It was the club tournament Blood Bowl final last night and I somehow had managed to get myself to the final with a severely under-developed Ogre team, the Tinys 'n' Titans. Across the table from me sat Tom with his Chaos Pact team, the G.I.M.P.S., in their second season (they got to the final last year too) and ridiculously skilled up; Block, Dodge and Guard all over the place, three big guys and cheerleaders to spare. The difference in Team Value? 480,000!
To say that this game was a bit of a tall order was putting it lightly.
However, there were a few things going for me. 480,000 is a lot and it allowed me to replace my missing Ogre with the star player Bertha Bigfist AND hire a wizard (which is my always must buy inducement). Although I was under no illusions that these factors did not completely level the playing field.
I won the toss, but the first half was characterised by a distinct inability to get the ball moving anywhere as both teams failed to capitalise on mistakes made by the other. With the ball still deep in Ogre territory at the end of the half, I had a last ditch scramble to prevent the G.I.M.P.S. from breaking through to take the lead.
The second half began with an outrageous kick that ended up on the line of scrimmage, right by the touchline. This left the Chaos Pact team dangerously spread out and Tom struggled to protect the ball carrier. My Ogres thudded into the human cage as the ball was carefully moved to the lightning fast Dark Elf in the centre ready for an attacking drive. That was when I unleashed my wizard and a lightning bolt fried the Dark Elf knocking the ball loose.
My Snotlings poured through a gap in the line to protect Midget Ure, who'd grabbed the ball and run as if his life depended on it (it did) towards the end zone. Only one Marauder had any chance of stopping him - he dodged away from his Ogre marker but his blitz failed and the Snotling was pushed closer to the end zone and able to skip away next turn to take the lead.
With only three turns remaining, the G.I.M.P.S. needed to move the ball quickly, and their Goblin was brought on as a last ditch option. Out of rerolls, the Titans resirted to desperate ditch defending, including their celebrated snotling line defence tactic, ' you can only kill one of us' (a tactic I developed with my Goblin Team. Forced to take a dangerous route through the defence the Agility 5 Dark Elf (not living up to her billing in this game) tripped and fell ending all hopes of victory for the G.I.M.P.S. for a second season.
The Snotlings made an outrageous attempt to add to the score, moving the ball to within sprinting distance of the end zone with only on turn to go. Determined to avoid humiliation, the last Marauder flattened the little pipsqueak properly this time. The game was over and the least fancied side in the league (okay, maybe that was the Cream Cake Snackers) had taken the title against all the odds.
I've really enjoyed this season of Blood Bowl. Playing the Ogres has been a real challenge and in all honesty I'd say that they're not as bad as 'Blood Bowl Experts' make them out to be. However, they are very dice dependent and if the Ogres are failing Bonehead rolls you're in trouble. On the other hand, if those Bonehead rolls are kind (as they were in the semi-final) then there are not many teams that can handle six Ogres.
Perhaps the most interesting thing about playing Ogres is that I've learned a fair bit about the play-styles of my club mates from how they've reacted. When I last won the club competition with Skaven a couple of years ago, the games were all about my team's speed and really everyone was on the back foot. However, the Ogres and Snotlings are more of a struggle and I've really had to unpick my opponent's defence carefully, exploiting their mistakes. The fact that the games were often slow meant I've had time to study their strategies.
Some players backed off the Ogres (afraid of casualties), never really getting stuck in and allowed me to use Break Tackle and Dodge to move the ball. Some tried to drag me into midfield scrums and I found that against these players usings a couple of Ogres to pin their strong guys and scrap, allowed me to take the ball around them. On defence, I found that a lot of my opponents really underestimated how mobile the Ogres (especially with Break Tackle) are and how irritating Snotlings can be, whilst others tried to do too much and didn't play a safely as they should. This should all be useful intel next year...when I'll be returning to a team that caused me real trouble when I last used them: the Slann Frogcisco 49ers!!!
So that's Blood Bowl done for another year. I'm really lookign forward to getting back to some other games now. Next week I'm playing Stoo's Skaven with my Wood Elves at WFB. Not sure if this is when I'll be breaking my duck with the Elves in 8th...but we can always try...
Pictures to follow, possibly...