Berks Spring Assault 4!

Berks Spring Assault 4!
Berks Spring Assault 4! Warhammer 40K tournament

Berks Warhammer 40K Group

Sunday, April 18, 2010

tournament preparations

Tournament Preparations...

Well, here we are, 1 week away from the Berks Spring Assault tournament for Warhammer 40K. This will be our second such event for the Berks Warhammer club, and also my second such endeavor running/hosting said event. I am very excited and nervous with all of the preparations, but the excitement is builidng and I'm having fun with it all.
We had so much success with our first event, a small 500 point combat-patrol style tournament in January, that the resounding response was "When is the next one?!". So, after some planning we are now looking at a fairly serious undertaking. Our last event was held in the Hobbytown USA in Reading where the Berks Warhammer 40K club meets on Saturdays. We were tight on space and were forced to limit our event to just 14 participants playing on small 4x4 tables. With a larger venue, we could have easily filled 24 slots.

So, after some time, I was able to find a suitable facility for a good price. Now we are hosting our event at the Country Inn & Suites in Wyomissing, PA. This is a great location and the room is large enough to hold 18-20 tables. We are hosting a 1000 point Warhammer 40K tournament now, and have slots for at least 36 players. I may be able to squeeze one or two more tables if I absolutely must. We shall see. Part of that idea was comprimised when I had decided to add the Berks "Golden Grot" competition to the event as well. Now we will be having a Painting Competition for the players involved. Everyone participating gets one entry in each of 3 categories: Individual Model, Squad, and Vehicle/Large Model. The models do NOT have to even be from Warhammer 40K, and can be from any game line at all.

This was something fun I had decided to do and we will have small prizes for the winners and certificates of recognition for 2nd and 3rd place in each category. This will hopefully create more of a buzz for players to paint their armies. I am hoping to achieve a few things by holding this event. One is to unite our club with other local gaming clubs and other players, thus strenghening the presence of our hobby. I am also hoping that my friends get more of an appetite for tournaments and attend larger events with me in the future.

So, as I am working on things for the tournament, we had picked up another sponsor in addition to the Adventurer's Guild and Dragonfly Miniatures. Mike, from Terran Scapes, has offerd to supply us with a gift certificate, and we matched his contribution with our prize support money. That Gift Certificate will be included as a bonus for the winner of Berks Spring Assault.

Some of the nice terrain I got from Terran Scapes is this really well made hill. The piece is solid, good size, and heavily flocked and coated well. It's not going to fall apart and was reasonably priced for the quality of it. I put some models on it to show size and scale.

I also purchased some of the Martian Buttes. The ones on his site were done in a nice reddish rock color, but I wanted to paint them more suiting to my own battlefields. So I ordered unfinished pieces. The light resin cast is very nice, and well detailed. I added a Large Martian Butte with Arch as well. This piece really stands out and the arch is large enough for even a Space Marine Terminator to fit through. I got a nice collection of the models and after washing the resin casts, I spray primered them in black.

Once the Martian Buttes were dry, I gave them a generous basecoat of Charadon Granite from Games Workshop. This color turned out better than I had hoped, as I feared that it would have been a lighter shade. To keep things simple for me, I am attempting to do as little paint mixing as possible, thus allowing me to keep features uniform. This will also help if I choose to purchase more terrain and want to paint it to match.

Next I heavily dry brushed Fortress Grey from Games Workshop, on the Martian Buttes. As that dried, it started to take a really nice rocky

After that level of color dried, I than proceeded to apply a drybrush and highlight of Bleached Bone (GW). Now these pieces are drying and it's time for me to work on the base more. I am still looking at my colors, but I am looking at using Scorched Brown for the base and than dry brush it with Graveyard Earth. Once the entire model is dry, I will give it a wash with Delven Mud, and than see if I need to touch up any dry brushing or highlights once more. With any luck, I'll have this done soon and can add some flock or static grass and have these pieces ready for the tournament this coming weekend.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Four Diamonds Cup Blood Bowl Tournament, 2010

The Four Diamonds Cup: Blood Bowl Tournament

Well, I was able to once again attend a terrific tournament, the Four Diamonds Cup. This event is hosted by a friend of mine, Jaime, who is a member of the AGBBL (Adventurer’s Guild Blood Bowl League). This event is a one-day tournament of 3 rounds of solid Blood Bowl action.

