Saturday, May 26, 2012

"Intentional Pounding": Blood Bowl Team Manager

So back on the 16'th we were supposed to play Marvel Heroes but no one had an opportunity to properly prep it.  And trust me, that ain't the sort of game that you can just throw down on the table, skim the rules and start playing.  You'll see why soon enough.


After indulging in some Zombie Dice as a preamble, it was time to pick a headliner for the evening.  Andrew had played both Power Grid and Blood Bowl Team Manager recently so he felt pretty confident running either of them.  Eventually we settled on the latter because:
  • I hadn't had a chance to play it yet.
  • Dean had played it recently and liked it so much that he wanted to give it another bash.  
  • Andrew had tabled Power Grid only a few days prior and wanted to try something different.
  • Mike was being his usual easy-going, jovial, non-committal self.   


I'm not going to go into our extensive history with Blood Bowl just yet;  I'll cover that when we play the game proper next week.  Just suffice to say that some of us are completely enamored with the concept and we're automatically predisposed to a quick n' dirty card game set in the same universe.


The awesome thing about Fantasy Flight is that they seem to be in the habit of producing instructional videos for many of their new releases.  So, after watching six clear, concise and wholly entertaining vids we were up and running almost immediately:


THE TEAMS
Andrew...Athelorn Avengers (Wood Elves)
Me...Reikland Reavers (Humans)
Dean...Grudgebearers (Dwarves)
Mike...Skaven Blight (Skaven)

SET-UP AND ROUND ONE

  • "Endurance Training" gave us two additional cards apiece, extending the round and adding to the back-and-forth mayhem.
  • Andrew won the high roll and dropped a Wood Elf Lineman on the "Bad Snap" headline.
  • Mike played a Skaven Gutter Runner on "Personal Foul".
  • Dean's Dwarf Runner claimed the "Get Yer Head In The Game!" headline.
  • Since "Fumblerooski!" was the only card without a combatant, I placed a Human Blitzer there.
  • Andrew re-enforced "Bad Snap" with a Wood Elf Catcher, claiming the ball.
  • Mike tried to take out my Human Blitzer on the "Fumblerooski!" field but borked a one-die tackle.  
  • Dean challenged Mike on the "Personal Foul" play.  His Dwarf Blocker pasted Mike's Gutter Runner and the ball bounced back mid-field.  
  • I mangled Andrew's Wood Elf on the "Bad Snap" with an Ogre, gaining a Cheat Token and moving the ball back to start.  
  • Instead of responding there, Andrew "Got (His) Head In The Game!" and nabbed the ball from Dean with a Wood Elf Thrower.
  • Mike brought down a Rat Ogre, humbling Dean's Dwarf Blocker in the "Personal Foul" theater.
  • Dean responded with a Troll Slayer, putting Mike's Rat Ogre on his arse!
  • I played a Human Thrower on the "Bad Snap" headline, nabbing the ball from Andrew.     
  • Andrew came at my Human Thrower with a Treeman.  Just before he was smashed into oblivion, he managed to hand the ball off to my Ogre.  
  • Mike threw a Skaven Blitzer into the "Fumblerooski!" scrum, stripping the ball away from my Human Blitzer.
  • Dean's Dwarf Blitzer managed to steal the ball from Andrew's Wood Elf Thrower.  
  • Another Human Blitzer tried to pummel Mike's ball carrier in "Fumblerooski!" but I somehow managed to roll double X's!!!  D'oh!
  • Andrew's Wardancer kicked my downed Thrower right in the cubes, knocking him out of the "Bad Snap" headline.  
  • Mike's Skaven Thrower tried to avenge his Rat Ogre by grabbing the ball in the "Personal Foul" play.
  • Dean countered with a Dwarf Blitzer who proceeded to re-arrange the Skaven Thrower's already-questionable features.
  • My Human Thrower managed to drag the ball back to the "Funblerooski!" 50 yard line.
  • Andrew's Wardancer pilfered the ball from Dean's Dwarf Runner in the "Get Yer Head In The Game!" contest.
  • Mike bolstered up his "Fumblerooski!" defense with two Skaven Lineman.
  • Dean's Troll Slayer took "Get Yer Head In The Game!" literally by decapitating Andrew's Thrower and then playing footie with his melon.  
  • I tried to offset the "Fumblerooski!" war with Mike by recruiting a Human Lineman.
  • Andrew managed to claw the ball back in the "Get Yer Head In The Game!" war with a Wood Elf Catcher.
  • Dean committed no less then two Dwarf Longbeards to the "Get Yer Head In The Game!" meat-grinder.
  • I sent another Human Lineman onto the "Bad Snap" pitch.
  • Mike's sneaky Gutter Runner didn't "Fumblerooski!", expertly making off with the ball instead.
  • Hoping that Mike would be crippled by Cheat Tokens, I added a final Human Lineman to the "Fumblerooski!" play.
Round One Fan Count

