A "Brief" Encounter With ...
For my next guest, I picked another one of the Big O's household names. One of the coaches that welcomed me in the Big O and offered valuable advice when I needed it.
My interviewee today loves a good pineapple and a cold 7UP. Besides me he offers good, sensible advice to many players, with a special attention paid to future Big O coaches now evolving around College and Minors. He streams late games that I enjoy for their chillness and commentary. Living in Thailand, he's always available to talk about Blood Bowl, current events or what is life as an expat' in Asia. A not-so-secret Skaven lover, he coaches "Bash Incorporated" the legendary Orc band in Big O's first division.
Ladies and gentlemen, I give you PapaNasty !
A foreword if you will allow me. There is a reason I used the word "thorough" in the subtitle of the article. If you plan to tackle this piece in one go, better settle yourself properly.
As always the first question is : "PapaNasty" where does it come from?
I used to play this game called OGame (Online Game), which was a browser game set in space. This was way back in like 2003 I think. I was the leader of an alliance there, and we went to war with another alliance, called URQUAN I think, anyway their leader put on this persona on the forums of being the Queen of their alien race (They were actually Male though I think, and the race was actually from a book or something, I'm not sure).
Anyway, a big part of the game was about getting public support from the other alliances, and about the banter on the forums, that was what really made it fun not just the game itself, and their Queen tried to attack me. I saw the attack coming though, and managed to "ninja" her and so was able to both destroy her fleet and recycle it. This was a huge blow, one which would likely take her months to recover from and being leader vs leader, I did a particularly good write-up about what I did to this alien female using a lot of puns to suggest that it wasn't just her fleet that I banged on.
One of the guys in my alliance then coined the name "PapaNasty" in reference to the devious things I'd written about doing to her, and I changed my name in game to PapaNasty so that I could sorta rub it in to their alliance. I liked the name, and so it stuck. My previous nickname, was SlyAnimal, which I still sometimes use these days although I prefer PapaNasty. PapaNasty I think suits me well, because I am a "papa" now, but also the "Nasty" part couldn't really be further from the truth regarding my personality, which I think is quite good to have the opposite in my name.
I've since used the name for my WoW character and in other games as well, which makes me feel that it's particularly synonymous with me personal image, and have a lot of friends from games who even call me Papa when we hang out in RL
This is the point where I got a grasp of Papa's thoroughness in replying to questions.
So how did you get into BB, and how long have you been playing ? Then how much of that in the ReBBL?
I first played Blood Bowl when BB2 came out, well technically during the beta as they allowed people who had brought it pre-release to play a month early or something. I'd never played it before, but it was part of the Games Workshop Warhammer universe so I thought I'd give it a go. As when I was living in NZ I used to play Warhammer Fantasy and really enjoyed it, there weren't any Warhammer Fantasy games on the market at that point though, and tabletop games aren't popular in Thailand, so when I saw Blood Bowl that was the next closest thing.
I got involved in ReBBL when the Big O was released, as I saw Walkerthon advertising it on some forums somewhere and so I signed up. I think that Lynxx, Starke and myself have the only 3 original teams left from that first season, quite a few of the other coaches are still around, but have rerolled into other races due to the accumulated attrition that they've taken over the past 5 or 6 seasons or the intervention of RL.
And since we were talking about attrition...
Your love for Orcs is well known, and demonstrated. Why do you enjoy playing them that much?
I'm a pixel hugger. Orcs are hard to kill, so I get to develop my pixels and hold onto them for longer than when I play as Skaven or Elves :) Also Orcs are strong enough to go toe to toe with anyone, but can still run passing plays almost as well as humans can. I hate running teams where dodges and passes aren't viable options, and so being able to run a heavy bash team with viable passing options is the perfect mix for me. Particularly as if I can murder my opponent's team, then they can't fight back and thus my pixels are particularly safe
Which is part of why I genuinely don't want to inflict perms, well maybe on those nasty MB/Claw pieces, but I try to injure my opponents' teams in order to protect my own
And you obviously do not mind the SPPs from CAS on the way
Yeah that's of course a big motivation as well Although with 5x legends, the SPP isn't as bigger motivator as it used to be
Bash Inc is a monument in the Big O. Being here for so long, having been through many campaigns and built up its fair share of Legends, I knew we had a lot to talk about.
Talking about that, can you tell me more about your team ? Where the names came from, how long you've been running them, how does it feel to have that many legends in there, your plans for the future with them, ...