What’s really great about this tournament is that the proceeds are donated to the Four Diamonds Fund at Hershey Medical Center (and with Penn State Unniversity). The money helps support THON and the Four Diamonds, a fund to aid in research as well as to support patients of pediatric cancer and their families.

This tournament is especially meaningful to me, as my daughter Natalie has just finished 2 years and 3 months of chemotherapy battling A.L.L. Leukemia and is finally on the road to recovery. My family made extensive use of the support offered by the Four Diamonds foundation, who have given us aid with medical bills, meal vouchers, counselors, as well as moral support. The students at Penn State Unniversity also help raise money for THON, the largest student-run fund raiser that supports the Four Diamonds foundation and Hershey Medical Center in PA.

Jaime and his wife Evan lost their daughter to an invasive brain tumor and the Four Diamonds helped them during their daughter’s treatment and throughout. This is his family’s way of giving back.

So, that all said, this event drew over 30 participants, had incredible prizes, raffle drawings for cool stuff, great competition and an incredible buffet of food for the entire event. The $25 donation to the fund was modest considering what one got in return. The raffle tickets available were for various prizes, and a special drawing for a custom made dugout that Jaime expertly assembled. Truly that was the most coveted prize of all, apart from the first place trophy.

Having not played in a Blood Bowl tournament in a year due to my heavy involvement in Warhammer 40K and playing on the GT circuit, I went back to my roots of Blood Bowl where I am the most comfortable. I went with my classic Dwarf team modeled after the Pittsburgh Steelers: The Black Fire Pass Blitzers.

I love this team. Sure other players call Dwarfs (Dorfs) slow, boring, ect. But truth is they are tough, hard hitting, reliable, but they are slow. One must be tactically aware of movement limitations as an agile elf team can quickly out pace you if you do not set up a solid defensive net maximizing use of player skills and tackle zones.

One fun part of this event is that many of the local Blood Bowl enthusiast use this as a format to test out “fun” teams and really let loose. The tournament organizer, Jaime, had allowed stunty teams (and Evan’s special skeleton team) to be exempt from the feared “Paddle of Doom” that the loser must sign and be spanked by.

The format was Living Rule Book 6.0 (LRB 6.0). We were allowed to give 4 skills to players, one could be a “doubles” skill. I gave 2 longbeards/linemen Guard, perfect for support in blocks and running a cage-style ground game offense, and both slayers skills: one: Mighty Blow for breaking armor and eliminating opponents off the pitch, and the other took Side Step, allowing for safety if he would play near the sidelines, throwing opponents off the pitch out of bounds due to frenzy.

My roster for the tournament was as follows:

• Runner: Ben Rumblesberger (#7). Move: 6, ST:3, AG:3, AV:8, Skills: Sure Hands, Thick Skull, Cost: 80,000gp
• Runner: Terry Badshaw (#12), Move: 6, ST:3, AG:3, AV:8, Skills: Sure Hands, Thick Skull, Cost: 80,000gp
• Blitzer: Rok Warson (#26), Move: 5, ST:3, AG:3, AV:9, Skills: Block, Thick Skull, Cost: 80,000gp
• Blitzer: Jak Hammerbert (#58), Move: 5, ST:3, AG:3, AV:9, Skills: Block, Thick Skull, Cost: 80,000gp
• Troll Slayer: Kevyn Gangrene (#91), Move: 5, ST:3, AG:2, AV8, Skills: Block, Dauntless, Frenzy, Thick Skull, Side Step Cost: 90,000gp
• Troll Slayer: Korrik Hammerhands (#92), Move: 5, ST:3, AG:2, AV:8, Skills: Block, Dauntless, Frenzy, Thick Skull, Mighty Blow Cost: 90,000gp
• Longbeard: Dermonti Deathrun (#63), Move: 4, ST:3, AG:2, AV:9, Skills: Block, Tackle, Thick Skull. Cost: 70,000gp
• Longbeard: Mikail Battlestone (#64), Move: 4, ST:3, AG:2, AV:9, Skills: Block, Tackle, Thick Skull, Guard Cost: 70,000gp
• Longbeard: Arn Ironfist (#71), Move: 4, ST:3, AG:2, AV:9, Skills: Block, Tackle, Thick Skull, Guard. Cost: 70,000gp
• Longbeard: Willie Colon (#74), Move: 4, ST:3, AG:2, AV:9, Skills: Block, Tackle, Thick Skull. Cost: 70,000gp
• Longbeard: Mean Jorg Green (#75), Move: 4, ST:3, AG:2, AV:9, Skills: Block, Tackle, Thick Skull. Cost: 70,000gp

GAME1: vs. Shawn Mullarkey (Dark Elves).

Shawn (a.k.a. King) has taken to Blood Bowl recently and has been learning the game well at a very quick rate. I’ve faced Shawn in 40K tournaments before with his Black Templar and he has been a cagey opponent. I expected no less from him in Blood Bowl. He entered the AGBBL in season 8, finishing with a very impressive 8-2-2 record, and made it to the Semi-finals. This time he brought Dark Elves, but he had never faced me on the field.

In Shawn’s defense, my dice were hot. Using the dice that were part of our “prize package” for entering the Four Diamonds Cup, my dice were solid all game. In turn, his dice were quite the opposite. Even the best laid plans and tactics will fall apart in Blood Bowl if Nuffle forsakes you.

The game started out with the Dark Elves receiving, and Dwarfs had the FAME bonus. Early armor breaks resulted in some Dark Elf casualties and knock-outs, leaving the Dark Elves down men. Still, King managed to play well, surfing runner #7 Ben Rumblesberger into the crowd, out of bounds. Luckily Ben was pushed into Black Fire Pass fans and was able to return to the reserves bin in the dugout.

Dark Elves scored on their turn 4, giving me five full turns to rumble downfield. More than enough time for a solid running “cage” style offense. The Dwarf turn opened up with a flurry of blocks, both Troll Slayers taking elves off the pitch. Runner #12 Terry Badshaw picked up the ball and rumbled forward and took safety around dwarf blockers.

The Dark Elves offer a flexibility in their agility. Shawn took full advantage of it and did his best to try to invade the cage and hit the ball carrier. The mistake Shawn made was as I moved my players to sweep right, he over compensated and this allowed me to counter left, and eventually seal his players off.

Despite my best efforts, on turn 7, Dark Elves managed to pop the ball loose from the runner, picked it up, but instead of holding on to it, he tried to dodge away and go for it. The result was too many dice rolls and eventually luck failed him. His player dropped the ball and the dwarfs were able to pick it up and secure enough blockers, allowing a score on the following turn 8, ending the first half.

The second half started with the Black Fire pass Blitzers receiving. The Dark Elves took to the field down 3 players. As the game was tied, I wanted to make a solid, time consuming drive down the field and control the ball (and the clock, so to speak).

Knowing that Shawn’s Witch elf was going to be his best option to take shots at my ball carrier, I tried to feed him options of linemen to bait her away. One such play almost cost me as he was able to send one of my guarders out of bounds, thankfully into my own fans (player was stunned on injury roll), and allowed to return to the reserves.

The Dark Elves tried to take aggressive shots at my players, almost popping the ball loose, but he failed a critical Go-For-It roll having to push into the cage on frenzied blocks with the witch elf. Instead the witch elf tripped, knocking herself out.

