After a gap of eight years, Friday night saw my friend Bryan and me doing battle again in Blood Bowl. For those who don’t know, this is a Games Workshop Warhammer-American Football mash-up that was reasonably popular in the late 80s. Two teams – in this case one of humans plus assorted other races, and on of orks – scrap it out in a table-top game. It’s pure nerdy fun.
Neither of us could believe it had been eight years since our last Blood Bowl encounter, but the dates on the old team-sheets in the box don’t lie. (Yes, there are team-sheets. I told you it was nerdy.) I’d freshened up the teams a bit – renaming them the Bromfield Street Berserkers and the Grangetown Greenskins. As per usual, I took control of the mainly-human team (the Berserkers), while Bryan ‘managed’ the ork team (the Greenskins).
Despite Bryan claiming the dice gods weren’t on his side, the first touchdown took ages to happen, mainly because we were trying to get used to the rules – not easy after such a hiatus. The first score went to the Beserkers – new team member Lex Kevlar scoring it to cap a man-of-the-match performance that included winning all five of his first five tackles or blocks and killing an opponent in the process. (Yes, it’s that kind of game.)
The Berserkers went close again with only two heroic tackles preventing further scores with the ball literally a yard from the scoreline. The throws were going well – Blitzer Gudmund Halo putting together a ‘long bomb’ at one point to the Elf Catcher, Diamos Swift, who had run clear. Swift was one of the victims of a heroic tackle, taken out just as he was about to score. As a consolation, the tackler was stretchered off, stunned.
But then the Greenskins fought back with a good rushing play down the right wing. A successful Blocker-to-Blocker pass got them into the endzone and back on level terms. (Blockers subtract one to dice rolls for both throwing and catching to the pass was an excellent roll.)
The favour of the dice gods had obviously turned. Two Beserkers, including one of the fearsome Dwarf Blockers got injured trying to make extra yards to take possession of the spilled football. Then the other Dwarf Blocker was injured in a tackle after inflicting several injuries on opponents. Both Blitzers went down in the same round of Blocks and with the Beserker defence horribly incapacitated or out of position the board was free for a Greenskin counter-attack.
The vulnerable Beserkers were only saved from defeat by time being called at that point. Both sides finished honours even, insofar as there is any honour in Blood Bowl of course.
1-1 was probably a fair result, but both sides will feel they could have won the game. But that at least raises the stakes for the next time these rivals meet.