Monday, October 4, 2010

Blood Bowl

Here, my Assistant Coach, a veteran of many years, dispenses fundamental and practical advice. Thanks, Coach.

Blood Bowl has been on my mind lately for a number of quirky reasons: 

-just the mention of blood (and the bounty of it last week) got me thinking about that viciously entertaining sport; 

-the figure I posted on the first blood recipe is, in fact, my Apothecary. Regular readers will have seen him a couple of times by now, as well as the cheerleader that accompanies him; 

-on a slightly different note, the League dynamic works wonderfully and has a lot to offer someone constantly thinking about how to link games together both in useful and in quirky ways; 

-it's a simple, brilliant game. 

I had played the game once in the 80s, liked it, and then forgot all about it. Some many years later, I bought the boxed game on a whim, opened it, liked it, and then immediately put it entirely out of mind for some reason lost to time and memory. In fact, I was rather surprised to remember that I actually owned it when I was called upon to do so.

To be fair, I regret ever having put it aside now.

Last summer, an old friend, Chris, invited me to join a League that he had dutifully assembled for a short period. I was a bit surprised. First things first, I needed an "army." Yes. I called it an army at my initial pass. I'm surprised that I didn't get sent to the curbside, rulebook in hand, right then and there. But, of course, it had been over twenty years, and they are a forgiving lot. 

Thanks fellas. 

I suppose that I was keen enough on the general principles that the particulars could sort themselves out. But that... Team. I needed a Team. 

Thankfully, I was able to trade out the plastic Orcs (sp?) from that boxed set for a few of the metal humans and then collected another bunch in a batch order with the league. It's a "starter team." I know. I know. But I had to learn to crawl before walking.

So army (ahem) in hand, I set to the task and machine-painted this crowd in a manner that would make Henry Ford wince in bowel-grumbling envy. Fact. One very short but very busy week later (which is the fastest I'd ever assembled and painted a table-ready and playable force of any description and which is another reason that I've been thinking about the game lately), the boys took the field for the first time... and got absolutely stuffed by Chaotic Dwarfs. Seriously.

Well. Things got better from there, and you'll not be surprised to hear that one of the elements I liked most about the League was the narrative nature of each game, as well as the peculiar narrative phase between games. Each Team member had a name and before long a decent personality to match.

Touch McRudder, my star catcher pictured in the middle of this photo, stands out as a notable contribution. He was so loved amongst both friend a foe alike that an opposing player (in a critical game no less) genuinely apologized to me after knocking young McRudder into the casualty box. Now that's sportsmanship!


Mr.Esty said...

Blood Bowl has been on my mind alot lately too!
Nice post.

Kuffeh said...

Nice work there. I am a fan of Blood Bowl myself, and I agree about the league aspect. It allows you to build a team and follow its career (by follow, I mean play) like it is a real live team.

Nice painting for what sounds like a quick paint job.

The Inner Geek said...

Blood Bowl is always on my mind at least a little bit! It is a quick game to get an army painted for. I did a Skaven team in one day once. They actually looked pretty darn good too!

Custom tables are fun to make for Blood Bowl, by the way. Since I know you do enjoy a good table making.

Also, the recent (and upcoming expansion) video game of Blood Bowl is amazingly faithful to the board game if you play turn based. I recommend it!

Kuffeh said...

@The Inner Geek
I agree about the video game, however I do urge people to only get it on the PC. I brought the x-box version (my laptop cannot play it :( ) and you miss out on the good things; like the Dark Elves. And of course there is no league capabilities. Microsoft refused to allow Cyanide their own servers, so you can only play solo against very bad AI (who dodges with dwarfs?!) or one time only exhibition games where you can't even gain SPP. :(

Sorry for the tangent there...

Da Masta Cheef said...

Love the assistant coach & his caption!

Papa JJ said...

That is a very nice looking team, I really like the yellow helmets. In addition to all the other virtues of Blood Bowl, another thing I appreciated was the ease of transportation thanks to the relatively few models needed to field a team. It was never a problem to take a team with me to the LGS or wherever just in case an opportunity to play should come up . Great game, I'm not sure why I drifted away from either.

Brian said...

Thanks fellas.

@ Mr. Esty. do tell.

@ Kuffeh. Yes, it was a very, very fast paintjob by my standards, but the overall effect works for me.

@ The Inner Geek. I like the idea of a custom field... hmmm.

I don't often play video games (who has times?), but this is one that might interest me. I don't have xbox or anything like that, so it would have to be the computer version.

@ Da Masta Cheef. Cheers.

@ Pappa JJ. Perhaps you could bring a kill team and a Blood Bowl army up for AdeptiCon this year?

Pacific said...

A wonderful game! I've played the PC game a lot, but in my mind it doesn't come close to a game between friends (with the obligatory 'bloodweiser' in hand).

Look forward to some more BB related posts if the mood strikes you! :)

Alexander Man said...

Really cool painting job. Love the assistant coach :D

Alexander Man said...

Oh... and have anyone tried the FUMBBL online Blood Bowl league? It´s totally free java based Blood Bowl, with lots of leagues and tournaments online. I Love it. It´s a good way to play Blood Bowl when you haven´t got the time to leave the house :) Like me with three kids... Worth checking out!

Brian said...

@ Pacific. I promise that the mood will, indeed, strike me again sometime in the future; however, I can't say when right now. I've got a lot on my plate.

@ Alexander. thank you kindly. I've never tried FUMBBL online. Thank you for the recommendation as well.