Runner #7 Ben Rumblesberger continued with the ball as dwarf blockers sent another elf off with a casualty and knocked out yet another. Down to just 4 or 5 players on the pitch, but still in a chance to try to take a shot at the ball carrier, I had to score in turn 6. I wasn’t happy about giving elves 3 turns to score, and despite being down players, there was still a chance King could pull out a tie.

As the Dark Elves set up for their last drive, I spread my defense out deep and wide. I planned to react to his players positioning and force him to roll dice. Now, sure, elves can dodge well with a 4-Agility, but as King was out of team rerolls this late in the game, I am a firm believe that if you make someone roll enough dice, eventually the odds will catch up with them.

That happened here. I had a chance to pin down Dark Elves and tie them up with tacklezones. Despite my efforts, Shawn was able to dodge out, complete a pass/handoff and had a chance to score. All he had to do now was make 2 or 3 key dodges and 2 go-for-its.

It came down to the final turn. His ball carrier made it past the dwarf runners, making dodges on 4+, and 3+, and had one more dodge to make before rolling two GFI’s (2+). Fate would have it that the last dwarf in line, #58 Jak Hammerbert would be the last tacklezone the dark elf had to escape and he failed to do so. The Dwarf Blitzer saving the day and thus securing a win in game 1 of the tournament.

GAME 2: vs. Rory Driebler’s Undead team: “I’m Not Dead Yet”

Rory is a solid player and has won many games in the AGBBL. He was bringing in a classic Undead team to face me, starting line up: 2 Mummies, 2 Whites, 2 Ghouls, 7 Zombies, 3 rerolls, and coach and cheerleader.

Game started out with normal weather, Black Fire Pass Blitzers had +1 FAME (fan base) and won the coin toss. I elected to “hit” first, er…..I mean receive. Heh heh.
Some players have different thoughts on tactics, I’ll have to address that in another blog, but I always prefer ball-control and going first in the game allows me to throw the first blocks and start to establish position on the field. It also allowed Troll Slayer #91, Kevyn Gangrene to score a casualty, putting a zombie out of the game and he did not regenerate. The kick was out of bounds and termed a “touchback” so I gave it to Blitzer #26, Rok Warson, putting the ball in the hands of a player with the “block” skill.

My failed attempt at taking out a Mummy with a blitz from Slayer #92 Korrik Hammerhands ended up with said slayer suffering a casualty at the hands of the Mummy on the Undead turn. This was going to be a slugfest, and I knew it. Rory has a reputation as being a hard-hitting player as do I, (ranked 2nd or 3rd in AGBBL in total casualties). The luck of the dice were going to determine this game.

As we exchanged blocks, I attempted to move downfield and my blocks were true. I was breaking armor rolls and either stunning opponents or scoring KO shots, taking zombies off the pitch at a steady rate. The Thick-skull of the dwarfs proved to be great and helped keep my players on the field.

I made a tactical error with my remaining slayer, pushing a zombie around on the second block of a frenzied move. Rory would have allowed me to select otherwise, but I kept true to my play and left my slayer in a dangerous position next to a Mummy. A Troll Slayer is only Armor Value: 8, and a Mummy comes with Mighty Blow, allowing +1 to the armor or injury roll. As expected, that Slayer too was put out of the game, leaving me without my two big hitters.

I kept true to my game plan, caging up the ball, using the guarding blockers to solidify my position. I left a lone longbeard on each Mummy, tying them up and the tougher armor of the longbeards kept them alive and able to absorb the punishing blocks of the Mummies.

Eventually I broke free with a few blockers in place and slowed my charge, stalling one turn before scoring. I don’t like to stall in a league game, but in a tournament, if I must to take a turn away from my opponent, and I feel safe about it, I will do it. I held off on turn 6, scoring in my turn 7. This left only 2 turns for my opponent in the half, as each half is only 8 turns long (per player).

