Azure Forest Tournament May 2014

I was pretty disappointed that the Open Day in May didn’t originally have a DreadBall tournament planned. The Open Day last year was the first tournament I’d ever been to, and got us both into the tournament thing. When first announced, they said “bring a team – get a few pick-up games.” Coming from Bristol, it’s a pretty long way to go since we don’t play Kings of War, Deadzone, or any of the other Mantic games and we’re not likely to pick up new toys on impulse. Three hours drive each way, a B&B and getting babysitters for the weekend are just too much for a seminar which may talk about the games we’re really interested in and a look at the shiny DreadBall Xtreme models currently in development.

So when they finally announced the tournament at the event, I was over the moon. The fact that it’s an Azure Forest tournament is even better, as I like the changes it introduces. We may still miss the seminars (like we have previously) but I think they did a good job last time of trying to give everyone the chance to attend, and I’ve heard that this year there’s a seminar specifically for event participants timed around the games so we should be able to have a look this time.

The Gang

In the 2013 ManticBowl, Jen and I went on our own. For the November Charity Tournament, we managed to drag Oli up to Nottingham too. This May, Oli was busy but we convinced Dan and Chris to come along with us. Both are new to DreadBall, have played a couple of games each, and convinced they are going to come last but at least only one of them can! At the last second, Jen got ill and wasn’t able to attend – but the other three of us were on our way.

Dan took the S1 Corporation team (the one Jen usually takes, since he had practiced with those and Jen wasn’t using them) and Chris took the Judwan, as he figured using a team of all Strikers would be less to remember. I painted up a Nameless team, putting my faith in extra ranks rather than cards. I put an ability on two Strikers (hoping to get Skill 3+) and an ability on each of my Sticky Guards (hoping to get 360 Vision, so I can sit them in the three-point Strike zone as a super-defender). Without cards, I’ll be vulnerable against bad weather events but hopefully that will be as much of a hindrance to my opponent.

Game One – Adam Cooper’s Crimson Corpse Creators (Marauders)

Adam and I have an Open Day history – we played in the first ManticBowl (I beat him by a landslide), the Gamers For Life charity tournament (I beat him), and we were drawn first in this tournament. He took his Marauders again, and for the majority of the game the weather was “heat haze” that lets us get away with fouls. Despite that, neither of us had to foul to get the advantage. My luck was awful here – I flubbed pick-ups, evades, dashes, and when I got there – strike attempts too. The game ended at a one point loss to me.

Game Two – Dan’s S1 Corporation

My second opponent, and again someone I’ve played before (since I taught him the game and brought him with me…) Again, my luck was foul. Dan managed to get me six points down – I pulled it back with a four-pointer. He jumped up to five points… I pulled it back to two… he got back to four points, and there we sat on his last turn. I’d just failed a strike attempt, so the ball was in the high-scoring zone with my Striker. He slammed me, I doubled the dodge and stepped onto the ball. Doubled the pick-up, threw the strike, and pulled it back to another one point loss in his turn (for a couple more fan checks). Still, not making great progress in the tournament.

Game Three – Charlotte’s Veer-myn

I met Charlotte at the 2013 Nationals back in March, but hadn’t played her. She’s the only other Veer-myn player that I’ve seen in a tournament, and was able to match me bad roll for bad roll. This was the first game that I rolled skill upgrades for my Strikers, so I was able to score quite easily. I killed a Guard and managed to get a landslide win! Quite a reverse from my other fortunes today.

Game Four – Nick’s Judwan

We suffered for most of the game with a Scorcher weather effect in play. It forced me to make more slams, and with less players, he was unable to use all five tokens most turns. It started off tit-for-tat scoring, but we both failed a few and I was getting my guards up to the full 3-pt defence to try and get some more opportunities. In the last couple of turns, I killed four Judwan – clearing out that nasty defence, failing every strike up there, and taking a two-point loss.

Conclusion

So with a barely-positive strike difference, I wasn’t anywhere near the top. There were 7/8/9 players total, probably because of the Open Day, Kings of War game, Deadzone campaign, Loka tournament, and everything else happening. Several people I’d seen playing previously were also working as Pathfinders on the day, so there’s some more potential players out.

