The RPS Cup: It’s A Skull

This is orcish for Hello
There will be blood.

Hentazu enters the game convinced – thanks to Janek’s coming on top in the battle of the elves against the Green Mist – that he hasn’t a chance at the top spot. I enter the match… well, I do have a shot. My final match is against Janek. I need to do two things against Hentazu to have a chance.

Firstly, not lose.
Secondly, make sure I actually have a team to play against the Raging Naturists.

Going in, the second one is the one which weighs on my mind. Yes, Hentzau plays an orc team like the two other greenskins in the league. But Hentzau doesn’t play It’s A Skull like those orcs. His strong point is basic common-or-garden absolute brutality, and – if you read his match reports – you can clearly see people try play against him, only to realise he’s not playing the same game as them. My favourite was his game against the Naturists, when the orcs have formed a tight heavy cage. (See his old-forum write up for full details – – scroll down to “Hentzau”). The elves form a typically lose defensive line, moving their star Wardance down-field to keep an eye open for an opening and be ready for the break. The way most people many would progress would be to slowly grind forward towards the touchdown. What the orcs did was march the entire team back down the pitch to pile onto the isolated Wardancer, push him to the ground, and then stamp him into the ground. No permanent injury, but he missed the next game. Final score was 1-1, the first time Janek was kept from the win.

It’s A Skull, of a similar team value to the Skaven Blighters, aren’t actually the bruisers you may expect from someome with that sort of approach. The star is undoubtedly Gornik, a Blitzer with Sure Hands, Dodge and Stand Firm – which makes him almost a finesse player and terrifyingly difficult to get the ball from. Their offensive line is understandably violent, however – the splendidly named Gorfang Eat’Elbow will be the core, having both Block and Guard (Meaning he can help out others). Standing beside him is the also awesomely-named Bad Idea, a Strength 6 troll. The other Blitzers are Takrad, who is a man-marker thanks to his Tackle and Shadowing skills, and Grimfang, who’s an all round competent orc with Pro (A personal re-roll, basically) and an enhanced move of 7. Nippy, for an orc. The team’s filled out by some more competent linesmen – Grath who has Dodge and Block, and another chap with a move of 7 – a couple of trained Blocking Black Orcs and the thrower, who with an enhanced agility and accurate skill is actually a nifty little player. Shame orcs aren’t exactly good on catching, eh?

My main casualty if Rhiite Wing, my Strength 4 Block-skilled Linesman, meaning I’m lacking even my small amounts of rodent muscle. My plan is simple. Score quickly while quietly eating down the clock more than I usually would. And, for God’s sake, don’t leave anyone who I’d like to remain alive anywhere near his orcs.

No plan survives contact with the enemy. Especially contact with an orcish fist.

The pitch full of skaven. This does not remain true for long.

I’m trying something different in my set up, trying to ape the three-step-touchdown of The Unlucky Thirteen. So I retrieve the ball and run backwards, out of range of all the orcs with my thrower – who finally manages to pick up the ball after the poor showing in the last game. No lynching for you, ratty. I start to set up my troops into tiny groups, some on the touchline, some further into the orc half – the idea that these clusters will defend each other, and whoever survives best will be the route I go next turn.

Goes wrong when the two-headed Nurgut dashes forward and is tripped. He falls, injuring himself. It turns up as a -ST injury and the next game out. I turn for the apothecary re-roll, which turns up… another injury, this time for -1AV and the next game out. It’s adding insult to injury. Literally. I end up choosing the -1ST, because Nurgut already has a -1AV, and a Gutterrunner with AV5… well, he’s made of paper-mache, isn’t it? I suspect with hindsight, I’d have gone the other way.

But really. One turn. A major piece of my offence out – and out for the next game too. My nerves were bad anyway, but they’re shot now. I take far too long with my turns – at least, a long time for me. I can’t work out the angle to make the tactic work. The line on the left gets pummeled, with Deeamute Squeak getting one to the head and is out for the game. Casualties mounting up, the orcs encroaching on my touchline-thrower and no obvious route for the touchdown.

Thankfully the AG5ST3 Wunderskaven Stricut steps forward, recieves the ball and pushes through on the right. He rushes to the endzone, and out of reach of the defence. The Skaven take it as a cue to retreat, running for their lives from the orcs. The greens don’t go after Stricut, prefer to have a little stomp on John Walker. Standing on the touchline, I work out whether I should play for time a little, knowing his offence doesn’t have the speed of mine… but I decide not. I need something on the scoresheet. 1-0 on turn 4.

