Sunday, October 31, 2010

Crushin' Gobbos

Yesterday, I played my third league game of Blood Bowl, against my buddy J's Goblin team, the Karak Eight Peak Piercers.  For those of you who don't play Blood Bowl, goblins are, perhaps, the weakest players you'll regularly see on the pitch.  They're weaker and have poor armor, and the one special rule they have that really helps them (it makes it easier for them to dodge around) also makes it easier to kill them.  On the bright side, they can take two big trolls and a handful of guys with special weapons (including a chainsaw!).  They're also dirt cheap, so you can have a LOT of them.  Anyway, on to the game!

I won the coin toss and forced J to kick.  As I've mentioned, you want to have the first chance at doing serious harm.  The starting weather was Very Sunny, causing a -1 Penalty to all Throw attempts, which seriously goes against my game plan (i.e. throw the ball way down the field and score a TD as fast as possible).  The penalty actually stopped my first drive dead.  J kicks off, and my thrower picks it up, rushes up the field and goes to throw a Short Pass to one of my Catchers, and fails.  But he has Pass, so he gets a re-roll!  And fails again.  The pass scatters off out of my catcher's reach, and I managed a turnover on the first play of the game.  Luckily for me, goblins are easy to knock over, so I managed to quickly recover the ball and score my first TD of the game.

Now I have to kick off to J.  The common Goblin strategy is to hold your special players in reserve (Chainsaw Dude, Fanatic, etc.) until your opponent is kicking off, so they get maximum field time, as they get kicked out after a touchdown or end of the half.  Unfortunately for J, I rolled a Pitch Invasion on the Kickoff Chart.  This means that we roll a die for every player on the field, and on a six, the player is Stunned (placed face-down on the field).  Not only did I manage to roll a six against four of his players, one was his mighty Fanatic.  If the Fanatic is ever knocked off of his feet, he's out of the game, so J lost one of his most powerful players before he even took a step!  I managed to stall J's drive and take the ball away, but he kept me out of the end zone and the half ended with the Elves up, 1 - 0.  The game was already going entirely in my favor, as J only broke my players' armor a handful of times, and I had yet to suffer a single serious injury.  On the other hand, he had one player ejected for getting caught fouling, both of his special weapon players were out of the game, and another player or two were out for the game due to injuries.

Without enough players to completely flesh out his half of the pitch, J placed most of his team on the line with a few back to receive the kickoff, starting the second half.  The dice were against J once again, and I rolled a Blitz, meaning that I basically got a free turn before J got to act.  My swift-footed elves tore down the field, one of my Blitzers killing a goblin on the way.  J barely got his hand on the ball before it was knocked away, and I make a quick score.  The rest of the half went much the same way.  Now heavily outnumbered by stronger, faster players, the elves could single out goblins, gang up on the trolls and more-or-less do what they wanted.  Two more elf touchdowns were scored, and the goblins' hopes for scoring a touchdown ended tragically when one of the trolls lifted a goblin to chuck him down the field. . .and stuffed him down his throat instead!

The end of the game saw the final score at 4 - 0, Philadelfia Eagles.  The Eagles inflicted seven casualties on the goblins, including two Deaths, and suffered none in return.  Thankfully, J is a good player, and we had one heck of a time yelling back and forth and dramatically rolling dice.  The Eagles are sitting pretty after week three, with a record of 2W 1L, some skilled players, and a good amount of dough in the bank.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

The Sting of Defeat

Alright, so maybe it wasn't that bad, but my Philadelfia Eagles suffered their first defeat this weekend, during their second game of the season.  It was a rough game right from the getgo.  For starters, I arrived at my buddy Kevin's house to play, and he took one look at what I was carrying and asked, "Don't you have a copy of Blood Bowl?" to which I responded, "Don't you?"  So we ended up at Off the Wall.  I was short a player, leaving me with ten on the field, but, fortunately for me, Kevin was short two and I had the advantage.  I had hoped that we would have a repeat of our first game, with me taking several of his players out of the game, thus furthering my numbers advantage, but my first drive proved that to be a fleeting hope.  I won the coin toss, and I am of the opinion that, in Blood Bowl, you should ALWAYS receive the ball for two reasons: one, you can set the pace of the game right away, and two, you have an opportunity to inflict as much damage as possible on your opponent before he has a chance to do anything.  Well, I threw four or five blocks on the first down, and didn't get a single knock down!  No big deal, it happens, so I just planned on rolling with it.  Until Kevin caused a turnover.  And ran the ball into the endzone.  So much for my first drive!

