Surrey Spartan’s Cabbage Punt

The Surrey Spartans have recently held their first ever Guildball Tournament! This was, of course, named the Cabbage Punt because really grown adults quite laughing at immature jokes – I mean, er, after Bushel’s ability and in honour of the Farmer’s release. Definitely.

Whatever our ineffable reasoning, we hosted it. Sixteen players signed up, making it an officially sanctioned tournament, and our local pundit Dan got everyone hyped up for it. I even got my newly purchased and long awaited Farmer’s painted! By someone else, I grant you, but I got them painted. I have previously discussed Guildball here, for those with no background knowledge of the game.

Officially I had one practice game specifically for this tournament, and that was against my flat mate Matt the Stampede and his Brewers. I lost 8-12 but learned some key things – as did Matt – and most importantly it was fun. I learned that Windle is nails, especially when Grange gives him Constituion, and Matt learned how to deal with the Grange-Windle-Harrow combination – break up the party. While this meant it took me three turns to get a third take out, it also meant at least three of Matt’s influence and up to three of his momentum were spent each turn to keep Hooper alive.

More importantly that Jackstraw gets a free teleportation to a harvest marker not at the beginning of his activation, but once any time during his activation. This opened doors in my mind like touching a scarecrow shaped obelisk around which technicoloured cabbages flew at alarming but mesmeric speeds. This highlighted the importance of reading your damned cards, and was possibly the most important element of my pre-punt learning process.

So it’s probably good I only had the one dedicated practice game, otherwise I might have met a future version of myself in a dream before the tournament and had my mind so blown apart that I would barely have been able to salvage my faculty.

Instead I went out and got more drunk than I should have done. After six hours sleep and a four-shot-of-amaretto night cap, I left for the punt feeling excited, slightly sorry for myself and concerned I might still have been drunk.

While preparing (read: stuffing my face with comfort carbs) another of the (not attending) Spartans posted on our facebook group a link to the Longshanks site with global Guildball standings, noting that we were ‘blessed’ by having a (very) minor celebrity in our number in the form of Spartan John Parish, tenth highest ranked Guildball player in the world.

As I discovered this Dan was reading the standings. I wasn’t paying attention, but my attempt at calculating the odds I’d be drawn against John in the first round were interrupted when he yelled, “All right Chad, let’s fucking GO!”

Yup. A promising start for me at the punt.

 

Game One: John Parish (Engineers)

             John is an exceptionally good player. I am pretty sure I have beat him, however, and I had seen him make mistakes. So in my slightly soggy mind I had a chance. My brain had put aside the fact that I felt like a rug left out in the rain over night and then run over by a herd of some sort of large mammals when deciding this, but if I didn’t go in with the anime-protagonist mindset that I could win then I probably wouldn’t.

John played the team I pretty much suspected he would – Ballista, Velocity, Colossus, Hoist, Ratchet, Mother. I didn’t have an Onion player (an even more appropriate misspelling when playing Farmers) so I played Grange, Windle, Bushel, Harrow, Jackstraw and Peck in all my games. Plots I had Wingback, Who are Ya? and I think Composure – none of which got used due to me being a twat.

I kicked out after losing the roll, choosing to break my normal approach of giving Windle an extra 3″ of upfield movement by kicking with Bushel. I did this because she gave me more options for ball placement. I knew John would want to go two goals & two takeouts, and I knew Ballista was more than capable of delivering 75% of that with Velocity safely able to do 50%. This gave John some good odds, and my ball scatter wasn’t fantastic so he looked set.

I was ready to cede the first goal. That didn’t happen immediately, however. Instead I spent the turn crawling my team up the field in the face of the avalanche of firepower that came out of Ratchet, Hoist and Ballista. Between them they managed five ranged plays a turn, all producing momentum, and while Harrow was healing like a champion it was essentially a clock that John could control. With Velocity lurking on the flank near Quick Ground I had to take control of the game somehow, otherwise I would be sending the Farmer’s over the top WWI style, except directly into an artillery barrage.

Going second on turn two gave me a momentum. John left Ballista a gnat’s foreskin within 9″ of Grange. After being bombarded for another turn I had to take the chance. Burning my precious momentum, I flung Grange into the other captain. Reliably churning up six momentum with Grange gave me a shot at going first next turn, although left Grange somewhat extended (spoilers: foreshadowing).

