Berks Spring Assault 4!

Berks Spring Assault 4!
Berks Spring Assault 4! Warhammer 40K tournament

Berks Warhammer 40K Group

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Four Diamonds Cup Blood Bowl Tournament, 2010

The Four Diamonds Cup: Blood Bowl Tournament

Well, I was able to once again attend a terrific tournament, the Four Diamonds Cup. This event is hosted by a friend of mine, Jaime, who is a member of the AGBBL (Adventurer’s Guild Blood Bowl League). This event is a one-day tournament of 3 rounds of solid Blood Bowl action.

What’s really great about this tournament is that the proceeds are donated to the Four Diamonds Fund at Hershey Medical Center (and with Penn State Unniversity). The money helps support THON and the Four Diamonds, a fund to aid in research as well as to support patients of pediatric cancer and their families.

This tournament is especially meaningful to me, as my daughter Natalie has just finished 2 years and 3 months of chemotherapy battling A.L.L. Leukemia and is finally on the road to recovery. My family made extensive use of the support offered by the Four Diamonds foundation, who have given us aid with medical bills, meal vouchers, counselors, as well as moral support. The students at Penn State Unniversity also help raise money for THON, the largest student-run fund raiser that supports the Four Diamonds foundation and Hershey Medical Center in PA.

Jaime and his wife Evan lost their daughter to an invasive brain tumor and the Four Diamonds helped them during their daughter’s treatment and throughout. This is his family’s way of giving back.

So, that all said, this event drew over 30 participants, had incredible prizes, raffle drawings for cool stuff, great competition and an incredible buffet of food for the entire event. The $25 donation to the fund was modest considering what one got in return. The raffle tickets available were for various prizes, and a special drawing for a custom made dugout that Jaime expertly assembled. Truly that was the most coveted prize of all, apart from the first place trophy.

Having not played in a Blood Bowl tournament in a year due to my heavy involvement in Warhammer 40K and playing on the GT circuit, I went back to my roots of Blood Bowl where I am the most comfortable. I went with my classic Dwarf team modeled after the Pittsburgh Steelers: The Black Fire Pass Blitzers.

I love this team. Sure other players call Dwarfs (Dorfs) slow, boring, ect. But truth is they are tough, hard hitting, reliable, but they are slow. One must be tactically aware of movement limitations as an agile elf team can quickly out pace you if you do not set up a solid defensive net maximizing use of player skills and tackle zones.

One fun part of this event is that many of the local Blood Bowl enthusiast use this as a format to test out “fun” teams and really let loose. The tournament organizer, Jaime, had allowed stunty teams (and Evan’s special skeleton team) to be exempt from the feared “Paddle of Doom” that the loser must sign and be spanked by.

The format was Living Rule Book 6.0 (LRB 6.0). We were allowed to give 4 skills to players, one could be a “doubles” skill. I gave 2 longbeards/linemen Guard, perfect for support in blocks and running a cage-style ground game offense, and both slayers skills: one: Mighty Blow for breaking armor and eliminating opponents off the pitch, and the other took Side Step, allowing for safety if he would play near the sidelines, throwing opponents off the pitch out of bounds due to frenzy.

My roster for the tournament was as follows:

