Monday, January 30

Bunker Bowl III

I'm happy to say that the Chelmsford Bunker is again running a Blood Bowl tournament this year - the Bunker Bowl III.

The event has already been aprroved by the NAF so I can start advertising the tournament.  It's a two-day event taking place at the regular club venue - the EPSA Sports and Social Club in Chelmsford.  Tickets are £20 each (£25 if you're not a NAF member but the extra £5 goes towards giving you membership) and for that you get two days of Blood Bowl action with tea / coffee / doughnuts in the morning and pizza at lunchtime.  There's a bar on site and we have the venue all day, both days to ensure we don't have to rush to pack up.

The first year running the tournament, we had twenty-four people take part; last year we had thirty people taking part - let's see if we can get a full house of forty people this year!

More details on the club website for those interested :

Bunker Bowl III

Sunday, January 29

Forum Fun and Games

Part II of moving the Chelmsford Bunker to a new domain name was moving the forum - which really isn't as easy as it should be.

The forum is a phpBB3 board and they offer a guide on how to do it :

I worked my way through this but I still couldn't get the forums to work on the new link - so I worked out a new way myself by installing the software from scratch on the new domain, running a backup on the old domain then importing the backup onto the new domain.  I also moved all the forum data from the old website to the new one via FTP.  I had to adjust some board settings (such as the mail and cookie settings) but all the users, forums, permissions and posts seem to have all moved over perfectly.

Overall, it took me the best part of a morning to get it working but at least it's all done now!

Now - back to painting spaceships!

Saturday, January 28


I've been busy the last few days working on the new website for the Chelmsford Bunker.  The old site was set up and designed by one of the ex-club presidents back in 2004 and passed over to a different webmanager a bit later on.  I took over the running of the website back in 2006 and it took me a while to get to grips with it as I'd only played with regular HMTL page based websites up until then (My old Howling Griffons website as an example)  The old site used Mambo as a back end with a phpBB2 forum - and I gradually learnt how to use both bits of sofware.  I was comfortable keeping both running, even upgrading the forum to phpBB3 at one point.  The issue was that both were still linked to the old domain name set up by the ex-president - which is a cool domain but confusing to people who don't have any contact with the club already.

A couple of years ago, I bought the domain name and set it up to redirect visitors to the old site.  Recently though, I've felt that the existing site was looking very old and it wasn't easy to keep updating with news.  So - it was time for a new website and a switch of domain names while I was at it.

The are lots (and lots!) of available software packages for building websites but it seemed that Wordpress was a decent choice as it's a) free and b) easy to install and keep running.  All I needed was some webhosting space and a spare mySQL database to install it into.  Most webhosting packages come with at least one mySQL database as standard but they also allow you to buy addons - and I knew I needed one database for the website and another for the forum - having two mySQL databases only cost an extra £5 a year so it was as cheap as chips really.

When it came to it, installing Wordpress was a doddle.  All you need to do is download the software, unzip it from the compressed folder it's in, then upload the contents to your webhost using an FTP program such as Filezilla.  Once you're done, you configure your mySQL database using the cpanel software that comes with the webhosting - it takes about 5 minutes.  Finally, you go install Wordpress using the easy to follow instructions.  It took longer to upload the software to the webhosting area that it did for Wordpress to install - amazing.

The cool thing about Wordpress is that there are hundreds of free themes to change the look of your website so you can choose exactly what suits you.  It's easy to configure and you can install lots of free extra plugins to give you more functionality - such as an event calendar or a contact form.  When you make a post, the software automatically handles media files or youtube links so you don't have to mess around trying to format it.

So - the new club website is ready to go.  I still need to move the forum from the old site to the new site though which I suspect will be more challenging!

Friday, January 13

Last March of the Ents

It was my final league Blood Bowl game for my Halflings on Wednesday, facing off against an experienced Skaven coach.  Skaven are difficult opponents to play against as you just can't predict where the gutter runners will end up - the agile little buggers are so fast and nimble, they make a mockery of any kind of defence you attempt.  What worked for me was that I'd given lots of my hobbits the Diving Tackle skill and even if the skill doesn't work, just having those guys marking a gutter runner makes their coach nervous.  The game went well for me though and I won 2-0 although I did have a few injured and dead players along the way.  Not a big issue as it was their final game anyway.