I don’t think my plan was too bad, but the dice failed me on the day. I didn’t work hard enough to push my guards to the back to open my opponents defence, or maybe I need to write off the first couple of turns to just smash my opponent’s scoring potential. I’m still not sure I’ve worked out how to use the Nameless – or bashy teams in general – yet.

The overall winner was also using Nameless, and there was a third somewhere around that I hadn’t seen. Chris managed to take away the Wooden Spoon prize – a Rebs Starter Box for Deadzone!

The Open Day

I walked around the Open Day, but I didn’t really dip into anything other than the tournament. I went to the “tournament players” scheduled seminar and heard a lot about Dwarf King’s Hold, but didn’t get into anything else. I had a quick chat with many people I’d seen at previous Open Days, which is great fun, and picked up the prizes for the Cardiff Regional next week. I was also just about coming down with something nasty that knocked me out of work for three days, so I think that affected my enjoyment on the day – I was exhausted, I didn’t bother taking any pictures (after promising myself that I would) and didn’t make the time to try anything out (Project Pandora and Deadzone were high on my list to sample between games). If I’d known the seminar would be dominated by Dwarf King’s Hold, I might have gone for another game or to have a better look at the “studio” – a table with painter, sculptor, and lots of unfinished/pre-release models. I really regretted not talking to the Mantic painter, but didn’t realise this till later when I had the time to run the day through my brain and work out what I’d missed.

DreadBall Nationals 2013

Planning

After my disappointment that they had not gone ahead in November, and then the slight irk as I felt they had been replaced by the Ultimate game I passed on at the Charity Open Day, I was understandably thrilled when the Nationals were announced, postponed, for March 9th.

Not the most convenient day, as it means travelling across the country and arriving home quite late on a Sunday, but there was no way that I could miss this one. I got my “crew” together – Oli’s S2 Corporation (borrowing our Steelbridge Emperors again) and Jen’s S1 Corporation (our Starport Starlets, as usual) and that left me to decide how to go ahead.

What with one thing and another, there’s been no time to practice or paint. I wanted to stand a chance at winning so that left either Judwan or Veer-myn, two teams I felt that I could do quite strongly with and were already painted to at least a playable standard.

There was some sense to bringing the Veer-myn, as that’s what got me there in the first place. On the other hand, they didn’t really rampage quite as well at the Open Day as they had at the Welsh Regional tournament, and maybe I needed a little more skill (hence the Judwan).Jen and Oli practice while I try to decide which team to bring.

The other consideration was whether or not it would be immodest to bring the metal pitch I won in that Regional, especially since with the extreme lack of practice (I think I had two or three games since Christmas, including teaching new players) I was not confident in being able to think my way out of any problems.

The Day

After all that to-ing and fro-ing, I ended up with the Veer-myn. I’d packed both, just in case, but if someone clogged up the three point strike zone, the Judwan would never be able to get the points needed to come back.

The perfect place to pray for 6s...

The venue was amazing. I thought it was being held in a church hall, it was actually in an abandoned church. It fits the purpose of a gaming hall perfectly, with plenty of space but was very cold. I imagine this will be sorted in time, but they’ve only been open since October after the church was empty for 12 (or 20?) years. It’ll be nice to see what it’s like in the summer. A nice bonus was lunch included in the ticket price, I like this as it keeps everyone together rather than spreading out and keeps the cost of the day down for everyone.

Game One – Shaun Riley’s Triple Rs (S1 Corporation)

Shaun was a great player, I had a really fun game here. He also had a special wipe-clean mat with spaces for coaches, spent action tokens, cheerleaders, etc and he could write notes on them for every game and wipe it off when it was no longer needed. It’s a really good idea and I’ll see if he’s put it on the DreadBall Fanatics Facebook group.

Shaun was playing his Corporation aggressively, and did a good job defending his strike zones. We hovered both sides of the 0-point mark all game but in the last rush, it was one point in his favour. The Veer-myn had completely failed practically every Evade test that they had to take. I normally risk one or two without thinking because a three-dice 3+ test is almost a certainty.

So I was off to a bad start, but it was the best lose that I could go for (only one point conceded and a pile of cheers).

