Grotty Little Newspaper
Issue 7 - May 8 2506


Grotty Easter!
News & Views
FUMBBL's New Divisions
by mikafreak
Introducing the [A]cademy
Ulthuan Insider
by Mezir
An interview with one of the Ulthuan Invitational officials
A Gobbo's Tale - Part 5
by Candlejack
Part of an on-going story concerning a goblin's (mis)adventures.
The Altdorf School of Referees - Part 2
by DonKosak
DonKoasak's visit to this fine institute continues, with more strange beings around every corner.
Team Tactics
A Guide to Vampires
by heinz
Pardon me, but your teeth are in my neck...
Risky Things First? - Part 2
by pac
Playing Wood Elves against any opposition - the second part of a two-part treatise.
FUMBBL Focus
Admin Corner
by Christer
Informing you of the work behind the scenes on the Web site.
How to Survive, then Thrive on FUMBBL
by Texan
A guide for new coaches and chose trying to reinvent themselves
FUMBBL's Spotlight Match
by pac
The Warpstone Open Final in all its gory detail.
Coach Couch
by PurpleChest
PurpleChest questions the opinionated coaches that join him on his couch.
Group/Tournament Reports
Interview with a Chosen
by Hindsberg
Chosen of Nurgle reaches for Chainsaw of Change - SLEDGE Mayhem.
Classifieds
For Sale
Obituaries/Valedictories
GLN info
How to contribute
Acknowledgements
 
FUMBBL's New Division - [A]cademy

24th March 2006 saw the launch of a new division here on FUMBBL, [A]cademy. This division was set up in an attempt to assist new coaches in learning how the client works, how to create and manage teams, familiarise themselves with the site rules and division specific rules, and so on. It also allows the veteran coaches out there to play around with teams and skill choices that they normally wouldn’t take. Hopefully we will see some strange combinations soon... Maybe a Leaping Saurus vs. a Frenzy Gutter Runner...

This division was named after the initial Academy set up by some of the coaches here to help new coaches start up, as a thank you to them for their time and dedication to this site. The new [A]cademy works slightly different to the original Academy, as follows:

[A]cademy works like this:

  • You may have up to three (3) [A]cademy teams.
  • Your win/draw/loss statistics are not updated by games in [A]cademy.
  • Your CR is not affected by games played in [A]cademy.
  • Teams are not playable in [A]cademy above TR 150, once at that TR you can trim your team down or you can choose to transfer them to [U]nranked, where they can continue to grow and develop...

So come on people, let's play for playing's sake - no effect on stats, just fun and blood (and more blood, of course...)! What more could you ask for, except maybe for a decent beer and more playing hours in a day...

A big thank you to Christer for coding and implementing the new division to work the way it does.

To date, 618 teams have been created and 543 games have been played (correct at the time of writing). Lets make it 10,000 created and played. Hey, I can hope, can’t I?

 
Ulthuan Insider
by Mezir

I find myself in the main office of the Ulthuan Elven Football Association in Altdorf, about to meet a certain Lord Farian Silverbow. I have heard little of this elf, despite his lofty position as Chairman of the Ulthuan Invitational Board of Organisers. However, given the reclusive ways of the UEFA and the shroud of mystery they purposely keep their tournament enveloped in, that is not as surprising as it might be. Weeks of lobbying have gone into acquiring this exclusive interview, and even then it was only yesterday that we were informed of Lord Farian's presence here. I was unceremoniously rushed here - non-VIP treatment which I am not used to - and thus here I am, set and ready to go, with my halfling scribe still frantically trying to finish his far too large breakfast. (Perhaps agreeing to pay the little rotter in food was not such a good idea after all, who would have thought that such a little mouth could masticate at such astonishing rates.)

It isn't that long before a mousy little man steps into the foyer and tells us that Lord Farian is expecting us. I pluck a bun out of the chubby hand of my scribe (I should ask him what his name is, really) and shove him in the direction of the doorway. As we step through it, I notice that the large windows which should offer a grand view of downtown Altdorf have been shut, the blinds pulled. I would make a comment here about the sensitive noses of elves, but given what downtown Altdorf is like I don't blame the man. Lord Farian is seated in a large, comfy-looking easy chair. He smiles faintly, the merest raising of the lips (come to think of it, it might as well have been a sneer, but let's stay optimistic) and gestures curtly at the chair opposite him. I seat myself, wait for my scribe to take out the necessary writing materials, and launch into the interview.

GLN: The Warpstone Open has only just finished, the cheering of the fans hasn't died out yet - and you're already announcing the start of the Ulthuan Invitational Qualifiers. Word on the street has it you were hoping to eliminate Black Axe this way, since they might be too drunk to notice that the Ulthuan has started in the victory celebrations.

Farian: Yes, Orcs might be that stupid. Hopefully what you say will indeed occur. However, we would have left more time between the Warpstone and the Ulthuan, but with the lengthy qualifying tournaments involved in the Warpstone Open, we are pressed for time as it is. Inserting a few weeks of rest would see the Invitational drag out into the window of time forseen for the Grotty Little Tournament, and unlike some, we are polite enough to consider other organisations.

GLN: We've also noticed that you've included a new rule - each team may only attempt to qualify once. Why this change?

Farian: There are several reasons for that. Firstly, we are expecting a massive amount of registrations. Allowing some teams to attempt to qualify twice or more just because their coach is willing to drive them harder (sometimes dangerously so) would deny other teams their rightful spot. Not only that, but it has in the past raised complaints that the quality of the coaches and teams in the tournament was not top notch - teams would simply keep trying to make it in until they got an easy draw and made it in. We're hoping to add new heights of tension to the tournament right from the start.

GLN: A left-over from last year's tournament is the qualifying format. Obviously you are still convinced that elven and other "soft" teams need a helping hand claiming their necessary spots in the tournament, despite the large number of elves in the last Fumbbl Cup.

Farian: Nonsense - the opposite is true. We are making sure that enough of the so called "hard-hitting" teams make it through. We need their fumbling antiques as amusement factor.

GLN: Which brings us to one of the qualms fans and coaches have had with the tournament in the past. Druchii (Ed: Dark Elves) made their way into the tournament last year via the "Light" qualifiers. How is this?

Farian: I don't know what you're talking about. We do not allow teams from Naggaroth and its surroundings to take part - not even in the Dark Qualifiers.

GLN: It must have come as a great surprise to you then when the elven team Midwinter celebrated last year's victory in the streets of Naggaroth.

Farian: I assure you that the cup and the prizes were stolen and look-alikes took over Midwinter. What else can one expect from our Dark Elven kin than to attempt to steal unearned glory? You may have noticed that the team later ignominiously disbanded - further proof that our thesis is correct.

GLN: Be that as it may, have you done anything to improve the control mechanisms on those attempting to qualify for the tournament?

Farian: I fail to see the need. Things will work the same way they did last year.

GLN: On a different note, which teams would you wish to see in the Invitiational?

Farian: Naturally, the Nandorins would be a welcome sight. After great performances in the Grotty Little Tournment and the Fumbbl Cup, it is time for them to show themselves on their home territory. A team such as the Deepwood Junkies would also be much appreciated. Classic elven play of the highest quality - a joy to behold.

GLN: Yes, indeed. Stop sniggering, you. I'm paying you to write, not laugh! Don't write that down.

GLN: Do excuse me, good staff is so hard to find nowadays. When will the first qualifiers begin?

Farian: We are expecting the first qualifying tournaments to kick off on the 25th of April. As you know, qualifying tournaments for the Ulthuan Invitational are played in one sitting. This means we test teams both on skill and endurance, and give the fans a whole day of entertainment - and that for a mere 2000 gold pieces per ticket!

GLN: It also means that organising the tournaments is a hassle for both the coaches and the organisation.

Farian: That is something we will have to deal with. The Ulthuan Invitational caters to specific coaches, teams and fans.

GLN: Just so. Thank you for the interview, Lord Silverbow. Best of luck with the tournament, hopefully it will be a spectacle for fans everywhere. Come on, short stuff, time to scram - I need a Blood. What's that? Oh... Thanks... You know what, you're not so bad after all.

Interview by Alfred König and the unknown halfling scribe.

 
A Gobbo's Tale - Part 5

Training Day

This is a tale of a time long ago, before Blood Bowl fell into oblivion, a tale about a little goblins amazing carrer. All characters and events in this story are totally fictious and any accordances to real life and/or FUMBBL characters are totally unintended. Furthermore the author admits that the abilities of some characters in this story may not be in consistence with any of the official or unofficial Blood Bowl rules known - this is just a story

What happened so far:

Gnot was kidnapped by G'morg to play for the famous Blood Bowl team "Da Deadly Raiderzzz". Against his will he was forced to join a team, where some players threaten his life. After surviving the first tests he now has go through the tough training phase.

When we last left Gnot, he was about to learn some ball handling...

