Time for an update on how the Stiffs are progressing through their 3rd season of BCL here in Christchurch. I'll be honest and say that I'm struggling to get to grips with the new Necromantic incarnation of the team. They're slow to build up Star Player Points and I took a pretty bad selection for my starting lineup in hindsight. Despite my incompetencies though the Stiffs are holding up pretty well. From the eight teams I need to play in the round robin I've played five and the plucky wee brain-eaters are currently in a positive win/loss record. They're a much more complicated team than Khemri and every game I play with these guys I'm learning something new which is really helping with my skill level in the game both in terms of spotting my own mistakes and also spotting my opponent's. It's been two games since my last update and these two have taught me the most about my team so far in the league so I'll give a quick run-down of how they went:
Game 4 - Lackadaisical Larrikins - Draw
For my 4th game the Stiffs played Scott's Human team the Lackadaisical Larrikins. Scott was one game up on me and Dodgy Dave was missing the match due to a stiff upper arm from a Saurus in the match against the Monitors. All of that meant I had a good amount of inducement money to spend. It was a few weeks ago now but I believe I bought a mercenary Zombie to prop my team up to 12 players and a Wizard.
My apologies for no photos, I forgot my camera (so unlike me I know). I'll go through the blow by blow in the vain hope it will paint a suitably vivid picture so that supporting images are not even necessary.
Pre-game rolls didn't go fantastic with me losing the Fame by 2 and losing the coin toss also. Scott received for the first half and ground up the centre of the field pushing me back a few squares each turn (a strength 6 Ogre helps a lot with this). I thought I was doing pretty well to contain him and a perfect opportunity came up to fireball his cage catching 4 players in the blast including the ball carrier. The first player to be hit with the fireball was a lineman who was then killed by it which Scott decided to apothecary, after such a great start I had high hopes this fireball would be my opportunity to turnover and score, but as the rolls continued it became abundantly clear to me that all the flame in my fireball had fizzled out as no one else fell prey to it. I think this action of epic fail must have fired up Scott's team as they started viciously laying into my guys. I had three casualties in that half; the Golem and the Zombie regenerated thank goodness and so were ready for the next drive but MJ the Werewolf did not. They were only badly hurt so they'll be alright for the next game but I was now seriously lacking in players with a move of 6 or more. Scott ploughed through me and scored with a couple of turns left. I tried for the two turn touchdown but with no re-rolls left I couldn't pull off the pass that I needed and we finished the half 0-1 to the Larrikins.
Second half I received and set about trying to find a way upfield. Thankfully my team had decided to break out the knuckledusters and steel-caps this half as I evened up the casualty count. I pushed my cage right and Scott pressed me towards the sideline then I managed to blitz a gap in the centre and invert my cage so that Brittle Bones Brucie; my star Wight and Team Captain, managed to carry the ball over to the left wing and out of reach of any of Scott's players. I had spent about 6 turns to achieve this so I decided to run down the clock and take the draw rather than risk giving Scott a chance to score again before the end of the game.
A really good game against Scott where I was seriously out-witted at some points throughout. I learned from this game the importance of basic skills like Block, which Scott's team hammered me with, and also the difficulties of trying to move a cage with a lack of speedy players; I only had one Wight and two Werewolves, one of which was taken out in the first half. The good news was that the money earned from this game allowed me to purchase my second Wight so with him on the roster and Dodgy Dave returning from injury for the next game I was looking to be in a better position.
Game 5 - The B!tches - Win!
Game 5 was against Alex's female Dwarfs. Given that he had played only 2 games and I had played 4 I was expecting Alex to be picking up a whole lot of inducements. In fact there was only 70k difference between us which has got me a little worried that my team are developing rather slowly.
We did the pre-game rolls and I had a lot more luck this time round getting +2 Fame and winning the coin toss. I elected to receive and we set up and began the game. This photo was about two turns in after three failed pick-up attempts by Dodgy Dave.
I got lucky with Alex setting up his Troll Slayers near the sidelines. A fortunate blitz from a Werewolf and one of the Troll Slayers ended up in the crowd who mercilessly stomped on her. The result was an armour bust which Alex then apothecaried and became an agility bust instead. This had ultimately left a gap down the left which I could run Dodgy Dave through when he picked the ball up. Then...
He failed again...with a re-roll...
So Dodgy Dave has now failed 5 pick up attempts over 3 turns. Alex unsympathetically laughs at my situation and ponders how to destroy my team.
I forgot to take photos after turn three as I think I just got so caught up in the game from here. It was a real tough situation but Dave did finally manage to pick up the ball and shift down the sideline for a turn 7 Touchdown. Alex had to try and equalise in two turns (never an easy task for the slow moving stunties) and it didn't happen so we moved onto the second half.
Here was our set up at the kick off:
And then the kick!
Very bad news for the stunties. In order to reach the ball Alex had to split his team leaving his linemen on the line while pulling back as many players as possible to help support the ball carrier. This left heaps of room for my Wolves, Ghoul and Wights to get in behind his front row and make a sack attempt on the ball carrier.
Long story short number 2 Werewolf; Fido, managed to pry the ball loose and run in a turn 6 touchdown. There were a couple of highlights during these turns however; the first was number 11 Zombie; Tot, getting killed on turn 1 but regenerating and Dodgy Dave yet again going down to the first block against him in the game and having to be carried off on a stretcher. Badly Hurt this time so he'll be back for the next game but this is a very ominous start to the season for Dave.
Not a heck of a lot happened there after. The Stiffs came out with a 2-0 win and lost the Cas 1-2. Once again I learned a lot from this game. I made a number of mistakes in screening my ball runner that allowed Alex's doughty little ladies through for a sack attempt, I also found I am still leaving my positionals too exposed though I'm not quite sure how to beat this yet as Zombies and Flesh Golems tend to get kinda stuck on the line due to their low agility. I was very fortunate with the kick for the second half landing in the corner, had this not happened I think the game would have gone very differently.
So the Stiffs are currently sitting at the top of the Chain Division in BCL though there are three teams below them who still have one or two games to be on par with the Stiffs, and if any of those teams win any of those games they will knock the Stiffs off top place. It's a close race but that's what makes it so exciting!
I have three games left to play in the Round Robin; Simon's Halflings, Regan's Undead and Tim's Wood Elves whom I agreed to play last. Three more games to try and take the top spot. I would need wins in all three games and even that would not guarantee the Stiffs 1st place so I also need those other three teams sitting close behind me on the standings to lose a game or two. The fight for the top placings is going to be close so the next three games are going to be intense!