Game Two – Gareth Humphreys’ Goram Reavers (Marauders)

As Shaun was bottom of the winners and I was top of the losers, we were picked to play again but instead swapped with two others. I got placed against Gareth’s Marauders, and again he played aggressively. So aggressively, he killed four of my players! Kills don’t count, however, and I managed to get a hard fought landslide win – back in the running.

Gareth was another great opponent, good fun to play against and really polite as he murdered my rats. He went on to win Most Bloody, after he took out three of Jen’s players in a later game. We accounted for more than 75% of the casualties that got him there!

Game Three – Dan Haslam’s Sonic Strikers (Judwan)

Dan had terrible luck this game, and his Judwan were totally unable to dislodge me from the three-point strike zone – or at least, were unable to do so when they had the ball and could get up to score. By the time he had, I had replaced the Striker and blocked the gap. I mashed the three-pointers and pulled another landslide win.

I’m not a nice enough person to open that three-point strike zone, and I feel bad about giving Dan a game he found very difficult. Hopefully he still had a good game, and I enjoyed having a chat with him – another player who knows his stuff, and is good fun to play against. There’s not a lot that can be done against that sort of defence, especially when the Judwan have had their speed reduced. I think they’re pretty competitive in general (and too competitive in skilled hands) with the good speed, and not competitive enough by far without it. I don’t have any better ideas though, so have to leave it at that.

Game Four – Ian Fielder’s Ellshar Smashers (Asterians)

Asterians… why did it have to be Asterians? I got lucky in this game – his Jacks threw themselves down but few players got sent off, Dirty Tricks was fired from the Guard without anything, and Inattentive Ref came out early and wasn’t replaced for half of the game. That deterred any further shenanigans, for the short term. This was also the first game were none of my players got the Skill upgrade, meaning I was playing against a team practically the same, but a little bit stronger. He also adapted to my focus on three-pointers quickly and moved to block that off, since 5+ skill will make it difficult to get two-pointers in the lower strike zones.

OK, so this is Jen playing against Ian in game two. I had too much fun to take pictures of my own games.

I managed to kill an Asterian, but that didn’t help too much. He focused his upgraded Strikers (who did get the Skill bonus) on two-pointers, and I barely managed to scrape it until rush 13 when the landslide loss hit me. I was pleased to keep the game going that long, and Ian had a mastery of the game – he was perfectly clear on everything, and we clipped through the rushes at a good pace.

The Veer-myn watch the Asterians score again... and again... and again...

Conclusion

I loved every minute of the day! The venue was excellent, albeit pretty cold, there were plenty of tables and lots of space, the tea was nice, lunch was plentiful (several trays of Subway) and opponents wonderful. I hope I get to see them at another event this year. Jen and I are planning on going to the Mantic Open Days – one in May, and possibly another one later in the year – if they have DreadBall tournaments again.

The winner was Leon Chapman, the South-east Regional Champion using a Nameless team. I’d be interested to hear how he plays the Nameless, I’ve only tried them a couple of times and feel like there’s never enough action tokens to make full use of their team synergy. Second place was Ian with his Asterians, the only person he didn’t get a landslide win against was Leon. I think this shows that in the right hands, any team can do well.

Overall, I had a slight loss, a landslide loss and two landslide wins. This gave me six tournament points (just behind James M Hewitt himself) at fifth place. Oli had two landslide losses, so ended up down in tenth place with hardly any cheers – his worst result, I believe. Jen had a better day than both of us – she took a landslide loss with Ian, but got two landslide wins and a plain win and ended up on seven tournament points in third place! I am so incredibly proud of her, I didn’t even think about my own placing. I am happy with how I placed, but ecstatic with Jen – she puts it down to luck, but she beat Oli by a landslide in a practice game the night before. I think the lack of practice recently hit me and Oli hard, but Jen has managed to keep her skills sharp (possibly sharper?) over the Winter months. I think that also means that officially, she is the third best DreadBall player in the UK?

Because the top positions were taken by pathfinders or staff members, their prizes trickled down to the first civilians… which meant Jen and I walked away with new toys! Having gotten everything in the Kickstarter, we called up a friend to find out what they wanted and donated it to their collection.

