Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Blood Bowl: general tactics

I won my local Blood Bowl league (SEMBBL at last night with my Undead team Tut's Nuts. I finished with a 6-1-0 record. After getting some pretty cold dice in the casualties caused by blocking category they turned hot in my last two games against some crunchy av7 Skaven and Norse teams. Luck has more then it's share in Blood Bowl but a lot has to do with positioning your players and mitigating risk so I've come up with a very general set of tips really quick that I use when playing but YMMV. My own 9 step program as it were:

1. The Basics. Stand up guys and do all moves first that need to be done. Do the most important blocks or blitz first (unless of course a move or blitz depends on the outcome of another block.) Avoid single dice blocks, but sometimes they aren't all that bad if for example your player has Block and the guy he hits doesn't... Basically anything that only has a 50% chance of success probably shouldn't be attempted (like dodging with AG2) unless failure wouldn't matter or if you are desperate. Save fouls for last.

2. The Coin Toss. In the hundreds of games I've played I can't recall the last time I have ever wanted to not receive the kickoff. You get to dictate the pace of the game and you get the first chance at gaining a numerical superiority on the pitch by placing the first blocks and fouls.

3. Pace. Unless you are a quick scoring team (elves, skaven, etc.) or are getting pummeled after a few turns then what's the rush in trying to score? Stalling (which is the art of NOT scoring even if you can) because you have a numbers advantage or to give your opponent less than 2 turns to score is a key tactic to master. Of course it's fun to engage in an elf-bowl style shoot-out from time to time, but personally I like more blood in my Blood Bowl. More blocks for me = more blood!

4. Fouling. Get as many assists as you can and foul as much as you can (worrying about doubles getting you ejected is for sissies!) Don't waste a good foul on some skilless player though, target the best prone player. Fouling is to be done by YOUR skilless player... unless he has Dirty Player or Sneaky Git then he is a skilled fouler, haha. Fouling on the last turn of the game is considered poor sportsmanship unless the player being fouled is an abomination (like a one-turn scorer, or any elf or dwarf.)

5. Protect the Ball. Position players anticipating you will fail a pickup. Learn to form a proper cage. For high speed and AG teams spread out and put multiple players threatening to score in your opponents half of the field while keeping the ball carrier out of blitz range, etc. Basic stuff.

6. Protect your best players. Leaping the AG5 War Dancer into the middle of a cage or orcs may seem cool, but it's a good way to get dead. Protect key players (usually the skilled guys that score or maybe that guy with the chainsaw...), don't follow up on a block if it will put you at a disadvantage.

7. Defense... and more Defense. There is rarely any reason to put more then 3 players on the line unless you like having your players hit or maybe have a LARGE numerical advantage against an agility team. Anyway, make sure it's your WORST 3 players. Group them together, they will take less hits that way... in other words if the end guy gets pushed then your opponent can't push him somewhere to hit him again unless he wants to blitz or maybe got a Quick Snap but I digress...

To stop someone from advancing place your guys like so from the sideline: empty square (don't put anyone by the sideline!), guy, empty square, empty square, guy, empty square, empty square, guy. Then put guys immediately behind those guys in the same pattern... it's easy to blitz one guy out of the way and move past... it's impossible if another guy is right behind him without making multiple dodges to get past.

8. Hit and Run. If you can't stop an opponent from scoring or are getting pummelled then run away, isolate an opposing player or two, and gang foul them. Do this especially if they are stalling... hell you should probably just do it anyway.

9. Skillz. Basically Block is the most useful skill to have but if the player is AG4 take Dodge 1st then Block. Block + Dodge together (Blodge) is useful on anyone and greatly increases that players survivablility, so if a double is rolled on someone that normally can't have Agility skills then Dodge is never a bad choice. Always take +STR, and almost always take +AG (depends on the player) if rolled. If bashy then load up on Guard and Mighty Blow (there are exceptions such as Break Tackle for Lizardmen but this is general advice). If not then Side Step and Fend are good. It always pays to have atleast one guy with Kick and/or Dirty Player and a few with Tackle.

Hope these help, if someone wants me to elaborate on specific team builds or other tactics then let me know I've got several hundreds of games worth of experience to pull from :-)
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