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Subject: ThunderBowl 2009 - Match 1 - Lizardmen vs Chaos Pact rss

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Wouter Dhondt
Belgium
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My armor is contempt. My shield is disgust. My sword is hatred. In the Emperor's name, let none survive.
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This is a report of my first match in the ThunderBowl league. Never played in a league so I don't expect to win often. Just playing to have fun and gain experience. We have 12 coaches in the league so we created 3 groups of 4 coaches and we'll switch groups after 3 matches. I was "lucky" enough to end up in one of the heavier groups (so I've been told): Chaos Pact (VNV Nation), Chaos Dwarfs (Going for the emperor!), Ogres (Safari Kills) and Lizardmen (Lizards ‘R’ us played by yours truly).

I chose the following Lizardmen team lineup (value 980K):
1 Kroxigor
6 Saurus
4 Skinks
2 Re-rolls
0 Fan factor

I wanted to have fun so I decided to field my big guy right away. 0 fan factor cause I expect to lose a lot of games (and fans) and it seems better to save the 20K and buy an apothecary after my first match.

First match was against Chaos Pact, coached by a seasoned Blood Bowl professional. So I'm expecting to learn a few lessons.

The Match

Perfect Blood Bowl weather. The lizardmen kicked off and Chaos Pact received an extra re-roll due to some brilliant coaching. The ball ended somewhere midfield. The troll and ogres on the line of scrimmage had little problem pushing my 2 Saurus en Kroxigor. One of the marauders picked up the ball and did a hand off to the elf, which was protected with multiple marauders. My lizards went upfield and tried to put a few tackle zones on the ball carrier. But they couldn't prevent the elf running and 2 go for its later the score was 0-1 after 3 turns. 1 skink was KO.

10 players left and the next kickoff a gust of wind made the ball a little bouncy. I started retreating 1 flank around the ball to create a cage. Then a skink tried to pick up the ball, and failed. Re-roll failed as well. Again, his ogre and troll did some blocking on the line of scrimmage and his other players moved upfield so they would be able to block my cage.

Using the same skink (number 7) I tried to pick up the ball and failed again. I decided to keep my last re-roll for future needs as the ball was safe inside my otherwise empty cage. More blocking on his side, knocking out a saurus. My turn I decided to use another skink, picked up the ball and moved upfield creating a new cage around him.

He broke through my cage and knocked my ball carrier down. But skink #7 picked up the ball and moved upfield dodging some of my opponents players. 2 go for its would mean I'd be out of reach of anyone from his team. First go for it failed and I used my last re-roll and succeeded. I decided not to try the second go for it and hope his blitz would not result in a knock down (skinks have dodge). Plan is to score in my final turn. His final turn he blitzed my ball carrier with a both down result. Ball scatters to the right of my skink.

My final turn comes up and I have to try and score. Only problem: I only was able to get in the end zone using 2 go for its, and I wouldn't be able to pick up the ball due to the direction of the scatter. But I had another skink that could pick up the ball, so I decided to try and do something that hasn't been seen since the 2488 victory of the Albion Wanderers. Skink #7 got up, ran to the end zone using 2 go for its. Then skink with number 12 ran to the ball and picked it up. Now I had to try a long pass to the skink in the end zone. A task no skink was made to do being stunty and all. Only a 6 would work and no re-rolls left. So I rolled A 6! Perfect pass. Only thing left was that skink #7 had to catch the ball. The same one that failed to pick up the ball a few times. And I rolled a 4. Unbelievable. The little bugger catched it and scored in the 8th turn. 1-1. And I only needed two 2+, one 6+ and one 3+ roll to do it.

After all players drank some Budweiser and some coaching using a baseball bat everyone was ready for the second half, including my previous KO skink and saurus. A riot broke out and it took some time for everyone to get back on the pitch.

Chaos Pact kicked off and the ball ended close to my players. I quickly made another cage and picked up the ball. Some blocking action and a few turns later I had a half decent cage midfield. But his linemen completely blocked my cage and his ogre and troll blocked some of my players. I tried to punch a hole through his defenses to send my ball carrier through but failed. After a block he was able to blitz the ball carrier. The ball scattered with nobody able to catch it and it ended on an empty spot between our two teams. We both suspected the ball to be there for a long time.

He decided to try it and the pick up succeeded. He moved away from the crowded midfield towards the end zone. His other players where blocking mine. Several players down and one skink injured with a smashed knee. I had two sauruses left to move. Used one to block and clear a tackle zone so the other was able to blitz his ball carrier. Both down so a turnover and my Saurus got a fractured leg. He had two options: his player could stand up, pick up the ball and score using two go for its. But that is rather risky and is known to fail in moments like these. So he decided to use a safe route and pick up the ball, run a little and use other players (including the ogre) to create half a cage.