Dean...8 Fans
Andrew...6 Fans
Me...2 Fans
Mike...2 Fans







ROUND TWO
  • Mike kicked things off by entering a Skaven Lineman in the "Spike! Magazine Trophy" Tournament.
  • Dean snapped up the "Rolling Cage" headline with a Dwarf Runner.  
  • I dedicated a Human Lineman to the "Goal Line Plunge".  
  • Andrew sniped the ball in "The Rolling Cage" with his Wood Elf Thrower.
  • Mike's Skaven Blitzer was the first to go "Over The Middle".
  • Dean's Dwarven Longbeard snapped up the "Fleet Footed Flea Flicker" headline (try saying that five time real quick).
  • In quick succession, I entered two Human Lineman to the Spike! Magazine Tournament.
  • Andrew sent his Wood Elf Lineman "Over The Middle" to oppose Mike's Blitzer.
  • Mike's Skaven Thrower burgled the ball from Dean in the "Fleet Footed Flea Flicker" contest.
  • Seeking swift revenge, Dean's Dwarf Blocker immediately hospitalized Mike's Thrower.
  • Andrew played a Wood Elf Lineman in the "Goal Line Plunge".
  • Mike's Skaven Blitzer annihilated one of my Linemen in the Tournament.
  • In "The Rolling Cage", Dean's Dwarf Blocker neutered Andrew's Wood Elf Thrower.
  • Looking to settle the score, my Human Blitzer ganked Mike's counterpart in the Tournament.
  • Andrew sent a Wood Elf Lineman against "The Rolling Cage".
  • Mike's Skaven Gutter Runner Yoinked! the ball in the "Spike!" Tournament.
  • Looking to get in the action, Dean sponsored a Dwarf Longbeard for the Tournament.
  • My Blitzer kicked Mike's ball carrier square in the knutz, taking him out of contention in the Tournament.  
  • Andrew's War Dancer dismantled Dean's Dwarf Runner in "The Rolling Cage".
  • Mike's Rat Ogre charged into the Tournament, taking out my Human Lineman.  And not in a good way...     
  • In "The Rolling Cage" Dean's Troll Slayer branched out, slaying Andrew's Elf Lineman instead.
  • I dropped the equivalent of a Tournament nuclear bomb in the form of Barik Fast...er, Farblast and the ball moved to mid-field. 
  • In an eleventh hour play, Andrew's Wood Elf Catcher stole the ball in "The Rolling Cage" headline.
Round Two Fan Count

Dean...13 Fans
Andrew...10 Fans
Me...9 Fans
Mike...5 Fans
  








ROUND THREE
  • With "The Weather Disrupts the Match", each headline was capped at three combatants per side for this round.
  • Dean's Dwarf Runner made a "Heroic Leap".
  • My Human Lineman stopped to "Pose for the Fans".
  • Andrew tried to Pearl Harbor me with a Wardancer on the same headline but rolled a "Blank" and an "X".  WOOT! 
  • Appropriately, Mike's Skaven Thrower went on the "Gutter Run".
  • Dean was first to wade into the "Knuckleduster Smear" with a Dwarf Longbeard.
  • My Freebooter Blitzer ensured that Andrew's Wardancer would be sipping his meals through a straw for the foreseeable future.  
  • Andrew's Wood Elf Thrower picked off the ball in the "Gutter Run".  
  • With his two-space ball movement skill, Mike's Gutter Runner made a "Heroic Leap" and grabbed the ball!
  • Dean pissed on Mike's Big Moot Sandwich® by using the Dwarf Blitzer's Strip Ball ability to move the "pig" skin right back to center field!  
  • I dropped an Ogre on the "Knuckleduster Smear" but after rolling double X's the stupid fuck just stood there and made cow eyes at Dean's Dwarf Longbeard.  "Friend???" 
  • Andrew introduced a Wood Elf Lineman to the "Gutter Run".
  • Mike's Rat Ogre charged up the field in the "Gutter Run", successfully tackling Andrew's Lineman.
  • Dean upped the ante in the "Knuckleduster Smear" with a Troll Slayer.
  • I responded in kind with my own Human Catcher.
  • Thanks to Andrew's Wood Elf Catcher. the ball moved back to mid-field in "Pose for the Fans".   
  • Mike shoved a Skaven Lineman out into "The Gutter Run".  
  • Dean's Troll Slayer wasn't so smitten.  He promptly marched out onto the "Knuckleduster Smear" pitch and knocked my Ogre right the fuck out.
  • I tried to salvage the same headline by adding the star player Slab, who apparently offered the Slayer nothing more threatening then a hand-job after I rolled a "Blank" and an "X".  Fucksticks!!!
  • Andrew sent a Wardancer after Mike's Skaven Lineman in the "Gutter Run".  After rolling double blanks, Andrew used his "Tackling Coach" card to try again but whiffed on the second hit as well!!!  Clearly my team isn't the only one stocked with organ donors.     
  • Mike polished off the round by adding a Skaven Lineman to "Heroic Leap"
Round Two Fan Count