As I kicked the ball off to Rory, the kick off result was “RIOT” and we lost a turn due to fans rioting onto the field. This took away his turn 7, starting him at turn 8 and no chance at all to score.

Second half of the game started out strong. Mummy blocker stunned a longbeard, and I followed suit with #75, Mean Jorg Green knocking out another zombie. I stayed away from trying to put Mummies on their backs without Troll Slayers around, instead relying upon the tough armor of my dwarf blockers.

Knowing that my opponent has to score quickly to have any chance at winning this game, I kept some blockers back deep for defense. I placed players in position to force him to throw blocks and roll dice. Eventually he would burn out his rerolls, but in truth, his dice failed him badly. Guarding blockers allowed me to throw blocks on the mummies and knocked one of them out too.

Rory sent a ghoul deep for a pass play. I had a shot to take him down, but my man fell rolling a 1 on the Go-For-It roll, and rolling another “1” as I burned a team ReRoll. The undead player moved to better his position to try the pass play to score.

This forced me to play aggressively and even move some dwarfs into making dodges out of tacklezones (something not typical of dwarf play). My two runners swarmed on the ghoul in scoring position as I moved longbeards front, and with one Mummy out of the way, I was able to get Arn Ironfist #71, on the ghoul with the ball, who was hoping to make a pass play.

Undead turn ended quickly on a double-skulls roll on a block and no rerolls left. This allowed Arn Ironfist to assist #75 Mean Jorg Green on a blitz and pop the ball loose, tackling the ghoul.

The Undead managed to get the ball back, and hoped now just to tie the game as it was now turn 6. Dwarf Longbeard #63, Dermonti Deathrun tied up the mummy the rest of the match, allowing my other players to play a tighter defense, and the undead now down several zombies from knockouts and 2 casualties, were sorely outnumbered.

The Ghoul tried to get to scoring position, breaking past the two dwarf runners. He made all of his dodge rolls, but failed the go for it roll making it past runner #12 Terry Badshaw. Badshaw picked up the ball, throwing it downfield to the other runner, who dropped it, but kept the ball in a position that would not allow the Undead any more chances to score.

A tough game, and a solid vicotory: 2-0… more round to go!

GAME 3: vs. Loki’s Lager Lovers (Norse) coach: Jason Schrieber.

This was going to be a good game. Jason and I both were undefeated. He is down from the NY area and working with another friend of mine, a skilled player, Ramsey MacPhereson and the two are planning on running a tournament in June.

His roster was with the newer Norse types, and I’ve not had much experience (or luck) against this roster. The upside: all players have block skill except Ulfwereners, who instead get STR: 4, and Frenzy. Norse Beserkers also have Frenzy and Jump Up. The Downside: Armor Value: 7. This makes a Norse team very fragile. Also, if not handled properly, Frenzy can be used against an opponent, especially if you have players with guard and can sucker him into secondary blocks.

Jason’s upgrades were block on both Ulfwereners, dodge on his runner (who also has Dauntless), and sure hands on his Thrower.

To complicate things, we rolled a Blizzard for weather. This meant that only quick and short passes could be thrown, and also all Go-For-It rolls would fail on a 1 or 2, instead of just a “1”. This would work to my advantage, holding his team’s movement back, if I could play defense properly.

It must have been the theme for the day, but third game in a row that my team rolled +1 on the FAME, which is determined by rolling 2d6 + Fan Factor. This would affect results on the kick off charts and in my case would be very beneficial.

I picked up the ball with runner #12, Terry Badshaw and went with my classic frontal blocks and attempt to cage up the ball. I tried to keep away from the sidelines this time, as I was facing 4 players with Frenzy, which allows a player to take 2 blocks per turn.

The front line was great, knocking out one player and stunning two more. I made a poor move with one of my Slayers and the Norse closed up. I was in a really bad position, so I pulled back, retreated a few steps and reset my offense. This proved to be a good move on my part, as if I would have pressed on, the Norse would have had me out positioned.

