Sunday, January 16, 2011

First Blood Bowl tournament... a "short" report.

I attended my first BB tournament yesterday. It was Put A Ring On It in Glendale Heights, IL - a tournament to celebrate the marriage of two fine BB playing folks (valdric and rowdykatie).

I had originally planned on bringing my Amazon team the Bloody Marys but I was unable to complete a decent paint job before the event. I know now that anything would have been fine (as I saw several unpainted or only partially painted teams) but the rules pack specified a fully painted team was required. The only team I have "fully painted" right now is my Nurgle team so the Nurgland Germs made their debut appearance on the tournament scene. 

For those wondering what a Nurgle BB team roster might look like, here is the roster I ended up playing at the event. The restrictions were:

- Total roster of 1100
- Player and skills must be purchased within that limit
- No skill may be given more than twice in a roster
- Must have 11 players

There were a few others but these were the main points for building a team. In addition to these rules you were given two "skill rings" which could only be applied to each team's 0-16 choice. One added +1 ST or +1 AV while the other added +1 AG or +1 MV. For Nurgle that meant boosting up two Rotters, and they had to be unskilled to get the rings. All in all it was an uphill battle creating a "competitive" team roster for Nurgle but I soldiered on and came up with this:
Beast of Nurgle w/ Break Tackle
2 x Nurgle Warriors w/ Stand Firm
2 x Nurgle Warriors w/ Block
2 x Pestigors w/ Wrestle
4 x Rotters, one with Kick and one with Leader
and a Fan Factor of 1
11 players and only 1 re-roll might seem scary to most players but I am not like most players! I've been playing the Germs in our local league with only 2 re-rolls and it has yet to be a problem. With the right skills the team doesn't really require them all that often. After the event was over I realized there were at least 3 game halves where I didn't use my 1 re-roll at all!

So perhaps you're wondering how I did overall? Not so great. My final game stats for the day were 0 wins, 2 ties, and 2 losses. There were a few outside factors which came into to play here but for the most part my team just couldn't cut it against full rosters with more skills. Here's a quick rundown of my games (as I remember them). No names for the players or teams and no final point tally for the Germs - I don't want to half remember/guess them and be wrong!

Game 1 against High Elves
First pairing was against a High Elf team. In most situations this would be a great match up for Nurgle as the High Elves rely heavily on the passing game to win - something that is difficult to do with to much Disturbing Presence on the pitch. Coupled with a blizzard which lasted the entire game, it seemed that NUFFLE had the High Elves number for this game.. but in the end it was a 1-0 loss for the Germs. 

The Germs received the ball and began their slow, tank-like roll, up the field along the sideline. Shortly after entering the HE side of the pitch a (really) lucky blitz involving three dodges (one into 3 tackle zones) and two GFI's knocked the ball carrier down and sent the ball out of bounds. It was thrown back into the middle of the pitch where it was quickly ferreted away from the Warriors and shot down to score the first TD. The rest of the first half was a bash fest by the HE who managed to knock out a Warrior, my S4 Rotter, and a Pestigor, but failing to make it back into the end zone for a second score.

The second half started off strong with a great kick from the Germs (putting the ball 2 out from the end zone and along the sideline) followed by a blitz on the Kick-off chart which put Nurgle Warrior deep into the HE defense and kept them from retrieving the ball. After a long bit of bash and crash in the center field, with a few failed pick up attempts by the HE team, the Germs managed to get a hold of the ball and position themselves for a tie with 1 turn remaining. Unfortunately time was called before this could happen... leaving the Germs holding the ball only 5 spaces away from their TD. 
A fun (if disappointing) start to the event and a 0-1 loss for the Germs. 

Game 2 against Orcs
There were plenty of Orc teams at the event but I only managed to play one all day. This roster was heavy on skills and light on players which is something I was quite worried about going into the game. 

First half started with the Germs receiving the kick. Out of bounds kick put the ball in the slimy hands of a Pestigor while the throw a rock kick-off result knocked a Black Orc out for the initial drive. After a bit of cautious play on the line of scrimmage, the Germs managed to tie up the remaining Orcs while the ball carrier ran down center field and sat one space away from the end zone. With the Orcs safely tied up (either on the ground or hung up on Warriors and the Beast) the Pestigor danced to the far corner of the pitch and ground out the turns before finally scoring on the 8th. Not the most exciting half for my opponent, with the ball stall and some terrible rolls eating up all his re-rolls early in the half, but the Germs come away ahead 1-0 going into the second half.

The second half began as a complete role reversal as the Germs got plastered with a rock and the Orc offense quickly bashed a few players out of the game. With only 9 players on the pitch there simply wasn't enough Nurgle going around to stop the Orcs from driving their Black Orc bus/cage into the end zone to tie up the game 1-1. 

The Germs received yet again, determined to get a second score to win the game, but a rash of terrible rolls (mostly from the Beast) allowed the ball carrier to get knocked out of bounds and resulted in a loose ball. Even with tackle zones on the ball the Orcs managed to pick it up and run into scoring position with just one turn left in the game. A lucky blitz took out the one Orc TD receiving threat and stalled the game out on the last turn with no way for either team to get the winning score. 

With a lot of bad luck on both sides of the table this game really ground down the coaches and the Germs come away with their first tie ending the game 1-1.

