A Brief Moment With ...
When I decided to get into the ruthless world of ReBBL news, I was looking around to see what existed on the market. So I obviously quickly ended up peeking at the "Big Observer". To say I was impressed would be a slight understatement as everything, from the graphic design to the fluff articles to the inside jokes, put me on my ass. Later in the season I heard the call for extra help, but didn't dare answer for several reason. And when I finally mustered the courage to step forward, the Big Observer was gone. Talk about sense of timing, eh?
Since the start with the interviews, it was clear that one day I'd have to interview Munkeychunks, the one that several people pointed as the main criminal when it came to the Big Observer. As I stumbled blindly, trying to offer something to the community, Munkey was one of the earliest and strongest support I received, which was definitively an endorsement I am still grateful for. Knowing that he was doubly troubled by a broken wrist and his "Old Hobart Honeybadgers" tendency to roll untimely ones, I postponed the day I would corner and interview him, despite my eagerness. And then the season winded down, it was time to strike, as he would no doubt have dropped his guard.
The deal with Munkey was to go through the interview usual questions, but also to generally chat. We started a bit late in the evening, both armed with what is colloquially known as "a nightcap". Although it might have been more of a morion in my case. Anyway, the result was a 5 hours long chat and what you see here is what is decently publishable. Also: pardon my French.
Tell me, Munkeychunks, how did you chose your nickname?
Ha ha, I was scared of that one. It dates back to the very early days of the Internet. I always loved monkeys as a kid - had heaps of stuffed monkey toys and the like, and I am pretty solidly built - so chunky has always been a way to describe me.
And in the days of dial up internet there was a porn site called Monkey Chunks. And it sort of stuck... Much like monkey chunks...
Back in the Xbox days, I think monkeychunks had been taken, so I employed the u, and that's been my tag ever since.
How long have you been playing BB for now?
Well - the first version I ever bought was the 2nd Edition box back in the 80's - the one with the cool Styrofoam board. But I can probably guarantee I was the only person with a copy for a 1000 km, so I only ever played with a few friends at home.They never really got into it, so it was always a side thing I occasionally did.
I picked up BB1 when it come out - but I found it was clunky and didn't like it that much, so pretty much ignored it until BB2 came out. I'd been playing it on the Android mobile version for a while though.
And how did you end up in the ReBBL then?
Well - when I started getting into BB2 a lot more I wasn't enjoying CCL or COL that much, and finding that although I liked the game, I didn't really like the environment long term.I did a couple of Internet searches and checked the Steam forums looking for a group to play with. I stumbled across BBLANZ on Steam and ReBBL on Reddit - they had just started the 2nd season of Big O I think. So I contacted both groups - didn't expect much really, but they both got back to me really quickly! I joined both at the same time.
Joigning the Big O, four games in, with the Badgers, Munkey quickly lost 2 players. An auspicious start, one would say...
To be expected - our mottos has been, and always will be, "Die like a Honey Badger". They roll ones week after week and show no shame.
What I like is that not only Munkey does roll ones at critical moments like any true elf coach, but also at random moments just for the sake of it. It is the stuff of legends.
Some of those ones are actually useful, unbelievable.
One of the reasons I wanted to interview you was because of the Big Observer. I wanted to pay my respects to my legendary predecessors, and hopefully, soon co-writers!
(See, GypsyPrince, I'm trying ...)
How did you decide to publish it, and when did you start ?
I'd read some of the stuff that was floating around the ReBBL - a couple of pieces by Harringzord, and a few things that Lynxx had done for Clan games I think. And I think Krusader had published one of his Under Pitch articles - or I found on old one on Reddit maybe. And whilst they were all good - I felt there was room for something a bit more "meaty".
I published the first one at the start of my second season in ReBBL; I'd been around long enough to get to know a few of the personalities in Big O - had picked up some of the memes, the rivalries and the history of some of the coaches and teams. I thought an Old World style on the tabloid newspaper was the perfect fit too. I tried to give it some authenticity too The Big Observer was always a parody of a newspaper first - we didn't always have informative articles or information, a lot of it was just fluff. The very first issue pilfered most of Harringzord's season preview and Schlice's - I just wrapped it up in a nice package.
I have to say I loved the formatting and editing...
That's always been the most important part to me, I'm coming at it from a graphic designer's point of view, rather than a writers - although I can write too!
