Wednesday, 13 November 2013

Mainland Bowl 2013

Last weekend was the second ever Mainland Bowl; a Blood Bowl Tournament right here in Christchurch. Of course most of the Christchurch Blood Bowl crowd turned out for the event as it was so very pleasant to not have to travel to get to a tournament. We also had a few people from up north and over the ditch attend which wa great to see. All up I believe there were 24 players and we even had two Halfling teams!

For me it was all a bit last minute. I intended to take a Necro team but simply couldn't get the models painted in time. I also only managed to get in one practice game which was a bit of an embarrassing outcome. So in the end I decided to play it safe with what I knew and took Khemri. Here was my team:

I just went for super bashy and figured if I don't do so well I could contend for the most casualties award. The format was 1,200,000 to spend on team and skills with the only skills allowed being 'normal roll' skills and no stat increases. You then could spend 70 points on anything to upgrade one unskilled player to a 'Star Player'. After I had finished putting all the Mighty Blow and Dirty Player on I used the Star Player points to give my Throw'Ra +1AG and Block so I would have a somewhat reliable ball carrier.

There were six games in total. I placed about mid-field again which with Khemri I'm ok with, yet two of my draws and one of my losses were the kind of games that came down to a single dice roll being anything but a 1 for me or my opponent needing a 6. So it feels a little like the tournament that could have been exceptional but I just fell a little short due to a bit of tough luck.

Nevermind that's how Blood Bowl is so I'll pick myself up and try again at the next one. There is an event in Wellington in Feb which I'm hoping to attend if the money is there so we'll try to improve by then. In the mean time here's a quick run down of my games.

Game 1 - Stella

Stella is a local and has been playing in our league. In our last game we tied as Stella's dancing Bull Centaurs dodged past all of my lumbering Skeletons and Tomb Guardians so I was looking forward to a rematch. It was close in the end with The Stiffs winning the game at 1-0. The Cas count was strangely high for a game against Chaos Dwarves at 6-1 in the Stiff's favour; it seems my team were eager to make a good start as my armour and injury rolling was burning hot. Stella was a fantastic sportswomen throughout and it was a really enjoyable game.

Game 2 - Matt

Game 2 was also against Chaos Dwarves *sigh*, this time against Matt who had flown across the Tasman to be here. Cut a long story short Matt had pretty awful luck in this game and the Stiffs managed to pull off a 2-1 victory. It should be pointed out however that after the first drive we went to set back up and I didn't have my 12th man in my dugout. Whether I had pulled him out of there for some strange reason or whether I had played the first drive with 12 players we're not quite sure but assuming it was the later Matt was an incredibly good sport and said to play on. The Stiffs managed to tie the game before the first half then go up by one in the second. Cas count 5-1 as my hot dice continued and a really enjoyable game.

Game 3 - Jim

Game 3 was against a familiar face as I played Jim's Wood Elves. Jim is one of the best sports I've ever met so you always know a game against him will be good. This was the first loss for the Stiffs as we went down 2-0. They did manage to scrape together 4 casualties before the final whistle but the outcome never really was in much doubt. Jim's Wood Elves danced through me like I wasn't even there and the combination of kick on Jim's Star Player and no tackle on my players meant that a coach as shrewd and cunning as Jim just had to avoid rolling 1's on his dodge rolls in order to outwit me. Ultimately I got schooled but at least I couldn't have asked to be schooled by a nicer person.

Game 4 - Scott

Last game on day one and once again it was against a familiar face. Scott has been playing in our local league this year in what I believe is his first year playing Blood Bowl. He's been getting in a lot of games with the humans but for this event he brought Amazons. This was one of the games that got away; Scott ripped through me to score in the first half and I managed to stumble an equaliser. I got the ball back and all I needed to win the game was a Go For It roll on the last turn to get into the end zone. No Re-Rolls left so of course any Blood Bowler worth his salt knows what happens there. Dodgy Dave tripped up on the try line and spilled the ball so the final score was 1-1. A strange game as I thought I would really struggle to knock down Scott's team as they all had Block and Dodge. Interestingly enough I rolled far more than my fair share of knock downs to put them on the ground, I just couldn't get the dice rolls to put them off the field. Seems my casualty machine was cooling off. Awesome game and Scott was a great player.

