A Brief Moment With ...
The Big O, like every other conference, has its share of myths, contradictory speculations and base rumours. According to your interlocutor you will learn that the conference has an orc infestation or a chronic agility problem, that watching AFL reduces your ability to think critically or that it is the alpha and omega of athletics, that Beyblade and cockroach milk are the new hot topic ...
Behind totally unrelated to Australia in one way or another, still relatively sane of mind, and having met a few orc coaches already, it was time to investigate the elf matters.
My guest today is an Englishman living in New Zealand. A man with a true passion and talent for drawing arts, he graces us weekly with the slender curves of his players and ball plays. Member of clan [bOot] last season, he resides in the rarefied atmosphere of Big O first division's top spots. Coach of the "Doomed Witches", he led his Dark Elves team into the lights of the play-offs for a second season in a row. Ladies and gentlemen, Jape !
Being a self-confessed elf coach, and a dark elf lover, watching Jape play was always both a pleasure and a lesson in Blood Bowl for me. Needless to say he's one of the coaches I look up to, and looking forward to inflict my interview questions upon. And what better moment for such, than when he's poised for his play-off run in season 9 ?
Where does your nickname, Jape, come from?
It actually what an old friend of mine calls me, my name's Jon-Paul, most people call me JP... So Ja Pe equals Jape.
So how did you get into Blood Bowl, and how long have you been playing now?
I got in to Blood Bowl when it came out on table top way back when! Haha! My friends and I used to go down to GW and play Warhammer 40k / Space Hulk and Blood Bowl after school most days That said, once booze, birds and general shenanigans came along I put down the game for a long time. It wasn't until Blood Bowl hit the PC that I started playing again.
Booze, Birds and General Shenanigans... Would make for a good team name ...
Regarding your on-line competition history you first played in BBLANZ then joined the ReBBL too?
I used to be in the Storm Von Stahl when BB1 came out, but that has long since gone... I then joined BBLANZ when BB2 came out and then joined ReBBL.
How long have you been playing in the ReBBL now ?
This is my 3rd season I think... Yeah, 3rd season.
I was disappointed, having assumed that Jape was an old hand around the ReBBL, whom I could extract gossips from for my files...
You take part in the regular season and the Clan one. Which is your favourite format for now, and is there any you haven't tried yet but would be inclined to?
My favourite is definitely the regular season, since I started I've been impressed with the way everything is run. The coaches have all been a lot of fun to play against and the amount of effort put in to a season, with all the streaming and recaps is awesome! I do enjoy Clan, but the regular season is certainly my priority.
Also playing several of the same coaches season to season makes for a good amount of banter, I'm looking forward to seeing Tommo and Krusader in div 1 next season... Gotta exact some revenge of Krusader, he just won't shut up about beating me last season haha!
I might give the Elfly league a go next time around... No prizes for guessing the race I'd go as
What about the theme of your team, how did you decide for Doomed Witches?
Well this was my first team in ReBBL and assuming I'd get utterly destroyed it seemed prophetic, to the point that I didn't see any point in naming them individually... Moving forward, as players start dying off, as they inevitably do, I'll start actually naming them to fit with the theme.
That's Blood Bowl for you: never get your hopes up or expect some serious disappointment.
You obviously are very fond of Dark Elves, why is that ?
When I first started on table top I tried out all the races, as you do, and settled on Dark Elves... Partly because I thought the figures were awesome but also because they suited my play style. I like to play a relatively aggressive agi style, the extra AV on Delfs helps keep them alive (sometimes) when basing up if needed, and with every player having AG4 and decent movement I can still play the fast elf game I enjoy... Until I roll 1's... Lots of 1's haha!
You're not a real elf coach if you don't roll your fair share of 1s and still stick to elves.
Any team you'd would consider trying in a competitive setting? Dorfs maybe?
Dorfs... Hell no! Haha! I don't really enjoy the bashy game... The old hit things, move a space... Repeat until the other team is off the pitch bores the hell out of me... I'm sure there's more to it, I just don't see it haha!
My favourite plays generally involve some bonkers elf bs (or not rolling 1's as us elf coaches call it), with plenty of passing, dodging and perhaps a leap for good measure... You know you've done something great when the opponent rage quits or starts calling you a noob haha!
'Lucker noob' being my favourite... If only because I have no idea what it is... I assumed it was a typo but have had it a few times on CCL... Perhaps rage causes a specific typing error haha!
After a short explanation...
