Thursday, 25 April 2013

Stillwater Stiffs 5-1-0

After a hard fought game with Julio the Stiffs have suffered their first lost for the season. Well done to Julio for a very well played game and it's certainly opened my eyes to a few holes in my team I need to fill; especially with my lack of tackle.

I'll keep it pretty brief because it's late and I want to go to bed. This is how it went:

I had 290,000 to spend on inducements so I took a wizard and a bribe. Julio got fame and won the coin toss so decided to kick first turn.

I received and got stuck in to hitting before retrieving the ball. Things were going ok with the only exception being that I wasn't getting a lot of knockdowns. But ultimately I had Julio's team under control. Then I had one bad turn with the block dice where I rolled nothing but push-backs and skulls or both downs. This left Julio with an opportunity to break my cage and turnover the ball. He did so and picked up a bouncing ball in three tacklezones with his Witch Elf then ran her down field. I zapped her with the wizard and retrieved the ball but my chance to score was lost.

This was the set up at the start of the second half:

Once again I forgot my camera so had to put up with the rubbishy i-phone.

I got to hitting but once again really struggled to knock anyone over, especially Julio's star Witch Elf. I fouled and fouled but could only get stunned results. Julio just kept dodging away from my Tomb Guardians so I didn't get to hit much and in his turn 6 he jogged over for a touchdown. I set up for the Khemri passing play to try and score within three turns but I couldn't get the 6 when I needed it and the clock ran out of time.

A great game with Julio and a lot of lessons learned from me. I definitely need some tackle so I took this on the Gropper who got a skill up after the game. I also need to hit more with my Tomb Guardians so I need to focus on better positioning to make sure they keep players in their tacklezones.

It wasn't a total loss however, while I lost the game I won the casualty count 3-0 with Brittle Bones Brucie taking two casualties; one of them a death. Cleo grabbed the third casualty putting her up to three total.

Well it's good at least to be rid of the Spike trophy and the inevitable scorn that comes with it. Time to pick myself up and focus on the next game. I need to find a soft squishy team that stays in one place and simply allows me to beat them senseless...hmmmmm...I'll ponder that one and organise a game in a couple of weeks. Until then enjoy the short week and make sure you pay your respects to our ANZACs by buying a poppy or three.

Lest we forget...

Tuesday, 23 April 2013

Tempest 2013

After hearing Dystopian Wars was going to be played at Tempest this year I was quite excited at the prospect of dusting off the Japanese and taking them out on the deep blue sea again. The army format was to use the starter box models so I had everything painted already meaning there would thankfully be no last minute, all night painting sessions. I do believe this may be the first time I have ever attended a tournament with a fully painted army. Hopefully a sign of things to come.

There were four games over one day using either all models in the box or a limited selection of them. All the missions were focused on objectives rather than just 'stand em up, knock em down' and to Sass' credit they were both challenging and very interesting. As well as being extremely hilarious on occasions.

I had mixed results with the dice which gave me great elation at times but was often quickly followed by heartbreak as things went south. As I continued to drown my sorrows on every poor roll and celebrate my resounding successes on every good roll with a cold beer I found myself becoming less than sober throughout the day to the point where my support squad, who had shown up with the intention of only sharing my beer, had to step in for me and win the final game.

Overall a great day out and a thoroughly enjoyable tournament. I snapped a few photos so here's how it went:

Game 1 - Playing against Jamie's Federated States of America

In this scenario we had to claim the three refineries in the middle of the board.

Things started well with me grabbing the refinery on my right flank and bombarding the centre of the board.

Jamie grabbed the centre refinery and was looking like he would grab the one on my left flank.

After some lucky rolling the refinery on my left flank blew up taking a good portion of Jamie's fleet with it and I came out with a win...all due to talent and skill...of course. Well there was no one else there to witness the game so that's my story and I'm sticking with it.

Game 2 - Playing against Alan's Russians

This mission was a lot of fun. The exploding dice mechanic allowed you to roll a further two dice instead of one on any original roll of a 6. Any further 6's after the first roll were treated in the normal way. The unfortunate part for me was that if you rolled more 1's than 6's you took Hit Points off your own boats.