Photo of the pitch - Orcs getting ready to smash a few Nurgland Germs!

Game 3 against Pro Elves
The third match of the day had the Nurgland Germs excited yet again as they saw the look of fear in the eyes of the Elf coach. Surely this would be another chance of victory for the forces of Nurgle on the pitch? Not if the skilled up Elves had anything to say about it...

The first half started with the Germs receiving the ball. Weather was nice and the kick off table was kind to both players... sadly the dice were not. After 4 rapid-fire turnovers from both sides of the pitch it seemed the game would be over quite quickly. The Germs scramble and manage to score a sloppy TD near the end of the first half. 

The second half began much like the first but the shining rays of NUFFLE energized the Elves who somehow managed to knock two Germs out of the game in quick succession. The Germs answered back with two injuries of their own but it didn't keep the Elves from managing a TD scoring pass out of two Disturbing Presence zones with their AG 5 Elf.

The remainder of the game was a back and forth scramble as the Elves lept into a rolling Nurgle tank and knocked the ball out of bounds. The Beast was Really Stupid for almost the entire second half but managed to finally wake up in time to tie up a few Elves who were threatening to score and led the Germs to their second tie of the game, ending 1-1. 

I hate playing Elves but this was a fun game with a lot of back and forth action on both sides of the table. A great (talented) opponent and hands down my best game of the day.

Game 4 against Dark Elves
Really!? More Elves?! God I hate them. For the last game of the day the Germs were once again paired up with an Elf team. Like the previous Elf rosters this team focused heavily on skills and less on a full roster. Lots of block and dodge made it difficult to knock the DE around much. 

Game started off in a miserable way for the Germs as they kicked off to the DE. The kick-off table was a High Kick, which took a far corner kick right into the hands of a skilled up Blitzer. A rash of armor breaking blocks left most of the Germs on their face or flipping over/standing up for the first 4-5 turns of the half. Coupled with the high MV of the Elves and the low MV of the Germs this made it incredibly easy for the DE to score the first TD. 

The kick to the Germs quickly devolved into a game of "don't let the Elves get that ball" as it shot into the Germ's end zone and sat far out of reach of the receiving Rotters. The Beast failed all his rolls (6 in a row) and the DE put two key players out of the game (the S4 Rotter and a Pestigor) before the first half mercifully ended. 

Second half started off much the same with the DE kicking to a lightened Germs roster. The one AG 4 Rotter managed to pick up the ball and run into a cage of Nurgle Warriors but the Beast continued his streak of absolute failure and stood around doing nothing for another 4 turns - culminating in a chance to score being shot by a failed Really stupid, successful Loner roll, re-failed Really Stupid combo that left the ball carrier open to a blitz.

The DE took the blitz, injuring yet another player in the process, and gained the ball only a few spaces from the end zone. With only 8 players on the pitch it became impossible to get the ball and safely guard the remaining DE players. A desperate one die block from the AG 4 Rotter gave the DE player a chance to Dump Off but the Disturbing Presence of the few remaining Warriors and Really Stupid Beast kept the recipient from catching the ball. 

The game ended 0-1 in favor of the DE team and the Germs left the field in pieces... tired and angry.

So that was my first experience at a Blood Bowl tournament. I knew I was going to have an uphill battle with the Nurgle team, but it was shocking just how handily I was pushed around by lower ST, lower AV teams. It just goes to show that a skilled up Elf team should be able to easily beat an unskilled Nurgle team every time. I had to fight so hard just to get the draw... it was really demoralizing. I much prefer playing the Germs in a league setting where their particular skills really start to shine when paired up with some experience gains. 

Will I go back for more tournament action? Probably. Am I sorry I went to this one? Absolutely not! It was a fun learning experience and I got to see first hand what the regional BB community is like. For the most part I liked what I saw, although there were a few folks I could do without, most everyone I met was friendly and easy going. 

Now to get back to painting up a few different teams... for the events where I don't feel quite so into being a punching bag for the higher tier teams.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing this. It sounds like you had a great time, despite the poor run of results.

It's tempting / inspiring me to arrange to Blood Bowl games with my group. How do you rate the current Living Rulebook (which I think is v6) compared to the set that comes in the box (I think it's 3rd edition)? I haven't actually played a game in about 5 years, and the one before that was another 10 years earlier, so I'm not too worried about remembering hang-over rules from the wrong set.

Randroid said...

I don't have any experience with the previous ruleset but I am quite happy the the CRP (the current version). Overall it is a well balanced and fun game with few rules problems. I would say overall it the best written GW ruleset... possibly because so much of it came from fan input?

Tristan said...

Awesome awesome write up. I wish I could remember as much of my games.

Glad to hear you will continue - the more you go to the better you will get. I would suggest Guard for your Beast and just use him to hold ground. Either that or maybe get Pro, to reroll your really stupid fails. Good for saving you from double skulls/chop blocks on occasion too. I also think Kick is wasted a bit without enough speed to really take advantage.

Really enjoyed reading your report - you're nurgle team looks great too.

Randroid said...

Thanks for the comments.

My Beast in our league currently has +MV, Stand Firm, and Break Tackle. Next up will be Guard unless I get doubles... then it will be Block or maybe Claw.