I'm doing a graphic design course at the moment - trying to retrain for another avenue of employment. It's always been a hobby and an interest, so it was a good practical exercise for me too. Or so I tell my wife when she catches me writing a fantasy newspaper for a fantasy game of football!!! Hard to keep your street cred.
When I started, I thought I'd just do one. Then people asked for another... Then before I knew it - it was bloody weekly. I've had help along the way - Liamcoulston wrote a few articles, Lynxx quite a few, and Yasmirr and Miraskadu did some stuff as well. But they were never regulars - so it was mainly me most of the time. I hand built the league tables and rosters too - which was stupid - they could take hours alone.
The amount of time you put into it... that's beautiful.
I enjoyed doing it, but some of the elements became a grind too - like the Page 3 girls... It's sort of funny the first few times, but then gets pointless, and could be time consuming to do, so I dropped them. And the obituaries could get crazy too - trying to find something mildly humorous about the 14th Black Orc that's died is bothersome
And I shouldn't forget to mention Ledeas! He was an early supporter and his Dear Daisy section was my favourite.
Ensues discussion starting on newspapers difference in other ReBBL regions, then moving on different approaches regarding Blood Blowl tactics and rosters, a topic that led us into the question managing leagues, which segued naturally into my next question.
Easy as pie.
What are your responsibilities as admin?
Same as any other run-of-the-mill admin really, we're all responsible for a Division: mine is Three. We make sure everyone uses Reddit, gets their games played, and act as a contact point for any enquiries. You got to be the hammer sometimes.We all take responsibility though - if any problems come up we throw it up in admin chat and get some consensus on the issue and how to deal with it. We avoid trying to be the only ones to deal with a problem - to avoid it becoming a personal bias. It works the best - I think the admins found that out the hard way early on
But it works well - our goal is to make this place work for everyone, so enforcing the rules is important.
Yeah, use Reddit. Make your admins happy.
After all this involvement and competitions, what do you consider your proudest achievement in your BB coach career?
Well - I'm not sure I have a "proudest" moment. I've not won any major title in any of the comps I've played in. Getting the first Big Observer out there was pretty good - the feedback was fantastic and I'm glad so many people enjoyed it! It felt good giving something back to the community, even if it was only a stupid imaginary tabloid rag. If it made people enjoy being part of the community, I can be proud of that! It was nice to know it was liked enough that the other two regions wanted their own versions too! And it's nice to know that has now morphed into ReBBL news under Gypsy's Prince's guidance.
This was the point where I hoped to make him miss the good old days enough and sign up again for writing next season! Jury's still out on this one.
Talking about you and the BB pitch... What kind of coach would you say you are?
Unlucky. No! That's a joke!!! Don't print that!
I like to think I'm okay - but I'm reasonably aggressive, which doesn't always work! I've played some of the bigger names in Blood Bowl - drawn a few, beaten some, and lost to others. On my day I back myself to beat anyone really - that doesn't seem to happen as much as I'd like though!
I'd like to think that I am a good coach to play against too - as in not a salty old grump - and whilst I do get frustrated, it's much easier to deal with when both coaches can have a laugh about it!
I like to make cavalier plays - and I know they don't always work - but they are always so much more fun than a boring 1-0 grind!
But Nuffle is a prick. And he clearly hates me too.
Insert my usual string of expletives towards Nuffle. I know... I am a heathen.
Some days he lets you win! I had a game like that in the Chaos Invitational final: my Woodies destroyed the Necro team, 7 out of 8 regens failed, I could do no wrong!
Unfortunately it was one of my team mates i had to meet in the final It was hard to enjoy. But I did smile just a little.
How do you go at your games to be a better coach and not enjoying destroying your friends?
I'm not one for watching other people too much! I try, but I tend to drift off after a few turns. I watch the Big O streams, but I tend to dip in and out.
I don't find watching other coaches actually helps me much. I have my style and my thought processes, so I just try to improve them. I will watch my own replays though - especially games I've drawn or lost - just to see if i could have done something better. Like not roll a 1 or something important.
Most of the times I'm doing something stupid in a game, I already know it's stupid. So I'm not surprised it doesn't work...
I do tend to make silly mistakes sometimes - like forget to check the oppo's skills before dodging away and get floored by DT, or Blitz with the catcher that I thought had Block but is actually the rookie... The worst one is where I'm setting up a "three move play" - move him here, him over there, then Blitz there - then totally forget to do the first two moves and Blitz on a 1D!