Unlike recent tournaments, Season Two Corporation teams were very thin on the ground – only Oli brought one. Nameless and Teratons are still popular with two teams each, two Judwan teams, two Veer-myn (on the rise?), only one Marauder and Asterian team (down from the last tournament) and, as usual, three Corporation teams. Plain old humans are always popular, it seems.

We had a few chats with James and Tim from Mantic who both told us that the DreadBall community was one of the nicest gaming communities that they’d ever seen. Apparently other game systems can have less friendly people at the top tables (and I’ve heard something similar from the Warhammer podcasts that I listen to), but DreadBall tournaments all feel like club games and friendly atmospheres. There were two Teraton players at the Nationals who weren’t even looking at winning, necessarily – just trying to outdo each other on body count (and were both outstripped by Gareth’s Marauders!) This event cemented my love of the hobby and the scene and I aim to attend as many local tournaments as possible and whichever of the official Mantic events we are available for. I love that it’s something I can do with my wife, and my friends.

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The next tournament on the horizon is the Bristol Megalofunotron at the end of March, and then there’s nothing planned until May. I need to get out of my painting funk and start getting something done again – I’m OK for Bristol (I intend to take the Zees) but I still have a lot of other teams to paint before my Xtreme Kickstarter delivers at the end of the year!

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Leon Chapman, who won the tournament, has written his own experiences of the day on the Mantic forums.

Bristol Blitz 2013

Thoughts Before

The Bristol Blitz, my second tournament, is in one week (as of writing) and is hosted at Vanguard Wargaming. As soon as we finished the ManticBowl, I wanted to be at another tournament. I fell for tournament play hard.

This time, we have convinced Oli to come out with us – he’s one of the first people that I introduced to DreadBall, and the one who has come back for more (though in fairness, he lives closer than almost all of the others and has his own transport). Although he plans to get his own kit, he’ll be borrowing a team for this tournament.

So just like pushing to try and get the Corporation ready in time for the ManticBowl, I’ll be pushing to try and get the Judwan ready in time for the Bristol Blitz (and therefore leave the finishing touches on all the other teams for another day…)

The rules pack is based on the ManticBowl pack, with a couple of tweaks. The biggest two are the tournament points system and the “Secret Objectives”. At the Bristol Blitz, tournament points are all one higher than at ManticBowl and even a loss will give you a point – and in addition, conceding a game will be penalised. I’m not sure what the purpose of this rule is, but it’s being organised by veteran Blood Bowl players so maybe that’s something they’ve gotten used to over the years.

I noticed that “painted teams” was clarified in the Bristol pack as being “three colours” – ManticBowl just required painted models, and I did see a Z’zor team that appeared to be sprayed a single colour. I didn’t get close enough to be able to tell for certain though, that’s what it looked like from 6 feet away.

The Day

Well, Secret Objectives turned out to be… difficult to balance. The organisers said that this was the only game system for which their secret objectives didn’t work. In the end, they decided to drop them from the tournament.

It was a much smaller and laid-back affair than the ManticBowl. There were only six players overall (including myself, Jen and Oli!) so the tournament pack wasn’t adhered to slavishly (I noticed one team had only been undercoated in purple) and the Swiss system essentially meant that in the final round, we could either avoid duplicate matchups (meaning the top player played the bottom player) or follow Swiss matchings (so at least two games would be duplicates). We went for avoiding duplicates, but Jen and I played each other again – in fairness, neither of us remembered that we played each other in the first game, and even Oli thought that he’d played Jen that day! (turns out that he had, game two – which just confused me and Jen further!)

As for teams, Jen took roughly the same Corporation as she did to the ManticBowl (moving the skills from Jacks to Strikers), I took Marauders again (this time with an offensive coach and two coaching dice) and Oli took Judwan with four skill increases. Between them, the other players took two Corporation teams (one from each season) and a Judwan team.

Game One – Jen’s Corporation

In my defence for remembering nothing about this game, I play Jen all the time. The only thing that I remember about it is setting a net of goblins that she kept falling over in. It ended as a win to me.

