Tuesday, 8 July 2014

Where Everybody Knows Your Name (And Armour Class)

The secret doorway to Glasweigan nerdity
The cooler amongst you might be more interested in tonight's football drubbing, but I had my own sportsball experience today - a game of Dreadball with my mate Stuart.

Stuart found himself with some time free - his family are away from the house so he asked if we could meet up for some sort of card or board game.  I suggested introducing him to Dreadball and we met at in the center of town at Geek Retreat.

Geek Retreat is a relatively modern part of Glasgow's nerd culture and, on the outside, looks rather unimpressive.  Especially when we already have so many comic book shops (three around the city centre alone) you may wonder quite what the point of another one is.  But then you go in the door, down the stairs and discover.....

Maybe I should have a "spot the nerd reference" game for this photo
... a coffee shop filled with geeky paraphernalia.  Cakes, hot chocolate and paninis sit alongside magic cards, comics and action figures.  There's regular meetings to play CCGs, computer games, board games, RPGs etc.  Geek Retreat has been a huge success - for a city as hard-drinking as Glasgow, a city centre social spot working without a drinks license is a big surprise - and it's really come into its own.

Anyway, into this building regular 40K opponent Stuart pulled up a chair, bought me a rocky road and learned the futuristic sports game.

The game commences. Excuse the shoogly photos, I'm experimenting with the camera on my new mobile phone.

As you can imagine for someone's first game, Stuart took a wee bit to get into the game's mechanics.  He chose the Veer-Myn who can be a tricky team to use right - very light and dextrous, but not great ball carriers, and with my usual choice of Forge Fathers he was always going to have to fight hard.  A bad first turn, in which he fumbled picking up the ball, didn't help.

However, Stuart is a geek with experience of a lot of games and he very quickly got into the spirit of things.  He took it all in his stride and, when the time came, showed he had figured out a lot of how the game when he prevented me scoring by, just as I was about to throw a strike, planked an event card down that shattered the ball.  I nodded and said, "Yes, you have learned the game well.... you sleekit bastard."

Dreams crushed.

It was a very eventful game indeed.  He made much heavier use of the Steal action than occurs in most of my other games - it tends to be a last-ditch action by my normal opponents, but with his guards spending much of the game injured or near the back it was his main way of getting the ball off me.  He showed just how useful it could be against the Dwarf Strikers who have little way to defend against it.


I did manage to get some credit back by shooting a hell of a pass, managing to get the ball 9 squares downfield.  Player to player passes are another rare thing - compared to Blood Bowl it's harder and has less benefit - but in a desperate move I successfully bundled the ball all the way from deep in my half to a valid strike hex with a real hail mary throw.

It's just a shame I then cocked up the strike attempt, eh?

I was so happy here.  I'm about to not be, though.
 But moment of the match had to be Stuart scoring in my turn.  He ended the turn on a strike hex and right next to the ball so I decided to make a charge with my Guard, hoping my 5 dice/3+ versus his 4 dice/3+ would allow me to move him out the way to allow my own strikes to grab the ball.  I.... um, misjudged random number variance and found myself beaten by a mighty number.

Because he doubled my roll he was able to dodge a square free and so he moved onto the ball; he doubled picking the ball up, getting a free action.  He moved back onto the strike hexes (albeit not one I was guarding) and made a throw with a coaching dice to help out.  He scored a cheeky wee point.... and then the ball spay back out and my players looked at each other very confused at what had happened.
This player SO got the hairdryer treatment after the match.
It wasn't a high scoring match - the total bounced between 2 points to either side throughout the game - but this goal and a mad dash for the 4 pointer gave Stuart the ultimate lead.  Although I ended the game holding the ball I didn't have the action tokens or speed to get back an equaliser so the final score was 2-0 to Stuart.

Showing my age that this is the first picture of "sport failure" I could think of

So yeah, good time had by all.  Stuart seemed to have a good time and was interested in playing again.  I enjoyed playing in Geek Retreat - it wasn't a big deal to get there and back with my bits which were easily man-portable and not space intensive.  

Stuart had offered to teach me a game he's fond of before but I never got around to it - I should really take him up on his offer.  It is a game several of my chums are fond of...

HINT: It's not Monopoly
But before I post about that, there's something on my hobby bench that is finally coming together which you can expect to see updates about...

Codename: James The Death Engine

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