WPS Club Challenge 2002

WPS Club Challenge 2002 or “Blood Bowl – lets just say our teams are not premiere league”The Club Challenge is one of the highlights of the Warhammer Player Society’s (WPS) calendar (if not the highlight). SAD Wargamers, who entered last year for the first time, finished last year a credible 13 th out of 19 teams entered. This year we put together a team of eight players for this event, six of whom could score in each round. Most of our team were playing Warhammer Ancient Battles (WAB), and they were Glenn Foden (Huns), Luke Foden (Byzantine), James Smith (Early Imperial Roman), Simon Day (Late Imperial Roman), Peter David (Early Imperial Roman), Chris Banks (Israelites) and Warren Gleeson (Hittite). I was the only one not playing WAB – I was playing Blood Bowl.

The decision to play Blood Bowl was simply because it is the only rules system I am familiar with (apart from DBM). We don’t seem to play WFB at the club anymore, and I haven’t got a WAB army painted. I played Blood Bowl in the Club Challenge last year (taking Dark Elves) and in the WPS GT (taking High Elves). Although I know how to play elves backwards (as my scores amply demonstrate – sometime I must learn to play them forwards as well!) I decided not to take elves again. I wanted something different. My Orcs were too shabbily painted (they were my first attempt at 28mm – not pretty), and I had a choice of three unpainted teams: Norse, Amazon or Dwarf. I chose Dwarves, but didn’t get them painted in time. With a couple of days to go I chose one of my other painted teams – Chaos Dwarves. This was a strange choice, because I have always maintained (and still do) that they are not really a tournament team – they excel at leagues. In tournaments you don’t have enough time to develop players, so you need teams that start with a lot of skills. Chaos Dwarves need to give their linemen at least one skill upgrade before they are competitive, and the Hobgoblins start with no skills at all! However, I had played with this team for several months in the 2001 SAD Blood Bowl League and at least knew some of the tactics.

The Club Challenge kicked off on Friday when Peter and I got a lift up to Nottingham with Simon. It was a very slow journey due to the mass of road works on the motorways, and we spent a lot of time stationary. After an interminable crawl we found the venue okay, but at ten minutes to ten o’clock we arrived too late to unpack the Hobby Box boxes we had brought with us. Instead, we retired to our luxury accommodation at the Travel Lodge, and after a quick snack we turned in. There was only the issue of choosing a sleeping mode (couch, coffin-like box or double bed), and after a quick comparison of body sizes Simon and Peter kindly let me have the bed – cheers lads!

Next morning, bravely ignoring the smells of breakfast cooking next door, we arrived at the venue early on the Saturday ( 7.45 AM !) and Simon assembled the Hobby Box stand as Peter and I unloaded it. Warren and Chris arrived, and Warren , noticing my weakness from hunger and general state of anorexia, bought me a bacon roll for breakfast (thanks Warren ). Then we got down to the gaming. Whilst the rest of the team walked over to the WAB tables, I wandered over to the Blood Bowl tables. However, Glenn informed me that at least one of the six scores from each team had to be in a different game system than the others. As I was the only player in our team not playing WAB this meant that my score from every round would count. If I had known that I would have taken elves!

Game 1 – vs Mike Biggs (Orcs)

My first game was against one of three Orc teams in the tournament, which is funny as although they are popular league teams I have seldom seen them fielded in competitions like this. This was a fairly standard team with plenty of Black Orcs and Blitzers, a few Line Orcs and a Goblin and a Thrower. Mike won the toss, received, and formed a cage around the ball carrier. For the rest of the half we fought a hard-hitting match, where the Orc’s superior strength and my Chaos Dwarf’s ‘Block’ skill were well matched. Eventually the squishy Hobgoblins were sent to the ‘Injury’ or ‘Knock Out’ boxes in the dugout and the resulting gaps allowed the green-skins to score on Turn 8.

The second half I received and by Turn 4 I had got into a position where my Bull Centaurs were in position to charge off. They failed to catch a single hand-off, and in desperation I engineered a Hobgoblin receiver free. On turn 8 I managed to get an accurate pass to him (itself a feat worthy of praise) but in a die roll that summed up the game the receiver dropped the catch. Having passed up at least two chances to score on a D6 ‘3’ or more I lost the game 0-1 and by 9 Tournament Points (TP) to 23. I rolled my only skill increase to one of my Chaos Dwarves to give him a much-needed ‘Guard’ skill – I rolled a 6 and a 4 and got +1 movement. I felt the tournament slipping away.

