REBBRL College

May 17, 2021

Back to Blood Bowl


The Reddit Eternal Blood Bowl League is a, well, "eternal" Blood Bowl league centered around a Reddit community. The extra "R" in this case is for Rookie, as they're considerate enough to not send newbies immediately to the wolves of multi-year BB veterans.

Around late February/early March, after having gotten cold feet on a previous season, I signed up for REBBRL's College league, the "start here" point for new players to the league and the game. The College league is a 9-game round robin format. The winners of each division move on to a single-elimination bracket playoff.

For my team, I chose Humans. I had heard both recommendations for and against new players picking humans for various reasons: nice blitzers, players come with reroll skills, but they're punishing when things go wrong and you're not actually good at much. They had a sort of underdog-y vibe to them, and just felt more right to go with than the standard suggestion of Orcs or Lizards. I gave my team a riichi mahjong theme, with the players being named after yaku and the team itself called Tsumo!.

I won't go into deep details or analysis about every match I had here, but hopefully I'll hit the broad strokes of how I felt and played throughout the season.

The Early Games

REBBRL also offers a Mentor System: sign up for it, and you'll be paired with an experienced Blood Bowl player willing to give you advice and guidance. I was paired with a long-time REBBL player and former admin who put up with me and my whiny nonsense admirably. I don't feel like I was a very fun mentee, in hindsight, and wish I had did them better: you get about as much as you put in when it comes to programs like this, and I really didn't give what I could have.

Anyway, we had extended conversations about the nature of humans, some positioning advice, and the eternal despair-pit that is Blood Bowl, and then I was off to the games.

My first two went excellently. I'm not going to say I was a good player or anything, and favorable dice helped a lot, but I had solid 2-0 victories with strong development. One of my blitzers, Daisuushii, in particular became notable for his early kills and high SPP gain in those matches. I was, as most people are when they're winning, in good spirits.

Then I got crushed game 3. Not even close. While I was kind of glad it happened, because I had to lose at some point, I couldn't help but be pretty affected by it.

Mid-Season Despair

My next games were a fairly satisfying draw, followed by a loss I'm still kicking myself about to this day. It was against Dwarves, and I not only had to waste my wizard on my own offense to stop them from scoring, but my defense completely fell apart into a 0-1 loss.

We had two teams drop out by this point, one being more of a no-show. I ended up getting a bye week from a third person dropping. It was a bit frustrating for everybody, but the admins were on-point about it and, well, it happens.

My upcoming, sixth game was a bye week, and I knew I had two lizard matches to go against. By this point I was in pretty low spirits, because, well, I wasn't having fun. Some practice games against other lizard teams went completely awful and I felt like I was going to have 2 weeks of miserable losses, if not 3 (as my final game of the season was against Chaos). I had considered multiple times just dropping out entirely before an extended conversation with my mentor helped me identify a bit of the problem as well as how my own mindset works:

I am, apparently, a European at heart.

North American players tend to play later in the evening, after work or dinner or the like. That ends up being a terrible time for me, because then I spend the rest of the night stewing on the game with nothing to really distract myself from. I'm significantly happier playing in the early afternoons, where I'm at my peak energy and have the rest of my day to redirect my attention on instead of fixating on a bad game. When I sign up for the Minors league - the league after College - I might actually sign up for the European division with this consideration.

Recovering and Completion

The final three games of the season were Lizards, Lizards again, and finishing with Chaos. I already had a bad attitude going in to the first Lizard game, but midway through it my attitude suddenly shifted, and I turned the game into a 2-2 draw by deciding to score early. I figured if I was already 0-2, it didn't matter if I scored early or late, and I might as well go all-in. Turns out I got a bit rewarded for it by being able to steal a ball for the second touchdown. I am particularly proud of this game on a personal level, even though from a play standpoint I could have made some better choices.

Oh, the second lizard game was an 0-2 stomp where I was miserable the entire time, to the point I was retreating players into the corner of the pitch to save them from any more hits. That team went on to make it to playoffs, though, so it's water under the bridge at that point.

The final match against Chaos was actually a win. While I failed on my offensive drive, I was able to go "full mans" and charge at the ball they failed to pick up, and with some luck going my way, managed to steal. Some extra luck on the final drive prevented the tie. It didn't necessarily feel earned to me, but I played hard for it and it could have easily backfired, so I'll take it.

Overall League Itself

My division was a bit of an awkward one. We had three teams drop out which made the standings a bit skewed as free wins trickled in: My team ended 4-2-3, although really one of those wins was a bye week. The administrators were always accommodating and helpful. The mentor system is incredible: my mentor taught me so much about the game in such a short time.

I would fully recommend the College league for anybody looking to get started with Blood Bowl. 9 weeks is a bit of a long commitment if you're not 100% sure about the game, though. I kind of wish it was more like 6 weeks, but given the teams in my division had all dropped by then, maybe that wouldn't be much of a help. New players are going to drop the game, not much can be done about that. It's probably a good idea to play a few dozen Blood Bowl matches first to decide if you can handle the game at all before committing to the league.

I'm off-and-on about if I'm signing up for minors, but at the time of this writing the four-week "Post Season Punch-Up" for college teams is almost done. I'm thinking I'll go ahead and sign up for the Minor league, just to say I've completed the entire REBBRL experience. As for moving onto the main REBBL majors league, with or without my little Human squad I've built up, I'm thinking no, but that's still months away anyway.