I hadn't played the Undead for quite a few weeks and was worried that my time with the Dark Elves would confuse me during today's Big Match.
Bull and I had both created our own dugouts and Bull had gone one better and produced not only a scoreboard but some advertising boards too. Today's game would certainly be visually appealing!
I had a slightly different lineup today, with the addition of two new Ghouls – Nikolai Direblight and Landon Withering. This meant I had two guys in reserve and my team would be slightly faster (and squishier) than previously. Would this be a winning combo? I could only cross my fingers and hope.
I managed to come out on top with the fan factor and was sitting pretty with a +1. Bull won the kick off roll and decided to receive. The Kick-Off table immediately poked me in the eye with a 'high kick', meaning that Bull could move his guy directly underneath the ball. He failed to catch it but, with his 'Sure Hands' re-roll, recovered possession (top image).
I kept my defence quite deep as I knew I didn't want to be caught flat-footed. I didn't have nearly the speed of the Skaven – those Boomtown Rats are fast, as my Dark Elves had discovered!
It didn't seem to matter and in only his second turn Bull carved out some space and threw a long pass to a Gutter Runner waiting in the end zone!
Boomtown Rats 1–0
That had been quite devastating and shook my confidence – this could turn into a massacre.
Bull kicked to me and the Kick-Off table revealed 'perfect defence' – Bull could reposition his entire team… but chose not to.
The ball was kind and landed a square or two away from my ghouls sitting in the back field. I created some protection and Direblight strode in to pick up the ball… success first time.
We moved towards the left side of the field and a cage gradually formed around the ball carrier.
For the next five turns we rumbled down the field, the Skaven not prepared to commit more than a token defence for fear of casualties. Bull made a few attempts to get to ball carrier via the back of the cage, but a series of failed dodge rolls kept his turns short and the Undead rumbled on.
I slowed things down, stalling to ensure I would score in turn 8. This would spark the half time break and ensure that Bull had no chance for a quick reply score. Eventually, with almost the entire Undead team for protection, Nikolai Direblight strolled in for his (and the Undead's) first ever touchdown!!
The new guys had made an instant impact… holy cow we've actually scored!
Boomtown Rats 1–1 Grave's End Gutchewers
I'll be honest, I'd have taken a draw at half time, but Bull was kicking to me in the second half and my team were shining when in possession – a far cry from the early games vs the Orcs.
I was feeling a glimmer of confidence going into the second half, but knowing how quickly the Rats can score meant I couldn't slip up or they would be in for their second TD.
My bubble was burst rather quickly when the kick-off scattered all the way back to the half-way line – far away from my ghouls. It landed in a square occupied by a Skeleton who failed to pick it up. It then scattered to a square on the half-way line occupied by Dante Dedleg – my zombie blocker – who caught it!!?!!
However, he was horribly exposed and only a line of downed Rats were blocking the hits coming in. Bull hammered his way towards the zombie ball carrier but only managed a series of pushes. This left the zombie unhindered and he handed the ball off to our hero of the hour, Direblight.
I attempted to re-create the caged scenario from the first turn, but things weren't going to plan. Bull was being much more reckless with his Rats, knowing that he needed to knock the ball free this time to get a shot at winning the game. I didn't help myself by getting tied up in knots and left my Mummies and a Wight terribly out of position and unable to support the advance properly.
This time, instead of stalling, I was getting bogged down and as the turns progressed I had less and less protection for the ball carrier. In the end it reached crunch time. I wouldn't survive another turn with the ball so had to go for it.
The only option open to me involved Direblight dodging out of a tackle zone, blitzing a line rat then running to the line and having to roll a 'go for it' to make it into the end zone for the score. Very risky but I had a dodge roll and a team re-roll so it could happen.
I managed to block a Gutter Runner out of the way with another ghoul, negating the need for the initial dodge move (above). This was great but still risky.
I shouldn't have worried – Direblight was on fire in his debut game an scored his touchdown without the need of a single re-roll!!
Boomtown Rats 1–2 Grave's End Gutchewers
Phew! That had been touch-and-go there and the big issue was that I had scored sooner than I would have liked. Bull now had 3 turns to equalise – more than enough based upon previous exploits.
It was then that Nuffle stepped in and granted 'Throw A Rock' on the Kick-Off table, which I promptly won. A random roll later and one of Bull's blitzers was in the dead box – the victim of the jubilant Gutchewers away supporters. He was now down 3 players!
The kick-off was kind to me and the ball scattered into the right corner, ensuring Bull had almost the maximum distance to travel. I sat back in my half and waited for the Gutter Runners – however, Bull's thrower was off the pitch so he sent a couple of the speedy rats to retrieve the ball. That left only 2 to worry about down field.
Bull carried the ball almost to the half-way line and in my last turn all I could do was surround the Gutter Runners who were just loitering outside my end zone and hope for the best. I had done all I could do – if Bull managed to pull off a score in his final turn he would deserve the draw.
It was going to take something special, but the dice just hadn't been on his side this game and his Gutter Runner fell flat on his face trying to dodge out of a tackle zone. Turnover – end of the game!
Gutchewers win 2–1
I don't believe it!!
Dice rolls later, my heroic Ghoul – Nikolai Direblight – had rolled either +1 MA, +1AV or a new skill. Chey Charmin, my big hitting Mummy who had racked up 2 Casualties, had rolled a new skill – probably Guard.
Do I take the move bonus for the Ghoul or Block or Sure Hands?
Much to think about!
I also won a lot of money. I have the potential for another couple of re-rolls but don't want to bloat the team value too much.
Thanks to Bull for being a superb host and a gallant loser – a new experience for him. I have no doubt he will come back next game and take it out on the Dark Elves!
As for the new Dugout, aside from a Wight sitting in the KO box for a single turn and my two Reserves chilling out, it was unused – just as planned.
Of the 16 turns we played in this game, Nikolai Direblight was in possession of the ball for 10 of them and the Rats only had the ball for the first 2 and last 3 turns!
Seems like my plan came together all round!