Monday, 31 March 2014

Ausbowl Team Championship - The Pain and the Suffering

As a sequel to "Ausbowl Team Championship - The Return..." here is the game by game tale of my first outing with Halflings. Not to bury the lead but I'm sure by now it will be no surprise to anyone that I managed to lose every single game. There were moments of brilliance where it looked like the plucky little guys would come out with a draw and even one match that looked like they could win it, but in the end it wasn't meant to be.

Despite not winning a game I did very much enjoy playing the Halflings. It's a completely different play style and a real challenge that tends to create a sensation of immense success every time you achieve something as simple as knocking an opponent down or even landing a thrown Halfling. I'm very keen to give them another go at a tournament but right now the focus has to remain on my New Year's Resolution which is to get teams painted for tournaments. If a club tourny or something comes up though there's a good chance I'll get them back on the pitch.

The team I took for this event was:

2 Treemen
11 Halflings
Puggy Baconbreath
Willow Rosebark
2 Re-Rolls
Assistant Coach
Halfling Master Chef

I'd probably make a few changes next time round. One very good Halfling coach suggested using Zara instead of Willow and Puggy so I'll try giving her a go next time. In the meantime however here is the breakdown of my games:

 Game 1 - Michel:

Michel is a Frenchman living in Canberra and hence playing for one of the ACT teams. I had never really met him before though I do remember him from Adelaide as being a pretty good player from what I heard. He brought Skaven and had a pretty standard build with three Gutter Runners, two Blitzers, a Thrower, a Rat Ogre and a handful of Linerats. This was very much a trial by fire for me as Michel run rampant through my lines while I desperately tried to figure out what I was doing. He scored time and time again but I did manage to get a consolation Touchdown so the scoreline wasn't too embarrassing. The casualty count was a little more even as I found ways to beat his rats senseless but in the end I lost that one too. Final score 1-4 cas 3-4.

I desperately try to stall Michel's advance down my wing by throwing Halflings under his feet.

Game 2 - Ian:

I completely forgot to take photos of the game between Ian and I until it was all over, hence the scattered remains of another Half-Pints loss. Ian was playing Pro-Elves, I'm a little hazy on his team but I think he had two Blitzers, four Catchers, two Throwers and three or four Linelves. I completely forgot I was playing Halflings in his game as I fell into my old Khemri playing style and proceeded to bash Ian's team into the turf. Some really lucky rolling on the Armour and Injury rolls left him a couple of players down within the first half. I came very close to drawing this one too but I just couldn't catch those slippery Elves. Final score was 2-3 but cas count was a respectable 4-2.

Game 3 - Ryan:

Game 3 was against a really fun bunch of guys. Tim, Gil and I all really enjoyed this round, maybe because it was the last round of the day and the beer was coming thick and fast, but I think mostly because the team we played seemed to be interested in having a laugh and not taking things too seriously. I drew Ryan who was playing Dark Elves with an interesting build. He had the stock standard four Blitzers but only one Witch Elf and two Runners with a smattering of Linelves to make up the numbers. This game was extremely hard fought and I once again came close to pulling off a draw. After being schooled for the first couple of turns on the dangers of leaving your Halflings too close to the sideline for a Witch Elf blitz I started to eventually find my mojo. I did a pretty good job of containing Ryan's Elves and was taking great delight in watching him gnash his teeth while he struggled not to trip over all the Halflings running under his feet but in the end the Elf agility and a mounting pile of broken and bleeding Halflings meant I simply couldn't hold on. Final score 1-2 cas 3-6.

Puggy takes the fight to the Witch Elf while the other Elves run away with the ball.

Game 4 - Nick:

Soooooo if you read my previous post you'd probably know that this was the first game on the Sunday and hence one that did not go so well for me. Nothing to do with the game itself and everything to do with the drinking the night before.

Tim and I were late to the first game so Gil had done the draw and lined me up against the Dwarf player. Nick was actually an ex-pat Kiwi (as were the rest of his team) from Waikato so having drunk his share of Waikato Draught in the past I'm assuming that's the reason he was so sympathetic to my cause. Whatever the reason I was grateful for it. I can't remember too much about Nick's build. It was a pretty standard Dwarf team I think with all positionals filled, though one thing of note was that Nick had a Star Player in Grim Ironjaw.

It ended up being a pretty one sided game with Nick doing an eight turn grind down the wing and putting half my team in the injured box. I was ready to pass out by the end of the half so I called it there. Half-time score was 0-1 with a 2-6 cas differential. I was happy at least to have two casualties against Dwarfs   :)

Game 5 - Jim:

For round 5 we drew the other Christchurch team; the Mainland Marauders and hence we all ended up playing a familiar face. I was paired off against Jim who I believe I've yet to beat in a Tournament so I was hoping the Halflings could pull one out of the hat during this game. Necro teams don't vary a heck of a lot from my understanding and Jim's was no different with the stock standard two Golems, two Wights, two Ghouls, two Werewolves and a handful of Zombies.

