January 2010

Take a look at this. These pages are a preview of the wonderful layout José Jiménez has made for Isildur’s Bane, the solitaire rules hack I’ve written for The Lord of the Rings SBG. There will be a screen document, to read comfortably on your laptop, and a print version you’ll be able to put in 6 double sided sheets of paper to have near the table when you’re playing.

And the Spanish version is just around the corner too!

Fijate en esto. Estas páginas son solo un preview de la maravillosa maquetación que José Jiménez hizo para Isildur´s Bane, el hack para jugar El Señor de los Anillos en solitario que escribí. Habrá un documento para leer en la pantalla cómodamente y otro imprimible, que podrás poner en 6 hojas a doble faz, para tener cerca de la mesa cuando juegues.

¡Y la versión en castellano también está por llegar!

So, you probably know I’ve been focusing heavily on Lord of the Rings. Focus is a wonderful thing. It gets figures painted and games played.

However, recently I got a copy of the Blood Bowl video game. It’s one of those strange games that will hardly appeal to the masses. Its real time mode of play is really awful, and probably just an excuse to make it into digital. The truth is that it’s a digital version of the boardgame, with a little bit of extras and no record-keeping.

I always loved BB figures. You can see 2 painted teams in this site, and I might have 3 or 4 more laying around unpainted. I believe BB is as different as you can get, compared to LotR or any wargame, and still keep it in “the neighborhood.” So I started playing this video game, using the Classic mode to play it just like the boardgame (except with a lot less teams)

I always had a rough time getting the hang of it. The rules are nice, but the basic strategy becomes obvious only once you start playing. That’s something I never got to do. This was really an amazing chance, not to mention the rarity of having one of GW’s games faithfully translated into digital, and with a decent AI (that’s an incredible extra). It truly is BB solitaire.

So I started playing some one-off games. I got frustrated the first few times, but after a while I got the hang of it. Played with humans, then orcs. I like the punch they bring, but I certainly don’t have the patience for their slow advance. So one time, almost by chance, I played with a chaos team. I loved it.

Now I started a season. You start in 4th division, play against five other teams, and move up if you end up first team in the season. My team, the Vegetarians (“Change is inevitable”), had a minotaur, three chaos warriors and the rest beastmen. I love those guys. They run around like hell, can take a slight beating, and can blitz like noone.

I lost my first game against humans. It’s ok though, I’m a complete newbie, let’s just try and get some skills for the men. Then I played dwarfs, and somehow I managed a tie. It was amazing. They kicked my ass, but I showed them 🙂 Third game was against skaven. They can surely run, but a few surgical hits here and there, and I got my first win. I could see myself getting better and better moving the ball, protecting the carrier (but always ready for a crazy run or even a pass!) and specially blocking. I love to block, and with no rerolls the first few games, I had to learn that well.

Fourth game was against orcs. Since I’ve been playing with them a bit, I had a clear idea of staying off their zones, forcing the blitz, and moving around them. Won my second game against the greenskins. Last game was fun. It was against a lizardmen team, and I was in total panic. I saw the skinks could outrun me, and the saurus could take quite a beating. They would run and run around me, but once I got some blocks in, even if they didn’t go down, I could get my guys to take the ball. Protecting it was not so hard, for the little lizards couldn’t really block or blitz. Moving it required a little bit more brainwork, but as always it is good training. I beat them too, and I think I caused like 5 casualties.

So, 1 lost, 1 draw, and 3 victories. Not enough though, for the humans that beat me were good the whole season, and left me in the 2nd place. Season is over, I have lots of experience (as a player) and quite a few useful skills on my guys. I’m ready for another season in the 4th division.

Now, am I going to move this into the games table? I don’t know. Probably. I’m quite excited about the gaming club-store I found lately, and if I’m lucky I’ll find another BB enthusiast. Of course I would have to get me a chaos BB team, which sounds like a fun (and not too demanding) distraction from Middle-earth. Otherwise, I wouldn’t have the oMAD.

When was the last time you read an interesting discussion in the WABlist (Warhammer Ancient Battles Yahoo group)?

I really can’t remember. In the past couple of years all you get is someone asking something, and a looong list of replies by “the regulars” trying to outwit each other, hardly answering the request, and usually trying to be a smartass. Smartass is the word that usually comes to mind whenever I even try to follow a discussion.

By the way, if you ever get the feeling that these guys actually hate WAB, instead of enjoying it, then you’re not alone. WAB 2nd edition is coming, and sadly all you get is smartass comments and absolutely no real expectation. I doubt even a small percentage of the posters even played WAB a couple of times.

Yahoo groups and forums, specially those dedicated to one game or rules system, used to be wonderful places where to talk and learn. Lately you have to find small communities, usually not centered around one thing, to really get a conversation going. Places that are somewhat gaming club for the locals, and also online meeting point for the rest of us. The Guild comes to mind.

So WAB 2 is coming, and the designers will probably go to the WABlist to get some insight of how the rules are being played. I think that will be a mistake, and they will only find frustration.

And Moria is coming along nicely too.

They’re coming.

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