Here's our deployment. I didn't take any photos after this one because it seems I had stocked up on cheap chinese ammunition and did as much damage to myself as I did to Alan. It was at about this point I started drinking rather than taking photos.

Game 3 - Playing against Clinton's Federated States of America

This mission was a bombing run. Your Battleship was used but played almost no part in the game. It was simply a target for the Bombers to hit. Long story short, we attacked with pretty much the same models but when we got close enough to bomb the Battleship Clinton rolled terribly while our rolls (our being Mark and I as I had drunk so much beer I was needing help with dice management) were spectacular. The American ship sunk and the Japanese celebrated with Sushi and Sake.

Our deployment before the bombing runs.

Clinton sinking all my Frigates.

The bombers pass by each other on their way to their respective targets.

Game 4 - Playing against Chris' Prussians

The final game for the day was a vortex scenario where every turn all ships would get sucked a few inches in towards a vortex in the middle of the board. If anything touched the vortex they would be destroyed.

Here's my torpedo bombers overlooking the evil vortex. Oooooooooo.

The left flank was where most of the fighting happened. Chris' Cruisers, Bombers and Battleship against my Cruisers, Bombers and Frigates. With a few Torpedo Bombers thrown in for good measure.

The vortex dragged Chris' ships into each other causing a bit of a train wreck.

In the end there wasn't much remaining on the left flank.

This game came down to who got the closest to the vortex. Both Chris and I misread the rules thinking it was the closest model but in fact it was the closest Battleship so we ('we' being drunk Nathan and dice caddy Mark) pulled off an unintentional win. Well I suppose that's not entirely true. We did 'intend' to win, we just had no idea how to do it.

So all in all a great tournament. Really good day out with good gaming, great opponents and good beer. I'm definitely keen for more of these events so I look forward to the next.

Thursday, 11 April 2013

Stillwater Stiffs 5-0-0

In front of 25,000 cheering fans the Stiffs have defended the Spike Trophy for another week. This week I played Gil's Chaos Pact who were a pretty daunting prospect. There were three Big Guys, two of whom had Block! Here's a shot of what I was staring down at:

Gil received for the first half, faked to his left and then did a quick hand-off to run a guy down his right where I had left too much of a gap. He scored within three turns leaving me with six turns to try and get an equaliser. On the return I ended up catching the ball off the kick off with a Skeleton so instead of risking a hand-off to my Throw-Ra; Ronaldo, I tried to grind down field with him. I burned through my re-rolls to fix bad blocks from my Tomb Guardians so by turn 7 I was eleven squares from a touchdown with no re-rolls. With skeletons being movement 5 I would need to make at least one go for it roll to score so I figured it would be best to do it now where I had a chance to recover in turn 8 rather than risk it all on the last turn. Sure enough my Skeleton tripped on his bootlace and it was all over to Gil. Unfortunately for him he had some really bad dice and I had a chance on turn 8 to score with Ronaldo. In true Star Player form he picked up the ball and made the two go for its to dive into the endzone before the halftime siren.

In the second half Gil could only put eight players on the field due to a number of lucky armour and injury rolls on my behalf and some very unlucky KO rolls on his behalf. Gil kicked off and I got stuck into hitting whatever I could.

The ball landed slightly to my left so I pushed left a little, then shifted right when that seemed a better option, and then shifted left again as the situation improved out there. Gil's rolls didn't get any better so I just focused on keeping his Big Guys tied up and then protecting Ronaldo as he jogged down field for a second Touchdown. One turn left and Gil was hoping for a Riot on the kick-off table to have a chance at drawing even. The Riot didn't happen and the game ended with Gill beating the snot out of my Skeletons on the line and maliciously fouling one of my Tomb Guardians (so much hate).

It's a relief to have beaten Gil's team. Those Big Guys are extremely scary, especially with two that have Block. Also a relief not to have to play him later in the league as some of his skill-ups have made some rather evil looking players. Apart from those two god-awful Big Guys with Block he also has a +1 Agility Marauder and a +1 Movement Marauder. Looking at my skill-ups I'm relieved with how some of my guys have progressed. All my Tomb Guardians now have Mighty Blow, Verkummern the Vile also has Guard and Ronaldo picked up another skill so I gave him Leader to help me out with Re-Rolls a bit.