Hahaha, names of the blitzers are just default names. When I created the blitzers I didn't really care so much about them, I only cared about the black orcs and thrower. The Black Orcs I named as a combination of their default name + their picture. e.g. Metal'Mouf has a metal plate on his jaw, "Gold'Toof" has a golden tooth etc. Roger the Rocket was just an alliteration while using the rocket to symbolise his awesome passing skillz. Which actually more comes from when I had a Skaven team previously and called the throwers Bob the Bazooka or Chris the Cannon kinda thing because of the bazooka device fashioned onto their arm.
My linemen were originally default names too, until I started using alliterations to name say Dirty Doug, but then I found that Dirty Doug rolled doubles for Guard and so I didn't want to kinda pigeon hole him into being a dirty player so started naming them things like Spiteful Steve or Angry Angus (Who I thought had a picture that looked like an angry Scotsman from Braveheart), which could be dirty players or could be proper linemen with Guard.
And it feels great to have so many legends This team really is the pixel huggers dream come true lol. As I really enjoy developing players, and my team has developed almost as much as it possibly can
Plans for the future with them..... well I want to win the Superb Owl and then retire the team. This team really has developed about as much as it possibly can, and so I'd like to move on to another team instead, ideally one that's not represented well in the Big O or generally considered an underdog. In saying that though, it'd probably end up being Dark Elves or Skaven because I just really enjoy those two and so enjoy playing them. I would like to get a good, say, Dwarf team though and build that up for fun, as they are often under rated because people think they can't deal with Claw at higher TVs.
If/When I do retire my team, I want to try and sell the players off to the free agent so that they can live forever (or die gloriously), as every player on my team is a star. It would be nice to keep it saved and just look at the team now and then tho. But yeah, maybe I'll even retire them after this season, depending on how playoffs etc go, who knows, I'm definitely looking for a bit of a change though.
And I did quite like the name of my team, Bash Incorporated, "We're in the bash business", as just the thought of these orcs sitting behind office desks or turning up in suits to bash people gave me a bit of a chuckle when originally thinking of the team name
As it was kinda like my approach to bash, where it's a business, I don't bash/kill people because I enjoy it, it's a job, it's what we do. Nothing personal in it, I'm not going onto the field to kill your players, it's just business.
Until now then, what would you consider your proudest achievement as a BB coach ?
That's a tough one.....
I came 1st in the Big O last season
I won the first Open Invitational (And got a free copy of legendary with it)
I made top 8 in playoffs (And got a hype video!)
I've qualified for playoffs for the past 3 seasons in a row (And it's looking like it'll likely be a 4th this season)
I've gained a considerable amount of infamy within ReBBL
I came 3rd in the Big Crunch 2 with my Chaos - Altdwarf
I qualified for the Champions Cup once with HEs (Despite only rarely attempting to qualify)
Hmm..... I think the best of those was winning the Open Invitational, followed closely by 1st in the Big O. As although it wasn't against the playoff coaches, it was still a long knockout competition against a lot of great coaches, and I won it. Finishing anything on a loss, e.g. knocked out of playoffs, or 3rd in BC2, just isn't quite as satisfying because you kinda finish the season on a low. Which is why even finishing 1st in div 1 last season was a bittersweet victory, since I then had a horrible 1st match in playoffs.
That's quite the list of achievements there. personally, I'm already happy of sticking up to my team for a second season in a row...
As a Blood Bowl coach, what do you think are your strengths and weaknesses?
I think that rather than strengths and weaknesses per say, we each have traits which affect us in different ways. For example, I'm a greedy coach, I love farming up extra SPP, and will take the extra T16 blocks before I score to get SPP, or hand off to a black orc etc. These are great, very positive traits when they work, as it allows my team to develop at a much faster rate than they would have otherwise. Conversely, when the dice don't behave my greed can have an extremely negative impact.
Aside from my greed, I feel that I'm a coach who doesn't limit themselves to a single playbook and isn't afraid to try different things. I didn't play tabletop, BB1 or FUMBBL so haven't been moulded by years of "You must play this way", I wrote my own playbook. This means that I am more open minded in my play style, and so I recognise that there are different play styles and theories on turn sequencing (e.g. Roll the least dice by making most important rolls first vs Mitigate risk by taking the least risk actions first so that if the important roll fails you’re not going to get smashed). I try to subscribe to the best theory for the situation, although at the end of the day the dice really make the decisions.
