Thursday, 30 January 2014

Undead Dugout Progression


I was hoping to have a fully painted dugout in time for the game on Sunday, but a domestic disaster has meant my paints and hobby gear has been put away with no opportunity to paint for a while – the dugout will take its place as it is.

I did, however, manage to get some time in earlier this week painting basecoats, washes and some highlights. As you can see it's really starting to shape up and shouldn't involve too much more work before it is complete. I'm very happy with the direction this is going – I just need to create a scoreboard in the same style!


The eagle-eyed amongst you might have seen my turn and re-roll counters in their pre-paint state in an earlier post. They have now had their basecoat and the gravestones have had a wash and highlight.

I did have them originally as simple gravestones, but made a last minute decision to add a hand trying to get out! This should look pretty amazing once complete. I'll talk about both pieces more once they're finished.

Looking forward to the game against the Rats on Sunday!!


Sunday, 26 January 2014

Blood Bowl: Undead Dugout


Inspired by Bull's dugout project, and with our next game due in a week, I spent some time yesterday to start my own dugout for Blood Bowl.

Those of you who have been visiting this blog for a while may remember my unfinished cemetery terrain for Malifaux. It's been sitting in the attic for quite some time, with no hope of ever being finished. With a bit of creative chopping the cemetery became the perfect undead dugout.


In addition to the plastic walls from the Garden of Morr kit, I also managed to save the card stonework from the cemetery board, which saved a lot of time and grief. I'd bought the GW plastic walls and fences kit a while ago for Malifaux and make use of the leftover pieces to complete the basic construction, allowing me to separate the Reserves, Knocked Out and Dead 'boxes'.


I found a metal corpse in amongst my recently purchased Ghouls and this simply had to go in the Dead box. Similarly I had some Mantic zombies, so cut a guy in half and had him emerging from the Reserves box. I also made use of a Renedra plastic gravestone, originally bought for the Malifaux cemetery. One final piece was the signpost from the walls and fences kit, complete with lamp.

Any suggestions of what to paint on the signpost gratefully received!


A lot of PVA glue and sand later the dugout is looking in good shape. As soon as the weather clears up I'll get it sprayed.

The intention is to get some basic colour on it in time for the weekend – hopefully there won't be much use for it on match day!


Friday, 24 January 2014

Undead Back In Play


My next Blood Bowl match will see me back with the Grave's End Gutchewers as they square up against the squeaky clean Boomtown Rats.

I am going to struggle to contain those Gutter Runners with my Undead being slower than the Dark Elves, so I will have to keep my concentration and create a new plan to beat them. As much as Bull learned a lot about the Skaven in his last game, I learned a lot too. I'm hoping that the Gutchewers can come out of the losing streak we're on at the moment, hence we're mixing up the opposition for both Rats and Undead.


This is the Gutchewer roster at the moment. Not a lot to shout about, aside from the Block skill for Monsieur Deadleg and the arrival of a couple of new players. I also have some cash to spend, maybe some Cheerleaders and Coaches or maybe I hang onto it for my next re-roll.

Anyway, as mentioned we have two new players. This is where I went wrong with my original starting list. I created a roster based upon the models I had and this didn't take advantage of the fact I can take up to four Ghouls – the fastest (and squishiest) models on my team who come with the Dodge skill.


The hope is that my increasing the number of fast(er) models on my team I can give myself a chance to catch these Rats as they scurry about the pitch. I will have to put a couple of players on the subs bench to accommodate the new arrivals, but this does mean that I'm likely to have 11 players available to me for the entire match, unless the casualties start to mount up.

I'd also quite like to score, just once, with the Undead and having four Ghouls gives me the best chance of that. It will be quite a sad state of affairs if the Gutchewers can't score at all in their first three games. They're already propping up the league table and another loss would cement their wooden spoon place I think.

However, since the last Gutchewer game against the Orcs we've discovered several things we've been doing wrong. First of all, prone models who stand up and Block use up the team's Blitz move for the turn. Secondly, you can pass in the same turn that you pick up the ball! In addition, players who get Knocked Out, don't count towards Casualty SPPs – I think the Orcs would have a lot less points if we'd have known any of this things earlier on!

