Blood Bowl is great, innit? In my previous posts on alternative fantasy football miniatures I outlined a little of the history of Blood Bowl before diving into my recommendations. I trust that the above link back to my previous post will suffice and I can dispense with the history lesson on this occasion.
Today, I’m looking at Goblins. Goblins are a fun, if difficult to play, Blood Bowl team. They’re funny, devious, reasonably quick, and incredibly squishy!
I’m also looking at another squishy team in the form of the diminutive Halflings! Whereas the goblins are lean and cruel, the Halflings are rotund and comparatively amiable.
Let’s take a look at the official GW teams and a couple of our options for alternative miniatures!
The Goblin team that was put out by Games Workshop are probably some of the more armoured goblins that are currently available. Simply put, they look like a Blood Bowl team, having a mix of quite static and more dynamic poses:
I don’t think they are one of the more visually interesting teams that GW has produced, but they are a nice kit which very much gets the job done. You get a bit more personality when you turn to Forgeworld for their more specialised items:
Once you add in these lads your team gets a lot more visually interesting. It’s a pity that getting them all will pretty much triple the cost of your team, but they are gorgeous.
Affiliate Links for the Goblin Team:
So what about alternatives? There are loads of companies doing cool Gobbo teams. Here are a few of my highlights.
There are two teams that I wish to highlight from Gaspez Arts, and both really emphasise the madcap fun of the Gobbos. The first is this lovely Goblin Circus team:
I like his individual these miniature are, whilst still being clearly part of a team. The clowns on the right are very different to the bouncier chaps at the back or the strongman (strong-gob?) on the right, but they do work together. The strongman is actually one of my favourite minis in the set, as I do like a chunky gobbo. I also really like the ringmaster with his top hat and cloak!
The other Gaspez Arts team is this Batman-inspired Gobham Asylum team:
Okay, this team is pretty awesome, not even as a Blood Bowl team, but just generally as a fun set of miniatures. There are plenty of really cool Gobbo versions of classic DC characters. I particularly like their take on Penguin, Batman, Harley Quinn and Bane. The reason I say that I almost think of these as a collection or set rather than a team is because they’re tied together thematically, but not really by any sort of uniform as teams normally are. You wouldn’t want to paint all these guys in the same colours as that would somewhat defeat the point.
I had not heard of Hungry Troll before now, but it was cool to stumble across them and their miniatures. This particular offering is a pirate-themed gobbo team:
As with the Gaspez miniatures, these are all very individual sculpts and there’s a lot of personality here. I like all the stereotypical pirate touches such as eye patches, hook hands, peg legs, bandanas, piercings and the like. They’ve got a chunky gobbo, which is always a plus for me. I like the humour of the team, with that one gobbo who seems a bit tangled up. I think my favourites from this selection would the the third goblin on the bottom row, followed by the first and fourth on the top row. Although not much to do with the sculpts, I do also quite like how the painter has done the bases for these minis.
Whilst the alternative teams that I have shown thus far have all been quite madcap, Star Player’s offering is much more martial-looking:
These gobbos are a bit more traditional in their appearance, though a bit more heavily armoured. Some of the extra touches are also pretty cool, like the fanatic with his robes and massive ball and chain, the pneumatic-looking pogo stick, the cool winged goblin, and that serious-looking chainsaw. I also really like the armoured guy at the top and the bemohawked gobbo at the bottom. A more ‘vanilla’ team like this runs the risk of being boring, but I think between those cool touches and the generally being satisfying chunky, this lot really stand out well.
The final gobbo team for today is Rolljordan’s Tengu team. They are quite different to the other team shown thus far, with a unique style of their own:
Like Goblins, Halflings are a squishy team. The thing that always made Halflings less interesting to me than the wee greenskins was the lack of personality that the team seemed to have. With goblins you had these wicked, craven, inventive little buggers but the Halfling were, what? Fat? That’s all? Well, as some point in the development of Blood Bowl, Games Workshop went from straightforward “functional” teams like their goblins, to making some with more personality. Their new Halflings are bursting with personality:
How amazing are they? The goblins, let’s be honest, are a tad bland, but these guys are so cool and interesting. I love them! It’s actually going to be pretty difficult to find alternative halfling teams than can actually top the Games Workshop plastics.
