Monday, 30 January 2012

Narvinye

I went a bit Blood Bowl mad this month. With the start of the WFC league I've been playing weekly down at the club (well some would say 'not' playing in view of my performance to date but hey!), and on my other evenings painting lots of Blood Bowl miniatures.

My goal for January was to complete the Oak'tree Raiders for the GIMPS Blood Bowl league. The Oak'tree Raiders being a Wood Elf team if you hadn't already guessed. As I said previously, this was mainly so I could play Rich, Bill, Dan, Mark, Wayne and others that are setup in that league.

Anyway, here they are in all their glory:


For the Treeman I wanted something fairly imposing (to reflect his strength) so I went with treebeard the Ent from the Games Workshop Lord of the Rings range. My first attempt at painting realistic looking wood seemed t work quite well. Here are the obligatory close-ups:


Merry and Pippin are detachable so I can re-introduce them should I ever get into the Lord of the Rings Skirmish game or run a Halfling Blood Bowl team. I don't know which is more likely. I especially like the fungus covering Treebeards back. The elves accompanying old Treebeard are here:


The Athalorn Avengers box set I got of Ebay a while ago still had the original transfers in, so I can't claim the free-hand bonus for the runes this time. I have tried to reduce the amount of ink I use when painting though so these models entailed lots of layers of different greens for the team kit.

With the team complete it left me a bit of time for bonus' this month...

Some of you had a peak at one of my extras for January; The Bite'em'all Ravens assistant coach:


I always liked the vampire counts black coach model and until playing the Vampire Blood Bowl team didn't have a good enough excuse to part with the cash. The assistant coach joke couldn't be missed though...

After completing the coach my Blood Bowl frenzy continued. I scoured my bitz box:


and completed a custom Goblin team (well apart from the Trolls which are probably a very important part of that team but these are extras so....):


The weapons teams is all there, they just don't have a team name. Any suggestions? I haven't completed the bases yet as I haven't decided how to do them yet. The real reason I wanted a Goblin team was so that I could mix them with my Skaven to make an Underworld team. Of course in that team the Goblins are mutated by warpstone... so it seemed only right to convert a few bits and pieces into these monsters:


(Anything lee can do I can do...) I'm envisaging two heads, claws, horns and two hands as important mutations for Goblins. If they survive long enough to gain the SPP.

So that's my lot for January. A busy month in the end.

Goals for February to follow, probably something involving building a Saga Welsh warband.

Friday, 27 January 2012

Meci 5 - Există un cuvânt românesc de obraznic?

Answer: Apparently there is.

This 5th Bloodbowl league game for the Ravens can be summed up easily: I got cocky and it cost me the game. But I lost to a worthy opponent.

The game started with the introduction of the Raven's latest purchase, their second assistant coach:


This was followed by much jeering and heckling from the spectators - along the lines of: "get out, just get out now".

But after their recent win the Ravens were on a high and things were finally going our way. We were back up to 4 vampires, 3 Thralls in reserve, we had the crowd advantage and our cheering fans graced us with another re-roll. With the 3 purchased and 1 leader re-roll that took me to a total of 5 and my worry over blood lust abated. But we lost the toss and the Skaven received.

They quickly scurried around, got the ball and handed it off to a gutter runner whom fled for the safety of a cage on the scrimmage line. The hand off wasn't declared but I let Andy off that one as he was a rookie (but more on my sportsmanship later). He made 1 block and KO'd a thrall. 10 men left.

With the ball in the hands of a caged Gutter runner I thought it was time to show Andy just how effective the Vampires are at cage breaking. I moved a thrall into close proximity of the cage (Still weary of blood lust). Then 1 vampire moved in to hypnotise the storm vermin next to the ball barrier. A successful stare meant I had a clear path to the Gutter Runner. The Blitz came but with Dodge, Block and sidestep on the runner I only had a 1 in 6 chance of knocking the vermin down. It ended up being a push back and the gutter runner was pushed deeper into the cage.

This allowed him to dodge out and pelt down my left side. I had forgotten how fast Skaven were. Not to worry, I had left a vampire deep in my half who swung around and blitzed the ball carrier. He was KO'd and although the ball remained on the ground in several tackle zones I had broken his drive in turn 2. This was looking good.


