Match Report: Norse v Dark Elves (Game 1)

The new Rygas Roughnecks table top Blood Bowl league season kicked off last night and my Norse were facing some Dark Elves in Game 1. It was my second Norse vs Dark Elves matchup in a week and I can’t say I was that confident going into it.

I’ve picked a different build for my tabletop season and have gone with 2 x Ulfs, 2 x Beserkers, 7 x Linemen, 3 x Rerolls and 1 x Apothecary. I like more certainty and control in my game and thought the Snow Troll would be too much of a distraction and that dealing with the Frenzy would be hard enough.

My opponent was new to our club league, having found himself in the same position that I had the year before and just missing the start of the league season. Anyway he had 2 x Witch Elves, 3 x Blitzers, 1 x Runner, 5 x Linemen and 1 x Reroll. We’d never played each other before and neither of us had played tabletop for a while so it was going to be an interesting game.

I won the toss and elected to kick. It’s one of my favourite tactics at the moment as I like knowing what I need to do in a game and getting a feel for how my opponent is going to play. As expected the Elves got the ball, caged up near the centre line just to one side and kept a free player within Dump Off range. The Norse’s starting Block proved useful and I was able to knock over the Dark Elf line and get some pressure on the ball carrier. It didn’t amount for much though as being Elves they were able to skip out of trouble and progress down the field. I was conscious of being surfed by a Witch Elf and likewise I was always looking for a surf opportunity. My recent experience with Norse has taught me that trying to surf with an AG2 to Ulf who HAS to follow up can be very dangerous and could end badly for me. I managed to control myself although there were numerous opportunities not to. I continued to knock players over but not hurt anything and my opponent moved the ball through quickly with a pass. The Blitzer that had broken free muffed the catch though and the ball was free about 3 spaces from my end zone. I pulled players back forcing the Dark Elves to roll dice at least but knowing all the while that a simple dodge and pickup was all that they needed – simple for an AG4 anyway. As you would expect they Blitzer redeemed himself and picked up the ball and ran in for the score.

At the kick off the weather changed and we had to play out the rest of the game in the Pouring Rain (Edit: I originally said Blizzard which would have modified my GFIs. No we were in the Pouring Rain which affects ball handling). This was not what a team with no ball handling skills wants and rerolls were going to have to be saved. The kick was deep and my designated ball carrier picked it up (first time) and I was able to cage up in my own half. My objective was simple but the challenge was difficult. I was still knocking players over but the best that I had done was KO a couple of Dark Elves. The Dark Elves would pick themselves up and reposition making my forward progression tough. One of the Witch Elves dodged her way – very aggressively – to get one dice on my ball carrier but it was one dodge too many and she Badly Hurt herself. I can’t say that I was disappointed as the Witches had been a pain so far. It helped me move forward but I would still need full movement (MA6) and 4 GFIs with the ball carrier to score. We got to the last turn of the half and the Elves had one last chance to get to the ball carrier. A failed dodge meant they couldn’t get to her though (I am using the Valkyries) and I made the two 2+ rolls to go in 1-1 at half time.

I received the ball in the second half and the numbers were in my favour; the Dark Elves being down to 7 players and me still at 11. Again in Blizzard conditions I was able to pickup the ball and cage up. The cage slowly made its way forward down the left had side and the Elves would base me and attack at every opportunity. The cage got stalled and swung round to the right but was loosing players as they got stuck in tackle zones or only managing Pushes. There were lots of Skulls being rolled by both coaches including quadruple skulls by the Dark Elf coach at a very inopportune moment. On Turn 8 the Norse ball carrier was in scoring range and again it was the turn of a Witch to save the day. A series of 3+ dodges to the ball carrier required the use of the Dodge reroll and the 5+ to get to the ball carrier proved too much and she was tackled to the ground leaving the Norse to run in for the winning score. The game ended 2-1.

Overall it was a very good match and despite lots of blocks thrown there were no (blocking) casualties on either side. I got a normal/single skills on a Lineman and will probably take Tackle. The reason being that there are 3 Human teams in the league and it would be nice to have safety player to take out the Catchers. If not Tackle then it will be Fend to give me that extra bit on movement flexibility.

It was amazing the difference that rolling dice and moving miniatures has on my game compared to the pixels of FUMBBL. I confirmed to myself that tabletop is my preferred format of the game (although the ability to replay online is fantastic!). My next two opponents are Humans and Khemri so two very different challenges ahead.

It was good to get back to the club and to tabletop Blood Bowl 🙂

 

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Match Report: Elves v Orcs (Game 9)

The final game of the season and although neither team could make the playoffs, both coaches wanted to show that their style of play was the best. Bash or Agility? Who would win? The elves were coming into the came with 11 players, with their thrower missing this game through injury. The orcs came in with 12 players and induced the chainsaw to make up for the gap in TV.

With the elf coach, and players, nervously pacing the sidelines before the game, the chainsaw revved up putting the crowd into a frenzy…

First Half

The orc crowd was in a frenzy, but it was the elf supporters who threw a rock as the match kicked off; knocking out a black orc lined up on the line of scrimmage. The elves won the toss and elected to kick, hoping to steal the ball early. The chainsaw took up his position on the line and started hitting the stead fast elves on the line. The orc thrower, deep in the backfield, attempted the pickup but failed and the elf coach signalled the charge. elves flooded forward, exploiting gaps in the orc defence and stunned an orc blitzer on the side of the pitch with the ball. The orcs countered when the chainsaw KO’d a line elf and the rest of the team rallied around him using him as the point of their spear attach. The thrower managed to pickup the ball this time and passed it to the waiting goblin who ran behind the chainsaw for protection.The ball was in the centre of the pitch and the elves ran back to defend and blitzed the goblin carrying the ball who proved too nimble and managed to stay on his feet.

