Grotty Little NewspaperIssue 15 - December 24th 2514
News & Views
Reindeers and chainsaw: the new GLN has arrived!
Road to the NAF Championship
When the NAF meets FUMBBL!
Interview with neoliminal
Garion interviews a former member of the BBRC
An anti-rant at this time of goodwill to all men!
Because the GLN likes puppies and ponies too (more on that in the cooking section)!
A question of succession
Luke, I am your father... number XVI!
Cooking with Kam
Slann legs and oysters: all you need for a great Christmas dinner!
How to keep your calm
Stonetroll tells us about his bromance with Brasky
Interview with a beta tester
Garion tells us about beta testing
Bring Out The GIMP! – An Idiot’s Guide
How to make nice, simple logos
The heart of FUMBBL
How to remain calm when CPOMB isn't working
My break from FUMBBL
Because the GLN believes in second chances!
The other half of Blood Bowl
Running Fluff, Leagues, and Fluffy Leagues!
The Last YARR
How to feed more Halflings to Chaos Warriors
Der Green Tide Offishul Istory
Help! Translator needed!
Bring out your dead!
A faraway village in the land of Norska... Some strange cultists wrapped in a green robe are intoning an incantation while Goblins around are ringing tiny little bells. A dark smoke starts surrounding the scene. They're trying to awake an old, forgotten Chaos God.
HE has returned. Standing on its war chariot, swaddled in a blood stained coat, HE glazes the assembly. His monstrous horny steed is howling under the moon, and rushes in the darkness of the night. None of the cultists will be able to forget the sound of his demonic, demented voice... "Ho ho ho".
The Moot. A Halfling is stuffing a turkey. Someone's knocking on the door. HE is here.
- Bilbo... Baggins...
- Ah, come on, not that one, it's getting old... Such a cliché! Geez!
- The... precious...
- Enough with that! You want a ring? Fine! Second street on the right, there's a jewellery. Now, begone! I have to put this turkey in the oven, my maroons ain't even peeled... I'm busy! You've heard me? Sheesh!
The Halfling looks at the steed.
- Oh, wait, what kind of animal is that? Some sort of big deer isn't it? Hum... I'm wondering... Maybe you should enter for a minute. Give me that coat. Damn, it stinks! You've been butchering animals or what? Here, sit. I'm going to take care of your deer.
The Halfling gets out.
- I'm sure the family will enjoy some exotic food. Wait a minute! What is that? He's left his bag outside... I guess I could have a look. A chainsaw with a ribbon? What is he going to do with that? A helmet... A few bombs... A brand-new pogo stick... Is that some sort of presents? Hum... What do we have here? Is it a cookbook? Grotty... Little... Newspaper... That gives me an idea...
After three years of absence, the Grotty Little Newspaper has finally returned, with a brand new layout, new articles, recipes, Goblin language lessons, and ponies, a bunch of ponies! Merry Christmas, FUMBBL!
Road to the NAF Championship
With the Road to the NAF Championship (RTTNAFC) fast approaching, I’m delighted to be able to give the GLN our first update!
Since our first announcement, much work has been undertaken between the NAF and FUMBBL to help make the tournament a reality. Of course, chief among those working hard is Christer, who is busily working behind the scenes to ready FUMBBL for the off. I’m happy to now be able to release some new details about the tournament, and also offer some thoughts on how things are going to progress in the future as resurrection Blood Bowl comes to FUMBBL.
Firstly, some further details:
- We’re planning to begin the tournament on January 12th 2015
- There will be 6 rounds of Swiss, each lasting one week
- The rules of the RTTNAFC will match those of the NAFC 2015
- Resurrection Blood Bowl, including the RTTNAFC, will take place in the [L]eague division. A modified team creation interface will be unveiled (so please don’t make a team now!)
- We are still working hard to provide an online records / rankings variant for NAF members
- The NAF will go on to run a sanctioned tournament on FUMBBL every 4-6 weeks
- When the RTTNAFC is live, resurrection Blood Bowl functionality will become available to the whole FUMBBL userbase
- You can expect a full RTTNAFC rulespack to be published (including details on how to create a team) in mid December and to be able to register for the event by the end of 2014
- The winner will receive a free ticket (worth £55) to the NAFC. In the event he cannot attend; he will receive the free gifts NAFC delegates get anyway
- One coach that completes all 6 games will be selected at random and also win the NAFC free gifts. This is one of the "carrots" we will use to ensure as many games as possible are completed; there may also be ‘sticks’ (such as exclusion from further NAF events for failing to play games)
- A Stunty Cup will be presented to the highest placed Stunty coach
I hope the above answers some of the questions many of you have raised in the forum and news article thread. There are still some details to be worked out, but I hope these will be covered in the full rulespack mentioned above.
The tournament is due to finish before the special rate deal on the NAFC hotel expires, so our winner has the opportunity to receive cheap board and breakfast. Should our winner already have purchased a NAFC ticket, he will receive a refund. Don’t wait until the RTTNAFC to book your ticket for the biggest individual coach party of 2015! The NAFC never ceases to impress, and I can heartily recommend that you join us in Nottingham regardless of how the RTTNAFC goes for you. Don’t worry about miniatures, the community will sort you out if you’re lacking. If you have any questions about the NAFC, feel free to PM Joemanji or myself and we will help you out.
Now for some thoughts on the future.
We will learn a lot from running the RTTNAFC, and we hope to take what we learn and apply it to future NAF sanctioned events. When resurrection functionality arrives on FUMBBL, there will likely be an explosion of this form of the game (tabletop) including several user based tournaments featuring a variety of weird and wonderful rules. NAF sanctioned events will use popular NAF tournament rulespacks from around the world, and are likely to be more of what NAF members expect to see when they attend a NAF sanctioned weekend. I hope that this initiative will bring many NAF coaches to FUMBBL, but also will encourage more online coaches to try a tabletop tournament. I have always said; if you’re only playing one form of our game, you’re missing out!
There are many advantages to being a NAF member. Quite apart from receiving an excellent free gift with your membership, you are able to vote to elect the NAF’s leadership and you will become part of the worldwide Blood Bowl coach association. It is an extremely worthwhile £5 to spend. Only NAF members will be able to track their online progress via the system we’re working upon. For further details on the NAF and how to join, visit thenaf.net.
The NAF is a worldwide organisation, and the team and I are going to keep this in mind when organising online tournaments. The RTTNAFC has a European feel to it with the NAFC being held in Nottingham (England), and we appreciate that coaches from outside of Europe committing to finding time once a week for six weeks to play in a Euro-centric event is tough. In the future, tournaments will focus on different timezones, such as American or Australian, to cater to coaches from around the world.
On a personal note; I cannot wait for this. When I first tried this form of the game in 2008, it felt somewhat alien, and there were several nuances and new tricks to enjoy and to learn. Now, I’ve become addicted, and I’ve travelled the world to meet new people in new places, make many firm friends and experience new Blood Bowling cultures. To see two organisations so close to my heart (the NAF and FUMBBL) collaborate to bring this form of the game to many that may not have had the opportunity to try it is a wonderful thing. I hope you take resurrection BB to your heart in the same way that I have; I’m going to do my best to ensure we deliver the finest tournament that we can.
Exciting times ahead. I will see you in the RTTNAFC draw in January! Until then, keep an eye on the forum, and please do ask any questions you may have. Before January rolls around, why not peruse the NAF tournaments taking place in your area? Full listings can be found on the NAF site or your regional tabletop forum.
January 2015 - when resurrection comes to FUMBBL! Better than Christmas?
Interview with Neoliminal
GLN: Hello John Lewis - for some better known as Neoliminal. For those who might not be familiar with your name, could you explain to us who you are?
I've been playing Blood Bowl since it first entered the market. Paper sheets and all. As the game evolved so did the way I interacted with it. When it finally matured to the Death Zone supplement it reached a maturity level where entire communities started to play. Leagues formed, rivalries began, and my enthusiasm for the game was infectious.
At the time I lived in Ann Arbor, MI. We had several core players and many leagues were played. Online newsgroups started to become part of my daily life and Blood Bowl was no exception. I had very strong opinions about the game and online I butted heads with several other coaches who also were strong minded. My particular beef was with fouling, which I felt was very over powered (which it was.)
I would travel to play in tournaments, in particular the tournaments in Toronto run by a great league there. It was then I realized two things. I would always be a second best Blood Bowl player. Just slightly above average. I have a long history of coming in second at tournaments.
I helped found the BBRC (more on this later).
There was talk of starting a dedicated player run club. Something world wide and I had big ambitions. Christer, Anthony, and many many others dove in with me and we started NAF. We had rankings and a website and, most importantly, for keeping the site alive, we had special Block Dice. Honestly, the group would never have stayed quite so competitive if we didn't have different Block Dice every year. I got to pick the first years colour and I wanted the exact opposite of what was in the game. Black and Gold. Getting my hands on the first set was like being a king among minions. They didn't block any better, but they felt like they did.
I got to travel to England and play in the Blood Bowl resurrection at Games Workshop. It was their largest event, ever. Amazing, eye opening, and pushing the limits of what Jervis had created into a full blown explosion.
