Sunday, 17 May 2015

Australian State Champs

Would you believe I began writing this post at the start of April? The past month and a half have been busy to say the least. Most of that has been due to a move up north; from about mid March to mid April Sam and I have been busy selling the house and packing up our stuff for a move up to Wellington. If the general stress and business of moving weren't enough towards getting in the way of finishing this post we were also without internet for two weeks when we first arrived due to a mistake from the phone company. So I am now immensely relieved that two months after the event I am able to post about the Blood Bowl Aussie State Champs!

On the 14th and 15th of March I attended the ASC as part of Team New Zealand (the 9th state). We proudly represented our state under the motto "May we not disgrace ourselves". With a motto like that you would be forgiven for thinking we weren't that confident in our potential performance. In all honesty we didn't rate ourselves particularly highly as some of the competition are very high calibre players. But if nothing else we were looking forward to catching up with some mates, meeting some new friends and haveing a few beers along the way.

The State Champs are run every two years with the previous one being held in Adelaide back in 2013. This year the home ground was Fremantle in WA just on the far West side of Perth. The placing of the event was fantastic! Right next to the Fremantle markets and just down the road from the Fremantle township which was absolutely bustling everyday. I'll admit that if, for some ungodly reason, I had to move to Aussie I could quite happily live in Fremantle.

Our team this year had a few familiar faces and a couple of new ones. Paul, Gil, Mark and I were all back and in addition we brought the Mooloo Man himself; Tim Owens, and one of our more civilised neighbours from the capital; Liam Parker. Our teams for the event were thusly:

Paul - Undead
Mark - Orcs
Gil - Norse
Tim - Amazons
Liam - Skaven
Me - Dark Elves

Unfortunately the ACT team, who were defending champs, couldn't put a team together this year but the NSW team were back looking for redemption from their 2nd place two years ago. There were also teams from South Australia, Victoria, Western Australia (obviously) and a Barbarian team to make up an even number.

The venue was at a local footy club; The Fremantle Oval, home of the South Fremantle Bulldogs! I thought it was rather amusing that us playing a fictional football boardgame in a football clubrooms would be about as close as any of us would ever get to actually playing real footy. The clubrooms were pretty good, a little crampt on the first day, but having Fat Yak on tap made up for that. Lastly it was great to be able to watch a game of Aussie Rules after we finished up on the first day. I can now honestly say, hand over heart, that Aussie Rules is the most f#*&@d up sport I have ever witnessed. If watching 36 guys in minimal clothing wrestle and slap each other for 80 minutes is your thing then you will totally love Aussie Rules. But anyway I'm here to talk about Blood Bowl so best I get on with it.

The format was 1,200,000 gold to build your team whom you could then assign 6 normal skills. All the normal caveats around Star Players and coaching staff remained but there was one really odd rule. Your team had to have at least 1 Fan Factor...not a huge expense but it really did play havoc with some of the builds. Below was the team I took:

On with the games!

Game 1: Gnome - Chaos Dwarfs (NSW)

For the first half Gnome's dice were red hot. He was averaging almost a casualty a turn plus KOs and stuns. Long story short; I lost. There unfortunately just wasn't a heck of a lot I could do as my team fled to the dugout. Second half the dice were a little more settled but not until after the first kick-off result where I had to weather a pitch invasion that stunned my whole team and gifted Gnome another TD. After that though the dice did get better, there just wasn't a lot I could do with only 4 players on the pitch. With no real threat from my team it was pretty easy for Gnome to control the game till the final whistle. Final score 0-3 Cas 0-7.

Game 2: Gary - Orcs (Barbarians)

Gary was a great sport for this game. Simply put, the dice decided that after my first game they were going to throw back the other way and Gary weathered the volitility of the law of averages with a great amount of dignity. I tend to play aggresively with Elves and this game was no exception so with constant pressure and flaming hot dice Gary couldn't do a whole lot. The final Cas score against an Orc team really speaks volumes about how this game went. Final score 3-0 Cas 6-0.

Game 3: Jed - Undead (WA)

I'm struggling to remember the details of this game but I'm pretty sure it was relatively close for the first half. The second half however got away from me a bit; a few bad rolls in the wrong place and all of a sudden I just couldn't contain his Ghouls. Jed did a good job of exploiting a small hole in my line then pushing through to carry out the win in the final few turns. Final score 1-2 Cas ?-? (didn't record it...whoops).