It was time for more saw action and the chainsaw again managed to KO an elf as the spear slowly advanced through the middle of the pitch. The second goblin player wanted something to do but only succeeded in stunning himself with a both down result. The Elves took over and this time did manage to knock the ball free and did their best to clear some space ahead of them. They were a little too keen through as one them tripped up whilst trying to dodge out of the grabbing arms of his opponent. The ball was now midway inside the elf half to the left of centre line. The ball was on the floor with elves and orcs vying for possession. The chainsaw was pushed aside as one of the black orcs rumbled forward to knock over the Elf blitzer. The blitzer was smashed to the ground put not before he fell onto the ball sending it bouncing around only for it to come to a stand still at the feet of four of his teammates. The orcs couldn’t get to the ball so proceeded to foul a prone elf killing him. The apothecary patched him up but he was still out for the rest of the game. The referee couldn’t miss this one and promptly sent off the offending player. The elves sensed the opportunity to score and end the chainsaw mayhem and swiftly picked up the ball and ran down the left wing, handing it off to the waiting catcher who ran in for the touchdown. 1-0 to the Elves on T4. 1 orc sent off and the chainsaw to follow. For the elves one player was seriously injured and one remained KO’d.

The elves kicked off again and this time the orcs came back with a renewed menace, seriously injuring another line elf and knocking down the rest of the elf defensive line. The ball was passed down the elf left flank and a half cage formed around the ball carrier. The elves pushed on surrounding the cage hoping to prevent players from joining the cage. The orcs countered by KOing an elf blitzer and stunning a catcher. The ball carrying goblin got excited and dodged away along the sideline. His excitement got the better of him though and he fell over spilling the ball. The elf players blocked away a couple of orc player before picking up the ball and running it up the sideline themselves. In an attempt to put more distance between him and the furious orcs, the coach signalled for two GFIs which were promptly failed, the ball again bouncing onto the ground; this time in open space. One of the goblins ran back to pickup the ball and threw it back upfield to the other goblin who ran down the sideline and waited nervously as the crowd urged ‘push, push’. The elves heard the cries and pushed him into the crowd who returned the favour by the chucking the ball into the orc half as far as they could. There were two elves who could get close to the ball and be in scoring range; a catcher and a blitzer. There wasn’t an orc player near the ball and all they could do was make it difficult for the elves. One black orc went for it to mark the blitzer who was closest to the ball while a lineorc blitzed the catcher but couldn’t knock him over. On the last turn of the half the elf blitzer dodged out, picked up the ball and made the GFI to end the half with the elves 2-0 up.

First Half Analysis

Overall the half went well. Too many players were leaving the pitch hurt but I had done what I wanted and got the chainsaw off the pitch and managed to score twice in the process. I probably shouldn’t have elected to kick but wanted to force the orcs to move the ball and at least think about scoring. A tackle piece would have been nice as trying to knock over a ball carrier with dodge is very annoying! The second touchdown was a little fortunate with the sideline throw in being perfect for me to make the most of.

Second Half

The orcs kicked off the second half with the elves down 4 players with only 2 blitzers, 3 catchers and 2 line elves taking to the field. The elf team only know one way to play though and immediately split to wide on each side of the pitch with one of the blitzers taking up the roll of ball carrier in the backfield. The orc team covered the attacking players and retreated to cover their endzone. The elves responded by waiting..and waiting..and waiting. Toying with the orc players by staying out of reach and dodging away from enemy players at every opportunity. This continued for three turns until the elf sandwich near the orc endzone became too dangerous for the sandwich filling and the orcs finally attempted to pressure the ball carrier. The elf coach didn’t want any more damage to be done and on T5 the blitzer ran forward and handed off to the waiting catcher to walk into the end zone unopposed for the 3rd elf touchdown.

The two teams setup again and again the orcs blocked down what was left of the elf line and the thrower passing the ball to a goblin on the right hand side of the pitch. Again the remaining elves managed to knock over the ball carrier and the ball landed at the at the feet of three players. the standing goblin ran towards the endzone ready to receive any pass that may come his way. The orcs attacked the elves near the ball but the agile blitzer managed to fall onto the ball which bounced into the open arms of the star elf catcher. The orcs, feeling the injustice of the bounce, fouled at face down elf who was unharmed. The referee though spotted the foul and sent the offender to the stands. The elves picked up the ball and ran forward with it, orcs and goblins chasing them to try to prevent the score. The last gasp blitz wasn’t enough though and the rookie catcher stayed on his feet before dodging away to make the score 4-0 on T8. With one turn left the orcs lined up and the fans took out their anger on the team’s performance by badly hurting a black orc with a rock.

The referee called time and the match ended 4-0 to the elves.

