Tuesday 5 November 2013

Blood Bowl "Micro-ramas"

Blood Bowl is a game characterised by dyanmic rules, with models that represent elite athletes. What could be more cinematic than the all or nothing play, where a spilled ball by the opposition near your line is dramatically picked up by your star thrower under pressure. He evades clutching hands and diving tackles to sprint up field. A crazy long bomb pass miraculously lands in the hands of your waiting catcher who surges to the line to score.

And your star thrower looks like this:

Skaven and Human throwers hope to out point each other

Don't get me wrong, I like these models very much. In fact I like them a lot more than the slightly dubiously sculpted later equivalents. But they don't match up to my vision of a fast-paced and dynamic game.

Of course there are reasons why this should be; larger models with outstretched limbs can get in the way of actually playing the game by interfering with other models' movement or making it difficult to get models in adjacent squares on the Blood Bowl pitch.

The other key reason is that unlike Warhammer or 40k, there is no option for scenic elements to be included on the bases. Blood Bowl pitches, by and large, are flat. They might be varying tones of grass, sand, mud, stone or astro-granite, but ubiquitously, they are flat. So you are unlikely to have a model leaping from a scenic rock or precariously perched in a small ruin.

But all is not lost! I've started trying to incorporate what I'm terming 'Micro-ramas' (for the purposes of this post anyway!) into some of my teams. These are figures that try and incorporate a little bit of narrative and dynamism into otherwise fairly static playing pieces.

Here's a selection of both finished and WIP figures:
The 'proof of concept', my original Micro-rama representing a Wood Elf leaping Wardancer. The base is heavily weighted and the model is actually incredibly sturdy.
A diving Elf scores just inside the touchline! For you US-based readers, rugby and soccer both have corner flags (there was quite a lot of debate about this element of the model on Talk Fantasy Football)

A WIP partner to the above Wardancer - still need to finish this guy off!

Following on from the Wardancers, this pair of Slann Catchers used the same principle. The black players were an idea to make the supporting figures less obstrusive on the pitch.
Simply mounting my Werewolf on a wounded Dwarf (complete with claw marks) gave him additional height and a more imposing presence on the pitch.


Part of a WIP Harpy team, this Harpy has extra height through lifting an opponent off the ground.

A change of tack for this Skaven Gutter Runner with a diving pose. Pinning the figure through the knee to the helmet is an attempt to give him the illusion of being airbourne.

Orc Blitzer mid-tackle. Ouch!
Don't forget, the overall aim here is to enhance the overall look of the team by creating one or two models which break the normal conventions for a Blood Bowl model. This could be additional height or unusual positioning. Using two figures adds a little bit of a story behind the pose. My key rule is that the model must still be usable as a playing piece; if it's tall, it needs to be well-balanced. If its wide, it needs to stay within the confines of a Blood Bowl pitch square.

Why not give it a go?


  1. Good thing you talked about it. I was wondering why the black figures in your gallery. I like the fact you painted them black and chose regular players so that thay look like "virtual" opponents.
    It's true giving a dynamic pose to the players who need them is really a good thing to do. Some laready did like elven kickers and such but it can greatly be improved, you prove it's actually worth the try by showing briliant examples.

  2. Yeah - those Elf kickers have already got the mojo :)

  3. Very fun :) lots of action in that small base size