There can be no higher honour than being labelled a lucker noob when doing elf bs... I shall wear it with pride
Talking about making opponents rage quit, what is your proudest achievement as a Blood Bowl coach until now?
I like to think my positional play is pretty strong, it's rarely an opponent gets an easy match against me... I hope haha! On defense I tend to go all in too quickly and rely on "Blodge" to keep me out of too much trouble... This often results in my being down too many players to get much done even if manage to get the ball back. It's stuff I'm trying to work on, though sometimes Nuffle just decides you have far too many players on the pitch for an elf team and should probably try playing with just the three loners, haha!
[...]You get used to playing with few players pretty quickly when playing as elves... Making it to the second half with a full eleven is rare and confusing... It's like "What do I do here? The play I was setting up for requires five guys..." haha!
Jape is now in solid position amongst the four top spot of Division 1 and, despite some last minute jostling, is now preparing for is second consecutive apparition in the play-offs. I wondered if that achievement was enough for him and how he looked at coaches around him.
Now that you reached the top of Div 1, are there still coaches around you look at, to keep progressing?
Of course, while the rng nature of the game means there's always going to be an element of luck involved. The ability to limit the amount of dice you have to roll and maximise the amount the opponent will have to is, I think, where the real skill comes in to the game. As an elf player in the Big O I look at the likes of Sandune and Tommo as coaches I can definitely learn from.
Playing Sandune this season was a frustrating learning curve, and really showed me what can be done with Dark Elves... Hopefully I picked up enough to reverse the result next season And Tommo's a super solid elf coach, watching his streams has been a great way to pick up some pointers... I've had a lot of luck against Tommo in the past, hopefully I'll be just as lucky next season too
Looking forward to watch those games
Yeah I really enjoy a bit of elf on elf action... Wait err... haha!
The player skill you have the most fun with?
Sidestep... If only because of how annoying it is for the opposition
Second would be leap, but I generally only get that once I've got an AG up
I know you don't have much opportunities to use them but, which Star Player is your favourite?
Hmm... You know I'm really not sure... I generally go with team inducements when I get them. Perhaps it'd be more telling if I go with which star players are the most annoying to play against haha! Morg (Damn you GdayNick) and Slibli (shut up already Krusader!) haha!
As you can tell, in some aspects, the Big O is not unlike a small town with its internal rivalries and old accounts to be settled.
What's the kick off event you hate with your guts?
When defending it would be Blitz, I tend to set up very offensively and hope I can use my movement to cover if necessary... I don't think anyone enjoys getting a Blitz against them.
Generally though as events can effect both teams, I actually quite like the randomness they introduce.
What's your favorite stadium enhancement?
I have the Squig Sandwich Kiosk at the moment, I like not having to worry about rocks of course but mainly I choose this one as I don't really have much of a foul game... And prefer not to give away extra bribes to my opponents.
If you could change only one thing in BB2, what would it be?
Hmm... Probably Piling On I think, though how I don't really know. It would nice to see it possibly fail, perhaps like fouling... Roll a double and you land on a spike in the opponents armour and have to make an armour roll for player Piling On as well perhaps... I don't know... One thing for sure is it's definitely broken.
I like the idea of rolling your own armour to if you want to pile on...
Yeah I think only failing on a double it would keep the skill as a very solid choice to have, but might keep it a bit more in check. I mean just because you roll a double and then have to make an armour roll doesn't mean it will fail.
Any music or podcast you listen during your Blood Bowl games?
Not really to be honest, I tend to try and focus on the match and shut everything else down while I play. That said, if I do have music playing it will generally be of the heavy variety...
Do you recommend any snack or drink during the blood Bowl games?
I tend to drink coffee and / or V energy drink and smoke like a chimney during my matches haha! I tend to watch most of my matches outside, while smoking, and come back in for my turns...
Having so many players with sidestep tends to have me rushing in and out of the house like a loon throughout haha!
No doubt that the neighbours must enjoy the sight of a chain smoking man running in and out of his house like a maniac.
Werecaster's question was: "Who do you think will win the ReBBL Championship this season ?"
Hmm... Me? Gotta back yourself right?!
Other than myself I'd say the bash dominance will be hard to get past, and both Papa and BleedinHippy are more than capable of killing their way to the title.
As always a special thanks to Jape for taking the time to answer me, especially at the risk of dog inflicted injuries. My best wishes for his run in the Play-Offs this season, and may he get into the Magnum Cup reach !