6 votes, rating 5.8
Somehow I found time to summarize my Eurobowl. It’s long so only for bored people. And not even nice pictures. But hey, someone might still be interested...
Having two small kids, I was only able to join one 2-day Blood Bowl tournament this year, and the choice was, of course, the Eurobowl in Cardiff, Wales. As Captain of the Swiss team, I was very proud to field an all swiss squad this year. And a pretty decent one, too. Jokaero does not need to be introduced, Kithor is finally playing for Switzerland as a long time resident and last year’s Rookie Madmatt13 was ready to prove that his 2000 fumbbl games have brought him to the next level. After exploring the Europen last year, our three Ouroboros (Phifoe, Le_Troll and Otis) were available for the squad again, so only one spot was missing. With Sipa, who has only joined 3-4 tabletop tournaments before but is closing in on 1000 games on fumbbl, we were able to find a formidable fill for the last spot. Goals were the same as every year: Top 10 placement, beating a top team, and of course placing better than our good friends ze Germans.
The travel via London City was pretty smooth, and after some walk through the city we had some beers and landed in a steakhouse which was pretty decent, followed up by a couple beers in the hotel lobby with the Germans meeting Sprinter and Miko for the first time, which I’ve both played online before.
When races were distributed nobody dared to challenge my Wood Elves (well actually matt’s pro painted ones as I’m a troll at painting) so I got to play my nominally best team against hopefully the best opponents. The upfront draw gave me just what I was looking for with am Matchup against Spain and Kewan’s Undead in round 1:
Kewan is a very good player and we have played in Portugal as well and tied 1:1 woodies vs Necros. This time he had the undead. The weather was rain so he let me start (which he might have done anyways) so with my setup with 2 dodge lineman and only a block catcher I usually hide my tackle wardancer to blitz, not risking him to make LOS blocks as he might get hit afterward. This also means risky 2 dice blocks without block. So the kick was deep enough to not use a rr in case of a turnover, which promptly happened. Pressure incoming, I managed to pick up the ball with the wardancer and cover him up. Kewan decided to come in with full pressure, which is the right thing to do, you want to make Woodies roll as many dodges as possible until they eventually fail. In my case, that eventual double 1 came right away in the first action of the turn which gave him an easy 2 dice on the Wardancer and he promptly sacked him with a pow. 4+ Pickup failed though, so I had a pretty easy shot at a 3+ pickup and covering up. That went wrong as well though, so he could manage the next 4+ and score in his turn 3.
Well, bad things happen, but with elves this is by far a lost game. So off we go again with exactly the same setup and Blitz happened. Luckily I could recover and still score in turn 8 to tie the game at half.
Second half it was still raining, so when the pickup failed I had to pounce on it with all I had and invested one of my 2 rerolls for that, as the leader was out. 2 players next to the ball from him and me and trying the 5+ pickup with the catcher let the ball bounce in the wrong direction, and he managed to pick it up. I don’t remember exactly what happened but it was back and forth and always some pressure on the ball, but another double 1 somewhere then allowed the final breakthrough and the game was lost 1:2. Not the luckiest game I guess, and against good coaches you only get that many shots. The game was open till the end which is always interesting. Also open till the end was the Switzerland vs Spain game, where we managed to lose by just half a point, Captain not taking on the responsibility needed. I was, of course, a bit disappointed, losing so narrow to one of the best nations, but it was only one game out of 6, so a lot of Blood Bowl yet to be played.
My loss actually put me to seat 8, so I was getting the honor of wearing our awesome cheese hat, motivator for the last player to catch up and drop the cheese hat to someone else.
Second round matched us up against Hungary, which has 2-3 experienced players with most of the team more being in for the fun. I got dark elves of Alex05, which I’ve also played before, and he did play them pretty solid. I was able to force him to score early, though, so had enough time to tie, and even with a couple KOs was able to stall through my offense and score in turn 8 with a 2d blitz, 2+dodge and gfi.
After finishing my game I could almost not believe what happened. All bottom 5 tables won their matchups, and on the top 3 tables we got another win and 2 draws. 6 2 0 is pretty amazing and would bring us right back to the upper levels. Furthermore, I could enjoy another game at table 8 with the Cheese hat against the lowest ranked player of team Sweden.
Right, so why am I matched up against Melisqus, current number one Necromantic coach and captain of team sweden? I guess his start was even worse than mine, having lost both games so far and he was probably not too happy to see me as his opponent in round 3.
Melisqus played his Necromantics with a wrestle and a block guhl and a block and mighty blow werewolf. Furthermore 2 block Flesh golems and a Guard and Mighty Blow wight. Probably a better setup for me that with sure hands and lots of guard, but mighty blow can hurt as well, of course. I decided to kick, as I know almost always do, in order to minimize blocks to the opponent and then go all in later in the first half with hopefully still some rerolls and wardancers. Except if the chances are very good, of course.
