13 June 2009

Back in the saddle

After all that painting (every evening for a couple of hours) to get Mike's team finished in time for the GT (more on that in a few lines), I haven't felt like doing any active geeking until yesterday. I've sent off for a few supplies for basing miniatures etc, but no more than that. So yesterday evening I got the brushes out and painted up a squig (think toothy, psychotic space-hopper allied to orcs and goblins) as a turn counter for my Bloodbowl goblin team. It's not finished, was kinda rushed, and is pretty functional so I haven't bothered taking a picture, but it's got me back in the saddle.

So, the GT. Or, to give it its full title, the Blood Bowl Grand Tournament held in Lenton at Games Workshop's eagle-clad centre for world domination. I didn't take my camera (again - I'm rubbish, sorry), and all the ones I took on my phone came out as vaguely orange blobs. There were six games, three per day, and I took a team (Skaven) that I thought would be pretty good as a tournament team. Didn't quite work out like that, but I did finish 48th out of 170-odd, just outside the top quarter. For those not used to BloodBowl, the number in brackets is how many Casualties caused. I'll put my result first, then my opponent's.

Game 1
Opponent - Dwarfs
Score - 0(0)-2(3)

A nice bloke (Simon) as my opponent, so in that sense a pleasant start to the tournament. However, all my team got beaten up or killed, leaving me no way to defend. I was down to three players by turn 5 (of 8) of the first half. My notes for the game trail off at this point and just read 'oh dear oh dear oh dear'.

Game 2
Opponent - Norse
Score - 3(5)-1(3)

Incredibly random. BB is meant to be a game of barely controlled chaos, and this lived up to that billing. Every possible random event happened at least once and we laughed our way through those two hours. On top of that my team which had proved so fragile in game 1 came back with a vengeance - take that! Kerpow! My opponent Steve proved to be a top bloke, so the tourney continued well.

Game 3
Opponent - Lizards
Score - 1(2)-2(3)

Although highly amusing, every other dice-roll I made failed and led to a player of mine being sent off for fouling or breaking their neck while trying to dodge between enemy team members. Sigh. Dan (the other guy) played the advantages the dice gave him well, and we spent a chatty couple of hours across the table.

End of day one, and 1 win to 2 losses. I tried to be grown up about it, but couldn't help feeling a little frustrated over the way the (mis)fortunes of war(gaming) had conspired against me.

Game 4
Opponent - Halflings
Score - 1(2)-1(3)

I was delighted to see I had drawn 'flings as my first game of the day. They're basically a joke team, so I felt my luck had turned for the better. Not quite. For the first half I rolled a 1 or skull on over 2/3 of all dice rolls. I've blotted the horror from my mind, but I do know it ended with me 1-0 down after having received the ball at kick-off. The second half started in the same way but, turn by turn, it swang back to me and in the dying moments of the game, when it seemed I was fated to drown in a shallow muddy puddle of failure and self-pity, there came a spark of possibility. Knocking the ball free from grubby Halfling hands as they steam-rollered towards my end-zone, assisted by their treemen, I snatched at the ball, frantically pelted across the width of the pitch before launching a last gasp pass over half the length of the field. A fingertip catch, a scamper, lung bursting, and the draw (Draw?! Against 'flings?!) was mine.

Game 5
Opponent - Orcs
Score - 6(1)-2(1)

Now that is how skaven are meant to play. Every sniff of a ball, and I snatched it and speeded away to another touchdown. The balance of that speed is a certain fragility, but the greenskins obviously had forgotten their knuckle-dusters, and so I escaped almost unharmed. It seemed so unfair, in a way, and he took it in such good humour, that we took a longer break at half time and went to the bar so I could buy him a drink. Huge fun, great gaming companionship, and a much needed victory.

Game 6
Opponent - Skaven
Score - 3(3)-2(2)

I was paired up against Frank, a rather well-known BB figure, a German who designs and produces the most incredible scratch-built stadiums for the game (and scenery for every game he plays). I was intrigued to see how a skaven-skaven game played out. In the end it was a bit one-sided (he grabbed a last turn TD which makes it look less one-sided than it felt in the game) as my bad luck from earlier in the tournament now struck my opponent, and I was (if I say so myself) 'in the zone' and seemed able to see how the game was going to play out better than him. He took it really well, and I think still had fun. I thanked him for the game, commiserating when things didn't work out, but underneath I was taking a savage delight in my triumph. Does that make me a bad person? Or overly geeky? Both?

I had umm-ed and ahh-ed over the pretty high fee for the weekend, but in the end it was worth every penny. Even in the games I lost, and the moments when I had to overcome an internal pettiness over failed dice-rolls, I loved the whole thing - the good-natured, easy comradeship that sprung up even more than in any other tourney I've been to. Hurrah for geeking, and bring on the next tournament at the beginning of July.

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