Vocal Population: Gentlemen in Bloodbowl?
From time to time the subject of sportsmanship is brought up. Sometimes in relation to a particular event in the match such as fouling, crowding or lack thereof, sometimes in general terms such as white/black lists, forum bragging and the like. We set out to talk to a few coaches for their take on sportsmanship and gentleman behavior.
First off we’re speaking to Emphasy – a coach with more than 1100 ranked games and previous coach of Girly.inc – an Amazon team known for taking on almost all challenges.
GLN: First off, what would be your definition of a gentleman opponent?
Emphasy: Mmm... A guy that play as if its a game and not his life depending on him winning, not taking the bad luck against him too bad (cursing a little is obviously in order) and makes moves that makes me go "WooooW!"
GLN: That was mainly regarding off-pitch behavior, how about on-pitch actions?
Emphasy: Mmm, turn 16 crowding/fouling for no reason is just about the only thing I dislike or when the game is already decided, before that stalling, fouling, crowding is all good.
GLN: So the second the outcome is given everything stops? Not a little extra blood on the field for kicks?
Emphasy: There are always the fouls for team-preservation. Fouling that claw/rsc/po player just makes sense if he has a chance to hurt my players. But sometimes good sense and sportsmanship doesn't go hand in hand.
GLN: Does your playing style differ in tourneys, faction etc.
Emphasy: Tourneys are different. It’s like everyone feels its ok to be dirtier there. So naturally everyone is.
GLN: how about smack talk, match reports and the like?
Emphasy: I don´t really do match reports or smack talk, only if it was a particular fun/crazy match.
GLN: Last one, which coach would you mention as being the perfect gentleman?
Emphasy: Kfoged. He just nicely sums up what I like in an opponent.
GLN: Thanks for your time.
Emphasy: No problem.
Next we moved on to dadoz, a well known coach with a preference to the more bashy teams for his take on the subject.
GLN: so dadoz, you have a reputation as a heavy fouler, care to comment on that?
dadoz: Well, I do what I have to do to get that extra advantage… Some games vs. some coaches tend to get really bloody though, pain is pleasure!
GLN: I bet some coaches would disagree there. What is your definition of a gentleman player?
dadoz: A player who, no matter what, enjoys the game and can laugh and make me laugh.
GLN: How about on-pitch actions, like the classy T16 foul?
dadoz: Ahh, I have a little split feelings here. It all depends on the coach and the situation. If I play a coach I know and we like to bash each other up, and he still has an apo, I might throw in a boot. Otherwise, I try to restrain my self as far as I can. *wink*
GLN: Does your style vary a lot from open play to tourneys and faction/ladder?
dadoz: I try to play the same in factions and in ranked. The only time I play "different" is maybe when I am playing a tournament, then there is not much I wont do to win =). Games just matter more as they are the ones I'm looking forward to when I am playing with a team and building them up to TR 200+. Tournaments are for real, no cherry picking no excuses! It's true competition.
GLN: How about smack talk and match reports?
dadoz: I try to keep them short and fun and generally only do them is something nig happens, like the death of a legend. I haven’t really done smack talk that much, gonna have to improve on that I think. I like things that make me laugh so I do what I can to experience them.
GLN: Well, say your opponent is not too fond of the boot. Would you take advantage of this poor skinny 15-year old geek for your own amusement?
dadoz: Hm, I like to picture my opponents as hot looking blondes in their twenties. Don't you go around spoiling that image for me…
GLN: Maybe I should try that… Well then, even at the expense of some hot looking blond in her twenties who is just dying to have fun?
dadoz: Hehe, playing me IS fun! It's just a different kind of fun that they're maybe not used to.. No but seriously, I am not out after destroying a team if that’s what you're after. I foul tactically, most of the time anyways. If I see that my opponent profits from me fouling, then I won’t do it. Why did you pick me for this interview, anyway?
GLN: Because you play hard but not Wuhan-hard.
dadoz: Aww yeah, finally some recognition.
GLN: How about wizards/stars/altering TR for handicaps etc..? Telling the opponent or not telling?
dadoz: Definitely telling. Doing that post agreement is a bit cowardice.
GLN: Lastly name a coach that – in your opinion – is the perfect gentleman.
dadoz: Tough one…But I’ve had a few good ones with Qaz. He is a kickass coach.
GLN: Thanks for your time.
dadoz: You're welcome – will I get rich and famous now?
GLN: Uhm… Yeah… Certainly… The cheque is in the mail…
We move across the sea to North America where Falcone is awaiting us.
GLN: What is your definition of a "gentleman player"?
Falcone: I would say it is some one who treats his opponent with respect by trying to stay calm and not get too crazy when the luck factor is not going there way I mean we all deal with the same crappy luck every so often.Also the turn 16 foul would be a nono.