I initially built my Orcs' skill sets from the perspective of a Chaos coach, as I'd been playing Chaos in BC2, and I usually play a lot of DE/HE (Albeit not lately), and so often run a lot of passing plays because of this. I of course run some "Orcy" plays too. This often makes my play style a lot less predictable for my opponents (Although in ReBBL I've been playing Orcs for so long that people can often predict what I'll do in given situations), and I feel gives me more options than what a regular team would have.
It's not all roses though, as dependable Orc play style and skill sets have their strengths too, and I feel that in particular how I play leads to more SPP and more wins, but also more losses too (And bigger losses too i.e. I lost 0-5 vs Sandune one season), but less draws. As I take more risks in order to gain more rewards, which is represented by a win draw loss ratio of roughly 8:1:4 across the 90+ matches I've played with Bash Incorporated. Comparatively Gerbear's Orcs (who are probably the best Orc team to compare to), have a 9:4:4 long term win ratio, so a slightly better win:loss ratio but with a lot more draws too.
The other main trait I have, is that I don't think in terms of "He's a Black Orc, and so he can't dodge", I think of it as "He's got a 50% chance to dodge, 75% with his dodge auto reroll", and likewise "If I assume that I'm going to always PO against AV7, then I should break armour on 5/6 (83%) knockdowns". This probability focused perspective pushes me towards taking actions which others might consider extremely risky, but to me they seem probable.
The downside of course being that just because something is probable, doesn't mean that it's guaranteed, and so I do sometimes assume that I'm going to succeed easy rolls and perhaps don't prepare for failure as much as I maybe should.
I always like to ask players to analyze their own strong and weak points. I knew Papa wouldn't disappoint. There is something he talked about I would like to be able to do more: know the odds of some actions and then build my decisions partially upon that.
I see you try to build your own playbook, is there any coach you try emulate in some compartments of the game?
Although of course in the past, I learnt from a lot of different coaches, as always try and learn from my opponents and from any matches that I watch. I've learnt a lot from players like Notorious Noob, Sandune, Morka, Walkerthon & others, particularly those that I played in BC2 or the earlier seasons of The Big O while I was still learning, although even after 3000+ hours played of BB2, I still keep adding to my playbook when I play or watch matches (Particularly from Clan league, as not only is the coaching standard extremely high but it also combines the various different playstyles from REL, GMAN, BigO & others).
Do you have any kind of preparation for your upcoming games?
Before a match I'll usually check the team values and cash available, then work out the likely inducements of my opponent and whether either my team or theirs could make any minor adjustments to push that further in one direction or the other (e.g. to get/deny a wizard, or change who is the under/over dog etc). I also look at their team and work out a general strategy that I want to follow, which usually revolves around things like the primary removal targets + whether I spread them or condense them + cage, screen or stay deep & pass forward etc, as well as of course whether I want to kick or receive (if given the option).
As mentioned earlier, Papa keeps an eye on the Big O related coaches playing in Minors and College leagues. He stream their games when he can and is never stingy with advices. Consequently I thought he'd be a natural recipient for the next question.
Based on your experience, what kind of advice would you give to coaches that want to keep learning and evolving?
To not be afraid of criticism, to listen and learn from those who give advice, and to watch matches of other players and learn from there too. However, at the same time don't listen blindly either, as there is a lot that people can learn from experienced players, but no one is perfect, and what works for one coach might not necessarily work for another (And by "work", I don't just mean more wins, but also an enjoyable play style). So listen, but also think, vary where you learn from too, don't just learn from one source, learn from many. Also don't just aspire to emulate a particular coach, aspire to beat them.
Also in a more practical sense, learn the basic probabilities and how to multiple fractions/percentages, it isn't difficult but can make a huge difference to your decision making if you have more accurate information (Alternatively use http://www.elyoukey.com/sac/).
When I was playing tabletop Warhammer Fantasy I remember that I'd regularly try to roll say a 9+ on 2d, if at the time I'd known it was a 28% success chance I'd have done things differently (And likely won more games of Fantasy lol). Knowing the stats will also help you to keep your rage under control, or to at least be justified in your rage. Anger and frustration don't intimidate Nuffle, so leave them at home, play with a calm mind not a passionate heart.
Which is the player skill you have the most fun with?
Since I absolutely love Stand Firm, particularly with Blodge, I just absolutely crack up when people just roll pushes against my black orcs.
I of course love MB/PO too, but more for practical purposes, fun is definitely Stand Firm. (Especially if combined with Diving Tackle too).