He dresses left – does anyone ever dress right? – and I kick really deep. I start actually extolling the joy of having someone with Kick on the team, which no-one else I’ve faced has actually chosen, prefering to go for more violent skills. In fact the kick’s so deep that I suspect he may have trouble getting the ball to a cage. I move around the field, positioning skaven between his main line and the ball – but, most importantly – be ready for a counter-attack if the dice turn right. The Orcs rush forward, ganging up on the ST1-Lhuit whose two heads are sent spinning. KOed, so he’ll be back later in the match. Meanwhile Alec Meer rushes in to try and block the ball-carrier… failing. Perhaps unsurprisingly. It was an optimistic block, to say the least.

The orcs start mashing forward, fracturing Alec’s leg, but messes up his blitz-selection so the ball-carrying ball-carrier Gornik only moves a square (You have to select the Blitz button on a player before attacking if you want to move afterwards. Basically). I’m trying to break apart the cage, with John Walker’s frenzy bashing his way through… until he rolls badly. I try to re-roll the block, but because John’s a loner – AND IN THE GAME! – it requires a roll for it to activate. It doesn’t activate. He falls.

(And the re-roll is still deducted anyway, which is my least favourite rule in the game. Not getting to use the re-roll is punishment enough, y’know? It normally means you’ll turn over to the enemy, and it’s easy to miss who are the loners on your teams, because there’s no warning that “this re-roll may not work”).

Anyway, problems are ahead, because to help Walker’s offence, I moved hyperstar Stricut upfield to support. Since the block failed, he’s out of position, and I can expect an 8-person foul from the orcs, who will have given up trying to score this half. Takrad moves in, punching him down. And then comes his friends. And then comes the foul and…

Bastard Irony.

The sound of a spine snapping echoes around the stadium – well, at least inside our imaginations. Game presses on as I go and look up the table for what the injury actually does.

Yes, it’s actually AG-1. The dice give, the dice take away. He’s back to how he was before the last game.

I suspect this is somewhat ironic.

The half comes to a close to the sound of bleeding Skaven. Alec Meer doesn’t recover from the KO, wisely deciding to sit another drive out. This means that there’s no Gutter-runners on the pitch. The pair of Blitzers are the whole of my offence. For a team whose primary strength is their speed, this is somewhat problematic.

I open with another pretty nifty kick deep to his left – bless that guy’s legs – but news arrives that the Ref’s been scared off. This means that anyone can now foul at will. I find myself rolling my eyes at this. Despite all those fouls in the first half, he hadn’t sent off a single orc anyway. What’s the difference, the bastard? He’s going to have a visit from the Clan Eshin when he gets home.

I take my time with the blocking, and while I do pretty well I’m thinking defeatist thoughts. If I fall back and let him press forward, perhaps he’ll just score, and I’ll have a chance at a 2 turner to win the game, assuming Alec gets back up. The team, I know, has been brutalised long term – three of those Gutter Runners aren’t coming back next game – but I know they can still score. I suspect that Hentzau, with a taste for blood, wouldn’t take it, and happily spend the rest of the half kicking the living hell out of the remaining Skaven. Events on the pitch make such thoughts irrelevant.

Something goes my way. An orc is thrown a quick pass and it falls through his thick fingers. The ball’s free, deep in their half, and I have two Skaven positioned to act like Faux-gutter-runners to rush a quick one in to bring to 2-0. I just need to retrieve the ball. 4+ to pick up. I see my thrower – with his sure hands skill – is within reach. That’s… 75% chance of getting the ball.

Well, there's lots of other things that could go wrong with this too, as you can see. Both dodges would have been 3+, with one with an option of re-roll. There's two 1-6 chances for the GFI to fail. And then the pass. Still - nothing TOO unlikely.

The Thrower rushes in and… well, does exactly what he’s become famous for, and fails the pick up. My notes at this point become unprintable even at a pretty-foul mouthed blog like RPS.

