Sunday, September 25, 2011

Blood Bowl Game 3

FG received the stuff he traded with Dan during the week, so he came over this afternoon to pass me my share and also to play the thrid game in our play-offs.

This time he brought his full team, including the Beast of Nurgle, who looks very the part. He had 110K in inducement, with which he bought an extra re-roll.

We rolled 'Quick Snap!' on the kick-off table, which allowed his Pestigor to catch the kick and his other players to advance next to my players to tie them up or block them. He made a hole in my left and his ball-carrier advanced into a little cage. My right flank is tied (two of my skellies would spend the whole drive staring at two of his Rotters...) while his Beast tied up my mummies effectively. I sent the rest of my centre to reinforce my left.

Now FG had a chance to send his ball-carrier down the right side (from his view) of the pitch, but that would have required a 'Go for it' or placing the player on the outermost square, neither of which he was willing to risk. He decided to hold his ball-carrier in the cage for another turn, which gave my players a chance to organise a line and indeed get two players next to the ball-carrier.

But the Nurgle team showed their Chaos roots by putting two of my skellies in the KO box, and FG surprised me by running the ball towards the centre of the pitch.

Black Khnum, one of my two best players (Anubis being reserved for the offensive drive) dodged from a Rotter and knocked the ball loose with a one-die block.

But numbers were beginning to tell, and the other Pestigor picked the ball up...

... and ran the ball down - the Nurgle team scores their first touchdown of the playoff!

In our hurry to set up the next drive FG forgot to note down which Pestigor scored the point - thanks to this photo, we got the count right.

The remaining 3 turns of the half saw me fail my attempt to score after my mummy rolled a 'Both down' twice (despite a re-roll) trying to block a Rotter - he did score a Casualty though. FG picked up the loose ball after I tried to recover from that by passing and failing, and made a successful pass with his Pestigor, who gained enough SPPs to go up a level... if he survives the next half!

The Nurgle team seems more effective this game, with FG making effective use of his Warriors to make 2-dice blocks against my players and then assisting his Rotters to do the same. While I have two mummies (Strength 5), they were effectively tied up by the Beast and I found myself making crucial blocks with my Wights, rolling one block die and hoping to even the odds with their Block skill (none of the Nurgle players have that skill yet) and my re-rolls.

With two skellies in the KO box, my Undead team will face a bit of a challenge trying to equalise in the next half and then trying to prevent the Nurgle team from winning.

Random Sunday shot: Blood Bowl Dugout

I made this dugout for my Fantasy Greek-themed Blood Bowl team a few years ago out of a wooden plinth, some Hirst Art blocks, miniature bases, and wooden spools and plastic numbers from a craft shop.

I actually completed the dugout and painted the support staff before painting the players - in fact, I am still in the process of painting the players; having hit a block with the Perry WOTR figures and started playing Blood Bowl again, I finally started working on them again.

The various sections of the dugout are not named, but are represented by the Apothercary, the water-boy (counts as Budweiser babe - you know how these Greeks are...), and the casualty figure.

The two statues represent Chronos and Tyche, and are mounted on plinths that rotate, acting as Turn and Re-roll markers respectively.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

End of an era

I received a letter from Atlantic Publishing that my subscription to Miniature Wargames magazine has expired. I am of course aware that my subscription was running out, and was in fact wondering which issue would be my last.

I have been a subscriber for over ten years and own around two hundred copies of the title... and that's the problem: I am running out of shelf space. Fortunately, there is now a digital subscription available. I may not be able to browse the magazine in bed as I do now, but it does represent a savings of 45 pounds a year.

I will still keep my subscription to Battlegames though, even if they do have a digital version available. On the balance I find that I do read more of each issue of BG compared to MW, and I guess I still like opening the mailbox to see a new magazine delivered.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Blood Bowl Game 2

FG and I managed to play the second half of our first game and also complete the second game in the series this afternoon.

The second half of the first game was quite hilarious.

We rolled a Pitch Invasion on the Kick-off Table and a few players went down.

FG made a hole in my line and one of his pestigors charged through. My Anubis ran back to try to head him off.

