Tuesday, 26 August 2014

Dungeonbowl Match Report

European Standard certified?  Thank goodness for that!

I mentioned back in April that I'd got a hold of late 80s game Dungeonbowl, a supplement for Blood Bowl.  This is one of those out of print GW games which can cost a bomb to get a hold of on eBay, so after months if not years of searching I lucked out into a reasonably priced auction.  It takes a while to get some items on eBay for reasonable prices - you get a lot of silly figure Buy It Nows for out-of-production material - but persistence paid off!

The figures were in some cases painted but the board pieces, rulebook etc were in good condition.  It even had all the tokens for teleporters, traps, chests etc unpunched.

I felt kinda bad bursting these open. 

So, what is Dungeonbowl?  Well, it's like Blood Bowl in that it's a fantasy version of American Football.  As the name gives away it's played in a dungeon.  What the name may not give away is that the ball does not  begin in any one players hands or kicked off - instead it's located in one of numerous chests in the dungeon.  The ball must be retrieved and than ran into the opposition starting area - whoever does that wins.

Oh, did I mention the chests without balls are trapped?  They explode when you open them.

Oh, and there's spiked pit traps and teleporters scattered about the dungeon to create obstacles and possible short-cuts.

It's, um, it's pretty mental.

Our dungeon layout using the tiles in the game.  White circles are teleporters; blue circles are chests; brown circles are doors; green circles are pit traps.

Ailsa and I quickly scribbled teams together using the figures in the box - though any Blood Bowl team can be used - and set up the dungeon mutually.  As you can see we spread the various bits and bobs around the board, with the chests mostly near the centre.

Ailsa usually plays Dwarfs so this time round she made a team of mohawked 80s Elves.  Meanwhile I assembled a Dwarf team, so now I would be playing my usual nemesis team.  Which is good, because after years of Dwarfs making my life misery with their high Armour and seemingly never-ending Block and Tackle skills, I would get to turn the tables!

That was quick!

The game started with us knowing little of the strategy and just sorta improvising.  Ailsa rushed out to one of the chests.... which blew up in her face.  Then on her second turn she accidentally teleported right into the thick of my endzone where my Dwarves delighted in kicking the crap out of her

Hit 'em when they're down

There were a few early losses as players either got injured on the pitch or vanished into the teleporters - they are numbered 1 to 6 and when you move in you roll for which one you appear at, with rolling the same number as the one you're on seeing you miss the rest of the match.  Normally players can return from injury after a touchdown but as the game ends on a touchdown any injury is a potentially game-missing one.

Coo-ee!  Avon calling!
After a few exploding chests the ball was found in the middle of the dungeon, in a tight space were walls, corners, pit traps and pillars all conspired to make it awkward to get.  A series of melees broke out as players scarpered for the ball, crushing opposition in their path.... only to get boxed in by the next round of opposition players.
The first Elf holding the ball is knocked down, but the Dwarfs have a fight on their hands to get it back.

Ailsa managed to throw the ball clear of this stramash but with her lower armour than mine and my Block & Tackle skills I was in a better condition - she only had four players left, I had seven.  I managed to get my hands on the ball and while my stubby legs couldn't carry it far, she wasn't having much luck getting it off me.

As the game draws to a close, this was the layout: I'm outnumbering the Elves two to one.

In the end Ailsa was nimble enough to dodge around me but not hardy enough to take the knocks when I caught up with her, so the pitch was cleared of Elves and I could walk the ball into the end zone.  The game was a victory for the Stout Spikes!

Trebles all round, boys!
How did I find the game?  Well it lasted as long as a typical blood ball game but it felt very fast-paced in play - it's only when we noticed how depleted our teams were we realised how long we've been playing for.  The dungeon arrangement created choke points and by building a different dungeon each game you could end up with very different styles of play - we threw the ball once each, but clearer play areas might see more ball-handling action.

If there was a problem it wasn't with Dungeonball and with Dwarves, which are regarded as one of the better Blood Bowl teams and particularly excelled here.  Playing with two other teams - say, Amazons vs Orcs or Dark Elves vs Lizardmen - might produce a better result because as it stood Ailsa lost less because of bad decisions and more because Dwarves are just hardly little bastards.

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