After a few years of being the President of the NAF and being on the BBRC I had to retire from running things. I had burned myself out, running tournaments, travelling and recruiting. It came at a time when I needed to get away from gaming and so I stepped down, reluctantly, from all my positions of power. Blood Bowl never left my heart. I feel it is an amazing game and I've learned so much from its design.
Now I live in Costa Rica, and no one here has even heard of Games Workshop, much less Blood Bowl. I played on the "official" version for awhile and enjoyed it, but my internet connection here is not great and the FUMMBL client is much better for that. Now I play here.
GLN: How did you come into contact with the Blood Bowl game?
My first contact was in a hobby store in Ann Arbor. One of the salesmen there showed it to me and I freaked out. It looked amazing. I purchased it and a Halfling team (from blisters) immediately. The salesman and I ended up living together and that's when the first league started with the new rules. It just grew from there. Shane would sell Blood Bowl at the hobby store and we would have a new coach.
GLN: What would you consider your favourite team to play and why?
I love playing Orcs like they were Elves. My best painted team was my "Blue Orcs". Horridly ugly bastards that colour clashed something wild Orange and Blue. I joke that I won some games just because the Orcs were hard to look at. I eventually sold them online to someone in the EU. Not sure where they are now. I miss them.
I enjoy the passing game, but since I only had the Orcs, I learned to play them like High Elves. It takes a lot of Re-Rolls but you can dodge and pass with a nice doubles roll on a Blitzer. He does need a cage and if he falls, well he has a nice high armour value.
GLN: How much Blood Bowl do you get to play these days?
Much to my wife's disagreement I'm averaging about a game or two a day recently. Not sure how long my luck will last with that because we have a newborn daughter and our restaurant will be coming into tourist season which requires more attention. Most of my games are played late at night, Costa Rica time.
GLN: How did you get involved with the NAF?
It was Jervis' idea to start an organization outside of GW control. He gave us wide latitude to use some terms, like NAF. He sold us the NAF Blocking Dice and provided them every year. I became the President by default since we didn't have an election process yet. It progressed through the work of many many people. Luminaries of the early days.
At the time of the NAF there was a great forum in place and we were trying not to duplicate the use of that forum. We made the NAF an exclusive club. If you wanted to look at the content you had to join. Again, I think most joined for the dice.
GLN: How did you get involved in the BBRC between LRB1 and LRB5?
I was on a newsgroup dedicated to Blood Bowl and at the time Jervis would come and go as he could, which wasn't much. I noticed it was all too much for him so I offered to be his front man on the newsgroup, collecting questions and giving them to him all at once and then returning the answers. He liked the idea and after a couple of posts he came up with the idea for the BBRC.
Here's something I've never shared before. I was actually responsible for picking the first online members. I never spoke of this before because there was already so much tension in those days. Too many disagreements about different rules. It was a hard decision process because as he had outlined it, we would be looking over the entire rules set and fixing problems we found there.
I purposely chose some members because I didn't agree with them, but I respected their knowledge and enjoyment of the game. Chet and I fought like cats and dogs online, but he knew his stuff and I never regretted bringing him on. I also had to cut one of my friends from the short list because we were from the same league and I wanted a range of experiences. I would often consult with him about some ideas because he was really the best player I have ever seen, but I couldn't include him. (His name is Doug Webber.)
I also made sure to bring in players from around the world where possible.
As the group evolved from consultants to full blown developers it taxed our time greatly. Debates were often backed as much by anecdotes as by statistics. Playtesting happened in our own leagues.
So it all started with a simple email to Jervis Johnson, who I respect greatly for his even handed game design and his ability to muster disparate opinions.
GLN: Are there any rules you miss from older versions of the game?
The cards. They could be game changers or they could be duds, but your opponent never knew. It was most fun playing them on the opponents turn, tripping the player just as they tried to enter the end zone or some other evil trick. It was extremely fun playing over the board with a card in hand and your opponent sweating his every move.
GLN: Why did you stop working with the BBRC for CRP and what are your thoughts on how CRP turned out?
The BBRC has achieved everything I had wanted to see. Players were going to retire after a time, teams didn't have an unstoppable upward spiral, lower teams weren't demolished on the pitch by designated foulers. I had done everything I wanted and more and I was tired. There's only so much you can debate rules until you realize you are saying the same things over and over. In the end, I wanted to create my own games and that didn't seem to jive with being on the BBRC, so I retired.
GLN: I guess we have to ask - what are your thoughts on the perceived CPOMB problem?
The problem here is Piling On, which wasn't used much previously because no one would dare to leave one of their players laying on the pitch for fear of them getting fouled. The skill allows you to Re-Roll Armour or Injury, which was something we removed from the game for standard Re-Rolls. Claw is essentially an equalizer to bring high AV players down, but because it allows modifiers the MB will bring that down to a 7 or more roll.
I've read some house rules that suggest changing Piling On to require a following up roll (similar to a Leap roll) to work. This makes sense on both a game balance and a fluff view. I would use such a rule if I were running my own league.
Having said that, every Sword has a Shield. Elves worry less about the CPOMB because their armour was already low. Fend and Wrestle deflect the problem a bit, but that means you need a dedicated player for each CPOMB you expect to play against. What I find most humorous about it is that it mirrors the problems we had with fouling years ago.
GLN: What are your feelings and concerns on the current state of the game, post BBRC disbanding, Cyanide calling the shots with the creation of the Khorne roster and the prospect of no future rules updates?
I think the rules are good enough now to stand the test of time. You can win with any team, with luck or with skill, in any given game. Cyanide needs to make sales so of course they are adding new teams to the mix. They want people to jump on the newest teams just like GW wants players to buy the latest models. It's a continuation of the old GW system.
GLN: What are your feelings on the Khorne roster, and do you think this should be an official roster?
The team fails to justify the "creating a new position" rules I outlines years ago. You can find those rules here.
In particular they have the most common of errors, Over Description.
"Many new players are "over described". This often comes when designers attempt to convey every aspect of a player. Over description is characterized by players with too many skills or stat variations."
Not leaving growth potential for the new player
Often new players are created with a complete set of skills that round them out. This leaves no room for growth for the new player.
GLN: Why did it take you so long to come back to FUMBBL after your brief stint in 2003?
Christer and I worked so hard together to make NAF a reality. He was the programmer behind the whole thing and we worked together on some of the meta concepts like the ELO system and how to clean the ratings when tournament reports were entered out of date sequence. I joined here to see how the online game worked and I enjoyed playing here, but I was still playing over the table top. It gave me a chance to try new teams and I liked it, but I honestly thought GW would crush it legally at some point.
I was wrong, thankfully. I joined back up when I couldn't get the "official" client to load on my Mac. Luckily Christer has a Mac too so I'm safe.
GLN: How would you describe your current feelings towards Games Workshop?
I think they are a great company struggling with moving their production of miniatures into a world increasingly playing on computers. Many of their old guard still want to play over the table games and I see no problem with this, but I think if they are going to continue to grow they need to accept and expand into the digital realm.
The most common gripe I hear is that they are always releasing new rules and new models that upset the balance of their games, and while this is likely true it has served them well over the years. They would have closed their doors years ago if they didn't. I wish them all the best, particularly Jervis.
GLN: If there were any changes to the rules you could make for LRB7, or any old rules you would like to see return what would they be?
I always wanted a rule called "Progressive GFI". This rule would allow you unlimited movement, but with an ever increasing chance of failure. One example, your first GFI would be a 2+, your second 3+, etc. In play testing it was found that this was too powerful for some teams (re: Dwarves) and that no one ever felt "safe". It also made people feel that anyone could one turn score (which was something I felt was needed, but at high risk.) It never panned out. I think if I had it to work on again I would have it as 2+, 4+, 6+, 6+… and this would simultaneously lower the current chances of one turn scores while allowing for other teams to have a very minor chance at it.
Aside from that perhaps splitting Block into two parts, offensive and defensive. This was patched by including Fend and Wrestling, so it's not that big of a deal now.
I want to thank Jervis for every kindness and for all his support over the years. He taught me much about game design and he is a great person. I also want to thank Christer for building this site and making it available to everyone!
An anti-rant at this time of goodwill to all men!
And women! And children! And Blood Bowl players everywhere. Yes, everywhere, so let's take a moment to be grateful for everything in the world of Blood Bowl.
Starting at the very beginning, it's a very good place to start. Games Workshop is a tremendous company which has brought literally billions of hours of pleasure to millions of people over more than a quarter of a decade. The zenith of its gaming development was the invention of block dice, that integral part of the game that moved on from having to consult table after table to a simple game mechanic that nonetheless has enough subtle variations to keep people interested.
Along with this, the miniatures it produces are superb. With the increased use of plastic towards the end of the 90s the conversion possibilites for BB increased manifold, to complement the array of various editions of metals.
Then the internet came along! Amazeballs! Since 2003 the NAF has been tracking tournament results and providing a focus for the tabletop community. Entirely run by volunteers, from the various Presidents all the way through to individual tournament organisers running a one-day tournament for a dozen people in the pub, there have been hundreds of people giving up their time to bring joy to others. Running a tournament brings with it a fair degree of stress, and it's one of the wonderful facets of the indomitable human spirit that they keep multiplying - there are around 250 a year all around the world, and that's just the ones registered with the NAF.