My players managed to block the pestigor, and Anubis successfully picked the ball up and made a run for the endzone...

only to be blocked in turn! The other pestigor picked the ball up...

And was quickly brought down. Anubis stood up and picked the ball up again...

only to fall over during a 'Go For It'!

Fortunately there weren't enough Nurgle players left to stop him getting up and picking the ball up again. He finally made the touchdown, but the MVP for the game was awarded to a skeleton!

None of the players gained a level in the first game, so we went on to the second one.

The second game was brutal for the Nugle team. Their lack of Rerolls and the fact that the Undead team is a bashy one means that their main advantages of having a Beast of Nurgle and their Disturbing Presence were negated. My Black Khnum (Wight) and Anubis (Ghoul) each managed to score two touchdowns, although there were several casualties inflicted by both sides.

By the final drive, I had 7 out of 12 players to start, while FG had 7 out of 11. The Nurgle coach is not too happy... perhaps they need more than one cheerleader?

Going into the third game in the series I have a Team Value of 1130 vs. 980 of the Nurgle Team, but that's before FG has bought player/s to fill the slot of one of his Rotters who will be missing the next game due to injury.

Friday, September 16, 2011

The Ra Team

I've been getting a bit of a painter's block these past couple of weeks and just can't seem to get any more of my Perry plastics painted, so I thought I would take some photos of my fantasy Egyptian-themed Blood Bowl team instead.

The first shot is of the skeletons, the backbone of the team (pun intended). They are GW Tomb Kings plastics with their weapons snipped off and knuckle-dusters sculpted on their hands. I painted the Egyptian numerals for 1 to 6 on the back of their bases for identification.

These mummies count as zombies. The one on the left is from Eureka, and the one on the right is a Reaper miniature. The other two are Wargods figures. I have one in my starting line-up (we are using 5th Edition rules) - the others are spares for when I raise the players from the opposing team my team killed.

These guys count as wights. The Sobek figure is actually a statue from the Reaper range, since I didn't like any of the other Sobek figures from the other ranges. The two Khnum figures are from Wargods. I would have preferred one Khnum figure and one Apis figure, but I couldn't find any suitable bull-headed figure.

These two bird-headed fellows count as mummies. They are big - the Thoth figure towers over the rest of the team. He is a Reaper figure and one of the most beautiful figures I own; I painted him based on the Egyptian ibis. The Horus figure is from Wargods.

These guys count as ghouls, which are the fastest players in an Undead team. The heavily armoured figure on the left is actually a female gnoll figure from Hasslefree. The other figures are from Wargods. If the Elfball Anubis figures were available at the time I was putting this team together, I would have bought them too. I tried painting the Bast figures in the coat colour of the Mau cat, but decided I didn't have what it takes to pull it off.

The team support: the coach, the necromancer, and two cheerleaders. The necromancer (the skeleton, in case you are wondering, and I can't blame you) is a Reaper figure. I actually ordered this figure from the seller, but got this one instead. I decided to keep the staff and paint the team logo on it.

There are a ton of Reaper figures that will fit the team, but fortunately I still had some sense of control and didn't buy them all...

Finally, this is the team dugout which I made using Hirst Arts tiles and some stick-on number decals. The tortured mummy is from Wargods, as are the cat and Ark, which are used as Reroll and Turn markers. The central tile on each section has the heiroglyphs of a sarcophagus, a man fallen over, and a man sitting etched on them respectively, identifying the Casualty, KO, and Reserve sections.

Edit: Blogger is screwing up my layout and the photos don't enlarge when you click on them... Right click on them and open the file in another window to see the large size. Sorry about that.

Edit 2: I managed to remove the "improvement" Blogger made thansk to a helpful link on TMP.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Getting started with Blood Bowl... on a budget

A comment from Sean in my previous post made me think I should write something about how to get started in Blood Bowl without spending too much.

Now I am no expert in this, but I think being a bit of an amateur here may actually mean my recommendations are not that unachievable - sure you set-up won't win any awards, but at least you are playing Blood Bowl!