Trying to keep up with my movements and keep pressure on me, the Norse players started to get aggressive early. He would get into position to throw blocks on my runner, but when he would have to make a Go-For-It roll (GFI), he would fail. The ice and snow ended up being my friend this match.

Charging forward again, my team managed to stun another norseman and send another off the pitch with a casualty. I was moving into good position until my other runner failed a block on an Ulfwerener since he didn’t’ have block and got stunned. This left an opening in my cage.

The Norse were able to capitalize on the play, popping the ball loose, but burned out their last reroll in turn 5. The dice continued to be hot, more casualties and stuns on the norse team at the hands of my dwarfs opened up the field. After the next couple of turns, I scored a few more stuns, a KO and another casualty. I was able to get to the ball and get a dwarf into scoring position.

Norsemen kept slipping on the ice, allowing my men to get into position to finally score near the end of the half in my turn 8. This left the norse with 1 turn in the first half, but an Ulfwerener scored a key hit, injuring one of my longbeards.

The second half the Norsemen were receiving. They were down a few players thanks to knock outs and injuries. I was hoping to outmaneuver him and either stop him or take the fight to him.

The kick off result was a quick snap, allowing his men to move one extra square each, but the kick landed deep in his territory. The Lager Lovers started out strong with 3 stuns on my front line. All I could do was reset my men and prepare to counter.

Norse blocks continued to be strong, knocking out “The Old Man”, guarding blocker Arn Ironfist, #71. Than luck failed the Norse once again……..they fumbled a pass.

This was just the chance I needed, and in my next turn I moved men into position and #26 Rok Warson jumped into a tacklezone and picked up the ball (using a reroll in the process).

The next turn a norse Ulfwererner had a chance to hit one of my longbeards. But….he rolled double-skulls (attacker down) and with the reroll, had the same result, and #63 Dermonti Deathrun stunned his norse attacker.

This gave me a clear opening to block norse men clear of the ball and I was able to move and give the ball to the runner #7, Big Ben Rumblesberger.

Norse turn 4 just got worse as his players failed a dodge past Troll Slayer #92, Korrik Hammerhands. This opened up major blocking by the Dwarfs, opening up the path for the ball carrier. As the dwarfs moved downfield, the norsemen were scrambling to try and stop my “stealing” of the ball. The ice and snow again causing failed GFI rolls by norsemen, leaving them flat.

Two more knock outs by dwarf blockers opened up the path, and Big Ben was on the edge of the goal line waiting to score. Somehow the Norse managed to get an Ulfwerener downfield and was able to put a tacklezone on my Dwarf Runner.

Now it was my turn 6. I had 1 reroll left. Runner on the goal line. All of my supporting blockers were just out of range to help without making Go-For-It rolls. I made the gamble to dodge away and score. I needed a 3+ and had the reroll left. But, as I said my dice were hot, and I rolled a 5, scoring my 2nd touchdown of the game.

The Norse were left with 2 turns left to score. In a vain attempt to save face, the norse thrower fumbled the ball. They were only able to throw some blocks that didn’t account for much of anything, leaving me with a 2-0 win.

So, I finished the tournament 3-0! My best performance in a Blood Bowl tournament yet. My total Net Touchdowns was 4. Unfortunately for me, my friend Justin Stoner also went 3-0 and his Net Touchdowns was 5. So, due to the tie breaker, I ended up in 2nd place.

I got a nice trophy, a custom made passing template, and some other raffle prizes, including some werewolves or Ulfwereners. More importantly the entire tournament raised almost $1700 for the Four Diamonds Foundation.

I can’t wait until next year!

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Expanding our Network.

Well, we did something new that I've been working on for a while.   I've been reaching out trying to connect with other gamers and clubs in surrounding areas to see if we can network together and expand our groups and connect with other fellow gamers.

