hair (orcs).
The basic game costs £65 with the Deathzone supplement an additional £15 (and you will be getting that as it provides the additional team and additional rules such as mutation skills etc). Though you will be able to pick it up cheaper through your local 3rd party retailer. One thing they have appeared to have done is merged the Elf teams into one, though I don’t know what made the cut or not.
GW will also be selling at least 1 new additional team at the launch, the Skavenblight Scramblers (keeping the tradition of naming the teams sold after the most famous of the teams).
So will I be getting the game? More than likely and it will give me an excuse to dig out my favoured Norse team that I actually have out of storage (though they are not a team in the initial release, GW have stated that further teams will be released in the future, so fingers crossed).
I’ll have to see if I can drum up any interest at the club and then find time to actually play it!