Lining back up for another kickoff, I tried to stick to my ol' reliable strategy -- run the blitzers and catchers down the sides of the field, have my linemen protect the ball carrier, and have the ball carrier hurl the ball to the catchers.  With their movement of eight, the catchers can easily reach the endzone in two turns, and with their elven agility, they are excellent at dodging away from defenders to get themselves open.  On top of that, unlike Wood Elf catchers, mine are Strength Three, and now both of my catchers have Block, so they're harder to take down.  In fact, aside from their Armor Value of seven, they're even better than my Blitzers!  But enough on that, back to the game.  Kevin managed to scupper my second drive almost as quickly as my first.  For some reason, I just couldn't get my team going.  They were failing to knock down the Paleskins, and I was rolling as bad as Kevin normally does when it comes to Dodge rolls.  Needless to say, the ball quickly reversed direction and ended up back in the endzone for Kev's second TD.

I did manage to rally my team, somewhat, and the end of the second half saw a quick TD drive from the Eagles, but I went into the half down 2 - 1, and I was kicking off on top of that.  The second half saw about as little action as the first.  I tried a few risky plays (dodging around and picking up the football near a lot of opponents), but they didn't pay off.  Kevin countered  by scoring another touchdown, and with a few turns left, I knew I was sunk.  I didn't want to lose out 3 - 1, though, and seeing as the game was pretty much over, I tried some even riskier plays and managed to bring the game to 3 - 2.  I had only one player, a lineman, advance, but, on the bright side, I didn't lose any players.  Here's hoping I get my third game in against some gobbos on Saturday, and I will, of course, keep you guys updated!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Icons Speaking Through Food

This has been a frequent thing in this day and age.  Some may remember the Virgin Mary Grilled Cheese of '04, that sold for $28,000 (making it, to my knowledge, the most expensive grilled cheese sandwich ever).  More of you may remember the more recent Grilled Cheesus episode of "Glee".  You can even buy things that you stick into your toaster to make "Holy Toast" with the J-man's face right on the side.  But nothing prepared me for this:

That's right -- Meatwad visited me through a pancake.  And yes, he was delicious.

I do wonder, however, if food is the new chosen medium for deities and awesome characters to visit us now.  Sure, the Middle Ages may have had the Shroud of Turin, but can you eat that thing?  Maybe, but I doubt it tastes as good as a pancake.  And there was that Virgin Mary in the window of a hospital in Springfield recently. . .so I suppose that sinks my theory.  Ah well.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

A Hard Day's Battle

Whew. . .just got back from a Warhammer tournament today in Manchester, CT.  I don't know about any of you, but I can never walk away from three 2+ hour rounds and not have a headache.  I've never quite figured out why, but I think it has something to do with a nerd adrenaline crash or somesuch.  Anyhow, I had three interesting battles today.  Here's the list I brought to the table:

Dwarf Lord -- Master Rune of Kragg the Grim (GW can have runes), Rune of Fury (+1 Attack), Rune of Snorri Spangelhelm (+1 To Hit), Rune of Stone (+1 Armor Save), Master Rune of Spite (4+ Ward Save), Shieldbearers, Great Weapon
Runelord -- Rune of Stone (+1 Armor Save), Master Rune of Balance (Steal a power die, make it a dispel die), Great Weapon
Thane -- BSB, Master Rune of Grungni (All Dwarfs within 6" get a 5+ Ward against shooting), Rune of Slowness (subtract D6" from enemy charges), Rune of Battle (+1 Combat Resolution)
40 x Longbeards  -- Great Weapons, Shields, Musician, Standard Bearer, Rune of Battle, Ancestor Rune (once per game, Stubborn on a 4+)
20 x Quarrelers -- Shields
30 x Ironbreakers -- Rune of Battle
Cannon -- Rune of Forging (re-roll one misfire per shooting phase), Rune of Burning (flaming attacks)
Stone Thrower -- Rune of Accuracy (can re-roll scatter die), 2 x Runes of Penetrating (+1 Strength per rune)
Organ Gun

Round One
I was actually surprised by my opponent for the first round.

