That Blogger extraordinaire, Ray Rousell has a blog entitled Don't Throw a 1
Clearly Ray doesn't play Blood Bowl.
To be honest, when I first contemplated starting this blogging malarky, I had a sub-title heading to the blog - "As long as I don't roll a 1", which I then discarded when I saw the title of Ray's blog as it was too similar. It is, however, a well used phrase when playing Blood Bowl, at least when I play Blood Bowl, and so it proved in Friday night's match up between Alan's Norse team - "The Skullcrushers" and my doughty Dwarf team - "The Dwarrow Boys".
Friday night was the first time that either myself, or Alan, had had the Blood Bowl board out for a long time. In fact, my last game, was the one against Ruarok in the bittersweet tale of Kevin "Kung-Fu" Buttersby which I described in my post entitled What would you do? and that was posted on 15 May 2011! Far, far too long and so blowing the dust off the Dwarrow Boys carry case they set up to kick off against the Skullcrushers.
Alan was assisted by his son, Josef, who at 9 years old, is already a seasoned gamer. He also rolls dice like a demon. On the Skullcrushers first block of the game, their Werewolf thumped my star Blocker, Kazad Doughtybeard, onto the deck, stunning him in the process.
The second Norse block of the game resulted in another knock down, this time my star Blocker, Kazad Beardthatisbrown, hitting the dirt, although this time it was just a knock down, meaning he could stand up again in my first turn
The second turn, wasn't any better. I had managed to knock over the Werewolf in my first turn but the mutt just got back up again and stunned my star Troll Slayer, Kazad Mohicanhead
However, with all these Dwarrows hitting the deck, the Skullcrushers were getting a wee bitty cocky and forgetting to adequately protect their player carrying the ball. Consequently, as a result of some skillful play by the Dwarrow Boys, their star Runner, Kazad Runsfastforadwarf, got round the Skullcrushers scrimmage line and grabbed the ball.
However, this brilliant move only brought a short respite as the damned mutt wheeled round and caught the Runner before I could make a safe getaway, the ball in fact bouncing into touch and then being thrown, feebly, back into play into the grateful arms of a Norseman.
Oh look, the Troll Slayer is still lying down on the job
Still, the ball carrier was in a dangerous position moving so close to the sideline and I had players available to do a bit of "crowd surfing" on the ball carrier. However, instead of going straight for that play I decided I would do what I thought would be a fairly safe 2 die block on the other side of the pitch with my star Blitzer, Kazad Shinyhelm. But I was forgetting that this was Blood Bowl and Nuffle, the God of Blood Bowl, likes you to kick you in the dangly bits if you get too cocky
The resulting turnover gave Alan's ball carrier the chance to scamper further down the pitch. But not quite far enough. My other star Blitzer, Kazad Evenshinierhelm, could blitz the ball carrier, with the help of 2 "go for it rolls". As long as I didn't roll a 1, the Blitzer would reach his target.
Alan didn't waste any further time and moved the ball carrier into the end zone
1-0 the Skullcrushers
There were 3 more turns in the first half for the Dwarrow Boys to draw level. The problem with Dwarves is that being Dwarves, they have rather short legs and therefore can't run very fast. Their Runner has a move of 6 which is the same as an average Human or Norse player. Otherwise for a Dwarf blocker their move is only 4 squares. Even with a couple of go for it moves, the Runner will get to 8 squares and well you saw what happened when I tried that with the Blitzer. To make matters worse from Alan's kick off after the touchdown, a very fortuitous bounce saw the ball end up 2 squares from my touch zone and thus I was a long, long way from getting the ball into Alan's touch zone and only 3 turns to do it.
There was a film made many years ago with Woody Harrelson and Wesley Snipes called "White Men Can't Jump". It was apparently about basketball, I've never seen it but presumably it was some sort of social commentary about "white" people playing basketball.
Well in Blood Bowl "Dwarves Can't Throw the Ball". They are short, have short arms and legs, can't jump very high (so presumably wouldn't be good at basketball either) and just don't have the necessary agility to guarantee being successful at throwing the ball. That was my long held view until my bro, when we were playing against each other in a Blood Bowl tournament in Manchester a few years back and he was using my Dwarf team, threw the ball on the very last turn of the game and by some extraordinary dice rolling, caught the pass and scampered home for a 2-1 win.