I won the roll for third turn. Jackstraw had managed to trick his way most of the way up the pitch and had Crop Dusted Velocity in preparation for my coup. The scarecrow walked to engage Velocity and asked, one mechanica to another, if he could have the ball. Close control shot him down, but like all indecent men Jack ignored this and persisted, getting the ball momentously on his second tackle. He then used his free teleport, his third influence and his end of turn teleport to disapparate across the pitch, ending up safely beside Windle and Harrow with the ball.

            John was not pleased. An Overclocked Colossus charged into Grange, Singling him Out and shoving him up next to Ballista, Hoist and Ratchet. I had foreseen that kind of gang bang going down and loaded Grange up with six influence  in the next turn to try and survive. He knocked down Colossus, Ratchet, Hoist and Ballista before punching the Engineer captain again and setting Consitution on himself. He’d taken three damage so was looking good at twenty tough hide hit boxes, but I healed him anyway.

           I spent the turn moving up and healing, while John spent it standing people up and sending Velocity on harvest-marker clean up duty, the Engineer striker somewhat upset that her gangly Farmer counterpart had escaped her counter tackle. Tooled up Ballista went into a knocked down, Singled Out Grange and wailed on him. Grange’s defensive ball-curl saved him, and when the smoke cleared he was left on four hit points. For the second time in the game John seemed impressed with the Farmer’s, commenting on Grange’s survivability.

And then Jackstraw teleported into base contact with Ballista, scored a two dice Screamer and promptly teleported out to safety a

gain without any consequences. John was not best pleased.

Next turn Grange got a lowly two influence as I was low on momentum and John had easily won the roll off. He went down and Ballista wondered into a scrum I would have trouble winning without my captain. He’d kicked out to Velocity who was slightly too wide to get a goal that turn, and she moved into centre field – her movement slowed by having to run over every single harvest marker she could with absolutely single minded hatred. Or tactical acumen. Take your pick.

Nothing much happened that round. I brought Grange on close enough for a Wingback charge and loaded him up. John wisely moved Velocity closer to centre field and due to me being an absolute fucking twat I hadn’t moved Grange on his full jog. So I was half an inch out of threat. I amended this for next turn while the scrum raged on, Harrow taking a pounding in the process as no one could really stand up to Ballista once Windle was Dead Bolted away.

Next turn Velocity scored and the kick out landed right on Jack. I had the choice to activate him or Gange, who could swing in and potentially finish of Ballista. The score was 4-7 to John as he’d taken out Peck early with the artillery. He was near definitely going to kill Harrow and go to 4-9 when he activated

Ballista, so rather than risk Grange’s assault and go for the win after, I decided Jackstraw in cover was too fragile to face a one influence tackle attempt from Rat-fucking-chet and used him to score a one dice goal to save points.

John kicked to Ballista. Ballista casually KO’d Harrow and Breached an easy goal. I lost. Partly because John is really fucking good at Guildball. Partly because I’m really fucking stupid sometimes. I wasn’t close to clocking out and could have spent some time on the decision, but didn’t. I made an error that robbed me of a turn, which could have easily been spent taking out Ballista and anyone else on the team, as with Grange back and the Engineer captain out for the count I could easily have set up the Windle BeyBlade combo.

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The end game positioning. As you can see, Grange chose to spectate.

            It was still a great start to the day and burnt up my hangover. John complimented my Jackstraw play and agreed I might have had a chance if I hadn’t played two Grange activations like I hadn’t had the equivalent IQ of a shorted-out toaster. No means guaranteed, but a chance. He enjoyed it too, which counts for a lot.

Final Score: 8-12

 

             Game Two: Ross Tully (Union)

             Ross’s Union won best painted and personally I think his airship goal should have won best goal, but I didn’t see Maria’s so I’m not fully informed. He was also playing Veteran Rage, a team that often seems confident going into Farmer’s. However, with my experience of various Furious players (Cosset, Seenah, Rage, Minx, Rage…) and having witnessed Dan Adam’s painful lesson to Matt in how Red Fury can be used, I was pretty aware of what I needed to do to counter it. He ran V. Rage, Mist, Gutter, Avarisse & Greede, Bendiction and Strongbox, none of which surprised me.