I've really enjoyed using the Halflings this season.  My final tally was five wins, one draw and four losses which is pretty good considering my team is rubbish at most things.  They can't pass, they're really weak, they can't run very fast and they can't take a punch!  Fielding two treemen has been great though and although they didn't gain many star player points (my trees only managed to get one skill each) they are a threat to anything on the field.  Fielding Puggy Baconbreath whenever I got the chance was fun too - people fixate on trying to kill him as he's so annoying to them.  A ST3 hobbit with Dodge and Block - he's the one Halfling on the field who can take a punch.  I had so much fun with him this season, I had some D6 made up with him on the 6.

With the Blood Bowl season ending, I need to start getting my Firestorm Armada toys usable so I can play that again.  I moved house a few months ago so all my hobby equipment is in plastic storage bins in the garage - and I'm going to sort all that out this weekend so I can start painting again.  I used to store my hobby stuff in a utility room and I would carry the paint station to the kitchen table, set up my magnifying lamp and I'd be up and running in no time.  I can't do that in the new house as there's nowhere to store the stuff - so everything will be have to be carried from the garage when I want to paint.  I've bought a new paint station (the Laptop Paint Station made by Warlord Games) as my old GW wooden paint station is going to be too big to carry through the garage back door.  I'm sure I'll be able to get myself organised at some point!

Monday, January 2

New Year - same old guy...

So - here we are again.  Another year and it's time to look back on my hobbying achievements in 2011.  It shouldn't take too long as I didn't have many...

2011 was a write off for me really.  All I wanted to do last year was build and paint my Middenheim themed Empire army for Warhammer Fantasy - but I didn't like the way Fantasy was developing.  Large units are fine but when they're mixed in with GW selling only small boxes of expensive models (such as Greatswords) and the sight of lots of large monster sized models being sold just left me cold.  The Storm of Magic release seemed to prove that GW only really wanted people to buy lots of toys for whatever army they had - and seeing army lists in White Dwarf where Teclis was fighting alongside Khorne forces just finished me off.  Added to this, I wasn't happy with GW swapping from metal to resin with the Finecast releases - it definately seemed to be driven by higher profit margins.  So - I totally lost interest in Games Workshop and it's meant I've stopped subscribing to White Dwarf which I've been collecting since 2000.  I also binned (literally) every copy of White Dwarf I owned - it took me two car trips to the dump to be able to ferry them all to the recycling centre...  I still am playing Blood bowl and I did spend over £200 on GW BB models - I bought the Elf, Vampire, Nurgle and Khemri teams including cheerleaders.  I did that as they were the last four teams I needed to finish my collection - and I wanted to get them before GW either stopped selling them completely or changed them into Finecast.

On the plus side though, I have enjoyed collecting and playing Firestorm Armada.  I have bought more Aquan and Dindrenzi models so I will aim to get those painted and get some more games in on that system.  The club's current BB league is drawing to an end so I'll have a while before the next one starts to get another team painted - plus I will be running Bunker Bowl III in October and hoping to go to a couple of other BB tourneys as well.  I will try to get a new team painted for those - maybe Dark Elves.  I've also got a lot of other side projects that could do with some attention - I bought the rulebook and some models for Gladiator by Warhammer Historical and I'd like to play that.  I also traded a lot of old Mordheim models with Alex Bews who runs the Lead Adventure forum; he sent me a bundle of SuperFigs models which would make great additions to my existing collection of super hero models for SuperSystem.  Let's not forget the Hydra Miniatures War Rocket for which I have two fleets - Galacteer and Imperial.  I also just got the Star Fleet: A Call To Arms rulebook just out made by Mongoose Publishing - that looks great.  So many projects for 2012 - but none of them will be GW related except for the Gladiator or Blood Bowl minis...

So - let's hope 2012 is a bit more productive for me on the hobby front.  I just need to get back into my hobby mojo now that the house move is over.