1. The rules

Now I started with the 5th edition of the Living Rule Book, which I understand has been superceded by the 6th edition; I plan to continue playing 5th Ed, but both are still available for free online.

2. The teams

Now the good thing about Blood Bowl is that you don't need more than 16 figures for a complete team, so it's something that won't burn a hole in your pocket or take forever to finish painting.

You can still buy the official GW teams from GW, or second-hand off ebay. There are also several companies that make figures suitable for Blood Bowl and other fantasy football games. A good place to see them all 'under one roof' is at Comixininos. These 'dedicated' figures can still be expensive depending on which figures you buy though.

However, the GW background of BB means that you can find proxies for the figures easily from their Warhammer Fantasy range, or other generic fantasy miniatures. My Egyptian-themed Undead team for example has skeleton linemen converted from the GW Tomb Kings skeleton box set, which can be found on ebay at bargain prices sometimes. All you need to do is to snip off the weapons and sculpt knuckle-dusters on their fists with a little epoxy putty, and you're done!

Fancy a Human team? Perry Miniatures' Wars of the Roses Infantry box set gives you 40 multi-part plastic figures in a variety of clothing/armour and head-dress, which will allow you to create the different position players for your team and still have enough left over for a skirmish game! You may or may not want to cut off the daggers on their belts - I wouldn't bother.

Another possibility is pre-painted figures. Once again, the various races are represented in the many pre-painted lines, including AD&D and Heroscape - just browse ebay and see what choices are available for the team of your choice.

3. The dice and templates

Once again, you can get the official GW BB dice from ebay, or the 'not BB' block dice from Comixininos.

You don't really need the transparent plastic scatter and throw-in templates - many people just have them displayed on the sideline in a fixed orientation, which prevents arguments over how to orientate the templates anyway.

I do recommend you get the range ruler though since it is not only the length of the ruler but also its width that are important to determine which figure/s can attempt an interception.

4. The pitch

Again, you can buy 'not BB' game mats from the store, or you can make your own.

The BB pitch is 15 squares across (with 4 squares on each Wide Zone) and 26 deep (including 1 square of End Zone on each end), and the squares themselves are variously described as 29mm or 30mm.

Two materials that are cheap and easily available from your local craft shop would be felt and cork sheets. You may or may not want to glue these to a firm backing of cardboard, hardboard, or corrugated plastic board - just bear in mind the kind of storage you have.

Once you have decided, it is simply a matter of drawing the grids over your pitch surface with a pencil or chalk before inking the lines with a marker.

5. The dugout

This can be as simple as a print-out - just google for an image!

Of course, if you are really just doing this for the game and don't mind a black & white look, you can do it even more cheaply...

Whatever you choose to do, I think it's best to get the minimal required and get a few games in first and get the enthusiasm up, and then add on the frills as you go; after all, the real flavour in BB comes when your teams have grown, and it's going to be a long process!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Blood Bowl Game 1

In an eleventh hour (literally) decision, FG and I played a game of Blood Bowl this afternoon.

It was just going to be the two of us for the session, and I proposed a two-player hot-seat game on the computer version, until I realised that you couldn't create your own team or keep them; fortunately, I have been playing quite a bit of the game against the AI and I decided to give it a go with the tabletop version.

We played a league to completion a few years back and we both liked the game enough to make our own pitches, dugouts, and paint not just one team with all the support staff (coach, cheerleaders, mascots...), but went on to paint another team. However, we didn't actually play any BB until today.

Anyway, here are my Egyptian-themed Undead team (yes, Undead, not Khemri) and dugout. The skeletons are skeletons, the mummy is a zombie, and the bird-headed guys mummies.

Now FG didn't bring his Nurgle team, but he did bring his stash of prepainted Heroscape figures, and we proxied a team using them. I still had my starting roster from way back when, and FG quickly drew up a new team and we were good to go.

I won the coin toss and chose to receive first. With only a few players having the Block skill, things didn't go too fast and we only had one KO (a skellie) in the first half. I managed to slip three players past the Nurgle line but they were quickly surrounded. I made two passes but both times the receivers failed their Catch roll.