If I can get the Ghouls into the game and the Mummies finally step up and play their part then we could be on for a cracking game. If they don't then it could be the biggest one-sided match in the league so far with the Skaven literally run rings around me.

To be continued…


Monday, 20 January 2014

Post-Game (in)Digestion…


So, Saturday morning saw the debut of Bull's Boomtown Rats on the field of play. Quite a premiere to be sure. You can read my detailed match report here – today I'm going to analyse how things went from my Dark Elf perspective.

I went into the match on the over-confident side. After the beating my Darkblades took on their debut against the Orcs, I thought that the squishier Rats would make good fodder for a Star Player Points free-for-all. Whilst I didn't underestimate Bull's abilities, I had forgotten how much Nuffle hates me and how completely random this game of Blood Bowl is.


My first block of the match was a fail. I had considered it routine, but it was a supported Lineman against a Blitzer, so hindsight would suggest that I should have left that one for later. The rats had already had a square headstart thanks to the Kick-Off table. My fail effectively gave them two turns unhindered – this formed the foundation of their first 'certain' touchdown. Had Bull not lost his mind briefly, tried to foul my prone Blitzer and promptly got caught, I would have been 1–0 down for sure.

I had the opportunity at this point to stall the Rats and try and inflict casualties, or go for the Thrower and attempt to get a score myself. I did the latter and it paid off. 1–0 up and the Rats have two off the field. I was feeling rather buoyant but had had a scare and paid the rats a little more respect due to their speed.


Bull now introduced his first refused flank tactic, and it worked a treat. The speed of his team allows them to evacuate an entire side of the pitch in a single turn, leaving Dark Elves stranded away from the action. This was the basis of his second opportunity to score. 'Certain' touchdown number 2 collapsed due to a double Dodge fail. It happens, but that was the second time I had been lucky on a key dice roll (or rather Bull's luck had deserted him – doesn't happen often).

Again I had the opportunity to score off the back of a Skaven fail, except this time I didn't have the luxury of several turns. My maths skills deserted me in the euphoria and I miscalculated how far I could move in the remaining turns, the opportunity passed and I had left the door open for Bull to get back into the game.

Second half Kick-Off was when things just got silly. If we'd have been playing on the side of a hill I don't think the ball would have bounced as far as it did – right into my end zone. Combined with the other random event – the Kick-Off table – it gave Bull a free turn to run around my front line unhindered and have a clear run to the waiting ball. Even he could not miss that 'certain' touchdown number 3.

At this point I lost the plot a little. The random elements had conspired to undo my hard work and I fought to muster enthusiasm and concentration after that. I don't remember much of the remainder of the match, or certainly not my thought processes. I just wanted to get to the end of the game. I now had less players on the pitch than Bull, which is deadly when try to contain Gutter Runners. Although clawing my way back into the lead, it seemed like Bull could do no wrong and there was an inevitability about the final score to come.

I came away having not lost the game – a first. I'd scored 2 touchdowns in a single game and had my first league point on the board.

However, being a glass half empty kind of bloke, at the end it had felt like a heavy defeat – four guys in the dead box, only 2 non-touchdown SPPs achieved and I had thrown away my best chance at winning that I'm likely to have. Bull's confidence had grown with the Rats as the game progressed and at the end his team had amassed a boat load of  SPPs.

The game had been a completely different monster to all the games before. In fact, we agreed that the Orc/Undead games had been quite boring by comparison. Everything happened so quickly.


At the end of the game the team roster looked as above.

I have lost a Lineman for the next game, but my Runner is back!!

One of my Blitzers has gained the Dodge skill, which is good. I've also acquired 90k gold but am not sure how to spend it.

Do I buy in a new Lineman so that I don't have to rely on as many Journeymen next game?
Do I bring in an Apothecary?… or maybe an extra re-roll?… Cheerleaders and Coaches?

Or do I save the money in the hope of having enough for a Witch Elf next time?
This option would have the bonus of keeping my Team Value down for the next game.


I also think I need to get the Kick skill as soon as possible. The Kick-Off scattered to maximum distance every time against the Skaven and stitched me up on a number of occasions. When the Gutter Runners can move 9 squares a turn, the last thing you need is the ball to bounce back to the half-way line from kick off.

