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 :-)


Buyaki said...

Good run down on what a player needs as the core basics for developing a winning strategy at Blood Bowl.

I'd add that fouling in the last turn is not poor sportsmanship, it's part of the game! It's Blood Bowl baby!

Don't position players along the sideline at the beginning of the game, or anytime really. They can be pushed into the crowd and ground up into hamburger. (I haven't played BB in about 5 years so I'm not sure what changes have occurred with the living rulebook).

Gargunki said...

Yes indeed. Being pushed into the crowd is still a straight injury roll so stay away from the sideline! In fact I've taken pushes over pows to be able to move a player to the sideline just to be sure he is removed from the pitch by my incoming blitz!

Harun said...

Any tips for getting more SPP with slow moving teams?

I tend to gravitate towards slower, punchier teams (Chaos, Orks, etc). And while I do very well, I'm always looking for extra tips to maximize the SPP I can get.

Oh, and congrats on winning your league!

Gargunki said...

@Harun. Thank you. What I will do to skill up slower moving guys or AG2 guys (like Black Orcs or what not) is keep one in the back field on offense and if you get a High or Bad Kick result then either move him under the ball (high kick) or give him the ball (bad kick).

If it's safe then I may try and pass to get a quick SPP (if they are sitting on 5 spp from an earlier MVP for example) or just cage around them and march down the field.

Often times I will keep one of the slower guys who needs points in the cage advancing with your usual ball carrier and if there isn't too much risk hand it off to him later (ideally handoff in turn 6 or 7, wouldn't try a handoff on turn 8) to go in for the score...

Anonymous said...

Hi, was browsing around for Blood Bowl stuff and found your post. Some good basic advice but I can't agree with the second point about the Coin Toss.

Take a read of and I'd be interested to hear your reactions to it.

I do have some other conflicting thoughts as well but that was the main one!

Gargunki said...

@Coach: Thanks for the link and an interesting read but I still think electing to receive is better than kicking almost always.

A Bashy team (no matter who they face) is going to want to try and get numerical advantage ASAP and will usually be fielding 11 players on defense throughout the game anyway. Simply put: Please don't elect to kick if you are a bashy team, it's just... N00bish. Keeping the ball OUT of the hands of an agility team should be your goal, not playing to an agility team's strength and actually electing to give them the ball on the kickoff. Nuffle forbid they actually break your armor on those first few blocks... Anyway...

I've seen this literally hundreds of times: An agility team kicks off and gets stomped by the other team putting too many players in the hurty box for the agility team to win, two rolls to get dudes out of the KO box or not... I've seen this happen more than an agility team actually scoring a defensive touchdown. Of course team build and coach skill have a lot to do with it but still... the dice have spoken in my experience.

A defensive score is very quick. As a defender that gets control of the ball you usually don't stall unless things are going very very well. Ideally what I try to do when I'm playing as an agility team is elect to receive and score around turn 5 or 6 and still be able to field 11 players on the ensuing defense. This is particularly effective against AG3/bashy teams, etc as they try to rush to score quicker than they are used to or their skills allow, which in turn opens up the field where offensive mistakes are more likely. An agility team at the half with a 2-0 lead or a 1-0 lead and a numerical advantage against a 'bashier' team is going to win almost always or at worst a 1-1 draw. There have been cases where I've forgone scoring a 2nd TD to ensure the other guy didn't get two rolls on the KO but this is extremely rare, in fact I think I've only done it two or three times in well over a thousand games...

Electing to kick-off with the expectation to score a defensive touchdown is asking for trouble, everything else equal too many things have to go right for you and too many things have to go wrong for you opponent. Play defense to mitigate the damage to your team and simply stop the other guy from being able to score and pounce on an opportunity if one presents itself, but never think that you will be able to score a defensive touchdown unless the other guy is a total n00b.

Damn that's long winded... said...

Yes I would say great content with the exception its better to kick-off as an agile team and stop an attack with all your players. A basher can hurt you and if you want to stop them for a late 2-1 you might be lacking the players, and thus lose the game.

Overall a great few basic points.

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