Blood bowl

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BottledViolence
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Re: Blood bowl

Postby BottledViolence » Sun Oct 25, 2020 10:07 pm

I decided to throw all my extra 40K stuff up on Ebay and in the process found my old Blood Bowl teams. I don't think I've touched them since about 2004 or 5. Found some oddball figures, which isn't surprising since I had a pretty good network for finding and acquiring OOp stuff. Everything was GW since that was kind of the fun part for my scouring the old catalogues. I used familiars for reroll, score, and turn tokens. Wizards for coaches. Found old cheerleader models, and OOP star players... The only ones I'm not sure about are these two:
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Ikoma
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Re: Blood bowl

Postby Ikoma » Mon Nov 30, 2020 5:30 pm

Sorry I cannot be of more (any?) help in tracking down those minis. Lizards or Slann by the look of them.

In my Blood Bowl news, I have the newest Season Two boxed set in my hot hands. First impressions review...

I love that it looks like GW is paying attention to the game. No game company's text proofing is perfect. Typos and errors are a fact of life and the reason FAQs and errata are a thing. But this edition shows a real commitment to keeping those kinds of things as close to the target number of zero as possible. AND it is clear that they actually thought about the rules. Too often in Blood Bowl's history, GW has had a cool idea, published it (in a Spike! or White Dwarf or just a PDF online) only to have the community look at it and break it immediately because GW didn't actually think how it would interact with everything else. Not this time. They created a cohesive whole unit that looks to improve on a LOT of things. But not everything....

So... I like all the cleaning up the way stats are recorded. ALL stats are now the number you need to beat. No more weird subtracting your AG from seven and then subtracting the basic modifier for almost any agility roll to get your target number. Now elves have an AG of 2+. They can do any basic agility roll on a 2 or better (of course, modifiers can adjust that). Same thing with armor. Now, an AV of 8+ requires an 8 or better to break. Simpler. I also like that they finally abandoned the crazy limitation that all player costs must be multiples of ten. That let them tweak many players that were a touch over (or under) costed to better reflect their true value to a starting squad. They have also seen the light and created simple little inducements for as low as 20k.

I am a fan of the way they addressed stalling in Season Two. The basic rulebook defines it. Could you have scored this turn by moving one of your players and needing NO dice rolls? And you didn't score? Then you are stalling. Even a single Rush (what used to be called Going For It) or Dodge roll that would have been required means you are not stalling. So what does it mean if you are stalling? Well, it means you are taking a risk. Betting that you can keep the ball safe while you manage the clock and score later while leaving your opponent without enough time to score back. Almost every pro sport I can think of has 'clock management' as part of its strategy (baseball being the major counter-example) and I see no reason why clock management aka stalling shouldn't be a part of Blood Bowl. BUT... that said. It can be a little boring. We've all been there. The other coach had hot dice. He's injured two of your players and put four more in the KO box. You've got five players left on the pitch. But there's not a lot you can do with them. Each turn, he's pounding them for all he's got (as he should) to earn Star Player Points AND to make it harder for you to equalize in the second half. But that means you're turn is basically just trying to dodge your players away and run for safety OR literally doing nothing, leaving them lying on the pitch where they are (a little) safer, and passing. And that's not terribly fun. So... GW added some long shot ways that stalling can come back and bite you in the ass. It's not likely. But it could happen. I like that.

I even kind of like the (re-)addition of the passing stat to the game. Just like AG, PA is the number you would need to roll to throw a quick pass. Elven throwers are 2+. It let's GW boost the passing game of EVERY thrower in the game without also making them better at dodging or catching (which are still governed by AG). It's also the only stat that you can have a "-" in... meaning you cannot pass at ALL. That player can still hand off but they cannot even attempt a pass. But why did they have to nerf elves SO hard. When I heard the rumors I expected most elves to get a nerf. But to drop them to 4+? Wardancers and Witch Elves are PA 5+? As good as a Treeman? Urgh. It doesn't hurt elven offense but it destroys our defense. No more taking the time to secure the blitz on the ball carrier, popping the ball loose and then any old elf tossing it a few squares to another elf who nafs off down the pitch as fast as he can go. Not any more. Now we have to try and protect the ball for at least one turn (until it can be handed to a proper thrower) who will chuck it downfield. And we have to do that without all the access to STR skills the other teams have AND while our proper thrower is getting the loving 'attention' from the other team he so properly deserves. We'll see. Maybe it's better than it looks. Oh, and they split up all the passing skills (so there would be enough do allow for the new random skill up system option) so it's going to take longer to even get your thrower good.

