27 March 2014

Salute 2014 Incoming…

We're just over a fortnight away from this year's Salute show. It's the one show that I will go out of my way to attend and the trip has become something of a tradition now in April. I was wondering what might be on the agenda for me this year.

Let's be honest, I need more models like the Sahara needs more sand. I have a backlog that has slowly grown back to pre-marriage levels and even Ebay isn't helping.

But that's not the point. The point of going to a show like this is to try and bag a deal or two, save some postage costs on things you were going to buy anyway, or dredge your way through the hall picking up anything that whispers "buy me" along the way.

This year I have nothing that I am desperate to buy, no shopping list per se. So with that in mind, what am I looking forward to seeing?

Having recently pledged on the World of Twilight Kickstarter I'm looking forward to having another look at the game. I saw the game originally at a previous Salute, loved the unique style of miniatures and was intrigued. Nothing ever came of that other than a PDF rule download. I've always admired the one-man-band approach behind the game, so when the Kickstarter appeared I decided to show my appreciation (and receive a few more minis that will join the backlog).

I always remember at Salute time, how much I like the WarmaHordes game. Unfortunately, because we don't play it anymore, for the rest of the year I forget this fact. I will probably end up buying a couple of solos or light warbeasts for my Legion of Everblight army. I still have several yet to be painted (or even built) but this game is probably my achilles heel – Cryx and Everblight especially. One day I will play it properly.

Another game that has been flitting on and off my radar is Bolt Action. I grew up with plastic toy soldiers and I enjoyed my time playing Flames of War. This game would seem to be a great nod to my youth playing at a scale I'm more comfortable with. Whether I could face painting up another army for another game is a different matter, but I'm intrigued enough to peek at the rules.

With the Salute theme this year being D-Day, it's more than likely that the free mini will be related and useable in Bolt Action, so maybe this is the springboard I need.

I can't ignore the fact that Blood Bowl is still the game of the hour. As much as I have all the teams I need, more than enough Block Dice and accessories, I can't help but expect to come home with something related to our current addiction. Be it more dice, star players or random sideline character models, I think your money's safe on this bet.

Of course I'm looking forward to seeing some great demo games and amazing tables. Previous years have always provided some inspiration for the following gaming year and it's great to see what other folks are doing. I'm looking forward to catching up with the guys at Critical Mass Games, who I have to admit I have neglected recently. I know they have been working away on new stuff so look forward to seeing the results.

Last, but by no means least we have Aetherium. The guys from Anvil Eight won't be at Salute, they'll have just finished Adepticon over in the States and will be up to their necks in Kickstarter goodness – starting on Monday 31st March. I have been working hard for the last month on the visual side of the Aetherium project, trying to get the guys everything they need for a quality game and a successful Kickstarter and game launch. I won't lie, at times it has been brutal with the long hours – hence this blog's been quiet lately – but at the same time a joy to be a part of. I'm very proud of my contributions, most of which the public won't have seen yet.

Why mention it here? One day I hope that Aetherium will make an appearance at Salute but in the meantime I will be flying the flag with a branded T-shirt as I stroll around this year's show.
Keep a look out!

18 March 2014

Painting The Nurgle Team…

After a successful semi-debut on Sunday with the Nurgle team, and inspired by a day of painting, I thought I would spend a little time adding some colour to my rotten players.

It was always the intention for this team to be a quick turn around in terms of painting, however, I am still experimenting with colours to some extent. Here's a run down of the process to date…

I started off – a couple of weeks ago – putting together the team on larger 30mm bases and using a bit of Polyfilla as texture. The Beast, as I discussed, is a resin piece from Kromlech; the Warriors and Pestigor are recycled 40k/Fantasy miniatures; the Rotters a combination of Mantic Zombies and Chaos Marauder bitz.

Next I got out the greenstuff and added it to every model. The Beast needed nothing more than a bit of filling. The Pestigor and Warriors had a few Nurgle extras added to have them looking the part a bit more. Meanwhile the Rotters had extensive work done, filling and bulking out parts of the models. Nothing complicated here and very quick to achieve decent results.

Once the greenstuff had cured, the models are spray basecoated in batches using the Army Painter Necrotic Flesh spray. A couple of passes later they look like they've been dipped in melted white chocolate!

Seeing the team in their creamy base colour – eurgh! – was enough to inspire me to move on as quickly as possible. I defaulted to my old routine of lots of inks and washes.

