Sunday, October 6, 2013

Jingle Bowls Cup Final Game Recap - Blood Bowl Mayhem with Chaos Dwarfs and High Elfs

Finally - the final match of the season!

This has been a long time comin' - final game of the Jingle Bowls Cup that originated in the late 2012. Six teams started the regular season almost a year ago and now the two top dogs duke it out in the grand final.

With very different seasons behind them the two teams in the final vary in many ways - the tall and proud High Elfs of the team Kallio Noble Killers and the small and wicked Chaos Dwarfs of the Red Anvils. Chaos dwarfs tend to trust their bashing game - hit often and hit hard. High Elfs on the contrary favor fast and accurate passing game with the aid of their high agility. High Elf team has been undefeated in record breaking sequence of 17 (!) games in the row. Elfs won the regular season, while Chaos Dwarfs struggled to even make it to the semifinals - they tied the fourth place with same points as the Slann team.

Within the regular season the same teams played 1-1 tie, with only four Elfs left on the pitch when the game ended. Only thing that saved the Elfs from the defeat was Hobgoblin slaves failing to pick up the ball next to the endzone.

Both teams have plenty of experienced players in their rosters, and surprisingly enough the Team Value is exactly the same for both: 1.960.000 gps. Red Anvils treasury is quite bloated (650.000) so the head coach decides to shop around for some Star Player support. Grashnak Blackhoof is chosen for the task - fast movement (6) and extra strength (6) might come handy when beating the Elfs to pulp. This Minotaur star is notable for two "missing" skills: no Wild Animal and no Block. This Petty Cash transaction left the Elfs with 310.000 worth of Inducements. Pointy eared coach hired two Mercenary Linemen both with Dodge skill. The plan was to have ample reserve of players and keep out of the harms way with Dodge. Now both rosters were ready and the game could star for real.

Fans showed up in large numbers: 13.000 Chaotic supporters and 19.000 with pointed ears - giving the Elf team Fame +1 for this final game. Weather was typical Blood Bowl atmosphere: "Nice", partially cloudy but mostly sunny. Chaos Dwarfs received the first kick-off of the game with Red Anvils trademark setup "The Bloody Wedge", with big emphasis on the left flank. Elfs tried to counter this with "Perfect Kick" Special Play Card - giving them the change to put the ball as far as possible from the offense formation of the dwarfs. This played out nicely for the Elfs - ball landed deep in the right wide zone of the Red Anvil half of the pitch. Small gust of wind (roll of "7" on the Kick-off Table) took the ball even further to the right. The game was on!

Hobgoblin number 10 with Sure Hands skill runs for the ball as fists start to fly on the Line of Scrimmage - two Minotaurs let it loose on the Elven Mercs, few bruises but nothing too serious. Then the Dwarf Blocker number 4, Xem Sickfang, manages to make the first casualty - the poor newbie elf merc is taken out of play (Badly Hurt) even before his first action. Dwarf fans seem to love this: first turn and first elf in the injury box - things are going according to the Red Anvils master plan.

Elfs move into defensive positions - slowing down the forward momentum of the Wedge any way they could. Second turn of the dwarf offensive and the coach gives Blitz order for the hired gun Blackhoof… Double skulls. Money well spent? Well maybe not, armor breaks and the bountyhunter is Stunned. Dwarf attack grinds to a halt, if only for a moment.

Dwarfs form a loose cage formation around the ball handler, but Blackhoofs Turn-over left the thing only half ready. Elfs counter attack but only manage to Pushback the Hobgoblin. Elf coach finds out that his only player with Strip-ball skill is sitting on the Reserves bench - this skill could have changed the outcome of this action altogether. Unlucky, Mr. Bond.

Dwarfs form a better cage and move it deeper into Elven territory, maybe slowly but surely. Dwarfs are almost to the enzone when they stall for delayed goal - if you give Elfs even as little as two turns to score they seem to make it without a fail. On the seventh turn things start to roll for the Dwarfs: BullCentaur gives Fractured Skull (-1 AV) for Naiad (Elf lineman number 6), and defense lines seem to leak more and more. The only Elf with real changes to Blitz on the ball carrier is distracted with "Trampoline Trap" Special Play Card and fails his landing roll - high Agility or not. On their 8th turn Hobgoblin number 12 scores a running touchdown - this time around they surely don't wanna fumble with passes.

