Started up a Blood Bowl league at the shop, and played my first league game. The Crookshank Skullkickers faced off against Matt V’s Corpsetown Crushers.
Both of us are still pretty fresh. I’m pretty sure this was Matt’s first game, although you’d never guess it from his fully painted, partially converted, team of Necromantic Undead! I got a few touchdowns, we both broke some armour, and Matt started to get a real handle on his team by the time the game finished. I look forward to my next game!
When the new Blood Bowl released, I snapped up a Skaven team and dice (the latter, in part, because I knew I wouldn’t get another chance) so that is be ready if I got the chance to get into it. As time progressed I got more interested, and I got the box set for Christmas from my folks. It wasn’t until last night, though, that I finally got to play.
I invited a few friends over to share the experience (and yes, while not intended, I totally did this on Super Bowl Sunday), and we busted out a couple box sets (plus my skaven) and played a couple games. A rousing Blitzmania start for us.
My first game was against an orc team called the Arrrghanauts. I’d never played before and he’d only played once, so we were pretty evenly matched in terms of experience. I used the default Skavenblight Scramblers lineup and he built up a list full of blockers and blitzers. I received the kickoff and then got the first touchdown early when my thrower rolled a 6 on a hail mary to a gutter runner that had snuck down the field during the previous turn.
The Arrrghanauts were definitely overpowering me in terms of the physical game, but I got pretty lucky on the injury rolls. Not every dice roll went my way, but some of the most crucial ones did.
The thrower here had already moved, and the blitzer needed to Go For It twice to make the blitz happen. 1, team re-roll to 4, 1 again. So the blitzer fell on his face, and my runner made another touchdown. The game continued on a similar note. I’d have about half my team lying on the ground, but as long as I could get *somebody* through the line I’d be okay. The Arrrghanauts made a couple of solid drives up the field but my skaven were fast enough to catch up every time, turning things around when they got there.
I got in a second game as well, also against Orcs. C is also a new player but she’s got a half dozen games under her belt already, and her injury dice were treating her a little better. I won that game as well, but I struggled more to score fewer touchdowns, and she caused a full casualty. I’m excited to play an ongoing league at some point but it will definitely make my squishy rats a bit more of a liability.
For the moment, though, the Crookshank Skullkickers are off to a strong start, with two wins in a row!
Soldier Type: Ratfolk Thief
Miniature: Old Mordheim Skaven (‘Master Assassin 2’)
Backstory: Rikkits has a long and shadowed history of dungeon work, and a distinct disinterest in discussing it. Word of mouth and rumour has generally been enough to keep him in plenty of work; he’s quick enough and sufficiently skilled that jobs usually find him. He doesn’t talk about his past, he doesn’t talk about previous contracts… he really doesn’t talk much at all.
Rikkits can be short-tempered and vicious, but he’s good in a bind and has a real nose for trouble. Having been part of Xaalia’s previous crew, he’s known to both Xaalia and Jaeger. She (Who Will Not be Named) hired him on Morrigan’s recommendation; he’s done some discreet contract work for her in the past.
Juhlii started quietly, with the Upirian vampires shifting their forces around the map. C banner brought the previously unknown village of Felton into the fold, but otherwise it was a fairly uneventful month for Upiria.
Da Squig Teef expanded da Gobbolands a bit, discovering more barren lands in the northeast. Exploring da Gobbolands east of Squigopolis led to the discovery of an isolated tomb. Further investigation suggested that it marked the burial site of a long-forgotten hero, but it was also discovered that not only had the tomb been looted a long time ago, but that the catacombs had been claimed by a group of Dark Elves as their lair. The goblins were attacked by the vile creatures, but were able to fend them off; minimal casualties were suffered by each side as the dark elves retreated back into the tunnels. Squig Teef C, after spending a month softening up the skaven fortress of Gutsticken, launched an assault and nearly overran the fortress. Losses were suffered on both sides of the conflict, and the goblins were pushed back from Gutsticken’s walls.
The Black Skull Empire prepared for war, sending advance scouts into Voltal and Ogretown. Following their scouts, banner A marched upon Ogretown, only to witness the cowardly ogres retreat into the city, hunkering down for a siege that wouldn’t come. Faced with the bitter reality of a siege situation, the Black Skull withdrew, returning to the village of Dalton. Banner D charged into Voltal, surprising the local militia and overpowering the city, despite suffering heavy losses in the process. The Black Skull Empire claimed Voltal for their empire and expelled the minor Kristanzian royalty that were running the place to die in the woods outside the city. Banner B left Desperation to take up residence at the Bleeding Spire, and Banner C traveled southeast into their newly found village of Klump.