"Okay l'il git, catch!" Th'arg caught gnot by surprise there, even though it was not a hard pass , just a gently thrown ball from a few meters distance. But the constant stress Gnot had been exposed to during the last few days made him almost panic when that ball, that had about the size of his head, flew towards him. He was too hectic to really get a safe hold on the ball and so it glitched out of hand a few times just to get grabbed again. In the end Gnot fell over, face first in the dirt, and the ball right next to him. With a deep sigh, Th'arg grabbed Gnot's neck and stood him up again "Gonna be some work for ya." Sad and embarrased Gnot looked downwards onto his feet, while he heard the smirking and joking from the others. But after a few more catch tries he became more and more secure and after about an hour he even managed to grab the ball safely and reliable which gave him a real good feeling. Suddenly Th'arg moved further away and hurled a pass in Gnot's direction. This morning he would have just tried not to get hit by such a projectile, but with his newly found self-esteem he stood steady to catch the perfectly aimed ball. With a loud "SPLOSH!" the ball hit Gnot's torso and literally knocked him off his feet. For Gnot it felt like an endless slow motion, when the ball hit his belly and he noticed that his feet were off the ground. There was no pain yet, until his back hit the ground real hard. "Ufff!!!" that's all what he could say when he landed and hard cough. It felt like a horse had hit him in the stomach and then trampled over him. As he looked up he say Kirok and Th'arg bent over him. Kirok looked at him and palpated the chest and neck. "Looks okay." he growled with his deep voice, "Just been a bit too 'ard. Better let 'im rest now." So Gnot spent the rest of the day in his bed and again he felt embarrased.

The next day Gnot was brought back on the training ground when G'morg approached him. "Betta try some running today, before ya get 'urt, eheh." But then something unexpected happened, Gnot objected. "No. I wanna try. I can catch." And when he saw G'morg's puzzled face he insisted, "I can catch!" "Heh, if ya really want." Th'arg replied and went off to a decent passing distance. The rest of the team was vastly surprised and everyone was now watching what would happen. This time the pass was not as good as the day before and came a bit off but Gnot took a deep breath and two steps to the left to await the incoming ball. And again "SPLOSH!" the impact almost made Gnot puke, but this time he stood his ground and held the ball in his hands. A jiggerish silence lay over the training ground, noone expected Gnot to actually get the ball or even to be still standing after this hit. But this silence was soon broken by loud bellowing and howling, which made Gnot actually feel good for once. The other players finally found some respekt for Gnot, only Tsork turned away in resentment. The next hours Gnot spent practising passes. Th'arg gave him tips how to throw, where to aim to and how to give the ball the correct spin. But it was very hard for the small goblin to throw a ball that was just too large and too heavy for him. Nevertheless he did not want to give up, he would not lose the hard gained respect by quiting again.

After a while Noreg came over to Gnot, who was still struggeling with the ball. "It's time for ball training, li'l guy, hehe." smirked the Ogre. Gnot did not understand, what was Noreg thinking he was doing all the day? Well, Ogres are known for not being the sharpest knife in the drawer but this really sounded a bit odd. "Am already doin'." he answered a bit unsettled. "Nono.. time to practise BEING ball." Noreg laughed a bit and Gnot got a bit scared when the Ogre grabbed him with his huge paw. "Don' worry. Landing is soft." Noreg whispered. Gnot was about to say "What?" but before he could Noreg already hurled him across the pitch and so the only thing he could bring forward was a screaming "WWWWWWAAAHHHHHHHH!!!!!!" as he was sailing over the training ground.

To be continued...

 
The Altdorf School of Referees

We wandered through the colonnade and entered the left wing, which consisted of a long hall, one wall lined with racks upon which hung caps in many different sizes, colours and states of decay. A long row of doors led to the classrooms. Bastian pointed to the first door. “Behind this door our orc students are taking their second year exams regarding the use of secret weapons in a Blood Bowl match. I think we can risk a peek if you promise me to remain silent.”

He opened the door and allowed us a look inside. The room was filled with young orcs each sitting by a little wooden desk. At the end of the room a massive black orc was standing by a blackboard with a notepad. “Is THIS thing allowed inna match?” he asked, drawing a very crude painting of a chainsaw on the blackboard. The young orcs bent over their papers scribbling frantically. After half a minute he continued: “Wadda you do when you see player with this thing inna match?” The orcs scribbled on. The answers ranged from “Hit him over the head” to “Blow whistle”, “Run away”, “Yes” and, for unknown reasons, “I love peacock droppings”. The next question was read: “Is THIS thing allowed inna match?” he bellowed while painting an even cruder version of a banana on the blackboard. This question seemed to cause some confusion among the students, but I never got to read any of the answers as Bastian closed the door again and led us on.

“Mr. Bob is our rules expert and teaches all classes in theoretical Blood Bowl. He has his own ways of teaching the syllabus to the students, but somehow he always manages to do it with a certain style, and all our students seem to like him. Despite his racial setbacks regarding intelligence and reading speed he has earned respect from even the elves,” Bastian told, as we wandered along the hall. “I don’t like to say it, but most elves’ approach to the education they receive here is the same: “We know it all and we don’t care what others might mean.” But most of them are quite idealistic and unexperienced in other races’ perception of the game too, which has forced us to do certain classes for elven students only. They are run as extra courses during the summer holiday and have titles like “Fouling – part of the game?” and “Stalling – good strategy or cheesy exploit?” They are held by Mr. Bob too with help from his assistant teacher Mrs. H. A. Tred, who is an elven witch of the darker persuasion and has a very good understanding of these things. She and Mr. Bob seem to enjoy these courses very much. One of Mr. Bob’s greatest pleasures is to summon some of his old teammates for a little training match against our elven students, where they can get a practical approach to for instance the term “stalling”. When we see them again at the start of the autumn term they are usually a bit less arrogant.”

Our walk brought us to the end of the wing where through an immense window we had a great view over the areas surrounding the school. We could see that all kinds of terrain were represented on the premises of the school, as some students had certain demands regarding places to relax. Some scale-clad ones liked to bask in the sun on a stone near the swamp whereas others loved a walk in the woods or a nap in a cool stone cave.

We went back to the central courtyard and headed for the wing opposite the entrance gate. Bastian opened the door and was immediately attacked by a little dachshund in a frenzy of barks, jumps and tail wagging. “Yeeeees, good boy, good boy”, he cheered, patting the dog on the head. “Ladies and gentlemen, meat Stopper our watchdog, school pet and eater of leavings. Officially he is mine but he likes to roam here in the students’ wing and they all seem to like him. Alas, some of our larger students love dachshunds so much, that the dogs sometimes have a very short and abruptly ended life here on the school - I think I’ve had more than twenty of them through the ages. This one basically drools a lot and runs away whenever he sees a fight, but I like him anyway. Please be gentle to him and he won’t bite you.”

Bastian smiled as he led us through the door. This was clearly the dormitory. The wing was filled with rooms of different sizes, organization and decorations mirroring the students’ interests. A huge dining room was in the middle of the building and the largest wall in this room was covered by lots of mailboxes and a great bulletin board covered with posters, advertisements, funny drawings and things like these found on schools all over the world. One of the posters read in capital letters: “Getting got by the fans too often? Try Ronny Rotters antiwrinkle lotion and get a 12’ safetyzone around you for $5 only! Buy them before he falls apart!”

Another one displayed a picture of a huge ogre choking on something. The following text read: “Are you big? Are you hungry? Are you tired of small things like flags, whistles, balls, players and cheerleaders? We now offer you this muzzle. Be able to shout without worrying about things ending up in your throat. Contact us now and get your own hand-sewn model!” Someone had painted a little dachshund next to the ogre and a curvy arrrow pointing from the dog to the ogre’s mouth.

Various handwritten notes could be found too. “Friendly, honest and warm-hearted apothecary seeks female ref for intimate intermatch relationship. I give you nerve pills and you show me how to blow the whistle.” And another one: “Club with built-in signalling flags sold because of retirement. Old school model, flags a bit bleached. Extra nails supplied.”

Students, cooks and various servants milled around – apparently lunch was about to be served. We left the building as we didn’t want to disturb the meal and Bastian led us to the last wing. “This is the hospital wing”, he proclaimed as we entered. “As you know it is indeed a dangerous profession being a referee, and we offer all graduates from the school the possibility to buy a lifelong insurance for medical treatment and care here on the school in case of bodily, job-related, injuries. Naturally we have lots of patients, and our staff is often supplied with extra ressources from the Apothecary Institute District here in Altdorf.”

The wing consisted of one huge room containing lots of beds and different medical equipment. Nurses and grey-bearded doctors visited the different beds, adjusted the various pumps and spoke in soft voices to the patients. We walked down the central aisle as a patient suddenly started to wail. Nurses ran to the bed and tried to restrain the man from climbing out of the bed. “They are coming, they’re after me!”, he screamed and tried to flee. He was held down in the bed as one of the doctors turned a handle on a little pump by the bed and after a few minutes he fell asleep again.

“They’re raising the morphine dose every day now”, Bastian explained. “His name is Matthew Holeson and he’s going mad because he’s been beaten up by the fans in every single match he’s had until now. Sometimes they just beat him up, sometimes they invade the pitch beating up the players and then him and sometimes they throw a rock or something at him. He’s even been hit by the ball once in a match where the kicker was the famous Gorba “Kick-it-long-and-deep” Bladderpounder. When he’s asleep we sometimes say that he now is having the injury time of his life – harharhar…”

The patient beside Matthew was lying still with both arms and legs in bandages. “This is one of our worst cases”, Bastian whispered. "He graduated this summer and was hired for his first match – a friendly one between two dwarf teams. Unfortunately both teams were using the match as a test for their new experiments in the deathroller department and he was the only one trying to enforce the rules. This is the result. My guess is that he’ll be umpiring chess tournaments for the rest of his life.”