My next game is against Julio and his Dark Elfs who I believe have not yet lost a game. Unfortunately he is heading back to the Canary Islands soon so it will be good to get a game in before he takes off. It'll be interesting too as we've never had a Dark Elf team in the league before so I'm not sure how to play against them. My only practise has been on the Cyanide computer game and it has not ended well for me. The game is in two weeks so we'll wait and see.

Sunday, 7 April 2013

Ausbowl State Championships 2013

Ausbowl 2013 has been and gone and it was a fantastic tournament. If all the wargaming events I've been to I think I really enjoy Blood Bowl the most; you don't need to bring very much, the people you play seem far more laid back and there always seems to be a stronger drinking culture ;)

For those of you who don't know what the Ausbowl State Championship is I'll give you a quick low-down. Two years ago Australia decided to hold it's first inter-state championships in Sydney. The scene was then set to hold the second round of this biennial tournament in Adelaide SA. The tournament is the opportunity for each Australian state to submit a team of six to compete with other states for the honour of State Champions. This year the Aussies also kindly allowed us to enter a Kiwi team and I was one of the fortunate six to attend.

Our team was made up of three people from Christchurch; Paul, Gil and I. Two people from Auckland; Nick Gyde and Dave Cleverley, and a ring-in ex-pat Kiwi who is currently living in Melbourne; Mark Brocas-Reti. We had to all take different races for our teams so respectively we took: Slann, Skaven, Undead, Wood Elfs, Dwarfs and Orcs.

Cut a long story short it was a fantastic weekend in Adelaide. The Blood Bowling was brilliant; the Aussies are such quality players, both in the game and away from it. The kiwi team was fantastic, we got 5th place out of eight teams in the end which we are pretty happy with. We went into the event with the slogan of "let us not disgrace ourselves" and we managed that ok. There are of course things we wish we had done differently now, with the benefit of hindsight, but those improvements will have to wait till 2015. Lastly the organisers were brilliant putting on a really good event and whoever came up with the idea of holding it in a German Club that serves copious amounts of German beer and stodgy German food deserves a medal.

All that aside here's a brief run down of the event. I apologise for not having pictures of the individual games but I was exceptionally unorganised with the camera.

The team format can be seen on the home site here:

I took a 14 man Undead roster with three re-rolls. I filled all the positionals and took six Zombies. For skills I took Block on both the Mummies and Guard on both the Wights, I then put Block and Wrestle on two different Ghouls and left two unskilled. After round four you could add one more skill to your team and this could be placed on a player who already had a skill. I chose to put Sure Hands on a third Ghoul to give me some ball handling abilities. Here's how the games went:

Game 1:
My first game was against Rod from NSW who I had talked to a little the previous night when we were all out drinking. He played Orcs but I don't remember exactly how his skills were laid out. It was a tight game; NSW and ACT were expected to be the best teams. Rod received first half and pounded me into submission. I blocked his ball carrier in turn six with two dice uphill and pushed him in for a touchdown just so I could wake up some of my team and try for a two turn touchdown before the half ended. It wasn't to be unfortunately. However the second half went very much my way as I injured three of his Black Orcs and took control of the pitch to tie the game before the final whistle. Score 1-1 and Cas 3-3.

Game 2:
My second game was against Andrew from ACT. He was playing Chaos Dwarfs and was a very meticulous and deliberate player. This was the only game I struggled to finish in time but we got there in the end. I don't remember too much about the game unfortunately other than it felt like a chess match more than a Blood Bowl game. He beat me in casualties 0-1 and we drew in score 2-2. We both played very well positionally and neither of us really gave ground. It was a hard fought draw and I was happy with that against a player of Andrew's calibre. He ended up placing second overall compared with my sixteenth.

Game 3:
Game three was against Duro from WA. He played Dwarfs and it was your pretty standard Dwarf layout; lots of Guard with a bit of Mighty Blow on the Troll Slayers and Block on one of his Runners. Duro's dice were awful for this game. He seemed to roll nothing but skulls and pushes on his Block dice so it seemed inevitable I would come out with the win. He almost got a draw out of it though when he tried to dodge his Blitzer into the endzone in the last turn. Unfortunately his dice abandoned him again and he rolled 1-re-roll-1. Final score 1-0 and Cas 1-1.