Second Half Analysis

I would have stalled for the whole half if I thought my players would survive. I would have run them out and back into my half but I’m not a big fan of stalling anyway and in the end the chance of serious injury was mounting and running in for the touchdown was the safest thing to do. I was a bit fortunate with the final score as I really didn’t expect the ball carrier to be so exposed again. I don’t block much in a game but running in to blitz a goblin just felt right 😉

Game Summary

The game was much more open that I expected. I was imagining a bashing, caging orc team but it was more of a screening, passing, bashing team. Once the chainsaw was off the pitch this gave me the upper hand as I was able to exploit the space and attack from all directions. Side step was very effective this game causing all sorts of problems with blocks and moving the ball around. In the end I think the movement was telling and I was never having to desperately chase anyone or feel stretched. Having only 7 players in the second half wasn’t as bad as it had been in the previous game as all of my skilled positional players were on the pitch and 4 dodge players against no tackle is very effective. I was very happy with the result. It feel good to get the first season under my belt, but I do feel that I am just getting started with this team.

So my season finished PWDL4.

I will be doing a season review in a future post and will put down my thoughts, highs and lows of playing a season with rookie elves.

Match Report: Elves v Chaos (Game 8)

Game 8 and it is crunch time. Both teams were outside of the playoffs going into the game but with two wins and other results going their way either team could scrape into 4th place and playoff contention. It was all to play for then. Going into the game my Elves were giving up quite a bit in TV, enough that the Chaos coach hired a mercenary Minotaur rather than his tried and tested Lewdgrip Whipwarm.

(I confess that I didn’t take notes during the match itself for this one, but I did write a quick summary when I got home. Hopefully I’ll be able to piece my notes together into a half decent report.)

So how would the must-win game play out…

First Half

The Elves won the toss and elected to receive, hoping for a pressure relieving quick score to start things off. Before the game started though the fans, feeling the pressure of the occasion, threw a rock at a player on each side with both teams having a stunned player to start the half.

The Elves looked for gaps but the Chaos setup was solid and didn’t offer any lanes for the Elf receivers to run into. The Elves tried though and the Chaos players responded by basing up and filling any gaps that were created. On T2 the Elf thrower failed to pickup the ball and the Chaos beastmen kept up the pressure using their horns all of the pitch where it benefitted them the most. The Elves were forced to dodge away and out of danger and at the second time of asking picked up the ball. The defensive cover wasn’t quite good enough though and one beastman blitzed through from the right knocking the ball carrier over and picking up the loose ball as teammates rushed through to provide support. The Elves, shocked by the early change of possession, fell back to cover and attempt to win the ball back. The Elves did manage to win the ball back out of the scrum with their rookie catcher spotting the loose ball in the middle of the Elves half and running it up the left flank where he was supported by screening teammates. It was now the Chaos teams turn to switch from attack to defence and they dropped back to cover their end zone. The Elves, fearing the charging horns and violence of the Warriors, blitzed a hole down the left side just inside the Chaos half before handing off and running in for the first score of the game on Turn 5.

The teams setup for the second time and the Chaos team were hoping for a quick score to go in level at the half. They charged forward and made a short pass upfield catching the Elves leaden-footed. A leaden-footed Elf is still a decent player though and the team covered well to halt the marauding beastmen. The horns were proving effective and the ball carrier and two companions charged through just short of the endzone. The Elves had one last chance to prevent the levelling score and flooded back to apply tackle zones where ever the could. The damage was mounting up though and the Elves lost their Thrower to a serious injury (his last game for the team) and star Blodging Catcher being KO’d (and not to return this game). On the last turn of the half the Chaos team blocked away as many tackle zones as possible but there was still one lone Elf which proved to be enough to put off the ball carrier as he couldn’t make the dodge into the endzone for the touchdown. The referee blew the whistle and the half ended with the Elves 1-0 up.

First Half Analysis

The Chaos coach is one of the more experienced in our league and you can see that in his positional play. There was no space for me to easily exploit. Of course, it was there but I had to roll a lot of dice and the law of averages says that I will fail them. As a result there was more base to base contact than I would normally like. The horns meant that my defensive lines could always be hit hard however I lined them up. I didn’t feel in control for much of the half but I was extremely pleased by the way that I defended at the end of the half. Sometimes all you can do is make the opponent roll as many dice as you can and let probability take over. Having gone in 1-0 at the half I was still confident in getting the result.

Second Half

The fans wanted their say again and rioted at the start of the half with one player from each side being stunned. The Chaos team received and picked up the ball and aggressively moved it forward. They were lucky enough to get a free turn when one of the Elves on the right flank tripped and fell over at the start of the turn. The Chaos team continued to throw blocks and make forward progress with the Elves only able to cover the ball and make one unsuccessful attempt to get the ball. Just as the Chaos looked like they would continue the bashing, they switched play over to the Elf left with another pass. The Elves changed the direction of their defence, but it was too little too late and the Chaos walked in for the score on T5 of the second half.

Down two players, including their still KO’d star Catcher, the Elves were however still confident of getting the game winning score. The Chaos team had other ideas though and managed to Blitz the Elves from the kick off. Knocking over the Elf line and running through to pressure the backfield. The Elves managed to get the ball when the ball came down, but danger was looming. The advanced Beastmen knocked the ball free and a mini scrum ensued with the ball eventually bouncing to the AG4 Beastman who had enough to be able to dodge in for the score. 2-1 ti the Chaos.