We left the hospital wing again so as not to disturb the doctors and spent the rest of the afternoon on the exercise pitch watching a game of friendly and non-violent bloodbowl between two teams of students with Mr. Bob as reinforcement on the weaker side. Lots of students were watching too and once in a while one of them would snigger, nudge his neighbour in the ribs and then shout in a half-hearted voice: “It is called BLOOD Bowl, you know!” The referee was Mr. Flagsmasher who did a good job of waving the flags and blowing the whistle at the right times.

After the match Bastian led us to the gate again and bade us farewell. “It has been a great pleasure having you here today”, he said, “I really hope that you’ll all go home and tell your colleagues about all the things we do to train the best referees in the known world. Remember that both the Blood and the Bowl are there for your pleasure and that each team should be allowed to play the game the way they want to.”

I hope that you, my fellow Fumbblers, will remember these wise words and that you will continue to muster new teams for the best of Blood Bowl and FUMBBL.

 
Pardon Me, But Your Teeth Are In My Neck
by heinz

A Guide To Vampires

Vampires were actually the last of the LRB-races I tried to play, and what a mistake that was! The combination of dreamlike stats on positionals and the unique Hypnotic Gaze gives the team a great variety in play style and excellent opportunities to surprise even the tightest packed cage offence. That said let me stress that Vampires will give you some of the most frustrating moments of your Blood Bowl coaching career. Bloodlust is not just arguably the worst negatrait around; it’s also glued to all your key players. There are ways to minimise your frustration when “vamping” as I’ll get back to, but at the end of the day Vampires were build to be a challenge to play, and they certainly are.

This article is meant as an introduction and inspiration for coaches who are interested in trying this odd race. I got some really useful feedback when I originally posted my thoughts in the forum, and I’ve tried to mention the source of ideas I’ve incorporated in the text below.

Resist your lust from TR100 - building a new Vampire team

First thing to control when you start a Vampire crew is your urge to frontload it with too many Vampires. Their über skills will quickly fade when you run out of re-rolls in turn 2 and subsequently run out of Thralls. I’m not gonna propose one starting set-up as the ultimate package, but I prefer to start with two vamps to get some fun from match #1. For short term play some would pick three vamps, whereas many experienced Vampire coaches choose the hardcore 11 Thralls, 6 re-rolls, 1 Apothecary set up for long term team development. An advice on this line-up from veteran Vampire coach Uber: “The key to this [line-up] is patience. You have to wait for them to waste their re-roll and then move in at the most opportune time. With 6 re-rolls, you can afford riskier plays, even with Thralls. The re-roll is your safety net.”

So... you’re good to go, you’ve bought your players, you’ve stashed up on fan factor (yes, you will need the money) and re-rolls (even more). To the field, counts and countesses of the dark!

First moves on the dancefloor

Player positioning is the key to successful Blood Bowl play with any race. Because of Bloodlust this is even more vital for Vampires than for most other races in the LRB. The first basic advice is not to act with a Vampire before you’ve got a Thrall in position next to where you want to end your vamp-action. This will allow maximum mobility for your Vampire even if and when Bloodlust fails. The second advice is: Always have a backup plan. Since your Vampires are the natural stars of the team, you will often end up relying on their skills in decisive situations well knowing, that Bloodlust makes them unreliable. Especially when it comes to ball handling and the passing game, you always have to know what general course to take if/when your ball carrying Vamp fails his Bloodlust and is unable to do anything but move/bite.

Thralls are often viewed as mere LOS- and vampfodder. Try to use this to your advantage. In my experience people tend to underestimate Thralls causing them to forget to leave a deep cover/safety in defence if the endzone is threatened “only” by a single Thrall positioned near one of the sidelines. And whenever possible use Thralls rather than Vamps for your important blitzes and ball control. A vamp with guard can assist a block even after a failed Bloodlust, while your blitz action is lost for the turn, if a blitzing vamp gets hungry.

And now to the fun part: Hypnotic Gaze is the skill that makes all the frustrations worthwhile. If used with a bit of thought a gazing Vampire can make the game turn to your advantage in a single move action. In offence you can gaze a hole in the thickest wall of Dwarfs; in defence no cage is safe from your evil eyes. Again you need to have backup plans, since you need a 2+ (Bloodlust) 3+ (Gaze roll in no tacklezone) just to make one Gaze work, and chances are you’re already out of re-rolls for the turn. So eventually your Gaze-based game plan will always be a bit all-or-nothing, but when it succeeds... oh the joy of imagining the surprised face of your opponent. And remember that Hypnotic Gaze can also be used in less decisive moments: Gaze the Beast of Nurgle to get two covered Thralls free, remove assist and tacklezone from that stand firm, guard Blitzer... use your imagination and surprise your opponent. Once you’ve developed your Vampire team to higher TR, you’ll often ponder on which players to field in a given drive. GalakStarscraper offers this advice: “... don't get greedy on the pitch. I only field 3 Vampires vs. ST 3 teams and 4 Vampires vs. ST 4+ teams. Even though I have 5 Vampires on my roster. I've found that once you get good with Hypnotic Gaze (and have picked up Pro to re-roll it) ... those are usually enough to make stuff happen on the pitch. More than that and you start asking to munch on your own team.”

Two steps forward, one and a half back - Vampire team development

If you thought your frustrations ended with Vampires unable to do anything you plan with them, you can think again. Bloodlust and the fragile nature of Thralls combined with relatively low AV on the Vampires make progressing your team a long journey. Nothing yells “foul me” like a prone AG4 ST4, AV8 player, and your consumption of new Thrall meat accelerate as you finally have saved money enough to buy that extra vamp you’ve been wanting to buy during the last 5 games. As a consolation Thrall meat has a pretty low price and new Vamps skill up easily. Here are a few guidelines to how you could spend your money and skill rolls: Re-rolls are essential to control that aching Bloodlust - later on pro will help a bit, but still too risky to rely on in tight situations. So depending on your initial set-up, you should get an Apothecary asap, then 5-6 re-rolls. In shorter tournaments, you could choose a less conservative path, but for a team that’s gonna last I would only buy my third Vampire after 5 re-rolls and the fourth after re-roll number 6. Meanwhile you probably also have to stock up on Thralls just to be able to field 11 (preferably more) players for each game. So to sum it up: Hold the Vampire-purchase until you’re on top of everything else regarding team development, and remember that even two Vampires can create a whole lot of mayhem for your opponent.

In line with this you actually need to distribute some SPP for your Thralls. Get Block, then Tackle on 1 preferably 2 early on, making you able to deal with pesky blodgers. 1 Strip Ball/Block is also neat. Now you have some decent “Blitzers” without negatraits! Finally a Sure Hands Thrall is of more help than you’d think. With him you can pick up, get ball control and hand off without having to worry about Bloodlust rolls. Doubles on the Thralls are well spent (as always) on Guard for that extra assist you will need on your blitz actions or Dodge for survivability. Pass and/or Accurate for your Sure Hands guy will be high priority as well, since it relieves essential tasks from Vamps. I’ve also found Dauntless to be of much use to put down opposing big guys at lower TR. But as you progress you will find, that the tougher opposition more or less forces you to choose scoring over bashing, since most teams - even Elven ones - have more bashing power and higher AV than you (thanks to Angelface for stressing this in the original forum thread).

The Vampires more or less skill up themselves, and the question will often be when to take the Pro skill that saves you re-rolls and makes the Vampire moderately more reliable. You’ll find different views on this, but my standard development of a Vampire would be Block (survival and blitzing skill), Guard (support the blitzer-Thrall), Pro. Of course with Vamp #4-6 I’d probably start playing with other combinations. Vampires need doubles less than any other player type with the unique SAG-access on a normal skill, but Stand Firm is always good, Jump Up with AV8 is also nice, while I’d avoid Frenzy in most cases, since the guy is unpredictable enough as it is. +AG is a blessing, almost better than +ST for a Vampire, since it improves the Hypnotic Gaze skill significantly (besides all the normal benefits of AG5).

Try these at home

Those are my thoughts on Vampires for now. I encourage every Blood Bowl fan to give this race a shot. It’s frustrating, challenging and difficult to develop Vampire teams to über-Dark or High Elf-level... but above all it’s good old-fashioned fun.

 
Do the Risky Things First? - Part 2
by pac

The previous issue of the GLN contained the first part of a two-part article on Wood Elf Tactics. It continues here.

Playing with Wood Elves Against Any Opposition

Luck and the big plays

Playing in this way, I have often (to my surprise) been called a 'lucker' by my opponent. Of course, the other coach may not realise that although there are times when I succeed in such a grandstanding play, there are also plenty when it goes wrong, and that I am painfully aware of that fact! However, because I will almost always score (or make the ball safe for a later score) whenever the big play does work, that is a trade-off I am happy to make.

Note that none of this should be taken as meaning that you should always go for the big play. Sometimes that Guard-packed cage with the Sure Hands ball-carrier is just too tough to attack. In such cases I recommend just ignoring the cage and blitzing and gang-fouling a selected opponent: Wood Elves who suddenly seem to ignore the ball and foul can provoke an angry response from the opponent, which may also mean a less well-protected ball next turn.