Oli did get a quick snap for evidence of our first game though:

2013-05-25 11.38.29

I will be taking better notes next time!

Game Two – Liam’s Judwan

I found the Judwan frustrating – I got a landslide loss against them. The game was going well for the first half, as I had completely blocked off the three-point strike zone, although I wasn’t able to score points myself due to awful luck (every single scatter in the game moved the ball closer to my strike zones) and excellent double-up misdirects from the aliens. The most-used action was Steal, as we attempted to get the ball back off each other – with goblins and Judwan, this can take a while and often three actions in a single rush were all Steals! When I brought on an extra player to get the ball back from the far end of the pitch, one of my blockers was sent off from the three-point strike zone and from then on, I found it difficult to recover.

Game Three – Cai’s S2 Corporation

Cai was new to the game, and managed to beat me (although not by a landslide). Good use of Running Interference and blocking the bonus point hexes put me at a disadvantage, as well as forcing all of my coaching dice out early. We finished in good time, and I spent the rest of the game watching Oli and Liam’s “Jud-off” – despite predictions of a dull and quick game, they found instead that the score varied constantly, the Judwan caught the ball from launching and scored over and over again. In the end, Oli managed to scrape a win – his first non-landslide of the day and Liam’s first loss of the day. He had been lucky with his skills and extremely lucky with his dice (the cry of “Stop rolling sixes!” was especially memorable).

Game Four – Jen’s Corporation again

This game was over fairly quickly. I managed to score 3 three-pointers against Jen’s three-pointer, then knock a single point in near the end of the game to grab a landslide win. Again, I play Jen all the time so I don’t remember too much about this game. Again, the action was all happening at Oli’s table where he was playing Tom’s S1 Corporation. The score had gone back and forth, Tom had injured some Judwan, and in the end it was three points up to Tom in his final turn. He got the ball all the way to the four-point hex with a Jack, although a couple of us realised that if he had dashed the previous turn he could have had two dice to throw with instead of just one. He had no coaching dice left. Last action, last turn, he rolled… a three. We all breathed out. Then he said “Wait! That was Petrosky…” – he’d named his whole team – “And Petrosky has a skill of 3!”

So the Judwan were beaten by a landslide from a lucky four-pointer at the end of the last game! So exciting, we all cheered, including Oli.

Thoughts After

Well, despite the last-minute landslide loss, Oli came out in first place! I was really pleased that he did so well in his first tournament, since I’ve been pretty much been his only opponent up till now (he described his first and only game against Jen a week ago as his first “real” game, because he didn’t count our games!) and he won a team of his choice (it was Judwan). I spent some time after the tournament explaining modelling, mould lines, painting basics etc. and referred him to better painters than I am.

I managed to come fourth, and Jen unfortunately came last. She did beat Tom in her third game, and I think gave him a few tips which proved useful against Oli in his last game.

The next day, we went to see a friend and teach him and his ten-year-old son how to play – they’re going to pick it up later in the year as well. Between myself and friends, we’ll have plenty of boards and teams to play a decent mini-event between ourselves at some point. I’ll need to practice though, if I want to come in the top half!

I think my next step will be to play against Oli’s Judwan as much as I can for the next two weeks, to get ready for the tournament in Cardiff on June 8th. I’m sure there’ll be a few more Judwan there.

After Cardiff, I don’t know about any other tournaments in the South-West – it’s not always easy to find that sort of thing if you’re not already in a club. I might just relax and get on with painting, and take a break from Marauders to try some of the Season two teams. I’d like to see how the Z’zor work, and experiment with the Robots a bit.

ManticBowl 2013

The ManticBowl! My first tournament! I’ve never been to a tournament before, not for any game. I’ve played in a single league outside of my house, and a couple of games of Warhammer in a couple of clubs over the last fifteen years. That’s pretty much enough to qualify as ‘I only play against my friends’. Since I got the free ticket with the Kickstarter, I thought it would be nice to treat Jen to a weekend away and get her a ticket too!

