Interview with Tom Anders
Continued from page 4
Impact! Miniatures & blood-bowl.net/midgardbb.com
GLN: It is quite odd that you have been president of the company Impact! Miniatures (www.impactminiatures.com) while working on the new rules. Why do you think Games Workshop tolerated this and you were only discharged from the BBRC after the CRP was finished?
Tom: The first statement is not really accurate. Impact! wasn't started until after I had finished working on LRB 5.0 and given the results over to Jervis. So at no point in time when I had sole control over the rules was I involved with Impact!. After LRB 5.0 all four player/coach members of the BBRC were required to agree 100% to ANY changes from LRB 5.0 to CRP (so even one negative vote would kill a change). Since I was part of Impact! I agreed up front to the BBRC that if the 3 of them agreed on any topic that I would not vote against it so that there would be no way for me to influence the rules for personal gain. I was also part of the Beta test team for Cyanide and was screened by GW via phone for the role and they were fully aware of my work with Impact! I was told over the phone by GW during one conversation that Elfball was a unique IP that did not violate any of GW's IP rights with Blood Bowl. So the answer is that there really was no way for me to influence Blood Bowl to have Impact! profit due to the checks and balances and I had never displayed any actions to suggest I was trying to do this. As a result, GW stated they had no issues with me staying on the BBRC or working with the Cyanide Beta test team. I was also the person responsible for pulling together all the document updates for GW and had all the source files and GW had a bad track record of losing files like these or taking months beyond their own deadlines to update them and I always dropped everything to work on Blood Bowl when it was required.
Tom: My discharge from the BBRC had nothing to do with Impact! from what I was told by GW. After we submitted the finalized CRP rules to Jervis he sent me an email that to this day I read as a clear call to action on his behalf similar to multiple emails he had sent me over the years of my tenure assisting him with Blood Bowl. I went into action on his request and the public responded negatively to it. Only after the negative press for Jervis' request was posted on forums all over the Internet did GW make the decision I guess to create a fall guy. The next thing I know GW legal spins it to state that I had shared private information in violation of my NDA and was being forcibly removed from the BBRC. The funny thing was that the BBRC had already been told they were being disbanded since the CRP rules were finished - so one does have to question GW's actions for this for an organization that was finished anyway. That is my long way to say that I don't have understanding why GW did anything they did given I followed every rule they gave me and helped Jervis with every request of me that he made and never mixed anything from my personal affairs in any way with Blood Bowl for either the board game or the computer game. I'm quite sure I never will understand it either!
GLN: You used to own a website that was a bit of a treasure chest for old Blood Bowl information. This part of the website was taken out as you moved to a different url because of a C&D letter from GW. Nevertheless, you own many Blood Bowl memoralia. Which of these are you most proud of?
Tom: Being forced to shut down all the information on Blood-Bowl.net after it had been up for 8 years was a big personal hit for me. However, focusing on the historical items in my collection... I still like the Blood Bowl helmet I have in my collection. It was one of only two made by GW when they had the first ever GW official Blood Bowl tournament. One was given as a prize and the other they kept (it shows up in Blood Bowl Magazine #1 in recent publications). That helmet was given to me by Jervis in person as a thank you for all the work I did on behalf of Blood Bowl. I'm proud of it because it is so rare and such a documented piece of BB history and for the reason I received it. Yes - three years later I get kicked in the nads for that work by the same folks, but I can separate those events from what was going on when I got the helmet.
GLN: The Cyanide game has been released quite some time ago. Have you played it? What is your opinion on it?
Tom: I have played it some as a Beta tester... There were too many things wrong with it compared to the rules that I spent so much work on to continue playing it after the Beta testing period was over.
GLN: Considering the negative press that the Cyanide game has received, with respect to among others; bad AI, limited amount of races, bugs, unsupportive community, would you have rather seen that the game never appeared at all?
Tom: I think it's good the game appeared and is being worked on. I really want to see what they release for the LE version at the end of this year before I get too negative on the game. I have high hopes based on the people I know that are newly involved with the process at Cyanide that LE will make a lot of inroads to fix all the things that kept me from purchasing a copy of the first Cyanide Blood Bowl game.
GLN: As far as I know, you have never played a game on FUMBBL. Why is that?
Tom: It's difficult for me to carve out that much time with my job and family commitments. So for years I played PBeM games instead as those I could do with just five minutes each day.
GLN: FUMBBL is getting closer and closer to a new client that will support the new rules. Have you seen the new client? If so, do you have any opinion on it?
Tom: I have not yet seen the new client, but I have high hopes for it. I think having FUMBBL on the CRP rules would be a great thing and give folks who are not impressed with what Cyanide has offered to us today a real opportunity to play the current rules of Blood Bowl online.
GLN: There have been rumours that FUMBBL might, in a very distant future, support other Fantasy Football games as well as normal Blood Bowl – such as Elfball. Would you support that, considering that Impact! Miniatures has a special interest in Elfball?
Tom: Special interest as in I wrote the current version and Impact! sells it! Wink Unlike GW, Impact! has made sure we work with our fans to license the work that they do. The website http://www.elfball.org is a recent example of a fan site that we worked with to legally make sure it could exist and our rights would still be protected. Impact! would gladly support Elfall being played on FUMBBL as long as we made sure the right legal notices were posted to protect our IP. I'm doing everything I can to encourage the growth of our fan network as I hope I can learn from everything that I consider to have been an error on the part of the company I had helped for so many hours.
GLN: What exactly makes Blood Bowl a good game, in your opinion?
Tom: The background story for one (which is why it was a major error in my opinion to do what they did with the CRP). I also think that the flavour you can get from the different playstyles of the 24 different races mixed with the strategy elements of the game make it one that you come back to time and time again.
Tom: There are certain board games that I play that I win a lot. What I like about Blood Bowl is that there are so many factors that can allow a good strategist to win consistently but not always. It's an Any Given Sunday type of board game and I think that is a major part of what makes it fun. But I think without the backstory that the game has allowed itself to have in the past... It would be a shadow of what it is now. I hope GW realizes that and someday soon puts the background material back in the CRP as its a good part of what I think makes the game great.
GLN: What is in store for you in the future, in respects to Blood Bowl?
Tom: I hope at this time to go back to being another coach. I'll play in as many tournaments as I can get to. I'll answer as many questions about the CRP rules online as I can since I had a hand in writing or at least typing up all of them. And I'll do what I can as to help keep Blood Bowl growing throughout the world when opportunities present themselves.
GLN: Do you have any last message for the Grotty Little Newspaper readers?
Tom: For all the bad things that have happened to me with relationship to GW over the last 6 months, I'm glad I had the chance to make Blood Bowl a better game. I think the current rules are the best the game has to offer and I'm happy to hear from many folks that non-GW sponsored tournaments continue to grow in size. I think a wonderful Fantasy Football community has grown from the ashes of what GW did to Blood Bowl and I would encourage everyone to continue playing this great game and support the people who are trying to support the game and we'll hopefully all be still talking about this game when it reaches its next 20 year mark (Blood Bowl was 20 years old in 2007).
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