We played a 4 player scrimmage game last night to indoctrinate 2 new people into the ranks of the amazingness that is Slaughterball.
The two "veteran players" that had a few games under their belts allready were Nemesis (me) and Carnage.
While The Swords of Damoclese and Valkyries were new to the game.
After a thourough training of scrimmage rules, the newbies were excited and ready to go! They loved every word I read from the rules.
Beating on people?
Surprise card maneuvers?
Opportunity for huge scores?
Hints at what exhibition and league play will allow?
Bring it on!!!
Damocles won initiative, so play order went, Red, Yellow, Blue then Green.
Damocles was fortunate to have the slaughterball launch right on top of them, so he managed to go into the grinder with a Slasher and open the goals inmediately and set up for a quick score.
But sadly his slasher was stuck in the grinder with no where to hide as the Valkyries began their first onslaught.
They managed to move in close and injure the slasher stuck in the grinder and then move in on Nemessis to try and score a couple more whacks.
Nemessis (me) was up and I was able to get my butcher up to the Valkyries butcher as she was celebrating her victory over taking out the Damocles slasher and in an amazingly 1 sided roll of doom, I sent her to the Slaughterbox.
I rolled over 9 knives and the opponent didn't roll any.
But that wasn't all of it. Carnage thought it would be fun to add insult to injury and played the card to kill his butcher. The most decisive move of the game!
It was at that moment that the Valkyrie player decided he did not really care for the game. He hated the idea of losing an athlete like that. I mean who likes to have a character die in round 1??? Can't say I blame him too much. Even though death or no death, if you don't draw No Time to Bleed, an injury may as well be death. But a first time player won't know that, all he knew was it's round 1 and hes permanently dowm to 5 athletes.
I explained that the odds of me rolling that well and him whiffing his defense were SUPER rare, but he didn't care.
And even worse, even though Carnage played the fatal card that triggered him, it was I, the injurer of the butcher that gained the Valkyries eternal ire.
I was in for a match...
I managed to score a quick couple knock downs in addition to my butcher injuring, or should I say, slaying? bringing me up to 6 points and taking the lead.
It was now on to Carnage. And since he was in last, he scattered the ball right to himself after Damocles took the first goal and took posession for a quick goal of his own.
And seeing the Valkyries swarm my team gave him the idea to doubleteam me.
So those two happily gave me a beat down.
Before I knew it, my butcher was in the slaughter box and my players were all getting knocked on their backs.
Carnage also scattered the ball far from other players easy grasp initially, making it more appealing for people to just brawl it out than to chase down a ball.
Damocles was rather turtled up and didn't ever leave his starting area the whole match. Usually the ball was way across the pit, so running to it was a waste, and instead he got into brawls with Carnage near the grinder. Hilarity ensued as nearly every chop test they engaged in resulted in equal rolls, so they both kept knocking each other down.
The Valkyries were up again with the soul goal of removing EVERY figure of mine from the pit. He wanted to see if it could be done. And I was his unwilling guinea pig.
He doubleteamed my poor Razor and sent him to the slaughter box and there were no penalty cards in sight. He never even got to touch the ball... I was down to 4 athletes and both Valkyries and Carnage were on me like flys on manure.
It was at this point where the gods of dice rolling decided to curse me and I botched every roll I made in rounds 2 through 4. I failed every check and got reduced to 3 athletes in the pit.
Going into round 3, the game was forced into a slug fest as every time the ball was scattered, it seemed to always be in Carnages lap. He managed to get very lucky as he had an athlete injured and another sent to the penalthy box in the first 2 rounds, but he immediately had the get out cards ready. So he returned his athletes to very strategic spots in the pit.
I slipped solidly into last place due to my dwindeling team and pathetic dice rolling. So I controlled all scatters. But no matter where I was able to send the ball, Carnage was right there waiting. So when he wasn't scoring small goals, he was helping the Valkyries stomp me into a pulp or he was playing, lets knock each other down, with Damocles.
Carnage had plenty of penalty expire cards and both, no time to bleeds. He spent the first 5 waves with all his team in the pit.
Going into round 5 I was down to my last 3 athletes and I made a decision. Since Green and Yellow decided to double team me, I needed to make a new target, so I spoon fed Damoclese the ball every scatter. He managed to score 3 very impressive goals right in a row, shooting from 3rd to first.
