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Learning to Play Dead: Part I

A Quick Intro

I’ve been playing Butchers solidly since Rich Loxam sold them to me as ‘The Orcs from Blood Bowl’ at the UK Games expo last year (2015). Since then I’ve won a local league with them and placed 3rd in the Heroic Play Open tournament so I’ve been enjoying some success at a local level. But ever since starting I’ve had an urge to try out the Morticians and recently, I bought the team and started to try to figure them out.

After losing 3 times, I entered a local tournament and somehow placed 2nd!

This set of articles is hopefully a bit of a sideways view of my Morticians team (Spookhampton F.C.) including some of the crazy shit I try to pull off and how some of the traditional player picks can maybe be used in a slightly different way to equally good effect.

It’s a ‘food for thought’ set of articles and I hope you enjoy.

Lets talk about Spookhampton F.C!

So, I have a list of players I goto regularly and they are these currently;
Obulus, Dirge, Silence, Ghast, Cosset, Rage and Fangtooth, I struggle with the last position as I can see a lot of good stuff in Bonesaw, Mist is Mist, and Minx is also a thing as part of the furious line up that my mate John plays. (I’ll get him to cover that bad boy.)

Mostly, My Butcher instincts take over and my line up is Obulus, Dirge, Silence, Cosset, Ghast and Rage. This gives me a pretty solid 13 influence and the ability to mess with my opponants turn order early through Silence and also have the ability to stack up Obulus if needed. Also, the addition of ‘tooled up’ to Cosset on her charge round is definately thing!

But more than all that, the line up also has hidden scoring power in Obulus, Silence, Cosset and Rage. In fact, I see anyone at 2/6 as a viable threat to score with. I don’t need Mist, (but he is helpful) because my team is full of goal threats. In fact, I would rather take Fangtooth and Bonesaw for my tournament 8 than Mist because Bonesaw has some wonderful plays and he’s incredible in the midfield to set up snap shots or to allow Cosset to threaten the goal at 15”.

Are you mental! Cosset as a goal threat!! I hear you cry…

The maths on rolling a single 4 on 2D6 is that you should net at least 1 success. (based on Ozballs Tac vs Def sheet) Bonus timed to 3D6 and that’s an average of 2 successes. Thank you, I’ll play those odds. Also, your opponent is likely to see Cosset as a damage dealer only, forgetting that she charges 9” and has a tackle on 3 successes and a momentus dodge on 2. Suddenly with 2 influence, she can charge someone down, tackle and dodge away and have a shot; OK she will be crowded out but bonus timed back up that’s playing the odds. On average you are going to get at least 1 success. Heaven forbid she passes after her tackle and gets it to Silence for a shap shot 😉

Heres the team I use more often than not in more detail and the common turn activations and an attempt to explain where I see them in turn order. (most of the time)

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To repeat myself again, that’s a mighty 13 Influence and if Obulus puppet masters it cound be 14 as he gets one back. Score a goal and 14… score two and 15 influence is a thing going into the last phases of the game. Also, In this line up you have two players who can still do things without influence in Cosset and Rage. With there Furious trait, they can have a free charge so they can either put some hurt on or just use the charge to move up the field. This means that with Dirge, you can move Dirges inf to Obulus, Silence lends him one and Cosset lends him one… that’s the boss on 8.

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That’s still a line up where Cosset has 2 attacks on a charge or a charge and shot. Silence can still Tuck and Shutout or Embalming Fluid or straight up punch people in the face. Ghast can still affect the game and Rage can tool up someone and still have 2 attacks!

So Obulus is on 8 Influence and I used to see 2 Momentus damage and think, confidence + 7 attacks if tooled up is an incredible 21 damage and that’s awesome! But that was the Butcher in me getting out, I needed to start thinking like a Mortician. Not to say that beating someones brains out isn’t big or clever, it is. It’s just worth 2VP’s, not 4. In the early stages of the game, I feel its important to get the scoring started so that when the mid game starts, you are in strong position to turn the screw on your opponant with access to some of the most infuriating control plays in the game.