Despite a rough start with a pitch invasion doing nothing to Jim's team and taking out both of my Treemen (but only the Treemen and no one else just to confirm this was an entirely 'random' act of violence by the crowd) I was pretty happy with how the first half went. I put a lot of pressure on Jim and came close to turning the tide. In the end Jim scored towards the tail end of the half but I was very happy about how things had gone and was looking forward to the second half where I would be receiving.

Unfortunately when the second half started the dice decided it would be all one way traffic from here. I couldn't roll anything but 1s, 2s, skulls and both downs and Jim pranced through my team as if they weren't there. To highlight my rather unfortunate run of luck the kick-off results for the second half were a thrown rock that injured Willow followed by two Blitzes to enable Jim to scream past me for a 4-0 victory. Cas was just as unbalanced at 2-6.

Game 6 - Mike:

This had to be my favourite game of the weekend. Mike was a Melbourne local and was a really top guy. Extremely polite and very sporting. That sort of explains why he's not in the photo as he was kindly leaning out of the way to give me a clear shot of the board. Mike was playing Humans with a Wizard. He had the obligatory four Blitzers, a Thrower and a Catcher. He had no Ogre which I'm figuring he had to sacrifice to fit the Wizard in.

This was my favourite game not only because Mike was such a great opponent but also because it was the only game in which I managed to get ahead with the scoreline. After scoring once I kicked off to Mike and then hurled a Halfling into his backfield quickly followed by Willow blitzing through to sack the ball carrier. With a little bit of good luck on my behalf and a little bit of poor luck on Mike's behalf I was up 2-1 pretty quickly. Mike equalised but I stood a great chance of getting ahead before the final whistle as Mike had once again left his back field open, all I had to do was get the Halflings through. Unfortunately two sequential turns of awful luck allowed Mike to base all the Halflings in my pocket and send most of them to the injured bin. It was then a relatively simple task for him to gather up the ball and run in the winning touchdown. Final score 2-3 cas 0-5. A really disappointing finish to a hard fought game but just as Nuffle giveth he also taketh away.

What made this game even more awesome though is that Mike had got some special Melbourne Blood Bowl League dice made and he gave me a pair to take back to New Zealand!

It's little things like this that can make all the difference in a tournament. This really made my weekend.

So six awesome opponents over a great weekend. It was challenging and frustrating at times with the Halflings but I've also never been so excited about scoring a touchdown or injuring one of my opponent's players. Everything you achieve with Halflings creates so much more enjoyment because you simply don't expect them to achieve anything at all. I can't wait until the Half-Pint's next outing!

Friday, 28 March 2014

Ausbowl Team Championship - The Return...

Melbourne was awesome fun. I had a blast of a time despite losing every game and being extremely piss-crook on Sunday morning. I'll post a game by game run down of the tournament a bit later when I've had time to organise photos and score sheets etc. but in the mean time I'll explain the events of the weekend:

Friday morning 4am the shuttle arrived at my place to take me to the airport. At this stage I had been painting all night long to try and get the team to a decent standard for gaming. I was running on 0 hours sleep but I did at least find time to pack and have a shower before getting out the door. The team was not finished but I was happy enough with them to put them down on the pitch.

So sparrow's fart o'clock I was off to the Christchurch airport to board the 6:30am flight to Melbourne.

I met up with Tim at the airport (one of the other Christchurchers heading over) and we found a coffee and a bit of food once we were through customs. I was feeling a lot better after a coffee but Tim was suffering severe nicotine withdrawals after having to go an hour without a cigarette. His situation would not improve during the 3 hour flight when he found his remote was broken and he couldn't play video games. Anyway the important thing was that I was content and we boarded the plane.

I had hoped to get some sleep on the plane but only really managed an hour (those seats are quite uncomfortable - who would've thought?) so I spent the rest of the time playing video games and reading my book. After about 3 hours we coasted in over Melbourne to start the gaming weekend.

We piled through customs as quickly as we could so that Tim could get outside for a cigarette. I managed to snap a quick photo of him after he'd lit up:

After Tim had finished his ciggy we jumped on the Skybus into town and caught up with Gil, Gil's wife Jen, Jim and Kate and Thomas; Jim's wife and son. With a whole day to kill we decided to have a quick look around Melbourne downtown before getting some lunch in a pizzeria located in one of the arcades that run between the streets. Pizza was awesome and the beer was awesome too, so with full stomachs we headed back towards our hotel to visit an aquarium just across the road. This is where things started to fall apart a bit. I'm not that excited by aquariums so I asked Gil what I might be able to expect before committing my precious time to such an escapade. Gil promised me an underwater bar with penguin waiters and gladiatorial fights between sharks and crocodiles. Knowing that Gil would never lie to me I was most excited about witnessing a fight to the death between a shark and a crocodile from the comfort of a bar while being served beers by the Madagascar penguins. It seems however that Gil may have been ill-informed about these events. The most exciting thing at the Sealife aquarium was in fact Pinjarra; the 5 metre long saltwater croc who moved about 2 inches during the 30 minutes we were looking at him.