But of course, the internet also brought along internet gaming. FUMBBL and play-by-email came first, with various incarnations of both tools allowing a new way of playing the game against other humans (in contrast to chess, those feeble computers have never been able to compete...), and this was followed by the Cyanide game. Those behemoths of brilliance Christer, Kalimar and others need no introduction here, but in this paean of praise to the volunteer spirit, how does a commercial game fit in?
Similarly to the original board game, the Cyanide version of Blood Bowl was destined to end up a standalone product, and with all the bells and whistles that might be planned for BB2 it is still fundamentally a tool for all the fluff that surrounds the game, which is huge, and this is where the voluntary contribution comes - leagues all around the world have massively complex back ends, with the stats being crunched by user-developed bits of code, supported by stories written by the coaches.
So the game is in a wonderful place - tabletop is big and growing, with numbers of tournaments reaching saturation in some countries and burgeoning in others, and there is a World Cup on the horizon that should easily pass 500 participants. New leagues appear all the time, with Facebook and Twitter allowing communication between people playing the same game all over the world, and various podcasts and youtube channels providing extra channels for experiencing the game. FUMBBL has a new tool, allowing extra customisation, and the community continuing to provide support to each other, and there is a new Cyanide version in the offing.
My New Year wish for 2015 is for the worldwide BB community to come together - for FUMBBL players to embrace Cyanide and vice versa, for more and more online players to experience the awesomeness of facing against another human across a physical board, and peace and joy to all menz. Merry Christmas!
A Question of Succession
I have a Dark Elf team, fast approaching the hundred game milestone. Not a particularly momentous milestone for some coaches but by some way my most long-lived team, and the only one I stick into tournaments, beauty competitions, whatever’s going. As far as groups of spike-clad pointy-eared bastards go, they have proven a pretty decent unit, but I’m beginning to have a problem with one thing as the games pile up: roman numerals. That little collection of sticks and eckses after a player’s name that lets you know exactly how often everything went wrong. How often the apothecary looked at a broken collar bone with professional interest before breaking a neck in the attempted treatment. How often you trusted them to keep a close eye on that Minotaur and not mind any funny business.
And because you’re human, or at the least, humanoid, you start to spot little patterns, ascribe certain characteristics to owners of a certain sobriquet. I’m talking beyond the difference in position and skills, into the deep marrow of what a player inherently is. I know for a certain fact that one of my four Blitzers is the big hitter. I know that, even unskilled, he’s more likely to cause a casualty than any of the other three chumps and chumpettes, and I have the circumstantial affirmation bias to prove it.
Maybe it eventually becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. One of the Linemen is truly useless, dies at the drop of a hat and even though is joined by two other brethren on the line of scrimmage, I know he’s going to be the one that explodes like a blood balloon. He’s up to the ninth iteration by now and nobody else has passed six. So what do I do with that title? Because it’s railroading my mindset, would I benefit from a change in naming policy? To my mind there are three main strategies used when naming a long-lived team.
1: Numerals, numbers, even the scrabble-winning hand of letters that got sprinkled after the people of Empire Strikes Back Insanity
The big pro here is you never waste time thinking of a name, you just add one and move on. This is important as we are all high-powered professionals without time to lose on frippery and flim-flam. The downsides are already mentioned but boil down to shifting your viewpoint of certain players without any rational reason.
2: Keep the name, don’t count how many.
Even lazier than option 1, but you avoid the chance of misnumbering and thus ruining your OCD-based head. I’ve got a witch elf who’s actually the fifth but I’ve called her the third and she just won’t die and let things be righted. I suspect this technique will allow you to remember the good things better as you will have a collective fuzzy memory of your accomplishments with a certain player. But you will lack the unstoppable march of history feel of having Bruno Longhi XLIV, such a valuable intimidatory part of proceedings.
3: All new names every time
My hat goes off to anyone that can consistently do this (hello Hellbound) and this gives certainly the fairest chance. It’s a question of equality in many ways, why should a blood bowl player be born into the expectations and privileges of his predecessors. No, they should earn that glory themselves. Cons include wasted effort on naming bundles of pixels, and an increased chance that you will have a player named after your future spouse before you even meet them, making that occasion an awkward one.
I’m no closer to solving my conundrum here. In fact thinking about it has just made the decision even more convoluted.
Cooking with Kam
Coach Kam answers the readers' questions and teach you how to improve your game play along with your cooking skills.
I am here to learn how to cook, boil, slice and dice Slann properly. Could you enlighten me?
- BG Handras
Dear Mr Handras,
It's pretty easy. I've learned this recipe from Gramma Kam. First off, you need boots. Not every kind of boots. Heavy, spiky boots from the Moot. It's essential to tenderize the meat. Then you need cherries. Don't ask me why, it doesn't even go well with Slann meat, but my gramma always said "start with a cherry". And finally, you need a Blood Bowl team, and fans as well, with rocks, to tenderize the meat even more.
Once you have all that, ask your trees to slash the first frog they see. That's what Bretonian cooks call a bouquet garni. Then come the boots. You need enough boots to separate those juicy legs from the body. At this point, you may have to get rid of the ref for a couple of turns: it's hard to cook when frogs are trying to bite you. Kicking him in the nuts is pretty effective, and should give you a few turns to breathe.
Here is the most important part: you need to degorge (as say the Bretonians again) the legs in milk. Preferably Bull Centaur milk. It has a spicy, chaotic aftertaste that can't be reproduced. Milking a bull sounds kinda dangerous (and perverted), but trust me, it's worth the risk. After a half time marinade, your legs should be almost ready, and most of your flings will probably be at the kitchen door, faking injuries. It's time to deep fry them in your chef's cauldron. Don't overseason them: that'd kill the taste. And don't overcook them either: it dries faster than chicken. You can serve them with rice or Bretonian fries.
- Kam, head chef of the Flying Sammiches
As an Undead coach I am curious if there are any new recipes for human brains coming out of the Moot? I hear warpstone is a popular spice for them in Skavenblight, but I am finding it hard to keep my zombies motivated with the regular Ho hum recipes passed down from our regular necromancers.
Thank you Chef Kam.
- Death is Forever staff
Dear Mr Coyote,
You may not know it, but I was sent to Araby when I was 15 to learn the art of cooking in chef Gordon Ramses's kitchen. I'm probably the Halfling chef who knows the best how to please the Undead (no, I'm not referring to necrophilia, and as said to the redemptor, it's legal in those countries anyway), so you were right to contact me.
First off, a successful dish starts with fresh ingredients. Leave rat food to rats. Halfling chefs don't use chemicals, and you will never find any trace of warpstone in their plates. Mutated corn is a big problem in the Moot, I don't want to encourage such practices. Zombies may not be famous for their palate - some of them don't even have one, literally, nor a tongue for that matter, nor teeth, nor a jaw... - but they're not stupid! I mean... yes, they are but... Oh, don't try to confuse me! Don't feed them crap. Period.
For this recipe, we will need small sized brains. I strongly recommend Snotling brains. Of course, you could use Black Orc brains instead - they're about the same size - but they're much harder to find. Fresh Snotlings have the nose slightly humid and the mouth bright red. Don't pay attention to the smell, it's normal.
You now have to open the skull to extract the brain. Smashing the skull with his heel to pop the brain out is pretty funny but it's harder than it sounds, and unless you're a licensed member of the
Snotlings Torturers Association, you will most likely simply ruin the product. Professionals use chainsaws instead, but you could also use an egg opener (the XXL ones, for ostrich eggs - they can be found in any Waaagh Mart for 4.99).
Put each brain in a ramekin with finely sliced endives and smoked ham (preferably from northern Estalia), add one spoon of Bretonnian crême fraiche, and sprinkle it with grated cheese. It's almost ready. Take your preparation to the closest franchise of the College of the Bright Order and ask a wizard to flash fry it. That's it, your brain gratin can now be served.
- Chef Kam, recently acquitted by the redemptors
Following on the train of thought from Mr Coyote and racial preferences to taste! I'm aware when all the planets are aligned Amazon warrior women have a tendency to enjoy a Halfling Kebab with extra spicy sauce... Now 'if' (BIG if) a Halfling(s) could down a Zon warrior how would they like to reply the favour?
- Fear the Females staff
Dear Mr Prez,
As you probably know, I'm writing this letter from Armorica, where I've been conducting researches on the diet of the Blood Bowl players of the old. My next destination being the Amazon basin, I may have a recipe for you (and by the way, that "if" wasn't too big, as your players may have already told you after their last game against my own ladies).
I've learned this recipe in the arid highlands bordering Amazonia. It's called a pique macho, and it's probably the perfect dish if you want to spice up your ladies. For this recipe, you will need 3 Kg of Minotaur meat, 15 Squig sausages, 2 Kg of tomatoes, 5 or 6 big onions, chilli peppers, 800g of mushrooms, and some goat cheese.
Cleanly cutting up a Minotard on a Blood Bowl pitch is not an easy thing. Even if you manage to kill the beast, you can be pretty sure his Ogre and Troll buddies will run to the carcass and feast on the best parts. Instead, I generally try to lure him near the side-line and push him into the crowd. The fans do the rest - just ask them to save a filet for you. Oh, and don't use the meat of a mutated Minotard: Humans can't digest it, and the locker room would turn nurglish after the meal.