The second kick-off the first period scatters the clouds and Very Sunny weather gives -1 to all passing rolls… Even the gods seems to shine on the Dwarfs, this passing modifier definitely hinders High Elfs play style more than Red Anvils cage/running game. Elfs 8th turn is uneventful with a slight sense of frustration - no time to score and no muscles to hurt the opposition.

Second half of the game starts with another Kick-off to the Elfs: "Quick Snap!" result gives some leverage to counter the big hitters on the dwarven line. Second turn comes around and the the Elfs do what they do best: Leap and Dodge in to the deep end, Safe Throw and Catch. The schoolbook version of the two turns touchdown evens the score to 1-1. High Elf Super Star Blitzer Phobos (1) strikes again.

Before the setup of the next drive, Elfs play yet another Special Play Card: "Gromskull's Exploding Runes" - turning one of their players into Bombardier. This is "high risk-high reward" gamble: given the Very Sunny weather and the usual cage style of Dwarfs. If bombs find their target they might be very effective indeed - but if they are fumbled the defense might crumble on its own mistakes.

10th Dwarf turn sees the Kick-off result of "Pitch Invasion!" and the Elf fans seem to hit harder (+1 FAME) this time. Dwarf attack formation is greatly diminished by Stunned guys all over the pitch. Lucky for the Dwarfs there is still plenty of time left. They move thru the right flank with ease - there is more casualties on the High Elf team! Player is hit hard - Smashed Collar Bone would mean -1 to ST, and the Apothecary opens his medical cabinet: the Elf player is only Badly Hurt after the pain killers and healing potions are consumed.

Bombardier lights the fuse and -surprise surprise- the Exploding Runes Knock Down the Hobgoblin holding the ball! For a moment the game might turn either way, scattering ball landing in an empty square next to players from both teams. Dwarfs manage to push the Elfs out of the way and recapture the ball. More pointy ears are taken out of the play (casualty statistics in the end are 7-0 to Red Anvils) - and dwarfs run the ball sideways from right to left.

On the 7th turn of the second half Hobgoblin number 10, Desz Sickbone scores 2-1 for the Dwarfs. Only one turn left in the game situation seems pretty desperate for the Elfs. Only the roll of "3" on the last kick-off table would bring more time… The roll is "11" - frustrated Elf fans Throw a Rock at the BullCentaur next to the right sideline: Stunned. Elfs realize the situation and fall deep into their side of the pitch. Last turn of the game sees the Blackhoof Blitzing with two Go-For-Its: push back... What huge waste of money that Star Player was.

Handshakes and MVPs - High Elf Blitzer Phobos is leveled to the Super Star status with staggering 77 Star Player Points. Phobos is one of the five (!) original players in the Kallio Noble Killers team, all other players have been replaced during the bloody aftermaths of the games. Being undefeated in 17 games in a row definetly comes with a price. Lucky for the Elfs this Original Five includes both Blitzers and Kharon the Elf Thrower with 5 AG and 32 completions to his name. Two experienced Linemen also survive from the original starting roster.

High Elf coach keeps a list titled "Broken dreams" that includes the players that have been kicked off the team because of stat injurys. After this final game there is new addition to this long and sad list: Elf lineman number 10. (named lovingly: Moon8) that got his -1 to MA. There was also death in the team, the High Elf kickers seem to have some kind of a curse: this time the victim was Elf lineman (11) called Triton that had Kick skill. As mentioned above, Elf lineman Naiad (6) also got a Fractured Skull and lost a point of his AV. Maybe it is fitting to end this report with picture of the High Elf injury box: few teams can win the game with seven players there.

Red Anvils wins the Jingle Bowls Cup trophy, silver medals for the High Elfs and bronze goes to the Lizardmen team. Nice cup is finally over and all eyes are on the next season...


  1. Rough game, elves took a pounding.
    I'm surprised the high elves induced 2 journeyman dodgers, with all the tackle the chaos dwarves have. extra guys looks like a good idea but maybe I'd have gone with wrestle and just thrown them on the LOS to mess with the blockers.

    1. Elves had their moments, but eventually they just had too much players injured. Extra Dodge skills was maybe a bad call from the Elf team, with hindsight third merc would have been better use of the inducement money.

  2. Great stuff! Just finishing off a Chaos Dwarf team myself to play in the next season of my local league. Very different to my usual play-style but I hope I am as successful!

    1. Thanks, and good luck with your new Chaos Dwarf team! I remember how I struggled with ball handing in the start, when Hobgoblins got Sure Hands things started to roll. I think it is a fun team to play.