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17th January 2017: Blood Bowl Update

Continuing the trend of clearing things up from early last year, I'm now going to do something I should have done a long while ago, and report on some Blood Bowl games. Way back in May and June, after starting a new board game Blood Bowl league, I soon found myself needing some practice with the amazons and lizardmen, which were both new teams to me. I re-installed the computer game, and started a hard difficulty competition with amazons that had 4 divisions each containing 6 teams. I only played the first season, which saw me trying to gain promotion from division 4. I always intended to go back to it, but have not yet found the time or desire.

Though I couldn't remember what happened in the 5 games, luckily I found replays of them all so I could quickly wizz through them and remind myself what happened.

The first game was against elf team High Sea Surfriders. My worst fears came true when their ball carrier dodged through to score on just turn 2. The rest of the half consisted of a big ruck on the half way line, which gave me a numerical advantage for the 2nd half. I took control of the game, with Erika Zeal managing to get through on turn 12 to equalize, and Kallisto Blaze scoring in the last turn for the win.

The 2nd game was against another amazon team, the Tlanxa Javelins. This was a mess from start to finish, with both teams spending the entire match punching each other near the half way line. Twice I managed to push their ball carrier into the crowd, only for the fans to throw the ball deep into my half and put me under pressure. The game ended 0-0 with no chance to score for either team.

My third game was against the much higher rated orc team Da Severed 'Eads. This one allowed me to bring along Zara the Slayer, but I wasn't very hopeful of winning. Turned out to be maybe my luckiest game playing Blood Bowl. Zara was a boss in the early phases, knocking down their troll twice and bullying the black orcs. On turn 3, all the orcs were on my left flank looking to defend my main push, but I switched the play, with Erika handing to Kallisto, who managed to run down the right to score two turns later after wasting as much time as possible. The second half was a massive defensive performance after Zara got KOd right after the kick off. There were multiple orc failed pickup attempts. I noticed several times that they were not using their rerolls during these. Without doubt my main strokes of luck came in turns 8 and 16, as both halves ended with the orcs gaining solid possession of the ball within a turn's reach of the endzone, but I was saved by the whistle both times.

Game 4 saw me up against a Nurgle team Aukrug Eruptors. I remember these being hard to beat when I played with my orcs a few years back, and this one started much the same. One of the beastmen broke through on my right flank with support, and it took a great blitz from Xena Flame to bring him down. She then grabbed the ball, and ran all the way up the right to score on turn 8. 2nd half went my way also, with ball carrier Erika breaking through late on with support from Nikki Heat. On turn 15, one lady handed it to the other and Nikki ran in for the 2-0.

The last game was insane against the Pinkfoot Panthers halfling team. One particular halfling with the block skill called Nellby Hamson was the thorn in my side, seriously injuring Nikki in turn 2, then badly hurting Artemis Flash and Gaia Light on turns 3 & 4 respectively. The little git had me flustered, but I managed to score with Erika on turn 5. A pitch invasion followed, then an attempted throw team mate by one of their treemen ended with the death of one of the halflings. In the 2nd half I concentrated on killing Hamson, but could only badly hurt him after several turns of trying. Though I'd suffered at the beginning, the rest of the casualties went in my favour and they ended with very few players on the pitch. My 2nd TD came in turn 12 for Korina Jet, after she caught an accurate long pass from Erika. The game ended with me retiring Nikki and hiring a new Nikki.

So season 1 ended with a comfortable league win. Hopefully this little update will make me carry on that competition, as it's nice to win with amazons, which I can't seem to do in the board game.

The first half grind against the elves commences

The first half grind against the elves commences

My first amazon touchdown

My first amazon touchdown

A lot of angry women looking to kick the crap out of each other

A lot of angry women looking to kick the crap out of each other

Zara deals with a troll

Zara deals with a troll

The first half against the orcs goes better than expected

The first half against the orcs goes better than expected

Their beast gets hit by a rock

Their beast gets hit by a rock

Xena clatters their ball carrier

Xena clatters their ball carrier

Hamson fractures Nikki's skull...

Hamson fractures Nikki's skull...

...but I soon get payback

...but I soon get payback

30th July 2016: Why Heroquest Is So Great. Or Not.

The Bard's Heroquest Video

The Bard's Heroquest Video

Heroquest has always been on my list of must-plays, especially after finishing Space Crusade a couple of years back. See, back in the early 90s, around the same time I started playing the Space Crusade board game, I also played a few games of Heroquest, which had been released at a similar time. Just like with Space Crusade before it, I also got hold of the computer game, but don't remember finishing a single quest in the board game or the computer game. That seemed like something I needed to change.

