AGBBL (Adventurer's Guild Blood Bowl League) season is in full force. My Chaos Dwarf team, Public Enemy took to the pitch against the Undead team Rottington Deadskins of my good friend and Blood Bowl veteran, Jamie "Force Commander".
Chaos Dwarfs are a fun team with a lot of options. You have Chaos Dwarf blockers, who come with skils Block & Tackle from the start, and Thick Skull as well, so they are only stunned on an injury roll of an 8, and knocked out on a 9, instead of being KO'd on both an 8 or 9. You can have up to 6 of them, and 2 Bull Centaurs. The Bulls are the key to the team. High Strength, fast movement, tough armor, and the added skills of Sprint and Sure Feet allow them to become Uber-Blitzers that can move 9 and really hammer your opponents. Sadly, I lost one in my first game of the season, killed on the pitch against the Dark Elves.
We set up, weather perfect, fans on my side, winning the FAME roll from fan factor, my team was set to be cheered on to vicotry. Being allowed an additional 110,000 gold coins in inducements due to the loss of my bull, I opted for the "Bloodwieser Babe", who's tastey refreshments would allow any of my Knocked Out players to return to play on a 3+ on a d6, instead of a 4+. We spent 50,000gp more on a card from the deck of Miscellaneous Mayhem and got a bonus: "That Girl's Got Talent", where local females from an exotic bar my team frequented decided to show their support and play the role of cheerleaders for my team. This gave me an additional +1 to FAME rolls on the kick off table results, ensuring that we would win every roll from Brilliant coaching, cheering fans, ect, and gain additional bonus Rerolls. Sweet!
We won the coin toss and elected to Hit First....er I mean Receive the ball. Kick off result was "Cheering Fans" and Public Enemy gained a bonus reroll, giving me 4 for the half. 3 Zombies on the line of scrimmage didnt' know what hit them as the Dwarf Blockers did their job and pushed the back with "Pows" on the dice. I established a line of control on the right side of the field and moved my hobgoblins up to cover the ball.
My inability to pick up the ball allowed Jamie to move his Undead into position to bottle me up. He got too agressive though, looking to strike at me hard, and brought all of his men up close. What he didn't do was leave a player or two deep to play a "Safety" position, just like in real football defenses.
After another turn, Razor Raze got to the ball and handed it off to Sir-Hits-A-Lot, #12. I had 2 options at this point. Run through a gap in the defense and make a dodge roll on a 3+ (with a reroll) and cut through, or pull the end-around, and sweep left. I chose the safter option and swept left, using a lone chaos dwarf and hobgoblin as blockers. It started to work.
The undead forces committed too many forces too far advanced, and I had an opening on the left side. My Chaos Dwarf blocker opened up the lane, blitzing the Ghoul trying to hold my hobgoblin back with a tackle zone on him. Once cleared, I ran the hobgoblin as far as I could, "going-for-it" twice, giving me 8 spaces of movement.
The undead closed the gap and tried to tie my runner up and slow me down. Blast it, the gamble worked and the blitzing Wight scored a "pow" on a one-die blitz, and than stunned the hobgoblin with the blow. The ball was loose and kept bouncing towards the endzone, just next to the out of bounds line.
Next turn I had another shot at it. Cleared the ball of opponents, had another hobgoblin able to get to the ball, and of course, it was Razor Raze again, and he fumbled the ball again....one more square closer to the endzone. When you fail to pick up the ball, your turn ends on what is called a "turnover" and was now my opponents time to strike.
Again the Wight blitzer took his shot. This time Razor Raze got sent out of bounds into the fans, who subsequently beat him up and he would miss the rest of the game being "Badly Injured". This drive would see another hobgoblin injured and the ball bouncing around, until the Wight failed to picked it up, this time leaving it in the endzone.
I had one shot left. I chose to blitz with the Bull Centaur, who had to dodge away from opponents a few turns earlier. I got lucky on those dodge rolls and now he was in position to save the day. I could blitz with the bull and knock the wight away from the loose ball in the endzone and than either use him to pick it up on a 4+, or move the journeyman Hobgoblin 6 spaces, go for it once on a 2+, and than pick up the ball on a 3+.
The first half would end, 0-0. Public Enemy would kick off to the Rottington Deadskins, down 2 players, as 2 of their hobgoblins were injured for the rest of the game. The Deadskins, who had a number of zombies knocked out by some hard hitting blocks from the Chaos Dwarfs, regained all of their players due to their regeneration abilities.
The second half started with a gust of wind picking up, and the ball scattered just to the left sideline. The Deadskins front line flattened two Chaos Dwarf blockers but only managed to push back the Hobgoblin Journeyman (Journeymen are extra players added to your roster if you start the match below 11 players, to fill out your team to the sacred Nuffle number of 11).
That was the end of the Undead turn 6. Public Enemy would receive the ball with 3 turns to go (6, 7, 8). The fans though, were clearly unhappy. A riot broke out (kick off table result), and the referees were forced to move the clock back, resetting at turn 5 for Public Enemy. 4 turns should be enough time to pull out a tie. Except that the Chaos dwarfs were down 4 Hobgoblins now and only had 7 players to put onto the field. 7 vs. 11. I thought, maybe, I can do this.
It was a deep kick. Too deep. Almost out of bounds. Out of bounds would have been perfect, as that becomes a touchback and you can give the ball to any player. I would have clearly gave the ball to the Bull Centaur and I could have scored in 2 turns.
But the ball stayed in bounds. I crushed the front line of the undead and sent the bull centaur and one lone hobgoblin downfield into scoring range for passes. The lone journeyman hobgoblin #17 made his way to the ball and picked it up. I would spend the next turn moving players into position and trying to keep undead blitzers from coming near my ball carrier. Unfortunately when I went to pass the ball, I needed to Go-For-it (recurring theme here) 2 more spaces to shorten the difficulty from a Long-bomb to a Long-Pass. Of course, I rolled another "1" and the hobgoblin fell and fumbled the ball.
The undead would manage to swarm the ball with 2 zombies and a Ghoul, who ended up fumbling the ball again. Now down to my turn 8. I had one last desperate chance. I pushed a ghoul into the ball, hoping to bounce it away from the zombies, as it was sitting in 3 tackle zones. The ball bounced and ended up in the hands of the ghoul after bouncing 3 squares amid the zombies. That was it, I had used my blitz and had no way to get the ball out of his hands. All I could do was just prevent him from scoring again, and take the loss 0-1.
It was an incredibly frustrating and sloppy game. Which meant it was tremendous fun seeing players tripping all over the field. The dice failing both of us at the oddest times. My opponent failed his share of dodge and Go-for-it dice rolls as well. He just made less mistakes, got luckier than I did.
And that's how the ball bounces in Blood Bowl. I open up the season 0-2, something I dont' think I've ever done. With this being a short 8-game season, I have to step up my game play if I am to make the playoffs.