Blood Bowl: Darkness Fouls Recap

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

OK, time to wrap things up from my NOVA 2017 experience... on to the main event I played in this year, Darkness Fouls!

Darkness Fouls is a 4 round resurrection style tournament where each coach has up to 1.1 million gold pieces to spend on their team. You can find all the details in the event primer over on NOVA Open's site, but one of the important aspects is the bonus skills you can grant 1 or 2 players on your roster; I selected the one that allowed me to give an additional normal (non-double) skill to 2 players. The thing is, I'm pretty inexperienced when it comes to Blood Bowl and had only played 3 games prior to this event (and 2/3 of those were with Humans, not Dwarfs). This was the first lesson learned as I now have a much better sense of which skills compliment a Dwarf team (*cough* Guard *cough*) -- I was playing the team straight out of the Dwarf Giants box and gave one Blitzer Mighty Blow, then foolishly gave a Runner Nerves of Steel. Mighty Blow wasn't a bad choice at all, as you'll see from my later matches, but Nerves never even came close to being used. I rounded out the roster with 3 Team Re-rolls and a Bloodweiser Keg.

Dwarf Double-Fisters
I sadly didn't take a lot of pictures during the event. Being a noob, I wanted to make sure I was focused on getting my turns completed in a timely fashion and with all the teams basically being new to me I was trying to take it all in and glean as much as I could from my opponents. My buddy, however, snapped some shots from his games which I will use to break up the wall of text.

Game 1 vs Dwarfs

My first round opponent was also a newcomer to Blood Bowl which was great because we both agreed to a more relaxed game instead of rushing our turns to keep them under 4 mins (roughly what you need for both players to get through 16 rounds in the time allotted). She basically had the same roster except gave both her Runners Block and took Fan Factor instead of a Keg. Her choices were smarter and they did come into play during our match. She was also better at positioning to force my players out to the sideline and then push them out of bounds. At one point, I had 5 players off the pitch, mostly because there aren't very many drives in a Dwarf vs Dwarf match with everyone being slow and we also got confused on some armor/injury rolls which a judge later clarified for us, so several of those players should have remained on the field. I honestly don't know how much of a difference it would have made tho... she had a better handle on positioning her players and I just got outplayed. We only made it about 3/4 of the way through the game turns when time was called, and while I had possession of the ball I was still 2 turns out from scoring which would have only tied things up. I lost 0 - 1 but earned some points for causing a couple casualties. This was the perfect match to ease into the event as my opponent was super nice and fun to play against.

Great custom Dwarf tokens

Game 2 vs Chaos

Second round was against a tough Chaos Renegades team with a Minotaur. I knew from playing the video game that Chaos are one of the very few teams that are stronger & tougher than my Dwarfs, so I can't play the typical block / attrition style my team prefers to play. My opponent was much more experienced with the game and very kind in offering tips for how to approach certain situations and even helped me avoid making some grave mistakes. This was very much a learning game and more laid back which I very much appreciated, but it played out pretty much how I expected it to -- I had a couple players get KO'd and didn't manage to score a touchdown, but I did learn a lot this game and started to become more sure of myself and what my team could do. I got through my turns more quickly and we finished the entire game with plenty of time. I lost this one 0 - 2, but again had a fun time against a great opponent.

Game 3 vs Goblins

The previous game may have been a bad matchup for my team, but this game was certainly a bad matchup for my opponent, Malcom. I had never played against goblins before but knew I should play aggressive trying to take players out, especially with my Mighty Blow Blitzer. Mal had a Troll and a Star Player, some hand-gliding goblin, who could be tossed by the Troll but had a way to land safely. I was blown away, both by how nasty secret weapons could be and also how awesome the goblin team functioned, random movement and all. This game was by far the most eventful and it wasn't just the goblin randomness; I had a couple of instances where one of my players needed to 'go for it' (twice) on a blitz action to catch and stop a goblin on my goal line from scoring. By the end of the match I had dealt 5 casualties (thanks Mighty Blow!) which opened up enough lanes on the pitch for me to score a couple touchdowns for the win, 2 - 0. Mal was awesome to play against and made this an incredibly fun match! I'm even inspired to add a few goblins to my orc roster for some shenanigans.

The only picture from any of my games

Game 4 vs Elven Union

At this point it was getting pretty late and quite a bit of scotch had been consumed. The first half of this match I was getting schooled pretty good -- down a TD and those elves are slippery little buggers who actually have a passing game. The second half, I received the ball and proceeded to cage up and slowly make my way down the pitch. My armor and injury rolls started to connect and by the end of the match, my Mighty Blitzer had sent another 5 players to the casualty box and I was able to walk the ball in to tie things up on the last turn! A draw plus some bonus points for crushing a bunch of elves is not a bad way to end my first Blood Bowl tournament. I had an absolute blast and went 4 for 4 playing against awesome & friendly opponents.

This year's NOVA was fantastic and set a new bar for the annual convention. It was great to see Games Workshop on site supporting events, streaming games, and of course the Forge World booth in the vendor hall. Prize support was awesome as always -- I won a pound of random dice from the lemonade raffle (it pays to lose sometimes), and even managed to win one of the Instagram photo contests! Proceeds will go towards attending NOVA Open 2018, which I'm already looking forward to!

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