Every model had an initial wash of Army Painter Green Tone, then several coats of Citadel's Camoshade. In fact, they had so many coats of this last colour that (as you can see) many parts of the models got flooded to almost black! Still they looked a hell of a lot more like Nurgle miniatures.

I gave an exposed areas of flesh a wash of the watered down Necrotic Flesh to offset the flooding of the Camoshade. This was then given a couple of thin washes of Druchii Violet. This added some warmth to the model, helping to offset all the green. Armour was given a quick coat of Knarloc Green with a couple of highlights.

…and that's how things stand at the moment. The armour will get more Camoshade attention, the flesh some highlights and details. I have no doubt I'll still sink a lot of time into the Beast as he's just such a fantastic model.

The need to be ready for just after Salute, so stay tuned for a final team photo!

17 March 2014

A Hobby Day With Pro Elves

The aftermath of my previous game of Blood Bowl against left Bull me somewhat exhausted, so you'll have noticed I took a week off blogging.

This weekend, Bull and I arranged a 'hobby day' which is something we haven't done in a long time. Instead of the next instalment of our BB league, we had a day of painting in the unexpected beautiful weather. Bull is in the middle of repainting his Pro Elves, so I took my paints and brushes and showed him how I paint my figures and how I use my wet palette. Bull was suitably impressed and followed my lead, taking on board some of my techniques and blending them with his established painting style. A few hours later we had a couple of figures done to a good gaming standard and Bull had a blueprint for the remainder of his team.

We couldn't let the opportunity pass without rolling a few block dice, so we had a hastily arranged 'golden goal' game of Blood Bowl – first touchdown wins. Of course we tried out our new teams – Pro Elves vs Nurgle – to see what they were like.

Bull won the dice roll and elected to receive. Despite my heavy hitting front line, he burst through and flooded my half of the field, with his Thrower safely hanging back in his own half. However, Bull had inadvertently got himself encircled by my entire team and seemed unable to roll Dodges successfully. He did manage a double-Dodge with a minus 2 modifier for tackles zones, but this appeared to use up all his luck for the day. In two turns he had used up all his re-rolls which left him terribly exposed.

In addition, by Turn four he had one guy Knocked Out and a Casualty missing the next game (hypothetically). My Nurgle team were knocking him all around the pitch and he was lucky that more Elves weren't off the pitch. He had a brief opportunity to score, but mistimed his moves. This left his Thrower – with the ball – rather exposed.

My Beast of Nurgle managed to pass his stupid test and make a successful blitz. One of my Rotters followed up and picked up the ball, shuffling towards the end zone. I managed to position my adjacent players to make it virtually impossible for Bull to get near the ball carrier – most of his team were still in my half of the pitch. With his usual determination and flair for the dramatic, Bull attempted some risky moves to get a shot at the Rotter, but it was a simple Dodge that proved his undoing – failed and turnover.

This left the Rotter a simple task of moving the final three squares into the endzone.

A great day's painting and an interesting test run for the new teams. My thanks to Bull and his wife for being such fab hosts. Looking forward to the next game for real!

13 March 2014

The Wonders of The Army Painter

For years and years I didn't buy any model paint other than Citadel. It was convenient and what I knew. It was my comfort zone and I didn't stray beyond it. In more recent years I have built up a collection of Vallejo paint and use Winsor and Newton brushes, yet still stuck with Citadel when it came to undercoat sprays.

With the development of my new Nurgle Bloodbowl team, and the need for speed, I decided to have a look at coloured basecoat sprays – the obvious choice being The Army Painter.

I've seen their hobby stuff around the internet and shows for a few years now, but never actually taken the plunge. This new team was the perfect opportunity and boy has it paid off.

I bought the Necrotic Flesh spray to use on my Nurgle team as well as some Fantasy Nurgle Chaos Warriors that were needing a re-colour. This thing covers the models so quickly and thoroughly it took no time at all – my jaw hit the floor when my models got a good coat in the very first pass with the can.

The bonus is that they do acrylic paints to match, so I can go back in with shadows and highlights knowing that it's all based around the same colour.

I managed to get half of the team basecoated in a couple of minutes and they're all ready for some brushwork.

I was so impressed with the results that I'll be on the lookout for more colours when Salute comes around next month. The fact that they do lots of flock material and other hobby goodness has me rather excited to try out more of their gear.