Inspired recently by The Bard's hilarious video, I finally found the motivation to grease the cogs of my Amiga emulator and fire this one up for a playthrough.
By the way, you should totally click the thumbnail to view that video. He even dishes out some almighty plinnage at 2:19. Can't ask for more than that.

Unfortunately, but perhaps unsurprisingly, like the Space Crusade computer game before it, this one was a frustrating slog. I started out with Tryndamere, Gragas, Varus and Karthus as my adventurers, but the silly wizard Karthus found himself very dead on just the second mission. So Malzahar came in to take his place. My team was further decimated when my save state got corrupted somehow after I had gone through the Legacy Of The Orc Warlord quest, so I had to continue with brand new characters. Gone were my barbarian's battle axe, my elf and dwarf's broadswords, and my wizard's staff. But oh well. I never really felt like things were too hard even after that problem.

I quickly came to the conclusion this thing should have had a top-down perspective like Space Crusade had. The fixed isometric camera angle proved itself to be a problem on more than one occasion. Mostly this was down to when I was trying to move. If someone just off the screen was blocking the path, I was unable to click beyond them in order to move, when normally the characters can pass each other. Also, it seemed impossible to cast spells on someone even if they were in line of sight down a corridor, as the game would tell you they were not in sight because they were off the screen. Bloody annoying.

There were other problems, like the sheer amount of clicking required. This thing actually hurt my hand at times. It felt like a clicking simulator through and through. This was not helped by the need to return to the quest's start point after completing the objectives in nearly every mission. That was just not needed.

But it's done. And that's all that counts.

Playing follow the leader

Playing follow the leader

Rescuing Sir Ragnar

Rescuing Sir Ragnar

All the bosses in the game use the same model. This is supposed to be an orc.

All the bosses in the game use the same model. This is supposed to be an orc.

Into the final mission's boss room

Into the final mission's boss room

Final boss of the game dies in one attack

Final boss of the game dies in one attack

7th October 2014: The Ancient Crusade

A marathon of an entry kicks off with the completion of another old Amiga game, in the form of Space Crusade. The board game of this got me into wargaming back in the early 90s, and I also played the computer game a little bit with my friends. I don't ever remember finishing a single mission properly, on the board game or the computer game. But that has changed now with this completion.

I know it's old and simple, but the game was a pain to get through. It was just so slow, constantly switching to pointless little animations that got old real quick. I'd have preferred if there was an option to turn those off. There were other annoying things such as the Soul Suckers being present instead of the Genestealers for some reason, and a few graphics bugs, which may have been down to the emulator.

I went into this controlling both the Imperial Fists and the Ultramarines, not knowing that the Blood Angels are supposed to have the best cards. Still, it made it more of a challenge I guess. Overall it was quite easy, up until the last couple of missions anyway. That was when the weaker Imperial Fists got slaughtered twice when under heavy close assault from many enemies. But the Ultramarines with their better close combat cards and medkit managed to forge a path through every level. Kind of a shame, as I prefer the Fists to the Ultramarines, but oh well.

The Ultramarines deploy

The Ultramarines deploy

Trapping enemies in doors

Trapping enemies in doors

A Marine loses his head, and his body

A Marine loses his head, and his body

That room is gonna be interesting...

That room is gonna be interesting...

A huge rumble kicks off

A huge rumble kicks off

Gretchin beat up a Marine

Gretchin beat up a Marine

Conga line

Conga line

Commander Keifer is killed by a Soul Sucker

Commander Keifer is killed by a Soul Sucker

That's a Dreadnought not a Soul Sucker. Silly game.

That's a Dreadnought not a Soul Sucker. Silly game.

Commander Goldstock fights for his life

Commander Goldstock fights for his life

Launcher Marine cleaning up the town

Launcher Marine cleaning up the town

In the final mission, the Fists are destroyed

In the final mission, the Fists are destroyed

The Ultramarines are able to destroy the Chaos Cube

The Ultramarines are able to destroy the Chaos Cube

Don't look so smug, you silly smurf

Don't look so smug, you silly smurf

4th July 2014: We Can Be Heroes

Scoob and I recently gave a really old game a go in the form of Heroes Of Might & Magic 3, widely regarded to be the best in the series. I bought this one purely for the multiplayer, to try and revive some of the strategy game love we used to have in the past. But after a few attempts we realised this game was not for us. It has a similar problem to that of the Settlers games, but to a far greater degree. With this genre, when the game starts its fun as you scramble to develop your warriors and towns, but then there's a huge delay while you're just waiting for everything to finish and upgrade before you go and destroy the enemy. This could be a long time in something like Settlers 3, but here the wait is insane. We tried a fair few maps, even a 4v4 map of my own design that gave us many resources and towns to start with, but the game still went on for hours. What's even worse with this game over the Settlers is that it's turn-based, meaning you can't even do anything while an opponent is moving. I can see it being a fun game if it was slightly different, but overall I'm not sure why it's so highly regarded.