But then it really slowed down. Andy ran most of his Skaven in and through some amazing dice work managed to get a lineman to pick up the ball. Then came the swarm of vampires. All 4 of them decended on the ball it was knocked free again and now I had it surrounded by 4 vampires and a Thrall.

With strength 4 vampires Andy couldn't get near the ball. He was trying all sorts of crazy dodge rolls, blocks in my favour and even trying to pick it up in 5 tackle zones. I finally picked up the ball with a vampire and kept him in the safety of his kindred. With the rats surrounding my team and vulnerable to me hitting back I 'advised' Andy that he should take his time, back off and then come at me again when things were not weighted in my favour (taking on 4 strength 4 vampires is not an easy task for Skaven). See I am sporting!


He did back off and then I got cocky. I ran 1 lone vampire into his half (the one with block). The ball carrying vampire followed and made the short pass. I thought we would be safe. I was wrong and it cost me. A skaven storm vermin ran to the ball carrier declaring a Blitz. When I reminded Andy that the vampire was strength 4 and it would be 2 block dice I choose, he decided that the storm vermin just moved (another rule break I let go for our league Rookie).


Instead he blitzed with a nearby lineman and that storm vermin assist). The 1 dice block paid off and my vampire fell. The dropped ball was picked up by another Gutter Runner and dashed down my right side. Luckily Andy had forgotten to move one of his other Gutter Runners onto the TD line so there was no point in attempting a pass. However, there was now an awful lot of distance between my team and the ball carrier and only my Thralls could reach him.


We tried (and another mistake on my part cost me), running in 2 Thralls and Blitzing with a third. I rolled 2 block dice and as was the story of my game ended up pushing him back, I re-rolled for the same result. With not much else I could do I declared a turnover, then realised my mistake. Gutter Runners are strength 2. I rolled 2 block dice. I was blitzing with a strength 3 Thrall with 2 assists. I should of been rolling 3. With a re-roll that would of increased my chances of knocking him down. But Andy wasn't going to let me have it back (no more Mr nice guy).

He ran the gutter runner down field and tried to pass to the one near the line. He hadn't declared the pass action and this time I wasn't letting him get away with it (he has to learn!). The heckles of lack of sportsmanship again rose from the stands (how much the Skaven paid Kieron I don't know, but I ignored the jeers and sulked that I was close to conceding).

With the ball carrier deep in my half, Andy caged him. So again I moved in the vampires. Every hypnotise roll was coming off (much to Andy's annoyance) and I Blitzed the ball carrier, both down but I had knocked the ball free again. It bounced around and finally landed between a vampire and a Skaven lineman. I had previously run 1 vampire to within striking distance of the Skaven line ready to receive the pass but failed to pick up the ball and the half was over.


0-0. I had successfully broken the drive and now it was my time to strike. I told myself to remember not to send a vampire out alone to score. The Skaven are fast, can swarm around me and get the bock advantage. But I didn't listen. Doh! A lucky touch back at kick-off and a few hypnotise rolls later I ran a Thrall and vampire ball carrier deep into the Skaven half.


Guess what happened. He was surrounded by the skittering scumbags and KO'd. Andy had already broken my drive and now had the ball. I moved in to mark any players that could run around me to receive the ball. I then tried to Blitiz with a vampire but failed bloodlust, with a re-roll. Never mind, hit the rat then run to a Thrall... but no, the vampire face planted and went off for a bite.


2 vampires left. It was looking desperate and surprise surprise Andy scored in turn 4. I had 4 turns to make the equaliser but alas my KO'd vampire was out 'warm' (as they are cold already) leaving me only 3 to score the winner with. The ball was kicked deep into my half so it looked like a passing game was n the cards. But as if the Skaven commanded the weather Gods a Blizzard hit meaning it would be dangerous to 'Go for it' and I was limited to short or quick passes. Great.


I huddled the ball and again failed blood lust when I tried to pick it up. I stunned one of my Thralls. My vampires on the line of scrimmage tried to punch a hole in the defence. Rats put pressure on me running down towards the ball carrier.