You just need more +ST.
I tend to play quickly too - most of my turns are over in a minute, or even less - I don't like to 2nd guess myself too much. But then when you've only got 5 Elves on the pitch...
That's just normal... It's to play faster.
You only need 2: one to throw and one to catch.
I've been playing Vamps in BBLANZ and they have been fantastic. You need to have a Plan B in place for when Plan A invariably fails, and then have a Plan C for when B goes pear shaped.
I'm finding that thinking pattern is showing up in my other play as well.
Then the interviews goes sideways. Like massively.
Talks about "entitled Elf coaches" rolled into "online rants about Blood Bowl", moved into "kids these days" and morphed into "streamers" before railing against "mob mentality". From there we sidestepped into "the spread of casual racism" so, naturally, we started to talk trash about Orcs which in turn led us to comment on "the state of the Big O", then finally looped back into the importance of examining your own games and taking good and bad dice roll in stride.
We talked about doing stupid shit on the pitch. What is the player skill that gives you the most fun on the pitch?
It's a toss up between Side Step or Leap. Sidestep is awesome - so frustrating for the opposition. But Leap is probably the most fun - AG5 Leap in particular. I don't trust AG4 leap that much
AG3 leap is the shit...
I love Werecaster's AG3 Leap Ghoul - I'd be Leaping him every turn! Ballsy! It gets you places no other skill can...
Any favourite Star Players with time?
Eldril Sideliner. Or Sidewinder as some call him. He is awesome - for the four turns he is on the pitch. I'd take him in a heartbeat before any others. Unless I need extra Tackle or some +ST, in which case Moranion [sic] is pretty damn nice too.
Having Hypnotic Gaze on an Elf team is pretty cool. Unfortunately you have to base him to use it, so he's not often there the turn after
Yeah - he is probably the best choice for Elves, and at 200k is pretty affordable.
Any kick-of event you hate?
Anything that doesn't help me!!!
I must say Thrown Rock is just plain stupid! Like, pointlessly stupid. The Blood Bowl pitch is dangerous enough without that shit going down.
I had a War Dancer roll +ST. First game as a beefed up star, Turn 0, Thrown Rock, Dead, Apo, Dead.
Definitely Thrown Rock.
Any stadium enhancement of choice then, Squig Sando Stand maybe?
Lol - the Badgers haven't been able to afford one yet!
What ? This is a scandal!
We've been too busy keeping 11 players on the pitch.
[...] I'd probably say Elf Turf. Elf Turf makes one turners less dangerous, so I'd take that over most. Anything that keeps your team alive a little bit longer is good.
And obviously the Anti-Thrown Rock one - I forget what it is - is a close second.
But they are rarer than failing GFI's
So after all these years in so many leagues, what would you change if you could change one thing in BB2 ?
I know most people have railed against Claw POMB. But I'd rather fix the MVP system. I hate, with a passion, getting MVP's on dead players, and I'd love a way of having more control over where the MVP lands. I know their are options in TT. But I'd like some more ways of earning more SPP, rather than just lumping 5SPP on a random player at the end of the game. The ability to split it up on different players - assign it where you want.
Maybe have a 2 SPP MVP on a random player, but be able to spend 5 where you like? Not sure.
But sometimes everything being RNG isn't the greatest idea.
I like that, that'd help me to get that Pass Block Shadowing Diving Tackle piece faster...
Now, do you listen to anything while playing your games ?
Yep - I tend to get Spotify kicking away in the background. Tends to be hard and fast - anything from Faith No More, Soundgarden, Static X through to more modern stuff like Greta van Fleet.
I'm firmly stuck in 90's grunge though. That's my jam.
Now that we now what you feed your soul with, do you feed your body during games? Any food and drink to remember?
No food really,but coffee. I chuck a capsule in the Nespresso machine before any game. I need the caffeine hit.
And if a bit of alcohol falls in - I'm not sad.
I have a perfect question for you, from my pile of players submitted questions.
With the benefit of Internet anonymity, who's that one band you'd never admit to loving, but really do?
I like that one! Damn!
Geez - it'd have to be Snow Patrol... Doesn't fit my Grunge/Heavy vibe at all, but I like their songs!!!
My very special thanks to Munkey, for his support, and his time. Had a great talk on that evening and gained even more respect for the man.
This concludes our first season 9 off season special, stay tuned!