Affiliate Links for the Halfling Team:
That said, let’s take a look at some of the options that are out there!
This team was actually strangely prescient of what was to come in the latest edition of Blood Bowl. I suppose that these Imperial Halflings are to the class Halflings what the new Noble Humans team is to the classic Humans team.
I really like the balance that Willy Miniatures has struck here. There’s some nice, heavy armouts here. I really like the two miniatures with the Bretonnian-style, animal-topped helmets, for example. Despite this tougher, more armoured look, the miniatures still have the goofy Halfling look. I mean, bottom row, second from the right; just look at that grin! These are beautiful minis that aesthetically tie in really well with what we’ve already seen in this edition of Blood Bowl.
I really like Black Scorpion as a company. All of their ranges are really nice and I can speak from personal experience about the quality of their minis – especially as their teams are normally less than half the cost of other alternative Fantasy Football miniatures. I have and love their Skaven team. But this post isn’t about Skaven; it’s about Halflings!
These Halflings feel a little bit like the Imperial Halflings from Willy Miniatures, but a bit more uniform in their style. Well, I use the word uniform, but are they really just a bit samey? There’s not a lot of variation in look or pose besides the types of helmet that they’re wearing. It does mean that they look like a unified team, unlike the Gobham Asylum miniatures, and I do think they’d look good painted up in nice, bright colours. Also, I really love the ones with the big hats!
This team is quite close in style to the GW plastics, but with a couple of little twists to keep them interesting.
The bellies that poke out of the shirts and the pots and colanders on the heads are very like the GW plastics, but these guys do not, for the most part, seem quite as chunky as the official miniatures. This good for those who like their smaller miniatures to be smaller. There is a chunky boy on the back right who is one of the best minis in this set. I also really like the chap carrying the doughnut and the one with the ball in a sling.
So, most of the Halfling miniatures thus far have kind of fallen on a spectrum between the GW plastics and the more armoured look of the Imperial Halflings. They are, ultimately, all quite similiar. That’s why I was delighted to find this set from Mieko Miniatures, which reimagines the Halflings are puppets:
I love how different these are! Generally speaking, I love these sort of puppets, with that barely-stitched-together look. Wyrd did a load of them for their Puppet Wars game and they just looked great. It’s why Collodi, as a Malifaux master, always interested me. I like that these are all very individual sculpts, whist also looking very similar. It gives the idea that although largely stitched to the same pattern, they all have different flaws and imperfections that set them apart. Again, it’s also just very nice to see a “Halfling” team that looks a bit different.
Goblins and Halflings are not teams that I’ve really played before in Blood Bowl. Well, I’ve played them in the video game, but that doesn’t count! I have some of the GW goblins, but I’ve not gotten around to actually painting them yet. Though I am on a Goblin kick, so who knows?
My favourite Goblin team is, perhaps unexpectedly, the Star Player team. I like the fact they are simply goblins, and their armour is really cool. There are also some lovely individual sculpts in that set that really appeal to me. A close, close second would be the Tengu team from Rolljordan. I just like that they’re a bit different, and they’ve carried the theme off really well. I love the idea of Goblin monks! The Gobham Asylum team is really cool, of course, with so many interesting minis. They just don’t quite fit together as a team, y’know?
From the Halflings, I actually can’t get over how good the GW plastics look. They’re really hard to beat, though the Imperial Halflings came pretty close. I also love the puppets. They look amazing and different, but are still simple and would be quite straightforward to paint to a satisfactory standard.
The last post in this “series” was about 14 months ago. I’m not saying not to expect me to look at some more teams, but maybe don’t expect it in the very near future. I do like making these articles, though!