Many disciplined coaches won't care how much you foul though, and won't let it disrupt their plan. Sometimes you just can't break a cage: and there is no sense in man-marking with fragile elves in a futile effort to slow one down. If you feel lucky, and have your apothecary in reserve, throw the Wardancer in: but don't put the entire team at risk.

Elven arrogance

A more advanced form of this risk-based strategy can add some even more unusual elements. For example, I will sometimes offer the opposing coach a shot at a blitz on my ball-carrier: but only if the opposing player will have to Go For It to do so, and I have spare players near the ball and don't think the opposing team is likely to secure it. Often the other coach gives in to temptation, and you are rewarded by a failed GFI, skulls, or just a neutral block result. Even if your ball-carrier is taken down, you should be able to collect the ball again next turn: and the opposing coach has used his blitz against the player you wanted him to, and not where he necessarily would have chosen otherwise.

Of course, you have to accept that every once in a while when you try this the Orc Blitzer will make his GFIs and roll a POW! to take down your Wardancer, the ball will scatter neatly for the Orc Thrower who will make his GFIs, pick it up, and throw it accurately to a pack of Orc players who will quickly cage around it. When you live by agility rolls, sometimes you will die by agility rolls.

Another extra spice to the mix is elf-stalling. Far more risky than ordinary stalling, this assumes that most of the opposing team has been sucked out of position into the middle of the field, and there are only a few opposing players anywhere near their own end zone. With fast movement, and screens or semi-cages, the ball can often be made almost certainly safe while delaying the touchdown. Against teams with little passing ability, even if your ball-carrier does get knocked down, you should usually be able to snatch up the ball and score nonetheless. While elf-stalling, you can also get in a few SPP-earning completions.

The point of elf-stalling is not to stall for an entire half: this is rarely practical. Instead it is to give the opposition just a little less time to score. The strategy of slow teams against Wood Elves is to make you score quickly, so that they can score safely at their own pace, caging, stalling, and brutalising your team all the way. Your priority is to give them less time, forcing them to hurry their game, increasing the chance that they will make a mistake before they get the ball into a cage. Wood Elves can get the ball out of a cage, of course, but it's far easier when an Orc trips on a GFI he wouldn't have had to attempt if he'd had more time, and your Catchers can grab the ball in the open field and score themselves.

The limits of this style

This style of Wood Elf game is much less effective against an opposing team which is comparably mobile and agile. Against other elves, Wood Elves at least still have a slight MA advantage, but Skaven are certainly the most fearsome opponents for them to face. (Please note that when facing other elves or Skaven, almost none of the above should be taken to be good advice!)

On paper, the Skaven list is slightly slower, but in practice Skaven teams can usually afford all four MA 9 Gutter Runners, while for Wood Elves four Catchers would be a rare luxury. Skaven have the pace to cope with all your efforts to outmanoeuvre them; Gutter Runners have the agility to capitalise on your failures however much you try to shield the ball from them; and when you do score, Skaven can match your ability to equalise in one turn. All this would make it a pretty even match-up, except that many Skaven teams will also throw in a Blockle Stormvermin or Linerat, whose Claw has your Wardancer's name on it ...

In addition, there are certain skill mixes that any opposing team might have which upset this kind of coaching approach entirely. Diving Tackle (especially in combination with Stand Firm), Tentacles, and an excess of Tackle are the worst culprits. Fortunately these skills tend to be relatively rare: I would rather put my Wood Elf team up against a team whose main threat was a single Claw/RSC Blockle blitz each turn, than against a whole team of Diving Tackle Tacklers. Against such a side, resorting to a block-based strategy again can become the only option, and it's not an attractive prospect.

In the end, the pure agility game, in which you often make an average of just one block (the blitz) per turn, is not one to rely on for making sure of winning any individual game, and thus may not really be a tournament style. Sometimes I will have a game when one of the first one or two dodges of each turn just keeps failing: the Luck% for such a match can look awful, but as it is based on a smaller sample (since early turnovers have meant that I have rolled fewer dice in total during the game) this is misleading. The style in which you win the games where things go well (which should be the considerable majority) more than makes up for the nasty ones.

Team and skill selection for the agility game

The Wardancer is the beating, blitzing heart of the agility game. From the start of his career, he has the key skills he needs for it: Dodge and Block to stay on his feet when blocked; Dodge again to make his escape from opponents; Block again as he is your first choice as the player with whom to blitz; Leap to get into the tightest cages, and equally to get out of the tightest man-marking. I would not consider making a new Wood Elf team without including a Wardancer. The main problem with the Wardancer is resisting the easy route of scoring with him: try not to let his SPP count outrun that of your Line-elves by too much.

A Wardancer needs skills to help blitz the ball-carrier - Tackle and Strip Ball - and to keep himself alive - Sidestep (essential for minimising chain-blocks when you leave him close to the opponents). Sure Hands can also be a good choice, as a Wardancer will often end up holding, or wanting to pick up, the ball one way or another.

Mighty Blow is attractive on doubles as you might as well make your team's infrequent blocks count, and Wardancers do most of the hitting. Dauntless might seem useful for evening the odds against some teams, but remember that overall you will never dependably be able to match those teams at a block-based game. Frenzy can be effective if deployed carefully, but tends to lure a Wardancer into unsafe positions.

Catchers are a luxury on a Wood Elf team: you don't need them in order to score unless you have an unhealthy obsession with one-turn-touchdowns. Block is essential for their survival, especially given ST 2. Sidestep is again a default choice. Sure Hands can again be attractive as, with MA 9 and Dodge, a Catcher can reach a ball that has been knocked loose almost anywhere on the pitch. The option of one-turning is well-known. As with Wardancers, the problems can come if you skill too fast with Catchers: use them to set up other players for TDs whenever possible.

Throwers are similarly a luxury item for a Wood Elf side, as any elf can pass reasonably and Throwers do not start with Sure Hands. A Thrower only generally becomes a key part of a side when he specialises by acquiring a few skills becoming either: a Long Bomb Thrower with Strong Arm, Safe Throw and Accurate; or more rarely the prime ball-carrier in a more adventurous running style, with the likes of Block, Dodge, Nerves of Steel and Dump Off. You have to give this guy the ball a lot of course, so he needs Sure Hands to help make this dependable; or alternatively Catch if you prefer to collect the ball with a Sure Hands Catcher, or with a Lineman you want to skill up.

Treemen are considered essential by some Wood Elf coaches, but in my opinion this is only the case if a coach is still wedded to the block-based game. Even with a Tree, winning the block battle will be a massive uphill struggle. At higher TRs, a Treeman does become ever more and more important for absorbing a little of the damage that can be dealt out by Claw/RSC monsters, Mighty Blow Tacklers, and Dirty Players. The usual Big Guy progression rules apply. Multi-blocking with a Tree is indeed cool, but is probably not something to base your plays on.

Linemen are critical players to the Wood Elf team, and never just LoS fodder. 7 3 4 7 is the stat line of a ball-playing dynamo! Faster than many teams' positionals, these players are well capable of doing almost anything, with only a little favour from Nuffle filling their sails. And once they get Block and Dodge ...

In addition to Blodge, it should be mentioned that it is very important for strategic reasons to take Kick very early on one Lineman. Good use of the Kick skill will significantly increase the number of touchdowns you will get on the opponent's offence. Guard is an excellent choice on doubles, but Guard-elves need to be used tactically in support of the Wardancer, not as part of an effort to out-block the entire opposing team.

The full range of options in developing your Wood Elf Linemen goes beyond the scope of this article.

Elfing it with other team lists

Some of the experience a coach gains by trying out this kind of strategy with Wood Elves can come in useful when running other teams. It's not advisable as a default strategy for most, but when it is turn 8 and there is still a chance to score, I see many coaches who still take all the two dice blocks before making the attempt at the TD.

Those two dice blocks may be unlikely to fail, but there is a fair chance (at least 1 in 36 for each one) that they will use up your Team re-roll for the turn: and you need that re-roll in order to have the best chance of succeeding at that long shot scoring effort. When these circumstances arrive, in my opinion it's time to play like Wood Elves, and do the risky thing first!

 
Admin Corner

Ah, an admin corner again!

This time it seems like it will actually be published more or less within days of me writing it, so this won't be quite as horribly out of date as you are used to. :)

So, the most major thing that happened since the last issue was the announcement that the ladder and divx divisions will be shut down. While you can still play matches in those divisions, it is no longer possible to create new teams for them. At some point, all existing teams will be transferred to the unranked division and the divisions will be officially announced shut down.

While this change doesn't really affect that many people there were a few who felt a certain amount of loss over this decision. There were a number of factors behind the decision to discontinue these divisions. The primary reason behind this move was slightly different for the divisions. DivX was created a long time ago with the purpose of testing a ruleset that potentially would be incorporated into the LRB. Now, these rules were later scrapped but DivX remained alive but without a real purpose. With the declining and nearly non-existent activity in the division, the choice was between updating it in an attempt to revive it, or simply shut it down. The latter was chosen because, like I said, the purpose of the division simply didn't exist anymore.

