Last night was the first night of the new all rookie league season and my elves faced off against chaos dwarves.
I took 1 thrower, 2 blitzers, 2 catchers, 6 linemen and 3 rerolls. The chaos dwarves turned up with 2 bull centaurs, 5 blockers, 4 hobgoblins, 3 rerolls and a little fan factor.
CDs won the toss and elected to receive, which as an agility coach against a stronger team was fine with me. I would have elected to kick anyway hoping that my best chance of defending the drive was with all of my players on the pitch. With no Kick skill on the team I kicked as deep as I could but a wicked bounce took the ball right back towards the LoS. The CDs wasted no time in getting in a some hits and creating a cage with one of the hobgoblins picking up the ball. My strategy was to elf-stall out as long as I could and I was lucky that the dice were good with all of the dodge rolls and armor rolls working when I needed them to. The CDs rolled down the field on my right slowly but surely as I restricted them to one hit per turn. I had one catcher hanging around the back of the cage and a blitzer on the left side of my line, until he rolled a 1 on a dodge and I decided not to reroll. Of course then he got himself KO’d and left me short on the left hand side. On T6 I was feeling that I could stall out for the entire half and was feeling positive. On the CD T7 the CD coach decided that the time was right to try and score. I’d left the left side of the line weaker thinking that he would have to smash through with the hobgoblin. Instead in tried the handoff to one of the bull centaurs that had been hanging round on my left and was not properly covered. The bull initially fumbled the handoff but picked it up with a reroll and rumbled in for an easy T7 score.
Kickoff and my T7. This brings no fear for elves and I was pretty confident of going in level at the half, receiving in the second half. I tried to push through some form of threat on both sides of the pitch but the early use of a reroll dodging a catcher through tackle zones meant that I became a risk averse and ended up with only one catcher in scoring positon, but the thrower had the ball and other players were in position to defend and move the ball. One of the bull centaurs sniffed out the threat and took it upon himself to deal with the problem by blitzing the catcher before the hobgoblins could get there for support. The proved fruitless as the centaur promptly knocked him self down and ended the half for the CDs. All they could do now was watch as the elves moved the ball. Thrower handed off to the blitzer who went for pass to the catcher, but the pass was fumbled and there were no rerolls left. Half ended 1-0 to the CDs.
First Half Analysis
Did well not to lose any players and minimise the number of hits, but forgot to cover the bull properly for him to score. I maybe didn’t hit enough but the CD cage was formed of 6/7 players most of the time and I feared death! I’ve not run the odds but a pass with the thrower to the catcher with the Pass and Catch skills would have been better than the handoff. I picked the least optimal method, that’s why I need to play more. When playing with elves the AG4 gets in your head though and you think that you can do anything with the ball. Overall I was lucky that the hits did not break my armor and I was able to keep numbers on the field. Really good half with both sides playing to their strengths.
At the kickoff the ball went out for a touchback and I gave it to my thrower. I blitzed down the right hand side and advanced a blitzer and a catcher and then dodged through on the left to give me a couple of threats and used the linemen to screen the ball as best I could. The chaos dwarves started to mark my threatening players and one of the bull centaurs came charging through the middle of the LoS but only managed to stun himself and the sore-headed line elf. I tried stalling a little more, by this stage thinking that with a rookie team a draw with no severe injuries would be a good result. A plucky blocker took it upon himself to charge through the gap in the LoS left by the previous headon collision and managed to blitz the ball carrier. The dwarf must have got giddy being so close to the ball and promptly knocked himself over. The thrower moved up the field on the right and scanned the field to see that both the catchers were covered by tacklers and decided to stall another turn. On my T4 though I felt that I couldn’t safely stall any more and went for the score a simple completion to a catcher, covered by two hobgoblins, who then dodged out for the score. 1-1.
The next drive saw the dice rolls return to average and the dwarf blockers smashed down my LoS elves but this time broke armour and stunned them. The reduction in players meant the elf stall wasn’t as effective. The CDs caged up and moved down my left, this time in a more standard cage so that more elves could by tied up. The elves kept falling and kept getting stunned. On my T8 I did all that I could to pressure the hobgoblin with the ball who was 7 squares from the end zone up against the sideline on my left. I had players back to make double tackle zones on the left and three players putting tackle zones near the endzone. I’d done all I could. It was now down to the opposing coach, the dice and the remaining reroll. Some successful blocks untied blockers to add assists and the ball carrier was able to successfully handoff to the bull centaur who needed a 2-die blitz on a catcher and then 2 GFIs for the winning score. I lost 2-1!
Second Half Analysis
I thought that I had done enough to stop the final score but once again didn’t fully account for the handoff option. After the first half you would have thought that I would have been more alert to it. I did have tackle zone to stop it but in hindsight misplaced a player that I think would have meant the bull would have needed to make more dice rolls. I placed the player to cover the sideline and as a result didn’t stack the players properly.
It was a really tight game and could have gone either way. I was probably not aggressive enough at times, but the balance is tough with rookie elves. Overall I rode my luck a bit with all of the dodges and on average should have failed more than I did. I was also lucky in that the big hits that the CDs needed didn’t come off leaving me with opportunities. I need to tighten up my positional play and my %s before the next game. That comes with experience and I am a novice still.
I had a lot of FUN though. It was a really good game and has left me really enthused for the next game against what I think will be a passing human team.
** Cabalvision didn’t cover this game and Jim and Bob were therefore not there to provide their unique commentary. The team owners and coach will attempt to get the next game on Prime Time **