Game 4:
The last game on day one was against SA and I ended up playing Adam; one of the tournament organisers. Adam was playing Norse, which was a team he had borrowed from someone else. I wasn't sure what to make of his playing style at first, it seemed quite defensive for what is basically a kill or be killed team. He came up with some really good blitzes though that had me panicked for a while but I just kept focusing on keeping my Ghouls moving, my Mummies hitting anything with armour 7 and I tried to always have a Zombie chew-toy next to his Snow Troll so he couldn't get near my positional players. In the end I came out with a 2-1 win with Cas 2-1 also.

Game 5:
Second day and I was starting on a bit of a high not having lost a game. Oh how I hate the taste of humble pie. I was playing Paul from Queensland and he was playing Undead. His team build was mostly identical to mine except that he had taken Sinned Bad as a Star Player, so the game looked like it was going to come down to who played better or who got more casualties. We were 1-1 with about four turns in the second half and I thought I had him as I was pushing his cage into the sideline. I had a Ghoul and a Wight in the backfield to pick up his ball carrier if he tried to switch sides and there was no way he was getting through my defensive line...or so I thought...he shifted sides with his ball carrier and there was no way for him to get someone over to screen unless he rolled a string of 5's and 6's. He started moving a Ghoul through my defensive line to screen his ball carrier and I smiled thinking his Ghoul was about to face plant the turf leaving me to blitz the ball carrier in the open, turn over the ball and race in to score before the final whistle. To my surprise however Paul rolled a string of 5's dodging through my cage, screened his ball carrier, then rolled a string of armour breaks (including stabbing my Mummy with an 11!) leaving me with very little chance to stop his run to the line. My dice abandoned me in the last couple of turns and there was nothing I could do to stop Paul from grabbing victory from the jaws of defeat. Great game and a great player.

Game 6:
My second game did not go any better than the first. I was playing Liam from Vic who brought Wood Elfs. I actually wasn't too upset about how I played. We both had awful luck picking up the ball in the pouring rain. Liam received first and it took him three turns to pick up the ball...with Elfs! He eventually scored and I had about three or four turns to get an equaliser before the end of the half. It wasn't meant to be as I just couldn't pick up the ball to move it down field. I had the same problems in the second half, burning through Re-Rolls trying to pick up the ball. After my sixth failed attempt I had placed enough players around the ball that it scattered between them three times before I finally got a hold of it. I then shifted the ball down field but my inability to break Wood Elf armour meant he still had plenty of players to stall and disrupt my drive. Eventually I managed to get a few in the injured bin and was within range of scoring but in typical Elf fashion Liam dodged into my cage to block any assists before jumping his last remaining Wardancer through three dodges, leaping into my cage and knocking my Ghoul over. The ball then proceeded to bounce to the only place on the board that had three Wood Elf tackle zones on it. I did my best to retrieve the ball but it wasn't meant to be and Liam came up with the 1-0 victory. Cas however was 3-1 in my favour though I was pretty disappointed with this given the amount of Armour rolls I was making. Turns out the law of averages was going to even out in the following game.

Game 7:
Last game for the event. We were playing the Barbarian team for our final game and they were all a great bunch of people. They had come for the beer and were intending on playing a little Blood Bowl somewhere between the drinking. I was playing Andrew Godde who brought his Norse. He had the Valkyrie models from Shadow Forge so I kept getting confused thinking I was playing against Amazons but I just kept blaming the beer for my absent mindedness. The game was interesting; Andrew did a lot of damage to my Zombies but I kept passing my regen rolls. I had to get by for a few turns without a Blitzer and a Mummy while they were knocked out but my dice rolls for waking my team up at the end of each drive were pretty good too. Andrew on the other hand didn't have as much luck in that area. If one of his players got knocked out they seemed to stay out for a minimum of two drives...sometimes more. I decided to throw caution to the wind in this game and dodge my Ghouls and Wights in for some risky blitz moves to keep the pressure on. It really paid off as my rolling had improved immensely from the last game and I managed to knock the ball loose a few times and force Andrew onto the defensive when he was supposed to be attacking. This was also the only game in which I used my special play card to punt the ball downfield when Andrew was pressing me into my own half. He had left no one back so after dodging a couple of Ghouls behind his line they managed to run in the last touchdown of the game leaving the score 3-0. Cas was 2-3 to Andrew though I claimed the moral high ground because I managed to kill one of his players ;) Another fantastic opponent and a great way to finish the weekend.

