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A blog by Simon Brady to cover a surprisingly wide range of geekiness, in a combination that no-one else does quite the same way. Probably. Either that, or it'll just be Simon talking about the likes of Football (usually the Soccer variety), PC & Tabletop Gaming, WWE, Movies, Music and occasionally even my actual job of Graphic Design, depending on what I'm up to in the world.



Saturday, May 07, 2011

NAF Championship 2011: Day One

188 Blood Bowl players descended on GW's Nottingham HQ and filled three quarters of the floor space of the Gaming Hall at Warhammer World for the first NAF Championship.

Renamed from 'The Blood Bowl' for legal reasons, this NAF-run event attracted some of the best Blood Bowl players in the world - and my Halflings.

Registering so many coaches took quite a while for the team to diligently check everyone's roster (the line stretched way out of the hall), so Round One started about 20 minutes late. but each one of the 94 tables were soon filled with players meeting each other for the first time, and getting the all-important Fan Factor rolls out of the way after introductory hand-shakes.

For this tournament, the new NAF dice were out, a vivid snot green colour with black inlay. There was also a surprise gift on offer for each player, that of a specially minted coin - the 2511 NAF Championship, sponsored by Bloodweiser Beer - which is awesome and will probably go for many, many pounds on ebay soon.

My Halflings (the Flings of Leon, with every player named after some famous real or fictional Len, Lenny, Leon or Leonard) drew Undead in the first game. After kicking off and winning the ball back in Turn 3, I quickly lost it again and conceded on Turn 7. A Throw Team Mate attempt on Turn 1 of the Second Half finished with my 'fling just a single square from the Endzone, but he was quickly KO'd and the Undead marched back up the pitch for the second score in a 2-0 defeat. My highlight was managing to foul two Mummys off the pitch - go Halflings! It turns out that Danny, my opponent, would finish Day 1 in second position, so that's not too bad a loss.

After having an excellent lunch from the staff canteen - a chicken burger with chips in my case, followed by a dessert of sticky toffee pudding with custard - I had a chat via Skype with Pauly and Chance of Three Die Block. It was via Roy's iPhone, after my HTC's wi-fi overheating problems struck again. A great chat with the guys - which felt a little weird as suddenly the podcast voices coming into my ears were totally interactive!

I then found out my next opponent, and it was Roy and his Humans (the team Roys 'R' Us)! Had to call 3DB back for the breaking news. Zlurpcast reckoned that our epic match, worth more than the Final, on Table 70 meant we were actually at 'the bottom', but there were a whole 24 tables below us at this point!

It was a great game, as mine and Roy's usually are, but this one for the record books went to Roy, again 2-0. I'll never live this one down! It's more impressive than his 5-1 win over this same Halfling team with Pro Elves, once upon a time, because it's the largest and most prestigious tournament in the world, and counts for NAF rankings!

I then moved on (or rather, down) to Table 85 where I met Utini - a Star Wars themed Ogre team with 'Wookie' Trolls and Snotlings made from Jawa minatures! This was a fabulous game against Malcolm, who had been having the same luck as me. We'd evidently both decided to bring Stunty teams for the pure fun (and challenge) of it, as a good time was more important to us than racking up the wins. Plus, we'd both had a good chunk of bad luck! We had a great laugh at this match, with Malcolm deciding not to stall before making it 2-1 at the end of the second half - thereby giving me a single chance to equalise against with a TTM play - because of how much fun a game we'd had.

At this point, because of the heat (it was in the 20s outside and humid, so 200+ people inside a closed hall were all sweltering) we got a voucher for a free drink at Bugman's Bar - and lo, a great cheer went up!

As I fell 2-1 to the Ogres, making it played 3, lost 3, I found out that I wasn't the only one! Paul's Gobbos, Damo's Orcs and Richard's Orcs had all lost their three matches too, as we made up four of the last 10 or so places! Go team! Surely we'll play each other tomorrow at some point in the last two games, possibly on the lowest of the low, Table 94.

But, sitting in Bugman's Bar with a free coke afterwards, waiting for everyone to finish so we could go for dinner (a chicken curry with rice, which was superb, followed by cheesecake), we know that it doesn't matter. As great as wins are, they're just the icing on the cake. The whole point of going to the tournament was not to win the Cup, the customised Undead team or any of the top Casualty/Touchdown trophies. I must admit I had my eye on the Stunty Cup for a moment, but a team of Halflings with no Star Players (a truly Hardcore/Insane/Useless one) isn't going to get near that amongst this sort of company. The point of the tournament is to go, have fun, meet new people and simply sit down and play a great game of Blood Bowl.

For that, it's mission accomplished, and onwards to Day 2 tomorrow!

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