Fortunately, most of the Nurgle team players were in tackle zones of my players (and nobody had the Dodge skill at this point in time) and Black Khanum (a wight - yes confusing, I know...) managed to pick up the loose ball and score on the sixth turn.

Due to time constraints we didn't manage to play the second half, but the great thing about a grid-based game is that we can pick up where we paused the game another day.

We're planning a 'Best of 7' series, which should hopefully see more varied skills amongst the players and make the game faster and bloodier.

Friday, September 09, 2011

The Baron Holmes

I received my custom-order paper flags from Maverick Models earlier this week and mounted them. The banner is glued onto the pole that is part of the figure's arm, while the standard is glued to a 1mm stiff wire, which is passed through a hole drilled through the fist of the figure (an old Citadel figure who once held an oversized sword) so I can use the same flag for the Baron's household unit in their 'mounted version' (when Perry finally decide to release their mounten men-at-arms, that is...). I may eventually do a head-swop on the figure once the mounted set is released so I can have two versions of the same fellow.

The flags are 'conjectural', being based on the coat-of-arms of the Holmes family and rendered according to the rules of heraldry of the times as I understand them. The idea for this came when I decided to buy a box of Perry's plastic WOTR infantry for fantasy skirmish and needed a colour scheme for them - I settled for one based on the coat-of-arms of a family name shared by a long-time friend. You can see the livery and badge of the house in this picture too. As I mentioned in an earlier post, these colours also coincide with that of the state of Nordland in Warhammer's Empire.

Stuart from Maverick Models was very helpful and patient in handling my request, and the flags turned out exactly as I wanted them, down to the blue tongue on the lion. If you want specific flags to be designed for your army, or simply want to design a WOTR/medieval English style banner based on the coat-of-arms of your family, I recommend Maverick Models.

Monday, September 05, 2011

Indian Mutiny Game 1

It's been a few weeks since we last had a game, so even though only Martin and I could make the session we decided to have a game anyway.

I had bought a copy of "The Devil's Wind" rules for the mutiny, but decided that I didn't like them after all, so I fell back to my own mod of the Warmaster rules instead; nevertheless, I think there are some ideas from the rules to be used.

For the scenario I used the teaser from an old issue of Battlegames which is based on Wellesley's campaign in India but also eminently suited to the mutiny. I have used this scenario in a PBEM game with my friend Steve earlier, and have enjoyed it.

The background is that mutineers have taken over a village and they have been joined by a local prince and some badmash. Martin, as the British commander, must re-take the village and disperse the mutineers.

The battlefield features a river which can be forded by infantry, but artillery may only cross at the ford near the village. There is an old fort overlooking the approach to the village, and also some old walls overlooking the fording point on the other bank of the river.

The mutineers start hidden, and the British player must decide how to divide his forces if he chooses to approach on two sides, as Martin did, sending one battalion of infantry, the lancers, and a gun on the north bank of the river, while the main body of the force approached on the south bank.

The forces on the south bank are soon intercepted by mutineer sepoys occupying the fort and the hill it stands on.

The British deploy and begin firing at the sepoys, who were hoping to attack then before they could deploy from march column - but the low Command rating of their leader meant they could not do so.

The hussars charge the sepoys to cover the infantry's deployment and manage to destroy both units, but are themselves depleted.

Seizing the opportunity, the mutineer cavalry charge the infantry line, but once again the poor Command meant they could not contact the infantry but are instead blown away by their fire.

The fort is now ripe for the taking...

The gurkhas charge the sepoys, who manage to hold on for one turn before being ejected. The pose of the gurkhas are unfortunately a little static, but I included this photo to show the detail on the (unpainted) JR fort.

From the fort, the British can now see the rest of the mutineer holding the village.

From this point I stopped taking photos as the game got more intense. In summary, the mutineer tried to make a co-ordinated attack on the British on both banks of the river but failed each time because of the low Command ratings. Eventually they got whittled away making their piecemeal attack, and fled the village before the British closed in.

The mutineers suffer from these rules due to a combination of their low Command rating and their shorter rifle ranges. I suppose on a more conventional battlefield their superiority in numbers may be more telling. Well, there's always next game!