The end of game three meant the end of the day's events for Blood Bowl. From there we chatted a bit until everyone had finished their beers and then wandered down to the Sail and Anchor for some more beers and good pub food.

I piked early what with me being an old man and all, but the serious Blood Bowlers saw the night through in true alcoholic Aussie style. I was to play one of them the following morning...

Game 4: Ryan - Dark Elves (Vic)

This is Ryan. Ryan wasn't feeling too well when he sat down to play on Sunday morning. He had been drinking...a lot. Ryan might be a familiar face to anyone who has been reading this blog as I played him in Melbourne last year at the Team Championships. He had brought his Dark Elves again and I was looking forward to a chance to even up on the loss I suffered to him at Melbourne. Unfortunately for me Ryan still plays very well when hungover and this was a really tough game. Basically we just traded 3 turn touchdowns for the entire game. It seemed the loser was going to be the one who rolled badly first. In the end Ryan had a bad turn of luck late in the second half when looking for an equaliser and couldn't manage to claw back a draw. This was a really enjoyable game and very hard fought. My condolensces to Ryan for having to lose off bad dice. Final score 4-3 Cas 2-1.

Game 5: Adam - Norse (SA)

Another familiar face for this game. I played Adam in Adelaide at the State Champs two years ago, I think it was the same Norse team too. I managed to beat Adam in Adelaide but it wasn't to be the case here, an early double 1 on a dodge roll in turn 2 left me positioned really poorly to stop his Frenzy players breaking a gap in my line and he easily scored from there. Afterwards things seemed a bit more balanced but being a point down I had to be aggresive and Adam was quite happy to let me dictate the play so that he could counter. Adam caged up and in order to knock the ball loose I had to make a few one die blitzes into his cage. Things looked good when I knocked the ball out and retrieved it ready to score with a blodger, but Adam rolled the POW he needed to knock my player over and then shipped the ball downfield to put the last nail in the coffin. Final score 0-2 Cas 0-1.

Game 6: Sloth (yes you read that right) - Dwarfs (Barbarians)

Awesome game. That's all I can really say. Sloth (Damien is his real name) as you can probably imagine is a bit of a character. He was an awesome guy to play against and took one of the most bizarre games of Blood Bowl I have ever played happily in his stride. Handfuls of '1's were followed by strings of '6's and then nothing but skulls which were juxtaposed with single die POWs at exactly the right moment. It was a total mess and you couldn't possibly predict what was going to happen next. I'd have to say that if we bothered to record all of the dice results Sloth was more often on the receiving end of the bad dice than I was. His armour rolls especially were beyond abysmal for a Dwarf team. Once all was said and done though this was an awesome game and easily my most enjoyable due to not only my opponent but also the crazy antics of the dice. Final Score ?-1 (I can't read my own writing but I did win) Cas 0-1.

So there we have it! A very belated report on my games at ASC 3. It was once again a mostly enjoyable event; I'll definitely go again but I don't think I'll be playing Elves much after this year. The double 1 conundrum is something I really struggle with and from the past two tournaments I've played in, and the few league matches I've played, I find extreme dice swings seem to be far more prevalent in Elf games which I don't enjoy at all. By the end of this event I was pretty keen to be rid of Elves but now I've had a bit of time to regather my thoughts I think I will keep at them for the rest of the year. I still intend to give Wood Elves a go at the Greenstone Cup and I'm thinking I'll give Dark Elves a chance in the local league here in Wellington.

I'll leave you with this Perth night shot as the sign out for this post. My sister lives in Perth so my girlfriend and I stayed on for a few days while we caught up with her and her family. Perth was a great place to explore and if you haven't been then I highly reccommend you go. It's a long plane ride just to get to Australia, but it's worth it. On our last night we went out for some Japanese barbeque (it's like Korean barbeque but with Japanese cuisine...not sure if that's a thing or not) and on the way home we stopped in at King's Park to look out over the city. It was an incredible view and an awesome way to finish the trip.

Hope you enjoyed the read. Now we have interwebs back and I have pulled my models out of the moving boxes there should be some more posts popping up. I've been very excited about two things lately; the new Adeptus Mechanicus releases from Games Workshop and also the number of fantastic burger joints in Wellington. I'll leave those till another post though...