Could be an expensive one this year…

08 March 2014

Building a Blood Bowl Nurgle Team…

…on the cheap!

When I made the decision to add Nurgle to my roster of Blood Bowl teams, I also decided that I didn't want to spend much money or time putting them together. As mentioned previously, they will definitely be my third team and the one I take the most chances with. Winning will still be the ultimate goal with them, but this time I'm prepared to take some risks and do it in style. They'll be more of an experiment than a serious team.

With that in mind I spent some time working out how to build them with the minimum amount of fuss or expense.

The Beast of Nurgle was always going to be a difficult hurdle to overcome. I was kicking myself for selling my Albion Fen Beast, who would have been perfect, but he moved on a long time ago. I looked at many an Ebay auction but nothing seemed to fit. I'm not a great fan of the current GW plastic spawn of chaos, plus they're a little big to fit on a 25mm base. The older metal spawn models sell for silly money and I wasn't prepared to do it. In the end I found the Morbid Spawn, a resin approximation by Kromlech who seemed to fit the bill. When he arrived I discovered that he wouldn't really fit on a 25mm base, but he would fit on a 30mm base with lip that I had leftover from Malifaux. A bit of plasticard and 2p coin in the base later, he was looking the part. Looking forward to seeing him in colour!

My Warriors were easier to find. I still had the remnants of my old Fantasy Chaos army in the attic. Whilst it will be making a comeback when GW release 9th edition I figured the army could spare four warriors. I decided to put them on the same sized base as the beast for consistency.

At the moment they look rather static, like a boxing hand-puppet, and this will not change much. They only have a Move of 4 and Agility of 2 so I figured I could get away with it. The alternative was to pay £8 each for some lovely Willy Miniatures warriors, but that was an extravagance I wasn't prepared to make. I'll add a little green stuff to make them more Nurgly, like I did my Dark Vengenace Nurgle Marines, but that'll be it for them.

My Pestigor was definitely a case of recycling. I knew I would only be taking one to begin with so rather than spend money, I knew I had suitable models available. My old Khorne Bezerker army used a lot of Chaos Beastmen parts and the Champions in particular used Gors. I chose one that I would be happy to lose from the ranks, rebased him and took away his weapons.

As you can see, he will need a bit of work to make him a true follower of Nurgle – like removing the Khorne icon and gaining some bloat. I'm sure this is heresy within chaos circles, switching gods like this, but I'm sure he will do as well for the team as he did the Bezerkers.

Finally it came to the Rotters. Although I only have five on the starting roster, I decided to build six as I'm sure I'll need more down the line somewhere. My solution for this was a box of Mantic Zombie Apocalypse bits. Basically it's a collection of zombie and sci-fi marine sprues that you can mix and match to create a horde.

I bought the box originally to be my horde of Plague Zombies for Typhus back when we were playing 40k. They're not my preferred choice now that I've stuck them together but at least they're easily identified on the pitch. I also used the odd bit from a few sprues of GW Chaos Marauders I had, to give them a bit more armour.

Whilst the emaciated look is probably appropriate for Nurgle, I do feel the need to add some green stuff here to bulk them out, fill gaps and hold some of the bits together. I used the 30mm bases again here and whilst the models look a little lost on there, the extra space allows a little creativity and the weight of the 2p helps keep them upright.

Once my order of hobby stuff turns up from Firestorm I can get all these models greenstuffed and sprayed. I have until mid-April to complete this team, so I think even I can make that deadline!

Stay tuned for developments.

06 March 2014

Introducing The Contagion…

So Bull leaked the news this morning that his next team for our Blood Bowl league will be Pro Elves. This was off the back of my announcement yesterday that I will be adding Nurgle to my BB portfolio.

I've been thinking about this team for quite some time, after seeing them in the computer version of the game on YouTube. Regular followers of the blog will know that my 40k army of the moment – the moment being about a year ago – is Nurgle, so it was a natural progression to have a team boasting the same allegiances.

I thought long and hard about a name for my team, deciding in the end to go with a Star Wars theme – see how many of the player names you know!

My starting lineup will be a somewhat standard affair, ensuring that I have the more expensive players purchased. I also wanted to make sure I had the maximum amount of Disturbing Presence and Foul Appearance available to me from the beginning.

Naturally, being something of a comedy team for me, I just had to take a Beast of Nurgle. Having learned the problems of models with large bases when playing, I decided the model I chose had to fit on the same sized base as the rest of the team.

