Sunday, August 4, 2013

Out of the jaws . . .

. . . of a potential tie, I snatch defeat.

Got in a rolicking game of BB last night against DaveB's Kill-street Organics.  DaveB's a masterful player, has been playing Orcs for some time, and even managed to place well in a large tournament in Las Vegas not too long ago, so I wasn't expecting to win this one.  He's also the person I was playing against when the game "clicked" for me, so I have something of a soft spot for his team.

We had good weather in the first half, he had the fan advantage, and I won the toss, electing to receive.  We lined up, and DaveB kicked off.


Dave's starting line-up has 4 S4 Black Orcs (which throw a 2 die block against anything on my team), and 4 Blitzers that start with the block skill.  They also have a significant advantage in armour (I didn't crack armour on an orc all game).  This means his line is scary as hell, and it fell to my (disposable) linemen to sidle up to the scrimmage line and stare down his line-up of killers.  I picked up the ball with my thrower, and looked for an opportunity to pass.  If I could get a catcher in behind their line, my main advantage (speed) would come into play, and I could score.

I was reasonable pleased with the double-guard combo I've managed to develop.  Having a blitzer with guard and a catcher with guard run together gives me some options, and I manged to use them to good effect, completing a pass, breaking past his line of scrimmage, and running my catcher down-field.


On his turn DaveB moved up the goblins you see to mark my catcher.  But hey, no problem, right?  4+ dodge, then a 3+ dodge, and with the Dodge skill, I have a re-roll.  Yeah, not so much.


DaveB grabs the ball, gets it upfield to his orcs, and starts to cage up.  Now I have to break open a cage made up of stronger, more heavily armoured players in order to force a turn-over.


This with about half my team still spread out across the pitch, and tied up by, oh, right, stronger and more heavily armoured players.


Yeah, not so much, the inexorable cage of doom ground its way down the pitch, while DaveB's extraneous orcs blocked the stuffing out of my poor humans.  He scored.


Okay, that could have gone better, but all isn't lost.  I still had 3-4 turns in the half.  Pick up the ball, break open a catcher, score.  Plenty of time.


Of course, that means I need to pick up the ball.  3+, with a re-roll.  No problem, right?


Problem.  Blew one turn when my Sure Hands Thrower failed to pick up the ball.  Almost blew another turn as well.  It took 4 tries to pick up the damn ball!  Then the catcher dropped it, and the first half dribbled out into shame and degradation.  Not before, however, one killer play where the orcs took out 4 guys in one play.  At the half, I had only 6 players left on the pitch!

Time to shake it off.  I was going to kick off to him in the second half, but hey, if I could force a turn-over, no worries, I could tie it up, right?  Even with the change in weather we rolled for the kick-off, it could happen, right?

Not so much.  I kicked off, he picked up the ball no problem, got it into another brutal ork cage, and down the field he went.


I manged to get some decent blocks, including a particularly nasty 4:1 foul, but just couldn't break armour.  Except for the one time I managed to crowd surf a goblin to his doom.


Again, the orcs score, and it's not looking good for my guys.  The orcs kicked off to me, but my team was in rough shape.  Both my catchers, and two of my blitzers were out of the game, the bench was empty, and one of my linemen had been flat-out killed my a particularly savage hit.  What were our heroes to do?

Why, a desperation play, of course.

On one side, I managed to bust loose one of my remaining blitzers.  My thrower actually managed to pick up the ball, moved just out of range of an interception, and chucked a long pass, that ended up inaccurate.  Miraculously, my blitzer still managed to catch it, and the Screagles were in scoring position.


Until, of course, DaveB peeled off two orks, who managed to mark my blitzer.  Now I needed to dodge or blitz my way out.  In retrospect, I should of done the former, but the latter made more sense, until I rolled double skulls, having already used my re-roll for the turn.  Ball popped loose, my blitzer went down, and things were looking bad.


DaveB piled a ton of orcs downfield, but manged to flub the pick-up, and it was my turn again.  I had my downed blitzer, and one other guy who could get across.  This is how things looked at the start of the turn.


Not a chance, right?  Ha!  The Screagles never give up.  All I had to do was peel off one of the orcs marking my guy with a successfull 1 die block, then dodge out on a 4+, pick up the ball on a 5+, then pull off another 4+ dodge, followed by a 3+ dodge.  With one re-roll.


It worked.

It was like all the crappy luck for the first 3/4 of the game were distilled into one moment of reckoning.  2:1 for the orks, with two turns to go.

We set up on the line, I kicked deep to the right field, waaay behind his line.  Then I rolled a Blitz! on the kick-off table.

Now, here's the thing.  I've been reading up a little on BB, and I keep hearing about how formation x is good, but risky if there's a Blitz!, or how formation y is set up to protect against the chance of a Blitz!  For the life of me, though, I didn't see what the big deal was.

What a Blitz! does is give the defending / kicking player a free move with anything not marked by an opposing player.  In my case, it meant I was able to get in a hit on one flank that knocked down and ork, and opened up a running lane.  Towards the ball.  Which I could have reached, if I kept going after the hit.

It never occurred to me to go after the ball and try to score.

There's a lot of "if" coming off the situation.  If I'd picked it up (without re-rolls).  If DaveB's almost guaranteed 2-die block hadn't knocked me down.  But the thing is, the Blitz! result actually offered a chance to take possession of the ball and score, tying the game, and I just didn't see it.

Lesson learned.

End result was a 2:1 win for DaveB's orcs, one I'm not unhappy with.  I got in a TD on a terrifically fun play.  Despite the battering my team took, all I lost was a dead lineman (with no improvements), a niggling injury on one of my catchers, and a couple of players missing the next game.  I picked up a skill on one of my blitzers, and learned a few valuable lessons.  Good game, and a fun time.  I think DaveB had fun too.


Painting continues on the Paingivers.  I've got one test model completed, and hope to have the unit ready for a post by next week.  Probably not going to get a game in the next couple weeks, but once September rolls around, we should be back to the regular 2 per week posting schedule.