I received for the first and only time all day, Jackstraw retrieving the ball kicked by Mist and kicking it to Windle. Mist fell for the trap – Ross fully aware it was a trap – and scored, bravely Running the Length behind my start line and accepting his inevitable fate to delay the Farmer advance. Grange and Windle obliged him, gaining me three points with Snack Break. I should have waited to KO him at the top of turn two, but I got over excited. Not a big mistake, but unfortunate all the same. Jack ended the turn with the ball.

Next turn the Union closed in for what they thought was the kill. Bushel was slightly over-extended and got taken down by Avarisse & Greede and Rage, who apparently couldn’t resist the chance to tear into the poor girl. Grange and Windle were easily in range to counter attack however, and I sprung my second trap of the game. Greede got Snack Break KO’d and Rage wasn’t looking great by the end of the round, while Grange and Windle were looking pretty healthy after Taking a Breather and Harrow’s healing presence. Oh, and Jackstraw had maintained control of the ball, Mist offering little problem compared with Velocity’s Close Control and managing to teleport comfortably out of Benedictions charge range. Sitting somewhat smugly on a 6-6 tie that I believed I had in the bag, I ended the turn and teleported Jack slightly further away from Benediction.

             In the process, I set the bag on fire and the game that had last been seen in my possession was returned to the wild. Benedictions last move, despite ostensibly being towards the scrum, brought him closer to Jack due to trigonometry. I hadn’t noticed this and activated Grange first, inverting my mistake from the last game. Rage got pulped and Avarisse was taken pretty low as well.

Benediction charged Jack. This wouldn’t have been an issue, if Jack hadn’t been easily within two inches of the board edge due to that last, arguably unnecessary teleport in the previous turn. If you’re thinking that I was commanding intelligence equal to that of somewhat unreliable kitchen appliance at that point, I couldn’t fault you. So I somewhat disgruntledly (nope, not a word) Defensive Stanced.

Ross rolled not one, single six. On ten dice, narry a one. Slowly, quietly, Ode to Joy began to play in mind. But Benediction had one influence left.

Ross rolled one lonely five. With controlled disappointment, he declared that he couldn’t get a double push and I had gotten away with it. He just wanted to measure by how far he was out.

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“I remember it being larger than this.” – Disappointed woman.

I thought he was in. I held my breath and for a moment my world went silent as I forgot how to hear anything else apart from the silent sound of anticipation.

Whatever the smallest accepted unit of measurement is, it came down to one of those. Jackstraw was standing one planck length within an inch of the board edge. Benediction had home-run’d the scarecrow off the board for two points!

The ball scattered directly into Gutter, who had previously been struggling to remind everyone on the pitch she was also playing. Bushel put in a brave attempt, tackling her and blocking the goal. She actually managed a Ball’s Gone! result but failed the (questionable) pass to Windle, and the ball was returned to Gutter by Avarisse. Grange and Harrow sprinted to block shot lines at the start of the next round but Gutter easily had the speed to get a shot.

Ross rolled his dice. In a game where so far he had laid claim to about as much luck as the Trojan who had suggested towing in the nice shiny horse the Greeks had left, I twisted and pulled on every obscure synapse and tendon in my body, hoping to find the one related to my half-Irish racial trait of Wickedly Good Luck.

Dice one missed.

Dice two…miseed.

Dice three fell off the board.

Dice four missed!

A replacement dice three was rolled. I held my breath. I’m pretty sure Ross did too, as a missed shot here would give me back control of the rollercoaster this game had become. The single cube of chance span on its point and finally fell…on a five.

Gutter scored and Ross had won. While my dogshite move of putting Jack on the board edge had lost me the game, Ross’s excellent play around it and to take advantage of it had won it for him. If he had been more direct with Benediction, moving him towards Jack rather than the scrum, I would have had the scarecrow disapparate while cackling gleefully and leaving both the big Union player and Mist holding their junk in largely useless positions. But he didn’t, and got the win off it.

I also found this the most relaxed game of the day. Ross made it clear if we made small mistakes and remembered before it affected the game, he was probably okay with us rewinding to cover them. We didn’t have many – I think he had something involving Benediction and mine were limited to a couple of harvest markers being place – but the knowledge meant I didn’t have to be on point. Sure, technically this mean I could get away with being a ‘worse’ player in some respects, but it was a chilled game and the only mistake that mattered was my Jackstraw placement. I’m sure Ross even asked as I did it if I wanted to put him where I did, but I ignored his friendly attempt at telling me I was playing with the skills of a part-damaged toaster oven.