For the Ladder division, the original intent was to try a challenge system. Before it was introduced, a number of people requested a challenge feature and even though I was sceptical to the success of it I decided to implement it - If only to see if I was wrong. After the initial wave of games the interest for the division faded, and I ended up modifying the system more than once to see if I could spark a more permanent interest in the division. These changes failed to produce a regular player base. So the decision to shut down Ladder was made because even though several attempts were made to spark interest, only a handful of people participated.

One of the questions asked after this decision was made was why I couldn't simply leave them around for the handful of players that actually did play in them. The answer to that is simply that their existance makes the website more complex for newcomers. They look at the team generation screen and see divisions which make no sense, or look cool but are incredibly difficult to find games in. This consideration to newcomers to the community might be strange to some, but I for one feel that new members to FUMBBL have enough to figure out without being subjected to more complexity. I welcome any kind of growth to the community.

And these newcomers lead me on to the next change. The introduction of the Academy division. This division is mainly inteded for the new members to the community, and is a way for them to play games while learning how the client works, and how the website and community functions. Of course, anyone who wants to is free to create a team and play friendly games with anyone they wish to face. I am hoping that there will be a helpful tone in these matches and that anyone playing in here are willing to discuss tactics or strategy during the game, even helping their opponent to win the game.

Obviously, a lot of people have ideas on how to improve this division and I do intend to listen to the ideas. However, for now I am simply stepping back and looking at what the community does with it.

Well, this admin corner turned out to be longer than average. Thank you for reading and enjoy the rest of GLN. After all, you are the ones who make it possible!

 
How to Survive, then Thrive on FUMBBL.
by Texan

A Guide for New Coaches and Those Trying to Reinvent Themselves

I remember joining FUMBBL after winning a local tournament composed of a bunch of my buddies. Ah, my “unbeatable” high elves. Then I remember getting beaten like a step-child on FUMBBL. Is the dice generator broken? Is the guy somehow cheating? Is it because the client hates Americans? No, no, and yes, but no. It is because coaches here are better.

Synn: fumbbl coaches are the best in the world..... period

Did I give up? Should you? No, and no.

Attention new coaches (i.e. less than six months), this is for you! Experienced coaches trying to reinvent yourselves, this is also for you. As a fellow relatively new coach, I was lucky enough to run across a lot of great advice and I feel obligated to share some of it. Unlike some of the tactical articles in the GLN, this will not help you win with elves or orcs, but it will help you enjoy FUMBBL and achieve overall success. As the article title says, Survive, then Thrive.

Since I credit other coach’s help with my development, I use quotes from other coaches throughout.

Whether your goal is to win and have fun, or just have fun, this will hopefully help. And, as a preface, please always remember to follow common sense etiquette and the admins (and other coaches) will be your friend.

Mezir: If you wish to achieve anything on this site, you must curry favour with me.

Contained below are 10 of the truths (aka my opinions) that I have come across in my first 350 games or thereabouts.

To SURVIVE, you must have certain realizations:

1. Some people will be jerks, just like anywhere else.

shadow46x2: A coach's reputation is way too easy to find out if you hang out in the IRC channel and join the community. If they're sketchy, it'll be clear pretty soon... If they're a good coach... Same deal.

2. Every player you ever have will be either killed or retired, or have his team retired. The sooner you get over valuing a particular player or even team, the sooner you can relax and enjoy each game.

shadow46x2: Enjoy the boot... Pixels are pixels, and they're going to die... Learn to laugh at misery

3. The dice will hose you sometimes—they sometimes hose everyone. If you want to completely eliminate luck, play chess. You will go through dry spells — don’t let it ruin you. You will see strange things on FUMBBL because you will a lot more games than on table-top and see many thousands of dice rolls. With that many rolls, expect to see many double ones and double skulls and don’t let it get you down too much.

PurpleChest: 1: Recheck you basics. It's often not Nuffle, but you, that is screwing you. 2: Keep trying, dice fortunes change. 3: Lube up, lie back and dream of the time the sixes all come for you.

4. Some people will foul you a lot. Some people will stall. If you don't like it, don't play them. This does not make them a jerk or wrong, it is just their way of playing the game.

5. The coaches on FUMBBL are better than everywhere else and you will start off losing games, but it will make you better.

To THRIVE, you must do certain things:

1. Have fun chatting in IRC. You will meet other coaches and have a better chance of learning and finding good games and people. Keep a good attitude while doing this.

Mezir: Insert yourself slowly, don't troll, don't spam, don't shout. Get a feel for the site and the atmosphere before you start trying to make a name for yourself. And whatever you do, don't play deathgerbil.

2. Spectate the games of high-rated coaches and of races you want to play. It will give you a number of ideas.

Synn: I say start with a team and use them a bit for the development, see how different tactics work. Then you get a general idea on skills like Guard, Sure Hands, Tackle and such.

3. When your players die, and they will, laugh about it and be a good sport when things don't go your way. Coaches you will play remember how you helped them enjoy their good luck and they may do the same for you.

Malthor: When you dice rape your opponent really bad, show some respect and remember their name the next morning, heh.

Synn: I hate it when my opponent makes me feel like the only reason I am winning is because of one snake-eyes. I think the average game has something like over two hundred dice rolled per side. (Ed: It's actually more likely to be over double that figure.)

4. Read a coach's bio and their teams' bios before you play them — they may contain information important to you.

5. Read the FAQs and help files. This should really be #1. They will answer most of your questions — including why you don't ignore Fan Factor when creating a new team.

shadow46x2: 1: Read ... the ... rulebook.

And just remember:

Malthor: DON'T let your wife see all the pictures of hot women you have spent hours searching for on the internet and lovingly cropped to show maximum cleavage so that they can play on your Amazon team.

If you stop having fun, take a break, have a drink and get some.

 
FUMBBL's Focus Match
by pac

Sunday, 16th April - Final of the inaugural Warpstone Open: Black Axe vs Deepwood Junkies.

Team Profile: Black Axe (Orcs) coached by Petter

Founded at the end of last year, the Black Axe have built themselves up rapidly into a formidable outfit, with 46 games under their belts before the final of the Warpstone Open. Their main assets are their brutal and highly experienced Black Orcs and Blitzers, able to form an almost unbreachable line, and devastate any opposition with their blocking. Having defeated the renowned Blood Falcons during qualification, there can be little doubt that the Black Axe now fear no opposition.

Blitzer Zazh Fleshhoarder is the team's leading Star, his willingness to put his whole body into a block having helped to earn him a total of 23 career casualties, including 7 during the Warpstone Open finals and qualifiers. He is also one of only three Black Axe players to have played in each of the team's 46 matches. With 2 casualties, a touchdown, a completion, and the MVP in the semi-final, Zazh comes into the big game in top form.

Coach Petter was modest about his chances ahead of the kick-off, saying: "FischerKing is a brilliant coach and he has a very strong team. I give myself about 35% to win the game. If I don't get lucky with casualties I don't see myself as the winner after that game. I hope the spectators will enjoy the game, I'll do my best to put on a good show!"

Team Profile: Deepwood Junkies (Wood Elves) coached by FischerKing

With 337 games behind them, the Deepwood Junkies are currently the 13th most experienced side in the Ranked division. Although they do have an appearance in the final rounds of the Fumbbl Cup to their name, their present run is already the team's greatest tournament performance in its long history. The Junkies squad possesses huge reserves of talent, despite the fact that its longest-serving players have only been around for a fraction of the team's total life-span.

Catcher Ashstar Cometwhine is the team's leading Star, and also leading scorer, with 26 touchdowns in 45 matches. The player has been quiet during the Open so far, with only an MVP and a single touchdown in different matches in the qualifiers, and no outstanding performances in the finals. Since Ashstar is known to be fragile and somewhat injury-prone, he may have been being protected by his coach, or perhaps he has simply been saving his best for the final itself.

Coach FischerKing gave us his own exclusive analysis of the match-up: "When two so different yet so complete teams face each other, much comes down to things like kick-off results, armour and injury rolls, and single important dice rolls... If the Orcs take out many Wood Elves quickly, things might get hard for us as the team's Stars get exposed. On the other hand, the Deepwood Junkies are extremely dangerous (among the best teams on Fumbbl at sacking) if you make a mistake, and if Petter isn't careful or fails a crucial dice roll, the game might be over by turn 6 first half."

The verdict from the gallery ahead of this one was that the Junkies were at a major advantage, with their ability to score at almost any time, and - unusually for an elf team - a reasonably deep squad which should keep them in competitive shape throughout normal time. For the Black Axe to win, they would have to somehow force the elves to play them at their own game, where their superior power and muscle would inevitably win the day.

The Match

162,000 fans (including as many as 100 Fumbbl coaches) streamed into the stadium, buzzing with the breaking news that both sides had hired Wizards for the game, the Junkies also freebooting a Catcher, and the Black Axe calling upon the services of Varag Ghoul-Chewer himself! The two teams were evenly matched in rating terms, and both players carrying niggling injuries turned up fit to play. Coach FischerKing won the coin toss, and chose for his elves to receive.

