Saturday morning at 4am and my son is awake coughing and spluttering, which meant that I was awake too. Two hours of disrupted dozing later and it was time to wake up and get ready for the two and a bit hour drive up to Swindon for Sann’s Birthday Bowl, a 16 man Blood Bowl tournament hosted by Mike and his family at their house. The drive was clear and quick and as with most things I was the first to arrive.
I’d brought my Norse team the Hellspire Avalanche to the tournament. I chose them partly because it ticked Norse off the list on my Road to 24 and partly because through my recent experiences with Norse I wanted to get them out of the way now because I hate them. Something about me and Norse just doesn’t click. I think the lack of movement, Frenzy and the fact that my play-style tends to emphasise the glass part of the often used glass-cannon analogy.
I took the Snow Troll and gave him Mighty Blow, 2 Ulfs both with Block, 1 Beserker with Guard, 1 Runner with Dodge, 1 Linemen with Guard, 6 regular Linemen and 3 Rerolls.
Through all of my league play with Norse, I’ve seen just how important the Runner is to me and my game. Giving her (I’m using the Valkyrie team from Impact!) Dodge would help in her roll as ball carrier and give me more dynamic movement and make her a Blodger.
Guard on the Beserker is
probably an odd choice. I chose this based on my play style. Very often with the Beserkers I find that I don’t know what to do with them. I love Jump Up and it is a skill that opponents often forget about but the Frenzy on the ST3 player means that am generally overly cautious with the player and don’t end up getting them into trouble, or not using them at all. By giving her Guard, I was trying to make her more useful and Jump Up would help give me a little bit more mobility on the team.
There was a nice little twist to the tournament. At the start of each round, each player rolled a D12 and was awarded with a free mutation that could be added to a selected player on the roster. Mutations stayed throughout the tournament, could be stacked and could be added to Star Players. Allowing these mutations on Star Players made for some very scary players!
I didn’t take notes on the games so this is all from memory. I find that 4 games in one day is very draining and writing notes often falls by the wayside as my brain goes on strike for the few moments of downtime between games.
Game 1 – Amazons (Lost 2-1)
I received the kick off and in keeping with my more progressive approach recently I scored early, running it down the right and scoring on T4. Before I forget I rolled Foul Appearance and gave it to the Runner – making her just that little bit harder to knock down (in theory!). I hoped that I could then hold out for the rest of the half. Hope didn’t get me very far as my Snow Troll, who had been menacing on the first few turns, got seriously injured and was out for the rest of the game. I couldn’t hold out, and in the battle of the AV7s I couldn’t break armour and mine was non-existent. I could knock players down but didn’t do any real damage. We went in 1-1 at half time with me to kick at the start of the second. I was down on numbers and in the end the Amazons could just run along the end zone picking off the couple of players that I had in striking range. It ended 2-1 to the Amazons. It was a tough matchup and not the best for the Norse in my mind. Still Cornish is a great guy and a great opponent and it was a fun game. I did learn an important lesson – don’t sit next to the beer fridge at a Blood Bowl tournament.
Game 2 – Chaos Dwarfs (Lost 2-1)
Not a great matchup again. I kicked and was determined to try to hold out. It wasn’t looking good to start with when a Bull picked up the ball and was well protected by teammates as the raging Minotaur tried to kill my players single-handedly. My Snow Troll made amends for a poor first game though by killing the Minotaur early on in the game. Taking out the Minotaur opened up some space in the middle and allowed me to Block the ball carrier and push him to the sideline. The ball was free and my Linewoman with the newly acquired Hypnotic Gaze dazzled a defender allowing me to get some pressure on the ball. It looked like it would be enough and maybe even enough to get me a touchdown of my own but a lone Bull managed to break away and avoid my Blitz to get the T8 score. I received in the second half and was down on numbers which meant that I got stuck in the middle of the field longer than I hoped. I managed to break free with the Runner holding the ball and had a choice – try to stall for the Tie or score and see if one of us could get a result. A Tie doesn’t help anyone so I scored on T14. The reward for my choice? Pitch Invasion and all but 3 of my players, and all of those that could stop the ball carrying Bull, ending up face down! The Bull needed his Sure Feet but was able to get in to make the final score 2-1 to the Chaos Dwarfs.
Game 3 – Chaos Pact (Drew 1-1)
I kicked and started the game by taking some early damage with two players leaving the pitch on the first turn. I managed to even the score a little by seriously injuring the Chaos Ogre with a little help from the new Claws that one of my Ulfs developed between games. I conceded with enough time to try to score the equaliser. Everything was setup – I had three players in scoring range, the ball…but no rerolls. I did the hard bit by clearing out the Troll with Prehensile Tail on a 1DB. Handed off to a free Ulf (slightly better odds than my other choice of scorer) who caught the ball and ran towards the line. “Two dice, anything but a 1”, I said as I went for it twice on T8. Of course one of them was a 1. The Ulf tripped up and spilled the ball ending the half at 1-0. I was doing slightly better in the casualty battle this time around and managed to score but not as quickly as I would have liked. I first tried one side and then other before finally crossing the line on I want to say T14. There wasn’t enough time to score again and the Kick Off table didn’t help either of us and the game ended 1-1.
Game 4 – Underworld (Won 3-1)
Final game of the day was against Glowworm and his Underworld. I’ve played Underworld a bit recently and I know that Glowworm plays them a lot and well. They say that 1s are the Curse of the Elves. You can probably extend that to Trolls and dodging Goblins. I kicked off and managed to recover the ball and run away with it down the sideline to score. I was able to do it again shortly after to make it 2-0 at half time. The Extra Arms that I gave my Runner allowing her to pick it up from the feet of the Troll and Dodge out and away to the protection of the Snow Troll. Not much was going right for the Underworld, including when Star Player Bomber Dribblesnot blew himself up and took one of his teammates with him. I made it 3-0 in the second half before the Underworld’s two Skaven Throwers moved the ball up the pitch and ending the move with a pass to a goblin in two tackle zones who caught it and dodged out for the score. The game ended 3-1.
So I ended the day on 1-1-2 but I must say it was a lot of fun. Four really good opponents, a really relaxed atmosphere and a nice twist on the ruleset with the mutations. I really enjoyed the home tournament vibe and will look out for more of them.
Thanks to Mike and family for hosting and for my opponent’s for making it a really fun day 🙂
My next tournament, and the only one booked in for the rest of the year, is the NAFC in a few weeks time!