Now, I've dabbled with greenskins myself (played for about two years), but given the 7th Edition slant against large units of cheap infantry, they were never overly popular.  In today's tournament, there were actually two greenskin players, and I had one across the table round one.  My opponent was definitely a nice guy, and we had a great chat as the game progressed.  On to the game.  The first two rounds saw his giant felled by missile and artillery fire, though I did little other damage.  My stone thrower misfired and destroyed itself, and the organ gun, which had a beautiful shot at a lone gobbo lord, misfired and didn't shoot at all before getting run down and destroyed by spider riders.  The cannon managed to do some damage to his giant, but suffered the same fate as the organ gun at the hands of goblin wolf riders.

The center of the board saw most of the action at first.  I charged two snotling bases with my longbeards and lord to close the gap, summarily slaughtered them and overran into twenty black orcs.  I was hoping another pair of his snotling bases would prevent his black orc warboss and unit of twenty boys from counter-charging said longbeards, but, sadly, that was not to be, and the greenskins crashed into my flank.  He managed to do some damage to my longbeards, since I was equipped with great weapons and struck last, and he had units striking at Strength 4 and Strength 5.  This turned out to be a great example of how insane a Horde unit of great weapon-toting Longbeards can be, though.  After sucking up a flank charge and some wounds, I managed to slay fourteen black orcs, causing both of his units to break (he needed snake eyes).  Hatred is a beautiful thing, by the way, especially when you have about twenty attacks that hit on threes and kill on twos.

My opponent's army began to fall apart a bit at this point.  His general's unit did manage to rally, though the black orcs, reduced below 25%, never did and fled the table.  The boys fled from a charge from my longbeards (can you blame them?), panicked his big 'un unit and a chariot, and left the remainder of his army in a conga line towards one of the short board edges.  Meanwhile, his gobbo lord on flying carpet (yes, there really is a flying carpet as a magic item now), spider riders and wolf riders snuck around my army and eliminated my quarrelers.  In the last few turns of the game, my longbeards managed to fail a 10" charge against his general, and ended up getting charged by both of his remaining units.  I took a LOT of wounds, and was down quite a bit in combat resolution, but that 50/50 shot at being Stubborn with the Ancester Rune really saved my butt, and allowed for my Ironbreakers to charge in and save the day.  I broke both of his units from combat at the top of Turn Six, but failed to run down either one, and both rallied instead of fleeing the board, so I was refused points for both blocks of orcs and his general.

I ended the game with a Victory, and received +2 Battle Points for capturing more points of magic items, so I was sitting pretty with 17 points.

Round Two
I faced another obscure army for round two, this one more so than my previous opponent.

This battle was an interesting one.  To start the game, my opponent deployed toward the edge of his deployment zone, and with his two units of archers, two catapults and the Casket of Souls, wasn't planning on moving, which left the not-so-fleet-footed Dwarfs to hoof it.  And hoof it they did.  I wasn't too afraid of his S3 stone thrower shots, until four per turn starting raining onto my Longbeards.  After three rounds of his shooting, my 'Beards were nickled and dimed down to about half strength, and my stone thrower had destroyed itself.  But twenty Longbeards and a Dwarf Lord were still up to the task of charging and destroying a unit of twenty skeleton bowmen with a Tomb Prince, finally bringing our armies into contact.  By the way, my war machines managed to eliminate his war machines outright, so I didn't have to worry about them any more. . .right when I reached their minimum range.

If the first three turns belonged to my opponent, I wrenched control away from him now.  After their victory against the bowmen, the Longbeards reformed and charged a unit of Tomb Guard with the Hierophant in it.  Just to be sure, I used five attacks from the unit AND all of my Lord's attacks to kill that hierophant dead.  For those not experienced against Tomb Kings, this means his army starts to crumble (they take Leadership tests with their low leadership, and lose a model for every point they fail by).  At this point, the game was more or less sealed.  He charged the Ironbreakers with a unit of twenty skeletons and another priest, and tried to tap dance his Ushabti into position for a flank charge, but I had maneuvered my Ironbreakers to make that a daunting task.  The 'Breakers used the next four rounds of combat to wipe the skellies, while my quarrelers and cannon handled the Ushabti.  The Longbeards sucked up a flank charge from another unit of skeletons while still fighting the tomb guard, killed both units, and then turned around to eat more skeleton bowmen and the Casket of Souls.  I tabled my opponent in the bottom of turn six for a Devastating Victory with four points from modifiers, for a total of 24 points on the round and 41 thus far.

Round Three
My third match was definitely my hardest.

