First Blood (Week 1 league report)

Before I moved to the US I did what any sane geek would do and checked out the local hobby scene. A quick bit of Google-Fu led me to the fine fellows at Ordo Fanaticus a thriving miniature gaming and RPG community based in downtown Portland. It seemed to check all the boxes other than my beloved Blood Bowl. Shame. In the meantime, I moved to Beaverton, found a nice FLGS in Rainy Day Games, and settled down to playing bi-weekly X-Wing games.

However, X-Wing isn’t Blood Bowl and I had been steadily amassing a collection of new BB minis from various crowd-funding campaigns, to scratch that itch. Imagine my joy then, when a return to the Ordo forums a few weeks ago revealed a planned spring blood bowl league. The Albion Exiles (do you see what I did there?) were quickly recruited from the Greebo Norse team that I have in my collection and I duly signed up.

I took the somewhat risky approach for a league system of going heavy on the positionals and not taking an apothecary or spare players, what it does do is improve the odds of those early MVP rolls landing on something useful (like an Ulfwerener or Snow Troll), rather than you ending up with a bunch of TV bloating Norse linemen with Fend. I have been known to fire such individuals if they look in danger of getting too big for their boots.

You can see the team HERE but it looked like this before I started week 1:

  • The Albion Exiles – TV 1000
    • 1 Snow Troll
    • 2 Ulfwereners
    • 2 Norse Blitzers
    • 1 Runner
    • 5 Linement
    • 2 Rerolls

There’s at least one more blog to be written about the wisdom of such a starting line up. But it’s fun, and given the amount of dwarves, orcs and other AV 9 things in this league I felt like I needed all the help I could get. And so to my first game.

I arrived at the OrdoFanatics venue to be greeted by my opponent John (aka Sylvos) who promptly insisted on buying me a Taco. What a gentleman, I hope he didn’t regret his generosity after the game.

John hadn’t played an BB in about 5/6 years and the rust certainly showed in the first few turns. Blood Bowl is unforgiving on the unwary and the out of practice, even more so when you’re running Wood Elves. I’m confident however that whoever he plays next won’t be getting an easy ride.

Here’s what I wrote on Ordobowl.com for my match report.

When the Crimson Tide set out to “welcome” the barbarians of the Albion Exiles from far beyond the north waves, this commentator isn’t entirely sure this is the outcome they intended.

The elves didn’t get off to a promising start. After receiving the kick off they drove to the wings, allowing the Northmen to play to their frenzied strengths and conceding posession of the ball early. The Exiles picked up the ball and then executed a classic lose cage drive down the side line holding out until the final minutes of the half before scoring and doing some damage in the meantime.

The elves lost Lorin Tanelsan to the claws of Bergelmir. The Exiles snow troll hadn’t eaten on the entire voyage over, a result of suffering from terrible sea-sickness, and the site of a nice fresh elf lineman was too much to resist.

The Crimson Tide started the second half 3 men down and the Northmen, now with the ball, quickly capitalized and scored a second TD midway through the half. To the chagrin of Coach Fitz, plenty of elves bit the dirt but the norse clearly hadn’t sharpened their punch daggers before the game because the wood elf armour was proving to be strikingly resilient.

In contrast to that was the hide of rookie Ulfwerener, Fenrisulfer, who got on the wrong end of an angry Wardancer’s attentions and was promptly killed shortly before the Norse scored their third and final touchdown.

The northman may well have won convincingly but they might rue the loss of such a valuable player this early in the season. 110,000 isn’t a triffling sum to replace for any team.

Result 3-0 to the Albion Exiles

Thats all for this week, and remember sports fans, behind every big moot sandwich is a tasty elf!

After the match John and I had a good chat about some tactics, and we talked during the game about risk mitigation and doing the easy stuff first. I think he probably knew all this and it just needed resurfacing. Even for a Wardancer there is a limit to the amount of shenanigans you can expect to get away with in a turn with Ag4, Leap and Dodge….

If this hadn’t been my first game at a new club with a guy who I didn’t know that had just bought me a Taco, I’ll not pretend I wouldn’t play differently. I certainly didn’t take my foot off the gas, but I definitely made a conscious choice not to pummel his team into small pieces. It’s no fun for anyone in the first match of the season. There are certain coaches back home who would get that treatment, largely because we both know they wouldn’t hesitate to give it to me given the chance!

As far as a Norse team is concerned, the less of the oppposition on the pitch, the better. That means fouling, crowd surfing and punching your way to victory. Fouling is best left until you have a player advantage, at which point it’s an awesome multiplier, and should usually only be performed with a non-essential player with the “Dirty Player” skill targeting key positionals. A Wardancer/Troll Slayer/BullCentaur on the floor in my turn should normally be expecting a swift appointment with Mr MetalStuds and his good friend mr KickToTheNuts, just sayin’!

Crowd surfing is one of my  favourite passtimes – and 5 (now 4 – thanks John!) Frenzied players means plenty of chances for that, but you have to remember that after a crowd surf there’s a good chance your guy is in a position to receive the same medicine. Watch the sidelines folks.

For anyone else who wants a refresher, here my version the “safe” way to take a turn of Blood Bowl:

  1. MOVE YOUR TURN COUNTER!
  2. Plan your turn.
  3. Move unmarked players to either:
    1. Protect the ball with tackle zones
    2. Assist with your planned blitz / blocks
    3. Move them away from people who want to hurt them
    4. Plug gaps in your defensive line
  4. Make your 2-dice blocks / Blitz move
  5. If you are an elf/agility team make your dodges out of tackle zones
  6. Move the ball (or if you don’t have it, skip to 7)
  7. Think about picking up the ball.
  8. If you have to, make 1-die blocks.

This can’t possibly cover all situations, but what it essentially says is that you should plan your turn, and then execute on the plan taking the least risky steps first. Risky steps are those requiring you to roll D6s or make unfavourable blocks.

Looking forward to Week 2, when I shall be matched up against Dwarfs. I’ll not lie – they aren’t my favourite Blood Bowl team. This stems from my love of Lizardmen. The number of prized Skinks I’ve lost to all that tackle over the years I can’t bring myself to count.

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