Gornik recovers the ball, and pushes forward, getting a cursory cage. There’s a direct route for my horned blitzer to charge in. He fails – Gornik, even with two dice is a hard man to get a ball of – and continues his advance. Someone else rushes in for a last chance, and gets tripped on the way due to me selecting the wrong square to move to. It’s one of those interesting parts of Blood Bowl that there’s no way to stop a move – even if it involves running half the pitch like this one – after it’s started. Which is annoying, shall we say – though it almost certainly wouldn’t have made a difference here. Gornik runs in. 1-1.

It's always nice to take a break from beating the living hell out of little skaven and score a touchdown, I find.

I prepare to receive the kick, and Alec gets up. Except I realise I misread a name. It’s not new boy Alec. It’s actually two-headed weakling Lhuit who was KOed. He’s an actual Skaven of character, and exactly what I need. I dress heavily forward, as Hentzay has set his Orcs well back on the field, expecting me to do… well, what a Skaven is always going to try to do. The event roll turns up blitz – which means that the Defenders get a free turn before the kick. Swearing.

The green wave comes sweeping forward, hammering all and sundry. The only good thing is that he can’t get anywhere near the ball. It looks pretty grim for the Skaven, on a surface reading.

It’s not. It’s actually the perfect position for me. One orc is bashed out the way. The Thrower gets the ball to Lhuit. And Lhuits simply runs through the gap, with a couple of easy dodges. Hentzau, in the lust for blood, only left a single catcher as a safety. The Skaven pour through the gap, filling the backfield, making it trickier for anyone to catch my star. As we’re inching towards the final rounds of the match, I consider playing for time. If I score now, he has two turns left – and a reasonable chance to get a score. If I delay even a turn, it reduces it to one… and I suspect for his team, that’s close to impossible.

At which point, a block from an orc kills my kicker. Another block kills Vortch, an unlucky linesman. I decide to score quickly, because frankly, the whole team could be dead by next turn at this rate.

My favourite thing about this shot is how far away all the orcs look. It's very much a 'Wait - wasn't there a Skaven with a ball around here?' moment.

So. Turn 15. 2-1 to the Skaven. I just need to stop him scoring with the remaining handful of Skaven with operating bloodbowling limbs. The kick goes wild and ends just past the half-way line. Not good. Then the dice turn up something surprising – I get a Blitz.

I do something crazily foolhardy. Lhuit goes and gets in position to receive the catch. I’m tired by this point, but it’s still – to be polite – optimistic. My Blitzer-with-Guard goes to support him. With his ability to fend, plus block and dodge, Lhuit’ abstractly could keep the ball awa… but really, when I’ve got the number of players on the pitch I have, I can’t afford sacrificing anyone who should be in my half of the pitch, between the orcs and the touchline. In short, I do exactly what Hentzau – over responded to an abstractly lucky dice roll and left my defences in tatters.

Lhuit goes down and Gornik gets the ball. It passes to another Grimfang, who presses down the field. There’s one safety linesrat in position to do this. He’s the chap with Wrestle. This means that he’s got… well, 50% chance of down the star. I don’t have a re-roll. A plain 50%.

The tackle is good. Gornik’s down. The ball’s free.

I’m cheering. The team’s been pretty much destroyed. I’m going to have 9 or so skaven available to season-deciding match. But despite everything Hentzau did to the rats, they still managed to pull it off.

The Orc’s last turn, and despair returns like a black wave. The blitzer? He’s Grimfang. The one with +1MV. That means that he can get up, pick up the ball and his two go-for-it sprints just edge him into the end-zone. If it was anyone else, it’d be just short. Sometimes, one square is everything.

I sit, drumming my fingers, praying at imaginary dice. He gets up. He moves to the ball. He picks up (66% chance of success without re-roll, I think to myself). He runs. He makes one GFI roll (1 in six chance of failure, I think to myself). He makes the final one (About 1 in 4 chance of failure, cumulatively with the previous roll, I think to myself).

It was the 3 in 4. The orc runs in, taking it to 2-2.

There’s a turn left on the clock, and I fiddle ineffectually, trying to remember fairly exploity-one-turn-touchdown routines. Brain’s fried, and can’t recall the detail. Do remember that they require a certain roll on the set up, which doesn’t turn up. It’s traditional to go for a little revenge at times like this… but with the way the injury dice have been treating me, I suspect I’d just end up with another tiny rodent grave. I cut my losses and end the turn.

Whistle blows. 2-2.

This was before the end of the game even.

