All I ever wanted to know about marking skills in Blood Bowl

There’s lots of things to worry about before you play your first table top tournament, and a big one is how to mark the skills your players have.

Unlike some other games, there’s no WYSIWYG rule – if you roster a team where one guy has tentacles, another has 2 heads and a third has a prehensile tail and claws, you don’t need to convert up your players to do so. And even if there was, what do you put for Tackle? For Pro? For, er, pretty much any skill that isn’t a mutation? (If you do want to go wild and put in the extra effort to modelling every player correctly, then all power to you, and people will appreciate that, but since in Blood Bowl the most treasured player you have is the one who’s most likely to die in the next match, people are also sympathetic if you don’t want to do so.)

There’s a tension between people who want their pieces to look as lovely as possible, and the people who want to be able to remember easily which is which. For example, I always colour code the bases of my players, because otherwise I’ll get confused one day and think a lineman is a blitzer, but you’ll run into people who claim that if you don’t paint all the bases the same colour, it’s terrible and looks awful and …. ah, don’t waste time on that guy.

What I go by is “what’s a reasonable level of effort for me to do, that is going to be easy for the other coach to understand?” (Of course, one person’s definition of ‘reasonable’ is another’s “you got to be kidding me?!” but this is a start. I follow the NAF conventions, with a few personal differences:

Positional
BlitzerRed
ThrowerWhite
CatcherYellow
LinemanGrey
Big GuyBlack
Star PlayerGold

Skills
GeneralBlack or green
AgilityYellow
PassingWhite
StrengthRed
MutationPurple

If they’re all regular GW Blood Bowl models, it’s pretty easy to tell your blitzers apart from your linemen from your throwers, etc. If you’re using custom models / kitbashing / etc then I’d recommend painting the rims of the bases different, so it’s obvious which is which.

Then, you don’t need to mark all the skills you have, just the extra ones a player doesn’t have by default. You can buy rubber rings that fit around the base of each player, but that looks super expensive, so it’s fine to just get some little rubber bands (almost every other player at a tournament usually has hundreds, so it’s rare you can’t borrow some) and then try to arrange them in a way that makes sense. Maybe my Skaven will be a good example:

  • Two blitzers, one has Mighty Blow and one has Tackle. I put red on the MB one, and black on the Tackle one.
  • A thrower who has Leader – Leader is a Passing skill, and Thrower rims are traditionally white, so I put a white band on him.
  • A gutter runner who has Sure Feet and Sprint – agility skills, traditionally yellow (like Catchers) so I’ll put two yellow bands on him and point this out to my opponent so he knows there’s nothing funny going on
  • A Rat Ogre with Block and Claw. Nothing, because he’s the only big guy on the team and again, tell your opponent up front.

Wow.. That was a lot of words. Let me know if that’s too much detail / not enough. Or you can send me a picture of your team and I can say “that looks totally fine” or (unlikely) “how do I tell them apart???

2 thoughts on “All I ever wanted to know about marking skills in Blood Bowl

  1. Good read dude and I look forward to your next BB post.

    It’s something I’ve started thinking about more and more. Ive only ever play against my bro in law but may step out into a real tournament in the next 6 months – I do slightly live in fear of not doing something obvious for a tournament setting so posts like this are great to read about, thanks!

    1. Thanks! Next one will probably be “Here’s everything I thought I knew about Blood Bowl that was totally wrong” when I get back from the Chaos Cup this weekend. Tournaments are fun (although 9 games in 3 days may be stretching my brain a bit)

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