I didn't get much opportunity to throw some easy passes in the last game either. It was my intention to get a few single SPPs early on, but the speed of the rats made this somewhat risky. One dropped pass could have proved fatal.


Our fledgling league is looking as above at the moment…depressingly. I have my first point on the board now, so I need to build on it.

Looking forward to the next game!!


Saturday, 18 January 2014

Building a Blood Bowl Team… part 5


I warn you now, this is a long match report so grab yourself a drink and visit the bathroom now before you start reading!


I had been looking forward to the Big Match today – my Daggeroth Darkblades versus Bull's Boomtown Rats. The rats didn't have the hitting power of the Orcs – in fact I would be the heavy hitters overall – but they were fast.

With the experience gained from my opening Dark Elf game, and the additional (podcast) studying I'd done in the meantime, I felt this game was an opportunity the rack up my first win and bag a lot of Star Player Points for my team. I was hoping to get at least another couple of skills added and enough cash to repair my roster.

Regular visitors will know that I don't feel that I've had the 'rub of the green' in any of my previous Blood Bowl games against Bull – I'm in danger of becoming a lamentable Victor Meldrew caricature with constant cries of "I don't believe it!". I was determined that this would be the game to break the cycle.

For the first time so far I managed to get the +1 FAME bonus thanks to my superior spectator numbers. That was a good start. I would be kicking to the Rats in the first half – the teams lined up and off we went.

The Kick-Off table gave Bull's team a free move before the game began proper, allowing them to reposition ready for the first turn. The Thrower picked up the ball and fell back, ensuring no Dark Elves could reach him.


My first turn, I move some models into position and rolled for my first 'routine' Block.

Fail.

I did ponder using a team re-roll, but this early in the game and only having 2 for the entire half ruled this thought out as a nonsense. What it did mean, however, was that the Rats were all still on their feet. Bull took full advantage, and it wasn't long before I was in real trouble – Bull looked almost certain to score.


I had managed to inflict a casualty – a Line Rat sent to the Dead box. But there were Gutter Runners everywhere it seemed, their 9 Movement and Dodge making them impossible to pin down. Bull was winding up for a throw and there was nothing I could do to prevent the touchdown.

Then he did something rather odd. He attempted to foul a prone Elf Lineman.


He was punished for his rash actions – the newly painted Ref spotted the foul and the Rat was sent off for the rest of the game!

The Rats were now 2 players down for the rest of the game and, more importantly, I'd been given a window of opportunity to prevent the touchdown.


Up stepped the Darkblades hero, Adin Heartrender (still disguised as a Witch Elf), and blitzed the Skaven Thrower, who spilled the ball as he went down. Thanks to his 5 AG, the Blitzer picked up the ball and waited to be hit. It wasn't long before he was surrounded by Rats, but they couldn't knock him down, only Push him.


Thanks to support from his team mates, and an audacious blitz by Heartrender himself, the hero Blitzer skipped through the closing rodent noose and made for the end zone. He stepped over the line and the Darkblades were 1–0 up, but not before the rest of the team had pushed the Skaven Thrower into the crowd.

1–0 to the Dark Elves

(never been in the lead before, my hands were shaking)



We kicked to the Rats again, who were down 3 players after the Thrower decided he didn't want to return to the game just yet. The ball scattered a ridiculous distance back to the half-way line. Bull's lightning-fast rats rallied to surround it and one of the Gutter Runners took on Thrower duties, picking up and falling back to safety within the pocket.

Some brutal hitting by the Skaven put two of my Linemen in the Dead box and in no time Bull had carved out another certain touchdown opportunity. I just couldn't keep up with the Gutter Runners, and I couldn't knock them down.

With a clear view to the end zone the Gutter Runner only had to Dodge out of a single tackle zone to be home free – with a re-roll to boot it was a done deal.


…except it wasn't. Bull managed to fail his Dodge roll twice, the Runner hit the deck and the ball bounced away.