Quek – the thrower who can’t pick up – gets an advance, which I give him leader, allowing an extra re-roll whenever he’s on the pitch. I bash my head a little, realising that – yet again – I’ve forgot to pick Tackle. And I could have done with it next match. Gahk.

You may sense I’m a little bitter about this one. It’s less the slaughtering – Skaven are born to die, after all – more the timing of the slaughter and the capriciousness of the dice which lead to it (If you find yourself incredibly happy that someone’s just been knocked out, it’s a sign of exactly how badly a game is going). And I’m bitter because, fundamentally, I threw away the game in those last two turns.

But there’s more going on here than bleeding.

The thing is… yes, I’m missing three gutter runners. Yes, I’ve lost a clean 500 points off my team value on the knuckles of orcs. Yes, no matter what happens next match, the heart’s been ripped right out of the Blighters, with most of their stars carrying injuries which may make it better to sack them all and start again with people with fully operating spines. Yes, even if I manage to draw against the elves, my league position is going to drop to third or fourth.

Yeah, all that’s true.

But the thing is… if I win…

Well, I win the league.

All I’ve got to do is take this broken team of lab-rats and outscore the scoring-specialised team of golden boys that no-one’s managed to ever get a better result than “draw” against.

C’mon, Raging Naturists. Bring it.


  1. jsutcliffe says:

    A Valhalla reference in the title? Now that’s old school.

  2. Kieron Gillen says:

    I never asked Hentzau if it’s actually a Valhalla reference. I feared the answer.


    • Hentzau says:

      Oh, it is. I tend to give teams the first name that comes to mind, and it did seem very apt.

    • Arathain says:

      I’m scared!

    • Pod says:

      link to

      You need a mod player of some form, though.

    • Tony says:

      I’m surprised how many people thought “Valhalla”.

      Thought there wouldn’t be any.

    • Stu says:

      I never played any of the Valhalla games, so the first thing I thought of was the tune Pod linked to.

      Speaking of which:

      link to

      (Oh dear, zshare decided not to put the apostrophes in the description, making me look semi-literate at best. Curses.)

    • LaundroMat says:

      Oh, there are plenty of lurkers who thought of Valhalla immediately too. The RPS public is old, you know.

    • Hodge says:

      Oh, we remember the Valhalla games… they’re too uniquely awful to forget.

  3. Dude says:

    I can’t wait for the last match, awsome stuff as usual!

  4. DMJ says:

    If cheesy movies have taught me anything, it’s that inferior condition, training, skills, coaching, and luck is nothing compared to the massive advantages you get by being the underdog in the competition. You just have to hold out until you’re so far behind you could only win by a million-to-one combination of events, then your theme music will start to play and you’ll win.

    Your mileage may vary.

    • Shalrath says:

      I’m actually willing to bet that he actually gets annihilated SPECIFICALLY because all of his troops are injured. It will be very anticlimactic.

      That’s my pessimistic guess anyway.

  5. Markoff Chaney says:

    I feel like this is working to lead toward an epic battle. If Kieron wins, I almost expect to read something like this near the beginning of the report.

    With all apologies to Bongwater and the inestimable Ms. Magnuson:

    But, hey, who am I to argue? Cuz it’s the feel match of the summer, it’s the feel good match of the year, it’s the feel good match of the 00’s. Its the feel good match of the millenium, and you know what? If it puts a smile on your face, and a song in your heart, and a spring in your step, well, whatever makes you happy, whatever makes you happy, whatever makes you happy, whatever makes you happy, whatever makes you happy, whatever makes you happy, whatever makes you happy, whatever makes you happy, whatever gives you hope…

    Again, thanks for sharing these.

  6. Kieron Gillen says:

    DMJ: I’m totally Rocky, so expect to go 3-0 down in the first half, only to pull it back and win in the final turn. Otherwise, I’m shooting Sly Stallone.


  7. TooNu says:

    Are the Skaven your playstyle in other games, like, do you usually pick the light armored fast type of character because you seem to have the worst sort of luck in these write ups and I can’t help but think it might be you are unsuited to that style. Perhaps a more stocky, hard wearing type is better? I assume you tried the other races and decided on Skaven long before due to your..rat liking…hmm.

    I get my copy in 4 days!

    • Sunjammer says:

      Personally i play Skaven because they, to me at least, purify the game. Knowing that blocking/blitzing is almost ALWAYS a bad idea makes you think way harder about positioning, passes and thinking a few steps ahead. Skaven touchdowns feel incredibly stylish when they do land one.