The Junkies secured the short kick, but the Orcs' armour held up to their opening blocks and fouls. The elves then began to run receivers through the Black Axe line, but suffered an early set-back as Crazy Diamond mis-timed his leap, crashing to the ground surrounded by opposing players. The Orcs moved quickly to close down this limited breakthrough, and Ort Slavechild slid in to perform a nasty ground-blitz on the unfortunate Crazy Diamond. The referee could hardly miss such a blatant foul however, and neither player was to take any further part in the match.

In closing up their centre, however, the Orcs had opened up their right flank slightly, and the Junkies pacy Catchers now raced to exploit that gap, as the entire team spread out and evaded the Orcs. The Black Axe players pursued, while the Junkies' Thrower Nebril Neverscatter, safe and deep in his own half, watched the situation develop and waited for an opportunity. Despite much of the crowd anticipating delaying tactics, the Junkies took their first opportunity to find the touchdown, a quick feint from Neverscatter sending all the Orcs the wrong way, as he made a hand-off to Ashstar Cometwhine, who raced down the side-line to throw a pin-point pass to Dodger Strangelove in the end-zone. A precision manoeuvre with no margin for error, perfectly executed.

Black Axe 0 - Deepwood Junkies 1

The Junkies set up to defend with a widely spread line-up, looking to get behind the Black Axe and deep into their half at the first opportunity. The Orcs attacked aggressively, seeking to respond to the elf touchdown the best way they knew how: by shedding blood. The Junkies twisted away from their blows however, and those that landed carried little force. Worse was to come as Ragrag Three-eyes missed his pick-up on the ball kicked deep, and the Junkies' Catchers again sensed their chance.

Ashstar Cometwhine - seeking to confirm himself as the star man of the game - raced across the pitch, snatching the ball from under the very noses of the startled Orcs. But he allowed himself just one taunt too many as he skipped away, slipping on a loose piece of turf and crashing to the ground with a nasty crack. This stroke of luck allowed Ragrag to secure the ball, but the rest of his team continued to block weakly, and the big Thrower looked poorly protected...

Undeterred by Cometwhine's misfortune, the mobile Junkies rapidly closed down Ragrag, managing to bring him down and even get the ball to their freebooted Catcher, who ran straight across the Orcish line to score - when many spectators had again expected delaying action. Nonetheless, the elves now had a two-point lead, and now had a great air of confidence about them.

Black Axe 0 - Deepwood Junkies 2

Knowing they really needed to get a touchdown back before the end of the first half, the Black Axe set up aggressively again, risking a repeat performance of the Junkies ball-stealing antics. Perhaps put off their stride by the rock thrown from the crowd which stunned one of their Blockers, the initial Orc blocking was ineffective once again, although Zazh Fleshhoarder compensated a little by piling onto his target, knocking him out, while Ragrag was able to safely collect the ball deep.

Trying to force an Orcish mistake, the Junkies pressed up bravely to man-mark their opponents, before Ilmarin impressively wriggled loose of the Black Axe scrum and sprinted off to mark Ragrag himself. The powerful Thrower knocked the Catcher aside, and ran forward, but still found himself isolated from most of his team-mates, and in danger of again being sacked by the Junkies.

At this critical moment however, the Junkies could not quite get the position they needed to bring Ragrag down. The Orcish scrum charged in and pushed Ragrag free, while Zazh Fleshhoarder - marauding downfield - scored yet another KO. Ragrag now pulled out all the stops, masterminding a move which carried the ball downfield to Varag Ghoulchewer himself, waiting unmarked near the Junkies end zone. However, the wily old Blitzer - well aware of the elven ability to score very fast touchdowns - waited until the very last second of the half to touch the ball down, while carefully staying out of the elven Wizard's lightning bolt range.

Black Axe 1 - Deepwood Junkies 2

Both sides now steeled themselves for the second half: the Junkies knew they would be fortunate for the Orcs to block so poorly for a second half; the Black Axe with their coach's orders to protect the ball more closely still ringing in their ears. Both sides had yet to employ the powers of their respective Wizards...

Again the elves kicked the ball deep, and the Orcs struggled to cage effectively, while the Junkies sought to put a screen between Ragrag and the rest of his team. Finally, the Black Axe managed to form a protective pocket around their Thrower, only for the air to burst into flames around them as the elven Wizard intervened!

The Black Axe players were not unprepared, having been drilled in preparation for this all week! As one, the Orcs produced asbestos cloaks, and ducked beneath them, protecting themselves almost completely from the effects of the blast (except for one Orc who somehow got trapped beneath his cloak and panicked). The elves closed in, but they had not managed to expose the ball as they had been counting on.

But now the Black Axe had drawn the Junkies into their sort of game. In a close tight scrum the elves' pace and graceful dodging skills were of limited value. Ragrag could never quite get free of their grasp, but the elves could never quite get the ball out of the Orcish ruck. And steadily the Orc fouls and blocks began to bite, as they removed the last elven Catcher from the pitch, along with their less experienced Thrower, and Kip Walker, whose brave and ambitious blitz on Ragrag had ended in failure.

Gorbag Hellfire for the Black Axe and Kynde for the Junkies were each sent off as the game turned nasty, but now the elves were left with nothing standing in the way of the Orcish drive. The Black Axe cage rumbled forwards, Zazh smashing aside Wardancer Beregrin Shadowmind - who had positioned himself as a last line of defence - for Ragrag to score.

Black Axe 2 - Deepwood Junkies 2

The teams took stock of their situation as the game went into Overtime. Only six players from the elf team emerged from the dug-out, while the Black Axe had not suffered a single casualty.

Clearly demoralised, Neverscatter fumbled his efforts to collect the ball twice, and the Black Axe capitalised, beginning the work of smashing the luckless Thrower's team-mates off the pitch. Neverscatter finally managed to make a pass, but it proved far too late as the Orcs closed in, Zazh Fleshhoarder confirming his selection as GLN Man of the Match by killing inexperienced Line-elf Casper. With just one elf - Neverscatter - and the Junkies' Treeman left on the pitch, there was nothing left to stop the Black Axe from stomping relentlessly to victory, Durghash Deathcry getting the winning touchdown.

Final Score: Black Axe 3 - Deepwood Junkies 2

Post-match interviews:

Fischerking: I was close to closing out the game 3 times after I made it 2-0, I think. But I didn't have the luck needed to do it. In the first half, I actually had a decent chance of sacking him, but didn't get a needed pushback ... In the second half, I had a shot at him if my Wizard had worked, but only 1 out of 5 was hit. After that I got a 2-dice blitz on the ball, but I failed a 2+ dodge to get it downfield. Bitterness aside, congrats on the win, Petter: Sweden 1 - Denmark 0!

Petter: What a game! To summarize I'd say that FischerKing played a near-perfect game. He took command of the game early on, he utilized the movement and agility, and he played a better game of Blood Bowl than I did. My biggest coaching mistake was clinching with the treeman. Bad stuff. I had a miserable first half as the dice went, managed incredibly few blocks, but that all turned around massively in the second half - which could probably be described as D.R. (you know what the abbreviation stands for).

The GLN also attempted to interview the three Black Axe players who sported new mutations as the prize of their victory. However, Hark Bloodfist's Two Heads were too busy arguing with one another to speak to us; Zazh Fleshhoarder couldn't hear any of our questions as he towered far over us on his Very Long Legs; and interviewing Ort Slavechild just proved to be too dangerous, as his Spikes lacerated anyone who tried to offer him a microphone.

 
Coach Couch

Welcome to ‘Coach Couch’! Here we drag four random coaches off the street and fire questions at them, in the hope they say something interesting. If not, the questions turn into bricks. Tonight we’ve picked a BIG topic: ‘What does it take to be successful in an open league like [R]?’ and to help us pick it apart we have roped in 4 grizzled veterans of the [R] system:
FischerKing: Fumbbl Cup IV and Warpstone I finalist. 393 [R] games.
RandomOracle: Proud member of several White Lists. 218 R games.
kfoged: FUMBBL Cup IV winner and legendary Nandorins coach. 901 R games
HickoryDuff: Proud to have the lowest CR here and playing for fun. 284 R games.

GLN: Let's start with a gentle warm up question, check the mikes are working. One random fact about yourself as yet unknown to FUMBBL please.
FischerKing: I hate LotR movies - dang they already know. :P
RandomOracle: I like Buffy the Vampire Slayer. :)
HickoryDuff: I never watched the LotR movies. :P
kfoged: My favourite thing to do is read books, not playing Blood Bowl.

GLN: So, hardball time. The topic is 'What does it take to be successful in an open league like (R)?'. Best place to start is probably: What does success mean to you? Both as a player and for a team?
RandomOracle: I'd say there are three aspects to being successful in [R]. On-pitch performance, team development and meta-gaming, i.e. picking your games. You don't need the last one, but it's very commonly done. I guess by success I mean creating a team that has a good winning record and that is strong in terms of TR/TS consistently
FischerKing: Well, I would say that your defining your own criteria’s of success. Mine wouldn’t be the same as Wuhan, to me it means making a name of my team and a name for myself as a coach
kfoged: My criterium is winnings. Trying to say that I’m playing for fun, but it is simply not funny to lose every game.
HickoryDuff: Success usually means that you have a team that could beat every other team (at that ranking), and that as a player, you get to have games. You could have the best bashy team, but if no one plays you, well there’s no way to prove you have a great team (apart from on paper)
FischerKing: My criterium is winning too, but not at any cost.
kfoged: I won't do anything to win [Editor: I feel insulted, vaguely], but it is the main goal when playing anything...

