Got in a league Blood Bowl game Wednesday against marke's Nurgle team, the Notters, and due to a combination of dumb luck, some decent (I think?) defensive play, and both of us forgetting marke's team's rules, came away with a one-all tie.
I've always been fond of Nurgle, dating back to an old White Dwarf that covered him in depth. He's like Santa, only with pus and flies. The Nurgle team in BB is also pretty flavourful, and is a break from some of the zippier teams I've played so far, so I was looking forward to the game.
We had good weather, I won fan support, and elected to kick off in the first half. In retrospect, this may have been a mistake. Being ridiculously new, I wanted to get a sense of what a Nurgle team could do, so opted to start out on defense (the idea being that there's less to keep track off). I probably should have opted to receive, and put pressure on him from the outset.
The heart of the Nurgle team is basically a pack of killers, 4 chaos warriors and a Beast of Nurgle. High strength, high armour, and a set of abilities that interfere with the opponent's actions (when anyone remembers them ;). Starting LoS had my poor linemen staring down behemoths like these:
Any of these models can throw a 2-die block against my players, and on the off chance I come away on top, they can generally rely on their armour to prevent the more entertaining outcomes. As a result, after kickoff (where the ball refused to scatter in any direction except towards me!), marke's first block put one of my linemen in the KO box, and he rapidly was joined by friends.
On defense, the trick seems to be limiting their movement as much as possible, while denying them as many opportunities to block as possible. The latter means holding them to a single blitz (their one-per-turn move plus block option), but shadowing their players, so the ball never advances more than one (or at most, two) squares a turn. I think I did fairly well at this, as I don't remember a turn where marke got more than two blocks.
Despite this, once marke had set up his cage, he was able to grind his way down-field pretty effectively, other than the one turn where his Beast went Stupid and couldn't act. His hitting was also insanely effective, as were his dice on armour rolls. By the half, I think I had a couple guys out of the game, and something like 4-5 in the KO box.
In contrast, I needed to double-team a single of his chaos warriors just to get a one-die block. I generally only threw these with my blitzers (who's skills help them tip the odds), and flat out got lucky. I probably threw at least a dozen 1D blocks over the game, and never rolled skulls (the worst possible outcome).
marke eventually took enough of my guys off-pitch that stopping him from scoring was kind of a pipe dream, but it took him all 8 turns to do it, and he had to go for it (roll a die for extra movement, failure means a loss of ball) to score. I even had a chance to strip the ball late in the half, when a blitzer made a suicidal charge into his cage, got a hit on hit ball carrier, used a team re-roll to try again on the block, and got another "push" result (not enough to force his carrier to drop the ball). Given how close it was, a slightly better scatter on the kick-off, and I would have held him scoreless in the first half.
After marke scored, I had a single turn left int he first half, and managed to bring in about half my KO'ed players. We then started up the second half, I received, and the rest of my guys unscrambled their marbles and took the field.
I figured there was no way I was going to win a bashing contest, so my best bet would be to get a pass off, and run my catcher, with escort, downfield. With a little more control over who got hits, I managed to pop a hole on the right, passed, and hooked my catcher around the end of his line.
This was one of those points where both marke and I forgot about the special rules Nurgle brings to the table. I should have taken something like a -2 penalty to my rolls to pass and catch, which would at a bear minimum have prompted me to try something slightly less risky, like a hand-off, but in the heat of the moment, neither of us remembered, and by the time marke did, play was well advanced. Apparently, my guys took some Gravol pre-game.
I now had a guy in scoring position, being chased by a horde of stinky, rotting chaosflesh, but it was marke's turn. Although Nurgle teams have a low movement, he managed to mark my runner with a couple of players. If I was going to score, I'd have to dodge out or break free.
As I recall, I managed a block to dislodge one of the blocking players, and dodged my catcher out. At that point, got cocky. We were about 4 or 5 turns in, and I thought I'd have some time to run the ball away from marke's players and run up some experience on my players. Needless to say, I screwed up my rolls, and the ball bounced loose. What followed was about 2-3 turns of both of us scrambling for the ball, neither of us able to secure it, and a fair bit of back and forth hitting.
In the end, I managed to recover the ball, and ran it in for a score. I kicked off to him, we traded a few hits, and that was game.
For all that my team took a hammering, I came out of the game surprisingly well. None of my injured players was hurt badly enough to miss more than this game, and two of my players picked up skills. It'll be at least another week before I get out for a game again, but I've got one tentatively scheduled against DaveB's orc team. Looking forward to it.