Friday, 25 November 2016

Bloodbowl - Skaven Team review

Welcome one and all to the hallowed ground, the sanctified turf, the pitch of ages. Yes, it's bloodbowl once more, and a new game for us to drool over! Here's the third of the brotherhood's reviews of the bloodbowl teams, and today we're concentrating on the skaven team.

Thursday, 24 November 2016

Bloodbowl - Orc Team review

Welcome one and all to the hallowed ground, the sanctified turf, the pitch of ages. Yes, it's bloodbowl once more, and a new game for us to drool over! Here's the second of the brotherhood's reviews of the bloodbowl teams, and today we're concentrating on the orc team.

Tuesday, 22 November 2016

Bloodbowl - Human Team review

Welcome one and all to the hallowed ground, the sanctified turf, the pitch of ages. Yes, it's bloodbowl once more, and a new game for us to drool over! Here's the first of the brotherhood's reviews of the bloodbowl teams, and today we're concentrating on the human team.

Bloodbowl Humans - the short version

The standard by which all other teams are assessed. Humans have the very best access to core skills in the game when starting out, and are capable of playing all of the playstyles to a limited extent (bashing, running, passing).

Each of the human players is adapted through skills to the job that they’re intended to do. That’s great, but it has a downside – try using one of the other players for that job and they won’t do it very well. Many people would suggest using the human team to learn the game with, and it’s difficult to argue that not appropriate, because they’ll be able to give you a taster of other playstyles, but ultimately if you want to play well and be successful with a human team you’ll need a good understanding of what to do and when on a bloodbowl pitch, which only comes with experience.

Bloodbowl Humans - the longer version

The Team

The reference above to the human team being the 'standard' by which others are assessed is very true. As with much of GW's product, most of the background is told from the viewpoint of the humans, and they are very much established in the mythology as being the 'average' warrior, better than some, not as good as others. This is very much the case with Blood Bowl, linemen are not impressive, but they will do the job they're there for and won't let you down. The positional players (blitzers, catchers and throwers) all have skills appropriate to their roles (catch and dodge for catchers, block for blitzers, sure hands and pass for throwers) giving them re-rolls for their key tasks.

This is where the human team actually excels, from game 1 they can concentrate on taking skills that expand their positional players skill sets, whilst other races might very well need to develop the player before they get those 'basic' skills. What that means, particularly in league play, is that you don't have to go overboard on buying re-rolls to help you out at the start of the league. It also means that with the 'standard' league starting cost of the team (a cool 1 million gold pieces) you can spend much more of that money on players and do without extra re-rolls.

For example, for that starting cost actually lets you field a human team of 11 players without having to take a single lineman, and still have room for 2 re-rolls and have 20,000 gold pieces to spare. I'm not saying that's the best lineup you'll get, but you won't see many opponents with that many specialists on the field!

As I alluded to above however, that doesn't mean the human team is easy to use. With a standard agility of 3, they won't want to be making too many dodge rolls, even to empty squares, they'll need assists to get more than 1 die to block most opponents and they'll fail a reasonable percentage of their armour rolls. However, get the team's balance right and pick the right skills as they advance in the league, and you'll really begin to get the idea that these guys can be tough as nails to beat when managed properly.


Mr Average, literally. None of his stats are impressive, but at least he's cheap. The real beauty of these guys is that you don't really expect them to do anything but stand in the way and scuffle a bit. If they knock someone down without help it'll be a nice surprise, if they pluck a catch out of the air in a crowd you'll be amazed, but ultimately they're there to allow you to spend more of what you want, where you want in your team, and come on as a sub when your star blitzer gets knocked out trying for an extra square of movement.


The human blitzer is a pretty decent version of this positional player - they come with block, and are a bit quicker around the field than most humans. Thankfully therefore you can bring up to four of them in your starting team, and that's pretty much exactly what I'd recommend. Particularly in a league, those teams that can maximise their number of players with block can really get an advantage over their opponents, since block is normally the skill most people will choose first (unless they get lucky with a double).

These guys will become the stars of your team, so look for combinations of skill that work well together and identify blitzers to develop along specific paths, combining 'Mighty Blow' with 'Piling On' for example, or 'Strip Ball' with 'Tackle'. If you're looking to play dirty, then do so with the other players on the team - preferably linemen. Your Blitzers cost entirely too much to risk being sent off, their time on the pitch is precious, use it wisely!


I would really say that the Human team is a passing team. I often play with a Norse team and their throwers suffer from the same problems, their average agility means that unless you're making quick passes, you'll fail half of your rolls, and even with the re-roll from the Pass skill they will add up. The human Thrower is your best option for retrieving the ball, I'd then advise working him up the pitch as a ball carrier (or handing off to a Blitzer) before making as short a pass as you can get away with to get the ball to whoever you want to score with. If you have to throw the ball long, go as long as you can, because having the ball the furthest distance away from your own end zone is usually advisable if you can't keep hold of it.

