Tuesday, 20 December 2016

Bloodbowl - Mordheim "Be Damned" Destroyers - Soul Searching After 1st Game

Welcome Sports Fans !!

It feels so good to be playing Blood Bowl again :)  As I mentioned on my last post early this year I was in a league with some mates, and with the release of the new Blood Bowl we're going to start it up again.

As the most experienced coaches, my mate Mike & I decided we wouldn't take our favourite teams, and would try out new teams with a different playstyle.  Mike, bravely opted for Goblins, and while he joked that I should use Halflings, I was inspired by one of the other coaches, Ben, who commented when he saw Mike and I playing a Orcs vs Human game "Why are you using Humans, they're shit !".  This game was also my first ever game with Humans.  I initially started Blood Bowl with Undead and expanded with first Skaven and then Amazons, and although I had bought a basic team from ebay (as they're a good team to learn with) I had never used them myself.

That first test game vs Orcs ended 1-1 and I was disappointed with the hitting power of the Humans so decided that I should start with an Ogre for the league, so last night I went round Mike's to try out my new starting team roster against Mike's Goblins.  My proposed starting roster was:

4 Blitzers
3 Catchers
1 Thrower
2 Linemen
3 Rerolls

My reasoning is that team had speed with 5 players with speed 7 or higher, hitting power with 4 Blitzers and the Ogre, and even a decent passing game with 3 catchers for potential recipients of a pass.  I liked having passing option of the three Catchers able to form a nice triangle, one behind the line of scrimmage and 2 in the wide zone in the opponents half in scoring range.  This would allow the thrower to move up for a short pass to the middle catcher who would run to and hand off to one of the forward catchers allowing the ball to be moved most of the length of the pitch in one turn, However was I trying to make the Human play like my Skaven ?).

More experienced Human coaches will see the immediate weaknesses in the team roster.  11 players meant I had no reserves, and with three catchers a few casualties would mean not only would I be down on players but the average strength of the team would be quite low.

Seeing the deep bench of the goblin team I actually dropped a reroll for a 12th player, as another weakness is that on defense I was immediately forced to put a non-Lineman on the Line of Scrimmage.  However with everything there is a cost, in this case that at the end of each half I would struggling to have any rerolls left.

The Game

Only 50,000 goblins fans turned for the match, so I just needs a 6 to have more fans and a +1 FAME modifier, so I rolled a 3 giving the Goblins +1 FAME,  Then when kicking at the start of the first half there was a pitch invasion.  The Goblins fans rushed the field Stunned 4 players, however it was all 4 Blitzers (who were key to knock down the Goblins with their Block skill), so 4 key players out for 2 turns.  My fans rushed the field (and while I rolled lots of 5's) they didn't hurt any of the Goblin players (losing the fans dice off for FAME really hurt me there).

This was compounded by my big mistake of setting up too aggressively.  Stupidly thinking the two trolls on the front line was the big threat, I didn't fully appreciate how nasty the Goblin special weapons were.  The Ogre found out turn one when he was sent to the turf turn 1 by the Ball & Chain.  I blame it on playing against Haflings on the PC version recently and thinking this game was going to be the same - how wrong was I.  I also thinking playing against the AI of the PC game makes you unprepared for human opponents (the AI is bad, and the game appears to make up for it in weighted dice for the AI in regard to dodging, 2 dice against blocks etc.

The Goblins scored half way through the 1st half, and I couldn't even the score in the rest of the half, but was receiving for the second half.  As the second half began the goblins started to cause more casulties, and what started to looking good for me quickly changed as I started being outnumbered.  Both Trolls were smacking my front line, and a Bribe purchased by the goblins (this was their second game) allowed the Ball & Chain to start the second half (I knocked and over and injured the Chainsword wielding Gobby in the first half).

As things started to look dicey I had to make a rush for the end zone unprotected.  My cather only had to survive a turn, but unfortunately he was caught by 2 goblins and his head was intrudced to the pitch..forceably !  With the catcher knocked out the Goblins were able to pick up the ball next turn, and with itmy chances of equalising.

At the end of the brutal game, 2 Blitzers and a Lineman had DIED (out of 5 casualties), leaving me with a team to disband and back to the drawing board.

I think the starting roster was trying to do too much at once,  I had two options (imho) either lose the Ogre or reduce the number of positionals to be able to afford 3 rerolls and 12 players.

To Ogre or Not To Ogre

I initially picked he Ogre was his lovely Str5 and Mighty Blow skill, but like all Big Guys he has a nedgative trait.  After declaring his action, if he rolls a 1 he not only wastes the action (which is a big pain with your only Blitz a turn) but he also loses his tackle zone.  Losing the tackle zone is a huge pain, not only does it suddenly create a huge hole in your defensive line, it can be a major pain if the Ogre us being one of the front corners of a Cage*.

Also with the Block skill and no way to get it outside double skill rolls, combined with Loner skills Big Guys get which means they find it harder to use team rerolls, Big Guys can cause turnovers more often than Blitzers for example who have the block skill and can use rerolls normally.  This can make your team more unreliable.

Not having an Ogre also means your team cost is spread more evenly, so if someone dies it will matter less.  If the Ogre dies, when I haven't been able to afford an Apothecary then it's probably another team disband,

However even with these issues I still want an Ogre to start with, as the Human team is not Elf team so can't go their long passing and dodgy plays, and has not other Str4+ guys to compete with the other teams.

So I will try again with the following team (I had to lose a Blitzer and a Cather for 3 Linemen:

3 Blitzers
2 Catchers
1 Thrower
5 Linemen
3 Rerolls

My next game is against Slann, which should be interesting with all their Leap and Very Long Legs.

2 fantasy Ogre Bulls arrived from Ebay, so I've created an Ogre (and a Morg proxy) for my Humans.  Pictured along side 2 Blitzers for scale:
and I've managed to win an action on Ebay an extra Blitzer and Catcher (for only £4 incl postage) which I'll repaint to match my team asap.
I'm almost regretting selling the Human team from the new boxset as Blitzers are like gold dust on ebay.  Luckily I've got Zug and Griff to proxy as extra Blitzers, but it would be nice to get a full set of 4 for the team I have.  If I wasn't sure that after the league I'll be going back to one of my old teams (or one of the two teams I'm building) I think it would have been easier to keep the new Human Team, use one of the lineman sculpts as extra blitzers and Ebay extra linemen and catchers (which go cheaply on Ebay.

Talking of new teams, the first model arrived for one of my new teams:

Although I've played Clawed Fiends in my Dark Eldar for some time, I never got any of the official models, but when I saw some metals ones on Ebay I had to pick one up, particularly as the original owner had altered the pose of the outstretched arm into a more natural pose.

Can you guess what new team I'll be starting with the Clawed Fiend ?

Do you think a starting team should use a Big Guy ?  I was always happy starting Skaven without a Rat Ogre even though I think he's better than the Ogre.


* A Cage is where you where you surround a ring of players around the ball carrier so that the ball carrier can not be blitzed, normally done with 4 players on the 4 corners of the square round the ball carrier, meaning anyone wanted to dodge next to the ball carrier is facing a -3 dodge (just watch out for players with leap).

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