Monday, 31 March 2014

Ausbowl Team Championship - The Pain and the Suffering

As a sequel to "Ausbowl Team Championship - The Return..." here is the game by game tale of my first outing with Halflings. Not to bury the lead but I'm sure by now it will be no surprise to anyone that I managed to lose every single game. There were moments of brilliance where it looked like the plucky little guys would come out with a draw and even one match that looked like they could win it, but in the end it wasn't meant to be.

Despite not winning a game I did very much enjoy playing the Halflings. It's a completely different play style and a real challenge that tends to create a sensation of immense success every time you achieve something as simple as knocking an opponent down or even landing a thrown Halfling. I'm very keen to give them another go at a tournament but right now the focus has to remain on my New Year's Resolution which is to get teams painted for tournaments. If a club tourny or something comes up though there's a good chance I'll get them back on the pitch.

The team I took for this event was:

2 Treemen
11 Halflings
Puggy Baconbreath
Willow Rosebark
2 Re-Rolls
Assistant Coach
Halfling Master Chef

I'd probably make a few changes next time round. One very good Halfling coach suggested using Zara instead of Willow and Puggy so I'll try giving her a go next time. In the meantime however here is the breakdown of my games:

 Game 1 - Michel:

Michel is a Frenchman living in Canberra and hence playing for one of the ACT teams. I had never really met him before though I do remember him from Adelaide as being a pretty good player from what I heard. He brought Skaven and had a pretty standard build with three Gutter Runners, two Blitzers, a Thrower, a Rat Ogre and a handful of Linerats. This was very much a trial by fire for me as Michel run rampant through my lines while I desperately tried to figure out what I was doing. He scored time and time again but I did manage to get a consolation Touchdown so the scoreline wasn't too embarrassing. The casualty count was a little more even as I found ways to beat his rats senseless but in the end I lost that one too. Final score 1-4 cas 3-4.

I desperately try to stall Michel's advance down my wing by throwing Halflings under his feet.

Game 2 - Ian:

I completely forgot to take photos of the game between Ian and I until it was all over, hence the scattered remains of another Half-Pints loss. Ian was playing Pro-Elves, I'm a little hazy on his team but I think he had two Blitzers, four Catchers, two Throwers and three or four Linelves. I completely forgot I was playing Halflings in his game as I fell into my old Khemri playing style and proceeded to bash Ian's team into the turf. Some really lucky rolling on the Armour and Injury rolls left him a couple of players down within the first half. I came very close to drawing this one too but I just couldn't catch those slippery Elves. Final score was 2-3 but cas count was a respectable 4-2.

Game 3 - Ryan:

Game 3 was against a really fun bunch of guys. Tim, Gil and I all really enjoyed this round, maybe because it was the last round of the day and the beer was coming thick and fast, but I think mostly because the team we played seemed to be interested in having a laugh and not taking things too seriously. I drew Ryan who was playing Dark Elves with an interesting build. He had the stock standard four Blitzers but only one Witch Elf and two Runners with a smattering of Linelves to make up the numbers. This game was extremely hard fought and I once again came close to pulling off a draw. After being schooled for the first couple of turns on the dangers of leaving your Halflings too close to the sideline for a Witch Elf blitz I started to eventually find my mojo. I did a pretty good job of containing Ryan's Elves and was taking great delight in watching him gnash his teeth while he struggled not to trip over all the Halflings running under his feet but in the end the Elf agility and a mounting pile of broken and bleeding Halflings meant I simply couldn't hold on. Final score 1-2 cas 3-6.

Puggy takes the fight to the Witch Elf while the other Elves run away with the ball.

Game 4 - Nick:

Soooooo if you read my previous post you'd probably know that this was the first game on the Sunday and hence one that did not go so well for me. Nothing to do with the game itself and everything to do with the drinking the night before.

Tim and I were late to the first game so Gil had done the draw and lined me up against the Dwarf player. Nick was actually an ex-pat Kiwi (as were the rest of his team) from Waikato so having drunk his share of Waikato Draught in the past I'm assuming that's the reason he was so sympathetic to my cause. Whatever the reason I was grateful for it. I can't remember too much about Nick's build. It was a pretty standard Dwarf team I think with all positionals filled, though one thing of note was that Nick had a Star Player in Grim Ironjaw.

It ended up being a pretty one sided game with Nick doing an eight turn grind down the wing and putting half my team in the injured box. I was ready to pass out by the end of the half so I called it there. Half-time score was 0-1 with a 2-6 cas differential. I was happy at least to have two casualties against Dwarfs   :)

Game 5 - Jim:

For round 5 we drew the other Christchurch team; the Mainland Marauders and hence we all ended up playing a familiar face. I was paired off against Jim who I believe I've yet to beat in a Tournament so I was hoping the Halflings could pull one out of the hat during this game. Necro teams don't vary a heck of a lot from my understanding and Jim's was no different with the stock standard two Golems, two Wights, two Ghouls, two Werewolves and a handful of Zombies.

Despite a rough start with a pitch invasion doing nothing to Jim's team and taking out both of my Treemen (but only the Treemen and no one else just to confirm this was an entirely 'random' act of violence by the crowd) I was pretty happy with how the first half went. I put a lot of pressure on Jim and came close to turning the tide. In the end Jim scored towards the tail end of the half but I was very happy about how things had gone and was looking forward to the second half where I would be receiving.

Unfortunately when the second half started the dice decided it would be all one way traffic from here. I couldn't roll anything but 1s, 2s, skulls and both downs and Jim pranced through my team as if they weren't there. To highlight my rather unfortunate run of luck the kick-off results for the second half were a thrown rock that injured Willow followed by two Blitzes to enable Jim to scream past me for a 4-0 victory. Cas was just as unbalanced at 2-6.

Game 6 - Mike:

This had to be my favourite game of the weekend. Mike was a Melbourne local and was a really top guy. Extremely polite and very sporting. That sort of explains why he's not in the photo as he was kindly leaning out of the way to give me a clear shot of the board. Mike was playing Humans with a Wizard. He had the obligatory four Blitzers, a Thrower and a Catcher. He had no Ogre which I'm figuring he had to sacrifice to fit the Wizard in.

This was my favourite game not only because Mike was such a great opponent but also because it was the only game in which I managed to get ahead with the scoreline. After scoring once I kicked off to Mike and then hurled a Halfling into his backfield quickly followed by Willow blitzing through to sack the ball carrier. With a little bit of good luck on my behalf and a little bit of poor luck on Mike's behalf I was up 2-1 pretty quickly. Mike equalised but I stood a great chance of getting ahead before the final whistle as Mike had once again left his back field open, all I had to do was get the Halflings through. Unfortunately two sequential turns of awful luck allowed Mike to base all the Halflings in my pocket and send most of them to the injured bin. It was then a relatively simple task for him to gather up the ball and run in the winning touchdown. Final score 2-3 cas 0-5. A really disappointing finish to a hard fought game but just as Nuffle giveth he also taketh away.

What made this game even more awesome though is that Mike had got some special Melbourne Blood Bowl League dice made and he gave me a pair to take back to New Zealand!

It's little things like this that can make all the difference in a tournament. This really made my weekend.

So six awesome opponents over a great weekend. It was challenging and frustrating at times with the Halflings but I've also never been so excited about scoring a touchdown or injuring one of my opponent's players. Everything you achieve with Halflings creates so much more enjoyment because you simply don't expect them to achieve anything at all. I can't wait until the Half-Pint's next outing!

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