    • Kieron Gillen says:

      It’s also worth noting that I was joint-heading the league for most of the season.


  8. Ian says:

    Excuse me if this is a horribly newb-y question, but assuming “dress” (left, for example) on the kick-off means where you put a healthy chunk of your players in your initial formation, why does everybody dress left?

    I did do a Google for this first and glanced at various Blood Bowl strategy articles about whether to kick or recieve first and the like but nothing about “dressing”. In Blood Bowl (single player only, thus far) and FUMBBL I tend to start with my players fairly balanced unless my opponent sets up first and has their formation favouring one side of the line.

    • Dan (WR) says:


      This tactics article (link to gives an example of a weighted offence where players are loaded towards one side of the pitch. It’s just a quirk that people have been weighing heavy on the left rather than the right.

      Dress Left is just Kieron’s way of putting it because nothing beats a bit of penis imagery.

  9. Duffin says:

    Looks like it's time for some rats to step up to the limelight as you could be having a lot of retirements after the season. Atleast you might be looking at alot of inducements now your TV has been reduced. Plus, if you win, the money will come in handy for buying some replacements.

  10. phil says:

    These match reports have given me an insight into my footy loving friends tendency to always turn to the back of the paper first – though they’re better in that a shattered spine and multipule concussions from a single match would lead to hand wringing editorials rather than AG-1. Good luck for the last game.

  11. Guernican says:

    This is excellent writing, Kieron, and the fact that you were too angry to sub it kind of adds to the yuks.

    Nice work.

  12. groovychainsaw says:

    KG – I have a great deal of sympathy, after my opening match of proving grounds league D (go D!) having my elves facing off against orcs. Bless them, elves. I was at one point down to only 4 players on the pitch(!). Fortunately, no one died, and I am only missing 2 guys from the next match.
    But yeah, orcs=vicious (especially without all the dodging levels I could have done with getting first against a softer side!!). The game did have me laughing out loud at times, I got great entertainment from trying to set up my line of scrimmage with one treeman and a STR3 lineman vs 4 black orcs :-). At least I get enjoyment out of such spectacular failures. Its one of the positives of playing these games.

  13. DK says:

    I don’t quite know the rules for old-school leagues in Blood Bowl – do you still get money that you can spend between matches?
    If so, how much do you have and can you atleast get your skaven count up to 11 for the showdown?

    • Nezz says:

      You do get money, and under LRB5 you even get free Journeymen if you can’t field 11 players otherwise. I don’t know if that rule made it to Cyanide’s version.

    • Wisq says:

      The automatic journeymen rule did make it across, yeah. I’ve used it myself and also seen the AI use it.

      Also, if you’re ever undermanned in the SP campaign, you’ll note your team value is shown as e.g. “Team value: 960 -> 1030”, where the difference is the value of the automatic journeymen.

  14. groovychainsaw says:

    KG – I have a great deal of sympathy, after my opening match of proving grounds league D (go D!) having my elves facing off against orcs. Bless them, elves. I was at one point down to only 4 players on the pitch(!). Fortunately, no one died, and I am only missing 2 guys from the next match.

    But yeah, orcs=vicious (especially without all the dodging levels I could have done with getting first against a softer side!!). At least i get enjoyment out of the loss, it did have me laughing out loud at times, I got great entertainment from trying to set up my line of scrimmage with one treeman and a STR3 lineman vs 4 black orcs :-).

    (Small aside – Your comments on interface throughout these reports are true though – why is it transparent with some things and not with others? Blocking is a lot easier than dodging, as at least it gives you your dice numbers, you have no idea with dodge. Likewise with throws – you get the numbers for the throw, but not on the catch. Means playing elves involves a lot of look-up tables printed out in front of me for the next match! As a n00b, its easier to be violent than not at the moment.)

  15. theleif says:

    Great match report as usual. Let's hope i can find a league to play in soon.
    And oh dear, why can't you filter the league list in the lobby?

  16. Sunjammer says:

    Anyone else question the way BB handles dice rolls? The amount of rerolls coming up identical to the original result is really weirding me out at this point, especially for stuff like 2d6 tables.

    • DMJ says:

      I find it captures the utter capriciousness of the Dice Gods sufficiently.