Speaking off the new random skill up system, I am excited to see what comes of it even while I am nervous about potential abuses. Basically, you now spend SPP to skill up. For a low amount, you can buy a random skill. For a little more, you can buy a specific skill. For a lot more, you can guarantee yourself a stat boost. Just maybe not the stat boost you really wanted. I like that you won't have that one team in your league that got super lucky and has two +1 ST player and another two +1 AG players who is crushing things. Now, the other coach had to save up to buy those stat boosts AND get lucky that his thrower didn't get the ST boost and his black orc got the AG. But you will still have coaches who min max the hell out of the random skills. Buy a random skill, if you don't get what you need, cut the guy and hire a new rookie. Obviously, this works best with cheap teams (hello, Goblins and Halflings). We'll see how it works out in actual practise.

I don't love the nerf to leaping but I do kinda like the additional of jumping over downed players (anyone can attempt to jump a downed player, just make an AG roll modified by the TZs you are leaving OR entering [whichever is higher]).

All this and a new video game version with the exact same rules coming early next year (and strong hints it will finally be cross-platform). Good time to be a Blood Bowl player.
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BottledViolence
Sat through Dan's Cap Ship Lecture and didn't fall asleep... mostly
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Re: Blood bowl

Postby BottledViolence » Wed Dec 02, 2020 10:02 pm

Ikoma wrote:Sorry I cannot be of more (any?) help in tracking down those minis. Lizards or Slann by the look of them.

The top one is a gutter runner from some event, still not sure which one, but it had to be before about 2006. The bottom one is Jurgen Demonfeeder from the Chaos All Stars. I think I got him at the 2004 Chaos Cup at the Chicago Games day 2004. https://www.blood-bowl-miniatures.de/co ... d-edition/
In my Blood Bowl news, I have the newest Season Two boxed set in my hot hands. First impressions review...

I love that it looks like GW is paying attention to the game. No game company's text proofing is perfect. Typos and errors are a fact of life and the reason FAQs and errata are a thing. But this edition shows a real commitment to keeping those kinds of things as close to the target number of zero as possible. AND it is clear that they actually thought about the rules. Too often in Blood Bowl's history, GW has had a cool idea, published it (in a Spike! or White Dwarf or just a PDF online) only to have the community look at it and break it immediately because GW didn't actually think how it would interact with everything else. Not this time. They created a cohesive whole unit that looks to improve on a LOT of things. But not everything....


Glad to hear they're producing quality again, I bought the first new boxed set after 3rd, but never played. It looked good, but honestly, I'm not sure I even read the rules. The early days of Specialist Games was a lot of fun, but it was tough getting new players involved without the nice boxed sets.

So... I like all the cleaning up the way stats are recorded. ALL stats are now the number you need to beat. No more weird subtracting your AG from seven and then subtracting the basic modifier for almost any agility roll to get your target number. Now elves have an AG of 2+. They can do any basic agility roll on a 2 or better (of course, modifiers can adjust that). Same thing with armor. Now, an AV of 8+ requires an 8 or better to break. Simpler. I also like that they finally abandoned the crazy limitation that all player costs must be multiples of ten. That let them tweak many players that were a touch over (or under) costed to better reflect their true value to a starting squad. They have also seen the light and created simple little inducements for as low as 20k.

I am a fan of the way they addressed stalling in Season Two. The basic rulebook defines it. Could you have scored this turn by moving one of your players and needing NO dice rolls? And you didn't score? Then you are stalling. Even a single Rush (what used to be called Going For It) or Dodge roll that would have been required means you are not stalling. So what does it mean if you are stalling? Well, it means you are taking a risk. Betting that you can keep the ball safe while you manage the clock and score later while leaving your opponent without enough time to score back. Almost every pro sport I can think of has 'clock management' as part of its strategy (baseball being the major counter-example) and I see no reason why clock management aka stalling shouldn't be a part of Blood Bowl. BUT... that said. It can be a little boring. We've all been there. The other coach had hot dice. He's injured two of your players and put four more in the KO box. You've got five players left on the pitch. But there's not a lot you can do with them. Each turn, he's pounding them for all he's got (as he should) to earn Star Player Points AND to make it harder for you to equalize in the second half. But that means you're turn is basically just trying to dodge your players away and run for safety OR literally doing nothing, leaving them lying on the pitch where they are (a little) safer, and passing. And that's not terribly fun. So... GW added some long shot ways that stalling can come back and bite you in the ass. It's not likely. But it could happen. I like that.

