NAF Championships 2017 - Wotfudboy's take on the weekend
NAF Championships 2017The 29th & 30th April 2017 in Nottingham was a weekend of Blood Bowl fun attended by over 209 coaches - the largest event to date! I'd never been to a NAF Championships before. The closest I got to anything like this was back in 2010 when DukeTyrion and I went to (my first ever) a Grand Tournament at Warhammer World in Nottingham. Up to that point the only table top Blood Bowl matches I had played was either at University back in 1995, or a few games vs DukeTyrion at his house pre-2010. That got me my first taste for real life table top games.
Sooo, when I saw the NAF Championships being advertised on both TalkFantasyFootball and the various Blood Bowl groups on Facebook I had to sign up!
For those that have never been I hope this gives you an insight into what it all entailed, and might encourage you to sign up for the next one... or just make a vaguely interesting read.
Hotel & Conference Centre & facilitiesThe event was held at the East Midlands Conference Centre in Nottingham which was a large room, tall and airy (important for these kind of events), and was well served by watercoolers, a bar, and lunch was provided both days in the form of a bag containing a choice of sandwhich, crisps, apple and snack bar. Even better was the extremely close proximity of the Orchard Hotel, where you could get a discount on rooms if you booked your ticket early enough - and they also laid on a cracking buffet breakfast Sunday morning! Having a hotel 100 yards from the conference centre, and your car made everything so easy, and great for those travelling from the far corners of the UK or overseas.
ArrivingAfter making the 2+hour drive up the M1 and not suffering any traffic at all (apart from the never-ending 50mph roadworks zone on the M1!) I arrived safely, parked up and made my way to the conference centre, past the various NAF banners and into the hall to register my team. You had to bring at least 2 copies of your team's roster (which I made at littlearmybuilder - highly recommended!). I had already paid in advance and simply confirmed my attendance, as well as extending my NAF membership (and picked up the freebie dice and NAF turn marker).
Sponsors & Vendors & other stuffThere were a number of vendors who doubled up as sponsors for the event too, principally Tritex Games and Hungry Troll miniatures both of which I can thoroughly recommend! I picked up a football ring from Tritex on Day Two as I was tired of the ball falling off my model's bases. There were also diguru printers who produced the roll-up large playing pitches/boards for the event for every table... they even produced a sticker to correct an error on the kick-off table. At the end of the event I rolled a D6 with my opponent to see who got to walk away with the board... but I rolled 1's! A mention should go to Andrew Laing (Mr Frodo) and his FourthQuarterFootball game which sponsored spot prizes too. The organisers and referees were based on the front presentation stage, equipped with microphone and even chess-clocks for when games were reaching their deadlines. Mike Davies (sann0638), NAF President, also made an appearance for Day Two and live streamed/commentated for the matches on Table 1 (more of that later). The whole thing was very slick, and huge credit should go to hawca and his many helpers!
Day OneI took my Irongolem dwarves (see my other blog post) as they were my painted team for 2017. You don't win many friends taking dwarves as they are seen as a strong, but more importantly, quite a dull team to play against because their traditional tactic is to grind the opposition down. The choices of races was broad as ever, and the rules were pretty typical for NAF.
My roster consisted of;
1 x Troll Slayer (Skill for day 2 - Mighty Blow)
2 x Runners (Both had Block for day 1)
2 x Blitzers (Day 1; 1 x Guard, Day 2; 1 x Tackle)
7 x Linemen blockers (Day 2; 1 x Guard)
My games were as follows;
Game OneWhen dwarves come up against goblins most people think it will be an easy victory for the dwarves as (a) dwarves have tackle which negate the goblins dodge, (b) goblins are only strength (str) 2 and armour (av) 7 they tend to break easily especially when dwarves have Block too. However, in my experience, players that coach goblins are normally quite adept with them and are normally adventurous players, meaning that they are used to pulling off some quite extraordinary plays. So when I faced D_Arquebus's goblins in round one I was actually a little worried - and I was right to be. We just couldn't hurt the little guys. However, we did get lucky in a number of things; Firstly, I managed to get a 2 dice up-hill block against his ball&chain (after dauntless failed), which helped my ball carrier run and score. Secondly, D_Arquebus had is ball & chain KO'd, and despite successfully using a bribe, it stayed off the pitch for the majority of the match. It also helped, if I recall correctly, that his argue the call resulted in his coach being sent off. D_Arquebus did manage a successful TTM move and scored, but I managed to get a 2-1 win... so, off to a good start!