The longer the game drags on, the more I am being forced to use ‘Rigor Mortis’ and the threat that is keeping my opponents momentum down is going. Also, 6 take outs at 2VP’s a time is slow, 2 Goals + 2 take outs could be the difference between winning a 4-6 VP difference or a 2-4 VP difference. Especially when playing Butchers, Brewers or Masons who have the ability to punch you so hard you can see the future.

The Myth of Mist!

I was taking to my good friend Mark (@theheroicplay) after the tournament and we were discussing how it was shame that Mist was almost an auto pick due to the lack of scoring power in the Morticians. I started to think about a situation that had cropped up in a previous game where Obulus cloned Shark and went on a 15’ inch scoring frenzy dodging through everyone. I started to think about how I had been reliant on Mist for my 1st game of the tournament and had lost. Then how I ditched him in favour of Rage… And won my last three games.

I started asking myself if the Morticians need Mist to be a goal threat?

Let’s see…

This is a scene from a game that got me thinking (as best I can re-create it on Vassal)

Morticians vs. Masons

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The start of turn 2, no one has any momentum and I have got the 1st activation. Obulus has 8 influence and is ready to go first for a change! (not my normal style but I do love the crazy stuff)

15 and a half inches away! No way Obulus can score from there right? I mean Bricks got that counter charge thing, Honour has that punch people in the face thing and she’s got the fricken ball… he’s only got a 6 inch sprint and what the fudge can he do with that?

HERE WE GO!

Shadow like for 2 inches towards Honour and OH LOOK! 6 inches away! That sounds like pass range from Honour I recon! Time to get Puppet Master out!

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So now Puppet master comes into play…

Honour is Def 3 and that’s 4 Influence from Obulus.

Here’s the roll I made on Vassal:

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OK Honour, time to pass to me please and by the way, I’ll have 1 influence back putting Obulus back up to 5 Inf.

Honour passes to Obulus with her 4/6 kick.

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Success!
Now to spend that momentum immediately to make a 4” dodge towards her!

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Now to hit Brick. Obulus has 6 TAC and is outside of Honours 1” melee. Brick has Def: 2 and 2 Arm.

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Boom! 4 Success – 2 arm = 2 successes. lets look the playbook.

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I’ll take that 2” dodge please. That takes me to 4 Inf left and the board looks like this:

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Honour is crowding out Obulus for his second attack on Brick but here’s goes nothing!
5 Dice attack on Brick and another 2 successes!

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This time I’m taking the momentous 1” dodge as I’ll need that in a bit. 3 inf left….

Here’s what the board looks like now and it’s time for a rinse and repeat thanks to Obulus’s crazy 2” melee.

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So, 5 dice because I’m still crowded out.

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3 Successes this time but I’ll take the 2” dodge again. Down to 2 Inf!

So now I’m out of everyone melee, with a momentum and 2 Inf. Time for a sprint for 6 inches, making sure I stay outside of 6 inches of Prick Brick and within my kick of 6 inches from the goal.

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Spend that momentum + remaining 1Inf giving me 2 dice to have a shot. The odds of getting a 4+ on 2 dice are that rolling 2 dice, a 4+ should come up should come up so here goes nothing!

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GOAL! 4-0 Morticians and I spend that Momentum to ‘Run the Length’ to get away from Mallet.

NOTE: In the actual game… I missed… but you get the point!
In conclusion, Obulus is well capable of going 15 inches or more through the enemy ranks and scoring the team now has Bonesaw and we have another hidden goal scoring gem lurking in the wings… COSSET!

I’ll be covering using Cosset as a goal threat in another article but I spoke a bit about her in the early parts of this one, but hopefully this article has given you thought as to what Obulus can achieve with 8 influence apart from Confidence and 7 attacks. The Morticians have some incredible footballing skills and if I can score with Fangtooth, you can score with anyone! (Actually happened, ask Mark 😉 )

Catch you on the flip side.