The valkyries gained a good deal of points from knocking me down and injuring my team so they were in the lead until round 5.
And here is where the silliness continued.
Penalty expire cards seemed to wear off and the Valkyries tried to injure my 3 remaining players, and ended up with 4 people in the penalty box. And his final player got removed leaving him with 0 players on the field. The very thing he set out to do to me backfired and hit him.
He went into round 6 with no athletes. And he was possibly poised to win before then.
My round 5 was an exciting one. I may have had only 3 athletes left, but they were positioned perfectly and I managed to get the ball 3 times and score 11 points over 3 goals, rocketing up my score. I was not close enough to win, but I was close enough in score to feel accomplished.
Carnage made sure I was down to 2 athletes going into round 6 and the round begins.
Damocles got a few points by scoring a goal, and tied himself up with Carnage.
Fortunately Carnages luck ran out and he was minus a couple athletes come the last turn.
The Valkyries were out of the pit as mentioned, so he resigned utter defeat.
I used my 2 athlets to try and hinder carnage as best I could and botched a goal that could have put me into a 3 way tie for first. It was a longshot, but that's what it's all about right?
Then Carnage takes his final turn. He needs only 1 point to win and he had a Slasher near the ball. With a burst of speed he got to it and made his agility test. The table is awash in excitement as we all hope he fails to pick it up...
And sadly... he got it. And thanks to burst of speed he got right up to the goal and needed only 1 blade to win.
Another hush hits the pit as he rolls his few meager score dice...
And low and behold...
Carnage takes the match over Swords of Damoclese by a narrow win.
It was an intense match. I will go over the final thoughts.
Swords of Damocles absolutely loved the game. On every level. Although he never left his starting area, there was always a foe to engage, so he never had to worry about an opportunity to score points.
Nemessis (me) overall loved it. I will admit it really sucked to be dog piled on so hard for no more reason than someone wanted to see what could happen.
I had some early moments of frustration as I felt I had no chance to win based on overwhelming odds.
It did give me the idea for some potential tactic cards that grant bonusses to players getting doubleteamed.
Like gain +X to your check if it is againat players of 2 different teams including interference.
Carnage was pleased with the game. I mean, he won, so how angry can you be? And he was tickled that he always had the right cards and despite him not controling the scatters, he always seemed to be on top of the ball. No one could keep it away from him.
And his turn 1 plan to turn the Valkyries against me by having me unintentionally kill his butcher worked like a charm.
Aa for the Valkyries. They had mixed feelings. Going in you swear the player was ready to declare this the best game ever. He loved the rules and the mechanics. But in execution, the game rubbed him the wrong way.
I don't think it was the fault of the game, it was the politics of his plan backfiring on him.
He felt that the obvious best strategy of the game is to ignore the ball and just beat on your foes. We explained that this game was an anomaly. Normally a team will be spread out and the ball will always be near at least 1 athlete. But in this game there were so many turns where the ball was nowhere near you, so the only options were to beat on people. The strategy of maneuvering into position to set you up for a better next round was never on some players minds, and it hurt them. The Valkyrie player was a bit of a cry baby because his goal of the match was nothing more than to ruin the game of myself, and when he got repeatedly penalized for his attempts, he felt it was unfair.
He didn't like the idea that you can get sent to the penalty and or slaughtetbox and stay there all game if you never draw the card to free yourself.
We explained, then don't provoke penalties without the cards to back it up! You fought the law and the law won.
In conclusion it was great. We are going to move up to exhibition level now and see how the dynamics evolve. And hopefully our Valkyrie player will have a better impression of the game next time around.
Thanks for the game report, Mike!
I think your friend will like the exhibition game better, where he can get Heal tokens to get out of the Slaughter box quicker. Plus, if he wants an even better chance to get out of the boxes, he can choose Nemesis for their extra cards. Or take Draw 2 Cards edge tokens, or more directly, Exit Penalty Box.
As for a slaughter vs. goal strategy, each game is different. I just played an exhibition game where the Swords of Damocles racked up an 8 point lead by round 3. The other teams then concentrated on slaughtering them, but the Swords still won thanks to their shooting game 22 - 19 - 18 - 17.