Goblin Fanatics are experts at finding succulent mushrooms, so you should definitely ask one if he has something for you. By asking, I obviously mean strangling him with his own chain before taking whatever mushrooms he's been hiding. If you can't find any on the corpse, try cutting up his stomach: they generally contain half-digested shrooms. Don't worry about the gastric juices, the acidity goes well with the other ingredients of the dish. If that method sounds too dangerous for you, you could simply foul every other Goblin on the pitch: his coach is very likely to lose it and ask the Fanatic to run to catch up with the action, which invariably ends up with Mr Psycho stumbling and killing himself with his own weapon. But of course, even if you chose the first method, feel free to foul every single Goblin anyway: that will cheer everybody up, and you can't cook a good dish if you're in a bad mood.
You can find the other ingredients in any Orgafling Market. I particularly recommend Granny Melwyn's goat cheese - she's the only herder of the Old World who successfully reintroduced Beastmen in the mountains of the Empire. Peal the tomatoes, slice the onions, and slowly reduce the mix. Add the sliced peppers after ten minutes or so (you may want to remove some of the seeds if it's too spicy). Meanwhile, dice the Minotard meat and cook it in oil in a hot pan until it gets some colours. When it's ready, drop them in the hotpot to finish the cooking. Boil the sausages, and slice them. Cook the mushrooms with butter in a pan. Mix everything when it's ready, and add two slices of goat cheese per plate. People here eat this dish with Bretonian Fries, but you could also serve it with rice.
- Chef Kam, first Halfling to serve an Alligator burger
Dear Chef Kam,
I enjoyed your state-of-the-art recipes so far, but I would like to hear your ideas about how to give my Dark Elves the right bloodthirst they need to compete with all those killerteams out there. They seem more interested about licking their own wounds (is there a specialo taste they enjoy?) than tasting the blood of their opponents. Can you help me out in this matter?
Thanks in advance,
- Your Monsta
I am no psychonalist... psychotal... brain doctor, I'm a mere Halfling cook (have you tried my brain gratin recipe by the way?). However, I think you got it wrong with your team. Have you even tried to understand your players? You really need to start thinking like a Dark Elf.
Dark Elves just want to have a simple life. They enjoy simple things: being sad and depressed in their cold stone castles, listening to the latest album of PJ Druchii, scarifying a baby from time to time while watching an interview of Robert Pattinkhorne on Cabalvision... but adventurers and Blood Bowl coaches keep coming in Naggaroth to force them to play in shiny stadiums against smelly Dwarves or arrogant High Elves. How do you think they feel?
That being said, I can understand your frustration and I'm going to try to help you. If your players like the taste of their own blood better, it's simply because you feed them too well. Try feeding them exclusively MaleKitKat and their blood will turn into a chemical substance even an Underworld Goblin wouldn't dare to lick. However, be aware of the risks: they may become as obese as a Halfling with such a diet. There are alternatives like spicy dragon tongues soups from Cathay, but the side effects may be even worse (try that and "fireball" will take a whole new meaning on the next morning).
You should also keep in mind some races taste better than others. Halflings and High Elves should obviously be your favourite picks. Wood Elves should be avoided: I've heard Druchii are not fond of organic food. The same goes for Undead teams and Greenskins: the latter bath once a year, and there's not much blood to lick on sacks of bones. Vampires however are an exception: they will taste just like their last opponents, so you should check that first. Dwarves and Chaos players fall into another category. Alcohol or warpstone consumption make their blood quite addictive, but it also has psychedelic side-effects. Your players are likely to get out of control once they have tasted it - it's up to you to decide whether it's a good or a bad thing.
- Kam, Freudian Sleeper
I have this league thing going along and I find myself in unfamiliar surroundings, so I'm in need of a... killer recipe. I keep piling on more claws on my beast steak, but all I get is a burnt tongue even after I give it a mighty blow to cool it. Please help me whip up a good recipe that will prove to be a KO with the rest of the league!
You need to turn your games into culinary art. I strongly recommend you to sign your players for a training session in the Blood Boiled Academy of the Moot (you may get a 10% discount if you mention my name). After this two weeks cursus, they won't see Slanns, Dwarves, or Treemen anymore, but frog legs, filets mignons in a beer sauce, and Halflings barbecues.
During the first week, the students learn basic recipes for the most common food found on a Blood Bowl pitch. You will be provided all the culinary tools you need, and will work with the freshest products, coming straight from the infirmary of the Altdorf stadium. In no other academy of the Old World you will be furnished body parts of superstars of the NAF to learn the art of cooking. You will work with premium products, for premium students. The most famous chefs of the Moot will show you how to cook rats on a skewer, how to prepare delicious Minotard burgers, and how to make wonderful ham out of a freshly cut Ogre leg. They will also taste some of the finest dishes prepared in the previous sessions, staring body parts of Krikack (or what the Charioteers left of him), Pipin's meat pie, and Vindaloo jerkey, delicately smoked by Mr T.
During the second week, the students learn how to use their newly acquired cooking skills on the pitch. After this training, they won't pile on anymore: they will tenderize the meat. They will no longer stab an opponent, they will take what they need to make blood sausages. Your Beast of Nurgle won't have tentacles anymore: he will become your pantry. The students also learn which cooking tools are allowed on the pitch, and how to convince a referee to let you stuff your opponents with mushrooms or aromatic herbs before the kick-off (he may become the core ingredient of your next dish in the process).
And if you're not convinced yet, if you sign up for three or more teams before July 1st, a Halfling Chef from the Academy will assist the team of your choice for its next ten games!
- Chef Kam, founder of the Blood Boiled Academy
How to keep your calm?
Blood bowl can be a very emotional game sometimes. I think most of us have lost it during a game, some time or other. Whether its the death of a prized star player, losing a game (or ten) because of bad dice rolls, or what the other players have says (like calling gg early) or any other personal reason that gets you to fly off the handle in rage. However, like a bad hangover we usually end up paying a prize later. We play worse than usual or try clear out the bad taste with another game, perhaps leading to more "bad" games and digging ourselves deeper in to the hole.
Normally, the advice freely given by others of calmer mind is to remember that it is just a dice game or laugh about it. While sounds advice, it is kind of advice that doesn't help when you are already seeing red. As someone who has lost it on several occasions and hopes to be better in the future, I've listed out a few things that have helped me.
1) Sleep on it. As already covered here, playing another game while upset isn't going to help but can make it worse. Take a break and come back when you no longer expect Nuffle to give good luck in reparation of the bad one you just had, because that's not how the %&#"#¤ operates.
2) Don't expect to win every game. This is one that especially plagues good coaches. If you are going into a game expecting to win it before the first dice is rolled because the matchup is totally in your favour for some reason or other, losing it can cause unsightly outbursts like calling your opponent a lucker and such.
3) Don't give up too soon. When you're getting an unlucky start like rolling quad skulls while the enemy scores a TD or two on your drive, it is very tempting to just call "gg go next" and mentally distance yourself from the inevitable loss. But if you give up too soon, you are never going to get that crazy comeback victory, and even if you still end up losing the game will probably have been more fun if you at least tried.
4) Players die, deal with it. Pretty much same as the previous except concerning players. Sure, teambuilding is an aspect of the game that some players enjoy more than others, and owning that ST5 Wardancer is a nerdier version of a hot sports car, and when some sore loser keys your Ferrari on turn 16 it will sting. For me, it helps to think that every player is already dead at the start of the game, and if they survive for one more game its a win.
5) Chat with your opponent. While it is sometimes hard to believe, most people playing this game are pretty decent human beings. I generally like to talk about lots of things, including occasionally whining about the totally unfair and dysfunctional dice. Main thing to remember is just to not attack the other coach for his in-game decisions, team build or whatever. A great example of this is BillBrasky, who coaches one of the meanest, single purpose killer chaos teams in the box, and against who I have enjoyed every one of the numerous games we've played because of the chat. He laughs at both the deaths his team gives as well as receives, and this is an attitude we could all adopt more.
6) Make the game into a story. Part of what is so captivating about this game is that it has great potential for narrative, and a good story has both great wins and horrible losses. Especially when things are going against you, it might help if you turn it into a story. Hold grudges, put bounties on the players who cost you, declare them your nemesis or any kind of fluff you can imagine. We cannot all write up great hype like Painstate, but that shouldn't stop us from trying. Just remember to keep it "in-game".
That's all I have for now, hopefully some of these will be a help for you or me the next time we are seeing red. Very likely some of you have other ways of dealing with frustration, as this list is not even meant to be exhaustive, and you can share them with the GLN staff if you like. For now, cheers and see you on the pitch.
Interview with a Beta Tester
Disclaimer: this interview was made before the release of the new client. Some information will therefore be outdated.
With the imminent release of the new client, the GLN has decided to shine a spotlight on those who work behind the scenes and has asked Garion for an interview.
GLN: Hello, Garion Thanks for accepting our invitation. The long awaited new client is now in open beta, and the public version may very well be released before the publication of this article. You've been testing it for months now. Could you tell us how you became a beta tester?