I had a real opportunity to go in at half time 2–0 up, but I had to plan my next two turns carefully. We were deep inside my half and I had to think this through. One of my Blitzers grabbed the ball and moved towards the half-way line. I had a Lineman in the Rats' half of the field but it was a Journeyman – I didn't want to give him the SPP for scoring plus he is afflicted with Loner which could limit his catching reliability.


I concentrated on protecting my ball carrier, creating something of a pocket, but then the realisation of utter newb-ness dawned on me. I no longer had a player that could make it into the end zone to score before the end of the half. I'd lost sight of the main goal, distracting on a secondary goal. Stupid, stupid, stupid.

With a touchdown now out of reach I sent half my team to surround a Skaven Blitzer to chain block him off the pitch. The first hit ended up knocking him out and he left the field of play.


So at half time I was still 1–0 up. I had missed the opportunity to double my lead thanks to lack of concentration, however, Bull had missed two dead-cert touchdown opportunities. I had lost two of my Linemen, but Bull had also lost two and he was missing a precious rat Blitzer for the beginning of the second half. I definitely felt in the ascendency and I would be receiving the ball.

It was then that I noticed the time. It had taken over 3 hours to play the first half and I had to leave in little over 90 minutes. This did not bode well as I wouldn't have the luxury thinking time I'd had so far.

We set up for the second half and Nuffle stepped in to rain on my parade in an unbelievably stunning fashion. I simply could not believe what was about to happen.


The kick scattered maximum distance to the very edge of my end zone. We then rolled on the Kick-Off table and the Skaven got a free turn. The Thrower blitzed one of my Blitzers (really?!!), injuring him in the process, and the Gutter Runners poured past my statuesque players towards the ball. This would be a straight up race and I didn't fancy my chances.

Adin Heartrender sprinted towards the end zone and recovered the ball, but could only get a single square outside the end zone. The rest of the team rallied, but with the speed and numbers of rats who had skipped into my half it wasn't going to be pretty – I couldn't cover them all.


As I had feared, the Thrower and two Gutter Runners ganged up on the Dark Elf ball carrier whilst a third Blitzed him, following the bouncing ball into the end zone and grabbing it to score.

1–1 Tied Game

"I don't believe it!"

The hard fought lead I had carved out in the first half was wiped out in a single turn thanks to a bizarre and almost unrepeatable set of circumstances.

To compound the situation, I had lost two more Linemen to the Dead box – that's more Casualties than the Orcs inflicted – and the Rat Blitzer returned to the pitch. I was now missing four players to Bull's two.

I was still in shock when we kicked off again, and time was ticking away. We had 7 turns to complete in an hour and my mind was distracted beyond belief.


The Kick-Off scattered wildly again, away from my two waiting Blitzers in the back field, straight into the arms of my Blitzer near the half-way line.


However, he was unsupported and vulnerable. The rest of the Dark Elves rallied towards him, creating a makeshift cage to try and protect him. The Rats jockeyed around, managing to fell all the Linemen on the half-way line, but couldn't get to the ball carrier.


The three Blitzers burst out along the touchline. They got past the Rats and had a clear view of the end zone. But, with only two comrades for protection the ball carrier was vulnerable to the speedy vermin.

The Skaven flooded back as best they could. The critical blitz came in from Bull – this would disperse the Blitzer protection and leave the ball carrier wide open. His first roll was no good so he opted for a re-roll…


…snake eyes!



I could and should have tried to run down the clock a little, but with half an hour before I had to pack up I ran my Blitzer, Nenil Spinescourge, into the end zone.

2–1 to the Dark Elves

I kicked off again to the Rats, and the Kick-Off table stitched me up again. Bull's Thrower was allowed to move underneath the incoming ball, which had scattered back to the half-way line once again.


Eventually he picked it up and fell back into centre field. A miscalculation allowed one of my Blitzers through, decking the Thrower and the ball falling to a supporting Elf Blitzer. He was wide open and was quickly knocked down in the following turn. A Gutter Runner picked up the ball and a throw to the end zone was on.

The game was now on a knife edge. I was in the lead, but trying to contain the Rats whilst having two less players on the field was like trying to bail water out of a leaky boat – I just had to hang on two more turns.

