My entire gaming group all at once found them/ourselves busier than ever, and so to keep getting our gaming fix, we switched en mass to Blood Bowl as a quicker, easier game to squeeze in. As such, I have very little to report on the 40k front.
But, rather than say nothing, I thought I would pass on my experiences playing Blood Bowl!
For those who know nothing, Blood Bowl is a tabletop skirmish game modeled on American Football crossed with Rugby. Two teams square off on a field (marked with grid lines) either in single games or in a season. Also, the ruleset is entirely free, and found here.
(A word to the wise, it's the worst organized rulebook I've read in a long time, even with so few rules to cover)
This is an example setup, this is my quick-table (made out of 3" cardboard). The numbers are labeled for what they represent - the small cards are from the original 80's boxed set my Humans player still has!
The game is played in two 8-turn halves, with a maximum of 11 players per side. A Kickoff starts the game, and the ball is kicked off again for each touchdown. Players switch off, with the receiving team going first. Each team may make a single action with each player on their team, but any failed action (such as dropping the ball or missing a pass) is a Turnover, all players who haven't acted forfeit their actions. As such, a single turn can be 11 actions or, with spectacular bad luck, 1.
I find the game particularly enjoyable because it's quick, easy to learn, and offers multi-game seasons where players can improve, gain character through minor injuries, or die. It reminds me of a sports-centric Mordheim.
The first step to playing a game of Blood Bowl once you've read over the rules, is making a team!
More or less my starting roster, shoulder-pads there is new, the rest are original
(It definitely helps to get a practice game in, before settling on any team roster)
Now, in terms of making a roster, most Coaches start with $100,000 (call it 1000 pts). This is enough for a starting lineup of 11 players, plus a sub or two (good to have) and a few other perks. If it's a one-off game, that's all you need, and if it's part of a Season, you'll get to win more $$ as you play games.
Of the perks, many come into play once you've made some moolah playing games, but the critical one is Re-rolls. You can pay gold for a number of re-rolls (for any die roll you make) to use once per game half. These are utterly critical, and although they can be purchased mid-season, they're twice as expensive once you've played your first game.
I know all of this, because I am now in the middle of my first Season, and I don't have any re-rolls (d'oh!)
Moments before a wave of bad rolls had these Skaven running right through me because of rapid-turnovers. Re-rolls are solid gold.
So, for my team, I already knew I wanted to play Lizardmen. If I were to jump from 40k to WFB, I would take up Lizardmen. The scaly buggers just work for me. So that made choosing a team easy, but there are a *lot* of options for those looking for variety!
Lizardmen are interesting, boasting the least variety of players in the game (three), with Saurus, Skinks, and the Kroxigor.
On the cover, that makes it look like Lizardmen are a great starting team for new players. But, while they are uncomplicated, that isn't the case. Lizardmen are odd, half of the team is the strongest, toughest linemen in the whole game, while the other half is the squishiest and one of the fastest. Each half is very good at what they do, whether it be tackling or running the ball, but the team suffers from being split in half, neither being an all-running or an all-punching team. Worse, each half is so completely opposite from the other that they can wind up playing as if they're only half a team.
Saurus are the bruisers, with a Strength 4 and Armor 9 (both the highest of any linemen), they are tailor-made to be a scaly wall. No other team can field as many (up to six) S4 players on their team. The downside to this is that they are expensive, none of them start with *any* skills, and their Agility is 1 - meaning if there's a single Tackle Zone in their path, trying to move will lose you the turn. It also means they will not be touching the ball unless you want a Turnover.
A Kroxigor (and a Lizardmen team may have 1, an expensive S5 bruiser!) has similar stats, but just shy of double the cost of a Saurus, and has a slew of skills that make them scarier. The caveat is, in addition to the price, whenever you declare an action, on a d6 roll of 1, the Kroxigor forfeits his action and tackle zone for the turn.
Skinks, by contrast, are cheap, fast, dodge well, are decent at picking up the ball, can pass (sort of) and catch, and are everyone's favorite non-Skaven punching bag. They have a couple skills that offer both a benefit and penalty (very good at dodging, very easy to hurt).
My starting roster this time was:
Apothecary (re-roll Injury results once per game, good to have if a player gets killed!)
The thought process there was that I wanted a lot of Skinks, because I'd read that it's hard to level them up (as they're fragile) while Saurus are easy to level up even if you add them late in a season. I wanted the Kroxigor, and since I was starting with a small-ish team, I went with the Apothecary to preserve my precious players. However, I have never used my Apothecary (in six games), and the Kroxigor, while excellent, has not made up for the lack of re-rolls.
In the middle of the season now, I'm in much better shape. However, I've lost four games, drawn two, and not won a single one. Yowch.
If I were to make a new team now, I would go this route instead:
6x Saurus ($80k ea.)
5x Skinks ($60k ea.)
3x re-rolls ($60k ea.)
Much smaller, and leaves me with around $40k in the bank to save up for a Kroxigor or buy some Fan Factor (up to four). The re-rolls and the extra Saurus could probably have won me my first few games, and put me in a much better place once I got the Kroxigor later (with a solid win or two, I would have made boatloads of gold) and the re-rolls would have been used every half, where the Apothecary hasn't been used at all.
In terms of general team building, focus hard on your strengths in the beginning - Skaven are lightning fast, and can use a tougher rat or two to shore up their front line. Humans are OK at everything, so focus on variety, Orks are un-subtle beat-sticks, so load up on linemen (but make sure to take some Goblins to actually get the ball).
BUT, most important of all, get re-rolls. Two, minimum, and three if you can swing the $.
And that's me passin' on my first-season learnin'!
More soon as I play more games!