    • Wisq says:

      One, I hear there’s a bug where if you hit the re-roll button too fast, it just gives you the same rolls again. I’ve hence made it a policy to take a few seconds to swear at the dice before re-rolling, which gives them enough time to avoid the bug. If it even still exists.

      Two, sometimes a “loner” player will simply fail to re-roll, and aside from an entry in the game log, I think the only indication is that the dice just come back up the same, without the rolling animation. So if you’re not paying attention, it can seem like you just got the exact same results again.

      Three, there’s a 1/36 chance of it happening anyway, regardless of all the above, so it’s not entirely unheard of. But yeah.

    • Wisq says:

      Sorry, I meant 1/36 re: a 2-dice block, which is the most common situation where you get the exact same results but you’re not expecting to.

      And yeah, didn’t see the comment below, either.

    • Sunjammer says:

      I know how the loner rule works; i pretty much never reroll for loners. But for things like a 3-dice block coming up all skulls, and rerolling to another 3 skulls. Or 2 apothecary rolls during a match that both come up the same as their original result. That shit is uncanny.

      But what the hell. It’s a game that gives and takes in equal measure. I suppose mentally i haven’t even accounted for the times i’ve gotten freak streaks of successes.

  17. groovychainsaw says:

    Check the player doesn’t have ‘loner’ (usually star players, trolls etc.). That got me at first, because you’ll hit reroll, the dice will spin but nothing will change (because the loner roll failed, reroll doesn’t count). Other than that, there is I guess a 1 in 6 chance per dice of the same number coming up…. but doesn’t seem to happen too often for me (once i figured out the loner thing!)

  18. Yargh says:

    I love how the ref is pointedly turning his back on the action in the first shot

    • Mungrul says:

      That ties in with one of the first thing I tried Yargh; I saw the ref on the pitch, and my natural instinct was to foul/stamp on/kill him.
      I was a tad disappointed when I found I couldn’t :(

    • Taillefer says:

      Does the referee position affect fouling at all?
      I convinced myself it did when I started playing, but I guess that couldn’t actually be in the tabletop version, right?

    • Wisq says:

      No, ref position doesn’t affect getting caught fouling; only a roll of doubles will get you caught.

      Similarly, the position of the kicker on the kicking team has no effect on the kick — something that had me wondering at first. Official game rules literally just have you select a spot on the map and roll for scatter, not designate anyone as a kicker and roll for range, etc. Cyanide’s version just picks the furthest back player in the centre zone, which can be quite funny when you literally see a Deathroller get off his machine and punt it downfield.

      (Note that the position of someone who has the “kick” skill does affect the kick in the game rules, and who gets to kick in the video game. But only in the sense that they can’t be in a wide zone or on the line of scrimmage if you want the benefit of their skill.)

  19. Wookie_Wookstar (Big D) says:

    Loving this game at the moment, my Dwarf team are good but I really look forward to joining a league at some point, but for now i’m happy to whip the AI :)

    • Wisq says:

      Dwarves almost seem like cheating in SP. They utterly counter the AI, since even when you’re up against another dwarf team, the AI refuses to do anything useful with the ball so long as you’ve got all the opposing team’s players caught in a mid-field brawl.

      My favourite starter setup was a very modest sponsor deal for 10k (I turn on partial blitz rules), then 2 troll slayers + 9 blockers + 5 rerolls while they’re cheap. Yes, nobody above 2 AG. We made a policy of ignoring the ball and just going for SPPs via beating people up, yet still won several matches early on, including our first because of a freak interception(!!) by a dwarf blocker.

      Once we started getting levels, it just got worse. Because, unlike my previous SP dwarf team where I focused on getting “guard” onto everyone as their first skill, this time I realised I was much better getting “mighty blow” onto everyone instead. It’s trivial to set up multi-dice blocks as dwarves even without “guard”, because as players go down, you free up more players, which lets you make sure more players go down, etc etc.

      The results can be pretty comical. Especially one time where I had the AI down to literally one Skaven player left on the field, surrounded by dwarves. I kept knocking him down and fouling him, and he kept just being stunned, the little bugger. Finally just had to walk in the TD.

      Dwarves are the one time where I see the AI literally too afraid / confused to move. Hell, when I’ve had three dwarves next to a downed player on the sidelines, it’s literally too afraid to stand the player up — or (more likely) its algorithms just say that player is pretty much useless now. :)

    • Wisq says:

      As if to prove my point, I finally achieved my biggest goal as dwarves:

      Just did a match versus Skaven where they literally had not a single player left on the pitch by the end of turn 14. Six casualties, six KOed, two in reserve (at least one of which was pushed off the field).