Saturday April 3rd, we did just that.   Four of us from the Berks Warhammer 40K Club went to the Lehigh Valley Mall in Allentown to the Hobbytown USA up there and met with the local Warhammer 40K club there.   The club, called: "Innocence Means Nothing" has been up and running for about 2 years.

We were pleasantly greeted by the sight of over a dozen gamers in a huge store, with several tables set up for full-scale Warhammer 40K battles.    The I.M.N. club has a nice array of GW gaming boards, and each has been textured to a different theme: Winter/Snow, Jungle, Urban, Desert, and Wilderness.   They had really nice terrain, I was told that was made by someone up in NY.   Each table had it's theme and looked great.

We brought our miniatures along, but weren't too worried about playing a game as we were meeting these fine folk.   A great thing was how well the staff of the store treated us when we arrived.   They readily reckognised us as Wargamers, but welcomed us and were very polite and helpful.  The store was huge, the play area and support for the Warhammer gamers was impressive.

The I.M.N. club meets at the Whitehall Hobbytown USA in the Lehigh Valley Mall on Saturdays from 3:00pm-9:00pm.   I know members of our club will be taking trips up there to join in on their games on occasion, further promoting unions with our clubs.

We also in turn invited them to join us at the Berks Spring Assault tournament.

Joining me in our visit was Brian Smith, Charlie "Dark Lance" Emslie, and Colin Gallen.   Colin even got a chance to throw down with Brian of I.M.N., who is also their club's president.   Colin is learning to use my orks as he is going to be assisting a young Berks club member who is playing orks in our upcoming tournament.   So, Colin got to play 3 quick turns with my Goff Orks of Krogg's Karnage, taking the fight into Brian's Space Wolves.

I have to say, the Orks were doing quite well, and I would love to have seen how this would have turned out going 5 turns.

Well, at least I can say that not only the Berks players, but the orks of Krogg's Karnage have now officially invaded the Lehigh Sector!

Friday, April 2, 2010

Blood Bowl and the AGBBL

Blood Bowl is Life.  

This has been the running "joke" phrase of the AGBBL (Adventurer's Guild Blood Bowl League) since I've been involved with them back in 2003.   The crew up in Harrisburg, PA know their stuff when it comes to Blood Bowl.....perhaps the greatest little specialist game that Games Workshop had ever come up with.

What is Blood Bowl you ask?   It is a variant loosely based upon American Football played in the Warhammer Fantasy Battles Setting.    The fluff behind it started out more as a joke than anything serious.   But what happened is that Blood Bowl took on a Pop-Culture style following amongst gamers.    So essentiall if you combined the following aspects, you would get an idea of what Blood Bowl is:  The NFL, Rugby, WWE Wrestling, Lord of the Rings, Warhammer Fantasy, and a 3-Ring Circus.    Blood Bowl is a fun, silly and chaotic game that tests your skill, stragegies, patience and sanity.

Initially, Games Workshop stopped supporting the game, my best guess is because it is not a huge money maker.   An entire full roster is only 16 models.   Sure, GW makes their own line of models and as expected, they are very good quality.    The fun aspect of Blood Bowl is that it is a game that screams out "Conversions!".    In my experience in the hobby now, some 8 years, I notice that folks get started by borrowing a team from experienced players, who tend to own several, or they start out with a standard boxed set team.    

Once settled into the hobby, a player will collect a second team, something more suited to their style.

As the hobby grew, so too did independent support.    Perhaps the most important and well known is the NAF.   So nammed after what "the founders", the story goes....of the Dwarf "Roze El" and the orcs on the battlefield that fateful day that uncovered a lost stadium and the holy book to "Nuffle"  (NFL), the lost god of football.   You may have up to 16 players on your roster, but the sacred number of "11" is what you are allowed to put onto the field each time.

