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The Meeple Guild: Fantasy football enhanced by cool minis

Printable minis adding to possibilities
games 2
Games are often enhanced by add-ons like cool miniatures. (File Photo)

YORKTON - Being a die-hard sports fan, and a lover of board games, is not a hobby pairing that I share with everyone I suspect. 

And, they are two hobbies that rarely seem to intersect, although there are some great sport-themed board games; Strat-O-Matic baseball, rod hockey, NHL Ice Breaker, and Baseball Highlights 2045 all coming immediately to mind. 

However, if you are a football/rugby fan, and you like mayhem in your games, and you love moving miniatures around, there is a range of games which are great, and they tend to intersect nicely with an enthusiasm for sports. This group of games includes; most notably Blood Bowl, but also my personal favourite DreadBall, as well as ElfBall, Guild Ball and a raft of lesser lights. 

With the general popularity of such games, there are increasingly ‘teams’ being produced, sets of themed-miniatures, by a range of sculptors and companies providing players with some amazing diversity in terms of what minis they put on the table. 

Two players might face off both playing elves or dwarves, but have a team which looks decidedly different depending on the mini source. 

The ability to now print miniatures at home has seemed to broaden the teams being produced even farther. 

One of the coolest-looking teams to come along is the Black Souls Graveyard Fantasy Football Team from Z_Axis out of Spain which was recently funded on Kickstarter. 

As you might expect this is a team of skeletons, ghouls, wraiths and all sorts of wonderful undead players just dying (OK already dead), to put onto a fantasy football pitch. 

Arcadio Sánchez is the man behind this awesome, print-your-own set – you just need to purchase the STL files. 

“I'm a 3D character animator. I have been working in the film industry for 10 years. I have worked in movies and series. Now I wanted to do miniature modeling as a hobby and that's how Z_Axis was born,” explained Sánchez via email. 

The creator, of course, is a fantasy miniatures fan. 

“Since I was child,” said Sánchez. “I started with the fifth edition of Warhammer - without knowing how to paint the army -- even without knowing rules or winning, but it was very enjoyable.” 

Interestingly, in spite of the gorgeous sculpts Sánchez said fantasy football is not something he has played a lot.

“I haven't played much at Blood Bowl, because my friends didn't usually play that game, but I've always liked the idea of ‚Äč‚Äčthis game,” he said. 

“I've always wanted to make my own team. I tried to do it with Blue Stuff molds and epoxy resin but they were very low quality proxies. Now it's different having a printer and knowing how to model.” 

The design of the ‘team’ actually evolved from another project Sánchez was involved in. 

“It comes from my previous project ‘The Wraith King's Army’,” he said. “I'm an undead fan and I wanted to expand the possibilities of these models a bit.” 

The challenge was just getting to do his own thing. 

“These projects I have developed myself. It's a lot of work for a single person -- do the project, model, prepare supports, print, design, advertising. Now I have managed to expand the team. The next project is developing much better,” said Sánchez. 

So is there a sculpt Sánchez is proudest of?

“No one in particular,” he said. “They aren't epic miniatures with a great pose for war. They aren't a hero or a commander. It's a team and everyone is on the same level, but if I have to choose -- the Blitzers. I like them because they seem scary and big.” 

Opting to offer the minis as STL files was a way of hopefully broadening the market, said Sánchez. 

“It is a ‘new’ way to reach people,” he said. “It is becoming easier for someone to have a printer at home and print their own thumbnails. At the company level it is more comfortable. You don't have to produce or send rewards.” 

So, if you are a fantasy footballer, like the idea of undead running for touchdowns, and have access to a 3D printer check out the Wraith King’s Football Team on Kickstarter where you can still late pledge the project.