Sunday, November 24, 2019

Oh, What's the Bloody (Bowl) Point?

I played two league games of Blood Bowl last week, and alas, I lost both.

First up was the Chaotic Warps, a mixed team of goblins and skaven. It was a brutal match with plenty of casualties on both sides, but the only touchdowns were scored by the Warps, and it's touchdowns that count.

(Well, until you get to end-of-season tiebreaks, then casualties count, but I doubt that will be relevant for me.)

I'm not sure where I went wrong with this one. Perhaps it was getting drawn into a brawl rather than trying to score, but then again I'm not certain I had many opportunities to score.

I do know that once again I had a vampire taken off and refusing to come back on -- and I think it was again my number 11, Bella, who doesn't seem committed to the cause -- so I resolved to hire a fourth vampire for my next match to give me some more options.

One of my thralls somehow avoided being killed and picked up enough experience points to develop a new skill, so I gave him Kick, which again should give me some options in future matches.

All in all, it wasn't a win, but the match did generate plenty of experience points to help develop my team so it could have been worse, I suppose.

Final Score: Purple People Eaters 0 - Chaotic Warps 2
(Casualties 2 - 2!)

The very next day I played the Vanaheim Valkyries, an experienced amazon team that as of writing sits at third overall in the league, separated only from second place by touchdown difference. The Valkyries are in their third season, have lots of skills and special abilities, and an excellent win/draw/loss record. I wasn't expecting to get even close to a win.

The vast difference in team value -- Blood Bowl's rough indicator of team quality -- between the Valkyries and the vampires allowed me to pick up some special benefits to -- in theory -- balance things a bit. The difference was so vast that I was able to hire the most expensive star player, Morg'n'Thorg in the game, and I couldn't turn that opportunity down.

The Valkyries, despite the strength of the individual players, was short on numbers, so my plan was to strike at the relatively weak linewomen, take them out of the game, and then exploit the numeric advantage to maybe, just maybe, scrape a draw. Morg, or in this case his sister, Marge, was key in that strategy.

As you can probably imagine, it was not to be.

Aside from the match against the Chaotic Warps, I seem to have had awful luck in taking out opposing players, while at the same time mine crumple like paper. Even the soft halflings seemed to bounce when they should break. Marge'n'Thorg was of little help and despite smashing amazons all over the pitch, couldn't put one down for longer than a turn. One of the Valkyrie linewomen was killed but it was as the result of an opportunistic foul, so the player didn't even pick up experience for it.

Meanwhile the skilled Valkyries players carved my defensive lines to pieces. They seemed to be everywhere at once and I had no response. My vampires managed to get the ball a couple of times but were unable to get it further forward than the halfway line.

My attempt to outnumber the amazons failed, and I had no further strategy beyond that, so I can't blame anyone but myself for the loss. Yes, my luck is sometimes terrible and yes, the opposing coach is very good at the game, but the truth is I had no idea what to do and it showed.

Final Score: Purple People Eaters 0 - Vanaheim Valkyries 3

Worry not! Despite the title of the post, I haven't lost my enthusiasm for Blood Bowl. It's one of my favourite games and I enjoy playing even when I'm losing, which is good, as I lose most of the time. I have five more games to play this season and I hope I can get some better results; I will be happy if I can win at least one game.

Next up is an orc team that is again much more experienced than mine, but has lost their last nine games. They look to be a tough, bashy team, so my plan is to make use of the vampires' greater agility and try to out-manoeuvre the orcs and maybe score a touchdown. Stranger things have happened. Apparently.

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