Game 5 - Gnome

The first game on day two was against another player from across the ditch; Brendan (otherwise known as Gnome for obvious reasons). This was another game that got away from me with Gnome's Skaven winning it 2-1. I received for the first half and I had a couple of really good turns that put a number of Gnomes rats stunned which gave me an opportunity to advance my cage and put me in a good position to score. Unfortunately there was a tiny wee gap in the cage which Gnome squeezed a Gutter Runner through and managed to get a 1 die block against my ball carrier. The result was a knock down and then the ball fell into the hands of one of his Gutter Runners. I threw 9 block dice at the Gutter Runner to put him down but it seems Nuffle decided today was going to be the Rat's day. After that Gnome did a stock standard 2 turn score at the start of the second half and he was up by two. Long story short I managed to grind his team down and get 1 point on the board but it was too little too late. Cas count was 4-2 in my favour with a lot of knocked out and crowd surfed rats.

Game 6 - Alan

My apologies to Alan for not getting a photo for this game. I had a headache coming on first thing in the morning that got progressively worse throughout the day. By game two it was pretty bad so the last thing on my mind was getting photos.

This was another of the games that I felt like it got away from me. Alan was playing Undead against my Khemri so we had a bit of a Strength 5 match up on the line. After some tussling Alan opened a gap on my right that he started running his Ghouls down. I have players back there to cover but I had to make one two dice block first to free up another player. Of course I rolled double skulls followed by double skulls. This made it pretty easy for Alan to score the first Touchdown but there were still four turns left in the first half so not all was lost. Unfortunately when I broke Dodgy Dave free of the scrimmage to get the equaliser one of my supporting players need a single go for it roll to keep up and you know what's going to happen there when the pressure is on; 1 followed by another 1. Alan was still looking at only a 1 die block on Dodgy Dave for the sack attempt so I was hopeful but Alan dodged players away from the scrimmage like I wasn't even there and easily knocked him down with a two dice block. I ground out the second half to get the equaliser and while I got a lot of armour breaks I couldn't injure his players so I was unwilling to risk going for the hopeful turnover and extra point in the second half as Alan still had plenty of players. Final score 1-1 with a disappointing Cas count for both teams of 2-1 in Alan's favour.

A good tournament with a lot of good games. A bit disappointing overall for the Khemri as they really had an opportunity to shine but it just wasn't meant to be. Their rather lack lustre rolling on casualties in the last game also meant they missed out on most Cas for the event. Nothing that can be done about it though so we'll put the Khemri on the shelf for now and start learning how to use a new team for the 2014 season. Necro are looking very promising if I can only figure out how to work with no strength 5 players ;)

Friday, 8 November 2013

Conquest 2013

Given it's now 2 weeks past the event I thought I best post about Conquest before the photos become forever lost in the bowels of my computer's picture files.

Conquest was a lot of fun; primarily because I learned so much about the new 40k rules. It has given me a passion for the game again which has been largely lacking over the past year or two. The Salamanders performed admirably considering the models I had to use. My loses all felt like the game might have gone either way but for the roll of a die, I never felt like I was out of the game until we tallied the final score.

Here's a run down of my games:

Game 1
My first game was against Dave who I've played in the past when he was using a Nurgle Chaos Space Marine Army. This time however he was using a Blood Angels/Grey Knights combo and he had A LOT of toys so I was looking forward to the challenge of trying to beat this army.

My Assault squad lining up the last of the Death Company.

Thankfully the mission was based around objectives and Dave had very few troop units so I figured if I could take out these units I could claim objectives and win the game.

Dreddie love.

Things went mostly to plan. I isolated his jump pack units and took them out with rapid firing tactical squads and was also fortunate enough to knock out his Dreadknight. Dave was left with one Inquisitorial Henchman squad claiming an objective and one Death Company Dreadnought crawling through ruins while being hammered by tremor shells from my Thunderfire Cannon. With remnants of two tactical squads able to claim objectives it was looking promising for the Salamanders. Unfortunately for me Dave’s Stormraven finally came out of reserve and swooped down on my Tac squads, then in a flurry of ‘5’s and ‘6’s followed by a string of ‘1’s and ‘2’s for armour saves, he managed to wipe out both squads in one round of shooting.

Super Spud attacks!

The game ended up in a minor win for Dave. A close game and I was pretty happy with how my plucky marines did overall.

Game 2
My second game was against Nick and his Dark Eldar. I played Nick previously at Cavcon against his Tau where he wiped the floor with me so I was a little pessimistic coming into this game but after he told me he had no night shields I thought there might be hope for me after all.

The horde I had to tackle.