• Runner: Ben Rumblesberger (#7). Move: 6, ST:3, AG:3, AV:8, Skills: Sure Hands, Thick Skull, Cost: 80,000gp
• Runner: Terry Badshaw (#12), Move: 6, ST:3, AG:3, AV:8, Skills: Sure Hands, Thick Skull, Cost: 80,000gp
• Blitzer: Rok Warson (#26), Move: 5, ST:3, AG:3, AV:9, Skills: Block, Thick Skull, Cost: 80,000gp
• Blitzer: Jak Hammerbert (#58), Move: 5, ST:3, AG:3, AV:9, Skills: Block, Thick Skull, Cost: 80,000gp
• Troll Slayer: Kevyn Gangrene (#91), Move: 5, ST:3, AG:2, AV8, Skills: Block, Dauntless, Frenzy, Thick Skull, Side Step Cost: 90,000gp
• Troll Slayer: Korrik Hammerhands (#92), Move: 5, ST:3, AG:2, AV:8, Skills: Block, Dauntless, Frenzy, Thick Skull, Mighty Blow Cost: 90,000gp
• Longbeard: Dermonti Deathrun (#63), Move: 4, ST:3, AG:2, AV:9, Skills: Block, Tackle, Thick Skull. Cost: 70,000gp
• Longbeard: Mikail Battlestone (#64), Move: 4, ST:3, AG:2, AV:9, Skills: Block, Tackle, Thick Skull, Guard Cost: 70,000gp
• Longbeard: Arn Ironfist (#71), Move: 4, ST:3, AG:2, AV:9, Skills: Block, Tackle, Thick Skull, Guard. Cost: 70,000gp
• Longbeard: Willie Colon (#74), Move: 4, ST:3, AG:2, AV:9, Skills: Block, Tackle, Thick Skull. Cost: 70,000gp
• Longbeard: Mean Jorg Green (#75), Move: 4, ST:3, AG:2, AV:9, Skills: Block, Tackle, Thick Skull. Cost: 70,000gp

GAME1: vs. Shawn Mullarkey (Dark Elves).

Shawn (a.k.a. King) has taken to Blood Bowl recently and has been learning the game well at a very quick rate. I’ve faced Shawn in 40K tournaments before with his Black Templar and he has been a cagey opponent. I expected no less from him in Blood Bowl. He entered the AGBBL in season 8, finishing with a very impressive 8-2-2 record, and made it to the Semi-finals. This time he brought Dark Elves, but he had never faced me on the field.

In Shawn’s defense, my dice were hot. Using the dice that were part of our “prize package” for entering the Four Diamonds Cup, my dice were solid all game. In turn, his dice were quite the opposite. Even the best laid plans and tactics will fall apart in Blood Bowl if Nuffle forsakes you.

The game started out with the Dark Elves receiving, and Dwarfs had the FAME bonus. Early armor breaks resulted in some Dark Elf casualties and knock-outs, leaving the Dark Elves down men. Still, King managed to play well, surfing runner #7 Ben Rumblesberger into the crowd, out of bounds. Luckily Ben was pushed into Black Fire Pass fans and was able to return to the reserves bin in the dugout.

Dark Elves scored on their turn 4, giving me five full turns to rumble downfield. More than enough time for a solid running “cage” style offense. The Dwarf turn opened up with a flurry of blocks, both Troll Slayers taking elves off the pitch. Runner #12 Terry Badshaw picked up the ball and rumbled forward and took safety around dwarf blockers.

The Dark Elves offer a flexibility in their agility. Shawn took full advantage of it and did his best to try to invade the cage and hit the ball carrier. The mistake Shawn made was as I moved my players to sweep right, he over compensated and this allowed me to counter left, and eventually seal his players off.

Despite my best efforts, on turn 7, Dark Elves managed to pop the ball loose from the runner, picked it up, but instead of holding on to it, he tried to dodge away and go for it. The result was too many dice rolls and eventually luck failed him. His player dropped the ball and the dwarfs were able to pick it up and secure enough blockers, allowing a score on the following turn 8, ending the first half.

The second half started with the Black Fire pass Blitzers receiving. The Dark Elves took to the field down 3 players. As the game was tied, I wanted to make a solid, time consuming drive down the field and control the ball (and the clock, so to speak).

Knowing that Shawn’s Witch elf was going to be his best option to take shots at my ball carrier, I tried to feed him options of linemen to bait her away. One such play almost cost me as he was able to send one of my guarders out of bounds, thankfully into my own fans (player was stunned on injury roll), and allowed to return to the reserves.