Now, last year I was the SAD team top scorer, so I was a bit downcast as I reported my score to the team captain (Glenn). However, our six first counting game scores were zero, zero, one, two, five and nine. So I was the top scorer so far after all! After lunch (a strange concoction of lump-of-meat-with-gravy sandwich for most people and a horrible-looking green mess for the vegetarians) the draw for Game 2 was announced.

Game 2 – vs B.J. Heasman (Undead)

I won the toss and elected to receive. On the opening drive my front line smashed into the skeletons and zombies, injuring two and flattening the rest, and by Turn 4 the resulting hole allowed my Bull Centaur to romp home for a touch-down! At the restart I went to kick off and was delayed by a pitch invasion. Hordes of Chaos Dwarves and Hobgoblins swarmed onto the field, kicking, clawing and smiting any undead players in reach. One was injured and three were stunned or knocked out. Consequently the undead drive was somewhat stifled, and I managed to turn-over the ball. By Turn 7 my Bull Centaurs had run in another TD.

In the second half the rejuvenated (and regenerated) Undead came back with a strong drive, but some unfortunate dice rolling by B.J. meant that I was able to recover the ball and one of my Bull Centaurs went sprinting towards the line for a third TD. Desperately ‘going-for-it’ he rolled two ones in succession and fell over in the last square! I won 2-0 and by 28 TP to 4. I got three skill upgrades, and decided to give three Chaos Dwarves the elusive ‘Guard’ skill. To my horror my first skill roll was again a ‘4’ and a ‘6’ and another Chaos Dwarf got +1 movement. My skills horror was ended with two normal dice rolls.

Game 3 – vs Danny Martinez (Lizardmen)

My win had put me up to the dizzying heights of Table 2. Danny had brought a brutal team with six strength-four Saurus and a strength-five Kroxigor. A few Skinks completed the team. This was a torrid game, as against a hard-hitting team like this I had no response. My two ‘Guard’ skills were not enough to compensate for the superior strength of the Lizards and their poor agility didn’t let them dodge away – how I missed my agile elves! My Chaos Dwarves are well armoured, so they took a bit of punishment, but I also suffered a pitch invasion, my players getting beaten black and blue by the Lizard crowd. My Hobgoblins predictably suffered a severe mauling, and I should by rights have lost this by 0 TP to 32. However, a desperate defence in the second half allowed me to keep the score to 0-2, and despite loosing 4 casualties and only being able to field 10 players, one of his Skinks tried to dodge past one of my Chaos Dwarves on the last turn when going to score, but failed its ‘dodge’ roll, and my ‘tackle’ skill meant he couldn’t re-roll it! I lost 0-2 and by 3 TP to 29. Worst of all, my two Chaos Dwarves with the ‘Guard’ skill were amongst the casualties, meaning they lost their newly acquired skill. I rolled a new ‘Guard’ with my single skill upgrade and faced Sunday with trepidation.

On Saturday evening we ate at the Harry Ramsden fish and chip restaurant next door to our Travelodge. Unfortunately they ‘lost’ our order and so our food took ages to arrive, and by the end of the meal we were ready to turn in. Devotees of my scribblings will recall that last year at the club challenge I had the pleasure of sharing a bed with Chris Banks. Well, this year was no different, except that this year Chris had wisely brought his own sleeping bag. This avoided much of the paranoia of last year, and I settled down to a night of peaceful rest. However, no sooner had I closed my eyes when a dreadful roaring sound issued forth. I assumed we were being buzzed by a succession of low flying aircraft, but the regularity of their passing, coupled with the fact that aircraft tend not to snort and whistle after each pass, led me to the conclusion that someone was already asleep and snoring. For half an hour or so I braved the colossal assault on my eardrums, but then I could take no more. However, a misspent youth listening to heavy metal had equipped me for this moment, and I slipped into the bathroom and pressed some masticated toilet-paper (unused) into my ears. Dreamless sleep followed.

On Sunday morning only Glenn and I went to breakfast. We were the only clients in Harry Ramsden’s breakfast bar, and partook of some cereal and ordered our cooked fare. Glenn opted for a vegetarian brekkie, and I took the “Harry Ramsden’s Breakfast Challenge”, which consisted of slightly less than you get in a Little Thief Early Starter. We left with time to spare and turned up to the Club Challenge venue to find everything about to kick off.

Game 4 – vs Stuart Falconer (Orcs)

Another Orc team, this time maxed out on strength with 4 Black Orcs (three with ‘Block’ upgrades), 4 Blitzers, 3 Linemen and a Thrower. I won the toss to receive and tried to engineer the hole my Bull Centaurs needed to get away. However, Stuart played a very canny game, using his Black Orcs very effectively to neutralise my Bull Centaurs, and eventually my Bull Centaurs fell over (two ones when ‘going for it’ again) and by Turn 5 Stuart had recovered the ball and only some desperate defence left him one square short of scoring a TD.