GLN: Great stuff. Winning does seem to be a common theme. I'm shocked. Let’s move there. What is the single most important factor in have a winning team in [R]?
RandomOracle: On-pitch tactics. Team development matters, but it's what you do on the pitch that counts.
HickoryDuff: Right now, it's the guts too take out your opponent's best players, no matter what.
FischerKing: Gut feeling on the pitch, knowing your team, building it to suit you.
RandomOracle: Yeah, knowing your team and your race is a big part of it.
kfoged: On-pitch tactics are very important. I have played many who only have ONE way to build up their game and never do anything else.
FischerKing: I would agree with kfoged here

GLN: So is a variety of tactics key?
RandomOracle: If you played varied games, yes. You can of course play only games of a single type, so you don't need to be that varied.
FischerKing: Though you have some way you prefer to play, you need to know a lot of tactics and strats, apart from that one. It’s a dice game, so you can never fully predict what will happen, you just have to make the best of what happens.
RandomOracle: It's also good to know how to play the team your opponent is playing - that way you can better anticipate his moves and needs.
kfoged: Everybody who have seen my games, knows I like to play a simple passing game... ;O) So yeah.
HickoryDuff: You need to know how to break the others' strategy, being flexible, and being able to change strategies on the fly is key.

GLN: Assuming ‘Team X’ plays only one way against mainly one type of opponent and has a winning record. Would you personally define that as a success?
FischerKing: No.
kfoged: No.
HickoryDuff: No.
RandomOracle: A limited success. The thing that matters is what the coach who created the team views as success.
FischerKing: Like dwarf teams avoiding Orcs and Chaos, getting a winning record. I don’t think that’s success.
kfoged: Not a success after my head that is. But if he having "fun" and likes what he is doing and think he is great. I don't really care
HickoryDuff: That’s just taking the easy way up.
RandomOracle: If you're asking whether I would respect that team as much others who played more varied games then the answer is no.
FischerKing: Well, my problem with Elf bowlers, with EMU teams, with hardcore killer teams are the same: they focus on one kind of opponent, and the opponent haven’t focused their teambuilding on them, so they gain an unfair advantage that way.

GLN: Staying with teams then, what races are best suited (in your opinions) to open league play. Assuming they plan to at least try and play varied opponents?
RandomOracle: I'd say any team can do it assuming they're willing to rebuild, the thing is, you can rebuild pretty much any team since this is an open environment but if I had to pick one race for varied play it'd be Orcs.
HickoryDuff: The ones that are best able to play both type of games (bashy and elf bowl) surprisingly, I think Skaven are up there for teams that could play anyone and have a good time at it.
kfoged: I'm in love with High Elves. I can't say anything else. ;O)
FischerKing: In open play Wood Elves are a very good team, Chaos too, and Orcs are strong at all TRs.

GLN: Any teams you avoid in [R]? RandomOracle: Khemri and Ogres.
FischerKing: Fluff teams I won’t play in ranked and (that’s my personal preference) teams that wont do well at high ratings. I don’t like Norse and Amazon, because its such a starter team, and I would need to retire it at one point. Something I don’t do.
HickoryDuff: Khemri. I find Elven, Norse and Amazon teams are a whole lotta fun to play. Orcs and Khemri, less so.
kfoged: I like "picking" Khemri teams.. Just to run in circles around them..
RandomOracle: Fun to do with Dwarves, I'd think. ;)
kfoged: Getting bloody, but you normally win. I have a saying (not so nice but what ever), that the only thing more stupid than the Khemri team, is the most persons playing with it.
FischerKing: Laughs. I don’t know, it’s a hard team to win with I think

GLN: Next, let's go into team design. My first question: What’s a good squad size for Open League play?
FischerKing: With Elf teams, 16
GLN: 16? Really?
FischerKing: Yes. If you want to keep the team running, you need replacements.
RandomOracle: Yeah.
kfoged: YES! (And even more important if you play tournaments with them.)
HickoryDuff: Bashy, if you have more than 13 players, some players don't get developed. It might be 16 for Elves, but you never have that many players on your squad anyway!
RandomOracle: I find my Orcs and Chaos needing quite a few players as well. You really don't want to get outnumbered, so having a reserve is useful as you can lose players to a spotted foul or against a bashy team, etc.
FischerKing: With a Dwarf team, I would say you could do with 13 - 14 players.

GLN: What about assistant coaches? And can anyone speak up for cheerleaders?
RandomOracle: Never cheerleaders for me and only coaches when you retire players. However, I always fire assistant coaches if it drops me to a lower income bracket
kfoged: I have ONE coach and that’s only on Nandorins. No money for cheerleaders.
HickoryDuff: Coaches usually 1 or 2, more than that and it’s not worth it. Cheerleaders? I've never seen one.
FischerKing: I never use cheerleaders because I have to buy them and I need my money.
RandomOracle: Halflings could benefit from cheerleaders as part of RR denial strategy.

GLN: HOORAY! Something positive about cheerleaders. Next up, what is the ideal number of rerolls for open league play?
FischerKing: 5.
RandomOracle: I think 6 is pretty ideal.
kfoged: 6.
HickoryDuff: I'd say the ideal number would be 5.
RandomOracle: If you get Doom & Gloom, 5 drops to 2 rerolls and I do end up using all six sometimes, meaning 5 wouldn't have been enough. 6 just feels so secure, you can try some crazy dodging with Orcs with 6.
FischerKing: That’s true, but a rr buffs your TR too much.

GLN: Do you expect/rely on winning Kick Off rolls? Is a big FF important?
FischerKing: Big FF is important, yes, in keeping a big team alive. Pitch Invasions, Re-Rolls, Get the Ref, Throw a Rock.
RandomOracle: Big FF is important, but mostly for the cash. Especially on expensive teams, a Get the Ref result could win you the game if you have a DP or two. High FF teams also find games easier.
HickoryDuff: Very important, especially at higher TR for cash.
kfoged: To take it into the pitch, I can really feel that my FF is dropped from about 33 to about 19-20 on Nandorins.

GLN: Talking of DP’s, do you need a DP in [R]? is it essential?
RandomOracle: Considering you can pick your games, no. But I do think I need at least one if I try to play varied games.
FischerKing: I feel I need one, though my playing style is not fouling.
HickoryDuff: After 200 TR, he gets pretty essential. I'm not saying that you need one to win, but almost everyone is playing with one, especially if you play bashy teams.
kfoged: If you can't win with out DP, you're not good enough!
FischerKing: Says the Elf coach. :P
kfoged: Essential? I won the FUMBBL Cup IV without it. ;)
RandomOracle: I'd say having one DP does add value to your team, more than a normal skill is usually worth, you don't necessarily have to use a DP for it to be useful.
HickoryDuff: It just adds the "Lets not start the fouling thing, cause I could do that too" element.

GLN: What about apoth use. How does open play affect that?
FischerKing: Don’t apoth MNG.
HickoryDuff: Exactly.
RandomOracle: Save the apoth for permanent injuries, unless for some reason you really need to win this one game.
FischerKing: Sometimes, take a permanent injury if it doesn’t hurt him a lot.
RandomOracle: Like BOBs with -AG.
FischerKing: Apoth nigglers if the player is just a little bit important. Niggle equals RIP in most cases.
kfoged: Agreed.
HickoryDuff: Yup.
FischerKing: Apoth mng's in the last 2 turns maybe, if you’re feeling lucky.

GLN: So do you try and carry no nigglers in open league play?
HickoryDuff: Usually, they aren't worth it
FischerKing: I allow myself 1 niggler if he’s really good.
RandomOracle: I might keep some very useful players with niggles. +ST usually required, however, not more than 1 or 2.
kfoged: Yes, 1. If he is really good.
FischerKing: Yea, some +AGs too, a super thrower maybe.

GLN: And what about TR drag? Does it bother you if players get too many SPP? Do you ever consider, or have you ever, fired a player to lower TR?
FischerKing: I actually did. A MV10 AG5 block dodge catch leap sidestep –AV Elf. I sacked that player because he got too many spp's and had -AV so he was a defensive liability.
RandomOracle: If they have injuries then certainly I would.
kfoged: I fired my best player ever on Fumbbl to get down in TR. In fact I have fired two legends without injuries on the Nandorins.
HickoryDuff: I had to once. If your team is rebuilding and you have that one 100+ SPP player, while the rest are at 20 SPP, then its time for him to go.

GLN: Let’s talk metagaming. Is cherry picking essential to open league play success? Ducks.
RandomOracle: Not essential, you don't have to do it but it does increase your winning chances dramatically.
FischerKing: Cherry picking? Depends how you define it. Some would say, that an Elf team that never plays basher build teams are cherry picking. That’s one kind of cherry picking...
kfoged: What is cherry picking? I will never start a game I don't think I had a chance off winning. Is that cherry picking?
RandomOracle: I'd say it's about what's fun for you. Do you like playing even games and don't mind having to rebuild once in a while? Cherry picking is not a big deal.
kfoged: Sometimes I stay out of trouble and playing soft games? I sometimes take on team I know I most likely will beat?
FischerKing: But you could take hard games to win that way too. You could cherry pick down in coach rating…
RandomOracle: If you only care about winning, you probably cherry pick.
FischerKing: Cherry pick down in TS…
HickoryDuff: There’s always another way of doing it.