The Dark Elves tried to take aggressive shots at my players, almost popping the ball loose, but he failed a critical Go-For-It roll having to push into the cage on frenzied blocks with the witch elf. Instead the witch elf tripped, knocking herself out.

Runner #7 Ben Rumblesberger continued with the ball as dwarf blockers sent another elf off with a casualty and knocked out yet another. Down to just 4 or 5 players on the pitch, but still in a chance to try to take a shot at the ball carrier, I had to score in turn 6. I wasn’t happy about giving elves 3 turns to score, and despite being down players, there was still a chance King could pull out a tie.

As the Dark Elves set up for their last drive, I spread my defense out deep and wide. I planned to react to his players positioning and force him to roll dice. Now, sure, elves can dodge well with a 4-Agility, but as King was out of team rerolls this late in the game, I am a firm believe that if you make someone roll enough dice, eventually the odds will catch up with them.

That happened here. I had a chance to pin down Dark Elves and tie them up with tacklezones. Despite my efforts, Shawn was able to dodge out, complete a pass/handoff and had a chance to score. All he had to do now was make 2 or 3 key dodges and 2 go-for-its.

It came down to the final turn. His ball carrier made it past the dwarf runners, making dodges on 4+, and 3+, and had one more dodge to make before rolling two GFI’s (2+). Fate would have it that the last dwarf in line, #58 Jak Hammerbert would be the last tacklezone the dark elf had to escape and he failed to do so. The Dwarf Blitzer saving the day and thus securing a win in game 1 of the tournament.

GAME 2: vs. Rory Driebler’s Undead team: “I’m Not Dead Yet”

Rory is a solid player and has won many games in the AGBBL. He was bringing in a classic Undead team to face me, starting line up: 2 Mummies, 2 Whites, 2 Ghouls, 7 Zombies, 3 rerolls, and coach and cheerleader.

Game started out with normal weather, Black Fire Pass Blitzers had +1 FAME (fan base) and won the coin toss. I elected to “hit” first, er…..I mean receive. Heh heh.
Some players have different thoughts on tactics, I’ll have to address that in another blog, but I always prefer ball-control and going first in the game allows me to throw the first blocks and start to establish position on the field. It also allowed Troll Slayer #91, Kevyn Gangrene to score a casualty, putting a zombie out of the game and he did not regenerate. The kick was out of bounds and termed a “touchback” so I gave it to Blitzer #26, Rok Warson, putting the ball in the hands of a player with the “block” skill.

My failed attempt at taking out a Mummy with a blitz from Slayer #92 Korrik Hammerhands ended up with said slayer suffering a casualty at the hands of the Mummy on the Undead turn. This was going to be a slugfest, and I knew it. Rory has a reputation as being a hard-hitting player as do I, (ranked 2nd or 3rd in AGBBL in total casualties). The luck of the dice were going to determine this game.

As we exchanged blocks, I attempted to move downfield and my blocks were true. I was breaking armor rolls and either stunning opponents or scoring KO shots, taking zombies off the pitch at a steady rate. The Thick-skull of the dwarfs proved to be great and helped keep my players on the field.

I made a tactical error with my remaining slayer, pushing a zombie around on the second block of a frenzied move. Rory would have allowed me to select otherwise, but I kept true to my play and left my slayer in a dangerous position next to a Mummy. A Troll Slayer is only Armor Value: 8, and a Mummy comes with Mighty Blow, allowing +1 to the armor or injury roll. As expected, that Slayer too was put out of the game, leaving me without my two big hitters.

I kept true to my game plan, caging up the ball, using the guarding blockers to solidify my position. I left a lone longbeard on each Mummy, tying them up and the tougher armor of the longbeards kept them alive and able to absorb the punishing blocks of the Mummies.

Eventually I broke free with a few blockers in place and slowed my charge, stalling one turn before scoring. I don’t like to stall in a league game, but in a tournament, if I must to take a turn away from my opponent, and I feel safe about it, I will do it. I held off on turn 6, scoring in my turn 7. This left only 2 turns for my opponent in the half, as each half is only 8 turns long (per player).