All jokes aside though the aquarium was actually quite cool. I got to see Rays, Sharks, Sea Turtles, Groper, a Croc, Penguins and all manner of small fish and reptiles up really close. If you're ever in Melbourne I'd highly recommend paying it a visit. It's called Sealife Aquarium and it's right on the Yarra river very close to town so you can still continue shopping or whatever thereafter.

Anyway after me almost falling asleep at the aquarium we thought it might be a good idea to get some dinner and call it a day. Gil, Jen, Tim and I wandered down to a small Japanese/Korean restaurant and got some kick ass Chicken Katsu then got an early...ish night.

Saturday morning before the event and Tim and I were hanging out for a decent breakfast. We had heard there were a number of cafes near to the venue so we went for a walk and found a deli about a block down the road called The Old Paper Shop. Not quite sure why you'd call a deli that but then again it is Australia. So Tim and I loaded up on stodgy food and made our way to the venue:

The Bells Hotel!

It was a cool venue with a bar very close by (this turned out to be not so good in the end) and we were set up in the garden bar out the back which was great for loud, smoking, drinking wargamers. Basically we could be ourselves without having to worry if we would offend the civilised people. Gil, Tim and I all set up our teams for the Mainland Midgets; Gil - Goblins, Tim - Ogres and me - Halflings, and we got our first games underway. I forget all the results on the first day as I got a little mired in my own misery as I dropped one game after another but Tim got a win and I think Gil may have as well. He definitely got at least one draw.

I think I must have been trying to drown my sorrows as the beers were being downed thick and fast so by the time I had lost all three games I was very keen on the idea of getting the hell out of there to another pub and finding more beer. We caught up with some of the Aussie crew at a pub down the road that served Guinness. I have a feeling this may have been where it all came a bit unstuck as I doubt the 4 pints of Guinness mixed particularly well with all the pale ales and lagers I had already drunk. I got home at about 1ish and was feeling on top of the world. About 7am on Sunday I woke up with that funny feeling that something was amiss.

True to my religious beliefs I was up for morning Mass on Sunday praying to the porcelain gods. Then again at 8:30; we had to be at the venue by 9 so by this stage I knew we were going to be late. Around 9ish Tim and I shambled out the door of the hotel and started making our way to the Bells. We originally had a grand scheme to stop in at the Old Paper Shop to get breakfast again but we simply didn't have time. I can't say I was disappointed at this stage. We got to the venue 20 mins late and got stuck into our games. I had ended up against a Dwarf team and true to form he destroyed me in the first half. Despite me taking a break every two turns to throw up again we had still managed to finish our half earlier than most, so we could have fit the game in without too much trouble but I was ready to pass out so like a true gentleman I forfeited and went to have a lie down. I brightened up around lunchtime and could even manage to hold some food down so the second two games went a lot better. I still didn't win but I did enjoy them more simply because I could actually see straight and I could move my own models rather than having to ask my opponent to because I was shaking so bad.

By the end of the event Gil, Tim and I had achieved our goal of last place with the all midget team from New Zealand. I would like to point out that my peers did try to foil our plans by actually drawing or even winning games but I made damn sure I weighed the team down with my 6 losses and we clung to last position. None of us were especially keen for a big night so we found an Indian restaurant across the road and, after narrowly avoiding being run over by a tram, sat down for a celebratory dinner with Jim and Paul (the other two Christchurch guys). Dinner was awesome, the Mango Lassi especially was just what my throat needed after hurling and retching so much. A very civilised dinner was then followed by an early night so we would be ready to catch our 9:30 flight the next morning.

The journey back to Christchurch was very similar to the journey from, with the only difference being a pile up on the freeway in Melbourne and New Zealand customs waylaying Tim and I for an extra 30 mins while they searched for smuggled koalas or errant bananas. After a couple of beers at the Christchurch Airport Tim's partner, Rach, gave Gil and I a lift home and it was back to life as normal in the Garden City.

It was an awesome weekend away and I highly recommend getting over to Melbourne for not only a Blood Bowling weekend but any kind of wargaming or geeking weekend. Time spent among like minded geeks always makes for good chat and the opportunity to meet new players and test your skills (or lack there of) against challenging opponents can't help but make you a better player. It was well worth the trip and it certainly won't be the last time I head over to Aussie for a Blood Bowl tournament.

Last photos of the post are of the Half-Pints as I have them painted so far. There is a little battle damage from the tournament with the odd chip here and there but they're mostly as they were the Friday morning before Melbourne.