There was still time for the Elves to spoil the Chaos party and from the resulting kick off a lone blitzer charged through to provide a scoring threat. The Chaos team charged as one towards the only threat to their endzone and managed to knock him down and partially surround him. Game over? The Elves didn’t think so and a line elf charged forward to make a 1D blitz and chain pushed the prone blitzer closer to the end zone. The prone blitzer stood up and made a couple of difficult dodges and a couple of Go For Its to make the end zone – arms waving ready for the Long Bomb. His team-mate saw his waving arms and picked up the ball running it forward and handing off to another line elf who would attempt the throw. The thought of the throw was on his mind though and his fumbled the handoff hand the game and a potential playoff place to the victorious Chaos team. The game ended 2-1.

Second Half Analysis

The no-turn at the start of the half really didn’t help me and put me out of position and let the Chaos coach get another round of blocks in against me. I wasn’t unhappy with the timing of the Chaos team’s touchdown. There was plenty of time left for me to score. Blitz’s happen and this one was especially effective as I was already down on players and there was space and opportunity for the Chaos team to exploit. The hero play at the end would have been nice but was very unlikely; I was pleased that I was thinking about the chain push. It was another half of too much scrumming and rucking. The Chaos coach again managing to impose his style on me more than I would like. The horns really helped with that as I couldn’t avoid a big block or blitz against me each turn.

Game Summary

It was a brilliant game. Very tactical and tight; the Chaos coach managing to keep things tight and keep the Elves tied up more than I wanted. The end of each half ended with a nail-biter and it added to the must-win feeling of the game. The Blitz was a massive factor as it put me on the back foot when I was looking to push forward myself. These things happen. We both had fun. I’m now out of the playoff contention and face Orcs next in the last game of the season.

So far I am PWDL4 and there’s a story to them all 🙂

Match Report: Elves v Dark Elves (Game 7)

Second game of the league season against a Dark Elf team. In the last game against Dark Elves I spectacularly failed to master counting and conceded when I thought it was impossible. I paid more attention to the roster this time and the two AG5 players, including an AG5 blitzer definitely caught my attention.

Going into the game I had all 12 players fit a ready to go and had my newly Blodging to cause all kinds of merry ball getting mayhem.

So how did it go?

First Half

I won the toss and for the first time this season the Fan Factor roll giving me +1 FAME. I elected to receive and setup opposite the dark elves who spread out along the half way line. The fans though thought that this game wasn’t shaping up to be very violent and elected to throw a rock at both teams. The result was my ball getting thrower being stunned and a dark elf blitzer being KO’d. From the resulting touchback I gave the ball to my unskilled catcher in the centre of the pitch a few squares behind the line. The elves started the game in their normal fashion by trying to get players into the opposition backfield. The early blocks went the elves way and 2 dark elves were stunned, leaving a few gaps that 3 elves were able to exploit, managing to rush upfield without being touched. The ball carrier stayed in position watching the action unfold.

The dark elves had no option but to pull back and cover the players already threatening their end zone. They retreated and blitzed the elves star blodging catcher and surrounding the others. The elves responded by sliding to the right and pushing forward, trying to free the players that had been marked and make a passing lane whilst screening the ball carrier. The AG5 dark elf blitzer thought nothing of the elf screen blitzing his way in and knocking the ball carrier over sending the ball scattering. He couldn’t catch the ball through but it fell into the hands of one of his dark elf teammates on the line in the middle of the field. His teammates weren’t able to get there to support him though the elves blitzed him down knocking the ball free again before picking it up and handing off for the Turn 3 score.

The kick off was high and the AG5 dark elf blitzer placed him self under the ball, caught it and ran up to the line where a cage formed around him. The dark elf line blocked and followed up slowly advancing into the elf half. There was room for two elves to run in from the left wing and put a blitz on the back man of the cage and get the sidestepping blitzer attached to the ball carrier. The remaining elves gained confidence from this and faced up the dark elves breaking armour and Knocking Out another enemy player.

The dark elves responded and tried to push through down the right hand side where there was now a gap in the elf defence. The ball carrier went to move but tripped over spilling the ball, which luckily for the dark elves was caught by the nearby runner. The elves followed up, hoping to pounce on the mistake, and blitzed the runner who managed to dump off the ball to a nearby lineman before taking the hit. The lineman with the ball was swiftly surrounded by elves wanting to steal the ball while the other elves stayed strong in defence. It was the dark elves turn to counter now, dodging out and swinging to the right passing the ball around the elf defence before protecting the ball carrier a few squares inside the elf half to the right with a blitzer threatening further downfield.

The elves knew that their dark cousins could score next turn and attacked the ball carrier, knocking the ball free before one of the nimble elf catchers dodged through to pickup the ball and swiftly move it down the left hand side going for it twice to get some extra space between the ball and the defenders. A three man elf screen protected the ball carrier and they waited for the dark elf response. The response came from the AG5 blitzer, fresh from the embarrassment of his previous trip, who charged back to make amends. Sadly his brain and feet weren’t communicating very well and he fell over leaving the dark elves in a very bad position. The elves flooded forward, adding to the screen and knocking players free where needed. The final action of the turn saw lineman number 8 dodge out to try to join the screen, only to fall over and badly hurt himself, putting in the dugout for the rest of the game.

The dark elves pulled back in one last desperate attempt to prevent the score but they suffered their own dodging mishap, when lineman number 13 fell over and broke his ribs, putting him out of action for the next game. The elves then walked in for their second score of the half on Turn 8. With one turn left of the half the dark elves just wanted to get in and regroup at half time. The vanity pass would help them regain a little bit of that lost confidence but their spirit was broken and the pass was dropped. 2-0 to the elves at half time.