I'm confused about this. Now you have to keep your ball carrier one space further away from the end zone than his movement if you want to... you, play Blood Bowl? I've been of the opinion that most of what they have done to make the game more fair and better for tournament play has made the game less fun and less in the spirit of the game. But I'm also the guy who ran a 3rd ed league while in the league playtesting the original LRB rules.

I even kind of like the (re-)addition of the passing stat to the game. Just like AG, PA is the number you would need to roll to throw a quick pass. Elven throwers are 2+. It let's GW boost the passing game of EVERY thrower in the game without also making them better at dodging or catching (which are still governed by AG). It's also the only stat that you can have a "-" in... meaning you cannot pass at ALL. That player can still hand off but they cannot even attempt a pass. But why did they have to nerf elves SO hard. When I heard the rumors I expected most elves to get a nerf. But to drop them to 4+? Wardancers and Witch Elves are PA 5+? As good as a Treeman? Urgh. It doesn't hurt elven offense but it destroys our defense. No more taking the time to secure the blitz on the ball carrier, popping the ball loose and then any old elf tossing it a few squares to another elf who nafs off down the pitch as fast as he can go. Not any more. Now we have to try and protect the ball for at least one turn (until it can be handed to a proper thrower) who will chuck it downfield. And we have to do that without all the access to STR skills the other teams have AND while our proper thrower is getting the loving 'attention' from the other team he so properly deserves. We'll see. Maybe it's better than it looks. Oh, and they split up all the passing skills (so there would be enough do allow for the new random skill up system option) so it's going to take longer to even get your thrower good.

Speaking off the new random skill up system, I am excited to see what comes of it even while I am nervous about potential abuses. Basically, you now spend SPP to skill up. For a low amount, you can buy a random skill. For a little more, you can buy a specific skill. For a lot more, you can guarantee yourself a stat boost. Just maybe not the stat boost you really wanted. I like that you won't have that one team in your league that got super lucky and has two +1 ST player and another two +1 AG players who is crushing things. Now, the other coach had to save up to buy those stat boosts AND get lucky that his thrower didn't get the ST boost and his black orc got the AG. But you will still have coaches who min max the hell out of the random skills. Buy a random skill, if you don't get what you need, cut the guy and hire a new rookie. Obviously, this works best with cheap teams (hello, Goblins and Halflings). We'll see how it works out in actual practise.

I don't love the nerf to leaping but I do kinda like the additional of jumping over downed players (anyone can attempt to jump a downed player, just make an AG roll modified by the TZs you are leaving OR entering [whichever is higher]).

All this and a new video game version with the exact same rules coming early next year (and strong hints it will finally be cross-platform). Good time to be a Blood Bowl player.


It sounds like this is now a completely different game from what I played. :lol:

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Ikoma
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Re: Blood bowl

Postby Ikoma » Thu Dec 03, 2020 2:22 pm

Stalling... aka Clock Management

As I said, almost every sport ever includes the concept of clock management. You're playing gridiron football and you are up 9 points with 4 minutes to go? You grind the ball with running plays every single down to take as much time off the clock and not give your opponent the chance to score the two times he needs. In basketball, you find yourself down 5 points with 90 seconds left, you start fouling more frequently (picking the worst shooter on the other team) to force them to the free throw line and let you get the ball back. Hockey has clock management. I'm sure our non-American friends could insert a football/soccer example. It's part of the game. BUT... it's also undeniable that some fans find clock management boring. There is a LOT of strategy to clock management. But it's not dynamic on the field. I would love to hear if the football/soccer example is likely not dynamic on the field.

Blood Bowl is no different. The classic way to win a game of Blood Bowl is the 2:1 grind. If you receive the kick off, you do everything in your power to safely move the ball up the pitch and punch it in on turn 7 or 8. 6 is acceptable if the other team is slow. That means the other team will not have a realistic chance to score in the first half and you take a 1:0 lead into half time. Hopefully, you also injured and maimed his team in the process (removed players) setting you up for the second half. In the second half, you do your best to take the ball off your opponent but if you cannot do that, you want him to score quick... turns 2, 3 or 4. That leaves you time to score the final go ahead TD and win 2:1. In you start the game on defense, you reverse that. But lot's of players find that long, grindy half boring. It's particularly hard if the other team is really hurting your team in the process. I've been there. The orc coach could score at any moment. But there is NO advantage to him to do so and there is an advantage to him standing on all my players. I'm already down four players and three of those are injured. Apoth is burned and every smack is a chance for long term lasting damage to my squad. It's not fun. Now I get it, I've played for decades. I can suck it up. But a new player? You cannot just say 'Git gud' and not expect a certain percentage to just say, 'this game sux and walk away'. Games are supposed to be fun. If you've created a game that isn't fun for a percentage of the people who try it / play it, you're going to create a long term problem for your game.