Thoughts before

I’ve heard about Warhammer tournaments for a long time on podcasts, and was tempted to join in on one of those (not fancying my chances very much though) but DreadBall is new and exciting, and I feel more able to play well. That being said, I’m not getting cocky. I’ve heard that there are 28 contenders in the tournament, and Jen and I are two of those. I’d like to come in around 25th or better – not aiming particularly high, I know, but almost everyone that I’ve played against is someone that I’ve taught the game and apart from the league games (one win, one landslide loss) I’ve been advising my opponent on tactics and the rules. I don’t know how good my tactics are!

On top of that, I only got my Season Two pack a week ago. We’ve had no time to play against the new teams, and from what I’ve seen in the forums the Judwan are going to take some work to take down. We were planning to get some practice games in but it looks like the only time that we’ll get to play against each other (the first time in many, many weeks) is going to be in the hotel tomorrow night.

One thing that’s been occupying me for the last week is painting. I asked Jen what she wanted to play of our two-and-a-half painted teams, and she said Corporation. The completely unpainted team. I have a colour scheme that I wanted to use for the S2 models but not one for the S1. When the new models arrived, I built up an S1 team with S2 models (ensuring I had enough models in two piles to assemble both an S1 or S2 team in two different colour schemes) and have been painting furiously to get them ready in time. I’ve missed off a lot of the highlighting, but I’ve been trying to work carefully and make a good job of it. I’ve got them to a point where they would be acceptable for tournament entry, even though there is plenty more work in highlighting to do on them. I’m so happy with how they’ve turned out, I’m jealous of Jen taking them!

The last thing to worry about is that we don’t have all the required materials that the tournament pack lists. We only have one copy of the game, so we only have one rulebook, one refbot and one pack of cards. Apparently both players should be bringing this stuff, but the only thing that I have in multiple is a pitch (MDF pitch, started to paint it but no details done yet). Hopefully our opponents will be able to fill in the gaps and the tournament organisers will be tolerant.

Jen is just worried that she doesn’t know the rules enough, so I guess I know who will be taking the rulebook!

The day

Apologies for not remembering more about my games – after the tournament we went to the cinema, had a meal out, then back to the hotel to plough through a bottle of wine. It was a real whirlwind of a day. I ended up taking my Marauders, with two extra coaching dice (the maximum allowed) and an advance on a Jack.

Game 1

My first game was against a Forge Father player named Tristan (Golden Forge Guardians, placed 25th). They were painted black and gold. My Jack got a skill advance, but got injured and never got around to using it! The memorable moment was realising that the bloodthirsty Forge Fathers had put everyone in the sin bin except a single lone guard in my last rush! Seeing where the ball was, I took out my only sub (a Jack) and defended the two closest strike zones and hoped he didn’t have good cards. In his last rush, he managed to get all the way to the 4-point bonus hex, he shot and… missed! There was a little back and forth, but I ended up winning by 2 points.

Jen played a Corporation team, and lost by a landslide.

Game 2

I felt really bad for my opponent in the second game – a Judwan player named Adam (Aryes Grey Basterds, placed 23rd), who had borrowed a friend’s blue, white and red Judwan. His dice were definitely against him, and with a few rounds of dropping the ball and failing catches, I think he only managed to score once. He had set up a chain of passing which worked beautifully, double successes all the way to the three point zone, and if it had worked it would be a play that was talked about in history. His last player failed to catch the ball (needing one 4+ on any of three dice!), and it scattered… back to his other strikers, who failed to catch it and it scattered… all the way back to where it started.

My goblins picked it up and took it to a landslide win. At lunch, I looked around the shop but I didn’t see any dice. I think I owed the guy a new pack, since his dice deserve to be destroyed for their betrayal.

Jen played another Corporation team, and lost by a landslide again.

Game 3

Buoyed up by my good results so far, I got quite close to the top table. It was either table 3 or 4, if I recall correctly. Jen had gone down to the bottom table already. I played a Corporation player named Gary (Cryotek Hornets, placed 11th), whose team were painted in yellow with black and white stripes. He spent most of the early game ganging up on my guys and tag-teaming slams. There was a little back and forth, but his big strike zone at the end (my favourite target) was too well defended to do much with. I ended up losing by 5 points.

Jen played against a Marauder team this time (Hyson Green Smack Fiends, placed 26th), but lost by a landslide again.

