Thursday, November 07, 2019

Chubby Little Maniacs

Earlier this week I played the third game of the local Blood Bowl season and I managed to scrape another draw, but this time I also managed to score a touchdown, so I'm considering that to be an improvement.

I played against a halfling team. Halflings are considered one of the worst teams in the game -- even worse than vampires! -- but the coach had a couple of years of experience over me, so I wasn't expecting any sort of significant advantage.

I scored early, which I feared might be a problem as it would give my opponent plenty of time to score in return, and that did indeed happen although a few of his plays failed to come together because of bad luck, so it could have been worse.

My luck failed in the blocking and tackling. Halflings are weak and soft and I should have smashed lots of them but while I knocked plenty down, I wasn't able to injure any. I think the only proper injury to afflict my opponent's team came about when his own treeman dropped its halfling team-mate on his head, killing him! That's Blood Bowl.

My players are in theory made of much tougher stuff but once again I ended the game short on personnel as all the injury rolls favoured my opponent. The thralls are cheap and are designed to die, but one of my vampires spent about two-thirds of the game unconscious in his coffin, refusing to get back into the game. Flakey Anne Rice bastards.

Two of my thralls will miss the next match, which doesn't give me much wiggle room in terms of numbers. I am saving up for a fourth vampire but I am tempted to get another thrall in the interim, just to give me more people on the pitch.

My number 13, Gary, scored the only touchdown for the People Eaters and was named MVP for the third match running, so is now staggering under the weight of all his experience points; this is good as he now has a fine array of special skills, but it has left the other vampires undeveloped, and makes him a bit of a target. I need to weigh up keeping him in the game, and making use of those skills, against protecting him and allowing the other two vampires to get involved and earn experience. It's a tough balance.

Anyway, I'm happy with how the game went and I feel most of what went wrong was bad luck rather than bad play. I hope.

Final Score: Purple People Eaters 1 - Lamb Shank Redemption 1

I have organised my first inter-conference games, and will be playing them in the next couple of weeks. I was reluctant to do so at first because I'd been drawn against teams with much more experience than my own and I feared the mismatch would be too much, but I have decided to embrace the inevitable.

One of the teams is an Underworld squad, a loose alliance of skaven and goblins, and I am expecting a big loss there as they have a couple of high-level players, including at least one that can score in one turn. The other has a much higher team value than my own, and lots of dangerous-looking players, but has lost nine games out of eleven, so I'm not sure what will happen there.

Monday, October 28, 2019

The Book of Dreams

I have fond memories of sitting on the sitting room floor and leafing through the back section -- always the last few pages, with the toys and games -- of the Argos catalogue and making a list of all the wonderful things I wanted for Chrimble that year. I imagine that, wherever you are, you have a local equivalent.

Someone has done a wonderful, nostalgic, thing and scanned and uploaded the Argos catalogues of years past. Look at this page from 1993's catalogue:

Battle Masters! Dungeons and Dragons! The Legend of Zagor! Warhammer Fantasy Battle! Games Workshop, Fighting Fantasy, and D&D all in one festive season!

It's interesting that Battle Masters was more expensive than its "grown up" cousin Warhammer; I suppose that's because it had more miniatures in the box, even if they weren't quite as good as the proper ones.

(By 1994's catalogue Battle Masters is gone, Warhammer has gone up by £5, and is joined by the second edition of Warhammer 40,000.)

The big surprise is that D&D is only a tenner, not least because this is the Big Black Box edition that came in a, um, big black box, with the rules, a big dungeon map, a GM screen, cardboard miniatures, and probably a bunch of other stuff too. This version of the game only covered up to fifth level -- the Rules Cyclopedia took you the rest of the way -- but that's still a bargain.

Was 1993 the geekiest Chrimble ever?

Friday, October 18, 2019

Back From the Drawing Board

I spent some time over the last week thinking about defensive tactics in Blood Bowl and I think it paid off as I managed to scrape a draw in this week's league game!

It wasn't the prettiest or most flamboyant game. Kick-off aside, I don't think I got the ball into my opponent's half of the pitch at any point. Instead it was a bit of a scrum along the centre line, with lots of pushing and shoving and plenty of lateral movement, but only the briefest attempts at breaking out of the central mêlée.

I think my opponent was too focussed on harming my thralls, either to pick up casualty points or to leave my vampires without backup, but that left him with no time to score. By the end of the match I had only four players left on the pitch -- through a combination of blocks, hungry vampires, and being sent off -- and he was a turn away from getting a touchdown, but he had run out of time.

I suppose that in a sense his approach helped me, but I do think my defensive play worked to a certain extent. On the other hand, I didn't have much of a plan for scoring beyond some half-hearted positioning for a pass, so that's what I need to work out for my next game.

Final Score: Purple People Eaters 0 - Tiranoc Titans 0

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Saturday, October 12, 2019

Kick Off

I started playing in the local Blood Bowl league last week. I hadn't played the tabletop version in fourteen months, I'd never played in a proper league setting before, and I'd picked one of the more difficult teams -- vampires -- to master, so what could go wrong?

I didn't get any more pictures after setup as I was too busy being thrashed 3-0.

To be honest, given my lack of recent experience I was expecting such a result and I found out later that day that my opponent was last season's champion, so I think 3-0 is probably quite good.

I have nine more games to play, assuming I don't get into the playoffs, and I think that's a safe assumption. I'll be happy with at least one win but I won't be too concerned if I don't even get that; most of the people I'll be playing are very experienced Blood Bowl coaches and I have to play at least three more elf teams, which tend to be the best in the game.

(Alas I won't be playing Stuart, as he's in a different division and we weren't matched in the inter-division draw.)

I will post as I play, and I hope I can bring you some good news in a future match report.

(I doubt it!)

Final Score: Purple People Eaters 0 - It's Always Sunny 3

Tuesday, October 01, 2019

Gone to Seed

From The Seed, an upcoming thing that I will talk about more when I know more.

I wasn't intending to do Inktober this year but let's see how we go.

Friday, September 13, 2019

The Laboratories of Joseph Cullen

I'm not sure if this is a spoiler or not. I think this -- along with some details of what is in all these rooms -- will be published somewhere at some point but I shall leave the details undefined for now.