Quick as a flash the Rat ball carrier decided to run instead of pass and skipped down the flank, deep into my half of the field. Nobody could get to him to prevent the touchdown it seemed… except my Blitzer Torel Dragonclaw. I set up a block to free him from his marker, but only managed to push the Skaven away. If he could Dodge out of the tackle zone he could blitz the ball carrier, leaving Bull little chance of recovering sufficiently to score in his final turn.


Alas I had no team re-rolls left and so the inevitable happened. Despite only needing a 3+ to Dodge, I rolled a 2. Torel hit the deck, injuring himself and causing a turnover. With nobody standing in his way, the Skaven Gutter Runner strolled into the end zone to tie the game in the very last turn.


Final Score: 2–2 Tied Game


I was pretty distraught to be blunt. I had been in a reasonably commanding position going into the second half. A single turn later it was all square, despite me receiving the kick. Two turns after that I was on the back foot, despite grabbing a second touchdown, and Bull had racked up a bag full of SPPs. Aside from the two touchdowns I only managed a single Casualty and no completed passes.


The dead box was a grim sight to behold. Luckily, one of the casualties was a Journeyman and two others walked away. One Lineman suffered an injury and will miss the next game – lucky to be honest.
I rolled poorly for winnings so walked away from the game pretty bruised but with a new skill for the second half scorer  Nenil Spinescourge.

It could have been so different.

Time to digest and prepare for the next game – onwards and upwards.

Thanks to Bull as always for being a superb opponent… I'll get you next time!


Friday, 17 January 2014

Pre-Big Match Preparation



With the week evolving into what can only be described as a whirlwind, peaking today, the prospect of some gaming tomorrow is most welcome indeed. However, due to a packed schedule it's an earlier kick off than normal – though I'll be awake early on game day anyway… I get so excited!



After the disappointing 2–1 reverse against the heavyweight Orcland Raiders last time out, the Daggeroth Darkblades will be looking to cut their teeth proper against the newbie Boomtown Rats.
However, Bull is mighty on the Blood Bowl pitch so I'm not expecting an easy time. He has no doubt done his homework and had a few training sessions with the (rat)boys this week in preparation. I will have to bring my A game. I am however hoping for fewer casualties on the elf side given that we are the (marginally) heavy hitters this time.



Unfortunately the Dark Elf roster took a bit of a kicking against the Orcs last time out. My Runner will miss the game tomorrow and I had to retire a Lineman who had been reduced to STR 2. We will be taking a couple of Journeymen as temporary replacements, which is not ideal but far from bleak. I learned a lot from my last game with the Elves and so will be trying to maximise my Star Player Points against the Rats. I'm also hoping I manage to play the team like the Elves they are, not the Undead I'm used to. I do now have an AG 5 Blitzer which will be very interesting.

I've spent a lot of time since the last game listening to Blood Bowl podcast wisdom, Three Die Block especially. I think I understand many aspects of the game better, not least team management, skill choices and inducements.



However, my secret weapon arrived this week and will debut tomorrow – my very own NON-WHITE block dice. They took a while to warm up in the practice rolls last night but they're looking good now. Let's hope they allow me to shake off the white-dice hoodoo that has plagued me my gaming career, highlighted not least in the epic-ly dire dice-rolling of the two Undead matches.

Stay tuned for a full match report over the weekend!


Wednesday, 15 January 2014

Blood Bowl: In The Dugout


A bit of an update now, behind the scenes at both the Gutchewers' and Darkblades' camps.

With a game on Saturday against the newbie Boomtown Rats, attention this week has been on the Darkblades… or rather the new-look plastic Darkblades. You may have seen the first completed model, Adin Heartrender last week. Needless to say the rest of the Blitzers and Linemen are being finished.

However, construction was paused to allow the Darkblade Runner, Rakiri Razorwing, to make an appearance. Currently out of action due to a broken rib, Rakiri is recovering nicely…


The basis for this model is a plastic Dark Eldar Wyche – nothing complicated about that. I cut the left arm at the elbow and trimmed the shoulder joint the allow the arm to be positioned at a more obtuse angle.

A football was created out of greenstuff and positioned on the hip, dry-fitting the forearm to ensure a good angle, etc. I gave it an hour to start curing before gluing the forearm into position and filling gaps in the elbow. I also trimmed all the fingers off the right hand – she had been holding a pistol and her trigger finger looked odd – and replaced with greenstuff, pressing into it to indicate a clenched fist and thumb.


On the back I trimmed off the sci-fi backpack and added a disc for her player number. Because the Wyches come with tabs at their feet and slotta bases (and I wanted to add a penny weight underneath a standard base) I had left a block of the tab to ensure a more solid join on the base. I disguised this with leftover greenstuff and made the base surface uneven, ready for texture.

She's almost ready to be painted now, which is rather exciting.

Over in the Gutchewers' camp, yesterday's mystery player revealed himself.

I've realised that the reason I've struggled to score with the Undead team is because none of the models are actually posed holding a football!… makes perfect sense.

With that in mind I made a couple of Christmas purchases, the first of which arrived yesterday.


This is my new Ghoul player. Originally he was bought to represent the Undead star player J. Earlice, but I can only add him to the roster as an inducement so it won't happen often – he will probably start life as a regular ghoul.

The model came from Heresy Miniatures and was sculpted by Paul Muller and Andy Foster. It is beautifully detailed (if something this rotten can be considered beautiful) and I'm really looking forward to painting him up in the Gutchewers' colours. As you can see I've added a small disc to his strap for his player number, but he's ready to go!

More soon…



Tuesday, 14 January 2014

Mysterious Undead Player…


Who is this individual, seen training with the Grave's End Gutchewers today?

A new player perhaps… or has someone just been working out?

Stay tuned…



Saturday, 11 January 2014

Happy Birthday…!!



I'm very proud to say that this blog is 4 years old today!

414 posts and 199k hits is not too shabby.

There have been ups and downs and I'm pleased that over the past couple of years I've managed to post something every month, even when hobbying has not been on my radar.

I'll do a full blown highlights run next year, but I thought I'd show what I was posting around this day over the past four years…


2010

• Chapter 2



2011 (didn't post anything before April this year – oops!)




2012




2013



2014

• ???


Stay tuned…


Friday, 10 January 2014

Building a Blood Bowl Team… part 4



Building a Blood Bowl Team… part 3


With just a week until the next Blood Bowl match up, it's time to look at my Dark Elf team again and see where we are.


You will immediately see a gap where my injured Lineman had been. I decided that I couldn't use a STR 2 Elf and so Tarud Shademaw was retired. I'm also missing the Runner in the next game due to injury, so have 2 'free' journeymen players to make up the numbers. I have the option to sign them after the game, if I have enough cash (and they have picked up star player points!). Not likely, but they can stand on the line and get hammered with no ill effects to the team long-term.

There has also been a change of 'heart'. In my previous BB post I mentioned that my touchdown-scoring Blitzer, Adin Heartrender, had picked up the Dodge skill. On the day of the match I actually rolled an 11 meaning I could increase the player's AG skill by 1 or take a new skill. I've decided, after a bit of contemplation, to take the bonus AG point instead.

As much as Dodge will be essential to my Blitzers, it's not often that any of us roll a stat increase. Initially I dismissed it as not being as useful as Dodge, but I now think I should take advantage of an AG 5 Blitzer. It now means he can move into a tackle zone or pick up the ball in a tackle zone on a 2+ which will help a lot.


Talking of Heartrender, I decided that he had earned a bit of attention on the work table. I picked out one of my new plastic Blitzers and set too with a bit of greenstuff. I cut off large parts of his back armour, which was looking very sci-fi and filled in the gap. I added a disk for his custom number, which will be chosen once painted. I started work on a knuckleduster to give him a bit more edge.

I also added his custom icon. I thought it appropriate to add a heart motif to his armour, given his name.

The Elf Cheerleader arrived today, so I'd like to get her built ready for when I add some to my team. More work to come on the new look plastic team as well – stay tuned.





Wednesday, 8 January 2014

Dark Elf Cheerleader Inbound…



Just picked this little beauty up off Ebay. Rather than use her for any Witching skills she might have, I thought (with a bit of cutting and sticking) she would make a wonderful Cheerleader for the Daggeroth Darkblades!



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