Sep 18, 2021

Back to Blood Bowl


A few months after my REBBRL College experience, I've wrapped up the REBBRL Minors season as well. I know in that last post I was thinking against signing up for it. Well, I decided to, for a few reasons: My team was already well-built and I felt like I should just logically conclude the REBBRL experience. I had switched from NA divisions to EU divisions, which meant I was playing games earlier in the day, something much better for my mental health. And, ultimately, Minors is a bit of a shorter league than College was, because there's no extra week for round 1 and no post-season to worry about (unless you make playoffs).

Like the College post, I won't be going into much detail about individual games because I just don't want to re-analyze that, it would take me hours. So, instead, some words about how the Minors experience was different from College.

Closer Community

College has just any random newbie signing up for it. That's great, and important, but it can have its own problems. People who end up not liking the game early on drop out, making divisions awkward for everyone else. The first couple weeks lead to some turmoil as people drop and replacements are put in. While my College division was the worst about this, it made it hard to really feel like a division since it was more like 4 people and a bunch of bye weeks.

Minors coaches want to be there. They've already played through College without getting some kind of administrative strike against them. They have a team they know they're ready to play with. They're in it to win it. There was only one drop in our entire season. I made a discord server for my division and got all nine of us in it, and we had a great time chatting over the couple months of the season about matches, using it as a scheduling hub, shitposting, and overall just being cool people.

College was mostly about my interactions with my mentor. Minors was where it finally felt like I was a part of a group of coaches I knew and was playing against, instead of feeling like it was Random Person of the Week for my next matchups. I got invested and interested in what my division buddies were doing because it could affect my upcoming games too.

Being a Bad Player

It was near the start of Minors that Blood Bowl finally "clicked" in what kind of Blood Bowl I play.

I play like a jerk.

My human team, a team that's meant to be very versatile and switch from bashy to agile depending on the situation, pretty much just went full-on bash whenever I could. I strove to kill players. I did fouls on turn 16 (an act that has a LOT of e-honor arguments back and forth about it). Sometimes I just abandoned the ball entirely to try and get more hits in. I pretty much became a horrible person that was mostly blood, minimal bowl. My mentor and some other coaches were baffled why I didn't play a bashier team like orcs.

But I didn't want to play orcs. I wanted to play humans and be a big bashy jerk about it while moving around the pitch really fast. And when I do bash my opponents, I want to make it extra slow and extra painful. Mercy was at a minimum.

In all fairness, this isn't too different from how I approach head-to-head games in general. It's rarely about being the best player or making the best choices, period. I find a weird niche or approach to it, the way I feel like doing things, then do my best to get the most out of what I can about it. In this case, I prefer playing as Humans, and apparently I'm also a killer coach at heart, so I went all-in on trying to destroy people's precious pixels, whooping and hollering every time I score a casualty. It is the default approach I take when autopiloting through the game.

Does this mean I'm actually a bad player? Well, there's two senses to that. First, I don't consider myself a great coach in terms of results, but I did pretty okay throughout the REBBRL season, better than quite a few. In terms of moral rightness, I don't see any problem. I play Blood Bowl the way I play Blood Bowl, which is thoroughly within the rules. I certainly wouldn't fault anybody for trying to do the same murderpixel antics back at me, or for however they decide to play the game.

I have had more than a handful of coaches tell me they would never play against me because of this, or that such antics reflect on me, my personality, and my behavior outside of the game. Perhaps, even, I deserve to be blocked and shunned from civilized Blood Bowl society!

To them, I can only say: sorry your pixels died.

The End of Tsumo!

Tsumo! ended the Minors season at 4 wins, 3 draws, and 2 losses. That's a pretty good record for humans. The entire REBBRL experience concluded at something like 8 wins, 5 draws, 5 losses, which is still decent. Winning more than you lose is always good news as humans, a thoroughly "Tier 2" team on the whole.

Unfortunately, 4-3-2 was not quite enough to make it to playoffs. I was 4th place in my division, but I was not the best 4th place-er out of all the divisions to quality for the wildcard slot. That was probably for the best, anyway - I was truly getting sick of the weekly games at that point.

Tsumo! also got the interesting distinction of having never lost a player that had gained a level. I had rookie linemen die, and one catcher hired that was killed (and incidentally got enough SPP to level up due to stealing the MVP reward), but all players that ever got a new skill from leveling up, stayed in one piece. Not even any stat-reducing permanent injuries. Tsumo! was incredibly stacked by the end of the season, being a whopping 1770 Team Value at the conclusion of its last game (although two linemen are Missing Next Game, dropping that value down a bit in practical terms).

Tsumo!'s final status, after their last game of Minors.

My Future with Blood Bowl

I can say with all certainty that I'm not moving forward to Majors.

My College season started around the middle of March. I've been actively thinking about Blood Bowl since probably early Februrary or so. Blood Bowl, in a weekly game format, has taken up almost the entirety of 2021 so far. It's been a blast, but keeping this weekly routine going was starting to take a drain on me even before starting Minors. It's time to stop.

That's not to say I'm done playing Blood Bowl entirely: I'll just be taking a far, far less structured approach to it. REBBRL's spin-and-win league is always nice, and I'm actually looking into playing on FUMBBL instead (I have joined the 145 league as an exercise in getting used to the interface). With FUMBBL using the new "BB2020" Second Season ruleset, along with their ranked league being similarly play-when-I-want, it's certainly a tempting place to go to while waiting for Blood Bowl 3... or maybe entirely in place of. I'm also considering trying my hand at the Mentor system for College coaches, trying to pass along what I've learned to other new players. Pay it forward, and all that.

As for Tsumo! the team themselves? I thought about simply retiring them for good, letting them live on as champions. But then I thought to myself: I had so much fun killing pieces throughout my time in REBBRL... why not give the community a chance to do it right back? After all, it's unfortunate for them that nobody in Tsumo! really got hurt. And this fat, juicy, almost-bloated Human team is just begging to be trimmed down to a more sensible Team Value.

Sooner or later, I'll sign them up for the "Upstarts" mini-league REBBRL hosts. They're quick, weekly scheduled leagues, but only 5 weeks long each. And when I do, I will beg the community to please, please kill my pixels.

After all, I'd do the same for you.