GLN: OK. Finally name one coach you consider a 'success'. ‘Big someone up’ and ‘show them the love’.
kfoged: If not FischerKing had been here it had been him :P
RandomOracle: Heh, was thinking the same thing.
FischerKing: Laughs. You know I can’t handle information like that I simply fill up with hot air and float away. :P
RandomOracle: I'm going to go with Gitzbang: great teams, a lot of games for each. Wonderful teams, pictures and he doesn't shy away from games. Very funny and chatty opponent who doesn't complaing about the dice.
HickoryDuff: Mully. BadMrMojo. I also have respect for AFK_Eagle and his Weapon Masters.
kfoged: oh well I have a huge respect for Falcone. But the list is kinda long...
FischerKing: Let's see, Wuhan has my respect for his winning personality. Smess, for his coaching. Gitzbang for....well....being Gitzbang
GLN: Thanks very muchly for your time.
FischerKing: Anyone want to keep talking cherry picking?

 
Interview with a Chosen

GLN: Hi, this is Dooby for the Grotty Little Newspaper, and we have with us here today the all shining star from Teeth and Ladies, Tyra Banks, former thrall, now Chosen of Nurgle. Welcome Tyra.

Tyra Banks: Thank you Dooby.

GLN: We have just heard that, according to the recent Publication ‘The Stunty Records’, you are now officially the best all round stunty player in FUMBBL history. How do you respond to this?”

Tyra: Well it’s not really something that surprises me. If it wasn't for my ridiculously small size, I would be able to compete in the big leagues. But then again, I would probably humiliate them all, and they would just try and kill me. But it’s not like I haven’t been killed before. Actually I have been dead so many times now that I have lost count.

GLN: You are also the most expensive stunty player in history, how do your teammates react to this?

Tyra: Well, what they say or do has little meaning to anyone, because the team pretty much exists only because of me. They don’t even have enough money to hire vamplings anymore. And seeing as we are competing in the Tzeentch’s Chainsaw Massacre at the moment, we are taking heavy casualties, so we have a hard time stocking up on players or fodder as our lord calls them. And yes I am expensive, and if anyone else tells you otherwise... let me know!

GLN: I have heard that your wage demands have caused your team mates to resort to using second hand boots and that the team owner’s wife has had to sell her wedding ring. Is this true?

Tyra: Well, we all make sacrifices. Not me, of course. I even have a personal apothecary. Not everyone is happy about that either, but thrallings come and go. I don’t. I am planning to stay. I want to be the greatest ever.

GLN: It is without doubt you are a great player. As such, why do you foul so often?

Tyra: Haha, I just love blood. I love to see it smeared all over the pitch, I love jumping up and down on a silly treeman until I can hear the branches crumple under my heavily spiked boots. And sometimes, it keeps me safe... Silly ref.

GLN: As far as we are aware there are only three stunty Legends, is that your ultimate goal or do you have higher goals? It's just that we heard that you were going to open a bank - Tyra Banks' Bank.

Tyra: I will be the greatest. As far I as am concerned I am the greatest right now, but that's just me. I will be legendary, even if old age might slow me down a bit. As for the bank, yes I have starting making some small arrangements. Only problem about that is that I can’t count. I used to, but since the R.O.T. final, I haven’t been able to focus quite as well. Sometimes, I simply just stop. It’s a very weird feeling. But when you have been blessed by the Great Unclean One, you can’t expect it to be all good. I lost my good looks, that’s for sure. But I still think I am the best looking.

GLN: Are you planning to compete in other events soon?

Tyra: Well right now my boots are making sure that we are winning the Tzeentch’s Chainsaw Massacre points race at least. And after that, well lets see what comes up. When the R.O.T. starts, we will win that again. That was really fun, and the reason that I am what I am today.

GLN: That’s all for now, we will here at stunty records continue to follow your further boot kicking and excellent passing game. As we know you want that title as well. Good luck in the upcoming R.O.T and with the final round of Tzeentch’s Chainsaw Massacre. Keep it bloody.

Tyra: Thank you Dooby, I will. I am dirty to the bone, you know.

Tzeentch’s Chainsaw Massacre's group stage has just ended, the first of May. Any number of points gave you a chance to win a ticket to the play-offs via the tournament's lottery. The winners of this Massacre's lottery, and continuing on to the play-offs are:

To all the other teams that competed in this Stunty Leeg Event (of Death, Gore and Explosions): Better luck in the next lottery! SLEDGE is fun for all the family! (Except possibly for the parts of it that get killed.)

 
FUMBBL Classifieds: For Sale

Item:Block Dice
Category:Cursed Itemry
Description:

Three bruised and battered dice, but still perfectly serviceable, with barely noticeable hammer marks! Other than this they are normal block dice, that despite all evidence to the contrary have only one face showing a Skull. It has been rumoured that a POW! face is also present, but it has never been seen.

Price:I will pay you no less than 1000 GP to take these babies off my hands! Contact NuffleHatesMe for more information.

 
Obituaries/Valedictories

  • Mr. Meaner, Wardancer for County Break Outs
    Thousands have wished it and now it has finally happened at the hands of a High Elf Blitzer named Khan, from Federation Empire. The Toughest Mamba Jamba to break out of the County Lock up is now the deadest Mamba Jamba. Coach Redman doesn't get to collect the EMU bounty of 100 points since his team was not part of EMU. Mr. Meaner is now only a memory. Flags will be at half mast. County Break Outs coach keggiemckill was last seen curled into a ball, sobbing.
  • Err, Zombie for Commercial Corruption
    Err, who had taken over the leadership roll on Commercial Corruption, was tragically killed by the highly imaginative and versatile team of Inkaprettatori. The end of the game was close, but not close enough. There will be no commercial break today, as sadness comes to TV land.
  • Calamity Hangnoose, Gutter Runner for Stockholm Plaguebearers
    Stockholm Plaguebearers prolific goalscorer, Calamity Hangloose, died on the pitch today as the result of a tough blow to the groin area in a match against a chaos team known more for it's brawn than for it's brains.

    Having already rescued painbringer in the making Bad Breed from a fatal wound, the apothecary was unable to save Calamity's life. Of course, it was only logical that Calamity recieved the MVP award after this game, that not only contained death, but also a never before seen act of sheer elfballing that meant the assist to an astonishing touchdown.

    Calamity will be grieved by only a small group of family members and close friends, but surely the players of the Plaguebearers will feel something is missing in the locker room as the team head out to the pitch for their next game.

    In addition, fans of fearless elfball with a spice of carnage will also surely miss this player who always seemed to find a solution to a problem (often related to the ball, cages of beastmen and insane odds) in ways unimaginable to others.

    One of the most promising intercepting players of the league, according to some, Calamity's premature demise will always leave us wonderring what could have been.

    Rest in peace, Calamity Hangloose.

     
  • How to contribute
    by the GLN editors

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    House style for the GLN

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    • FUMBBL is spelt in all capitals... NOT Fumbbl.
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    • Races and positions are capitalised when they are referred to individually, so for instance you would talk about an Orc Blitzer, not an orc blitzer.
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    Acknowledgements

    The Grotty Little Newspaper would like to thank everybody who made this issue possible:

    Chainsaw <!--Card [Mezir.jpg] Mezir, 6 2 4 7 27, Chainsaw, Dodge, Right Stuff, Block, +AG-->
    Kicker <!--Card [christernew.jpg] Christer, 7 2 3 7 19, Dirty Player, Dodge, Right Stuff, Stunty, +MA, Side Step-->
    Bomber <!--Card [candle.gif] Candlejack, 6 2 4 6 36, Bombs, Dodge, Strong Arm, Pass, -AV,+AG-->
    Fanatic <!--Card [avatar016.gif] Pac, 4 6 3 7 5, Ball & Chain-->
    Pogo Stick <!--Card [donkosak_avatar.jpg] DonKosak, 6 2 3 7 12, Dodge, Pogo Stick, Right Stuff , Side Step-->
    Fanatic <!--Card [heinz.jpg] heinz, 4 6 3 7 10, Ball & Chain, Diving Tackle-->
    Chainsaw <!--Card [mikafreak.jpg] Mikafreak, 6 2 3 7 21, Chainsaw, Dodge, Right Stuff, Side Step, Block-->
    Pogo Stick <!--Card [pcavatar.jpg] Purplechest, 6 2 3 7 17, Dodge, Pogo Stick, Right Stuff , Side Step, Diving Tackle-->
    Bomber <!--Card [hindsberg.jpg] Hindsberg, 6 2 3 7 19, Bombs, Dodge, Strong Arm, Accurate-->
    Kicker <!--Card [janzki.jpg] Janzki, 6 2 3 7 9, Dirty Player, Dodge, Right Stuff, Stunty, Block-->
    Goblin <!--Card [montagne.jpg] Montagne, 6 2 3 7 24, Dodge, Right Stuff, Stunty, Tackle, Side Step -->
    Goblin <!--Card [QB.jpg] Mr_QB, 6 2 3 7 12, Dodge, Right Stuff, Stunty, Piling On -->



     


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