I consolidated and ran Count Edvard Cullen down field to accept the hand off from the resurrected Countess Bella Svan II. Count Blockula had to stay semi close as my passing range was limited. I moved Thralls in to protect the Vampires from the nasty fuzzballs.


More rats surrounded me but I manged to hypnotise with the Countess and dodge out with the Count. Count Blockula moved down field for a turn 8 equaliser. This left the ball carrier in the open but with lots of rats on the floor was I going to be safe...


Like hell I was. Again they stood up, kept dodging away and surrounded Edvard Cullen for a 2 dice Blitz. He was down and had lost the ball. Andy had done a great job in covering the ball meaning I really was out of options. I ran the countess and a Thrall to take out some tackle zone and could only Blitz with count Edvard hoping that the ball would bounce kindly and a thrall could attempt the hand-off to count Blockula. With the bounce in mind I purposefully didn't follow up, but guess what? The ball bounced off a few heads before landing in his arms. There was nothing more I could do other than run him to safety to prevent Andy getting a second. The only consolation was that my team finally started hitting back hard and killed a Skaven lineman (who was later resurrected by the apothecary).


Another game lost. Looks like I fighting for the wooden soon this season.

Things I learnt - Andy has now played 4 games and I shouldn't of given him the space I did (especially with that Block, Dodge, Side-Step Gutter runner (who I am sure kept swapping guises throughout the game - and now has another skill). Lesson 2 - Never ever think vampires are indestructible and can run out alone (or supported by 1 Thrall). Fast teams are the bane of that tactic.

Still a great tactical game with lots of drive breaking for both sides. Andy is a great opponent and a worthy winner. I won't be so lenient if we do meet in the knock-out stages.

Meci 4 - Ia asta Kermit

Last week saw my deflated team take on the Mighty Slann Frogcisco 49ers.

The Ravens team value was at 94 after being slammed by the undead in the previous game. I had to take a Thrall Journeyman and thought i would struggle with only 11 players. Luckily Keiron's toads have been doing relatively well in the league and their high team value meant I had 200,000 gold (more on that later) to spend on inducements. That would cover a wizard and some bloodweiser babes. But having no reserves and only 3 vampires was bugging me. Instead I went for a vampire mercenary and purchased Block for her. That would turn out to be a very wise decision and meant that the Ravens could secure their fist league win. Only 1-0 but it was an improvement on past games.   

Our fans were out in force giving us +2 Fame. This how how we set up, heavily weighted with vampires to push through on the left side, to receive the kick:


Turn 1 and I moved the Thralls into position. But then when I tried to move the vampires Blood Lust hit in and spending a re-roll to maintain the full team couldn't risk pushing through the Slann defence just yet. We moved the ball t the line of scrimmage. Frogs hopped down field ready to receive a catch should my drive be broken. The Ball carrier was hassled by a frog but was fairly safe in this position:


Turn 2 and my vampires are thirsty. More failed blood lust rolls and more burnt re-rolls would be the story of this half. Count Edvard Cullen (the guy with the fancy cloak) Blitzes the Slann star catcher (well the only one with a skill) and injures him causing him to miss the next game. The count moves up field to support his fellow vamps. The ball carrier is forced to divert to a handy Thrall for a nibble and so crosses the field towards the right side zone, this leaves most toads on the wrong side of the pitch blocked by 2 other vampires:


The frogs move in but the ball carrier manages a quick pass to count Blockula who is free in the mid-field. another failed blood lust roll and another burnt re-roll leaves me with none left! I run a Thrall down to the TD line and Kieron falls for the diversion.



He sends 2 frogs to block the expected pass. The Blitz on this threat is successful and this pushes the Thrall back too close to the crowd for comfort. However, with the diversion I am free to move the ball carrier back to the left side for a touchdown next turn. I attempt to dodge the Thrall to safety but he trips over and injures himself:


With a couple more in the KO box things are starting to tighten up. Kieron plays a superb game and jumps, hops and skips frogs to the ball carrier. A failed blood lust test and another Thrall is out cold along with the vampire ball carrier (Count Blockula) after a successful Slann Blitz action:


My dug out was filling up fast and worse still Kieron had broken my drive and the ball was easily available for the Slann to retaliate:


As Kieron worked out only one of his players remained close enough to my line to score I swarmed around him sending him flying. The half was over and the score was drawn 0-0.