The kick was deep, and Melisqus did not like my tree so whent for the claw mighty blow blitz on him to try to take him out right away. If this works, it might well be game breaking, as offence just got a lot easier. However, it was also committing a lot of players to the middle. Given that I was a bit surprised that a rr was not used for the pickup, but as you don’t get many with necros and might have to pick it up later in tough positions it might have been the right play. He could not expect me to dodge that well, to actually screen off all his LOS players with a double screen only leaving some possibility for a cage on one side. After a double skull to open turn 2 the ball pickup was now as crucial as ever. He managed and went to the side, but the cage was still not strong enough so I got a one dice on the guhl with just dodging, which worked out. The bounce was in 2 tackle zones, and my catcher was able to get this 4+ pickup and score with 3 more GFIs. 1:0. So now he was behind, had already used a rr and the tree was right there again, it was a tough drive to push forward. After some initial pressure, I played more passively as I calculated good chances for him not to get properly in range in time. In turn 7, Melisqus saw an opportunity to chain-push the ball carrier through my defense to score with only 3+ dodge and 1 gfi. But the push didn’t come, which made it suddenly a 5+ dodge against tackle and 2 gfi. He had to try but failed so I had my shot at actually breaking him again. I decided to go for the block a guy away, then dodge and gfi 3 times with the catcher, but the block was skulls so no reroll was left for the gfi’s which was too much of a stretch. 1:0 halftime! Being up and still have lots of players I was aiming to stall through as long as I can until I get outnumbered. That worked pretty well and in turn 5 I decided to score, giving him 4 turns for a potential 2 touchdowns to tie. But he would need to make a 2 turner and also break me in 2. The 2 turner worked pretty well with a touchback and me failing something, so I had to defend for 2 more turns. A deep kick made it easy and not trying to somehow still score I just stuck to my own end zone with 6 players to protect any the 6+ one dice attempts. 2:1 win! And our team was performing well again so we actually managed to beat Sweden with 4.5 to 3.5 points which made us very happy and ready to party.
After attending the Captains meeting I made my way back to the hotel around 8pm so we went out for dinner. It was Halloween night in Cardiff and for at least half the ladies this was just an excuse to dress up sexy. I couldn’t complain about wandering through the city trying to find someplace to eat. We saw half the German team in an Italian restaurant and joined them there, getting some nice starters, Pizza and Beer. Enthusiastically 5 of us were intrigued by all the short skirts and bribed our way into a club skipping the line. It was mainly loud, but since we already used up the bribe at least 4 of us decided to stay and have some fun. We held on till about 1 when we decided to head home to the hotel. Luckily, just 50 meters next to our home was another club so of course we paid the 10£ to get in. And we were not disappointed. There was a nice Bar area and a dance floor so we grabbed another beer and some tequila. Suddenly we saw some stairs so we went up just to find another huge 200 people dance floor connected to yet another 150 people floor. There were more people in that club than at the Eurobowl/Europen combined. Unfortunately, there were none other from the Eurobowl there, but we were quite happy with the 50% gender ratio. Either way, the 3 Daddys had most reason to stay late since they finally got a chance to go out again, so we ended up being home sometime during the second 2-3 in the morning. (thanks to the winter time)
The first round on Sunday was only at 10, so we had plenty of time to recover. And we were playing the Danes, which are of course one of the strongest teams, having several second places in the past, but were also beatable with some luck, especially on Sunday mornings. I got matched up vs theSpecialone’s undead on table 6, and let him receive. It seemed a bit early to think everything through, as a block with the Tree on the zombie opened up a nice gap which got me into a nice position to blitz the Ball Carrier with a 3+ leap or a 4+ dodge. In these cases I usually go for the dodge, as 75% is good enough and the RR can still be used for either blocking or picking up the ball. I did make the dodge with my strip baller, even got the Pow and somehow ended up not just getting the ball, but also screening him off with a couple 3+ 2+ dodge actions with my catchers. A following attempt to recover with a wrestle blitz already failed on the first dodge and I could even stall a turn before scoring, as my wardancer was laying there naked and there was a bribe available due to get the ref on kickoff. My defense was a bit weak, mainly focusing on not giving up any blocks as I was already up. I could pressure him to dodge with the ball, but that worked and also a couple other dodges. I did then get the ball popped but could not recover and he could score in turn 7. 2 turns for Wood elves is usually enough, but a perfect defense made it a bit more difficult. I could still get in range but the 11 on the pickup hindered me to get an ideal position. After then rolling another 11 on the pass it was 1:1 in halftime. I did then manage to stall my half through somehow and won the game 2:1. More importantly, I found out that we were actually winning overall against the great danes and were now at 3/0/1 (same as my personal score).
We were now closing in to the top ranks as England had just lost vs Spain and since we already played Spain in Round 1 we got matched against the 6 time winners from England. Having received a huge beating with just 1 wind and 2 draws last year we were eager to change that this time. I was up at table 2 and faced a nice chap named Purplegoo on table two. Having met Phil years back at a Dungeonbowl for the first time and seen him at several tourneys, I have actually only one game played against him on tabletop. That was 2 years ago where my lizards got a tie against his Humans at the Eurobowl, which was rather a tough matchup for him. This time it seemed like a rather tough matchup for me, so I would have been happy with a tie here. I chose to kick and off we went. Trying out the newly gifted English dice with a pretty self-confident 6 winner stars on the 6 was working out for me, and adding a little chant to lighten up the mood made lineman Jim go to the KO box. After third favorite lineman Dave got the help of the Apo to stay on the pitch, it was a bit of back and forth and a lineman from my side was sent to the cas box as well. When I then KO’d a Blitzer as well, it looked a bit more promising. I somehow separated the Ogre and later another Blitzer from the rest of the team to put on some pressure on his cage. Phil seemed to solve all the problems I gave him so I had to put on some more pressure so the ball carrier had to dodge. However, this came with leaving either a little gap on the main side of his drive, or leaving 2 players alone on the other side, given 2 players were already behind my lines, I felt it was not better to just screen but rather let him do a crucial turn now, which might still let me profit if something fails. The crucial fails did not come, but luckily I could still keep up the pressure with a rather lucky turn on my side involving a couple 3+ dodges. We both had to roll some dice, but at the end I could only get the ball carrier to dodge 3+ again in the last turn, which was about all I managed to oppose in Phil’s drive which was played excellently.
I did not give away many blocks so having still 9 players for the oneturner gave me a proper shot. He defended with the 2 2 2 2 setup and 3 on one side of the LOS defence, which I always use as well. If makes your ball carrier usually dodge 4+ twice, even though with 11 players you can sometimes avoid the first one. The pushes came through without a rr, the pickup, 3+ pass, 3+ catch was covered by the skill rerolls, so all that was left was 4+4+3+2+ dodging and the 3 gfi. A shitload of 6es came out of my dice and I made it all the way without even using the reroll. 4.5% with the reroll about 13% so can happen, but really shouldn’t when it counts. I was of course happy to bring it in in a crucial game, and looking around the tables it seemed as if we were not too much behind at halftime. My drive was then to try to preserve my rerolls as long as possible and dance around with the wardancers as we did in the club the night before. Somehow this plan went south and to avoid 3+ dodging I had to use some rerolls on 2 dice blocks without block in order to keep a secure position. The pressure was relentless and one after the other was sent into the casualty box. 6 Lonely elves supported by an almost useless rooted tree in the center was all there was left after 4 turns. Several 3+2+ dodges with only the dodge reroll later I was in a semi-safe position when finally a 3+ dodge to close the cage failed. The wrestle lino was in range and ready to pounce, but he needed to dodge by the tree and GFI to get to the wardancer. Disappointing (not anymore) favorite lineman Gavin managed to stumble over the roots of the tree and I actually got a turn where I could get into a safe position with only 2+ rolls. That was followed up by more pressure and another 3+ dodge and more 3+ dodge and I just did not fail anything. In the meantime, it was also clear that I had to win in order for us to tie, so the next turn I could get myself out with a one dice push which would free up the way to an all 2+ turn again. That worked, but I had nowehere to go really so I had to just trust in blodge and place a naked wardancer near the Endzone with no protection whatsoever from lineman Kevin and Steve. The blitz was no pow and Phil decided to rather keep to the RR as a turnover would have sealed the easy turn 8 score right away. So I had to dodge away 3+ 2+ again, but this time I had better cover in the corner which seemed put me just a 2+ dodge away from the score. The humans managed to even dodge into a tackle zone twice to make that a 3+ dodge yet again, but the dice were just too good today and it was 2:1 after my drive.
There was still a one turn attempt, and the rr was available, and with only 7 players left, there was no dodging to do with the catcher in the back line, so the main issue of the human oneturner was gone. After a deep kick I was a bit relieved but at the end the rr was used to get a push and even though the 5+ pass worked, the blitzer trying to catch it failed, just a 3+4+3+ and 2 gfi away from completing the oneturner.
On the other tables it was an up and down, our dark elves demolished Lycos’ necros, Paul shocked Jokaero with a 5+ double pow action almost preventing the tie, Jim was doing special things with his wood elves like myself and somehow managed to get a draw and in the dwarf duel our ball carrier failed the crucial double one into the end zone. Which would have been the tie. Which would have kept us in the race for a medal, which would have guaranteed a new Champion. But then, you always remember your double ones of course, and my oneturner and all the 3+ dodging was far more lucky than a single double 1. So at the end it is what it is. What we can say though, is that we did only lose by half a point against Spain and England, which definitely positions Switzerland as a solid team and an uneasy matchup for anyone.
Going into the last round we faced Italy, former Champions, huge community, great players. I faced Spartako in a mirror match. Very decent Wood elf player, 250+ rating, great matchup for the closing game. Compared to my passive setup with a block catcher and 2 dodge lineman, the Italians usually like it a bit more aggressive. Block and Wrestle lineman, to fight back and not just dodge away. A grab treeman to increase the one turn possibility by preserving the blitz to hit a hole into the defense. Combined with a Frenzy Wardancer oneturners seemed to be almost easy.
Spartako won the coin toss and let me start. Wood elves mirror is a lot less tactical than for example dwarves mirror. It’s mainly about timing, and who gets a crucial turnover and how long can the strip ballers live. I did decide to pick up the ball right away, before blocking because en empty ball is never nice against woodies in range. I then decided to hit the tree, thinking with starting advantage I might get a couple blocks done to keep him down and be able to cage around the middle for the first 4-5 turns trying to push into range. The trees managed to know themselves over, but while his got up, mine was quite happy on the ground so decided to take a nap. For 3 turns. Spartako played a very solid screen defense, and with the tree in the middle, I had to maneuver around it. In turn 4 Spartako decided to push his luck and blitzed with the tree with a gfi. The 1 came and the tree went down, just when my tree finally managed to get up. A turn of tides and I continued to 3d blitz with my tackler every turn, but could not get anything out except a late KO. I was a cas and a KO down and that was when Spartako decided to put on the pressure and leaped into the cage for a strip blitz which would have been -2 dice, but somehow was overseen by Spartako. It didn’t matter as the leap failed, and I finally had a whole to push through, out of range of the strip baller. Than a crucial scene happened, where I had to push for a bit an unsecure position, and needed the leader to fall in order to not grant any 2-dice blitzes on my ball carrier. The push was rerolled into a both down and suddenly my ball carrier was open. Wrestle lino managed to wrestle him down and the bounce was into the right direction. A 2+ dodge, 3+ pickup another dodge, pass, 3+ catch and the catcher would have been out of reach. Luckily the 3+ pickup failed, and I could score in turn 8.
Oneturner I had 10 players so decided to push my luck with screening in the front, as in the back I would have only been able to force 2 3+ dodges. The push came through, the blitz as well, but a pow on the second block was not enough to get in range. Lucky again!
His drive was Italian pressure again, going for a quick secure 2 turn score. However, when the handoff used up the rr, only lineman had to be blocked away from the edge of the cage to secure the ball into a -2d leap blitz (which I would never take…) unfortunately there was a double skull and after a 2 d pow there were suddenly 2 dice on the ball with no dodging needed. What followed was the obvious quad skull joke by nuffle, do even out the luck and the Game.
My drive was then similar again, I had to pull through over the side with a one dice blitz with my tackler to try to break through, and with some lucky 3+ dodges I actually managed to get into a good position. 1 dice leap chance I still had to allow, but it would have been a hard recovery, so after that failed I could actually stall down field outside of Strip range. Pressure was increasing and a desperate action with 4+ dodge, leap and -2 dice failed but since the stripper was there and I had nowhere to go I had to score in turn 7. So one turner defence again, but with the odd chance to do one myself should it work. It did not however, as with 7 dice there was no push, and the game was over.
I got 5 wins and 1 loss, against mostly top players so I felt pretty happy also knowing that in the last 2 games at least I was rather on the lucky side. Well at the end of the day, if you want to win against the best, you need to be a bit lucky. I wasn’t the only one running good, and we managed to tie our last match against Italy. Another great achievement which left us on place 6 with 3/1/2, only having lost against later winner England and runner up Spain. A big gratulation to my whole team and a big thanks to the organizers, as the whole tournament was run very smoothly, the location was great, the food was above UK average, and I even got through many many songs of the Choir without falling asleep :-).
Only downside was that the whole Blood bowl community was a bit split up in the evenings, I did not get to speak to as many fellow blood bowlers as I would have liked to, but it was still great to meet old Colleagues and new faces familiar from online play like Sprinter, Miko, Dirold, BiBi, Janniu, Ghorgor and many more.
If you have actually read through here you must have enough time to sign up for the NAF team challenge 2019 on Fumbbl, so gogogo! Application is open till November 5th.
Strider84 aka Alex