My turn my Kroxigor was looking forward to blitz the ball carrier. It was my only player able to do the blitz and he hoped I would fail my bone head roll. But it worked and the ball ended up after the ogre. Turns where running out and the only thing I could do was pick up the ball with a skink and run as far away as possible making it impossible for him to score. I also blocked his one player that could blitz my skink resulting in another both down. And it was to late. He wasn't able to go for the skink in his final turn. A draw.

Aftermath

I was quite happy and lucky to get a draw out of it. I have two injured players that will miss the next match though (with the skink having a niggling injury). We're playing without the journeymen rule and I'm not looking forward to field 9 players against ogres or chaos dwarfs. Luckily I received 60K for my match meaning I could buy a new Skink. The apothecary will have to wait.

Afterthoughts

Chaos Pact is a great team, and should be fun to play. I thought having seven strength 4+ would be huge, but facing 2 strength 5 players was hard. I had to keep enough Sauruses close to them to keep them occupied, but this also meant I had fewer players to run around with. It was very hard to break through his armor as well. All in all I had lots of fun playing this match.

Anyone interested in future reports, drop me a message. Remarks welcome as well. I should probably try to include pictures next match. You can also follow the team progression here.

Edit: spelling
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Devin Smith
England
Southampton
Hampshire
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Complain louder to the Commissioner, the Journeyman rule is important for team balance. Elves, Lizards, and other expensive-but-fragile teams really need it.

You only really need two of the sauri to keep the big guys occupied.. you can use skinks for the assists.

Otherwise: good luck, and good luck getting skill ups. Some block goes a long way on the sauri.
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Wouter Dhondt
Belgium
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My armor is contempt. My shield is disgust. My sword is hatred. In the Emperor's name, let none survive.
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Song of my soul, my voice is dead; Die thou, unsung, as tears unshed. Shall dry and die in Lost Carcosa.
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Maybe that's why there is no elf team in the league .

The journeyman is a good rule in theory. But some people tend to abuse it and end up with a team of 7-8 star players to have a low team rating and then use the linemen from the journeyman to fill the gaps. If we had journeyman I wouldn't buy the extra skink but I'd buy an apothecary. I could save whoever get's hurt from my 9 players next match and get my players back for the 3rd game.

Inducements should be enough to solve the problem of missing / killed players and team balance. Skinks aren't expensive anyway at 60K. whistle

Edit: on using skinks for the assists: I only have 4 skinks in this build and putting them near a strength 5 player with mighty blow doesn't seem a good idea. I don't see a Saurus picking up the ball with ease. I know it can happen, but I'd burn through re-rolls a lot faster.
 
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Devin Smith
England
Southampton
Hampshire
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The journeymen count against your team rating. And to start you must have 11 players on your roster. They're relatively hard to abuse in a way that is actually a good idea.

Skinks are fairly pricey, especially for stunties. Given that only have four of 'em, I see why you're protective of the little guys.
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Gert Corthout
Belgium
Lille
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I've seen the theories on journeyman abuse before but they are just that, they never hold up in practice. Many have tried it (especially with wood elves), all of them have failed.
They still count towards your TV and come with loner, that's a big penalty. A regular lineman is always better value.
The balance in LRB 5 has shifted so that "star players" cannot make the difference unsupported: mainly due to easier access to Frenzy and Dauntless and the adding of Wrestle. The best team is one that has skills across the team, teams relying on a few highly developed players should always struggle vs well developed teams. A simple lineman with Tackle and Wrestle (both general skills) takes down any opponent 50% of the time on a 1-die block. A simple foul should do the rest. Journeymen don't cut it vs developed teams, they'll be in the ko and injury box very fast. And seeing that you're using journeymen you won't have too many players and you'll be in trouble soon.

Journeymen are a pretty good addition to avoid games that are over before they start.In a 9 vs 11 game, if you suffer a few early cas it'll be a very painfull and boring game.

edit: on skink assists, the trick is to place the skink somewhere where he'll no longer be in a TZ after the block is made (opponent is pushed away). In my experience the best way to deal with a big guy is just park a player (in this case a saurus) next to it and watch it go stupid and make plenty of turn overs. Don't try to injure them (that's usually what the oponent wants you to do because you'll need a lot of players to get a 2-die block and even then he has high armour and is tough to injure), it's easier to go for the squishy targets on the team, like maurauders.
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Tyler Reeves
Canada
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Wow! You stole our name!!!!!! We have been Thunderbowl for years. Check it out. 50 man league in Surrey BC Canada.

http://www.thunderbowl.ca/
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Wouter Dhondt
Belgium
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My armor is contempt. My shield is disgust. My sword is hatred. In the Emperor's name, let none survive.
badge
Song of my soul, my voice is dead; Die thou, unsung, as tears unshed. Shall dry and die in Lost Carcosa.
Avatar
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Hmmm, didn't know that. The club I play in is called the thunderbolts (http://www.thunderbolts.be) so it seemed natural to call if the thunderbowl.
 
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