There's an interesting thread asking the community about the Khorne and Bretonnian
rosters and if they should be in the competitive divisions (R and B) on FUMBBL.
This is a very interesting question where my response is a bit tangential to the forum thread, so I'm posting it as a blog instead. Mind you, this is my current opinion and position which could change down the line.
First and foremost: FUMBBL has always been a project where I wanted to support the most recent official ruleset without adding on house rules. The background to this is that back in ancient times, I joined the OLBBL for a while and not only was it a major pain to deal with the technical stuff required to play but I also had to spend a lot of time reading multiple pages of house rules that applied to that particular league.
I felt that this was a huge waste of time, and the amount of house rules made the league something different than normal Blood Bowl (at least in my mind).
So, when I found SkiJunkie's JavaBBowl and realized the potential of the significantly simplified client, and on that path ended up starting FUMBBL I wanted this place to be as close to the standard rules as possible. It made sense to me to keep it strict despite various issues over the years (overpowered dirty players and cpomb are the big ones here). I still think this is a good policy and still strive to get closer to official rules. It's still not trivial to get into something like FUMBBL, but at least the rules are as close to a reference set of rules as I can make it.
So how does this tie into Khorne and Bretonnians? Honestly, in a bit roundabout manner. There are currently three sources that could be argued to be the source of official rules:
- Games Workshop, with BB2016, DZS1, DZS2, Spike Magazine 1 and 2, Some White Dwarf publications, custom card packs, custom pitch rules, some extra PDFs on the site and their FAQ (phew, there's a lot of stuff).
- The NAF, which is the de-facto standard organization for official tabletop tournaments.
- Cyanide, with BB1 and BB2 plus expansions and DLCs.
You may not personally think that some of these are official, but I expect most people will recognize that these three *could* be considered official rules one way or another.
This is where the complexity comes in for me (and by extension FUMBBL). I have no interest in becoming a platform to pressure the development of the rules one way or the other. This means that I am prepared to implement things I'm not entirely happy with if I believe they are "official". Having a standard reference implementation of the current rules is more important to me than my own individual wishes. For example, I personally believe GW completely missed the ball when it comes to changes made to my personal favourite roster (Khemri). If I were inclined to house rule stuff, I would have pushed towards making the roster more balanced (at least in my mind), or set up a FUMBBL Rules Committee to make our own version of the game.
Now, of the three sources listed above, The NAF are the only ones I have contact with (although I have had a short email conversation with a Cyanide dev). I have also stated in the past that we are prepared to follow the lead of the NAF in terms of their view of the rules because I believe that there is enough cross-over between the tabletop scene and the online scene in our little community that it's likely to matter. One additional factor to this is that I was part of the NAF team early in the process (I worked with the first version of the website and wrote the initial ranking and payment processing systems for them, together with the league and team tracking subsystems, and got a single digit member number in the process ;) ).
This relationship between FUMBBL and The NAF is the reason we added Slann, Underworld and Chaos Renegades (Pact) to the site, despite them not being published in the GW set of rules.
So what now? Cyanide added Khorne, and then later on the Bretonnians. BB2 has dropped Khorne (for now? we don't know), but the Bretonnian team is available. The NAF lists Khorne and Bretonnian as "optional", but from what I hear they're effectively allowed in most tabletop NAF tournaments. GW doesn't say anything about these two rosters. In addition, the NAF has rankings set up for both of these two, which is a strong endorsement for the rosters.
In the end, it comes down to me making a call for these rosters. Do we implement a couple of formally "optional" rosters into the official divisions and follow Cyanide's lead with these? Do we only add Bretonnians because they are the only ones remaining in BB2?
For the time being, I'm sticking with following what the NAF has done. They are formally optional for tabletop tournaments and I am inclined to leave them out of the competitive divisions on FUMBBL because of that. When/if the NAF makes them part of the core rules like the Slann (called Kislev Circus in BB2), I'm likely to add them to the competitive divisions here as well.
Until then, they're available in L for those who are so inclined.