As I kicked the ball off to Rory, the kick off result was “RIOT” and we lost a turn due to fans rioting onto the field. This took away his turn 7, starting him at turn 8 and no chance at all to score.

Second half of the game started out strong. Mummy blocker stunned a longbeard, and I followed suit with #75, Mean Jorg Green knocking out another zombie. I stayed away from trying to put Mummies on their backs without Troll Slayers around, instead relying upon the tough armor of my dwarf blockers.

Knowing that my opponent has to score quickly to have any chance at winning this game, I kept some blockers back deep for defense. I placed players in position to force him to throw blocks and roll dice. Eventually he would burn out his rerolls, but in truth, his dice failed him badly. Guarding blockers allowed me to throw blocks on the mummies and knocked one of them out too.

Rory sent a ghoul deep for a pass play. I had a shot to take him down, but my man fell rolling a 1 on the Go-For-It roll, and rolling another “1” as I burned a team ReRoll. The undead player moved to better his position to try the pass play to score.

This forced me to play aggressively and even move some dwarfs into making dodges out of tacklezones (something not typical of dwarf play). My two runners swarmed on the ghoul in scoring position as I moved longbeards front, and with one Mummy out of the way, I was able to get Arn Ironfist #71, on the ghoul with the ball, who was hoping to make a pass play.

Undead turn ended quickly on a double-skulls roll on a block and no rerolls left. This allowed Arn Ironfist to assist #75 Mean Jorg Green on a blitz and pop the ball loose, tackling the ghoul.

The Undead managed to get the ball back, and hoped now just to tie the game as it was now turn 6. Dwarf Longbeard #63, Dermonti Deathrun tied up the mummy the rest of the match, allowing my other players to play a tighter defense, and the undead now down several zombies from knockouts and 2 casualties, were sorely outnumbered.

The Ghoul tried to get to scoring position, breaking past the two dwarf runners. He made all of his dodge rolls, but failed the go for it roll making it past runner #12 Terry Badshaw. Badshaw picked up the ball, throwing it downfield to the other runner, who dropped it, but kept the ball in a position that would not allow the Undead any more chances to score.

A tough game, and a solid vicotory: 2-0… more round to go!

GAME 3: vs. Loki’s Lager Lovers (Norse) coach: Jason Schrieber.

This was going to be a good game. Jason and I both were undefeated. He is down from the NY area and working with another friend of mine, a skilled player, Ramsey MacPhereson and the two are planning on running a tournament in June.

His roster was with the newer Norse types, and I’ve not had much experience (or luck) against this roster. The upside: all players have block skill except Ulfwereners, who instead get STR: 4, and Frenzy. Norse Beserkers also have Frenzy and Jump Up. The Downside: Armor Value: 7. This makes a Norse team very fragile. Also, if not handled properly, Frenzy can be used against an opponent, especially if you have players with guard and can sucker him into secondary blocks.

Jason’s upgrades were block on both Ulfwereners, dodge on his runner (who also has Dauntless), and sure hands on his Thrower.

To complicate things, we rolled a Blizzard for weather. This meant that only quick and short passes could be thrown, and also all Go-For-It rolls would fail on a 1 or 2, instead of just a “1”. This would work to my advantage, holding his team’s movement back, if I could play defense properly.

It must have been the theme for the day, but third game in a row that my team rolled +1 on the FAME, which is determined by rolling 2d6 + Fan Factor. This would affect results on the kick off charts and in my case would be very beneficial.

I picked up the ball with runner #12, Terry Badshaw and went with my classic frontal blocks and attempt to cage up the ball. I tried to keep away from the sidelines this time, as I was facing 4 players with Frenzy, which allows a player to take 2 blocks per turn.

The front line was great, knocking out one player and stunning two more. I made a poor move with one of my Slayers and the Norse closed up. I was in a really bad position, so I pulled back, retreated a few steps and reset my offense. This proved to be a good move on my part, as if I would have pressed on, the Norse would have had me out positioned.

