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 Issue 9 - May 6th 2510
Coaches Couch

Welcome back to the Coaches Couch here at the offices of the GLN. For this issue I have thrown a net over half a divisions worth of coaches in order to delve into the darker corners of the division so scary that its very name is Black. Yes, the subject for those strapped down to the settee is: ‘BlackBox’. The accused this time were:
Gunslinger: 300 B games. BWR 166.99 BBR 179.63
Ultwe: 160 B games BWR 154.19 BBR 149.04
vicius: 150 B games BWR 158.36 BBR 165.41
Tobrane78: 100 B games BWR 150.74 BBR 158.54
Wreckage: 400 B games BWR 168.99 BBR 150.89
Bullockist: 130 B games BWR 141.65 BBR 145.06

GLN: Okay, welcome to the coaches couch session for issue 9 of the GLN. We are here to discuss [B]. First up though, I would like you to tell me one thing about yourself previously unknown to other FUMBBL coaches.
Bullockist: I’m a recovering alcoholic :D
Ultwe: I grew up in 3 different countries between the ages of 0 and 13
Wreckage: I did smoke a lot of weed but that’s not really a secret...
Gunslinger: My girlfriend is Brazilian and we are planning to get married this summer
Tobrane78: I'm French, living in Nigeria most of the year, raised in 3 different continents, married soon to be father, used to play role playing games till I had too much work to continue and found FUMBBL to replace RPGs
Wreckage: My girlfriend once gave me a BJ when I was playing against PurpleChest
Gunslinger: Well I was working in Mexico when I was 25 and I dated a stripper
Bullockist: BAM! Wreckage wins

GLN: Next, you are all experienced [B] coaches. Why were you attracted to [B]?
Wreckage: For me it's definitely the fast games, I’m too lazy to hang around like forever in [R] and to pick.
vicius: Cos [R] is dead. It's easy to find matches for your bashy teams as well as against good coaches.
Gunslinger: No sitting around waiting for games, no one calling you a picker.
Ultwe: To me, it's the the random element of the scheduler.
Tobrane78: Got tired of Ranked... Too much cherry picking, too many games being refused... And most of all, I got really tired of sometimes waiting one hour to find a game. The box gives you fair matches most of the time and every 15 minutes, 30 minutes at most to find a game.
Bullockist: For me it’s to avoid having your balls chopped off with a cherry picking implement!
Ultwe: Put teams in, get a match-up out. There is always a surprise there.
Gunslinger: And yes, it’s like Kinder Surprise, you never know if you get squishy mice or brutal orcs!

GLN: What is, to you, the main difference going from Ranked to Blackbox?
Tobrane78: Game quality! A game you can enjoy!
Gunslinger: People are more relaxed
Wreckage: Personally I think the matches I had in Ranked were much more balanced and it was always something proper there even for a badly developed team... In Blackbox your team needs to be on its optimum all the time and if it's not, games become a freaking nightmare.
Bullockist: Wreckage, I object, Ranked was an **bad*word**, people only playing games where they got the max advantage. [B] is way more equal. The difference... Teams are way more bashy.
vicius: Yeah, but you could guess the skills of the other teams, no diving tackle, no lots of tackle, no tentacles.... Only skills to basher matches.
Gunslinger: People are less pixel-huggy.
Ultwe: Yes, that's a big difference. There is less attachment to your players.
Gunslinger: And what everyone really wants is to play more, and Blackbox gives us that exactly. Also I think it's more spectator friendly - seeing a lot of people come here almost just for that.
Tobrane78: A game is enjoyable when several parameters are gathered: low waiting time, reasonably fair match-up, people know what to expect in terms of fouling / casualties suffered. People are much more competitive while mature about the way Nuffle treats us.
Wreckage: Look Bullockist... It's up to you what games you choose in Ranked.. You can choose badly unfair games or you can choose fair games... As for Blackbox ... The box just enforces the next best game on you and often enough you end up with a disastrously undoable one!
Ultwe: I am not sure the teams are that more bashy... And those that are tend to be more rounded. Just like agility teams are more rounded. Because you cannot pick your game, you have to be prepared to play both type of teams.