Two of my heroes hanging out

Two of my heroes hanging out

My victorious forces

My victorious forces

Die, old fools

Die, old fools

2nd March 2013: Trying To Fill My Bowl With Blood

The poor Naggaroth Nightmares faced me for the fourth time in recent history, and once again I gave them no pity. They had 700,000 gold in petty cash, and came with Horkon Heartripper and a wizard for assistance. The game started in the rain, but my guys cared not, for within two turns five of their players were already off the pitch. Black Orc Basha Brainbursta even had the chance to claim a hand off and run in to score my first Black Orc TD. The weather cleared up for the second half, and Chukko easily got in to score the second, and also got MVP, allowing him a new skill which turned out to be +1MA.
Then came a game that made me think the computer was desperate to see me lose, against the Amazon All Stars. I'd got four of my players KOd and one badly hurt within the first three turns, and their players were constantly dodging away and even knocking down my Black Orcs with little effort. My block dice were constantly push backs and both downs, and with pretty much all their players with block and side step, they were very difficult to deal with. I had received in the first half, but nothing I could do kept them out, and they scored in turn 8. My one stroke of luck came at the start of the second half when their player fumbled their pick up. Lil was close enough to pick up the ball, blitz their player away, and run in to equalize on turn 10. They came on again and I just couldn't get the ball off them until turn 14 when they were within range of another TD. Chukki managed to pick it up and bombed it as far as possible into their half and I held on for the draw. Damn those ladies were tough.
Then another game where the dice were against me, but thankfully the result was in my favour. The Khemri team Nehekhara City Chiefs were the opponents, and their four Tomb Guardians were definitely up for a fight, all coming with guard and one even had an upgrade to strength 6. Not only that, but these four low agility players seemed to constantly be able to dodge and even pick up the ball in tackle zones with little effort. It didn't help that my troll failed his stupid roll on four consecutive turns (5-8) when I really could have done with his strength. However, I got pretty lucky myself in taking the ball away from the Tomb Guardian that had it, and Draggin' broke away to give me the lead on turn 8. The second half was a more normal affair, with Chukko keeping the ball as I drove up the left wing to score on the last turn. Biffa became the last Black Orc to get guard, a little late for the party but never mind.
I was worried going against the Skavenblight Scramblers as those Gutter Runners can be evil to catch, and they had a bunch of upgrades on their's. Luckily I had no real troubles, and kicked them up and down the pitch for the whole game, after which they had suffered 8 casualties and 11 KOs. Couldn't kill anyone unfortunately (thanks to their apothecary), but all went well, with Lil and Zobba scoring. My troll got lucky with doubles and finally got the block skill. It was a tough choice between that and pro, which would help a lot with his stupidity, but block's the beast man. Gotta have it.
Going into the match against 2nd place Black Fangs, I didn't know how many from each group would go through to the knockouts. If it was top 2 I was safe, as the 3rd place team could not catch me. However, if it was only the top team from each group, the Black Fangs would go through if they beat me, so the pressure was still on. For some reason they only started with one of their 6 Vamps, and I smashed several of their Thralls off the pitch early. I came away with an easy 2-0 win, with Draggin' and Lil getting the TDs. At the end of the match Basha Brainbursta got mighty blow.
I needn't have worried about losing, as I then found out it was actually the top 4 of each group that go through, which in my opinion makes the group stage a little pointless, if only 2 from each group get eliminated. Top teams to fall included the Amazon All Stars, who must have stopped trying after playing me as they lost their remaining games; the Forked Tongues, who were the only team with more prestige than me coming in to the tournament; the Champions Of Death, and the Oldheim Ogres.

