I got in my first-ever Blood Bowl playoff game on Wednesday night, against DaveB's "OMG, your armour is what?!?" ork team. With, I might add, my snazzy new, offical NAF member, not-blocking dice. Which is to say, when I signed up, I thought I was going to get some b-dice, and instead, got a set of all the other, non-specific dice instead. Le *sigh*.
You may remember DaveB's orks from the last time we played. The game where I started my last drive with six players on the field, out of an original complement of 14. Since then, Dave's beefed up his crew with the addition of this:
Not that he needed the muscle . . .
Not to fear, however, my plucky gang took to the field in perfect weather, and lined up across the pitch from more green bulk than an alfalfa harvest. I won the toss, elected to kick, and DaveB opened the game by having his Troll injure one of my linemen so badly he missed the rest of the game. Things kind of progressed from there.
Having torn a rather unsettling hole in my centre, he recovered the ball, caged up, and proceeded to drive down-field.
I did my best to hold him up, and even got a few spoilers downfield in case I managed to break the ball loose, but the ork hitting game was hot, and he kept knocking my guys around like nine-pins. Casualties began to mount, and it became harder to block off lanes.
He managed to screen off a chunk of my team, and managed to get the first goal of the game. One-nothing orks. There were a couple more turns left in the first half, but I couldn't get a drive going, and the half ended with the score still 1-0 for the greenskins.
At the kickoff in the second half, he sent the ball deep. I recovered, and set up a cage, which he promptly fell upon. Like unto a pack of wolves. Green, smelly wolves.
They knocked the ball loose, and the orks took possession.
While my boys often struggle to break orky armour, they can hit still do a decent job in the physical game. With the abundance of skill-based and team re-rolls humans can sport, they're also able to take some chances from which other teams mind shy away. Thus, out of kamikazi desperation, MY guys knocked the ball loose again, my blizter and catcher broke loose, and carried the ball downfield.
Now, at this point, I lose possession of the ball again. I don't remember if my catcher went for it and flubbed, or if it was the result of a hit, but the orks ended up with possession about mid-way into their end.
Once again, human skillishness came to the rescue. Two mutually reinforcing players with the Guard skill (which allows you to assist team-mate's blocks regardless of the proximity of opposing players) make for a decent little force. Enough to blitz a catcher out the opposing players' box, and fire a pass downfield to score.
One-all, and the "where the hell did THAT come from" look on DaveB's face was worth the price of admission ;)
The rest of the second half was a grind, with DaveB looking to score. A deep kick on my part, a key turnover on his, and some decent defensive play saw the second half end with a tie game.
In a tie, the game goes into sudden-death overtime. You don't get re-rolls back (though DaveB picked one up off the kickoff table result), and all injuries carry over. I started the overtime period outnumbered at something like 3:2 odds from all the injuries that piled up (DaveB lost two goblins all game, both ejected on foul attempts).
On the upside, I won the toss again, and elected to receive. It was do or die for the Screagles, and I wasn't going to win a grinding game. I stacked my line on one side, broke open a hole, and ran my catcher through it down the field. Now I had to recover the ball, and make a long-range throw to throw to the receiver.
The only problem was that both my throwers had been taken out of the game by DaveB's orks. One of them, in fact, was dead! That meant my Blitzer had to pick up the ball, throw an accurate pass at max range, and my catcher had to catch it.
I pulled it off. My catcher was now poised within easy scoring distance of the goal line. The only hitch was that it was now DaveB's turn. But hey, no problem, right? He only had one player that could possibly reach my ball-carrier, and that player had to "Go for it!" (risk a fumble, and turnover, to get extra movement). Then he had to successfully strip the ball. I figured I had pretty good odds, right?
Yeah, not only did he get off the successful hit, he also broke armour, and took my poor catcher out of the game.
It was pretty much downhill at that point. I was now out-numbered about 2:1, and only had 5 guys on the pitch. I simply didn't have enough bodies to effectively cover the board, not that I stopped trying.
DaveB scored, in over time, on the very bottom of turn 8, with his last point of movement. Final score 2:1 for the Kill Street Orc-ganics.
My boys had played their guts out, and had the casualties to show it.
4 players on the pitch by game's end.
Man, what a game! What a heart-breaker! That long-bomb was one of the sweetest, most ridiculous moments I've had in gaming. I've got to hand it to DaveB. He's an excellent player, very experienced with his team, and has a terrific command of position on the field. The only times I seem to get around his effective play is when I go for pure audacity, and then it comes down to whether Nuffle smiles on me or not. DaveB will now move on to the finals, and play the winner of the Nurgle (marke) vs. Skaven (Jack1080) game. Best of luck to him, he earned it.
In the meantime, the Screagles will make good use of the off-season to heal up and finish their uniform transition. The war-chest is getting pretty full, so we may start scouting for a few additions to the team as well. Casualties have brought the team value down a peg, so there's room for a few, shall we say, larger players?