After trawling the internet for a suitable model I ended up going for a Morbid Spawn by Kromlech. He was readily available, reasonably priced and probably the smallest of the contenders. I got him to fit on a Malifaux-style 30mm base which still fits nicely within a square on a Blood Bowl pitch.

The rest of the models I had, either waiting on sprues or ready to be recycled from a previous army.


Looking forward to playing these guys, so roll on April!

05 March 2014

Blood Bowl Succumbs To The Plague…

It's been threatened for a while and now the signs finally seems to be there.
It looks like our little Blood Bowl league might be getting a fifth (or should that be filth) team.

They say variety is the spice of life and it's easy to achieve in our hobby. I have to admit that there are only really four teams that appeal to me in Blood Bowl. I have played two of them and now the third is due to make an appearance, albeit slowly.

Given that the first four teams in our league are starting to develop nicely now, I thought it only right that there be some fresh (hardly!) meat available for when our good friend Michael from 28mm Victorian Warfare steps foot onto the field of play. It would be a bit harsh for him to have to face teams that myself and Bull have learned to play (kinda) over the last couple of months, that have additional skills, so here's my next team in development. Nurgle.

These are definitely my third team – I don't want to spend much time building, converting or painting these guys (just yet at least) so I have a cunning plan. I have purchased an Army Painter spray basecoat in an appropriate colour, so getting them ready for game day should be easy. Spray them evenly, ink/wash them to death, then drybrush the living **** out of them. A few picked out details later we should be good to go. That's the theory, we'll see how it goes for real.

Stay tuned sports fans…

04 March 2014

The Grudge Match Recap

Well, the Grudge Match this weekend certainly cranked up the drama level in our Blood Bowl league. I thought it would be a good time to recap on the events of the last four days and to see where that leaves the Darkblades team looking forward.

Grudge Match Preamble
On Friday evening I did a little pre-game note taking. My Runner was back after injury but I was missing a lineman. This meant I would have to take a couple of journeymen again. I was also expecting a backlash from the Rats after their loss to the Undead.

The Grudge Match Report
This is it, the match report for the big game. All the drama, all the injuries. This was definitely the most tactical game of Blood Bowl we've played this season. Both Bull and I were mentally broken by the end of it. There were highs and lows throughout the match for both teams, with a very nervy finish. Games like this are what make our hobby great!

Post-Game Analysis
I took the time to walk through a couple of incidents from the big game, with diagrams to help illustrate my points and dodgy mathematics to highlight some of the statistics. One of the most rewarding things is the after-battle discussions and this proved to be a corker as our ineptitude at reading the rules was highlighted again, with enormous consequences.

A bit of fun, as the news that my dead Darkblade hero made still be alive came to light yesterday afternoon. This was followed by frantic dice rolling via Facetime as myself and Bull got to redo our Apothecary rolls that we'd messed up on the big day.

So after all that madness, where does that leave the Darkblade team?

Well, it turned out that Heartrender was in fact still alive, but in bad shape. He received a Smashed Ankle which, as you can see, reduces his movement. This left a nasty taste on what was a joyous occasion. He will also miss the next game which means he won't break through to his next skill just yet.

This Dark Elf team has had it pretty rough so far, considering we're only 3 games in. I had to retire a Lineman after the first game due to reduced Strength stat; we were missing the Runner for game 2 and a Lineman for game 3. We will now be missing a Blitzer for game 4 and when he comes back he'll be with reduced Movement. I did contemplate retiring him but, with his extra AG and being on the verge of a new skill, I thought I would see how he goes. His role may have to change now from what I intended.

But that's the beauty of games like Blood Bowl. You have to roll with the punches and have to steer around the blocks that Nuffle throws at you.

Yesterday's developments do mean that I get to keep my 100k gold and put it towards a new Witch Elf. As long as I can get a few more gold after the next match – and keep everyone safe and healthy – I may be able to field a full strength side in game 5. No more journeymen!!

Also, I may have to create a new model for Heartrender for when he returns. He's not the same player anymore. His attitude towards the game will have changed and so should his look. 

03 March 2014

Breaking News: Is Adin Heartrender Still Alive?!

There has been a flurry of activity this evening as news spread from the Blood Bowl Analysis team that Adin Heartrender, the Darkblades heroic blitzer, could actually be alive.