First Half Analysis

I choose to receive again as I like being ahead in the game; I think it frees up my play. The early KO and the two stuns helped to clear a path for me to run through untouched. I was really pleased with how my first touchdown went. I waited the extra turn and didn’t force it. I did forget the AG5 is brilliant though and the bold play to dodge through and blitz through the screen was very effective. It did keep me alert for it for the rest of the game though and I extended the next screens as a result. It’s always nice to get a touchdown when you’re kicking and I was pleased to do it here. An effective screen was protecting the ball carrier and forcing the opposing coach to roll dice and burn rerolls as a result. I felt in control going in 2-0 up at the half.

Second Half

The second half started with elves kicking off to the dark elves, and their Cheering Fans were hoping the elves could push on and add to the scoreline. The kick bounced right up behind the dark elf line where it was caught, allowing the dark elves to form their cage on the line whilst spreading the remaining players across the pitch trying to stretch the defence, allowing them to find the running gap that they wanted. The elves themselves defended the line and broke through to get a tackle zone onto the ball carrier. Blocks were exchanged, but the elf armour was proving tough and they weren’t down for long. Knowing that they had nothing to lose, the dark elves tried to push through on the left, with the ball carrier blitzing his way into space.

He had maybe found too much space for himself though and the elves were able to knock him down, steeling the ball and running away with it midway into the dark elf half. The ball carrier and two supporting players hoping to force a third touchdown. The dark elves again found themselves having to return to defence and ran back applying tackle zones on the ball carrier before again falling over when dodging out to apply more support. The ball carrier was still on his feet but needed a lot of help to be able to get out to safety. The elf blitzers combined to assist with key blocks to allowing the elves to get a blitz in on one of the dark elves who was pressuring the ball carrier. It wasn’t enough though and he was pushed back but remained stuck to the ball. The elf catcher had seen enough and dodged his way out 3+, 2+ for the touchdown on Turn 3.

3-0 and the elves to kick off again. A long kick took the ball into the endzone and the elf coach was matching his players for impact with his Perfect Defence call pushing all of the elf players up on the line engaging the dark elves before they had a chance to get the ball. The dark elves responded with a sense of calm, knowing the game was now beyond them. They were playing for pride! The ball was picked up and quickly moved forward, whilst the line managed to punch a hole in the centre of the elf defence. The elf line held in place while the wide players moved forward to try to position to interrupt the pass. It wasn’t enough though and the dark elves pushed through and moved the ball right down the middle of the pitch, with a clear run to the elf endzone.

It was now the elves turn to have to defend. There were three players in range and between them they teamed up knock over the ball carrier, scattering the ball in between 3 elves and 3 dark elves. While attention was focussed on the ball, an elf blitzer and the thrower teamed up to throw a couple of blocks and forcing a dark elf lineman into the crowed who took pity on him, stunning him before turning their attention to the action near the elf endzone.

The dark elves looked to position themselves to recover the ball but were well aware that the elves were in place to move the ball swiftly upfield should things not go to plan. Go to plan they didn’t, with another player tripping up while attempting to run into position. So, elf Turn 6 and the chance to get the ball and move it upfield, out of danger, and a possible fourth score. The dark elf players were pushed away from the ball and the covering blodge catcher moved into pickup the ball and hand it off to the thrower at the halfway line. Despite his crowd surfing heroics he stayed focused and took the hand off before moving it up the left with the screen already forming to protect him. The dark elves, shocked by the way the elves moved the ball from defence to attack, ran back to try to interfere with the screen and the AG5 blitzer again tried for redemption. It was hard, but not impossible 2+, 2+, 2+, 2+ followed by a 1DB. The dark elf supporters held their collective breath..and he fell over; unable to escape the grabbing arms of the defender standing next to him. The elf thrower walked in for the Turn 7 touchdown and the team’s fourth of the game.

The dark elf coach knew that his owners and the press would have harsh words for him in the morning and called for the vanity pass before hitting commenced. The dark elf morale was low and the pass was fumbled. The elf coached called it time and after one blitz called out to the ref and that was it.

Game over 4-0 to the elves.

Second Half Analysis

The second half was more of the same really. My armour was holding steady and being able to start the second half with 11 players on the pitch makes a real differences with the elves on defence. On attack you can cope with missing players, but defending, especially against agility teams is more difficult as you can’t cover all of the gaps. The final drive that the dark elves had been what they’d been trying to do all game. Pushing through my line and moving the ball upfield quickly and taking advantage of the extra point of armour. I was well positioned but maybe overcommitted by one player and was a little lucky that the bounce fell kindly. The speed of the catcher was essential in getting around to be able to bake the 2DB.

With the earlier opportunity I was pleased to be able to get in behind the dark elf line and attack the ball, dump off is a useful skill but in this case it just put the ball in a position where it became harder to control. When the dark elf coach moved the ball back across to the right with a short pass there was the opportunity to keep going right and hand off to another blitzer. It was either staying still with support and me getting a 1DB on the ball, or handing off and allowing me to get a 2DB on the ball. I think staying in place was the right call put I was still able to clear the assists away to allow me to get a 2DB on the ball.

I didn’t use a reroll in the second half and that was just the way it was going really; I was deliberately trying not to roll dice and playing a more considered game.