Any kick-off event you would not wish on your worst enemy?
Sweltering heat, no two ways about it.
Comparatively, blitzes/quick snaps/riots can be frustrating but they're designed to make teams more cautious about stacking a particular side or setting up too close to the line etc. Rocks and Pitch invasions are modified by FAME, which is modified by Fan Factor.
This is one of the few areas where teams with a high Fan Factor can actually gain some benefit from this otherwise surplus TV. Besides, 1x injury roll (Without MB) and a few stuns aren't so bad, particularly when you consider that sweltering heat will remove the same number of players as a +0 FAME pitch invasion, but remove them for the entire drive. Riots can be annoying, but they're pretty random and I think they do make things more interesting when they add on an extra turn. High kicks and +reroll events are fine, the other weather events can be a bit annoying (Blizzards are terrible for my Orcs), but at least they don't wreck the game like what sweltering heat does.
As sweltering heat is completely random, and removing players for the entire drive is huge. In terms of in game effects, it can be like having a barrage of rocks thrown at your team for KOs (That will come back), or a pitch invasion that removes players instead of just knocking them down, except.... it isn't affected by FAME and so it's not even something where one player should have an advantage, it's simply a random act that can massively screw someone if they're unlucky. If you have too many players removed by the heat, your team can be absolutely beaten to a pulp by an opposition bash team, which can cripple you for not jsut that drive, but the next as well.
Oh, and yes, I have a weather dome I hate the blueish tint it gives, but it's worth it to avoid sweltering heat (And blizzards too, which are terrible for me given how many GFIs I usually make)
So I take that Weather Dome is your favourite enhancement then?
Weather dome is my enhancement of choice, free wizard's probably my next favourite given that I’m more practised at dealing with wizards than most coaches.
If my fan factor is low or I don’t have a dirty player I’ll consider sandwich stands or security gates though
Horses for courses, if I was Skaven with a deep bench I might not like the weather dome because I’d actually want blizzards & heat.
That's a new idiom I just learned there, "horses for courses". Side benefits of interviewing a teacher I guess, besides him auto-editing himself.
If you could change one thing to BB2, what would it be?
Only really small changes like adding chat channels for leagues or some minor balance changes like nerfing PO in a non stupid way (BB2016 nerfed it in a stupid way). Removing PO’s interaction with MB or maybe even claw as well would be a good option.
All in all I like where BB2 is at.
When you're not streaming, do you listen to any music or podcast while playing BB?
Not usually, as I get easily distracted and then struggle to concentrate, so try to limit the number of distractions. Which is one of the reasons why when people ask me if I want to go into voice chat with them while we play, I always politely refuse, because I know it'll put me off my game if we start talking about random topics (Streaming my own matches is usually fine though, because I simply voice my thinking patterns so I stay focused). The other reason I don't go on voice chat with opponents is that I value a good relationship with other coaches, and Blood Bowl can be frustrating at the best of times.
Any snack or beverage you would recommend for those long BB matches ?
A bottle of cold water.
To conclude I always ask the questions I steal from previous guests and try to get another one for my arsenal.
"When everything has turned to shit, and its totally your fault from a shit play, what do you do to stop yourself from tilting too bad and get yourself back in the game?"
I just laugh. When the dice are going really badly, I laugh and think about how much fun it'll be to look at 1s and skulls or similar after the match to see just how terrible my dice were. If I've made a bad play, I just laugh at myself for being so stupid. Sometimes when things are going really badly, you've just gotta have some kind of emotion, to let it out, either as laughter, anger or tears, I find that laughter works best. When I'm really down, I'll make bets with myself, like "Now I bet this will be a 1 on the GFI, or a skull on the 1d block", and then if I'm right I'll laugh, if I'm wrong then I'll be pleasantly surprised which will bring me out of that negative way of thinking Doesn't always work, but it helps a lot.
And as for my question: "Have you noticed any geographic trends within Blood Bowl, particularly differences between REL/GMAN/The Big O, and if so what are they and how do you feel that they impact the game and the strategies/attitudes of the players therein?"
A massive thank you to PapaNasty for many reasons, including spending most of that Monday answering my questions. It is the first time an interview is so complete we have to take breaks in the middle of it. It was a unique and highly enjoyable experience.
I could have cut some bits out of this piece, but the effort Papa put in choosing his words and editing himself deserved to be respected. It would also have altered the feeling of his replies, his "touch", basically what makes him, him.