You may remember that Heartrender was pronounced Dead at the end of the Darkblades game against the Boomtown Rats on Saturday. But rumours have been spreading today that Heartrender has not, in fact, been recruited by the Undead Gutchewers team and is quite possibly still alive.

The head coach of the Grave's End Gutchewers refused to comment on speculation that they had a new addition, sparking rumours of a medical mix-up.

Celebs have been coming out in support of the Darkblades and there have been candlelit vigils in Heartrender's memory, but now there is a sense of hope.


I'm getting something…




Yes, it seems that the rumours are true.

Adin Heartrender is alive. I'm being told that news has reached us that he is back in hospital with a Shattered Ankle and a bad headache.

He was in fact pronounced dead at the game, but the mistake was discovered later on when the body bag started kicking and screaming.

We've also heard rumours of behind the scenes meetings, dice rolls by satellite and Apothecary sackings.

It seems that the heroics of the Darkblades this weekend will pale into insignificance after this breaking news.

Oh my word, more drama than Downton Abbey!

More on this story as it develops…

Blood Bowl: Post Game Analysis

Today we have a Stat-tastic post for you as I take a look at the Darkblades game against the Rats from Saturday. I love my stats and Blood Bowl games like this are ripe for number crunching and probability analysis.

A very dramatic game for both me and Bull as we saw the first deaths of the season; Bull losing his lineman Boilrost the Contagious and the Darkblades lost the TD scoring machine Adin Heartrender.

The match report describes the Darkblades 2-1 win, but I want to concentrate on two key Rat moves that almost spelled disaster for the Darkblades.

The first incident was the gut-wrenching death of Adin Heartrender. After a Dark Elf blitz, the Skaven Thrower has spilled the ball and Heartrender grabbed it and made off towards the endzone unchallenged. I thought I had done enough, but Bull pulled off a stunning move that not only prevented the score, but also finished off the Darkblade hero.

As you can see from the diagram above, the prone Gutter Runner to the left was well within range of the ball carrier, but still had to make a dodge roll to get there. I wasn't surprised at all when he rolled up in Heartrender's face.

The staggering part of the play was the Gutter Runner on the right of the field. I clearly hadn't seen the possibility, more concerned with the prone Lineman who was much closer. This move involved three more dodge rolls (the first came with a minus modifier for dodging into a tackle zone), then two 'Go For It' rolls in order to get to Heartrender and make the hit. Bull then had to achieve a Defender Down or Defender Stumbles result on a single Block dice roll. After some quick calculating, the chances of achieving the above move come in at approximately 1 in 23. A long shot but worth a go to save the TD. I hasten to add that Bull got there without a single re-roll. Kudos.

Add into this situation what eventually transpired – Heartrender's death and the dice rolls to achieve that – and things get a lot more extreme. Having decked the ball carrier, Bull had to beat his armour, cause a Casualty, roll Dead and I had to fail my Apothecary roll. The combined probability of the Skaven move resulting in the Blitzer's death equates to approximately 1 in 5805!!

I wouldn't have been so offended had it been the Clawed Stormvermin who'd made the kill, but to die at the hands of a Strength 2 Gutter Runner… ^^

The second incident under the spotlight is the Skaven touchdown, which came at a time when the Dark Elves were in the ascendency and should have killed off the game. My blitzer had just knocked down a Gutter Runner, with support from a lineman, broken the Skaven cage and exposed the ball carrier. It was all looking very positive.

The diagram again shows what transpired. My bad positioning left both the ball carrier and the Gutter Runner downfield a window of opportunity, Bull making no mistakes in getting the score. The move still involved a couple of dodge rolls, a long bomb pass and a rain-soaked catch. The probability of getting the Touchdown under these circumstances was a relatively positive 1 in 9. However, given that Bull rolled a double six for the Throw and subsequent Catch, the probability of receiving the result he did drop to 1 in 52.

Had I read the situation a little better I could have made his chances a lot more unrealistic. By moving two of my Linemen a single square each in my previous turn I could have force 4 additional dodge rolls to be made, 3 of them with a negative modifier. This tweaks the probability of Bull scoring from 1 in 9 to 1 in 35. Alternatively, if Bull were to roll double six as he did, the probability goes from 1 in 52 to 1 in 210 with the additional dodges.

I can't remember if my two Lineman had the spare moves available to get to the revised positions, but it goes to show the difference a single square can make.

I'll leave you with the post-game Darkblade roster. As you can see we're down a Blitzer, which is quite an issue, although our previously injured lineman, Laric Fellheart, has returned.