Game Summary

It was a really fun game. We both said that. It was just one of those games where the dice were slightly in my favour and against my opponent. But I’m not one to blame the dice. If you make the opponent roll dice and position your players well then the dice will seem to be in your favour. I think this was the most effective game that I have had playing the elves. The team’s skill levels are getting to a point where they are harder to knock down and they are better equipped to do what I want them to do. My linemen did their job of screening and holding up the opposition players, whilst my positional player were able to attack the ball and move it very effectively.

This game really highlighted the importance of skills that give you built-in rerolls. I’d love an AG5 player, but without Dodge there’s always that risk of rolling a 1 and falling over; that happened a lot in this game. It also gave me some reading to do about tactics and protecting the ball with a limited number of players. When the dark elves broke through at the end of the game, there were two supporting players in a half cage. But because I could get around the back they weren’t doing anything to protect the ball carrier. Different positioning there would have meant I either had a longer route round to make the blitz or I would only get a 1DB. I think I’m playing enough now to learn these intermediate positioning tricks.

So that’s that. A good game of Blood Bowl. I must say that my opponent was brilliant. He’s new to the game but has quickly got up to speed with the dark elves. Despite everything that was going against him, he never once complained or moaned. It was a good game played in good spirits.

Next up for me are some orcs and then a chaos team to finish off the season. I’ll be giving up quite a bit in team value so expect to be facing a chainsaw and a wizard…gulp!

It also looks like I’m not going to make the playoffs so after these games, plans for next year’s league assault can begin 🙂

So far I am PWDL3 and there’s a story to them all 🙂

Match Report: Elves v Skaven (Game 6)

My first tabletop game against skaven. I’d played with skaven, with a degree of success, and I love the gutter runners and the blitzers. My opponent, like me, was sitting just under mid-table in the mainly bash league and was new to skaven and just getting to understand their strengths and weaknesses.

How would this game help us both…?

First Half

The skaven won the toss and elected to kick off and use their Kicker to place the ball deep into the elves half. The High Kick allowed the me to reposition my thrower under the ball to receive, but in what I hoped would not be a bad omen for the game he fumbled the catch and the all landed at his feet. He quickly pulled himself together though when the sight of catchers and blitzers flooding into the skaven backfield jolted his memory. Faced with several threats the skaven coach retreated his players to cover as much as possible while the Mighty Blow blitzer set about his task for the game and started hitting. The elves were not to be out done though targeting any gutter runner that dared to stand alone and KO’d one early doors. All the hitting was making the elves nervous though and the thrower initiated the 2-Turn touchdown score using the catcher – making only his second start – as the link man to move the ball upfield. 1-0 to the elves.

The elves turn to kick of and the skaven’s turn to get in a quick score on their Turn 3. Not much hitting, but what little hitting there was, was effective with both the skaven and the elves suffering stuns and KOs. 1-1.

The fans were clearly enjoying this game, and wanting more, Rioted, turning the clock back one turn. Both coaches looked at each other across the field and gave each other a knowing glance – ‘oh it’s going to be one of those games’.

It was rinse and repeat for the elves, with another 2-Turn touchdown. This time the scorer of the first turning providing as he passed the ball down field to his catcher compatriot. The catchers showing the value of their Nerves of Steel and Dodge to negate the skaven defence. 2-1 to the elves.

The skaven received and for the second time in the half and looked to tie up the score before the half. With a considerable amount of time left in the half the elf coach was hoping for a quick skaven score to allow for enough time for another score of his own to end the half. For the first time in the game the Mighty Blow came into effect Badly Hurting an elf lineman and putting the elves down to 10 players for the rest of the game. The skaven also managed to score on the turn to level the score 2-2 on after 6 turns.

More of the same then for the elves. The thrower couldn’t reach the ball as it bounced right up to the sideline deep in the elf half and he chose to cover instead to give his players time to work their way downfield. The star elf catcher started his downfield move and tripped on the outstretched tail of a rat and fell over before any of his team mates had a chance to advance. The skaven coach ran two of his gutter runners towards the ball sniffing the chance to get another score. The elves ended their half retreating to cover the ball and knock down the two gutter runners. One of the runners the stood up and did what gutter runners do. Dodging into tackle zones, picking up the ball and then dodging out for the score to end the half 3-2 to the skaven.

First Half Analysis

I love gutter runners. I’ve done that final ‘what the hell’ play myself and when it works it feels great and terrible at the same time. I thought I’d done enough by putting them on the ground and applying two tackle zones to the ball. I don’t recall if I was out of rerolls or not, but in hindsight it would have been better for the thrower to do the GRI and pickup the ball himself. Maybe? The ball was against the sideline and I didn’t want it to scatter out. Risk/Reward. 28.4% chance of him scoring with the reroll according to Samba Action Calculator

The Gutter Runner's odds

The Gutter Runner’s odds

We both had players KOd between touchdowns but my Babe was not earning her money and I was losing the numbers battle against the skaven. Although I was taking players out on a pretty even level, my player weren’t coming back and the skaven had a deeper bench to keep them always on top on the pitch. 3-2 down and kicking off was not a good position to be in going into the second half.

Second Half

The second half started with the elves kicking and getting a good bounce to bring the ball a few squares away from the line of scrimmage in the open on the skaven left. The skaven covered the ball with one gutter runner but didn’t pick it up electing instead to block the elves on the line; the elves already down in numbers. The elf coach knew the importance of the next score and threatened the side of the pitch with the ball managing to blitz the covering gutter runner, and having a lineman run in to pickup the ball and have two catchers next to him for support. The skaven coach quickly reorganised his team to take out the threat and with the two teams exchanging Badly Hurt players the skaven had the ball back where it had originally landed, but with more support and fewer elves to contend with.

