It’s Wednesday Night Warhammer! A Blood Bowl league looms…
Hello again everyone and welcome to the latest instalment of WNW. This week the guys and I get stuck into the thick of it with Blood Bowl tutorials.
Not having played Blood Bowl (BB) for well over a decade, I needed to relearn the game. This iI found quite daunting as I thought about how confusing American football was to learn (at least in High School). I was, as always, surprised by its simplicity.
For those who aren’t in the loop, BB is a Fantasy Football (American football) board game set using the same races as Warhammer. So think, humans, elves (of different flavours), dwarves and undead. There’re quite a few more than those mentioned and some quite niche, but you get the idea.
To begin the game first you need to decide on a team, purchase players and most importantly give each player a characterful name. After perusing the rulebook, which gives you all you need to know about every team available, I decided to settle on a Necromantic team. I thought there was enough variety of player types to keep me interested and many of the other teams just didn’t tickle my fancy (Elves? Bleh. Humans? Eugh. Chaos or vanilla dwarves? Boring).
Right, step 1 down.
Step 2, hiring team members:
All teams need at least 11 members to be legal and it usually a good idea to have a couple extra in reserve in case a player is injured or even killed. It just so happens that I was able to hire the maximum limit of all the “positional” players (ones that were halfway decent) and still have a handful of throw away on dregs, or zombies in my case.
My team was assembled. The Necro Nemeses consisted of 5 zombies (basic), 2 ghouls (quick dodgers), 2 Wights (defenders), 2 flesh golems (the punch) and 2 Werewolves (very quick, and decent armour breakers).
Disregarding good advice from my teacher and opponent Ben, I spent most of my teams’ starting bank account and didn’t bother with optional extras like increasing my teams fame (for end of game revenue) or in game re-rolls (re-rolls almost any dice, one per half per token purchased). Who needs re-rolls… … >.>
I was up against Ben’s Skaven (as seen in last weeks episode) The Dirty Thirteen. I had no idea what I was doing or how to react to what I assume would be a tricky, very fast team. Oh wells, time for the Kick off.
what is going on? I have no idea…
Now I’ll mention Ben did run through the basics of play, which I won’t go through here as it can be a bit dry, but I find the best way to learn a new game is to jump in head first. Not that the rules are complex, it’s just that taking all the nuances and mashing them together to form some semblance of strategy takes a little practice.
Mmmkay, players were lined up, the weather chart was rolled (weather can effect the game quite dramatically) and the kick was made from my end. The ball landed quite close to a Skaven player who easily picked the ball up, and ran straight through an opening made by a couple of Blitzers (a standard name for the more punchier players whose aim is to shove the opposition out of the way). Being quick and nimble, the Skaven were able to dodge and tackle with ease and run straight to the goal line for a very early touchdown. We hadn’t been playing 5 minutes and I’m already losing 0 -1
Just a quick note on how dodge and tackle works, whenever a player moves directly past the opposition he needs to roll a die for every space through which he skirts the defending player. This is rolled against the players Agility statistic (Skaven are between 3 and 4, my undead were between 2 and 3). The skaven had to roll a 2 or 3 with a re-roll dependant on a special ability “dodge”.
So like a hot knife through silk, the skaven danced around the undead with ease.
Hoping the tables would turn now that the ball was being kicked off into my half, I sent a werewolf off to pick up the ball which landed a little way off to the side. My plan was to pick up the ball and maybe throw it to a more central player, who could then punch his way through. Anyways, who knew that picking up a ball would prove so difficult.
As I mention above undead Agility isn’t great which meant my Werewolf “Fleabag” needed to roll a 3 or better to perform the simplest of actions… I rolled a 2… and I had no re-rolls. So the ball was fumbled and bounced away into the goal area.
What happened next, yeah you probably guessed. Again the Skaven busted through my front lines and sprinted over to the ball to pick it up for an instant touchdown. So, what, that’s 0 – 2 and we’re now 10 mins in.
Oh, one important rule, if at any point you stuff up a roll for any action, be it dodge, pass, catch then your turn is over and the opponent starts theirs. Brutal. You could start your turn running to pick up a ball, fumble and before you can do anything else, your turn is over. Stupid Werewolves.
I was starting to see my mistakes though, which is good when you’re learning something new. I started to plan a little better and was able to plug the holes in my defence a little more effectively. I still didn’t see how I was supposed to overcome this Skaven team made of lightning but what will be, will be.
Yes, Gandalf and Denethor are my flesh golems, so what? Goblins as zombies? Pfft, who cares?
So we’re getting close to half time and my tactical acumen and superior dice rolling saw the score board light up with an Undead touchdown! How did this happen? Well, knowing that I have pretty lousy ball handlers (by this time I think Fleabag had failed to pick up the ball 6 times in a row.. even when the ball is kicked to him, dropped, bounces back into his arms but not his hands / claws) I decided to try something a little more my style. If you can’t beat them to the ball, beat them into the ground.
One of my flesh golems “Chunks” was quite effective at doing this. He may have been twice as slow as a rat man, but he was also twice as strong. Having created a gap in Bens defence with Skaven strewn about the field, I was able to run the ball through. Go me!
That’s how the rest of the game played out. Ben was able to score another touchdown on me (Skaven are so slippery!) and also deny an easy 2nd touchdown from me. That 2nd one was totally my fault though. I was 1 step away from the goal line and decided to wait until my minions… err… players had beat up the Rats to cause a couple of injuries. What I didn’t see was that when a ghoul tried to push a nearby rat and failed (ending my turn) he was able to sprint halfway across the field and knock the ball out my hands. I was so close! I’m certain that it’s not me but the Werewolves claws that prevent them from holding a ball properly. Stupid Werewolves.
If you can’t beat them, BEAT them!
It wasn’t until after the game Ben advised me that each successful action gives a player experience points which, when enough is accumulated, the player gains additional abilities. Actions like passing the ball give 2 points, injuring a player gives 3… scoring a touchdown gives 5! So, having that info now, I probably wouldn’t have sat by trying to gain experience by beating up players but instead just make the touchdown for a guaranteed 5 experience points (when “pushing” a player you need to roll to see if the opposition is just pushed back or if either you, they or both fall over. If they fall over you roll to see if their armour protects them and if not, roll to see what injury is inflicted. So quite a few steps that need to work in order to gain experience by inflicting injuries). Again, stupid Werewolves.
The game over, we tallied experience, how many fans were created and how much revenue was brought in at the stadium gates. The Necro Nemeses ended their first match only slightly better off from when they first started, which is a positive I guess. Also Chunks was able to level up after pummelling enough rats to gain the ability “Mighty Blow” which will make it easier for him to injure other players. Good one Chunks!
As a quick note, beside us, WNW regulars Nick and Huw were having their own BB game. Huw was teaching Nick the ropes using his team from last week “The Hairy Ballers” against Nicks Wood Elf team “The Wood Peckers”. The report afterwards; Huw faired little better than he did last week, so I might have a challenger for the bottom of the ladder. 😮
Humans face off against…. Metal Elves?
We’ll see what happens next Wednesday as Huw and I have already decided to face off on the field. If we have time, we might also give some Warhammer a go.
If you have any advice for an up and coming Undead Blood Bowl player, please leave a comment below. Dirty tricks are much appreciated.
Until then, take care over the Easter weekend and I’ll see you next week,