If you're at the end of a half and stalling for time then by all means pass with the thrower to farm some points, but keep them short and make sure they're well out of range should the pass go astray or the ball not be caught.

In terms of development you can only bring two Throwers onto your team, and I'd try to advance them along two very different paths, one as a ball carrier, with 'block', 'kick off return', 'nerves of steel', and the other as a pure passing player, with 'accurate', 'dump off' and 'safe throw'.


The human catcher is an intriguing player, and according to the rumours, is the only change to the rosters from 'old' bloodbowl, with their cost decreasing by 10,000 gold pieces.

On the face of it, the human catcher is a very well adapted player to their role, high movement, the 'catch' and 'dodge' skills only let down by the average agility common to all humans. Dodge is a very useful skill to start a league with, making it more difficult for an unskilled player to put them down, particularly if the player doing the blocking is reluctant to choose a 'both down' result. There are only really two things that let them down. The first is their pitiful strength - average players will be rolling two dice blocks against them, mitigating against that dodge skill, and because the catcher wants to be in the opposition half, in striking distance of the end zone, then they are more likely to be unsupported in that position and unable to claim assists. The second is the fact that whilst they are pretty well adapted to the role, the human team as a whole isn't really a 'passing' team, and so they're more likely there to act as a distraction and a target to pull holes elsewhere in the opponent's defence. That tends to lean them towards getting hit a lot, and their armour isn't really up to that.

You can take up to four catchers in a human team, but I really would recommend starting like that in a league. The catcher has a specific role to play, as a credible threat should they be left unmarked and open for a shorter pass. There's only one other role I might contemplate for the catcher, and that's as a ball carrier, but thanks to their strength that can be risky. 

For the former role, you want to look at skills like 'block' (helps you stay on your feet), 'diving catch' (helps with catching both accurate and inaccurate passes) and 'side step' (you won't get knocked into the crowd easily and could even sneak yourself nearer to the endzone for free) and for the latter, 'sure hands' is a must, 'fend' is extremely useful, and then skills like 'sprint' and 'sure feet' are always useful for players who rely on their speed.


This is what you wanted to see, right? Ok. Let's start out then by looking at the disadvantages. Every 'big guy' player comes with a down side, and the ogre's is 'bone head'. Not one of the scarier ones, because it should only happen to you maybe 3 times per game, and it's not a turnover result. It can however lose you your blitz, so this guy is definitely best kept in the thick of things in the hopes that he can just keep making blocks instead, and if necessary, you can even use other players to push opponents adjacent to him to avoid having to declare the blitz.

The key thing to remember with almost any big guy is that they are not there to do anything with the ball. If they're near the ball, it should be because they're about to sucker punch the guy carrying it.

The Ogre has great strength, really good armour, not bad movement for a big guy and poor agility. You can tell just from the stats he's meant for one thing, which is hitting people, and that's before you look at his skills. 'Mighty Blow' and 'Thick Skull' are aimed at increasing damage output and keeping him on the pitch longer, whilst 'Loner' means you probably don't want to waste re-rolls on them if something goes wrong. Just an advisory note, 'Throw Team Mate' is utterly useless on an ogre in a standard human team unless GW have some star players lined up with the right skills. Seriously, you can't use it.

As for advancement, if you ever roll a doubles when skilling up an Ogre, you take Block. Doesn't matter what else you might have the option for, you take block. After that, concentrate on skills that put the hurt on your opponent, 'Guard', 'Grab', 'Stand Firm', 'Juggernaut' are all good options, though I tend to lean towards 'Guard' for an Ogre initially, and keep 'Juggernaut' back for different types of big guys who are more likely to want to blitz. I might then look at going with 'Grab' simply for the mess it can make of anyone's tactics.


So there you have it, the Human blood bowl team. Chock full of positional players to start with, re-rolls a-plenty mean that you will have a certain advantage at the start of a league. You will however need to rapidly develop an all-round game, because otherwise you will struggle. Humans will never outbash Orcs or Dwarves, and can't out-pass an Elf team, but the all round capability in every area of the game means that if your opponent wants to pass the ball a lot, you'll have an advantage in the hitting department, and if they want to punch you in the face you should be able to hold your own whilst outrunning them.

Next up...Orcs

Tuesday, 15 November 2016

Genestealer Cult Codex Review - Part 2 - Fluff

Morning all,
welcome to part 2 of the Genestealer Codex review. You can read part 1 here where I talk about my expectations from the codex.

This part of the codex review is going to be all about the fluff, and as we know, fluff is what translates into the rules and fighting style of the faction, so really this is where the whole character of the army is developed, and it's been an interesting exercise doing a review on the fluff to see how GW reinforce that character through the background writing for the army.

Monday, 7 November 2016

Spotlight on...Ryan Kemp

The room was black, not just dark, the sort of blackness that fills your soul and sucks any kind of hope from you. There was a click, and a piercing white light blazed into my eyes, blinding me as surely and totally as the blackness had moments before.

I heard the scraping of plasteel on rockcrete, and the rustling of a heavy fabric being moved to allow its wearer to be seated.