Clan Spearhavok split their runners between internal recon and expansion. Amberkill sent scouts into Deadwood, where they found evidence of goblin spies, calling for the banner to advance into the village to reinforce the skaven presence. Batterskull sent spies to investigate the goblin siege on Gutsticken, but ended up advising Batterskull’s engineers to hold back and let the militia at Gutsticken fend for themselves. Cravenfur’s scouts discovered a village of Beastmen called Narrat on the shores of the lake northeast of Goblintombs, and Cravenfur’s rats advanced, crushing the beastmen’s weak local forces while suffering minimal casualties themselves. The Doomrat banner’s night runners reported a city of high elves southwest of Foundwater and, not to be outdone by Cravenfur, immediately called for an all out attack on the elven city of Glortilyhuir. The elves retreated within their city’s walls but the Doomrats were not to be slowed, clambering up the walls and through the city’s sewers at great cost in a direct assault that quickly brought the city to its knees.
The Kingdom of Ogredeblarg had a rough month, finding a village northeast of Fort Ogre but little else. Banner B found themselves drenched and held down by a full month of torrential downpours in the area surrounding Ogreville, while banner C remained in Ograda, suffering from a strange sickness that swept through the village.
Note: Rather than running this turn 1 player at a time, we opted to try a 1 phase at a time approach. Things are a little more reactionary, but I will still be describing the actions of one faction at a time. Just so it makes sense when I mention things happening in response to something I haven’t yet mentioned.
The tribe of da Squig Teef grew even bolder in Juhn, expanding da Gobbolands to the north and east. Hot off their victory over the helpless villagers of Gromville, banner C (we really need cooler names for these banners) scouted Gutsticken, the fortress west of Gromville. Banner D sent scouts to spy on the Amberkill skaven banner in Deadwood, discovering their secrets and then slipping back to warn the rest of the goblins. Banner A fled the wizard’s tower of Vicious Tim into their expanded Gobbolands, B similarly advanced into the barrens, and D opted to stay put after learning what awaited them in Deadwood. C, not realising that the Amberkill skaven had sent scouts into their midst, advanced upon Gutsticken. When the local skaven militia retreated into the fortress and prepared for a siege, the goblins proceeded to attack the walls with a combination of thrown boulders and ballista fire.
Clan Spearhavok, plagued by the Black Skull Empire in the north and da Squig Teef tribe in the east, split their scouts between unknown territory and reconnaisance. Amberkill banner sent scouts into Gromville, learning the details of the goblins deployed there and returning undetected. Batterskull discovered more barren territory southeast of Khorne’s End while the Doomrat scouts followed the river to find an easily subjugated village to the west of Foundwater. Naming it Riverspitz, the scouts returned to their banner. The Cravenfur banner sent scouts to the northwest, where they discovered a small series of villages on the river; they submitted immediately to Clan Spearhavok’s rule. After returning to their banner, the scouts learned that the villages had soon after been visited by the Black Skull Empire, and had switched allegiances without a thought! Naming the villages Traitorgulch, banner Cravenfur advanced into the village, daring the Black Skull to return in number. Amberkill, left alone by the goblins of banner D, advanced upon Gromville – now devoid of any serious Squig Teef presence – and claimed it as their own, simultaneously cutting off the potential escape route of the goblins besieging Gutsticken. Batterskull opted to remain in Khorne’s End, ready to provide backup to Gutsticken should it be needed, and the Doomrats remained in Foundwater, satisfied that Rivespitz was well protected from the Black Skull Empire by Death Drop Chasm to the north.
Upiria devoted its energies to expansion during the month of Juhn, discovering and claiming the city of Nilbog northwest of Thorns, and the village of Dimtide on the southern cape of Upiria, just south of Lachrymarum. Banner A discovered that the Fallow continued to the east, and opted to remain where it was, and banner D’s scouts located a city of High Elves to the east! Attempting a surprise attack, D crept in across the one time battlefields of the Fallow, only to be stumbled upon by withdrawing Elven forces that had spotted Upiria’s scouts. Battle erupted with neither side fully prepared, and the bloody mess lasted for several days, but in the end the High Elves were able to fight the Upirian banner to a draw, with heavy losses on both sides. The Elves retreated into the city of Athanel, and Upiria’s D banner retreated back into the Fallow.
The Black Skull Empire opted for an aggressive month, expanding east towards the Kingdom of Ogredeblarg and south towards Clan Spearhavok. Banners A and C found and advanced upon two villages, naming them Dalton and Vile. Banner A was only too happy to leave the brigands of the Cursed Passage behind them. Banner B sent scouts into a series of villages southwest of them that had been newly-claimed by the skaven of Clan Spearhavok, briefly winning over the villages until the Cravenfur banner returned later in the month. Not to be so easily dismissed themselves, Banner B advanced upon Traitorgulch. Banner D discovered a surviving village-state of Kristanzians on the river southeeast of the Pillar of Skulls, and proceeded to launch an attack of their own, only to be repelled by the Kristanzians after their battle resulted in a draw. Black skull casualties were fairly light. The battle of Traitorgulch went even less smoothly, with the Black Skull Empire suffering fairly heavy losses, and the Cravenfur banner losing a number of stormvermin, including Fangleader Gristlekill. After a bitter and bloody conflict, both sides were forced to withdraw from Traitorgulch, but the villages remained a part of Clan Spearhavok’s growing empire.