On Turn 5 the gutter runner sensed the returning pressure and helped a lineman knock down the elves star Blodging catcher and ran into the space in the middle of the pitch, created by the elves having five players off the pitch, and on Turn 6 ran in for the deciding score. 4-2 to the skaven. The elves Babe again failed to inspire the dizzy players to come back and the elves would start their attempt to get another consolation score with reduced numbers.

The players lined up. Blitz! Two gutter runners came charging into the elf back field, causing the elf thrower to have a flashback to the first kick off of the game and fumbled the pickup. The elves were again on the back foot and had to apply as much pressure as they could on the threats to their endzone. Both runners were knocked down, but again one got up and had the simple job this time of picking up in one tackle zone and then dodging out for the score. 5-2 to the skaven and the elves were truly dejected. They lined up to take vengeance on the Mighty Blow blitzer in the last turn of the game, but the skaven coach’s Perfect Defence didn’t give them the chance and the game fizzled out after the earlier fireworks, ending 5-2 to the skaven.

Second Half Analysis

The key play sequence here was the first couple of turns. I managed to get through and get onto the ball but became risk averse at the wrong time and rather than do a GFI then a pickup with my Blodging catcher chose to leave him where he was and do the pickup with an unskilled yet free lineman. I can’t remember if I’d used a reroll that turn or not so that may have affected my thinking. Had the Blodger been holding the ball there was a very real chance that we could have stolen the score and make it 3-3. We’ll never know. After that the numbers really made the game. I’m used to playing with reduced numbers, but against skaven that is never going to end well.

Game Summary

This was the type of game that I love and is why I prefer high agility, high-speed teams. The 3rd and 5th touchdowns were classic gutter runner touchdowns and the type that I like to score myself. One or two gutter runners on their own near the ball, seemingly insurmountable odds with the endzone in sight.

As I said, I think the big mistake was not trying harder to get the Blodger on the ball at the start of the second half. I had a couple of no move turns, but that’s what happens in a dice game and it evens out for both coaches. But that was all on me. The other mistake was again not trying harder to pick the ball up at the end of the first half. The gutter runner (with a reroll, with no assists) would be blitzing -2DB which would be about a 21% chance to do that alone, with the pickup and dodges to go.

On the plus side, both my blitzers levelled up (normal) and I’ve got a full 12 man roster to take into the next game. I’ve not picked the skills yet so any suggestions are welcome. I think I have Dark Elves, Chaos and Orcs to come.

So far I am P6 W2 D1 L3 and there’s a story to them all 🙂

Match Report: Elves v Undead (Game 5)

Coming into this game, I knew that I wanted to change my playing style slightly. After the first game, where I felt that I wasn’t aggressive enough, I had become too aggressive and that resulted in me having too many players getting KO’d and injured. The elves are one of the teams that can deal with a lack of players, but 8 turns and more with 5 or 6 players is tough to consistently get results with, even for elves. The plan in this game was to stay way from the mummies and their Mighty Blow, but in general to apply pressure with tackle zones and not basing.

First Half

A Very Sunny first half kicked off with the weather already against my pass and move game, but with me overall as I gained another reroll for the match to add to my rostered 3 and the thrower’s Leader skill. I received the ball with my newly acquired third catcher had more options to charge through down both flanks with players and offering as many threats as possible. The undead were forced to cover my attacking threats while the mummies were restricted as my players dodged out of their natural range. After stalling for a turn, I scored with my star catcher on turn 3 and prepared for the onslaught as the undead would get a chance to bash my players from the kick off. Fortunately for me I was coaching at the top of my game and Perfect Defense allowed me to reposition my line elves and avoid the Mighty Blow, while the ball bounced behind the line of undead players on the LoS. On turn 4 though the undead team was out of rerolls and the elves were in the ascendancy. One of the undead’s four ghouls had picked up the ball and was being pressured by three elves because of the poor bounce, but he wasn’t protected by many team mates and on turn 6 I managed to steal the ball with a blitzer. The undead defense was suffering because of the lack of rerolls and the no-Block mummy fell over when he rolled Both Down. This left the elf blitzer to walk into the endzone for his first SPPs of the season. The final turn of the half was damage limitation from the elves and focussed switched to starting the second half with 11 players for the first time this season.

First Half Analysis

The first half could not have gone better for me really. The kick off table helped me out with the reroll and the Perfect D saved me from two Mighty Blow blocks. I was pleased to get some SPPs on one of my blitzers as this had been a problem for me in the previous four games. I was helped by reroll situation but above all was pleased that my new approach was working well.