The Orcs get slapped around by some badass ladies

The Orcs get slapped around by some badass ladies

The Rat Ogre gets its ribs broken

The Rat Ogre gets its ribs broken

The lone Gutter Runner can't prevent the TD

The lone Gutter Runner can't prevent the TD

Anyway, the first knockout game was an interesting prospect, as it put me up against a fellow Orc team for the first time, in the shape of the famous Orcland Raiders. I was expecting a tougher game, but other than the first few turns where our front lines pummelled each other, it was a pretty easy 2-0 win. For most of the first half my troll and their troll stood staring at each other with confused expressions, but eventually good ol' Granite slapped their troll down and injured its back. After Lil and Zobba got me the TDs, Wee Little Jimmy came on for the last turn and stuck the boot in on one of their blitzers, injuring that dude's back as well. Their team might need a good physio after this one.
It was the Reikland Reavers in the quarters, the second game on the trot against pure classic GW teams. In the first half they put in a stellar performance, not allowing me to get out of my own half. Mind you, my rolls were awful (all 5 of my re-rolls gone in the first 5 turns), and Granite continued his recent trend of getting really stupid. Not good when their ST6 ogre was on a rampage, knocking out 2 players and breaking Boffa's ribs and putting him out of the semi. In the second half they received and four of their players immediately broke through my line. I was not confident at this point. I risked not sending many players back to defend, and instead smashed my way to their carrier. Sub Ug The Stupid took him down, and caught the ball at the second time of asking as it bounced around between the players in the area. They were now the ones under pressure with so many players downfield. Ug was able to run in to get the TD on turn 14, and they could not break through again in their remaining 2 turns. What a close fight.
The only other undefeated team so far, the Norsca Rampagers, were my semi final opponents. I have no idea how they were undefeated, as they were awful. Not even their ludicrously lucky dodging could help them, and I battered them into submission from the start, killing a player on turn 2. By the end of the match they had 3 players on the pitch and had suffered 7 casualties. The ladz took another 2-0 win, with Chukko and Chukki (both on the pitch at the same time for the first time in ages) taking the TDs.

Durrr, we so stupid

Durrr, we so stupid

Where'd all the Norse go?

Where'd all the Norse go?

So, in the last game the Dwarf Giants were once again my opponents in a final, and there was no bigger final than the Blood Bowl itself. Remembering the awkward game I had with them last, I pumped 200,000 gold into my petty cash for the match, purchasing inducements for the first time in ages. I went with an extra apothecary and two Bloodweiser Babes, thinking these would keep the ladz on the pitch. With their 260,000 gold, they went with a wizard and an extra re-roll.
I received at the start, but a pitch invasion threatened to throw my plans into turmoil. Though I had more fan factor, they'd got the +1 FAME for the match, and four of the ladz were stunned compared to their two. However, Granite was about to have the game of his life. With the first block of the day, he smacked the deathroller and killed it, and their apothecary was needed to heal him. I wasn't that fussed, as it got the thing off the pitch and out of my hair already. Chukko got the ball and we drove up the left wing. Granite continued his good form and turned Blitzer for the drive, sprinting up the wing in support and smacking Dwarves out of the way left and right without failing a single stupid roll. By turn 6 they used their wizard on Chukko but it failed, and he opened the scoring on turn 8. For their last turn of the half, there was another invasion. This time I got six players stunned compared to their one. Lucky that there was no time for them to do anything.
I took Granite off at half time now his strength wasn't needed. They received, but left their ball carrier wide open at the end of their first turn. Draggin' blitzed him, killed him, picked up the ball and set off down the pitch in one fluid motion. As cool as this looked, he had no support at all and was soon smacked onto his ass. A ruck ensued that the ladz took the upper hand in, badly hurting two Dwarves and knocking some out. In return, they killed Boffa in his return match, but thankfully my apothecary healed him. By the last turn Chukki had easily recovered the ball and scored to make the final score 2-0, giving the Stompers the Blood Bowl trophy!

Zobba takes the brunt of the wizard

Zobba takes the brunt of the wizard

Invasion number 2

Invasion number 2

Draggin' shows his class

Draggin' shows his class

Boffa needs a medic

Boffa needs a medic

Chukki makes it 2-0

Chukki makes it 2-0

The Blood Bowl is mine

The Blood Bowl is mine

Though there's not really an end to the campaign, as it will just go round and round season after season, after 50+ games and winning the Blood Bowl, I think this is as far as I can go with this team, and have completed the game as far as I think is needed. However, I've got a bit of Blood Bowl fever right now, so will probably be trying one or two single tournaments with teams I've never played before. Bumping up the difficulty from normal to hard will also make it a tougher challenge and more interesting.

It's been bang on a year since I started blogging about computer games, and this is only the 13th game I've actually finished in that time. Wow, I dread to think how few games I'd have completed without this blog as a driving force.

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