Thursday, July 21

League Updates - Guild Ball and Blood Bowl

I've not had time for any hobby activity in the last week or so but I have been playing games at the Chelmsford Bunker in both leagues I'm part of.  Last night I played a league Guild Ball and Blood Bowl game so it was a busy evening.

Dave's Morticians
First up was a Guild Ball game which saw my Butchers team facing against our own Longshanks Dave who was using Morticians.  My team was formed of Ox, Princess, Boar, Boiler, Brisket and Shank.  Dave was using two of the new season 2 models in his team which was formed of Scalpel, Dirge, Bonesaw, Ghast, Cosset and Silence.  This was only my 2nd full game and I've never really seen much of what the Morticians can do - but things seemed to go well for me as I took control of the middle of the pitch and ignored the ball.  Ox took a lot of damage from Scalpel at one point and he was reduced down to one box of health left.  As she was doing this she was moving his influence to other Butchers team members - but they were so close to him that after she was done, they just charged in and attacked her in return!  Ox got healed up a bit and managed to suffer another round of attacks from Cosset but still refused to leave the pitch.  What a guy!  While this was all happening my Butchers were dealing out a lot of pain.  I was racking up the kills all over the place.  I was 10-2 up and I had the option of scoring with Shank who was well within range of the goal or standing up Ox and letting him smash up Ghast.  I thought Ox deserved the chance for revenge so he stood up for free and starting swinging.  Ghast, who was already damaged, was cut apart.  A good win for the Butchers with a 12-2 scoreline.

Paul's suspicious looking sausage
Next up was the final league game for my Goblins against the Goblins of my buddy Paul.  Both our team were in a decent condition - each had 15 players, a full set of secret weapons and only 20K in TV apart.  I won the toss and my fanatic managed to knock out a troll and also obligingly left a space for my chainsaw to run through the game and blitz Paul's fanatic which took him out.  In the next turn Paul did the same to my fanatic with his chainsaw.  It was mayhem!  Players were getting injured and knocked out all over the place.  I scored in my turn 8 of the 1st half which left one turn for Paul to try to equalise by throwing a goblin.  I'd had to bring on my bombardier who acted as the perfect landing spot for his thrown goblin, knocking them both down.  For the 2nd half Paul only had four players on the field so it didn't take long before I scored again.  Just to add insult to lots of injuries, I scored once more in the final turn of the game.  So a good 3-0 win for my goblins.  They were due to play one more game in the season but the coach I was scheduled against has quit the league so I get an auto-win.  My goblins end the season on 7 wins, 3 draws and just 2 losses so I'm very happy with that.  They would qualify for a play-off position in the Championship Division - but I am also running an undead team in the Premier Division who are going to qualify so my poor gobbos are excluded.  A fun team though and I'm kinda sad that I won't use them again for a while.

Saturday, July 9

Twisted Cup II

I went to the Twisted Cup II one-day Blood Bowl tournament today with my newly painted High Elves.  I will be honest and say I wasn't expecting to get a great results as I know that High Elves aren't a great tournament team and there would be some decent opposition going.

For my first game, I was facing a chap with a Slann team and he had a terrible amount of luck trying to get his Hail Mary Pass lineman to pick up the ball.  I kept sending my fast players up field to hog the ball - which worked great as thanks to his dice and me rolling for a Blitz twice, I was 3-0 up by turn 5!  My half time I had made it 4-0.  In the second half his dice got better and he started causing some injuries on my players.  Even so, the game ended 5-2 which, I believe, is my highest ever total in one game in a tournament.  A much better start to the day than I had ever expected.

Game two and I was in 2nd place which meant I was playing against my mate VultureSquadron who was also playing High Elves.  He won the 1st Twisted Cup the year before with them and, having played him before, knew I was in for a very tough game.  We were both being quite cagey but we finished the first half 1-1 with me receiving the ball.  More cagey playing and I eventually made my break in Turn 8.  All I needed to do was block a lineman out of the way which would make a gap for a blitz on the guy marking my ball carrier - and I rolled double-skulls.  Argh!  In his final turn he managed to surf my ball carrier, picked up the ball and got it to a lineman who just needed to throw a short pass to a catcher to steal the win.  I was so relieve when he fumbled it!  1-1 against a great coach with a tournament winning team - I was just annoyed I missed out on beating him for the first time.
For the final game I was playing another High Elves team coached by a new chap in his first tabletop tournament.  He was a nifty player and I was really struggling when I started losing players.  Despite my best efforts, I just couldn't cope with being so many men down and lost 2-1 in the end.

So - a final tally of 1-1-1 which really isn't that bad for my first time using High Elves in a tournament - and I am still ruing that bloody double skulls that stopped me winning Game 2!  I am not sure where I finished in the positions but I was very shocked and pleased to be awarded the Best Painted Team trophy.  Fantastic!  It was a really good event and great to meet some of my Blood Bowl mates from Belgium who had travelled over for the day.