Hi, thanks for having me. Hmm this all started quite a long time ago but as far as I can remember there was a forum thread asking for people to volunteer for testing, I believe it was Lakrillo and Kalimar asking. I volunteered along with a bunch of other people. A few weeks later out of the people that volunteered a smaller selection of people were added to a private conversation on the PM system. I would make an educated guess that at some point Christer, Kalimar, Lakrillo and possibly a few admin had a discussion about who to invite for testing out of the people that applied.
GLN: What exactly does your job consist of? Could you explain the development process? How big is the beta testing crew? Do you have a strict schedule? How long do you think the public beta will last?
I believe there was a group of testers before I joined in, but when I started helping out there were approximately 15 of us. People like - Purplegoo, Roseph, Whatball, Uuni, Zakatan, Igvy, blocknroll and so on. We were brought in to find as many bugs as we possibly could and report them for Kalimar and Lakrillo to fix. The amount of variables in the game is truly amazing and to be honest the rule book its self is very very poorly written. Once you go looking for the really crazy bugs you really start to appreciate how much of a nightmare this game must be to code.
The main purpose of this initial phase of testing was to make sure there were no game breaking bugs left when the client was released and we did manage to catch almost all of them.
We didn't really have a schedule as such, we all just did what we could when we could, as with most people on Fumbbl the majority of the testers have families and work full time - so free time is not always the easiest to find. If we all started slacking off Kalimar would occasionally give us a prod which would get things moving again.
I honestly have no idea how long the public beta will last. If I were to make an educated guess I would say Christer and Kalimar are probably aiming for a January release for the Road to the NAF Championship 2015 which you can read about in the news section.
GLN: Could you tell us about the changes in the new client?
The front end stuff that has changed is -
Card Animations - so we know when a card has been played
Dirty Tricks deck has been added
Basic Pitch -You can now turn on and off weather and also toggle between a basic green pitch and the grassy one you have been using for the last few years.
Player markings will be saved so you don't need to type them every game.
Custom Pitches that will initially only be used in official Fumbbl tournaments.
And of course lots of Bugs have been fixed, sadly when they are fixed sometimes new ones are created, but we are trying to get them all documented to make Kalimar's life as easy as possible when trying to fix the problems.
GLN: How do you think those changes will impact FUMBBL?
FUMBBL is a very tricky community to please but I think the changes in the client really offer something for everyone.
For the more competitive coaches that are all about the clients functionality - the addition of Basic Pitch option, card animation and saving player markings will please them.
For the coaches who love this game for the mayhem the Dirty Tricks deck should go down very well.
For coaches that like their fluff there are custom pitches which add more flavour to the tournaments.
So I think there is something there for everyone, though no doubt there will be people whining about something, this is the internet after all. The internet is basically - 80% porn, 19% whining, 1% other stuff.
GLN: There has been some controversy about the client recently. Some coaches have been complaining about the lack of information concerning the changes and the whole development process. What are your thoughts on this?
I don't really get where they are coming from to be honest, if you want to know what's going on read the news section and Kalimar's and Christer's blogs.
GLN: Kalimar is the only developer. He's doing a great job, but he's human, and it took time to fix recurring bugs. Most of the decks yet have to be implemented. Don't you think recruiting more developers would be beneficial to the community?
Hmm tricky one. In theory yes, but this also comes with a number of problems. First and foremost if the client became open-source there is nothing to stop people stealing the code. The player icons and player art used on FUMBBL has already been taken and used many places without authorisation. Some of these people are actually making profit from the work people have put in to the FUMBBL community. So that has to be considered.
Lakrillo used to help Kalimar out with some code but I'm not really sure what happened there. Also this is actually Kalimar's hobby, he probably doesn't want to be nagged or to nag other people all the time about working on the client.
Finally people may want more from the client but they are being greedy. The client has fewer bugs than the official cyanide game, it has all the teams, all the star players 2 decks of cards. It is a far more complete version of the game. All this and its made by 2 people and its free. Personally I think people need to get a grip. Christer recently ran his code for the site through some software which calculated that the value of the sites code would cost him close to $2 million to create. Yet he, Kalimar and Skii Junkie (for earlier client versions) have created all of this for nothing. All we can do is pitch in where we can in anyway we can, even small donations every now and then from everyone make things easier for him. He runs this site a loss every year remember, its not a business.
GLN: Is Kalimar already working on the next client? Do you have any scoop concerning future changes in the client or on the site?
Kalimar is working on the client that's in public beta at the moment, trying to get things ready for the full release of this version. After he is complete I couldn't tell you what his plans are really. As for the site Christer keeps his cards close to his chest. I know he is working on League changes primarily to allow resurrection style tournaments on FUMBBL which should be ready in January. After that I know he is looking in to making custom rosters possible in the league division, but I have no idea when this will be complete.
GLN: Do you need more beta testers? Who should our readers contact if they're willing to help?
Well the test division is now open to everyone, so the best thing to do is for everyone to make some teams in the FFB Test division, join IRC and post on the forum if you are looking for a test game.
GLN: Thanks for your time, and happy testing!
Bring Out The GIMP! – An Idiot’s Guide
"Man, I wish I could do logos for my team.", "I just don’t have the time or the skill." and "Mine would look terrible."
Sound familiar? I am pretty much a novice when it comes to any kind of coding or graphics programme but I stuck with it for a while to learn the basics. This is what I want to share with you! This will not help you to produce logos of greatness but it’s a start.
The first thing you will need to do is download GIMP, it’s FREE! A quick Google search for "gimp software" will do the trick (do not google "gimp" as that could land you in some strange places!)
It looks pretty scary for someone who has never seen a graphics programme but don’t panic. A step by step guide for a simple picture with simple writing should help improve your team’s image. We all know that teams with a logo are 78% more likely to roll better dice.
After you have downloaded and opened GIMP...
Step 1. Find a picture that you like on the internet and copy it (right click + copy).
Step 2. Paste (right click + paste) it onto the blank canvas (screen) in GIMP.
So far, so good. You will now need to make the background transparent.
Step 3. Click on the Layer tab at the top of the page. Follow it down to Transparency then click on Add Alpha Channel.
Step 4. You need a tool to do the next part. Click on the Tools tab at the top of the page. Follow it down to Selection Tools then click on Fuzzy Select (the icon looks like a wand).
Step 5. Using the wand, click on the part of the picture you want to make transparent. It will highlight it with a moving black and white line.
Step 6. Press DEL on the keyboard and this should remove that part of the picture leaving a grey check-board background.
Step 7. Repeat step 5 and 6 until you are satisfied with your picture.
Step 8. Save your picture.
To upload it to Fumbbl, you will need to export it. Click on File then Export to… Choose where you want to export it to then click Export. It will open another window with tick boxes. Ignore them and click ‘Export’. You will now be able to upload you picture to Fumbbl and assign it to a team (you may need to resize it).
Picture Logo with Team Name
Step 1. Create your picture! (follow previous steps)
Step 2. I like to use the website Cooltext or you could use WordArt. Create your lettering and copy and paste into GIMP as a new layer on top of the picture. Go to 'Edit', 'Paste as >' then 'New Layer' The lettering should appear in a box on top of the picture. Beware, sometimes a box can be left so you will need to fuzzy select these lines and make them transparent.
Step 3. Click on Tools. Follow it down to Transform Tools then click on Scale. This will wrap the lettering in a box. Drag on the circle to move it and the boxes to change its size.
Step 4. Using the same process as before, make the background of the lettering transparent.
Step 5. If you wish to layer the lettering down to make it one image you can. Simply click on Layer then Merge Down.
So there you go! A very simple way of creating team logos.
There may be more simple ways of doing them but that is how I do them. Please feel free to look at some of my team logos. They are not the greatest but it is nice to have them! So get out there and get creating!
If you have any questions, feel free to pm me. Also, there are plenty of Youtube tutorials on transparency and other effects if you want more expert advice!
The Heart of FUMBBL
FUMBBL is a glorious mixture of venues for us to enjoy our game of choice. At some point in our lives’, all of us sought an online option to play Blood Bowl, and found this treasure trove.
For one-off games, and majors, Black Box & Ranked dominate. A majority of FUMBBLers enjoy one or both of these divisions. League is a source of great fun and excitement for coaches who are into a particular theme. Stunty is our home-grown division with crazy unofficial rosters.
The forums draw in many coaches for heated debate and good banter. IRC chat is a great place to chat, tease, trash-talk, and solicit games.
While none of this is a news to veteran coaches, I mention these points of interest to highlight the diversity of this site.
As unique individuals we all appreciate different aspects of the same game. The game brings us together, and the interaction is what makes this site great. The coaches are the heart of FUMBBL. It’s a great experience to develop friends and rivals. We have the great pleasure to correspond with coaches from all over the world, here on FUMBBL.
I believe we sometimes lose sight of the fact that there is another human on the other side of the screen. Some of my worst games, win or lose, have been versus silent opponents. The slow and silent are a particular breed that can sour a game for me. With that said, I have enjoyed many more games than I have suffered through.
There are a large number of fun coaches here on FUMBBL. The ones that chat, and blog, and post seem to be “more fun” in general. I think healthy chat during the game reduces, and sometimes eliminates this problem. I have lost many games, but had a great time, because my opponent was talkative, lively, or funny.
My suggestion to anyone having a particularly good, or bad game: Talk to your opponent. Make fun. Have fun. Remember, this is a game. Games are meant to be fun by everyone involved. Win, lose, or draw: Enjoy your games and develop a friendship with your fellow coaches.