Overall I really enjoyed the event, especially the level of competition which truly stretched my abilities. I'm keen as mustard to play again in 2015 but we will have to see how the finances look. The next Championships are in Perth so it's a long way to travel. I better start saving my pennies.

While I didn't take photos of each individual game I did get a few shots of the event once I had finished games so here they are for your perusal:

This was my only in-game shot I remembered to take. I am playing Paul from Queensland here. He had some fantastic models for his Undead team, all converted out of Warhammer Fantasy or The Hobbit figures.

The hall with games in full swing.

Proud to have our flag on display. Though I'm not sure why it's at half mast. I think it may be an indication of how this game is going for Paul.

A picture of us playing Queensland. Mark is out of shot to the right, Gil is on the right, Dave is in the grey T-Shirt, Nick is standing beside him and Paul is on the end.

The swag for the SA Open. The organisers did a great job, everyone who competed in the Open went home with a prize. Had I been eligible my pick would have been the painted Amazon team donated by the Three Die Block podcast.

So in summary it was an incredible event and if you're considering attending next time, or even considering attending any Blood Bowl event in Aussie, I would highly recommend it. The competition is fantastic, the company is outstanding (if a little inebriated) and the beer is...well...thank god for the German beer because Aussie beer is bloody awful. Still, two out of three ain't bad.

Monday, 1 April 2013

Stillwater Stiffs 4-0-0

Two weeks since my last post and it feels like a lifetime. Given my past history two weeks isn't actually too bad but there's been so much going on and so many stories to tell it seems closer to two months.

The best place to start for now I think would be an update on the Stillwater Stiffs. Not only have they managed to score a fourth win in the BCL league but they were also fortunate enough to participate as part of the Kiwi team in the Ausbowl Inter-State Championships! Ausbowl was a whole lot of fun but now is not the best time to elaborate on it as I have had a very busy Easter and need to get some sleep before work tomorrow. For now I'll post a quick update about the BCL and come back a little later in the week with the Ausbowl details.

Dave was my latest opponent in the BCL. He is playing Humans and has a beautifully converted and painted Kislevite team he picked up off e-bay. I have a stash of Kislevite models in the garage I some day hope to build a Warhammer Fantasy army out of so when I saw Dave's team; The Tartars, take to the field I must admit that I got a bit of Toy Soldier jealousy. An exquisite team and a fantastic opponent to play.

The game was played a week and a half ago now so my memory of it is a bit foggy, but I'll recite things as best I can.

I received in the first half. I set up for the eight turn grind and as Dave stepped back with his right flank I decided to push down this side of the field as you can see in the photo above. Dave's positioning was fantastic and I was really struggling to out-muscle him. In the end I think he just stepped too far back with his right flank and didn't keep an even line which allowed me to break a hole, rush through with enough guys to form an inverted cage and walk over for the turn eight touchdown. One of the interesting things you'll notice about the picture above is that I have only three Tomb Guardians. This is because Dave maliciously fouled one of my Tomb Guardians while he happened to be taking a brief nap (I would have done the same). Thankfully he came up only as Badly Hurt so is good to return next game but I swear I almost had an aneurysm when he was rolling for injury. Playing Khemri certainly seems to be taking years off my life every time a Tomb Guardian hits the turf.

In the second half Dave played quite defensively after receiving the ball and waited for an opportunity. Unfortunately my positioning and dice were good enough that one never came and eventually he was left with so few players on the field that he just had to try a risky pass. Nuffle was not on Dave's side this day and it didn't stick. The clock ticked down and the Stiffs came out with another win.

I've written the score down as 1-0 to me but I have a funny suspicion it might have been 2-0. I'll have to double check with Dave next time I see him. One thing is for sure and that is that Dave won the casualty count. 2-1 in his favour which is a bit of an embarrassment for Khemri. Dave played exceptionally well with his blocking and his Ogre was the bane of my existence. Thankfully Dusty knocked him out in the second half and I could breath a little easier. All in all a great game against a great opponent and some more lessons learned to carry over to the next game.