Having now fully recovered from the weekend it’s about time I did a write up of what happened. Thrudball itself actually started on the Saturday though every year I have the pleasure of hosting some French friends who make the trip over. With six of them due to arrive Friday our Thrudball weekend kicked off earlier than most.
Upon arrival around 3:40pm, after dropping off bags in the house a stroll into Chichester town centre for a pub crawl commenced. What started out as nice weather soon turned into a downpour and we got a bit damp going from pub to pub. With a brief interlude for food we headed back to mine after closing for a game of Citadels before bed.
Up early to give us enough time to go for a full English breakfast and we headed off to Bognor Regis for the tournament. Unfortunately I neglected to take any photos over the weekend but there were some impressive items up for grabs in the charity auction, which I believe raised over £3,000 this year. Also a thumbs up for the award winning Turners Pies doing the catering, even if there was a bit of an organisational muddle which left us without plates or a knife to cut them up with, though it wouldn’t be Thrudball if Frank didn’t forget something!
For the third time at Thrudball I took along Vampires which lined up as follows
- 4x Vampires (Block+Dodge / Block+Frenzy / Dodge+Strip Ball / Dodge+Sure Hands)
- 9x Thralls (one with Leader)
- 4x Rerolls
So onto the games:
Match 1 – Norse (Pierre)
I’ve known Pierre for about 11 years now, though I think this was the first time we’ve ever played each other. The French guys tend to have a mini competition between them every year to see who could get the most fouling casualties. To try and win this I was facing a Norse team with one Snow Troll and just Linemen, two of which had Dirty Player and they also had two bribes. I was losing players from the first turn but a handy dodge into his cage with my Frenzy Vampire got the ball loose in the open, though after that I followed up with a 1 reroll 1 dodge to go and pick it up. I ended the half with 3 players left on the pitch and a 1-0 deficit.
Second half I got some players back and was making my way towards his end zone whilst also losing players off the pitch again. I had to make a desperate play for the endzone but failed the go for it to equalise. The following turn I had a chance to get it back with the same Vampire, who after blitzing the ball free then failed the dodge into the endzone. The game finished at 1-0 but I had four players left at the end of this half!
Match 1 – Wood Elves (Paul)
Paul is the younger brother of Frank (the organiser) who I’ve played a few times before, though it had been a long time since Paul had played. I felt confident going into this match and after turning him over to take the lead in the first half, receiving the ball in the second half it looked like it would be a fairly straight forward grind to victory. The kick off table decided to change that up and with the ball landing far away from my team and Paul getting a free Blitz turn I couldn’t stop him scoring the equalizer in his first turn.
Sitting at 1-1 and about to get the ball again I still felt that I should be able to win, though we were getting pressed for time after a few turns and I was losing players as usual. With the ball on my Block and Dodge Vampire and him not having either a Treeman or Strip Ball I felt I could take some risks as I was running out of players. Unfortunately variance kicked in again and on a crucial turn a failed Bloodlust roll meant biting a Thrall I was planning on using and meant I just had to run it and hope Block and Dodge held up. The ball carrier proceeded to fail Bloodlust with a reroll and then followed up that pair of 1s with another 2 when trying to dodge out. Wood Elves did their thing and just scooped up the ball and made off down the pitch with it to hand me the second loss in the opening two matches.
Match 3 – Halflings (Andrew)
The final match of the first day and I get paired up with Halflings which isn’t the easiest of match ups against Vampires. Three Treeman can remove Thralls at a high rate and I don’t have much Block which can make knocking Halflings over a little tricky, even when you are hitting them with three block dice! Couple that with the Master Chef stealing my much needed rerolls I wasn’t sure this would be the walk over people tend to expect against Halflings (Belgian coach and Halfling specialist Kwek was up on table 1 at the point with his Halfling team!)
Fortunately with some good use of Hypnotic Gaze Andrew found it hard to hide the ball behind his row of Trees and I eventually got the ball out of his grubby little hands. His Chef also failed to steal any rerolls in the second half which was a great help and I went on to win 3-1. It was a bloody game on both sides though with us taking 7 casualties each! This was the most damage inflicted on my team and Andrew went on to actually win the most casualty award.
Match 4 – Chaos Pact (Goran)
Day two match one and I was facing another of my visitors from Paris. Whilst this was my first match against Goran, I’ve had some very entertaining matches (this was my sixth such tournament match) with Vampires against Chaos Pact. I don’t think I failed a single Hypnotic Gaze roll during the match and whilst I didn’t roll many 1s, they always seemed to come up in consecutive rolls causing a turnover. After kicking off to Goran and putting up a good defence, he had to cage up on the sideline which is very dangerous against Vampires. I got the Hypnotic Gaze off and just needed to blitz the ball carrier into the crowd when the fateful 1 reroll 1 came up on the dodge out which left him an easy walk in Touchdown.
Second half I still had a nearly full team which I wasn’t expecting against Chaos Pact. His fairly reliable big guys from the first half started showing their true nature though and I managed to score early and turn him over twice to win 3-1. I took very little damage in this game which helped a lot and the flexibility of my Vampires was key to take advantage when opportunities opened up.
Match 5 – Underworld (Gareth)
I played Gareth and his Underworld team at Thrudball 2013 though that time I was using a Nurgle team. We managed a hard fought 1-1 draw but I fancied my chances a bit more with Vampires. I actually started this match by receiving the ball and fortunately for me hardly any of my players left the pitch and I managed to grind out the first half with relative ease to score in turn 8.
The second half was a different story as his Warpstone Troll, Blitzer and some good fouling meant players were leaving the pitch and my Vampires spent a fair few turns stunned. Running out of players and looking like my defence was going to leak we went through a couple of turns where I managed to knock the ball loose but was never able to pick it up. Going into the final two turns and Gareth failed a hand off leaving me with a shot to go pick the ball up and pass it down the field. Again the 1 reroll 1 to dodge out of a tackle zone for the pass put an end to that and for the second year running we ended up with a 1-1 draw!
Match 6 – High Elf (Jim)
My final match was against a local player Jim, fairly new to Blood Bowl still and with a High Team utilising the Thrower Star Player I felt confident, especially as he had never faced Vampires before either. Things went badly for Jim early on as we were playing in a Blizzard and he had to make a go for it to make a touchdown pass. He promptly failed it which left his catcher in the end zone to get blitzed off into the crowd. I grabbed up the ball and ground down the pitch to score at the end of the half.
I also managed to get a numerical advantage which is rare for Vampires and after injuring the Star Player he also lost his Leader reroll for the second half. Already having the lead I didn’t delay in scoring (though the blizzard was a pain all match) and quickly went 2-0 up before finally finishing the match with a 3-0 win. Luck wasn’t on Jim’s side but he took things in a good mannered sporting fashion and I passed on a couple of pointers to try and easy the pain.
Thrudball like always was a good laugh and it’s always nice to see friends from further afield turn up and make some new ones. My 3 wins 1 draw 2 losses was below my expectation (I’ve won 4 games both other times I’ve taken Vampires to Thrudball) and I felt I could have won all the games on a different day, but with an above average record and the best comeback award things certainly could have been worse. Big thanks as always to Frank and I’m looking forward to next year already!