Von Tizz

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Barreling the Brewers: Part II

The Ignominious Drunk

Welcome to this week’s article on everyone’s favourite Ignominious Drunk, Spigot.  The bottle wielding, football hooligan that no Brewer’s team should leave the dugout without (in my humble opinion anyway). Spigot is one of the players that always make my first team.  While Scum is actually the Mascot for the Brewers, Spigot is such a force multiplier for the team that I am just as likely to take him.  So let’s start by taking a look at his core stats.

Spiggot 1

So unlike some of his team Spigot is relatively quick with a decent MOV value at 5″/8″ with the potential of getting quicker through Esters or with his Heroic Play, which I’ll cover later. Next is his TAC of 5, which is average but he can bump it up to 7 if the target is knocked down via Floored. Also he benefits from the Brewer playbook of 4 columns long so can wrap easier.

Spiggot 6

Spigot has a really reliable KICK score for a Brewer being 3/6″ but always actually being 4/7″ as he benefits from his own Football Legend ability, which is a 4″ aura that grants +1/+1″ KICK to friendly players. This is one of the abilities that in my opinion makes Spigot really stand out. It allows him to support other players or be a really credible goal threat in his own right.

Spiggot 5
This ability allows a receiving Brewers team to grab the ball, move up the field ready to strike next turn and reliably generate enough momentum to win priority by passing the ball between themselves. If I’m receiving the ball I tend to have Spigot go and fetch it, then start with him passing the ball to another player, from this point you should be able to get the whole team to at some point be within 4″ of him so they benefit from the aura.  Football Legend is such a boon for players like Mash & Friday making them incredible and shooting for the goal, Mash can get up to 6/9″ KICK if needed and Friday can get up to 6/11″. Getting to that level with Friday needs more momentum though. I’ve used is a late game closer before though.

Spiggot 4

His DEF and ARM are the Brewer’s standard of 3+/1, with 16 boxes, slightly higher than the average player. Moving on he is pretty typical in terms of Influence with a respectble 2/4 stat, this does allow you to load him up with 4 influence and send him into some poor sap on the floor and really ruin their day.  So to see how he ruins people’s day we should really look at his playbook.  As I mentioned before Spigot’s playbook is only 4 columns long, but it has tons of great choices.

Spiggot 2

What’s not to like eh? Over half of his choices are momentous, and all of them are good in my mind.  If you need him to play football he’s got a momentous tackle on one success, or easy access to damage.  It’s worth noting he’s got the play Ball’s Gone! on two successes.  While this is useful, I don’t tend to use it and generally take momentous tackle, then attempt to pass the ball to somebody.  It’s worth remembering though because at some point it’ll be more useful than a tackle and a pass.

Spiggot 3

Like most Brewers Spigot can kick out plenty of damage, with 2 damage on 2 successes, an access to Tooled Up he can crank out the damage himself or help to buff those around him further.  In my experience if Spigot is going into melee he is joining it later so benefits from some ganging up normally which means he can get potential charge pools of 11+ dice if the opponent is on the floor.  With a playbook only 4 long it can mean you can wrap more than once, scary!

Spiggot 7

So earlier on I spoke briefly about Spigot’s ability to buff his movement, well it’s not only his movement but all those of the team around him.  Well worth using, it’s a nice straight forward Heroic Play, that brings some extra speed to what can be a slower than average team in some cases.  If your opponent is unfamiliar with this Heroic it might enable you to catch them out get a charge off that they weren’t expecting.

That pretty much wraps it up really, all in all Spigot is a great player; more than capable of filling a gap where you need it.

Till next time!