Second Half

I kicked off in the 2nd half with 11 players for the first time this season. It didn’t last long though as my journeyman line elf took a nasty blow and was out for the rest of the game. The undead picked up the ball and moved it down field as they tried to get one back, but hoping to take out as many elves as they could on the way. There was an early attempt at a passing play from the undead but they fumbled the throw, but the elves couldn’t capitalise and they slowly crept towards the endzone. Turn 4 resulted in another lost elf and the undead where now only 1 turn away from scoring. They had a strong line on my right flank and a ghoul holding the ball and I only had a small number of standing elves defending but with the chance of a 1D blitz. The blitz came and the push wasn’t enough and the rerolled double-skulls definitely wasn’t enough and the undead scored on Turn 5 to make the score 2-1. The undead’s turn to kickoff and again the kick off table was with me and the High Kick allowed me to place a blitzer under the ball to catch it. It was the turn of my line to do some hitting this time though and the fallen zombies gave me room to move some players through the middle of the pitch with a third score in sight. Plans turned to defense though when a blitzer to blitzer handoff failed in the middle of the pitch and the undead swarmed towards the ball. On Turn 7 one of the blitzers did manage to get the ball and with the help of a push managed to hand off to the other blitzer who dodged free and galloped towards the endzone. The undead had one turn to prevent the third score and managed to apply tackle zones but couldn’t knock the ball carrier over and that left two dodges for the score. This time the dice were in my favour and I managed to score a third with my other unskilled blitzer.

Second Half Analysis

Not as comfortable as the first half, and my rerolls were definitely needed, but this was a good half in general. Getting some SPPs on the second blitzer was another highlight as I think I’ve been under using them in attack so far this season. They need another skill to take them to he next level (obvious I know). The High Kick helped immensely and although putting the blitzer in position to catch was defensive, it did allow me to be slightly more aggressive in attack when the opportunity was there.

Game Summary

The game was everything that I wanted it to be really. The change in approach benefited the elves greatly and the third catcher made a real difference. Two just isn’t enough of a threat and it’s something I’ll remember when I build more pro-elf teams. I think the real turning point was the Perfect Defense on the kick off table. Having scored on turn 3, it allowed me to avoid the inevitable grind and Mighty Blow blocks. It gave me the opportunity to score a second touchdown in the first half and the game was mine to lose at that point. I think I still failed as many of those elfy plays as previous games, but because I had more players and wasn’t suffering by basing the opposition too much, they didn’t feel as bad and weren’t as important to the game. I hope I can take this into my next game against skaven; I know how to play skaven but have no experience playing against them.

Match Report: Elves v Lizardmen (Game 4)

Apologies, but this report is late and as a result my memory and my ability to read my game notes is not very good. I’ll do my best though.

Coming into the game I had as an objective skilling up some of my players stuck a few SPPs away from skilling up. The lack of skills was hurting me a little bit and my players were spending too much time on the floor as a result. I needed some Dodge and some Wrestle. The game was also against the league leading (3-0) lizards of an experienced coach with title-winning ambition so SPPs may have been the best result I could hope for.

First Half

I kicked off and got the Blitz and a decent scatter which took the ball next to the endzone. I ran as many players as I could through the lizard tackle zones to apply some pressure on the skink charged with picking up the ball; always sightly weary not to over commit as the skinks could move the ball very quickly if they did mange to pick it up. My early pressure evidently got to the covering skink as he double 1’d his dodge roll and fell over allowing my increasingly impressive catcher to Dodge and then pickup for the turn 1 score. The game restarted and my opponent was getting in 3DBs on my players at every opportunity and the inevitable happened as I lost a blitzer on turn 3. All was not lost though and one of my two catchers attempted a hero play to recover the ball but ultimately paid the price as he had nowhere to go with the ball except into the talons of the sauri. The lizards quickly regained possession and were in position to move the ball down the pitch with the skinks, only for the handoff to fail and the ball there for the elves to steal. The ball clearly had a mind of its own and the elves failed the pickup and the resulting bounce was caught by a bemused saurus who walked in for the turn 8 equaliser. The half ended with the elves down 2 players and the lizards down 1.

First Half Analysis

A Blitz is always a good kick off but the danger is to over commit. I was lucky with the turn 1 score and the second possession was topsy-turvy with the saurus rolling 6 to catch the bouncing ball and then scoring typical of the half. I was pleased to come out of the half 1-1 though especially with me receiving in the second half.The numbers game wasn’t massively against me, even though I was being hit a lot.

Second Half

The second half started with me picking up the ball and giving my thrower a vanity pass to get the 1 SPP that he needed to level up. I sent players down both flanks and the lizards covered both sides of the pitch leaving a couple of sauri in the middle on the line. Turn 3 and one of my blitzers broke through the line along in the middle the ball carrier moved forward to pass over the oncoming saurus…who rolled a 6 an intercepted the pass! The lizard blocking started to take effect as well with 3 elves out KO’d and 2 badly hurt. On turn 6 the saurus managed to score despite some last-ditch defending by the elves. Still two turns remaining and ample time to score. No messing this time as charged down the field and position the thrower in centre field with the ball in the classic quarterback pose. The lizards swarmed and on turn 8 a blitz was needed to free up the ball carrier for the pass but alas a Both Down ended it and the game ended 2-1 to the lizards.

Second Half Analysis

The interception changed the half. It’s my own fault, I know, but you never expect a player to roll a 6 at a time like that. I’m not saying that I would have scored, but for elves to get the ball back from a ST4 player with a good coach is tough. Yes, 1 in 6 is 16.67% but you always go for it in that situation, don’t you?

Game Summary

The game was end to end and quite bizarre from the turn 1 score to the two key 6s rolled by the sauri. I was still too aggressive and will have to address this for the next game. I did managed to achieve one of my goals and skilled up line elf (Wrestle), a catcher (Dodge), and the thrower (Leader). I also decided to buy a third catcher rather than two new linemen with my treasury. Overall this was a fun game of Blood Bowl and as with my previous game came right down to the wire. I pleased that I’m still in games on turn 16 despite having not very many players left. This aspect of my game play needs addressing.