Learning Curve: Blood Bowl & Kicking Them While They’re Down

Yeah I know, Blood Bowl again, what can I say I’m really enjoying it at the moment!  This is partially helped by my undefeated run as head coach of the New Orleans Stiffs but also by the generally positive buzz around the game since it’s re-release.  Anyway this week I employed the foul and so I thought I’d write a little about my thoughts on it and also how bad an idea Mummy-Ball is…

So I’m going to start with Mummies and why trying to get them to score touchdowns is a bad idea.  So there are two reasons the first being that just getting them the ball is incredibly difficult and the other that they’re daft slow.  I got a touchback and decided that Mummy-Ball was certainly going to work this time but frankly I shouldn’t have bothered.  It is fairly amusing though so I think that I’ll probably end up doing it again next time.  Personally the funny factor wins but I wouldn’t advise it!

On to the art of the foul then.  I know that this is a little bit of a contentious issue with some regarding it as dishonourable to say the least.  I generally don’t like to employ it myself to be honest.  There isn’t a definitive reason for this to be honest other than it feels a bit like a dick-move.  I think the reason it feels that way is because it’s called a foul.  If it were described as ‘piling in’ or ‘kicking them while they’re down’ then I think it wouldn’t feel so negative.

Once you have got your mind around the fact that it’s just another in game move then I think it becomes a valid tactic though.  You wouldn’t not use infiltrate in 40K because it circumvents the normal deployment rules would you?  Basically it comes down to trying to win.  If your opponent has some key players and fouling can remove them then you should do so.  The issue here isn’t that you’re kicking them it’s that you immediately assume that the act is somehow naughty.

You have to get it right though.  The odds of rolling a double on 2d6 are one in six and since we all know how Nuffle feels about those odds we should at least consider the fact that your kicker will leave the field.  This means that the fouling player should be worth a lot less than the target.  Also you should probably have enough assists to at least mean you require a six or more for armour otherwise you will have similar odds of getting sent-off as causing a stun.  The other thing you need to consider here is that odds of actually removing the opposing player are not dissimilar to having your man sent off.  You have a 25% (ish) chance of getting a KO or better on a player when you need a 6+ for the armour break and your odds of having your fouler sent off are 25% (give or take and assuming that you break armour in the first place).

So those are the facts.  Now it’s up to you to consider if you want to use the foul or not.  Personally I would only do it to try and remove key players unless you have a bribe.  Always make that initial armour roll a 6+ or better and if this is going to be a thing for your team (and it should be probably if you have cheap linemen and win by bashing) take dirty player, it increases the chances of removing them from the field.  Hope that helps! -Mark

2 Comments

  1. I’m a long-time Blood Bowl player – over 17 years experience, since I first got my team crushed by a guy who taught me the rules and insisted that every player was allowed to Blitz every turn….. I have, fortunately, come a long way since then, so please allow me to offer you the benefit of my wisdom, hard earned over the last decade-and-a-half on both the Dead Tree pitch and the Digital gridiron!

    Fouling is fine. Properly executed, it gets an enemy player off the pitch, which is one less guy trying to do the same to yours. All is fair in love, war, and Blood Bowl (so long as the referee isn’t looking, of course). It’s all a part of the fun, so just don’t get too attached to your little plastic people and enjoy the spectacle.

    REMEMBER, HOWEVER! A successful foul does NOT award SPP. It doesn’t develop your team any further, it just cripples your opponents’, possibly even long term to the detriment of their fun, the league that you’re both playing in and – because eventually, what goes around will inevitably come around – your own fun as well.
    The Golden Rule is: Don’t be a jerk about it. Foul if you want to, but make sure it serves a purpose in doing so; getting an important player off the pitch is a good enough reason – trying to screw over your opponent so that his next game against someone else is a horrible nightmare of crippled players and replacement Loners, is not.

    And there is almost never a good reason to foul your opponent in Turn 16. Oh, I’m sure that we can clamour and squabble and imagine a far-stretched scenario wherein that small but technically possible way it’d possibly be justified, but 99% of the time you’re just being spiteful by either taking out your frustration on someone who is beating you, or you’re rubbing salt into the wound of someone already beaten. There’s no need for it – just because you “can” doesn’t always mean that you “should”.

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