My break from FUMBBL
28-08-2012 was the day I stopped playing blood bowl, back then I was running a fairly fun league DOTP (which I’m thinking of restarting if people are interested) I was also a member of several others.
Now my attitude back then was poor to say the least and the most important thing for me was to win no matter what. It didn’t matter if I enjoyed the game, it didn’t matter if my opponent did all I wanted was the W.
When you play with that kind of attitude it takes all joy out of the game and after some mixed results and some bad dice I decided enough was enough, I closed my leagues and left FUMBBL forever!
So 2 years goes past with me avoiding FUMBBL like the plague, partly due to the dice gods and partly down to embarrassment at my attitude when I used to play. It was always a game I thought about but I never plucked up the courage to return until a few weeks ago.
The experience I have had upon my return has been fantastic and I think the big difference is that I no longer play just for the W(don’t get me wrong I love a win) I play now for my enjoyment and the enjoyment of my opponent.
If you take a look at some of my recent games I have been spamming Gobbos these are a team I used to avoid like the plague. The team is currently 1/0/5 but I have never had more fun playing blood bowl in my life.
Moral of the story: play for fun guys otherwise you will find yourself getting stressed at dice rolls and injuries, it’s all part of the game and it’s your duty to have as much fun as possible!
The other half of Blood Bowl
I'm mister__joshua, though look less like Gary Busey and more like Jesus. I've been back active on FUMBBL for over 2 years now, and during that time have become heavily involved in League. While I wouldn't claim to be an expert, I'd like to think that I'm now at a point in my League journey where I can pass on some knowledge to fellow prospective Group Managers.
My League History
I've had mixed experiences running leagues. I got involved in the revamped BB7's which never took off, then LOBBL which took off and crashed, and finally Grind which has recently exploded following a stuttered start. Each of these experiences teaches valuable lessons, so I'll go through each in turn.
I really excitedly joined the BB7s rules committee in the back end of 2012 after commenting on the forums and chatting with Rabe, who was running it at the time but dropped out soon after due to time constraints. BB7s was inactive at the time, and the general consensus among everyone was that it needed a re-launch. I worked on the branding. You can still see a couple of my old blogs with the logo I created and there was a group page too that I recently removed.
The idea behind 7s is simple and beautiful. It's 7-a-side Blood Bowl. 7s has always had at its center amateur league fluff, and the game is designed to be quick and easy to play. FUMBBL is more restrictive that tabletop so we couldn't use the reduced pitch size of regular 7s, nor could we modify things like skilling players, KO tables, CAS rolls and other things changed in the full BB7 rules.
To start with the 7s was very positive. We had a good bunch of enthusiastic testers wanting to help out, and the client changes has just allowed a Players on Field setting. The group management were good and willing. So what went wrong?
The problems with BB7s were 2-fold. The first problem was that we (the BB7 rules committee) couldn't reach a decision on what we wanted it to be, and what we wanted out of it. There was one branch dedicated to fast play pickup games, and another trying to inject the fluff from previous incarnations. In the end a balance was reached, and the fast-play mostly won out, but this highlighted new problems. It wasn't fast enough. Games we thought would take 30 minutes regularly took an hour. Another problem was the Open Format. This allowed coaches to quickly find games, only there wasn't the saturation of coaches to allow for quickly finding a game. Open formats struggle to compete with Ranked for number of opponents and game finding. By the time a game was found and then played you were looking at the same time commitment as a Ranked game.
Faced with returning to the drawing board and starting from scratch, the committee eventually folded. I took most of my ideas forwards, which you'll see again later.
LOBBL was a completely different league with completely different ideas and ideals. Based in a new world, not set in Warhammer Fluff, the league told the story of the development of Blood Bowl in Orymm and teams each had their own story, travelling around the continents between rounds and playing games to develop their story and achieve personal goals.
Calthor put a lot of work into developing the world of Orymm. I'd been talking on the forum about fluff-centric leagues and decided after a bit of discussion to put my idea on hold and assist in developing Orymm. It was massive amounts of fun developing this world, but a large amount of work. Again, we had dedicated coaches who loved the environment. The reason LOBBL failed was entirely different, but there are similarities. It suffered greatly from over-ambition. The amount of work required to sustain the league was unbelievable. The ongoing stories, tracking team movements, adding new teams and locations. It all became a lot of work, and so went a little quiet. Some of the coaches tried to keep it ticking over, arranging games and encouraging others, but as activity slowed it faded into the background and ceased. LOBBL also suffered from the Open Format, though not to the same degree. Lots of games got played. I feel the problem is that when coaches get short of time it's far too easy not to play Open games while Scheduled games people make time for.
This all for me eventually led to Grind. This was an amalgamation of my fluff ideas I'd discussed before LOBBL and the play style ideas I enjoyed from BB7s. With the league I wanted to achieve 3 things:
1) Have fluff be central, and impact on the field as well as just in the team bios.
2) Feel different in play to any currently existing league.
3) Create a balanced environment encompassing some larger ideas.
I started by addressing the second point. It needed to feel and play differently enough that people would find it interesting. This is where I took the 7s ideas I enjoyed on the field. Reduced player numbers and limited re-rolls being central among them. Reducing the number of players changes the flow of the game, and limiting the re-rolls (starting with 0) makes it exciting and leads to fun and thrilling plays that wouldn't be attempted in a more controlled 11 man game. I'd enjoyed this style and so trusted that others would. I made it 8 man with a 4 man LOS mainly to be different, and because I'd been researching Arena Football which uses these numbers.
Point 1 was important to me, and so with the foundations in place I starting considering the fluff justification for the league. I looked for regions not commonly mentioned in Blood Bowl fluff and decided upon Tilea for it's use of mercenaries, quarreling city-states and many wealthy nobles. I wrote a background piece on the region and the formation of the game in Tilea known as Grindball. This justified alternate rules and also gave the region control over their own version of the game which was important from a fluff perspective. To encourage fluff of teams and player I wanted to try and reduce the number of retired players. Injured players have better stories. I also wanted the fluff to impact the game on the field. I did this in a few ways. Firstly, I made the number of games a player has featured in important to the earning of re-rolls for a team. So an injured, unskilled 10 game veteran is still of value. Secondly I introduced the concept of personal vendettas. This mechanic rewards individual players for targeting opposition players who have previously injured them. Finally the Grudges mechanic allows full grudge matches to be played between teams, which are often violent.
Point 3 was the last thing to address, but also the thing I was most excited about. I had an idea for a skill prerequisite system that would limit player's access to certain skills until they had acquired certain other skills. This was used as a balancing mechanic between the teams, a way to get some less used skills on the pitch, and also a way to solve some problems associated with full Blood Bowl like certain skill combination being overpowered. This has been tweaked after both of the 2 season played, but remains largely similar to its original incarnation.
With these 3 things in place there were some other minor rules to work out and balance considerations when allowing different races, and I was ready to go.
Why did it work this time?
There are a number of reasons that this one worked where others have failed, though there is always some luck and timing involved. Among them was that this was solely my project and I was in control of all aspects during the initial stages. I sought feedback and listened to opinions, but I had overall control and was able to guide it the way I wanted. This ability to have a final decision made it easier to get things done where a collaboration would have involved more discussion.
Starting a league is a lot of work. A lot of work, time and dedication. Certainly in the early stages. You need to develop an idea into a ruleset, create a group page and recruit coaches. A group page can be tough if you're not a bbcode user. I'd started learning bbcode a year previous so was good in this regard. To start a league you've got to be willing to put the time in at the beginning, and to do this you've really got to love the idea.
Coaches are the most important thing in any league. Numbers are important early on. You need about 8-10 to function for most leagues. I think we started with 12. The quality of coach is more important, and not something you can always gauge. We had massive dropouts in the first season, not from people dropping the league but from leaving FUMBBL altogether and going offline for weeks. The original season was eventually abandoned and reformed as a KO tournament for the remaining coaches.
How to find coaches is an tough hurdle for any new league. I tried forum posts, multiple blogs. All drew in one or two. But for me by far the most effective method has been individual PMs. It's personal, so more likely to be read. Also you know the person receiving it and so more likely know if they'll be interested. I knew from my friends list half a dozen people who I thought would enjoy the league so that was easy recruiting.
Keeping a league running on your own is tough, and after the opening season I sought support from the existing coaches. Throweck joined the Management initially and helped run things when I was away. Cowhead has taken on the fluff side of the league in a big way and is doing marvelous things, writing stories and news reports. I've also got a group of 5 coaches who I use as support and feedback for any ideas and changes. Anyone in the league was free to join, and the support of fellow coaches is a great assurance.
I think the final reason that it's still running and running strong is motivation. I've been careful not to let the league lie dormant for too long between seasons. Following the final of Season 2 we had an open play period with new coaches joining that had an incredible 50 games played in 3 weeks. Launching an Open Format league can be tough, but with the coaches already in place and invested it can work. This won't remain the format though, and following the Cabalvision Amateur Cup we'll be launching back into a scheduled season. We now have 25 coaches competing at various levels of frequency, which is very humbling. People seem to enjoy the format, and I'm hopeful that it'll run for many more seasons yet.