The Treemen.

The Bully Boys - These guys were responsible for most of my fouling in Melbourne.

The High Flyers - These guys tended to get pitched downfield by the Treemen most games.

The Kitchen Crew - These guys just looked silly.

The Lineflings - These guys just tended to get beat up.

Monday, 17 March 2014

Ausbowl Team Championship - The tortoise takes another step...

I'm getting really worried about finishing these guys on time now. Other tasks have demanded attention around the house so the poor midgets have taken a bit of a back seat. There's still hope for me to at least have the players painted if not the re-rolls etc. so I'll focus on them first and foremost but no matter what it's gonna be close. I'm predicting an all nighter Thursday before I fly off to Melbourne on Friday morning. Might there even be some painting done in the hotel room in Melbourne?

The yellow is finished now and the base coat for the brown is done. Just highlights and detailing to go then touch-ups and basing. Fingers crossed I'll get them over the line.

Sunday, 9 March 2014

Stillwater Stiffs 2-0-1

It's been a while since I posted about the Stiffs' progress in our local leagues so I thought I best get a post up before I fall too far behind. A lot has happened over the past three months so I'll make the statements brief:

IPL Cup:

Our esteemed league administrator organised a knock-out tournament over the Christmas break in which you could enter any team who had played at least three games in the IPL league (our side project league that people use to try out new teams). I thought this would be a fantastic opportunity to try and get my head around using the new Necromantic style Stiffs before the BCL started. All up the Stiffs did pretty well in the IPL, they managed three games before the knock-out competition started in which they managed two draws and a win. In the knock-out competition they drew Regan's Undead for their first round and managed to pull off a 2-0 win! My star Werewolf; Mikal Jaxon scored both touchdowns, the casualties came out 2-1 in Regan's favour with two of my Zombies being badly hurt and my Wight, Gerry the Groper, seriously injuring one of Regan's Skeletons. The Stiffs tried to ride the tide of success into their second game but it was not to be. Their second game was against Jim's Amazons; the Blue Sox, who ultimately went on to win the IPL Cup. The game started out well with my other Werewolf; Fido, killing the Blue Sox star catcher. Unfortunately Jim used his apothecary and she went straight back into the reserves bin. From there everything started coming up Blue Sox. Jim's dice were red hot with him never failing a dodge roll and sending half of my team to the knocked out or injured bin. The Stiffs didn't have much of a chance and went down 0-2 with a 2-2 casualty score. So an early exit for the Stiffs but it was good to get some practice in before BCL.

BCL so far:

The Stillwater Stiffs introduction to the new BCL league was a painful experience. My first game was one of those games where every one of my rolls seemed to be a 1 or a Skull and every roll from my opponent was a 6 or a Defender Down. This was against Michael's Skaven; the '2 Minuters' and long story short the Stiffs lost 0-5 and even lost the casualty battle 2-3. The bad luck continued after the game with the team picking up a measly 20k of winnings leaving them in a rather poor state for the start of the league.

Things have improved since with the Stiffs picking up a win against Alex's Chaos team 'Altdorf's Next' and Mason's Lizardmen team 'Mason's Monitors' and getting decent winnings from both matches. Dodgy Dave; the Stiffs' star Ghoul runner, returned from vacation to play during their game against Mason's Monitors but took only one block from a Saurus before being stretchered off the field. Head Coach Krup Sokmeinder says he is out for the next game too while he recovers. Seems like too many cocktails and lazy afternoons on the beach during the off-season has put Dave off his game a little. Lets hope he finds form quickly because the Stiffs are back down to 11 players for their next game against what could potentially be a well developed team now that we are three games in to the season.

I haven't got much of a visual log of the past few months but I did manage to snap a few shots of the team last club night when they were playing Mason's Monitors. Mason didn't have the Lizardmen models so he is using vampire models as stand-ins.

Dodgy Dave breaks down my left side towards the endzone just before getting sacked by a Saurus.

A closer shot of Dave before his first game of the season was prematurely ended.

So a rough start for the Stiffs but they're rebuilding. Let's hope the rest of the season goes a little better for them. They have one more game to play this month so I'll post an update with the results when I have them.

Monday, 3 March 2014

Ausbowl Team Championship - Slow Progress

The last two weeks have been very busy with work and getting things built around the house. This has unfortunately not left a lot of time for painting so the progress on the Half-Pints has been slower than I hoped. With a little more spare time in the near future I'm hoping I can catch up so fingers crossed we'll still be ready in time. Only three more weeks!

Here's what I've finished so far:

The concept model for the team colours. The gloves will be a deep red which will hopefully blend well with the Brown and at the same time offer a good contrasting colour.

The concept chicken. I'm trying to find a white that isn't so...white...

The Half-Pints so far with skin tones finished. We'll get started on the team colours soon.