The outstanding Torel Dragonclaw managed to roll a double for his skill up. I've given him Guard for the moment but am pondering the pros and cons of this versus Mighty Blow. Similarly, our TD scoring lineman, Atal Starslayer, was awarded MVP in the end – for a crucial catch – and has been given Kick, though I am still considering Block instead.

We now have two players on 8 SPP plus another couple on 4 and 2. This should see more skill ups in the next game if things go well. I also managed to increase the fan factor after the match and bag 100k gold after all the dice rolls and bonuses were handed out.

This injection of cash could see me instantly replace my lost Blitzer, or hold out for a Witch Elf and play the next game with two journeymen again.

Decisions, decisions…!

* final Rat SPPs not collated
The league standings have changed a bit after the last couple of results. The Darkblades are sitting pretty in second place now, but still a massive 14 SPP behind the Orcs – mostly due to the excessive Orc Casualty count from when we used to include KO's. The Boomtown Rats slump to the foot of the table, the only team now without a win. Don't count them out for too long though, a win is coming.

With rumours of new teams signing up to play, things could start to get very interesting indeed during March and April.

01 March 2014

The Grudge Match

Do you remember the first time you saw Star Wars?
Do you remember the feeling at the end of the film – elation that Luke had blown up the Death Star, yet sadness that Obi-Wan Kenobi had sacrificed himself so that our heroes could prevail?

Keep that in mind as you read this Grudge Match special report.

Game day saw the first outing for my new plastic Dark Elves models. The pre-game team photo above is quite poignant given the drama that was about to unfold. The linemen at the back are the regular GW metals. The front row shows (left to right) Blitzers Torel Dragonclaw, Adin Heartrender (note the heart motif on his chest), Nenil Spinescourge and Kirzir Deathreaver, with our Runner Rakiri Razorwing far right.

We won the coin toss and elected to kick to the Rats. My pre-game research had led me to some new thinking with deployment against 'dodgy' teams. For the opening few turns things went well, we were containing the Rats and frustrating Bull – he just couldn't get through. Then things went really bad for him.

His hero Blitzer with the claw got pushed off the pitch, knocked out before he could terrorise the Dark Elves any further. Bull's new Goblin stretcher bearers came in very handy. It got worse, the Rats were misfiring with their dodges, Bull failing six Dodge rolls in succession, effectively losing two complete turns due to early turnovers.

The Skaven Thrower still had the ball though, waiting for an opening or a free Gutter Runner. He just couldn't get past the half way line.

Then more drama – the first Death of our Blood Bowl campaign finally happened in match 6. Bull's number 11 Line rat was hit by Dark Elf Lineman Darat Shadowhawk and died, despite Bull's Apothecary roll. The Rats we slowly losing players to the KO box and the Dark Elves starting to muster a level of control.

The smallest of openings and in came a blitz that had been threatened for a while. Down goes the Rat Thrower and out pops the ball.

Cometh the moment, cometh the man. The legend that is Adin Heartrender seized his opportunity, like the hero in many a sci-fi movie. He charged into the Rat tackles zones, picked up the ball under pressure and skipped away towards the end zone. I had done pretty much everything I could to tie up the nearby Skaven.

Heartrender was unsupported but, as I saw it, only a single Gutter Runner could get to him (if he managed to pass his Dodge roll) and that wouldn't be enough to stop the score. Heartrender was 6 squares away from his third TD of the season and his second skill up, which would cement his legendary status.

As predicted, the downed Gutter Runner stood up, dodged out of the Blitzer's tackle zone and skipped over to Heartrender. No problem I thought, I'll blitz him in my next turn, which would be virtually the end of the half.

But then the unthinkable happened. Backed into a corner, Bull tried the most outrageous of moves with devastating results.

A Gutter Runner from the right hand side of the half way line made his move. He dodged out of a tackle zone INTO another tackle zone, dodged out of this second tackle zone, then made two 'Go For It' rolls to blitz Heartrender from behind. He made a single-dice block, knocked Heartrender down, broke through his armour and killed him.

I leapt to my dice to roll for my Apothecary's assistance but it was in vain…

– Adin Heartrender was dead!! –

"I –seriously– don't believe it"

The odds of that happening were so astronomical it makes Las Vegas slots look like cash machines!

Bull's Gutter Runner grabbed the ball and in my following turn, try as I might, I couldn't knock him down.