My plan here was to ground as many raiders as I could and then bombard and rapid fire anything that ended up in the open. Once again it was an objectives mission so if I could hold his troops back away from the majority of the objectives, or better yet wipe them out, I could win on victory points.

The game didn't exactly go to plan. Bad armour penetration rolls meant I really struggled to knock anything out of the sky for the first half of the game but the luck turned in the second half and skiffs where dropping left, right and centre. I had just enough troops left to claim objectives, with auxiliaries such as Dreadnoughts and the Thunderfire Cannon to keep the last of the Dark Eldar at bay.

The game ended up with a minor win to me.

Game 3
My final game for day one was against Chris and his Nids. Last time I played Chris he also wiped the floor with me but that was in the previous rules set. The change in rules meant his Genestealers were not nearly as effective as they once were so his army had undergone some massive alterations.

Squee! Drop Pod love!

With objectives being the focus of this mission also, my plan was to wipe out the infantry as quickly as possible and then focus fire on his big Nids one at a time to take them down. This was a bit of a whacky game with some bizarre dice rolling leaving Chris’ Flying Hive Tyrant locked in combat with a tactical squad for about four rounds.

Those big nids sure can shit a lot of Termagaunts.

We got to turn 4 when we ran out of time. There was still a chance I could pull a win out of it but the game was in Chris’ favour so we called it there and Chris got a major win. Despite the score line I was happy with how my marines had performed; the only exception being my tactical squad who were supposed to die to the Hive Tyrant so that he would be left in the open for me to shoot at. Instead they decided to be tremendously heroic which threw my cunning plan into turmoil. Why couldn't they just be martyrs!?!

Game 4 
My first game on day two was against Cam and his Blood Angels. I was stoked with this as I haven’t played Cam since before the quakes (about three years ago). He surprisingly had no Death Company as well which meant this was going to be an interesting game.

That damn Raider won't slow down!

I planned to take out Cam’s Land Raider early with a drop podding Dreadnought so I could force his Termies to walk which would allow me to avoid them till turn four. From there I was hoping to bombard his Scout squad and Vindicator into submission while my Assault squad and Tactical Squads dealt with his Assault Squad in the middle of the table. The mission was to retrieve the relic so I thought if I could lure his army towards the relic I could butcher them one squad at a time and then grab the relic on the last turn. Unfortunately things didn't go at all to plan. A string of ‘1’s and ‘2’s on my armour penetration rolls for the Multi-Melta meant the Land Raider dropped the Termies out close enough to the action. I did manage to take out most of the Termies but a string of ‘1’s and ‘2’s on Charge rolls meant my Assault squad and Captain couldn't reach Cam’s Assault squad. Then in the last couple of turns Cam’s Stormraven came flying in and blasted me into oblivion (I really need to get one of those).

The fabled Vindicator showdown!

Pew pew!

Overall a good game; one of those situations where exactly the wrong rolls at exactly the wrong time really cost me dearly. I've certainly learned that a Multi-Melta Dread in a Drop Pod is not worth the high risk. I better get stuck into painting some Sternguard…oh and a Stormraven too; those things are horrible! Final result was a major win for Cam.

Game 5
Last game for the event was against someone I’ve never played before. Fergus looked like he was pretty new to the game as his army was all unpainted grey plastic. He had a Chaos army with A LOT of toys, but thankfully no Heldrake. The table was very open on one side but with a lot more cover on the other. This was again an objectives mission so I figured I would use my Tactical squads, Dreadnought and Vindicator to hold the open side while my Assault squad, mounted Tactical squad, Stormtalon and Drop Pod Dreadnought would counter attack the other side against all of Fergus’ infantry. This game was pretty methodical as it all worked pretty much to plan. Fergus got very unlucky with his artillery on the open side of the board and once my Multi-Meltas were in range they seemed to be determined to make up for all of their previous failings as one vehicle after another became a heap of burning wreckage.

Beer o'clock!

Taking cover (some would say 'cowering') behind the Rhino.

The game went for 7 turns and at the end of the 7th turn I removed his last model from the table with my Chaplain so it ended up as a major win to me.

Another year of Conquest done and dusted and I had a lot of fun. Once again, playing these games has helped me understand the 40k rules a lot better and I've discovered how to use some of my units to better effect also. On the other side of the coin I've also found some gaps where my army is very lacking and could use a few new models *coughStormravencough*. I doubt I'll find time to add much to the army over the coming year but I'll definitely find time to play more 40k.