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 Issue 16 - May 26th 2515
Filling The Blackbox Grid
by BillBrasky

On April 12, 2013 I decided to devote the majority of my FUMBBL time to filling the Blackbox Grid. The task seemed daunting, but having played about 5500 Blackbox games at the time, The Grid was filled about three-quarter of the way. Interestingly enough, motivation was the most challenging issues with this quest. After doing some self-analysis, I knew that I needed both a carrot, and a whip to stay on task.

Racing Jundru and others to the top, in Dalfort’s “Fill the Box Grid group,” presented the award and recognition sufficient to supply my carrot. As for the whip, I vowed to shelf my favorite team (the infamous WMD’s in the Box) until the task was complete.

I was asked what surprised me most, and what I learned from playing all of the races while filling the Blackbox Grid.

Surprise

Playing the more painful matches were some of the most fun, to my surprise. In hindsight, perception and expectations are a big part of what allow us to derive fun from this and other games. In the matches where the odds were skewed heavily in favor of my opponent (Halflings vs. Dwarfs for example), I had no expectation of coming out with a win, or a team, and therefore; all sense of conservatism, or strategy were often thrown into the wind, and chances for rolling long bombs, or -2d pows were taken at every turn. I may not have won many of the ill-suited matches, but I certainly had a lot of fun with them.

About Playing all of the Races

With around 9000 FUMBBL games going in, I was pretty familiar with the majority of the races. Some points were certainly reinforced though.

I hold a special admiration for Ogre coaches. I find Ogre teams very challenging with the reduced number of ogres and loss of goblins in the current edition. I struggled to stay competitive with Ogres. For all of their low points, Throw Team-Mate can make Ogre games very exciting with a healthy amount of luck.

Slaan are often over-looked as a good team. I have been raked over the coals by happygrue’s Slaan for years. I attributed his success to a brilliant mixture of luck and strategy. I still haven’t changed my opinion there. But, given enough games, as we all know, the averages work out. With enough games, in the hands of an average or better coach, Slaan should have more wins than losses, I believe. They do take development, like Lizardmen, or Chaos, but with all of the leaping ability, and with four agility 4 players, they are a good team.

The Coaches of Fummbl

I had the pleasure of playing versus a lot of new coaches or those that stay in the low end of the TV range that I would not draw often. Special recognition goes to cdassak, who joined FUMBBL shortly before I went into full-time grid-filling mode. Cdassak plays a great number of games in the Blackbox during my gaming hours, and bowl bot managed to pair us up for a few of the more obscure matchups. We had a lot of good banter and fun. I did grow a little suspicious when FUMBBL seemed to crash only when cdassak was online, but that is a story for another article.

Completion

On June 23rd, 2014 I completed the grid in 6610 games. Fourteen months were necessary to complete the last twenty-five percent of the challenge. Now almost a year later, in reflection, I am glad I was able to undertake, and complete this challenge. None of this would be possible without Christer, and the good coaches here. Thanks to everyone, and see you on the pitch!

 
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