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Barreling the Brewers: Part I

Intro

I started out this year playing Fishermen, as I was playing them in the Figo Cup League I was running at our local store; my intention was to try and play the Fishermen exclusively for most of the year.  That plan failed… I managed to play them all the way through January while we were finishing up the League and some other casual games.  After the league finished however then the butterflies set in and I was ready to hop faction again, so I moved onto my new Guild.  No guessing what it is based off the title of the article, so here we go into the Brewers.

GB-Teams-Brewers

In my mind the Brewer’s are in quite a fortunate position as we’ve already got our Season 2 Captain in Esters and our new player Mash, both of which are frankly amazing in my opinion.  I’ve played quite a few games with the Brewers since deciding to pick them up and play them.  In this series of articles I’m going to go through some team line-ups that I’ve been playing and discuss what I find to be good and bad as I go through the games.

The Team

Since I started playing the Brewers I’ve been using experimenting with a ‘Tournament 8’ of Esters, Scum, Hooper, Friday, Mash, Spiggot, Stave & Stoker and have had some good success so far, which leads me on to the subject for the remainder of this article.

Stoker p8

Yes, Stoker! The Human Ball of Fire himself.  When I first saw Esters card, I thought that Stoker would fit well in her team; and boy does he.

Let’s have a bit of a look at his vitals first.  So MOV 4″/6″ is slow, but you can get around that with Esters leading the team, boosting him up to 6″/8″ if needed.  When he gets to this level then he’s something to worry about.  On his card he is listed as a Defensive Midfielder and from what I’ve seen so far he fits that roll pretty well.  I generally only give him the 1 influence he generates on the 1st turn to get him moving up the pitch so he can be more useful next turn.  Sometimes he gets 2 if you received the ball and he’s in a position where he might be able to get to it.

Moving onto his TAC which is 5, pretty average there. Howevr he benefits from the trait that most of the Brewers have of having a playbook 1 column shorter than his TAC value, which means it’s easier for him to wrap around, when he’s in a situation where he can roll more dice, like when he charges or if him and some mates are ganging up on someone.

The kick value is good at 3/6″.  I’ve used him to score in a game or two, there isn’t a great deal more to say abot in really.

Defense and Armour, Stoke sits at a 3+ with 2 Armour, which is brilliant in my eyes.  It’s better on average than 4+ with 1 Armour vs another a TAC 5 opponent.  On average said TAC 5 opponent will score 1 hit on Stoker, whereas they would score 2 hits against a 4+/1 Arm player. Result.

Stoker only brings 1 influence to the table under normal circumstances but can be allocated up to 4, which means he can start to throw out a real beating and do a lot if needed.  If you’ve also got Stave in your line up and Stoker starts the turn within 4″ then he gets Tactical Advice [Stave] taking him to 2/5 influence which is superb.

Stoker p3

Now we’ll take a bit of a look at Stoker’s playbook and I’ll go through a few things I’ve found while playing him that are really cool.  As previously mentioned his playbook is only 4 columns long so he can wrap that bit easier as well.

Stoker p9

So I love the Momentous 2″ push on 1 success with Stoker.  It’s great for the counter attack.  It’s also great if you are already engaging your target but they are benefitting from cover.  Make your first attack, push them out of cover. Then advance back up into melee with them and you’re back up to your full TAC.  It works the same if he’s being crowded out, push one of the enemies 2″ away; if they weren’t in base to base with him then they aren’t engaging anymore and you’re back to your full TAC to smack the main target.  Then we move onto his damage results, he’s got damage on 1, 3 & 4 successes.  It’s not the best, but I’ve found it works well enough. Especially when you factor in the next part of his card. Burning Passion, Stoker gains a damage buff if his opponent is burning.

Stoker p5

Stoker has plenty of ways of setting people on fire, whether it’s Molotov (see below), using his Heroic Play or by somebody else setting them on fire for him (see Esters).  It can start to rack up quite quickly, if you’re willing to really telegraph your intent to your opponent; which can be bad thing as they may be able to avoid it, but if they can’t.  Esters could set the target on fire for Stoker, then throw out her Empowering Voice for a further +1 DMG, Stoker is looking at 3 damage on 1 success, 4 on 3 successes and a whopping 5 on 4 success.