So the problem of stalling / clock management aka 'how to keep the strategy while making it more fun' has been with Blood Bowl a long time. GW's current attempted solution is to add some risk to the strategy. Go ahead, park the ball carrier one square from the end zone tucked into a nice safe screen/cage while you beat on the rest of the opponent's team. The other coach might just have a special play card or a prayer to nuffle (new inducements) that sees the fans throw a rock and KO your ball carrier or some other such thing. Stalling is still the lowest risk play. It's just a little riskier than it used to be.

Passing

Yes, they have added a whole new skill to the game: passing. For MOST players, their PA is a little worse than their AG. Unless they are a thrower positional, then their PA is better than their AG (if it can be). So throwers are better at throwing than they used to be (unless they are AG 4 in which case they couldn't get any better) and non-throwers are worse at it (perhaps a lot worse - Witch Elves went from a 2+ quick pass to a 5+ quick pass). Some new passing skills were created and a few old passing skills were split up. Bash coaches are enthusiastic about the 'improvement' to the passing game since their thrower improved and the rest of their players were shit at passing anyways. Dash coaches are not happy about the 'nerf' to the passing game since most of the players got worse at passing. (As an elf coach, you can guess where I stand.)

Skill ups

Yeah... so, old rules, you earn SPP for doing stuff. When you get 6+ SPPs, you get a skill roll. You roll 2d6. You can can always take one of the primary skills for that player. On a double roll, you can take ANY skill. On a 10, you can take +1 MV or +1 AV. On an 11, you can take +1 AG. On a 12, you can take +1 ST. (Mutations were always a little weird. And you could never take [or lose] traits.) Second skill kicked in at 16+ SPP. Third skill at 31+. And so on...

New rules... are way more complicated. Basically, you earn SPPs for doing stuff. BUT, now you can take your first skill at 3+ SPPs. That's right! A single TD can get a player their first skill. BUT... for that low price you are going to get a random skill. You get to pick the category, any category that player can normally take, and then you roll 2d6 and consult the table for that skill category and BOOM!, that's the skill you got. (You can RR if that player already had that skill.) OR... you save those SPPs until you hit 6+ SPPs. If you do that, you get to select any primary category skill that player can take. OR... you can spend those same 6 SPPs and randomly select a secondary skill. For example, you average lineman has Strength as a secondary access. So your lineman could roll on the Strength table and take whatever comes up. OR... you can keep saving SPPs until you have 12+. Now you can select any secondary skill for your player. OR... you can continue saving SPPs until you have 18+ SPPs. Now, you can roll on a little table and guarantee yourself a stat boost. Just maybe not the stat boost you wanted. (If you don't like the stat boosts offered, you can always fall back on a secondary skill.) The SPP costs for the second (and additional) skills go up. Whew!

On TOP of that, the same skill can end up adding different values to your TV if you get it as a random skill versus a selected skill. As an example, a Human lineman costs 50k and can take general skills as Primary skills and can take Agility or Strength skills as secondary skills. No chance to take Passing skills or Mutations. If that player takes a random general skill and rolls Block, their cost goes up to 60k. If, however, they saved up and selected Block as a primary skill, the player is now worth 70k. Same stat line. Different costs because one got lucky on their skill up roll and the other went the safe route. Same difference in costs for secondary skills... +20k vs +40k. +AV is worth +10k. +MV & +PA are worth +20k. (Which makes sense, NO one took AV if they could get MV back when they added the same to the player cost.) +AG is now +40k! And +ST is now +80k!

So... randomly selecting your skills is both FASTER (since they cost less SPPs) and don't increase your TV as much (since they add less to your players costs). The only downside is you may get a skill that's not that useful (or maybe even useless). I mean, a zombie randomly selects a general skill and gets Shadowing? Or a dwarf lineman get Strong Arm on the random strength table. That's just not helpful. I anticipate that some teams - those with lower starting player costs - will just churn (cut and rebuy) players as they get bad skills until they get the best skills for cheap. And at 3 SPP per attempt, they can do this pretty rapidly. Teams with higher starting player costs won't have that luxury. I mean, do you want to risk rolling Wrestle for your Wardancer? Or Dirty Player? I am excited to see what strategies coaches choose to employ here. One of the unfortunately truths about Blood Bowl prior to the 2020 edition is that there were clearly optimal paths for player development paths. Now, with random skill ups, slightly suboptimal paths might get more effective since you can get into them quicker AND they are cheaper (thanks to random skill ups).
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