The starting line up for my kitbashed orc blood bowl team!
For the second week in a row our popular Wednesday Night Gaming slot resounded to the cheers and jeers of Blood Bowl. We only managed to get in one half’s play due to spending an hour bashing the new Wardex for 40k despite the fact that none of us have seen it yet. Good times!
Once again it was left to Servitob and I to throw down and with the flip of a cardboard token I ended up with the Orcs again, although, in a change from last week, I’d also be kicking off. We used the teams that came with the starter set and at the end of the half Servitob was left with a dugout full of knocked out linemen and blitzers while I had a knocked out thrower, a sent off for fouling Black Orc and a touchdown.
After having spent two weeks now playing with the Orcs I thought I’d offer my insights into the team. If we do get around to running a league the Orcs are what we will see Servitob fielding. In general the Orc lineup isn’t the fastest nor the most agile, however, they have an average strength and above average armour. When you can set up overlapping tackle zones and block assists then they become really good.
Normally Orcs work because they are cheap and you get more of them than your enemy does of his own troops, unfortunately this doesn’t carry over to Blood Bowl as each team can have a max of 11 players on the field at any one time. What will keep you going is that armour, having an average of AV8 across the team means that it will take a roll of 9 or more to get an injury roll and as any of you know, that is greater than the average. In two games I have only had one Lineman get knocked to the dugout through injury and only one Stunned Orc beyond that. In contrast I can almost guarantee at least one stunned result when I block or foul the Humans (my dice seem less cursed too) which takes them out of the game for at least two turns.
You’re not that fast as Orcs although Blitzers are good ball carriers, they have a MA of 6 so are your fastest players and the addition of the Block skill also makes them tough to knock down. If you can get the ball in their hands them can stomp up the field (this is what got me my touchdown last night). In fact, in a league or self-created team you can take up to 4 Blitzers and these would be the first things that I include in a team. They are the most expensive players outside of Trolls and are the same price as Black Orcs. While the Blorcs have better Strength they are slower and have no Skills to start with. While Black Orcs are more likely to hurt their opponent the fact you are missing the Block skill means that you have to settle for push backs when you could get knockdowns and I find this really limits their usefulness when put against the Blitzers. Sure you are pretty much guaranteed to be getting two dice and picking the one you want even on defensive blocks but most teams will just try to dodge out the way and ignore his tackle zone. With a lowly MA of 4 he’s not going to be running players down either. Ideally they’d need some skills before becoming useful at all hence why I’d be more likely going for Blitzers.
Linemen are obviously the bread and butter of any team. They have an average stat line with decent armour, they are best used in pairs to assist blocks against the opponent or as rush protection for a ball carrier. Even if they do get knocked down their AV8 should save them from getting injured more often than not. They are cheap too and will fill out a list after you’ve taken the various positional players you want to start your team with to get the tasty skill rolls. Orc Linemen can do some damage, especially against low Strength or lightly armoured opponents. I’d make sure at least one of them is putting the boot in on a downed opponent on a turn as the loss of one won’t really hurt you all that much and the potential to take an opposing team member out of the game or impact them in a league can be more beneficial in the long run.
Throwers are the last of the team players I will talk about as we’ve not used Goblins nor Trolls as of yet. To be honest, in the two games so far they haven’t really done a lot. On receiving a kick off they can be quite useful as you can grab the ball and then move into a decent position to hopefully get the ball to one of your Blitzers who can charge through the line of your opponent and make a run for the end zone. There are two in the starting teams but I’d be tempted to drop this to one. Generally he’s not going to be holding the ball for that long so if your defence is solid he shouldn’t be taking too many hits. If he doesn’t have the ball then there is no sense blitzing or blocking him as you want to position your own players to receive the football in the half of the field likely to include the thrower. The Pass skill is really what you are paying for here as that re-roll is going to be useful for helping your average AG Blitzers to make the catch (and also saving the team re-roll to make sure you do catch it!).
So, there you have it, a brief rundown about how I feel about the Orc lineup. I’m not a Blood Bowl expert but these are my thoughts after running with them and seeing what they can do.
IN what has now become a firm fixture in the 6 Inch Move gaming calendar we descended upon the Servitob wing of the floating citadel (recently upgraded with a spiffy new conservatory) for some Wednesday night gaming action.
As you can see from the cunningly placed image and post title last night was a foray into the Warhammer Fantasy world with one of GW’s stand out games from the mid nineties. Blood Bowl, for those too young to remember it, was a game encompassing most of the Fantasy races and took the form of a corrupted American Football game. The rules replicate passing, rushing and ferocious, bone-crunching tackles, that, in true Warhammer style, may mean more than a quick exit to the showers, where morticians are in greater demand that physicians.
We played with all the rules from the Core box, although I do have the Death Zone expansion waiting for later. We also used the plastic teams that came with this set. The usual suspects for the night’s entertainment were myself, our host Servitob and “no longer really qualifies as a gaming noob” nBreaker. I played referee for the first half and let the other two have at it. Servitob took the Humans while nBreaker took the Orcs.