Friday, July 8

New Camera Set-up for Photographing Minis

I've never been particularly happy with how my photos of my minis look on this blog.  I tend to do one of two things when taking photos of them.  The first is to just take a picture with my phone camera using my hobby lamp as the sole light source or I use a small digital camera with a light box, again just using my hobby lamp as the light source.  I then adjust the photo using Picasa to try to get the colours close to how they look in real life.  The problem is that if the colours are vivid, the adjustment really can look terrible.  As an example, look at my photo of some of my Goblin Blood Bowl team.

The models really do look nothing like this at all.  The skins have been yellowed and the red and yellow clothing are far too garish.  Terrible and quite annoying as I actually got a Best Painted award for this team at a tournament.

I knew I really did need to get some extra lamps so I have been keeping an eye out for something cheap on eBay - and I did eventually pick up a light box with four different backgrounds, two lamps and a camera stand all for the princely sum of £13!  I had also seen a webcast where a professional photographer had said that cameras in phones and small digital cameras save the image in .jpg format which means the device is doing a lot of the processing of the image before it's even saved to the memory card.  What you do in post-processing is fix what it messes up.  He took photos in a .raw format and uses his computer software to adjust the raw image data.  So - as the light box kit had included a camera stand, I dug out my wife's old Nikon D40 digital SLR camera which had been in a cupboard for years.  I have since found that camera manufacturers actually have their own proprietary encoding for .raw and Nikon uses a .nef format.  Thankfully it seems that Picasa can edit these so I was good to go.  First attempt was for the four journeymen goblins from the previous picture - and they now look like this :

This if far closer to how these models look on the tabletop!  I have taken photos of the rest of the Goblin team in this way and I'll post these below.  I still need to play around and work out things a bit better as the camera I'm using is a DSLR and it's a lot more complicated than the point and click of the little digital camera or my phone camera.  I need to work out how to expand the depth of field so I can take an image of a group of models and keep them all in focus.  Something for next time!  Until then, here's some better photos of my Goblin team.

Wednesday, July 6

First Game With The Butchers

I had my first game of Guild Ball this evening against my buddy Sherwin.  He was also using Butchers but he made a point of choosing a different selection so that it wasn't a direct mirror match.  He was really good at easing me into the game, reminding me about things I'd forgotten and also suggesting tactical options.  It was a pretty close game too as it happened.  Both teams came out swinging (as if Butchers would do anything else!) but we also both scored a goal.  It ended a 12-8 win for me but my main enjoyment was just getting to spend a couple of hours catching up with him.  I really enjoyed the game and I'm looking forward to playing against very soon!

Sherwin's lovely team.
Turn 2 and it's all ready to kick off.

Monday, July 4

Guild Ball - Butchers

I'm really very lucky.  My club, the Chelmsford Bunker, has a lot of talented people who are club members and a couple of those are directly involved with Guild Ball, the mob football game by Steamforged Games.

Mat Hart is one of the game designers - and he's been a regular at my club for ages.  I used to see him occasionally on the daily commute to London and we'd chat about wargaming and his idea for the new game which, of course, became Guild Ball.  The Bunker members did a lot of playtesting of the rules so for me it feels like Guild Ball has been around forever.  I didn't have the cash to join in on the initial Kickstarter campaign when it was first released so my first Guild Ball minis were bought at Salute in 2015 when they were first released.  Mat sold a Butchers team me personally which was pretty cool - they are his favourites so they were the team for me.

The other link to Guild Ball is that the club President, Sherwin Matthews, is the lead story writer for the game.  I can't count the number of times I saw him and Mat in the upstairs bar discussing story development while all the rest of the club was playing games in the hall below.  Sherwin really has breathed the life and soul into the game.

As for me, I have, since I got my Butchers team back at Salute last year, bought two other teams which were Masons and Brewers.  I bought the extra players to maximise the teams and duly put them in the lead mountain to mature while I was concentrating on painting Blood Bowl pretty much all of last year.  With the release of the 2nd Season rules, I've decided to get my feet wet and actually play the game.  The club is running a Big League and I have joined in, albeit a little late to the party.  I am scheduled to be playing my first full game this Wednesday and I've painted up my Butchers team ready to go.  My first game is against Sherwin - but he assures me he is rubbish at the game and just plays for fun so it should all be good.  I have found the minis very different from the Blood Bowl minis I have been painting for more than a year - they are so detailed  and individual, I have found it hard to batch paint them.  So - they're not my best work and I'm not sure I themed them particularly well but they are done.  I have only just bought the Season 2 extra minis for the Butchers so I will probably add those soon.  Then I will have my Masons and Brewers to paint.  It should be good to paint and play something other than Blood Bowl just to give me other options for gaming at the club.  I know I will always get a game of Guild Ball there!
Team Captain - Ox
Mascot - Princess
Striker - Brisket
Winger - Boiler
Winger - Shank
Attacking Midfielder - Meathook
Attacking Midfielder - Boar
Butchers Guild