I'm also hopeful that all cowhead's stat freaks will die :D
Coming next issue - The Truth: The sordid history of Grindball by Mignus Mignusson
The Last YARR!
So what's all this talk about that ARR thing that everyone says is great? Well, it goes like this...
It was a Black(box) and stormy night. More precisely: every night. Privateers roam the high seas, their war chests overflowing with more wealth than they will ever use. Bands of thugs are all too eager to hoist black sails and slaughter women and children and halflings and halfling women and halfling... but I digress. The point is: the Blackbox has orphans. When you look back at the least played races in the box by total number of games played (“Pre Scheduler Fix”) since the creation of the box there are eight races that only measure that number in thousands rather than tens of thousands. Those races are: Slann, High Elf, Underworld, Vampire, Elf, Goblin, Ogre and Halfling.
But there is hope! One year ago this month the great and powerful Black Box Scheduler was changed, and the champions of those orphan races emerged! With the goal of increasing the match diversity in the box, the Abandoned Races Race was launched! ARR!
One year ago, here’s how things looked: crappy. More specifically: very crappy! The top three most played races were played 9 times more often than the least played three races, and Chaos had 14 times as many games to their name than did Halflings. The top eight races were played 1.8 times as often as the middle eight and 4.8 times as often as the bottom eight races. Looking only at games from teams 1500 TV and below these drop to top three teams being played 5.8 times as often as bottom three teams, and a 3.7 fold difference between top eight most played and bottom eight least played races.
Today, things are markedly less crappy from a diversity point of view! The top three most played races are played 6.3 times as often as the bottom three, and Chaos are “only” played 9 times as frequently as Halflings. The top eight are played 2 times as often as the middle eight, and 4.3 times as often as the bottom eight. Limiting to teams under 1500 TV we see that the top three are played 4.6 times more often than the bottom three, and the top eight are played 3.3 times more often than the bottom eight.
A few things are worth noting. Amazons went from middle eight to bottom 8, and High Elves are now middle eight, just behind Wood Elves. This surely has everything to do with the scheduler change and little to do with ARR. If we calculate “ARR teams” instead of middle 8 then the ARR stats look a little better, but I don’t think that’s as useful to compare to pre/post scheduler change.
So what can we take away from this? Well, depending on your point of view, this could be depressing news because the box is still not very diverse! However, I still think it’s encouraging because after a year full of games we are playing in a box is more diverse than it used to be. It’s hard to say what impact ARR has had on these numbers, but I think that we can claim a share of the credit for bringing the bottom three more in line with the top three. There will always be a gap between the good or popular teams and the, erm, challenging teams but at lower TV that gap has shrunk quite a bit at the extremes. Now I better get off this soap box before I digress into some talk of ways to reduce the top end in addition to what we are trying to do to bring the bottom end up.
Note: Stats were done by crude averaging, but they should be in the ballpark of meaningful. I do not claim that they were done in a scientifically significant manner, as anyone who knows about stats can tell just by reading what I wrote. ;)
Der Green Tide Offishul Istory
The GLN has received the following text on a blood tainted parchment. None of the journalists of the newspaper have been able to decipher it yet. The help of a translator would be greatly appreciated.
Ello, Great Gobbo ere. I az bin asked ter rite an article fer der Grotty Likkle Newspapa so I fort I wud give yew der offishul istory o der Green Tide. Everyfin yew iz about ter reed iz der truff, der ole truff an nuffin but der truff, except fer der bitz I mek up or lie about fer legal reesunz.
Der story of der tide beginz wiv me. I wuz just a normal gobo, wanderin der world, wurkin fer chariteez an fixin urt animulz an stuff. Well wun year I wuz volunteerin az an elf an safety lad on diz kart dat wuz loaded wiv pressies up in Norsica. Whilst I wuz rigeruzly testin ow secure deese pressies were attatched ter der kart diz fat git in red got on an before I new it we wuz flyin froo der sky! Suddenly der sky went a funny kolor, der wuz a smell like burnin den a uge bang. Eventually we land an I look ovva der edge o der kart ter find we az landed onna roof! I den see der fat git in red enterin diz ouse frew a window, so finkin ee wuz up ter no gud I followed im ter mek a citizenz arrest. I saw im put a pressie under diz big funny lookin tree den elp imself ter sum grog. Wurried dat it wasn't a pressie but a bom, I took der mysteriuz box rapped in shiny papa an went an id bak on der kart az diz fat git in red wuz obviously an ardened criminal if ee kud brekk inter peeplez ouses, plant a bom den elp imself ter dere grog. Anyway diz seemed ter go on ferevva until der sky went weird agen an we ended up at ome. I took der bomb ter a safe place to dispose o it, but wen I took off ter papa I saw it wernt a bom but a box an inside wuz a fishin net. Seein az no wun wuz around I dedided ter keep der net an kontinuwed on me travelz.
I ended up in Lustria were I wuz employed by a kumpany kalled Playboi ter mek sum tasteful paintinz o dese Amazonian chikkz wiv no kloves on. Wun day me an me paintin bush were spotted by der gurlz an so I ad ter leg it. I eventually lost em an meself in der process, owevva I ad ended up next ter a swamp. Fer sum reezun all I gud fink about were kokkonutz so I started lookin round fer sum. It wuz den dat I saw diz weird lookin toad, ee wuz red an wite stripey wiv a blu ead. Bakk in der Marshes O Madnezz funny koloured toadz iz fun ter likk so I got out me net an nabbed im. I gave im a gud lik den sat down an waited. I musta fell sleepy az next fing I no Gork an Mork iz talkin ter me! Dey tell me dat der gobo race iz a laffin stokk ter der ovva racez an dat I needz ter go an restor our onour. Ter do diz dey teech me evveryfin dere iz ter no bout Bluud Bowl an give me a certificate dat sez I am a Blud Bowl koachin geenyus. Finully dey tell me dat I kan only use gobo linemen so dat evverywun kan see ow gud we reelly iz. Wen I wek up I av bin majikally transported ter der Badlands an I set off on me misshun ter rule der Blud Bowl world!
Az I wuz walkin besidez der Marsh O Gallylee I saw too gobbos, Dag Gobguzzla an Snik Stranglegut. Dey were kastin a net inter der marsh, fer dey were fishamen.
"Oi yew, folla me" I sed, "an I will mek yer fisherz o gobbos"
"Zog off" sed wun
"Wot yew jibba jabberin bout yew krazy fool?" sed der ovva, "fisherz o gobbos? Wot doez dat even meen?"
"Nah, dunt be like dat" I sez, "kum an play Blud Bowl fer me"
GG: "Aww go on...."
GG: "Dere will be money, fame, grog an cheerleederz!"
DG: "Ow much money?"
GG: "Enuf fer all, now folla me!"
SS: "Look mate, I ent signin nuffin till me lawya az a look at dis kontrakt..."
DG: "Wotz dis meen, 'powwa o atturnee'?"
GG: "Ladz, ladz! Were iz der luv fer yer fella gobo?"
DG: "I ENT DAT KINDA GOBBO! GET IM!!"
GG: "NO, WAIT, DATZ NOT WOT I MEEN!"
SS: "So wot doez yer meen?"
GG: "I meenz trust me, I az bin sent by Gork an Mork ter form an all gobo linemen Blud Bowl teem ter prove ter der world ow great gobbos kan be!"
DG: "Y didn't yer say so! K'mon Snik letz leeve evryfin behind an folla diz stranga"
GG: "Datz moar like it"
DG: "I wuz bein sarkastik! Look jus zog off yer weirdo before we urtz yer!"
So I wandered off alone worryin dat no wun wud play fer me until I kame across a massif kave. Sittin outside woz a big, red, sad lookin squig. I kud see strait away dat dere wuz a big forn stikkin in er paw an dat it woz urtin er. I went kloser an she growled at me, but der pain wuz so much it woz moar o a wimper. I slowly reached out, held der forn an den yanked it out az fast az I kud. Der squig yelped an jumped up den realized dat er paw didn't urt anymoar! She woz very gratefull an gave me a big likk. Az I went ter walk away she started ter folla me, an diz gave me an ideer. I retraced me stepz bakk ter der marsh where doez gitz woz still fishin an spoke:
GG: "Rite den yew too, yer kan eivver folla me rite now an go fishin fer gobbos or wotevva I sed, or yer getz et by diz squig oo I am kallin Nigel. Yew az free sekkundz ter deside! WUN!"
DG: "Letz kill diz fool"
Nigel grinned showin a mouff full o razer sharp fangz
SS: "So den boss, wen we off?!"
DG: "Yeah, we will folla yer an wotevva, jus don't let er eet uz!"
SS: "Wot iz yer name"
GG: "My name is der Great Gobbo, but yew kan kall me koach!"
We set off ter der Badlands Community Staydeeum after earin dat dere wuz a big game bein played der between der Chaos All Stars an der Underworld Creepers. Unfortunatly dew ter a navigatinal error we arrived late an ad missed der game, so ter keep everywun appy I took em ter der nearest tavern I kud find, wich woz der Bridge. After getting our grog I noticed a group o gobbos sat rownd a table lookin miserable, until I realised dey were Dirty Dan frum der All Starz an Garbage Throttlesnot, Slasher Bowelgrim, Fester Rustblade, Wildman Teethgarland and Ace Fireblade o der Creeperz. I ad ter go ovva an talk ter em.