Well, I thought, if my bro can do it, so can I. I moved my star Blocker, Kazad Mybeardisgrey into position
First up, pick up the ball, needs a 4 - got it!!
It's a long pass, no point in trying a go for it move as it wouldn't reduce the range enough to make it a short pass, needs a 6 - woo hoo!! Got it!!
The ball flew majestically through the air to my star Blitzer, Kazad Shineyhelm, needs a 4 to catch an accurate pass - got it!!!
Now all Shineyhelm needed to do was run up to my star Runner, Kazad Runsfastforadwarf, and hand him the ball. The Runner, being quite agile for a Dwarf needs a 3 - rolls a 1, drops it.
The half fizzles out as I have no way of getting the ball down the pitch in time so we set up for the second half.
Despite the number of players who had hit the deck during the first half, only 2, 1 from each team, actually got knocked out and both returned to the line of scrimmage for the second half. This was clearly the calm before the storm as on the Skullcrushers first successful block of the second half this happened
My star Blocker, Kazad Mybeardisintwopleats, required to be taken to the hospital where his helmet had to be surgically removed.
Still, I was giving out as good as I was getting and before long 3 Norseman were also in the hospital wing and I had formed a loose cage around my star Runner who had the ball
But, in a brief lapse of concentration, I hadn't set up the cage securely enough and the Norse Runner was able to sneak round the back (typical Norse Runner tactics if you ask me) and put my Runner down who, of course, had to drop the ball. Still the ball landed in a fairly safe place and I still had the chance for my Runner to pick himself up, blitz the Norse Runner away thus giving me the safety to pick the ball up again and start moving down the field.
See, I used that "safe" word again. The Runner only needing a "push" result from 2 block dice first rolled a "skull" and a "block". Dwarven Runners don't have the Block skill so I burnt my last re-roll, with the inevitable consequence -
Unfortunately, (or maybe fortunately depending on your point of view), the battery on my iphone died so I wasn't able to take any more pictures of the final few turns of the second half. Alan, managed to get his hands onto the ball and then did something totally unexpected, he threw it downfield into the open pitch, the ball landing again just a few squares from my end zone. Again, I was left with no option but to go for another brilliant passing play which I pulled off with consummate ease and with a successful hand off play as well and a couple of succesful go for it rolls, my star Blocker, Kazad Manypleatedbeard, was a move and 2 go for it rolls from scoring a touchdown.
Cue Josef's intervention once more.
Once again, I thought I had covered all the ways through to my ball carrier. Alan was going to content himself with knocking a few of my players over in the hope of causing some damage and had resigned himself to the equalising score.
But not Josef.
Overruling his dad, he pointed out that with a couple of successful dodge rolls, the Norse Runner could reach the ball carrier and do a 1 one die block. Dodge once -success, dodge twice -success, onto the ball carrier and knocks him down. I now didn't have enough move left to stand the Blocker up (this costs 3 squares of movement) and get to the touch zone. I needed another passing play. My star Blocker, Kazad Goldbitsinmybeard, knocked the Norse Runner away giving me the space to get Manypleatedbeard back up and move into position for a short pass to the end zone. However, before I could do that I had to move my star Blitzer, Kazad Evenshinierhelm, into the end zone to receive the pass. I had to move 7 squares in order to ensure the pass would be a short pass, moving 6 would have meant it was to be a long pass with a -1 penalty to the throw. Dwarf Blitzers move 5 squares normally so I needed to make 2 go for it rolls. I moved into the first extra square and like a fool I uttered that immortal line - "As long as I don't Roll a 1".
But I did. No re-rolls left - the Blitzer fell over - game over.
So well done Alan (although I think it was really Josef it who won it for him) squeaking out the 1-0 win.
My lesson learnt?
You can't afford to play Blood Bowl if you are having to rely on high risk plays all the time. I get myself into too many situations where I have to rely on those damn cubes coming good and given my record with them you think I would have learnt that by now.
Well we'll see in the next game...........