My game was being severely hampered by the Vampires' propensity to fail their Bloodlust tests and have to knock out the Thralls rather than move where I wanted them to go. My Thralls remained n the dug out and I had to set up to kick in the second half with only 8 players. Luckily all 4 vampires were back on the pitch but any more failed bloodlust rolls would serious mess things up.


Luckily our luck reversed. Kieron tried and failed to would the 3 Thralls on the scrimmage line. This left him with a thin flat defence which I could hypnotise my way through to the ball carrier.


This was where the Slann revealed their big weakness, in a key moment, they succumbed to bad dice without re-rolls (no useful skills like Dodge, Pass, Block, Catch or Sure Hands) and were unable to clear the ball. Two of my Vampires grabbed it and scurried towards the line. Only 1 tad could make it back to defend.
 
 
In the melee that followed I saw off another of those catchers. All that remained was to Blitz the defending frog freeing my vampire up to score. I did just that but with the only nearby Thrall currently eating dirt I couldn't fail the blood lust. I did but had a re-roll and scored. Phew. We were leading but it was tough.

Could I stop the equaliser. Kieron was suffering as he only had 1 catcher left on field. But he learnt from his mistakes in the previous drive and quickly caged the ball. He also learnt that it is impossible to keep us away from the ball. We hypnotised our way in for a Blitz on the ball carrier but could only manage a slight shove. I couldn't follow up as this would leave the vampire surrounded by 6 Slann players and in all likelihood squished. This freed the catcher to run down my left side to within striking distance of the line.
 

I had 3 players surrounding a lineman keep in my half trying their hardest to stop any form of passing game. Hypnosis really helps give the vampires the initiative there.

Things on the left side were getting messy. Kieronslann hands, but also the attacker down.


Kieron had played well and did managed to get into range of a touchdown on the final turn, but with no re-rolls left he was asking a lot to try to get a Leap, a Dodge, a Pass, a Catch and two Sprints off in one turn. The lineman managed to dodge out of a tackle zone and sprint to the line, but Kermit fumbled the pass and he had failed granting the Ravens their first season win.
 
 
In the post match analysis it would turn out that Kieron had gifted me an additional 60,000 gold to my inducements as he forgot to deduct his missing Lineman from his Team Value. We both had some really bad dice which made for a tough close game.

With winning and +2 FAME, the sponsorship money came flooding in. With money in the bank already I was able to buy into slavery Journeyman Johnson, get another assistant coach and resurrect Countess Bella Svan. I was back to full strength and my team value had jumped u to 118. Next in line to face the Vampires are the Stilton Stealers. Andy is the Rookie of the league so on paper I should probably win, but so far he has had a good season, drawing all 3 of his previous games. Lets see what happens.

One more fan photo to leave you with. Memories of Kermit the Slann Star Catcher:

Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Meci 3 - Să revolta strigoi începe

Back in December 2011 I posted this on the wargames free company forum:
"Too early to commit to a 4th BB game? I'm game so to speak... who wants to take on the vampires (I'm predicting we will be fairly close to the bottom - so it could be an easy game)."

I hate it when my predictions come true.

On the 12th of January the Bite'em'all Ravens took on their undead rivals, Rest in Pieces...

and lost...

badly...

on both Touchdowns: 3-1...

and casualties: 5-1...
Oh dear. That early loss of a vampire(ss) is starting to tell.

Lots of fans turned up to watch this undead face-off. 7k zombies and 16k vampires meant I had +2 fame. And it all started so well. My fans threw a rock injuring one ghoul (more than my players could muster). We received the ball and by turn 3 had scored. The fans cheered giving me an extra reroll.  Trev was worried... but not for long.

As I am quickly learning the Vampire team can easily collapse. A skeleton smashed the collar bone of a thrall. They quickly picked up the ball, formed a small cage around the Ghoul and started moving receivers down the pitch.