So not only are Vampire Counts a solid army, but they were being fielded by someone whom I know to be a very decent player.  Also, I wish I had pictures of his army, because it's sweet (and won Best Army!).  I began the game with the most ridiculous round of shooting I've seen in many a day.  My warmachines, which had been lackluster all day, destroyed a unit of fifteen Grave Guard AND a Black Coach before they even moved.  Turn two, my organ gun and quarrelers shot down a vampire on winged nightmare that had a 2+ armor save and a 3+ ward save against shooting.  Of course, this was the last thing my war machines did, as the cannon was charged by fell bats and the stone thrower by ghouls, then the organ gun blew itself up.

Unfortunately, I had deployed my Longbeards and Ironbreakers too far apart, and the 'Beards were getting slowed down by Bat Swarms and Zombies, leaving the 'Breakers to fight the rest of the army on their own.  They held up pretty well.  Around turn three they were charged by a block of skeletons with a Wight King BSB and a vampire.  The enemy unit was bumped to Weapon Skill 7 by the vampire lord's Crown of Command (such an irritating item!), so now I needed fours to hit and he needed threes.  The units ground away at each other for a few turns, but then disaster struck.  For starters, my battle standard bearer was struck with Killing Blow and died an inglorious death.  Then my Runelord was killed in a challenge by the vampire.  And then the unit was rear-charged by a unit of thirty Ghouls (ranked ten-wide), who had Vanhel's Danse Macabre cast on them, so they struck first and re-rolled failed rolls to hit.

Never allow a horde unit of ghouls to be affected by Vanhel's.  I sucked up forty-one (yes, 41) Poisoned attacks with a re-roll.  There were roughly sixteen poison auto-wounds, and some twenty-two or so hits, which led to another eight wounds.  It was a miracle I only lost seven Ironbreakers.  Between being slaughtered by ghouls and losing static combat res, I broke from combat.  The dice gods smiled on me and frowned on Greg, however, as I managed to escape with my unit somewhat intact on a Flee roll of seven.  The Longbeards, finally clear of any further obstructions, charged the remaining unit of skeletons in the flank as the Ironbreakers rallied to face the ghouls.  My lord somehow managed to fail at his attempt to cause any wounds on Greg's BSB (five attacks, fours to hit, threes to wound. . .really, Dwarf Lord?).  Over the next two rounds of combat, though, I did manage to destroy the entire unit of skeletons.  Meanwhile, the ghouls charged the Ironbreakers, killed one, lost two in return, ended up losing combat by one, but didn't lose further models because the battle standard was right there.

When the dust settled, the only thing that saved me was the fact that I had both expensive blocks of infantry alive, as well as my dwarf lord.  After a real nail-biter, I managed a victory with a +2 modifier, rounding out the day at a total of 58 Battle Points.  When scores were tallied, I ended up going home with second place.  First place was a new Island of Blood boxed set, and I won $60 in store credit, which I promptly spent.

Ah, the spoils of war!  I, of course, toasted my victory and saluted the victorious dead with a tankard of ale (okay, Bud Light, but it was all I had!).  After all, I wouldn't want to upset the Ancestor Gods, would I?

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Season Opener

Well folks, I had my Blood Bowl season opener tonight!  The Philadelfia Eagles (did you see what I did there?) saw themselves matched up against the Naggarond Paleskins (Dark Elves).  For those of you not familiar with the Warhammer mythos, High Elves and Dark Elves, like, totally hate each other and stuff.  And I was playing against my friend Kevin, against whom I played many a great game in the last BB league, so I knew it was going to be a good one.  I managed to win the coin toss (and by coin toss I mean dice roll) and chose to receive the opening kickoff.  The first play of the game was already looking up for me, as one of my linemen (line-elves?) knocked down and injured an opponent.  Add to that the fact that my Thrower, Elrond Longarm, threw a complete pass.  The dice gods were fickle, however, as Kevin managed to injure Elrond, making his victory short-lived.

The first half was all give-and-take.  I scored a touchdown in the first two turns.  Kevin responded by scoring a touchdown two turns later.  Two turns later, another Eagles touchdown.  After that, though, I managed to hold Kevin out of the end zone, though I didn't manage to get down there myself.  At the end of the half, I was up a touchdown, 2 - 1.  Elrond was out for the game and will be out for the next.  However, on the far side of the pitch, two Dark Elves were out of the game from injuries resulting from blocks.  Another was injured and out for the game after being fouled (what can I say?  High Elves hate Dark Elves).  A fourth was out of the game after getting caught attempting to foul one of my players.  That's an exchange I would gladly make.