Dean...17 Fans
Andrew...13 Fans
Me...12 Fans
Mike...6 Fans
 






ROUND FOUR: THE BLOOD BOWL


  • Unfortunately we had to skip a round because it was getting late and it was a school night.  Booooo!!!
  • My Human Lineman eagerly pursued "The Sneaky Weasel".  And, no, that's not code for something... 
  • Andrew's Wood Elf Lineman made like a Rogue on "The Backstab Special".  
  • Mike provided some opposition on "The Sneaky Weasel" in the form of a Skaven Lineman.
  • Dean snatched up "The Moustrap" with a Dwarf Longbeard.
  • I missed my third straight tackle attempt when my Human Blitzer failed to put down Mike's Lineman in "The Sneaky Weasel" headline.  Unreal.  
  • In an "All-Out Blitz", Andrew's Wood Elf Lineman snatched the ball away from Mike's Skaven Lineman.
  • Mike's Skaven Thrower promptly stole the ball back on the very next play!
  • Dean put Cornelius Crisphead...er, Krieg into "The Backstab Special".  Krieg then proceeded to use Andrew's Wood Elf Lineman as a pointy-eared condom.   
  • I added a Human Lineman to "The Mousetrap" in opposition to Dean's Longbeard.
  • Nonplussed, Andrew used a Treeman to knock Krieg down.  He then tapped his "Tackling Coach" card to re-enact a certain scene from Evil Dead.  I'm sure you know what scene I'm referring to...
  • Mike's Rat Ogre made mincemeat out of Andrew's downed Lineman in "The Backstab Special".
  • Dean's Dwarf Blocker failed to take out my Human Lineman in "The Mousetrap" but did succeed in getting ahold of the ball.
  • I brought in a Human Blitzer to try to pop the ball loose.  I finally hit on a two-die block and the ball went back to neutral ground.
  • Andrew waded into the "Blood Bowl" with a Wardancer.
  • Mike immediately flattened him with a Skaven Blitzer!
  • Morg n' Thorg entered the competition on Dean's behalf, mauling Mike's Blitzer and taking the ball for himself!
  • Barik Ass, er...Farblast ventured into "The Mousetrap" for me and snatched up the ball.  
  • Andrew's Wardancer did an "All-Out Blitz", burying Mike's Skaven Thrower.
  • Things get even hairier when Mike dropped a 3-Star Power Blitzer against the 5-Star Power Morg.  The odds on the tackle were against him since he had to roll two die and Dean got to chose the result.  But, since both of Mike's die turned up hits, Morg was soon getting an intimate view of the Astrogranite
  • Dean promptly returned the favor by knocking out Mike's felled Rat Ogre with his Troll Slayer.  
  • I threw a Human Blitzer into the "Blood Bowl" clusterfuck and curb stomped the wounded Morg until he was carried off in a stretcher.  
  • Andrew let the Mighty Zug off of his chain, who immediately ass-raped Dean's Troll Slayer.  This time he telegraphed the potential "Tackling Coach" knock out.              
  • Mike managed to grab the "Blood Bowl" ball...until Dean played spoiler with star player Eldril Sidewinder. 
Final Fan Count 
Dean...30
Me...28
Andrew...26
Mike 14





Honestly, I had a real blast playing this game!  It's a shame that we had to jettison a round in the interest of time.  My ability to garner Fans from the Star Players in my roster would have put some serious heat on Dean's lead.


At first I didn't see the game as particularly "managerial" but this certainly comes into play when choosing what headlines to pursue.  In fact, Star Players, support staff and training facilities are really clutch in determining how many Fans you end up getting.


Individual "matches" are highly abstracted, but this is a moot point since that's what the original Blood Bowl is for.  True to the spirit of its predecessor, there's plenty of tense die rolls and gratuitous bloodshed.  Since the original game isn't always the easiest (or shortest) thing to throw down and play, Team Manager is a great game to break out between League matches!


I heartily give Blood Bowl Team Manager five pips out of six!   


 

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