I saw the throwing game unfolding so decided to take out a ghoul receiver to buy me some time. A simple Blitz with a vampire on the ghoul but a failed blood lust roll. No matter I had re-rolls, but a second blood lust roll. OK we can cope. Or not. The Blitz ends as a both down sending the vampire into the crowd to feast. This left everyone of my players in a tackle zone. Big crunch. Another vampire is KO'd and another Thrall injured.


I had one vampire left on the pitch, and not many Thralls to support him. In fact I was starting to leave them face down on the pitch in an effort to keep them alive. The equaliser in turn 7 was therefore inevitable with Trevor simply walking the ball holding ghoul down to the line while the Wights and Mummies held up the vampire.


There was no love lost for their undead kin as Rest in Pieces moved in every player to see off the final vampire and cripple the Ravens. He survived the bully tactics and during a nasty foul one of the zombies was sent packing by the ref. Hurrah - something positive.


The fans were not happy, a pitch invasion, followed at halftime by a riot decimated the intimidating undead line.


This was still not enough to help the vampires and another touchdown was quickly conceded. Another pitch invasion followed. Undead were left stunned but again recovered. With the vampire KO'd earlier still recovering, lack of numbers was really starting to show and the undead scored a 2nd touch down . In their disgust my fans threw another rock at kick-off taking out one of the ghouls.


Could I punch through the hole in the centre field and then throw the ball up field to get an equaliser?  With 7 players on the pitch it was daring but it just might work. One vampire picked up the ball and ran backwards to keep some distance between himself and the hard hitting undead. All the other vampire had to do was knockdown the mummy and blitz his way up field ready to receive. I only managed a push back. I had to dodge around to keep the vampire out of a tackle zone but this left the Thralls vulnerable.


Another 2 were sent into the injured box. Facing mighty blow with an armour value of 7 is not nice. The undead then Blitzed the vampire in their half leaving me with the ball keep in my half and out of options. Trevor had chosen quite a fast undead team with 4 ghouls and 2 wights and now they were streaming towards the ball carrier.

With our dugout filled to the brim I did wonder if the Ravens would survive the whole match or be forced to concede.


Rest in pieces scored their 3rd touchdown and I had 1 turn to just do some damage. That KO'd vampire finally woke up. We all hit the line of scrimmage. But the first block ended with the attacker face planting and that was game over.

Will the misery ever end. Two Thralls are missing the next match meaning I am forced to take a journeyman and my Team value is reduced to 94. Ouch.

If only I could stop rolling 1s.

Tune in again soon to see how we would fare against an army of frogs. Still I was looking forward to the inducements and playing a team who I could hit.

Sunday, 22 January 2012

Meci 2 - slăbiciune meu este exploatat

Another journey in time... to Monday 9th January:

After suffering the loss of Countess Bella Svan the remaining Ravens knew their next game would be a tough one. So they decided to play on Home turf. Even with the home crowd it would turn out to be tougher than expected as Craig would use the knowledge gained during our recent pre season friendly to exploit our team weaknesses further. I was starting with 11 players. Any loss to KO or injury would really hurt.

Bite'em'all Ravens (Vampire) Vs. Karak Dur Bruisers (Chaos Dwarf)

The Vampires won the toss and decided to receive. Picking up the ball we made a quick pass and moved into position to drive the ball down the Chaos Dwarf's right side. Well, they weren't having this and through a bit of luck managed to get to the ball carrier and flatten him, stealing the ball. This followed an unstoppable slow drive to a touchdown at the end of the first half. Why unstoppable? On their way down to the Raven touchdown line the Bruisers lived up to their name and knock out one of the vampires and injure a thrall. Not a great first half and now I was kicking to them. I sensed more pain heading my way.

So the second half started with the Chaos dwarfs  receiving the ball and starting as they meant to go on by battering my Thralls in an attempt to walk the ball down field for a second touch down. Well we weren't interested in this plan and my Thralls stood firm allowing them to get some revenge and the vampires to run deep into the Bruisers half putting pressure on the ball carrier.  Things were looking promising but I missed something. The Chaos dwarfs ran the ball up to the half way line and handed of to Lionel the Bull centaur who then made a run for the right corner, sprinting to the line. This certainly caught us flat footed and with both vampires deep in Bruiser territory there was nothing we could do, giving the dwarfs a second touch down. Oh dear.

