Blood Bowl: A Gateway Game

I mentioned in my opening post that I have played the Games Workshop fantasy football game Blood Bowl.  Actually that was my first tabletop miniatures game, and it was that experience that led me to pick up Warmachine (After some friendly advice from my game store’s owner, who shares my slow mini-painting problem).  I played a couple of training games with one of the regulars at the store, and then signed up for their Monday Night Blood Bowl league.  I decided, based on fluff and play style (Dodgy runners who can pass when they need to and bash when they don’t), to go with Dark Elves.Then I had a problem.  The sculpts GW put out for their Blood Bowl teams are generally not the most amazing sculpts, but the Dark Elf team looks like a bad dream about Alice Cooper.  You just don’t get the impression that they’re actually a football (Sorry, Blood Bowl) team.  Instead they look like some kind of weird cult.  Anyway, I ditched them and went to look for proxies.  I started with the Warhammer Fantasy Dark Elf Warriors box, but those ended up having similar problems to the actual team sculpts — especially considering their chain mail skirts.  Suffice to say that I didn’t care for them either.

This led me to look elsewhere, and I found my answer in the Warhammer 40K Dark Eldar.  Between a box of the Wyches and one of Kabalite Warriors I found exactly the look I was going for: Armored, but lightly; vicious, agile, and powerful.  Best of all, they actually came in dynamic poses,  so they looked like they were actually going to play a game of football.  And so the fun began.

I had just read R.A. Salvatore’s first three Drizzt Do’Urden books, so what with drow and Dark Elves I decided to name my team the Scimitars Parody Team.  The Blitzers and Runner were all named for various means of using someone else’s copyrighted material (Free Speech, Creative Commons, Infringement, etc.); the Assassin was name for one of Drizzt’s swords; and the Linemen were all variants on the name Drizzt Do’Urden (Drizzzzzzzzt Ur’Doen, for example).  The Witch Elf was Legs O’Lass; she was my last purchase in league play and I had almost run out of ideas by that point.  Here’s the team fully assembled:

Scimitars Parody Team

Team Photo taken before the last game of the season

The back row, from left to right, is the Runner #5, Assassin #13, and Witch Elf #14.  The second row is my Blitzers, and the front row is my Linemen.

One of the biggest lessons I took away from Blood Bowl is that, in any wargame, anyone can beat anyone with the right combination of skill, power, and luck.  My team lost more games by one touchdown than I care to count.  My last game, I beat up on the opponent’s High Elves, killing two and badly injuring two or three more, but still lost 4-3 on the second-to-last turn.  Most of the time I tried to stick too closely to my game plan without putting much effort into disrupting my opponent’s, which ultimately meant that he got to disrupt mine while playing his own.  In any case, I had a ton of fun and learned a lot from Phil, John, Alex, Eric, and the rest of the guys over at 21st Century Comics in East Lansing.  Stop by if you get the chance and say hi!

(Oh, the team went 1-9-1 and ended up #11 out of 12 teams, in case you were wondering.)