      “End turn” to pass time … oh, my turn again, so soon? ;)

  20. StarDrowned says:

    Also check if they are Pro re-rolls, which have a 50% chance of failing, thus leaving you with the original rolls. I was thinking the same as you until I re-read the description and realized who it was happening to. Most likely, you’re just failing the roll to re-roll, which is somewhat soul-crushing.

    Also, long-time reader, first time poster. Reading about the game against the elves inspired me to get this game. Never played any tabletop, but I’ve been fascinated with Warhammer for like 15 years, even got a Lizardmen starter army that I never got a chance to use. I play most Games Workshop video games at least, so I was interested in BB, but these reports really sealed the deal.

    Playing through a campaign as my orc team “The Wunnerful Waaaaagghh!!!” and am totally addicted. Soon enough I’ll brave my way into the multiplayer, where I’ll hope to kill some Skaven myself, as the little rat bastards are the only team I have trouble with so far in the campaign. I have a pretty geared out level 3 blitzer with pro and frenzy that guards my other lvl3 blitzer that has sure hands and +1MA that acts as my receiver/QB. Basically, these two with my accurate thrower win the games while the rest of the team acts like orcs. 3 black orcs (2 with guard, 1 block) and a troll (also guard) sure can make a mess of the scrimmage.

    Anyways, I don’t know why I typed that all out but it’s done. I guess I just really enjoy the game is what I’m trying to say, and I’d like to personally thank Kieron for that. I hope to thank him on the pitch someday.

    Anyone want more of my life story? Sorry for the wall, thanks for the great read.

    • Wisq says:

      I seem to recall that if you hit re-roll, the game asks if you want to use “pro” to do it, so you should notice it. I think this happened during a dodge roll or something, so it was black box “failed dodge, reroll?” followed by “use pro?”.

      Maybe block is different. Shouldn’t be, but then, a lot of things “shouldn’t be” but are, due to bugs.

  21. Max says:

    The position of the referee doesn’t matter. Barring any foul-related skills, every time a foul is attempted two dice are rolled. If they come up doubles, the player’s sent off for the rest of the game and it’s a turnover.

  22. Railick says:

    That was a pretty brutal match, this is the very reason I avoid playing orks if I can.

  23. noom says:

    Has anyone mentioned Crush Deluxe in all these Blood Bowl match reports..? That was a mighty awesome game using (ripping off I suppose) Blood Bowl’s mechanics, but in a sci-fi setting with 3 teams playing at once, and the ability to build your team from any of the 8 different races. Worth trying to find if you’re a Blood Bowl fan. Quite old now so will require DOSBOX I imagine.

    • Nezz says:

      Crush Deluxe was a Windows game, and ran quite fine in WinXP when I tried it lately. It’s not very good though. They took the Dungeon Bowl variant rules and changed them in all the wrong places.

  24. Railick says:

    I think I read a rule some where that something is normally a 1/36 chance suddenly becomes a 35/36 chance if the entire game hangs on that roll being good for you :)

  25. Railick says:

    Is there any limit in the SP game as to how long you can play your team? Can you take them through as many leagues as you want?

  26. Yargh says:

    @Nezz, my first reaction was pretty much 'he'll be getting mercenaries on board for that game'

  27. The Pink Ninja says:

    £20 on the Raging Naturists.

  28. Knight Of Cydonia says:

    £50 on the Blighters.

  29. Railick says:

    As much as I love the Blighters I'm going to have to say the war dancer will make the difference in the up coming game.

    • Wisq says:

      Word is that the wood elves are a bit overpowered in LRB5 and are slated to be nerfed slightly in LRB6. A lot of tabletop tourneys are won by woodies, although part of that is that a lot of tourneys also remove player deaths and sometimes long-term injuries as well, which removes the biggest problem facing a woodies coach.

      That said, the price per player is such that I’ve found it hard to retain even a roster of eleven players, let alone replacements on top of that. But survivability increases a lot once all your linemen become “blodgers” (block+dodge), something elves can do with normal rolls (and normal team value increases) while Skaven linemen have to wait for doubles (and bigger TV increases).