With the game all tied up there was little room for us to come back into it but we sure did try, injuring a couple of hobgoblins in the process. But with more bad luck a final fumbled hand off for a consolation touchdown saw the game end.

Final score 2 - 0 to the bruisers

But I did win on Casualties  (2 -1)

Friday, 20 January 2012

Meci 1 - Twilight zorile ca Bella Pauze

Let me take you back in time, to a simpler time, long before Nurgles rot set in and I thought I stood a good chance at bringing home some Silver...  OK well that's only January 5th but I'm playing Blog catchup here.

The Bite'em'all Raven's lined up for the inaugural Wargamers Free Company Blood Bowl Championship.

For the first match of the season we would be taking on JP's Nurgle team. On paper, these two teams are fairly evenly matched. No general skills on either side and four strength 4 vampires matched with two Warriors, one Beast of Nurgle and two Prestigors with horns. It was always going to be close:

Bite'em'all Ravens 1 - 1 Rottenham Tight'uns (Casualties 0-3)

However, it wouldn't be the score that was talked about in the papers the next day, but this player:


The beautiful Countess Bella Svan. Except she wouldn't be in this position... by that I mean standing, more:


I'm still finding it difficult to hold back the tears. I have Kieron to thank for immortalising her image.

So what happened?

The Vampires started well and quickly collected the ball to drive down the left flank. But then a series of scrappy turns by both the Vampires and Nurgle eventually ended with the Nurgle breaking the drive and taking possession of the ball (and neither team with any re-rolls left). The Nurgle  also started to show the vampires they mean business leaving a Thrall and a Vampire badly hurt. In turn 7 the Prestigor (4 squares within the vampire half) with the ball had to dodge (3+) to make it to within 8 squares of the TD line to score in turn 8. As is blood bowl legend he failed and face planted.

In a spectacular recovery a Thrall on the left flank picked up the ball, ran across field to avoid the beast of nurgle to hand off to a vampire in a tackle zone. The vampire managed to withstand that oh so dangerous lust for blood and dodged away from his marker to attempt a quick pass (in a disturbing presence zone) to a fellow vampire 6 squares away from the TD line but in a tackle zone. The pass was accurate and the receiving vampire caught it for a completion (a feat that would later earn him the MVP award and thus a skill). A Blitz later and the vampires lead 1-0 but had lost 2 players with another 2 KO'd.

The last turn of the first half saw the nurgle inflict more pain KO'ing another 2 Thralls who would not return for the 2nd half. The lack of numbers on the Vampire side started to show but the Nurgle made some early mistakes. Countess Bella Svan made it to the ball breaking the nurgle drive, much to the upset of the nurgle Prestigor, known as Jasper von Helsing, who in revenge KILLED her:



But wait, you can't kill a vampire. She can regenerate... or not as the 3 on the d6 would dictate. The Countess was stretchered off into the dead and injured box.


The vampires were left scattered and the equaliser was inevitable. 2 turns left and the vampires had to move fast. A perfect kick saw the ball land deep in the vampire half. 2 Thralls ran towards striking distance of the Nurgle line, one of the remaining vampires failed to pick up the ball. Turnover and the nurgle knocked down one of the Thralls but as they attempted to Blitz the second, fell and left a glimmer of hope in my teary eyes. If the vampires were going to win it would have to be another turn 8 blinder.

The vampire picked up the ball, ran forward for the long bomb but fumbled and it was game over.

I was lucky to get the draw after losing that many players so early. And with one of my key players dead it means I'm in for a very long hard season. The crowd were kind though and after all the merchandise buying left the Ravens 50,000 gold. I purchased a Thrall to bring the roster back to 12 players but was going to suffer a strategic blow in my next few games until I could replace Bella.

Oh did I mention that her Husband the great Count Edvard Cullen is now sulking and has offered this reward:
And now for some friendly sledging... JP killed a girl! Inflicted a further 2 injuries and still couldn't win. Loser!

Karak Dur Bruisers (Chaos Dwarf) next... with a vampire down. Could be a tough match. Tune in soon to find out the result (well it's already been played but you know what I mean)