Game 4

This was the most exciting game of all. I played against Carl (aka @athousandhats) fielding a Corporation team with an assistant coach (Crashtek Wreckers, placed 8th), and realised just how useful they would be (I almost brought one, but didn’t have any painted yet). This team was also painted yellow, and was probably the best painted team I played against. There was so much going on the whole game – it went back and forth so many times, neither team getting more than two points on the other. We both scored a lot.

He had a Striker with A Safe Pair of Hands (I’d been lucky and got it for the first time today too, but that Jack spent his time mostly injured!) on the ball entry hex, and caught it a couple of times. As I was two points up in his penultimate rush, I used a Running Interference card to at least try and move the Striker so they couldn’t catch the ball… and ended up getting six successes (from three dice!) against his two to dodge! He saved a couple, but was no longer a threat. By this time, we were one of the last games playing.

In my final rush, I failed to get the ball far enough out of the way and he managed to pass it round the back of my Orx guarding the big strike zone to score three points. Every other game had finished, and the time was almost up, but it was our last rush so the TOs and a couple of spectators were crowding at this point. He got the three-pointer, and showboated, and took the score back to 1pt in his favour.

I have honestly never enjoyed a game of DreadBall more than that one – Carl knew the rules well, and played fantastically, he was a good fun guy to chat through all the way through and he was just as buzzed about how the game was going as I was. I think the benefits of a Swiss tournament system mean that you should end up playing someone who is around your level, and in DreadBall that means that it will normally be a close and exciting game.

Jen was still on the bottom table, and the downside of the Swiss system is that she was playing the same opponent again – but she didn’t lose by a landslide! She lost by 6 points. She also helped her opponent (Jona) to win Bloodiest Coach, because most of his kills had come from her team.

Thoughts after

I loved it! I want to go again! I will be going again next year, hopefully. Jen enjoyed herself despite coming bottom of the whole thing, and everyone commented on what a good sport she was. Mantic even gave a prize to the bottom player – a copy of Dwarf King’s Hold, with the tongue-in-cheek comment that maybe she should try a different game. That being said, they were really nice and we would be welcomed  back again. All her opponents were friendly, and she said they offered her tips after the games. The TO, James, even came over to check how she was doing in the last two games, and brought her over to my table at the end of the last game because it was so exciting!

As far as results go, I came 17th and Jen came 29th. One player disqualified himself and told the judges that because he had been playing coaches wrong and giving himself an unfair advantage, all his opponents should get a landslide win against him. They agreed, and that’s why Jen came 29th out of 30. If he hadn’t have done that, I would have come 16th and Jen would have come 30th. I really like the honesty and sportsmanship involved – it shows that everyone else was just there to have a laugh and a good time playing as well. Having analysed the final results, if my opponent in the last game hadn’t scored that final strike, I would have placed a lot higher – but that’s the way things go!

We’re both looking forward to trying out Dwarf King’s Hold, and I’ve skimmed over the rules. I don’t know if we’ll get a chance to play it yet though, as I’ve totally got the tournament bug now and with 2 more tournaments in the next four weeks, I want to get a lot more practice in and potentially paint another team (since we’ve convinced @lordscree to join in the Bristol Blitz).

Overall, I’m finishing off this blog post two days after the event and I am still buzzing. Maybe that’ll calm down as I get more used to tournaments, but for now all I want to do is play DreadBall and get back to another tournament. I know I won’t be able to go to too many out-of-town events because of the need for babysitters, but I might look at travelling a little further afield in the Wiltshire, Devon, South Wales or even possibly Hampshire and London areas (if we can attach ourselves to friends and family out there).

The biggest downside is that we missed a lot of the Open Day stuff, but I had so much fun I don’t really care. I don’t have time to play DeadZone or Kings of War, and I don’t want to buy any more stuff. I looked around at some of the professionally painted models, which was amazing and intimidating, but it just makes me want to try harder. Waiting in the queue for food meant that we missed the seminar, but again we just milled around and chatted to the other players.

We will be going again! As long as babysitters, accommodation and transport can all align, we will definitely be going back. I encourage anyone else who can make it to do the same!