Our ogre general is still MIA, so the Kingdom of Ogredeblarg had another fairly low key turn, expanding its borders without conflict. With da Squig Teef advancing from the south and the Black Skull growing more aggressive in the west, however, it looks unlikely that Ogredeblarg will be able to maintain its policy of non-aggression come Juhlii.
With the foul winter behind them, the dark forces rising in former Kristanz rushed to expand their empires.
The goblins of da Squig Teef tribe discovered a Wizard’s Tower in the northwestern Gobbolands, and approached it with visions of glory. Unfortunately, the wizard occupying the tower did not take kindly to being interrupted by goblins, and challenged the force’s shaman to a duel. The wizard was far more powerful than the ambitious goblin realised, and the shaman – masterful as his minions considered him – was summarily slain. Elsewhere in the realm, da Squig Teef goblins expanded the Gobbolands to the southeast, and marched upon two villages in the west, both of which submitted easily to their rule.
The Upirian Vampires, having plenty of room to breathe on the former Kristanz’s southern peninsula, set out to expand their territory with little concern for the other realms. Their scouting parties were largely successful, discovering a city – Thorns – and a village – Lachrymarum. One undead scouting unit heading east did manage to get confused, reporting back after a day’s reconnaissance with precise details describing the location and nature of Upiria’s own Bloodstone, a fortress in the realm’s southwest region.
Clan Spearhavok , upon witnessing the tribe of da Squig Teef advancing upon them from the east, sent night runners into one of da Squig Teef’s newly conquered villages and managed to gather detailed information regarding the enemy’s banner. The battle that followed was quick and vicious, with the Grey Seer Blisterfur leading his fellow rats to a glorious slaughter. Rat Ogres tore into a regiment of goblins while the hell pit abomination made short work of a unit of squig hoppers and moved on to tear through some trolls. The dreaded 13th spell was unleashed on a second goblin regiment, reducing much of the regiment to twisted corpses. The goblins hadn’t even the time to name the village before it was ripped from them and rechristened Goblintombs. Elsewhere in the realm, Clan Spearhavok discovered 2 more villages and an independent city state of Khorne. The first two submitted easily, but the Khorne city was a close battle. Fortunately, casualties were fairly low, and the remaining skaven settled in to await new orders in the city now known as Khorne’s End.
The Black Skull Empire arrived late to the party and started off small, exploring the Blight to the northeast and discovering that it houses innumerable bands of brigands! The banner’s baggage was lost, but no casualties were suffered, and a dangerous threat is now well known to chaos. A village was discovered to the southeast and named Desperation, while a second unit of scouts fell ill, failing to learn anything useful and losing a couple of scouts to the strange sickness. A barren chasm was found to the southwest.
Finally, the Ogre Kingdom of Ogredeblarg did some scouting and found a variety of new locations. Our Ogre general has gone missing for the time being, so we’re pretty much just proxying his turns and avoiding combat.
Note: A few names and places are likely to change before too long…
The year of the Shrieking Eagle was a dark one for the failing Kristanz Empire. A winter filled with bad omens and mysteriously slain livestock led to infighting amongst the royal family, eventually resulting in a major schism. Betrayals and backstabbings quickly ramped up into formal attacks, and the lesser lords – faced with an imminent civil war – opted to break off into independent city-states in and effort to avoid being drawn into the battle. By midsummer, the Kristanz Empire was no more, having dissolved into a war-torn nightmare.
The lesser lords of Kristanz were not the only ones to respond to the civil war, but where they saw disaster, various other factions saw opportunity. As the equinox approached, dark forces rose up to carve out realms of their own.
In the far North, the Ogre Kingdom of Blargdeblarg expanded their plateau-based mercenary camps to conquer the surrounding area.
The Binkeldebap goblin tribes exploded out of their caves in the central highlands to claim a territory of their own.
An army of the undead rose up out of a former battlefield in the South Eastern peninsula, driven by the Upirian vampires.
Finally, what had appeared to be small, isolated skaven raiders in the South West turned out to be Clan Skitterblood’s advance scouts; it took less than a week for them to carve out a realm of their own.
The winter season provided more than enough time for each of these factions to cement their hold, while preventing any sizable retaliation by the former Kristanzians. With the spring equinox near at hand, each faction prepares to make their move. The year of the Shrieking Fox is upon this once-glorious empire. What will the next several months bring? Glory? Panic? New Dark Overlords? Only time will tell.