      And yeah, wardancers are crazy-good. They can leap into a ball cage (bypassing the dodge roll) and do a block against the carrier, and even with two dice against them, they only have a 31% chance of going down. Add “strip ball” into the mix, and they’ve got the remaining 69% chance to knock the ball loose, assuming the ball carrier doesn’t have “block”.

      So yeah. I’m rooting for the Blighters, though I have to admit I’m expecting a woodie victory. But with any luck, you’ll surprise us all. Go get ’em! :D

    • Janek says:

      Yeah, it’s nightmarish trying to get a Woody side started up – I think I had three deaths in the first four games, so even though I was just about pulling off wins, it took a while before I felt particularly comfortable (and even longer before I could afford luxuries like substitutes)

      I think at this sort of level, it’s fairly balanced – their speed and agility can run rings around the opposition, but they could just as easily all go splat. I guess the main imbalance (of which I have no personal experience) is with the hyper-developed teams, particularly when you start getting into the realms of one turn scorers. I suspect they’re monstrously difficult to stop, particularly when they have rerolls in hand, which can lead to ludicrous games like that one on Fumbbl which ended 12-11 between a Skaven and Woody team, each with 1TT-capable players.

    • Wisq says:

      Sadly, I’ve also found that woodies (and Skaven) aren’t terribly fun to play in the single-player campaign, mainly because the AI just isn’t smart or daring enough to score very much.

      Bashing teams thrive on casualty SPPs; quick teams thrive on touchdown SPPs. Take away the touchdowns, and you’re left watching your team develop at a snail’s pace, praying that they aren’t all wiped out the next game.

      I wonder if the best team-building strategy against the ever-patient AI is to (when kicking) put three disposables on the LoS and leave everyone else off, then run away ASAP and let them score so you can receive and score in return… ;)

      Or, better yet, I should just start playing against humans. At least until someone makes a better AI. ;)

  30. Comment system, what comment system? says:

    How come Blood Bowl isn’t on Steam?

    • Wisq says:

      Well, for starters, it’s not compatible with the Steam GUI overlay. Crashes the game after the intro movies.

      I’ve also heard that the current version is something of an unofficial beta. Tons of stuff being dealt with in patches. But you’d think that makes them more suited for Steam, not less …

  31. Vinraith says:

    My sympathies Kieron, great write up.

    Hentzau, you’re an inspiration to orc players everywhere. That was one hell of a casualty list.

  32. SuperNashwan says:

    I clicked just to post my appreciation of the Valhalla reference, but I ended up reading it all anyway, top stuff. This reads about a hundred times better than the battle reports that used to be White Dwarf when I was a teenager.

  33. Hattered says:

    I had skipped the other RPS Cup articles because I didn’t think Blood Bowl was really my thing. I read this one for some reason, then read through all the others, and am now wishing I weren’t an unemployed bum so I could buy this game right now. Damn you, Gillen!

  34. Army of None says:

    In roguelike terms… YASD. Damn you, dice gods, you fickle beasts.

  35. Lu-Tze says:

    Janek is my Apollo Creed and this is the first Rocky film.
    There ain't gonna be no rematch.

  36. gryffinp says:

    So Wait.

    If I read that right, Stricut is out of the next game. If this is true, it’s game over right there.

  37. Anonymousity says:

    I absolutely hate playing against dwarves so naturally I had a go at them the other week. The real problem with dwarves isn’t how they fair in the early games, it’s how quickly their team value skyrockets and you find yourself with very little gold after each match.

    • Wisq says:

      Funny, I’ve had no problem with cash in a dwarf team. I started with a team of literally 2 troll slayers and 9 blockers (plus 5 rerolls). Added a blitzer after a few games, then a deathroller, then another blitzer when we were down a couple players due to injuries. Then I just stopped buying players and started letting cash accumulate, rather than trying to fill out the roster.
      I use the blitzers and my +1 agility blockers as ball carriers, since I don’t want someone on the field who is as unqualified to fight as my runners were in my last team. Maybe that’ll change if I start going up against a lot of people with “strip ball”.
      Nobody ever dies, so I don’t lose cash there. I play fair and don’t need to foul much, so I’m rarely down players in the game. When I play against higher TV teams, I spend all my inducements on ref bribes, which allows me to keep my deathroller in the game for multiple drives.

  38. Owen says:

    Good god these are brilliantly written KG. You should, like, write professionally or something man :)