GLN: So, do you still play in Ranked? And how about in League?
Bullockist: Nah, just League, my Ranked teams are growing mouldy in the back shed.
Tobrane78: I play in [L] as much as possible, because it's also fun; a small community is created... Ranked on the other hand, I never play there anymore. Since I found [B], I never felt like I needed to go back to [R].
Ultwe: Yes, in both. Leagues remain the fun-est part of Fumbbl, to me.
Tobrane78: Definitely Ultwe, [L] is the most fun section
Bullockist: League is the flagship of FUMBBL.
vicius: I normally prefer to play Ranked because there are more tournaments; you could play a tourney each week, but I love the Blackbox format because youu play against experienced coaches usually.
Tobrane78: True vicius: ... the most annoying thing I find in Blackbox is the lack of tourneys like SMACKs, scheduled or not, probably the only thing I miss from Ranked.
Wreckage: Hmm, I actually like to think of myself as a Ranked coach primarily... But the truth is I haven't played in [R] in the last hundreds of games outside of tournaments!
Gunslinger: Yarr, I second more tourneys as well!

GLN: Ok, on to Blackbox tournaments then. Are they working?
Wreckage: Definitely an instant format missing.
Tobrane78: Yup.
Ultwe: I look at Blackbox as a giant 'instant format'.
Wreckage: But you don’t win prizes, you can’t win.
Bullockist: Would you be happy with an instant tourney like Blackbox though with the under 20 ts matchups?
Tobrane78: You don't have +FF or extra cash... And no bragging rights either!
vicius: I think there should be more Blackboxbox tourneys, because there are not many teams in Ranked, we should concentrate in making more tourneys in the Blackbox.
Ultwe: True, we miss the bragging rights. though I am not sure that we should gain them from tourneys. I think this should come more from a championship-type of format.

GLN: Does [B] have a bad reputation? And if so, does it deserve it?
Ultwe: Blackbox has got a really bad reputation when it started. I am not sure it is deserved anymore.
Gunslinger: Well, yes and yes.
Wreckage: Hmm, Blackbox WAS pretty crappy when it started.
Bullockist: [B] has too many bashing teams.
Tobrane78: Well, me for example... I'm fairly new here, joined summer '09... I only joined the box a couple months ago after having played 300ish games in Ranked. heard many people saying [B] is a bashy section, where unless you can play correctly, you'll get your teams massacred a lot. But to me, no. This reputation isn't deserved... And yes I do play dwarves / ogres there, but I've been bashed severally, had to rebuild a few times and never had a real problem doing so. At least not more than in [R]. And whenever I got massacred, the guys doing so were "gentlemen" enough about it, rather than rude.
Ultwe: When Blackbox started, the only teams to receive 'forum press' were the teams such as 'loved by elephants'.
Gunslinger: That is also true.
vicius: Yeah.
Ultwe: Nowadays, I find the box to be more balanced.
Bullockist: Man, my lizzy team had two dice maulings close together! And here I am, 7 games on, still getting **bad*word**!
Wreckage: I always found it strange that when I played something more fragile like, let's say High Elves, I'd be usually scheduled to something equally weak... However that changes only at around TR 180 or so when there are just only Orcs and Khemri left, when I play Dorfs or something I usually have to play against something bashy.
vicius: Anyone who wants to have an Elf skilled team play Blackbox?
Gunslinger: I guess I enforce that... To me, if you play box you should expect no mercy! Naybe I'm ruining it, but that’s what’s fun to me.
(Editor note): Okay, I said I was gonna just watch, but the main reason that [B] has a bad reputation is simply a hangover from when a lot of [B] coaches would come to the main IRC channel and hack on Ranked coaches.

GLN: That’s an interesting admission Gunslinger. Are there teams and styles of play that 'harm' the box?
Gunslinger: As long as the matchmaking is as it is, then I see no reason to not play very bashy. There are times when I think that there should maybe be like a 'dark' and 'light' group of Blackbox, to get some of those pixel-hugging coaches to join.
vicius: Yea.
Ultwe: I disagree there, Gunslinger.
Tobrane78: I've met bashy teams like Nyberg's Awesomeness!! when he still had 2-Claw/RSC guys + some DP. Totally decimated my Dwarves, but all in good spirit and fun. In Ranked I'd have cried like a little girl for some reason... Maybe I grew up since then or maybe it is because in Ranked, every time I got mauled, the opponent was always rude about it.
Bullockist: Dodging teams need extra winnings in Blackbox.
Ultwe: No, they don't.
Tobrane78: I personally don't think there's any team that harms the box really.
Wreckage: In my honest opinion, I always felt that taking bashiness into account for scheduling was a fair way to even up for the advantage of better protected teams... We had countless debates about that and there were always people that argued that "it doesn't matter - it doesn't affect the winnings", but let's face it.. Blackbox isn't just about winning... It's also about developing and causing casualties... Some people play just for that very reason!
vicius: Take a look at which teams there are in the box.
Bullockist: How often do you guys play dodgy teams in the box? I reckon mine is less than one in six!

The Coaches Couch continues on the next page

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