GG: "Ey ladz, wotz der matta"
DD: "Oh nuffin, itz just dat playin wivout Morg ent der same. No wun chukkz me der ball"
GT: "Itz even wurse in der Creeperz mate, doez ratfaced gitz wont give uz der ball at all!"
SB: "Yeh, an dey iz so zoggin fast dat dey always getz it furst"
AF: "All we end up iz iz kannon fodda for der durty mouses"
WT: "An dey et me alf time cheese samwich"
GG: "Well den diz iz yer lucky day!"
I jumped up onter der table an yelled fer qwiet. I dodged der nife frown at me an set Nige on der culprit. Der tavern suddenly got very qwiet az Nige gulped down der final leg.
GG: "MY NAME IZ DER GREAT GOBBO...."
Hekkla: "WHERES YER MAJIK WAND!"
GG: "Nige.......fankz. Az I wuz sayin, my name iz der Great Gobbo an I az bin sent ear by Gork an Mork ter start a gobo linemen only teem ter show der rest o der world jus ow gud we really iz. No moar spendin all game waitin fer sum marauder ter decide ter frow yew der ball, no moar bein punchbagz fer durty skaven, NO MOAR MR NICE GOBBOZ!"
A huge cheer goes up.
GG: (pointing at the pro players) "Yew iz jus der sort I wuz lookin fer, yer hired! Welkum ter der teem. We iz kalled.......Der Green Tide!"
FR: "ent gonna be inna Tide"
GG: "Legend in der mekkin if evva I saw it"
"OI!" sed wun o der lokalz, "yew karnt put dem in der teem!"
GG: "Oh yeh Mr?......"
Gnash Doomspida: "Gnash Doomspida"
GG: "OK den Mr Doomspida, y karnt dey be in der teem?"
All the pro players listened intently. Doomspida realized dat ee woz der center o attenshun an esitated.
GD: "Well.....dey ent frum rownd ear"
GG: "Hmm, gud point. Rite den we need sum keen local ladz, yew"
"Me?" sed an unwary gobo
GG: "Yer yew! An ill tek yew too an yew five. Eight lokalz yeh? Karnt complain bout dat!"
FR: "Ent gunna be inna Tide"
GG: "Yew pros karnt leave now, ovvawise der iz too many lokalz. Dats numbaz dat iz!"
"Im not joinin any teem" sed a local
GG: "Not man enuf, eh?"
"Wot?! Im az gud az any bluddy forener any day!"
GG: "Rite, datz sorted den"
FR: "Ent gunna-"
FR: "I iz gunna play fer der Tide! I iz, I iz!!"
An dat iz ow Der Green Tide wuz formed. Possibly. Jus rememba wun fing:
I have an excess amount of 1's and Skulls, each game. They are all Free, to a Good Home, but you must take the whole lot.
My newest experimental Blood Bowl team called Chaos Theory, a team devoted to researching organically mutated Chaos players and new self-imposed rules to make rosters more fun and challenging is looking for sponsors and/or patrons. The team is in its early stages, but with corporate backing we would hope to see a big rise in research. The team is also prepared to do its bit by selling off or loaning spare specimens as journeymen players.
If you don't do it for FUMBBL, do it for SCIENCE!
Tired of bad luck? Sick of Nuffle laughing in your face? Then you need Honest John's Official Luck Changing Kit! This amazing kit includes everything you need to reverse your teams fortune's, including a net, club, box of lucky charms and 10 bottles of Gwiness. This is a limited time offer so get your orders in now, see Honest John in the Bridge Inn. Cash only.
New frum der Green Tide Offishul Merchundizin Kart, a set o komemerative Furtive Ratface plates. 1 ter kollekt. Limited edishun az we kud only be bovvered ter mek 20 of em so get yorz now!
On the same day that Grim Toejam sadly passed away it is with deep regret that the Green Tide must also announce the death of another of their legends Nasty Eyepokka. The Great Gobbo and the Green Tide ask that you respect their privacy at this difficult time and that all Blood Bowl operations are on hold for the immediate future. All donations should be made out to the Great Gobbo Foundation. - The Great Gobbo
It's with regret that I inform any fans of my Gods of Valhalla team is no more, due to the death of my legend Snow Troll Odin and super star Beserker Loki iii. Both were key killers in the team and I think they'll be missed (at least by anyone wanting a fresh batch of bodies which were often found in their opponents dug outs). - mr-maverick
The Dark Avenger, powered by the leathery head of Mighty mouse was struck down by the hand of fate, in a heroic bodycheck by Ghuguth of the team, Greenie Machines, coached by Khysanth. The game was won by the orcs in the eleventh hour as Berserker Eric, leading a ragtag team of journeymen to hold the line!
The Dark Avenger was a feared beast for almost a year and a half. A mighty snow troll with Block, Jump Up, Piling On, Mighty Blow, Juggernaut and Guard. He died holding three records of the Hellbound; no small feat for a team with more than 1000 games. He was the longest lived rider with 152 games, including our 1000th ride! He held the charioteers most CAS and #1 all time ranked Norse SPP
No grave, shrine, or memorial stands were his corpse was left. For the hellspawn is made of spirit not flesh! Forged from malice and darkness, claws of hellsteel blessed in tears of the unavenged, the demon prince of the Hellbound Charioteers rides once more! A legend has fallen were a new one is born! Ride! - Arktoris
These were dark times in Ruette Asylum's short history. Coach Harad paced backwards and forwards in the club's dingy back office. Three Wardancers dead in four games. No answers to the endless stream of destruction coming the team's way. Then he had a plan. Nuffle was clearly enjoying his misfortune. He should laugh along with him to get him back on side.
- 'Hey, Delores, what was the name of that Wardancer we could hire?'
- 'Err, Life expectancy one?'
- 'That's the one!' Harad smiled.
- 'You sure boss?'
- 'I'm sure.'
Nuffle certainly enjoyed it. - Harad
Cal, the second best wood elf of all time, finally died. Being a filthy ranked picking team did not save him, with a string of 14 deaths in 16 games the dice finally landed on Cal.
Whilst I can imagine many will delight in his death, I've had a few messages from other coaches which always tells you he might be a bit special. He may have been a luxury player who never injured an opponent in 128 games but what a luxury. - Harad
Gromstomp 'Limb Render' enters the funeral home and looks around. He is very offended by all the flowers and shrubbery all over the place. What in da heck is that? Gromstomp walks up to a pile of timber in the middle of the room and looks at some dead wood elf laying on top.
Well. he thinks to himself, that looks like a good place for a guy like that. Then his nose starts to tingle. He looks over and sees a table full of pastries, the good kind. He walks over and shoves a old granny with a cane to the side, she falls down and snaps her cane. He picks up a pasty tray and starts to walk out.
Sees a torch on the wall, picks it up and throws in into the funeral wood.
Gromstomp crests the hill and looks back. The wooden glade is all lighted up as the funeral home is on fire. Wood elves scrambling all over the place.
Gromstomp looks down and notices that his plate is now empty, dammit man, should of just sat on the back row and ate the entire spread, bonehead. - Painstate
How to contribute
Where to contribute
Those wishing to contribute to the advertising sections of the Grotty Little Newspaper (GLN) should post in the appropriate section within the correctly dated GLN forum. These are regularly checked by the editors, or contact an editor in private.
House style for the GLN
Articles in the Grotty Little Newspaper, like any publication, have a set of house styles which mean that certain elements appear in a consistent style across the whole issue. Specifically, please conform to the following rules:
- FUMBBL is spelt in all capitals... NOT Fumbbl.
- Blood Bowl is spelt as two words, both capitalised... NOT Bloodbowl or Blood bowl.
- 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.
- Skill names are also capitalised. Note that both Dump-Off and Throw Team-Mate have a hyphen, but Side Step and Bone Head do not.
- Coach names are referred to as they appear on their coach pages so that, for example, m0nty is not capitalised but Christer is.
- Be careful with apostrophes. Do not use them when talking about plurals, like SPPs.
- Question-and-answer (Q&A) interviews are normally done with the questions being preceded by GLN:, not the author's name. Carriage returns (i.e. a blank line) are inserted between the Qs and As. Stage directions (when you are describing something that is happening, not being said) are put after the speech in a new line, in italics. There are no quote marks around the speech sections.
A big thanks to all those who made the revival of the GLN possible. I would (should!) have coded a fancy credits page to thank them, but it's Christmas, and I'm unfortunately in a rush.
Here we go, and I want a round of applause!
- Kam: Editor (for this time only!), scripter, contributor
- Purplegoo: Contributor, recruiter (join us now!)
- Garion: Contributor, test subject
- sann0638: Contributor, pony herder
- Jiiiiim: Contributor, Latin translator
- Stonetroll: Contributor, Brasky's paparazzi
- Throweck: Contributor, forum addict
- BillBrasky: Contributor, cPOMBer
- mayhemzz22: Contributor, ex-con
- mister__joshua: Contributor (join his league!)
- happygrue: Contributor, last minute proofreader, YARR!
- The_Great_Gobbo: Contreebutter - dat sow iz myne!
- JackassRampant: Last minute proofreader