So was born Nuffle Amorical Football.  (NAF).    In the gaming community, the NAF is an organization that actually supports Blood Bowl, tournaments, and allows for international rankings amongst players.   Also, for a $10 annual membership, they send you a set of colored Blocking Dice....which are well worth that fee alone.    Those are the main thing one needs to play, in addition to a field.   

Also, as the hobby has grown, many independent companies have created varaint football teams.    Some are funny such as some done up as "Playboy bunnies", and another as "Nuns".    (Shadowforge Miniatures).     Another company that has been supporting a lot of the AGBBL tournaments is Impact Minaitures, and they make great models as well as travel cases perfect for transport of your Blood Bowl team and also for travel to tournaments.

As for the AGBBL....I came across these folks when i was researching some information for our local gamers in the Reading PA area on Blood Bowl.   We attempted (unsuccessfully) to run some leagues in the area, but just had lack of support and no real knowledge on the subject.    But my interest in the game was secured.  

I picked up playing with the folks in the AGBBL in season 3.   Now, we are in Season 9, and I am having a blast.   I have 5 teams I own, most of them based upon "actual" fictional locations within the Warhammer Fantasy universe.    I have my favorites, as I prefer a more direct pounding style of offense, much like the old school Pittsburgh Steelers of the 1970's, and I go with a dwarf team as my favorite.    Hopefully one day soon, I will be able to run a league and host a tournament in the Reading PA area for my friends.

My current teams that I own are:
* Dwarf:  Black Fire Pass Blitzers  (Hail from Karak Varn in the Black Fire Mountains by Black Fire Pass)
* Humans:  Couronne Panthers  (modled after the Carolina Panthers, Couronne is the capitol of Bretonnia)
* Orcs:  Blood Peak Punishers  (I've never played them in a league yet!)
* Chaos Dwarfs:  Public Enemy  (my tournament team, but Chaos Dwarfs are in my opinion, one of the most diverse teams and one of my favorites)
* Chaos Pact:   Nemesis Enforcers:   (Converted from Chaos Marauders, but have the ability to have 3 "Big Guys":  an Ogre, Troll, and Minotaur as well as a goblin, Dark Elf, and Skaven runner.    VERY tough team in a league, I did terrible last season).

The folks in Harrisburg at the Adventurer's Guild are very serious about their Blood Bowl hobby.  In fact, they host several tournaments throughout the year that are sanctioned by the NAF for national rankings.    One of my farorites happens to be coming up in April 10th.   It's the 4-Diamonds Cup!     This is special to me because the tournament is a fund raiser for the Four Diamonds Fund, the largest student-run philanthopy around, and it's at Penn State and Hershey Medical Center, raising money to help children battling Cancer and other medical challenges.     (My daughter was treated there for Leukemia for 2 years.  Thanks to their help and support, she is finished her chemo and recovering now to a normal life).

Some Fun Facts that my friend (And Arch Nemesis!) Evan Doyle recently posted on the AGBBL website list me in a few categories.    Mind you, i've been playing since season 3, some of these guys have been there since season 1.     :

On 4/2/2010 Evan_Doyle said: Recent/Upcoming Milestones: Mike B won his 30th game last week (5th all time). JKarr and Josh need 1 win for 30 wins. Jamie needs 2 wins for 30 wins.

Evan scored his 150th TD. Ed needs 1 more for 150 TDs, Jamie needs 3 for 100 TDs and Mongo needs 11 for 200 TDs (all time leader).

Ed got his 175th Cas. Rich got his 100th Cas. Stoner needs 3 to reach 125 Cas, Mongo needs 3 to reach 175 Cas and Mike B needs 12 to reach 200 Cas (2nd All Time).

Evan and Mongo played their 100th Regular Season Game (against each other). Roy's next game is his 50th regular season game.
(I didn't realize 30 wins was a milestone, but nice to know I am there now!   Also, the Casualty count is impressive.  Mongo is the commissioner of the AGBBL and has been since its inception.)