One turn each before half time, Bull decided the best plan of action was to pass the ball out of the danger area. Alas, I had two players adjacent to the path of the ball and Torel Dragonclaw (bottom-right of above photo) leapt up to snatch the ball out of the air. A nearby Lineman, Atal Starslayer, saw an opportunity and ran into the endzone, completely unmarked.

Dragonclaw ran towards him as far as he dare and threw the shortest of short passes to the waiting Lineman. Score.

Darkblades lead 1–0

Half Time.

Oh my word, that was exhausting. We took a short break for lunch, giving us time to take in the drama of the first half. It was grim viewing for Boomtown Rats fans, they had FIVE off the pitch. In contrast the Dark Elves were only one down, albeit our hero Heartrender. We also had the lead and the Rats were kicking to us in the second half.

The second half saw the Rats with only their Thrower, two Linerats and four Gutter Runners on the field. Not ideal when trying to defend against a Dark Elf team at almost full strength. The Kick-Off Table proved the focal point by giving us a 'Riot', meaning players could get injured. Two apiece went down but, significantly, the Rat casualties were on the same side of the pitch which presented an excellent opportunity.

To add insult to injury (excuse the pun) Bull's kick scattered out of bounds, meaning I could give the ball to whomever I wanted to. I gave it to Blitzer Torel Dragonclaw (far right in above photo) who was almost on the halfway line already.

He bulldozed his way forward – black helm on the far right above – supported as best as possible by his team mates. The problem for the Rats was that the only players able to reach him were Gutter Runners and they were struggling to get decent hits in or around the ball carrier. The numbers were starting to tell for the Dark Elves and the Rats were running out of options.

I stalled for as long as I dare, then Dragonclaw strode into the endzone. Score.

Dark Elves lead 2–0

I have to say I was feeling rather buoyant, despite my dead player, and in contrast Bull was doing his best to hide the despair.

However, this is not 40k.

This. is. Bloodbowl!

Drama and controversy are never far away.

I kicked to the Rats, still outnumbering them significantly. The Thrower picked up the ball and fell back to relative safety, flanked by a couple of Gutter Runners. The other Gutter Runners skipped forward, but I had my eye on the ball carrier and a possible third TD.

We surged forward, downing one of the protectors and imposing multiple tackle zones on the Thrower. It was then that I noticed my fatal mistake.

I had left a single row of squares free, along the length of the touchline to my left. If the thrower could dodge out of the tackle zones, and the forward Gutter Runner do the same, there was the possibility of a pass to the endzone. It was very risky, especially in the rainy weather, but it was Bull's only option.

Despite needing a 6 to throw an accurate Pass and a 5+ to Catch, Bull rolled the required dice and the Rats were back in it, against the run of play. Score.

Darkblades 2–1 Rats

The Rats kicked to us again, but the tide was turning. All their KO'd players returned to the field, including 'the claw'.

I tried a refused flank tactic, so (of course) the ball bounced all the way up to the half way line on the side I hadn't covered. A mad dash ensued as I pulled my entire team across the pitch to surround my Runner, who had picked up the ball.

Things began to turn badly for the Dark Elves. Blocks were only Pushing, not knocking down, and I was starting to take casualties. Nenil Spinescourge became the second major loss, though luckily just for the remainder of the game. I was boxed in on all sides and this became a war of attrition.

Boom! Another lineman gets KO'd. I was starting to get overwhelmed.

In desperation I tried a one dice blitz with my ball carrier to try and offer some relief to the front line. Even with a re-roll she fell down, spilling the ball. Luckily it fell into the pocket behind my players, but a Gutter Runner got in and tried to pick up despite being in 5 tackle zones.

Fail. The ball spilled again and a mad pinball type scenario ensued as the ball bounced from player to player, with neither side able to catch it.

Eventually it fell into the hands of a Dark Elf lineman who handed-off to the Runner and we were back to square one.

Bull could do no more in his last turn and I just made a cheeky short pass in my last turn for an extra SPP.

Game over.

Final Score: Darkblades win 2–1

A rather anticlimactic end to the most dramatic game of Bloodbowl we've ever played. To say we were both exhausted at the end would be an understatement. Lots of things to discuss after a game like that, but it will keep for another post.

Let's just take a moment to remember the courage and heroism of our fallen team mate.

+++ R.I.P. Andin Heartrender +++

Maybe he could join my Undead team?