The first half was actually rather tame as the two teams squared off, Servitob kicked off the half and the ball landed deep in the Orcs backfield where it was retrieved by a Lineman. The Humans blitzed, the ball came loose and they ran it into the end zone to open the scoring. The Humans then kicked off, this time the ball was picked up by an Orc Thrower, the Orcs on the line of scrimmage then did an awesome job of beating down their Human opponents to open up a rushing lane and the Thrower basically ran the length of the field and into the end zone. All square at the half!
In the second half nBreaker relinquished control of the Orcs to me. I stacked the line of scrimmage with as many Orcs as I could and left the secondary as purely the two Orc Throwers. Servitob used some nice positional play to open up one of his catchers to receive a throw at max range. Being the flukey bugger that he is he rolled the hard six needed for the pass to be accurate, The catcher grabbed the ball deftly out of the air.
What the poor catcher didn’t count on was a blitzing Orc Thrower that pushed the Human off the field and straight into the dugout. In following turns the Thrower picked up the ball while a Lineman made his way into the opponents half of the field. At this point my Offensive line of Blitzers and Black Orcs was pummeling Humans into the ground with a massive rate of success, this allowed me to get my thrower in position who chucked a pass to the Lineman who ran it into the end zone for the Orcs second touchdown. With only two turns left to go we finished the game as there was no chance for the Humans to get the ball and run it, not even if they’d have tried something similar to an on-side kick.
All in all a fun time was had and the league rules might come out in the future.
What is good about Blood Bowl is that the rules are very simple but leave a lot open to player strategy. You have one of four actions that each player can take in a turn, Move, Block, Pass and Blitz. Only one player per team turn can make a Pass or a Blitz (blitz combines a move and a block) which means you really have to think about what each member of your team is going to do and what impact that will have when the game goes to your opponents turn. Each half is a maximum of 8 turns and while that may seem like a lot there are many actions which cause a turnover so you might find that if you start off the turn with a Block that goes badly all of a sudden your opponent is having his go and you are out of position, so planning your turn is paramount.
Even with the fact we were checking on a lot of the rules (I’d read them through but as anyone knows that’s no substitute for actually playing) the game was pretty swift. It’s great that something that is almost 20 years old still plays so well and with no disputes about how things work. I know it has a huge following online and there are a number of companies who produce models for the same kind of games elsewhere. It’s certainly a solid game and I look forward to getting Gribblin and Carabus into a game soon. For our regular mid-week session this game seems solid to fill those few hours.
It gets a big Two Thumbs Fresh from this undead buccaneer!
Over the years the Sherriff and his motley crew have made a lot o’ games besides the main titles of Warhammer, Warhammer 40,000 and more recently Lord of the
Cash Cow Rings. If you walk into a store today you will only find the main titles, gone are the days when a GW store held a plethora of games set in the universes that they had created. We’ve seen some truly excellent tiles come and go, even Epic which was given a lot of support during my time starting in the hobby has drifted into a game with nearly no releases and supported by a hardcore fanatical few.
While I am sure that GW have their reasons for this I think that the company I grew up with has lost something with this lack of diversity they currently have. These days I spend relatively little on my GW purchases whereas when I was younger there were always new releases coming out for the various games and I’d be at my local GW at least once a week to see what was there and pick up the new shinies. With current prices I’d probably have to sell off my wife to fund such exuberance but hopefully you get the picture.
I’ve made mention before of the fact that some of these “specialist games” as they are now termed were amazing. Necromunda is still up there as one of my favourite games of all time, however, there is another game that I enjoyed and actually managed to get my younger brother to play as we grew up. Yes, the picture at the start of the page gave it all away a couple hundred words ago… sue me.
It was during our gathering for our little Superbowl party that I began thinking about a game called Blood Bowl. We were four gamers sat around watching the most viewed sporting event of the year and there is a game based (loosely) on Football, surely this should be something we could investigate. I remembered that my Dad had bought a copy when it came out and had the Death Zone expansion as well. He dropped it off this weekend when he and my Mom came to visit my wife and I.
Looking over it the whole thing is complete and I was even astounded to find that one of the many teams I had bought back in the early nineties was still in there, my all metal Chaos team. Coupled with the plastic Humans and Orcs there is a good diversity of teams sitting around right now. I spent many an afternoon playing my brother at BB, it was one of the few GW games he’d actually agree to play. Now, none of the other denizens of the floating citadel may want to play it at all, but we’ll have to give them the chance. Older GW games were a lot more tongue in cheek than the current offerings, things weren’t taken anywhere near as seriously, hence why gems like this are now unsupported. Even though for some reason the Sherriff still has copies for sale on its website although at twice the price it was when it first hit store shelves.
I’ve started to re-read the rules and the fact there’s only ten pages of them really gives you a feel for how things used to be with these games. They were pretty easy to pick up and play, wouldn’t take half as long as the major games systems and were generally just a bit of fun. I know that Blood Bowl still has an active community out there in Internet land and there are PC versions of the game to appease fans all over the place. However, from a personal point of view, nothing beats getting your buddies over, grabbing some snacks and pounding their figures into the dirt as they try to catch a long bomb!
I may be older and seeing things through rose-tinted spectacles but I loved these side games and I think the market is poorer for their loss.