Thursday, 29 October 2015

Three's Company: A Multi-Person Dungeonbowl

It's All Cool If You're Following The Golden Rule
As part of my attempt to resuscitate this blog, I can bring you a report on my first wargamey type thing in ages which took place last week on Wednesday.

Priestly Paul invited me over to his, because he had a guest from out of town - Nottingham Oldhammer type Jon Boyce - and thought some sort of three person game could be fun.  After some discussion we settled on Dungeonbowl, so we gathered at Paul's house.  I brought along my Dungeonbowl tokens and board pieces, both authentic 1980s originals and scanned-and-printed duplicates, to assemble a large dungeon fit for three.

The dungeon layout as we prepare to start: three by three grid with end zones at the middle points.  Note I've eschewed the "big empty" rooms for a more cramped design.

In the vein of the classic Dungeonbowl rules, where teams were not mono-species but alliances formed by alliegence to the Colleges of Magic, each of the three teams were a fusion.  As per the 1990s 3rd update to the rules this meant each team had access to a Main Race, Other Race and Last Race with progressively fewer team members allowed from each person.  Jon chose his team to fight on behalf of the masters of Dark Magic and was made of Undead with some Dark Elves for grace and a Troll for muscle.  Paul meanwhile was there representing the Celestial College, so High Elves and Wood Elves allied together with the assistance of a Treeman.

Things were a little trickier for me, since my usual team choices aren't in the old Dungeonbowl rules. 

They only included those races present in 3rd Ed Blood Bowl, which was just 13 teams plus a few "big guys", while the modern rules have far more teams and some of those "big guys" are rolled into other team lists.  However we came to a gentlemanly agreement that I should be permitted to assembly a New World alliance and so Six Amazons, four Lizardmen and two Slaan paired up to travel to the Old World and exhibit the power of their culture as part of the Lustrian Globetrotters.

"This promises to be a by-the-numbers athletic competition with no surprises whatsoever."

While I have painted up Amazon and Lizardmen team - the former Blood Bowlers with a few Mordheim conversions, the latter entirely made of converted Warhammer Fantasy plastics - I didn't have any Slaan figures.  Thankfully, Jon came to my rescure and before setting off from Nottingham to Glasgow threw a couple of froggy gents into his miniatures case that I could borrow.  Apparently he has a full team of Slaan for Blood Bowl - he converted them from 80s metal Slaan figures, long before they were as rare and expensive as they are now.

My starting lineup: two Amazon linewoman, an Amazon thrower, a Slaan catcher and two Saurus for muscle.

I set up the board using two sets of Dungeonbowl Tiles, skipping the two "empty" tiles and one of the "pillar" tiles to make a fairly busy dungeon.  My opponents were tasked with scattering eight teleporters and eight doors around the pitch, while I placed eight chests and twelve maybe-traps down - taking care to randomize them so none of us knew which were safe and which were dangerous, as only half the maybe-traps were actually problems.  We then had a quick rules chat to decide how we were going to handle some things like tackle zones/movement diagonally through stone corners, opening doors and using the normal and Dungeonbowl Leap rules rules. 

Finally we took an end zone each and rolled off for initiative.  Priestly Paul was blessed by the highest number and he was the first to enter the dungeon, followed by the Lustrian Globetrotters then finally the forces of darkness.

The results were... pretty chaotic.
PARTY HARD!  A Saurus gets up close and person with two Elves trying to harass an Amazonian catcher.
The first half of the game was spent with the teams mostly ignoring each other, heading to the various chests and only tussling when necessary.  Paul focused on opening most of the chests since he was faster with all those Elves.... but unfortunately he ended up getting a lot of explosions in his face for his troubles.  No major injuries, but a lot of embarassing falling over or KOed results!

Jon, meanwhile, opened two chests only... and his second right in the middle of the board contained the ball. Unfortunately, his evil team-mate then managed to stumble when he had to Go For It to pick up the ball and crunched into the ground, sending the ball scattering.

Not the finest moment in Sports Entertainment history
And what were the Lustrian Globetrotters doing through all this?  Er, failing to use the teleporters.  My poor ol' thrower thought she'd be smart and use one for a short cut only to end up catapulted across the board several times.  In the end she ended up rolling to appear on the same teleporter space she is on, a fatal event which means she was lost in time and space for the rest of the match.

...and meaning.

So anyway, the ball was uncovered in the middle of the dungeon - a large room filled with pillars that made navigation difficult.  Everyone tried to get there: the only player I could get to the ball carrier was a weedy Strength 2 Slaan Catcher, who inexplicably managed to fell the ball-carrier.

Enjoy it, mate, it's the only casualty you'll ever cause.

 Unfortunately I can't seal the deal.  Both Paul and I get in each other's way, with a particularly brutal set of blocks and failed dodges in one corner chewing up most of our heavy hitters including his treeman.  This sees the only fatality of the match in which a teleporting Amazon catcher somehow manages to get the drop on a Wood Elf and kill him - I like to imagine she materialised mid-kick with her foot embedded in his neck.

We ended up in a bit of a trap in which no-one sould stand up and move without ending up in several tackle zones.

With this gap, Jon had time to form a loose cage and move a ball-carrying ghoul down the pitch.  What players could interfere tried their best, but we couldn't really form a solid line.  Even when Paul and I tried to form an alliance, our endless bumping into each others tackle zones slowed our approach.

The ghoul on the right hand side trying to enter the endzone, with lots of defenders trying to reach him too late.

Despite a couple of mad attempts to lock up the Ghoul, Jon was able to make a dash and get into my end zone to drop the ball and score the touchdown that won the game.  Handshakes were exchanged, thoughts were swapped and a general feeling that we should do this more often was the order of the day.
A Go For It was required: that was a tense last dice roll!

A lot of fun was had, but I think my dungeon build was a bit lacking.  On reflection we could have done with a more open dungeon area somewhere so there'd have been more room for small throws and maybe some flanking.  Instead, the dungeon was so rammed that no-one could really manoeuvre.  The chests were nicely spread out in the middle/back so there was no "easy" option, but the crammed space meant the person who got one didn't really need to worry about the opposition.

Still, I don't think this is the last outing of the Lustrian Pussycats.  Now if only I had my own Slaan figures... 


  1. Thanks for the game George. It was great fun, especially seeing you and Paul stumble around each other ;)

    It was great to have the company and a game to boot.

  2. It was like a Benny Hill chase scene! Wish we had had the music playing around in the background. Loads of fun - great memories, thanks guys ;-)