Game TwoAnyone who knows me will understand that I despise Gutter Runners, so when I was drawn against Quick_ben's skaven team I was very much aware that the fast & agile rats were not to be underestimated. Dwarves are a slow moving team and I was going to be hard-pressed to keep a lid on them, and stop them running away with touch down (TD) after touch down.
Fortunately for me, Quick_ben's luck was patchy at best, especially after he let me receive in the first half (probably hoping to press my team in my own half) and my dwarves rolled up their fists and hurt them at every turn. In the end it was a comfortable 2-0 win.
Game ThreeNext up was madmatt13, fresh from Switzerland, and his Necromantic team. His roster had a werewolf with the deadly Claw/Mighty Blow combination. Necros were a 2nd tier team and came armed with quite a number of skills that made them an obvious choice for such tournaments. However, matt's luck was pretty bad. Some key moments including; (a) me crowdpushing and hurting/no-regen a guard Blitzer, and (b) matt skulling a crowdpush of my player at a key moment. I finished with a 2-0 win after holding off the Necro counter attack.
By this point I had received the ball first in all three games, but had also lost out on the Fan Factor rolls each game too. Amazingly I finished Day One with 3 wins, and it turned out that I would be starting Day Two on not just the top table but on Table One!! I didn't record the casualties I inflicted but I certainly made more than I received, and they all count toward bonus points.
Game FourI'd been warned by PeteW that Garrick was a pretty fine Dark Elves player who had surpassed him for the number one DE player on NAF. So, the omens weren't good.
2nd half here if you don't believe me!;
Game FiveMy 5th match pitted me against a young (winner of best 18 and under coach) FFFs who brought his disgusting Nurgle team to the table. I kicked for this match. Match highlights included FFS rolling a double 1 on a gfi to get him clear of my defence... very unlucky for FFS not to get a TD here! Another highlight included the Beast of Nurgle rerolling a really stupid unassisted, dodging on a 5+ out of a tackle zone, 2x GFI and a splat blitz on the ball carrier with a ball landing within its tackle zone. Fortunately I still managed to recover the ball and score for a close 1-0 win.
Game 6My last match of the day saw me up against Dark Elves again on the top table, this time against coach duckwing. This game took a long time, mainly, after duckwing rolled a Blitz! on kick off as I received. Despite having set up quite deep, the DE's really pushed deep into my half and put pressure on everyone by marking them. It took a lot of dice to recover the ball only to see it spill through 1 dice blocks - I just couldn't get enough protection around the ball carrier with a Wrestle witch on the field. However, duckwing, unlike Garrick, had the decency to use his rerolls on 1's. Despite going 0-1 down after the Blitz! I fought back to score 1-1. duckwing wasn't finished though as he rolled a riot on turn 8 giving him 2 turns to score, and it took a 1 for him to be stopped. The game became speedy and tense in the second half as we agreed we needed a chess-clock for the remaining 40 minutes of the game (20 mins each)... we managed to get the game done with minutes to spare and this time I succeeded in rolling simple dice to draw 2-2.
Matches conclusionI finished the event 4/1/1 and 13th out of 209 coaches. My dwarf ranking sky-rocketed to 197.61 and into the top 50 NAF dwarf coaches.
Awards & day endCongratulations to KFoged who's Dark Elves beat Gaunab's Undead in the final.
There were all sorts of awards handed out at the end of the day, and it was good to see lots of coaches walking away with something from the day. Also, during the day, lots of spot prizes were handed out, from single miniatures to whole teams for a quad-skulls!
All in all, I was happy with the day. I got to meet a few more coaches, and hopefully a few more coaches recognise me too. I will be signing up for the fun for next year too! Next tournament will be Cake Bowl! Thanks to all my opponents and everyone involved in making this such a good event, but thanks mostly to my Mrs for letting me out of the house to play! :)