Obviously, I had to kick off to start the second half.  Unfortunately, the second half was a bit more boring than the first, with no more injuries.  Kevin's rolling did turn against him in a big way, however, with him failing more rolls on a 2+ than I thought possible.  As far as touchdowns, it was a repeat of the first half, with me scoring two touchdowns and Kevin another one.  At the end of the game, the High Elves were up two, with a final score of 4 - 2.  I had suffered only a single injury, losing my Thrower at the beginning of the game and, sadly, for the next game I play.  In the exchange, Kevin's Blitzer will also be sitting out his second game of the season.  Both of my Catchers earned themselves new skills, thanks to scoring two touchdowns each.  All in all, it was a solid win for the High Elves, suffering no lasting damage.  I walked away with two improved players, 80,000 gold and an increase to my Fan Factor (basically how popular you are, and how die-hard your fans are).  I'm looking forward to the rest of the season!

Oh, on a side note, I did get a test model done for my paint scheme. . .but decided I didn't like it, so I'll have to start over.  I promise to have pictures soon!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Video Game Reunion

So, I had originally planned on slapping some paint on my Blood Bowl team on this long weekend, but, well, something came up.  Actually, something eleven years old.  BAM!

I remember playing this bad boy circa 1999 in my buddy Tyler's basement.  Unfortunately for me, I never owned it, so after a few hours of enjoying the crap out of it (and passing the controller back and forth throughout the course of the night), I never played it again.  Until this weekend, of course.

I use a nerd trading website, that I believe I posted somewhere on this blog, called Bartertown.  Well, recently, I managed to trade for this game and its sequel, and have been playing almost nonstop since Saturday.  These games have gotten a bit rare over the years, but if you know someone with a copy, I highly recommend it.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Exhibition, Week Two

I didn’t have time to write about this yesterday, so I thought I’d take care of it today. Wednesday night saw the Philadelfia Eagles (did you see what I did there?) in their second exhibition match against the Karak Eight Peaks Piercers, which is a goblin team coached by my buddy J. The game went, well, just about the way you would expect a game to go when goblins are on the field. In other words, there was a lot of silliness and a lot of injured goblins. See, while most teams have a clear, effective strategy in mind, goblins don’t. Dwarfs are tough and resilient, and thus great at grinding their opponent down. Elves are agile and quick, and excel at outmaneuvering their opponent. Orcs just beat everything in the face as hard as they can. Goblins are focused around being ridiculous.

For starters, they’re weaker than almost everything else on the pitch, with low armor and a skill that makes them more likely to get injured. They do have two skills that help them dodge around the field, but when you consider the fact that they have only average Agility and take a penalty to throw the ball, this doesn’t help so much. What do they have, you ask? Craziness. For starters, a goblin team can take two trolls. They’re big. They’re scary. They’re stupid. They’re perfect for Blood Bowl. On top of this, goblins can also take a number of illegal secret weapons. There’s a goblin that throws bombs, another that uses a pogo stick. There’s a goblin fanatic with incredible strength. And then there’s my favorite – a goblin with a chainsaw.

The most common goblin strategy is to have your trolls throw the goblins. Yes, they are allowed to do this. You can pick up the goblin holding the ball and hurl him downfield, in hopes that he lands on his feet and can scramble into the endzone for a touchdown. Or you can chuck a goblin into a tightly-packed group of your opponents and hope to take a few out. This strategy tends to work very well. . .at least, if you don’t roll like J. Another thing I should explain is that J is a good player. He’s been playing for years and has sound strategies. But, for whatever reason, when he’s across the table from me, his dice hate him. It doesn’t matter which game we’re playing, he will make bad rolls that would cause a mathematician’s head to explode with the improbability of it. This happened during our game.

To begin, he had a Hell of a time just trying to pick up the ball. On top of this, he was having players get knocked out left and right, but couldn’t seem to find enough umph to take out any of my own players. His chainsaw-wielding crazy manage to knock one of my elves down, but couldn’t injure him, and was himself taken out only moments after taking the pitch. One goblin was even killed by one of my blocks. On top of it all, two goblins were eaten by his trolls! Thankfully, it was just a practice game. In all, J had six goblins injured by the end of the game, three of them dead, and several had been knocked out, returned to the pitch, and then been knocked out again. I had lost not a single player, and, in fact, only had three or four knocked out during the course of the game. Final result? Philadelfia Eagles (did you see what I did there?) 5, Karak Eight Peak Piercers 1.

Also, I found this (misspelled) demotivational poster that expresses my sentiments for Blood Bowl: