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Life is pain, Highness. Anyone who says differently is selling something.

I play BloodBowl quite a lot, and in our local area we have a wide variety of teams. With the recent resurgence in enthusiasm for the game, I thought it wise to put my thoughts about the game on the web. After all, it's a tough game and I've been playing it for quite a few years now (but not as many as some). By playing against teams, and watching other people play, I've picked up a few tips for the game that I'd like to share... you never know, they might come in handy.

Also, while I'm here, I may as well plug the websites of a few BloodBowl-related folks: krant, judas, newwave?

Things to look at:

Rain's Bloodbowl Tips: my tips for a general game. Thwarting the Opposition: tips for playing against the various teams. Team Tactics: Specific tactics in detail

Rain's Bloodbowl Tips




[Tips] [Thwarting] [Tactics] [Top]

Thwarting the Opposition

Agility Teams
Keep a watch out for diving tackle, which can scupper a hundred good ideas, and even a blitz. Tackle players are very useful, as are diving tackle players, if you have any. Agility teams quake at the sight of a line of guarding players. The biggest thing about agility teams is that they can get the ball, wherever it is and score.

Elves: They move fast, so always keep a deep defence.
Wood Elves: You may as well keep large monsters away from the front lines with those treemen: the elves are more vulnerable when they are in your half of the pitch. They do have leap, so account for it, and exert tackle zones on everything, especially the ball. Use strip ball players because a half-decent Wood Elf team will have dodge and block.
Dark Elves: Watch out for frenzying witch elves - they can be a pain, especially to the ball carrier. They have no large monsters, but that doesn't mean you should put yours on the line of scrimmage: Dark Elves are not necessarily strong, so use the Big guys against them. Watch out for leaping players.
High Elves: Similar to Dark Elves, but without the Witch Elves, and with ST 3 catchers: they are still fast and agile, and they have no weaker players, but can be as good as either of the other elf teams.
Halflings: Slow, so a deep defence not essential, but watch out for thrown halflings, because they can get a long way, in spite of the range restrictions. Remember: a lone halfling can be taken out by almost anyone on your team. The treemen are a pain, but treemen usually stand in the line of scrimmage, so they are easy to escape from, and if they throw a halflings, every tackle zone brings them closer to a fumble....
Goblins: Like the halflings, goblins are very weak and rely strongly on their trollish friends to get themselves ahead in the game. This means a deepish defence cane be handy, especially as they are faster than their halfling counterparts. They also have access to the chainsaw secret weapon, which gives them a toughness the halflings lack, but fortunately, the chainsaw is an illegal item...

Middle-of-the-Road Teams
Humans: They are quite fast, and quite agile, but they can't beat the agility teams at the agility game and they can't hit home like a thugging team, so trying to goad them into playing your team on the same terms can be advantageous. They are versatile and can have a wicked array of large monsters, so watch for these, as they can afford to put them almost anywhere on the pitch. They can also take most skills in the game, so be prepared for anything.
Skaven: They move particularly fast, so a deep defence is essential. A semi-agility team, the Skaven are not very strong, and are better at being agile than hard. Their only monster is the Rat Ogre, which can be quite pitiful when put against anything like a real ogre or a vampire. However, agility teams beware for Rat Ogres do have prehensile tail, which makes dodging more difficult. Skaven can take mutations, which means that they can have almost any kind of physical attribute to improve their skills: like a human team, they can be pretty versatile, so be prepared for almost anything.
Orcs: The most agile of the hitting teams the orcs are relatively quick, and marginally less versatile than the humans or skaven: they do hitting far better than they do ball-control, and so their usual tactic is to move the ball down the pitch by clearing it. They have ST 4 players in Black Orcs, and they can take Ogres, which makes them strong. They can be made to play a reasonable throwing game now and again, so don't be surprised by this.

Hitting Teams
Watch out for mighty blow and tackle: they can bring down agility teams or weaken a good front line. The thing about hitting teams is that although their ball control is pretty abysmal, they can usually find the guy with the ball and hit him till he stops moving and all his friends run away.

Undead: Slow, very slow, but worth keeping an eye on, especially those vampires. They aren't as hard hitting as teams with ogres, but at the same time they can pack quite a punch indeed - and they never stay down for long. Taking out the Necromancer stops them regenerating, but this isn't a sound tactic to base your play around... Undead can hamper agility teams and hitting teams alike, but their real weakness lies in their own ball-handling skills as they have none to begin with.
Chaos: Chaos are dangerous because they have so many star players and because they can take mutations. They can afford to be surprisingly flexible, although, like Undead, ball handling is a problem. Their mutations mean that they can increase damage or speed beyond any other team's capacity (besides skaven), so you need to be able to hold your own when you inevitably get hit.
Dwarves (inc Chaos Dwarves): Dwarves are a tough little team - quite slow, yes, but very tough. A good dwarf team with tackle and guard is difficult to stop from scoring. A lone dwarf is tacklable, but dwarves are gregarious folk. An agility team's best bet lies in leap, while hitting teams can hit them with their large monsters as the dwarves only get the Deathroller, which is inherently weak when attacked. Chaos dwarves get bull centaurs (I think), which are less scary, but not less dangerous.

[Tips] [Thwarting] [Tactics] [Top]

Team Tactics

The Cage
The Cage must be the most well-used tactic in the games we play - although it isn't completely unbreakable, it's the most difficult formation to disrupt. A solid wall cage, without gaps, is actually weaker than one with gaps. This sounds pretty off, but the fact is that if there are no gaps, then a player blocking or blitzing a player on the edge of the cage can choose to push him back through the ball-carrier's square, thus bringing the ball-carrier into the open. However, if that cage has holes in it, then the blocking player has to prioritise empty squares, thus reducing the effectiveness of that attack.
The other thing about the cage is that it is vulnerable to leaping players: they can get in almost anywhere. however, your average leaping player is but ST 3, so they might at best get a 1 dice block, assuming that the assisting tackle zones have been cancelled. Guarding players obviously reduce the effectiveness of this attack, and a couple of diving tackle players can take out anyone attempting to assist the blitz, or indeed, assuming the blitzing player dodges into the space, he can be diving tackled to remove his chance of getting the ball carrier.
The best attacks against the cage are either the bomb (which goblins have), or the fireball, which wizards can do. These work quite well, but they are not available to all teams. Well, the fireball is, but only once per match. So players have to be designed that are capable of thwarting, or at least hampring the cage.
When all else fails, and the team can't get into the cage, your best bet is to slow it down. By positioning players a square or so away, all around the cage, the cage can't move very far. They can only blitz once, posssibly making a hole the whole formation can squeeze through, but that means that they didn't block you, and if they are a hitting team, that will upset them a lot. Of course, setting players next to all the cage players works, too, because if they hit you then they can't move and the cage doesn't get any closer to the Endzone. Never be afraid to play delaying tactics.
Hitting teams forming cages usually form something solid and nearly unbreakble without resorting to fireballs or bombs, and agility teams find their leaping players taking a lot of risks to get the ball. Those teams that can have monsters (such as Wood Elves, humans and skaven) are better equipped to try and break up the formation, but I've found that hitting teams look forward to the prospect of blocking your Big Guy when he has finished his blitz and can't get out of the cage. If they lose the ball, hitting teams take the opportunity to take out your biggest, meanest players.
Agility teams, on the other hand, are vulnerable to the large monsters, and flee from them at all costs, but they can dodge away from almost anything. Thus setting up players in the tackle zones of the cage is wise, because it forces them to bloack and stay put, which is very bad, or attempt to get out, which means much dice rolling and possible failure.

The Lighting, or One-Turn Touchdown
Some teams are capable of scoring a touchdown in but a single turn, without the use of special play cards. Such players are usually referred to as Movement 13 players, and they are a dreaded thing on the BloodBowl pitch.
The key to thwarting the lightning touchdown is to force the player with the ball, who is presumably the only player on the team who can move 13 squares, to make as many dice rolls as possible - the harder the better. However, the MV 13 player usually has some kind of back-up in order to get him/her moving - often in the form of a blitzer, wardancer or large monster. To avoid being hit by a large monster, or other team player, the defense has to be extremely deep - about 8 squares - which is a problem if the MV 13 player decides to hang about for a turn, or drops the ball. The other thing is that to effectively defend the Endzone and force the MV13 player to make lots of rolls takes most of your team... this isn't very efficient.
The best tactic I have seen is to line up all the players on your team, about two squares from the centre line in pairs, with one standing directly behind the other, evenly spaced along the field so that nowhere lacks a tackle zone. This works well if you have a strong front line and the reason it works so well is because the blitz only takes out one player. That means the tackle zone of the guy behind that one player is still there, unlike if the players were next to each other.
However, with a weak front line, the MV13 player can just zip through a gap there, avoiding most, if not all of the dodging you've carefully set up.
The worst kind of MV13 player is the MV13 player with stunty, which is possible only in skaven teams. These are a problem for opposing coaches because the dodges are always a 2+ or a 3+ (or whatever). The only thing that modifies this is prehensile tail, which only Skaven and Chaos can have. It becomes especiialy difficult to stop a skaven MV13 player; more so than an elf in this case.
On the flip side, the stunty MV13 player does recieve +1 to all damage rolls against him, which makes some coaches very happy, and makes the player easier to kill, which, let's face it, is all anyone really wants to do to these fast little critters.

[Tips] [Thwarting] [Tactics] [Top]

I am very interested in hearing anything: hints, tips or even arguments regarding anything on these pages. If you wish to add anything, please mail me at: dracoliche@hotmail.com. I'll probably post whatever you send up on the site.
[Banana Zone] [Star Wars] [Episode I] [Word of the Week] [The Dungeon] [Enjr] [Yoshi] [Me] [Skavengers]