THREE friends from Newport will be part of the first Welsh team to reach the European championships of a game where only the strongest Ogres win.
The pals will fly the flag for Wales at the Blood Bowl championships in Copenhagen later this month.
A mix of chess and violence, the Games Workshop board game is played out on a miniature American Football-style pitch, using fantasy figures which the players hand paint.
Andy McDonald (whose gaming name is Hawca), Dave Ridley (Dapiranha) and Jason Private (Hobnail) will be three of the eightstrong squad heading out to Denmark.
The characters used range from Elves, the fleet-footed Shane Williamses of the Blood Bowl world, to huge Ogres, who base their game more on the destructive running and crunching tackling of Toby Faletau.
Controlled by the rolls of dice, teams try to move the ball counter down the field and reach the end-zone.
Characters can run, throw and catch the ball, with those not in possession setting up blocks on potential tacklers just like the NFL.
Less like those who ply their trade in American Football though is the fact characters can be maimed, put under spells or blasted out of the game with magic.
“There’ll be 14 other teams out there including England, France, Scotland and Germany,” said skipper Andy McDonald at their base, the Dodger pub in Newport.
While Wales and England are huge rivals in most arenas, Mr McDonald says Wales might need to look for easier prey in Denmark.
“The English team won the World Championships last year and they have a lot more players to pick from compared to us,” he said.
“I think we’ll have a friendly rivalry with teams like Scotland, because they are quite a new team too and we know a few of their guys.
“I hope we can finish at the head of teams who haven’t hosted the competition before, like Switzerland and Scotland because then we will get to host it.”
But or the Welsh team it is not just about winning.
Mr McDonald said: “We’re all working guys so it’s great as a bit of fun away from work and we’ve met some great people who we’ve stayed in touch with.”
● If you would like to find out more about the team and Blood Bowl, visit the games club on Monday nights after 6.30pm at the Dodger.
All of the Welsh team are CRB checked members of the Games Club Network.