GLN: Ah yes, the foul…I was getting to that.
Falcone: I am not much of a fouler but I understand the use of it and I don’t gripe unless it happens to be a foul without a purpose. Purposeful fouls include getting numerical superiority off course. Basically, only fouling when it does not affect game outcome gets to me.
GLN: Do you employ dirty players?
Falcone: Yeah I’ve had one or two but I only use them defensively. Like on my Wood Elf team. I understand why my opponent fouls but I don’t do it myself. Probably to my disadvantage.
GLN: Does that go for stalling as well?
Falcone: I understand why my opponent does it, to beat a well coached elf team or skaven team stalling is definitely usually needed when coaching a bruising team. Orcs, dwarves and such.
GLN: Does your style vary in the different divisions or tournaments?
Falcone: Well, if I am using elves against some claw/rsc monstrosity like in the recent FC qualifiers and he is knocked down I may have to give him the boot. I didn’t use to do that though. But in my strange brand of logic I don’t foul non team destroyer type players like Oneturners, even though it would increase my chance of winning getting them out of the game.
GLN: How about match reports and smack talk? Does that add to the game?
Falcone: I enjoy it. I should do it more I think, especially the match reports.
GLN: Last one, name a coach that – in your opinion is the perfect gentleman.
Falcone: Kfoged would be my first choice. He plays a nice brand of ball with his elves and he’ll play almost any team with them.
GLN: Thanks for your time.
Falcone: No problem.
We finish off by talking a bit to Malthor. I doubt he needs further introduction as he has been along forever it seems he has been along forever. His Blood Falcons are a tremendous team and without comparison the team with the highest TR/TS in ranked division.
GLN: What’s your take on sportsmanship?
Malthor: I think sportsmanship in javabowl entails respecting your opponent, recognizing that you and he/she may see things differently, and have different reasons for playing and to try and make the game enjoyable for both parties if possible whilst still playing competitively.
GLN: And what about the whole “Fouling – part of the game” – issue?
Malthor: Fouling….. I don't do it a lot in my ranked games these days because it is hard enough to find high TS teams to play without maiming them till they are out of your range, and also, as I want my games to be fun for both parties, I have no problem being fouled.
GLN: You playing style vary some from open to tournaments, right?
Malthor: In tournaments I foul just as ruthlessly as the next guy. In fact, I will sometimes do turn 15 and 16 fouls against opponents because the specs demand it. Tournaments involve a higher community involvement and when there are 50-100 specs watching, part of the mutual obligation is to entertain the specs.
GLN: Oh, a real crowd-pleaser, eh?
Malthor: I am not a crowd-pleaser, more an antivillain to those who hate my elfbowling style.
GLN: Is there a connection between choice of race and "sportsmanship" - eg both players having fun?
Malthor: Only in the most general sense, khemri and CD coaches laden with DPs can be very sporting too. It is all about the expectations of each coach. If each coach goes in knowing how the other coach has played in the past, then I don't see how race in itself has anything to do with sportsmanship.
GLN: How about first time against a coach?
Malthor: I can look at his records, cas ratio, win percentile, etc. but none of this will tell anything about his sportsmanship. I can only judge his sportsmanship by watching his games or finding out on the pitch. But generally I expect my opponent to do what he has to, to win. But it is just a game.
GLN: Just a game, eh? Don’t you want to win?
Malthor: Winning is nice, but I have lots of fun in draws and losses too. To me, getting through the match with some money and no one maimed is much more satisfying :). One of my most favorite moments on fumbbl was earlier this year when I got trounced 1-4 or something with a lot of bad rolls not helping. After the game, my Witch Elf got +1 Str. and made her 126 roll without ageing. A fantastic match and well worth the drubbing on the scoreboard :). Winning is just not as important as it used to be.
GLN: A true gentleman…
Malthor: Nah, just older and a parent. A fortnight ago, I was playing a game and getting drubbed... some bad luck etc. Then my little girl came to me and was tugging on my leg saying "daddy, daddy" and wanting me to play with her. Who cares about a little bad luck in a computer game when you have a little person who loves you?
GLN: Stop it, I’m getting nauseous… Lastly name a coach that you perceive at a gentleman player?
Malthor: Tell you the truth; I can't name any one coach. I have played a lot of coaches, and they all have good and bad days like every other human being. I certainly respect a lot of coaches for various reasons. But I can't name one above the others who is clearly more invested than the others in playing a fair tough game whilst also wanting it to be fun for everyone.
GLN: Fair enough, thanks for your time.
The community has spoken. Ranging from Falcone's “hurt me but I won't hurt you” to dadoz' “pain is pleasure”, the community stands divided on the issue. One thing is for certain though: it is all about having fun playing a board game with friends.