A follow-up entry to my Blood Bowl article where I report on the latest tournament I attended.
(I’ll try not to bore anyone with details of mechanics, stats or player positions. This will be an overview.)
This past weekend the other three coaches of the XBBL and I travelled up to Dallas for the first ever Diablo Bowl. We picked up the commissioner of the ABBL (himself a former XBBL coach) along the way then caravanned to Big D.
The Diablo Bowl is accepted into the SCARS Regional Tournament so points earned here will go towards your SCARS ranking. These SCARS tourneys are BB tournaments currently held across Texas, Oklahoma, and Kansas. I have not attended all of these, so don’t have a shot of winning the SCARS Regional overall, but I do try to perform well at the individual tourneys I can attend.
This year is the inaugural year for Diablo and is run by a former Warhammer player. It shows. I say that in a good way. He set the tournament up so that each round was a different scenario, which is a very common practice in Warhammer tourneys. The other BB tournaments aren’t set up with round to round scenarios, so this was a nice change. The short of it is, in round one we each got a lasso to use, round two each coach received one of two free human thrower star players to field, and round three the match starts off with Very Sunny weather.
Initially, I was going to take my new undead team, the Tempelhoff Cryptkickers, but one of the XBBL coaches (James – who is my 15+ year gaming arch rival – and who some of you may recognize from my TITAN Acts games) called out my Dark Elf team, the Coldwater Hatebreeders. The last tourney I took the Hatebreeders to I won 2nd place, but James won’t recognize that victory because he wasn’t among the competitors. Ha!
I took the Hatebreeders.
Overall, this tourney was one of my worst showings and it all started at the beginning…
(credit Phil Bowen)
I was assigned to play against the second ranked player in the SCARS Regional ranking with his Undead team. He and the first ranked guy have made it to all of the SCARS tournaments so far and are both from Austin. They are aware of who we (the XBBL) are and he was not happy to pull me in the first game. He was visibly upset and under the impression that round one wouldn’t have people from the same city playing each other. I told him I was cool with it because we don’t play against each other in Austin, but he confided that he’s always found the Austin players (ABBL and XBBL) to be the better coaches…on average. Cool that we have a rep, I suppose. Apparently, the ABBL commish told the Diablo organizer that it would be fine for ABBL and XBBL to line-up in round one because, again, we don't play each other in the ATX.
He asked me if I was cool playing on his custom pitch. Now, I only have two regular boards at home so when the opportunity arises to play on a different field I always take it. It usually pays off with some great matches in underground tunnels, aboard a ship, in a chaos wasteland, etc. There are some creative folk out there. However, imagine my surprise when he pulls out what amounts to a piece of white poster-board with some squares drawn on it… On top of that, he pulls out Cryx Warmachine models (no attempt to convert them to any sort of football player) and I’ve now got to decode a cryx zombie being a zombie and a cryx zombie with a loincloth being a ghoul on top of any skills he bought his players (for Diablo you get 100k bonus during team build to buy extra skills). I do lose this game, and I’m not saying these were the reasons, they weren’t, but I don’t get excited to see this stuff on the table. For me, a large part of the fun of minis games like BB is nice looking minis, fluff behind a team, etc. If we just want X’s and O’s of playing a game we can do this with coins and bottle caps…
(Well...the Old World is no more. Maybe we're playing in an Age of Sigmar bubble-verse?)
To wrap this up, the undead coach grinds a score out at the very end of the first half so goes up 1-0. On turn 15 (of 16) I’m in a good position to tie the game up and having done more casualties, successfully used the lasso, etc. I would be up on him on tournament points should we tie. Anyway, in order to tie I first have to make a few moves so I can score on turn 16. There are two good options. One player I need to move and roll anything but a 1 and have a skill based re-roll to fall back on. This would put me in a good position to have my ball carrier well defended and score. The other option I need to move a different player and roll anything but a 1 but with no back-up re-roll and this would put me in a _fantastic_ position. Almost guaranteed.
I went with the second option…
…and rolled a 1.
Big sigh of relief from my opponent as his SCARS Regional standing is still solid through this round. I lose the game and am beside myself. With a tie I still had a shot at hardware. I knew I had no chance though with a loss. I don’t feel it was a rookie error though. I knew all the options available to me I just went with the high risk, high reward gamble and this time it didn’t work out. Still, it was hard to recover from going into the next round.
Next round I played the event organizer and his Underworld team (mix of goblins and skaven) down on table eight. The lower the tables, the lower the competition. After each round, match-ups are based on tournament points. To play on a higher table means you currently have a higher score.
So, I’m down on table eight and the other three XBBL coaches are playing on tables two and three having won their first round games. They’re also having great fun cupping their hands over their eyes acting like they can’t see me across the room…hardy, har, har…
My opponent was a super friendly guy, but I just can’t seem to crack the code on this Underworld team.
I lose again.
I’ve taken the Hatebreeders to a few tourneys and the squad now has three losses on their overall record. The one loss to that warmachine undead team that I blame myself for and two real, straight up loses by Underworld teams. I guess I’m getting rocked by skaven with horns and stunty goblins with guard.
We have a little break in the action here as one of the coaches in attendance, and one half of the hosting pair of the Both Down podcast is handing out celebratory dice. This tournament marks the 24th tourney he’s played with the 24th team. That means he’s played every BB team in a tournament and we believe (according to NAF records) he’s the third person worldwide to do it. The first two being from Australia. He had a pair of dice made up with some badger/transformer face (he calls himself the ‘ginger badger’ or ‘Scott Prime’) and ‘24/24’ (very small, under the 'ME' on 'PRIME') on the six. It was a neat thing for him to do.
(24 Teams. 24 Tournaments. Congratulations, Scott Prime!)
I’m still down in the basement tables, but this time against another Dark Elf coach who has been playing the Druchii for over a decade. Personally, I think he may have outplayed me here, but the dice didn’t seem to go his way and the Hatebreeders finally score one in the win column.
My opponent did show me a pretty cool starting setup that helps to mitigate damage when a blitz kick-off event is rolled. In fact, a blitz was rolled in our game and it worked fairly well. I’m looking forward to employing it myself in the future.
The other XBBL guys? James is playing the number one guy in the SCARS standings at table one, and another XBBL coach (Sgt. Dave) is playing the number two guy (the undead warmachine player) at table two. Both games end in ties.
(This 2012 Chaos Cup pitch is more like it...)
The current number one SCARS player wins the day, James takes second, and undead warmachine takes third. The fourth XBBL coach, Mike, wins ‘Fan Favorite Team’ based on painting, presentation, etc. as voted on by the attending coaches. James also scored highest on sportsmanship points with the only perfect score of 9.
So, this is the third tournament in a row where the four man XBBL has taken home at least two trophies. In tournaments that see 17-30+ players I feel that’s pretty good. I was commenting earlier to the fellas that I’m proud of what we got going. We may not be the top players, but we consistently rank high and since our league is strong on fluff, our teams look great on the table and have a lot of flavor. We are consistent with quality of play and quality of team. Coaches take notice when they play us.
Overall, this tournament was a lot of fun. The organizer was very friendly and carried a lot of enthusiasm, prize support was great, and the coaches were friendly. I appreciate gaming stores hosting BB tournaments. Even if there's no BB to buy on any shelf, we always make sure to purchase a few things to show appreciation. Grabbed some paints and a few pokemon items for the kids. Good time all around. Looking forward to Diablo 2016, but next...
...Nuffleween in Oklahoma this November...
(Fan Favorite Team - The XBBL's Hittsburgh Steelbeards and runner-up XBBL's Gorgoth Gunbunnies)