The second half started with the Orcs powering their way down field. The loss of my previous two ‘Guard’ skills was a killer, and I was powerless to prevent the Orcs scoring a TD on Turn 7. I lost 0-1 and by 8 TP to 24.

Game 5 – vs Dave Gee (Dark Elves)

Dave is a familiar face to SAD players, having been at both the inter-club Warhammer Fantasy Battle days we have held against the Big Chiefs, and also visiting us one Wednesday to use my Chaos Dwarves Blood Bowl team to see if he liked them. On that occasion I beat him with my own elves and now that the tables were reversed he was out for revenge.

I won the toss and received, forming a ‘pocket’ for the Hobgoblin with the ball and basically just standing my Chaos Dwarves toe-to-toe with the elves and having a good bash. All my linemen had the ‘Block’ skill, and used this to engineer one-on-one engagements with the elves that usually ended with the elves on their back! I made my move on Turn 8, my Chaos Dwarves carefully blocking the elves away from a Bull Centaur so that he could be handed the ball by the ball-carrying Hobgoblin. To my horror the Bull Centaur dropped the catch (even with a re-roll) and the ball scattered back to the Hobgoblin, who failed to catch it and scattered it back to the Bull Centaur who caught it on a die roll of ‘6’! My relief was palpable, as I knew the elves would score and this might have been my only chance. The Bull Centaur trotted over the line for a TD. To add insult to injury, the previous turn Dave had fouled and I had rolled the ‘6’ required to send the player off.

The second half started with the Dark Elves picking up the ball and getting several players downfield. Despite several attempts to kill the ball carrier (including actually getting the ball loose for a turn) the agile elves dodged around and scored with ease on Turn 3. On the kick-off I again formed a cage and forced my way downfield. The elves did a very good job of smashing in my pocket, freeing the ball for several turns before my superior hitting power allowed my Hobgoblins to recover it. On Turn 7 I managed to hand-off the ball to a Bull Centaur and he romped to the penultimate square before the goal-line, using all three ‘go-for-its’ and using his ‘Sure Feet’ skill after almost falling over. Dave managed to get a Dark Elf Blitzer alongside, but with no re-rolls left the Bull Centaur blitzed the Dark Elf out of the way and scored on the last turn. Unbelievably I had also rolled a ‘6’ to send off the Dark Elf who committed Dave’s second foul. This was by far the closest game of the day.

I won 2-1 and by 23 TP to 9.

Overall then, I lost three games and won two, and scored 4 TD for 5 against. I didn’t keep track of the casualties, but seemed to suffer far more casualties than I inflicted. I also scored 71 points and conceded 89.

Winners and Losers

I finished ninth out of twelve Blood Bowl players, my lowest tournament placing ever. I was quite pleased with my highish sportsmanship score. I was a bit disappointed with only 10 for painting, as I thought my Chaos Dwarves were far better painted than my High Elves that I took to the Blood Bowl GT and the High Elves scored 20 out of 20! There was no composition score for the Blood Bowl.

The rest of the team finished in a solid block in the WAB table. Congratulations to Luke for being the highest WAB scorer for SAD for the second year running. Congratulations too to Simon Day who won the sportsmanship award for WAB!

The overall scores were as follows:



WAB Army/BB Team






BB 9 Paul Nettle Chaos Dwarves






WAB 19 Luke Foden Byzantine






WAB 20 Warren Gleeson Hittite






WAB 21 Peter David Imperial Roman






WAB 21 Glenn Foden Hun






WAB 27 Christopher Banks Israelite






WAB 28 Simon Day Late Roman






WAB 30 James Smith Imperial Roman






As a team we finished an awesome 16 th out of 16! Yes, we can loose to the worst in the land! On a more positive score, we did get the 3 rd highest Sportsmanship score.



Games Total




North Birmingham Troll Slayers (NBTS)





Northern Warlords (NW)





Tanelorn Wargames Club (TWGC)





Dragon Slayers (DS)





Cold Steel Mercenaries (CSM)





Battle Force Pompey (BFP)





London Gamers (LG)





Big Chiefs (BC)





Ribble Warriors (RW)





Viet Taffs (VT)










Gobstyks (GOB)










Mixed Fist (MF)










Swindon And District (SAD)




Overall, though, it was a great weekend. I played some excellent games of Blood Bowl, and everyone in the team seemed to enjoy themselves. I hope we are able to enter again next year, and hopefully do a bit better!


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