Stoker p7

I spoke about using his Heroic Play to get people burning.  I’ve never really found it necessary to spend the Momentum and suffer the 4 damage to be able to set people on fire.  It’s still early days, so maybe down the line it’ll become a more viable tactic.

Stoker p6

So here ends the lesson on why I don’t leave home with out my Human Ball of Fire in Stoker. I hope new and old players find my article interesting and informative.  I’ve got to decide who to talk about next.  If you fancy me talking about a player from the Brewers then drop us a comment below.

Till next time!

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Getting Started

This article is designed to provide some helpful pointers and tips for players just getting into the game.  If you already know what you’re doing in the game, some of this will probaly seem quite basic.  I’ll move onto more in depth articles down the line.

Read your cards

Sounds simple but re-reading the cards after your first look is worth while. It’s quite easy to read something like ‘Unpredictable Movement’ and think that it triggers when an enemy engages you, but if you’ve got a 1″ melee and they have 2″ melee and the enemy model attacks your model from outside of 1″ it doesn’t trigger

.Unpredictable

Learn what you can do with Momentum

Momentum is a huge part of the game and represents the success of how well your team are doing throughout the game. There are a huge number of ways of using momentum from the regularly used ‘Bonus Time’ or ‘Take a Breather Lad’ to the lesser used ‘Gliding’.

Momentum

When I was learning the game I printed off the couple of pages from the rule book, that had the uses of momentum on and kept them on the table so I could always check to see if I could do something with it. Once you know what you can do with momentum it then comes down to when to use it, getting charged by someone with an easy knockdown? Probably not a good choice to counter attack. Need that player to not be tackled? Consider taking a defensive stance if they charge you, the extra defense might just make the difference between getting tackled or not. Alternatively if your about to get attacked and they’re likely to take the ball of you and you’ve got a super easy tackle (a la Brisket, below), why not counter attack and take the ball back scuppering their plans if they didn’t account for it.

Tackle

Goal Influence

Something I was terrible at remembering when I first started playing the game was remembering to give yourself the extra influence for scoring a goal in the previous turn. So if you score a goal you get an extra influence for the rest of the game. If you’ve scored two goals then you get two extra influence in the maintenance phase. Well worth remembering.

Goal Influence

Getting the first one gives you an 8.3% increase in influence on a 12 INF team, the 2nd bumps that up to 16.6% increase, which is effectively another players worth of influence; it can obviously be a bigger swing dependant on your team. Not to mention you’ve got 8 VP’s at that point.

Guild Plots

Start playing with Guild Plot cards as soon as possible. I made the mistake of not playing with them early on and for a while after I would keep forgetting to use them, or even look at them. They form a part of the game and you can use them to plan a goal and keep the scoring player safe in the form of ‘Don’t Touch the Hair!’ or ‘Knee Slider!’ alternatively Guild Plots like ‘Make a Game of it!’ and ‘Who Are Ya?’ can punish an unsuspecting opponent for scoring.  All of the Guild Plot cards are one use only effects so choosing te right time to use them in the game is critical.

Guild Plots

I’ve only covered a few points of the game here, but hopefully they will be invaluable and help you give you some ideas if you’re new and getting into the game.

Till next time!

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The Heroic Play Open 2016

So the 30th January saw the 1st Heroic Play Open event took place.  It was a 16 player Guild Ball Sanctioned event.

The event was held at Arbury Community Centre & St Michael’s Church, in Arley just outside of Nuneaton.  We had an excellent turn out and the event was thoroughly enjoyed by all.

Below are some action shots from the day:

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And then there are some shots of the teams that were present when we were judging the painting competition:

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The results can be viewed here on TieBreak

Cheers all and enjoy!