Trying to keep up with my movements and keep pressure on me, the Norse players started to get aggressive early. He would get into position to throw blocks on my runner, but when he would have to make a Go-For-It roll (GFI), he would fail. The ice and snow ended up being my friend this match.

Charging forward again, my team managed to stun another norseman and send another off the pitch with a casualty. I was moving into good position until my other runner failed a block on an Ulfwerener since he didn’t’ have block and got stunned. This left an opening in my cage.

The Norse were able to capitalize on the play, popping the ball loose, but burned out their last reroll in turn 5. The dice continued to be hot, more casualties and stuns on the norse team at the hands of my dwarfs opened up the field. After the next couple of turns, I scored a few more stuns, a KO and another casualty. I was able to get to the ball and get a dwarf into scoring position.

Norsemen kept slipping on the ice, allowing my men to get into position to finally score near the end of the half in my turn 8. This left the norse with 1 turn in the first half, but an Ulfwerener scored a key hit, injuring one of my longbeards.

The second half the Norsemen were receiving. They were down a few players thanks to knock outs and injuries. I was hoping to outmaneuver him and either stop him or take the fight to him.

The kick off result was a quick snap, allowing his men to move one extra square each, but the kick landed deep in his territory. The Lager Lovers started out strong with 3 stuns on my front line. All I could do was reset my men and prepare to counter.

Norse blocks continued to be strong, knocking out “The Old Man”, guarding blocker Arn Ironfist, #71. Than luck failed the Norse once again……..they fumbled a pass.

This was just the chance I needed, and in my next turn I moved men into position and #26 Rok Warson jumped into a tacklezone and picked up the ball (using a reroll in the process).

The next turn a norse Ulfwererner had a chance to hit one of my longbeards. But….he rolled double-skulls (attacker down) and with the reroll, had the same result, and #63 Dermonti Deathrun stunned his norse attacker.

This gave me a clear opening to block norse men clear of the ball and I was able to move and give the ball to the runner #7, Big Ben Rumblesberger.

Norse turn 4 just got worse as his players failed a dodge past Troll Slayer #92, Korrik Hammerhands. This opened up major blocking by the Dwarfs, opening up the path for the ball carrier. As the dwarfs moved downfield, the norsemen were scrambling to try and stop my “stealing” of the ball. The ice and snow again causing failed GFI rolls by norsemen, leaving them flat.

Two more knock outs by dwarf blockers opened up the path, and Big Ben was on the edge of the goal line waiting to score. Somehow the Norse managed to get an Ulfwerener downfield and was able to put a tacklezone on my Dwarf Runner.

Now it was my turn 6. I had 1 reroll left. Runner on the goal line. All of my supporting blockers were just out of range to help without making Go-For-It rolls. I made the gamble to dodge away and score. I needed a 3+ and had the reroll left. But, as I said my dice were hot, and I rolled a 5, scoring my 2nd touchdown of the game.

The Norse were left with 2 turns left to score. In a vain attempt to save face, the norse thrower fumbled the ball. They were only able to throw some blocks that didn’t account for much of anything, leaving me with a 2-0 win.

So, I finished the tournament 3-0! My best performance in a Blood Bowl tournament yet. My total Net Touchdowns was 4. Unfortunately for me, my friend Justin Stoner also went 3-0 and his Net Touchdowns was 5. So, due to the tie breaker, I ended up in 2nd place.

I got a nice trophy, a custom made passing template, and some other raffle prizes, including some werewolves or Ulfwereners. More importantly the entire tournament raised almost $1700 for the Four Diamonds Foundation.

I can’t wait until next year!

1 comment:

  1. Really enjoyed reading those match reports. It is nice to see people putting effort into writing games up afterwards, especially with pictures to go with them!

    Congrats on the 3 wins and good luck for the next one!