Final Score: 8-12

  

            Game Three: David Williamson (Hunters)

Despite having lost both my games so far I’d thoroughly enjoyed my day thoroughly, and I could safely put my losses down to my own errors (and, obviously, my opponents seeing those and rightly taking advantage). If I played smarter then I could probably win a game or two, and while the podium positions were near-definitely out of reach I could still hopefully get best Farmer – the only best in race on the day.

After stopping into town to get a KFC lunch that was as tasty as it was unhealthy I got back to the club and almost immediately had to get ready to play David. This meant I was eating during our game, which is probably rude or against etiquette by some standards, and if he was upset I’ll apologise now because I didn’t then. I was too busy stuffing my face with chicken flavoured by those sweet, sweet eleven herbs and spices to care.

Once again letting my opponent know that we could draft, but it was fairly pointless and they should just go ahead and pick their team, David did. He took Theron, Original Herne, Egret, Seenah, Chaska and Snow. Had I dearly hoped he would take a Skatha team? Maybe. Had I fully expected to see Theron instead? Definitely. When you’re playing a team with such universally low defence stats (besides Bushel), you know there are some days when you’re going to get rained on. I expected it again Engineers – especially with John playing them – and I expected it against Hunters. The only (really small) saving grace was that David had taken Seenah instead of Jaecar.

Yeah, I get it. Bear hugs. Furious. Obscene dice pool. Damage so far up the wazoo it comes out the other end.

Jaecar would bring a fourth trap and the bleeding condition, as well as respectable damage. He’s also a second model with back to the shadows, so even his 1″ melee is fairly safe against being caught in scrums – his large Dodge result options make counter attacks diffciult, and he can just hop to someone else squishy. He has Gut and String which, apart from make my defence stats so low most of my team pretty much jump into damage, is another movement lowering effect. Between him, Chaska and Theron chucking out traps, snares and other restrictions on my movement, I could have been a very sad Farmer. While not having John’s AoE bombardment, David could easily have created a game where I reached mid table and then did nothing.

So the bear was a relief. While damage is nice, shutting out your opponent is a more effective method of victory.

We set up, I kicked out with Windle for the distance (Snare would end him so any chance was welcome). There was an odd, spaced triangle of walls on this pitch which I didn’t notice the significance of RE Theron’s Pinned ability until Windle was inside them. At this point, David wisely used Theron to Pin Windle, and effectively meant he did nothing in a turn as he got stuck against a wall.

I did manage to dodge Windle into range of Chaska – after Chaska failed to hit him with his Boom Box. That snake eyes was important for me, as it meant that I could remove someone with a ranged 4″ push from the melee, and while my Farmer’s have average movement (mostly), on top of Theron chucking out snares it would have been awful to move into.

After Chaska was Snack Break’d, David upped his Theron-Versus- Windle game, but only on a technical level. By this I mean he only gave the big man of hunting three influence a turn, to use Pinned on Windle and give himself a momentum doing so. I stopped putting influence on Windle, but made sure to explain I could magic one off the table by eating a harvest marker. Windle continued to be Pinned, and Theron left the rest of my team alone, after one turn of strafing a very confused Harrow and Bushel so they couldn’t stop him getting behind my lines and towing Windle the same direction.

Was I bothered by this? Only slightly. Sure, my biggest single source of damage was effectively neutered. But I could still play football. Oh, and Tool Up Grange who went one-man-army as the scrum completely broke down and no longer needed his support.

All of this happened over the first three turns. Turn four started with both teams relatively spread out over the board, although my Farmer’s were still centrally located for the most part, with Seenah being controlled by a very patient Grange. Jack had the ball near there, Herne was looking somewhat worse for wear after receiving most of Grange’s attention and a little of Windle’s. Harrow was slightly off to my left, with Bushel winging wide. Chaska had come on near-ish Bushel, Egret was flanking down my left side, carefully following Theron as David was for some reason respecting the damage out put of Harrow and Bushel. Snow was chilling out near the goal, ready to steal balls for any potential set up I had.

Turn Four started with me teleporting Jack awkwardly into snapshot range while engaged by Snow as I couldn’t place him anywhere else due to cover. I took a one dice shot and missed, although didn’t really blame Jack for that. Top of round goals with low Tac players are always risky and I’d only just scrounged momentum for it. The ball landed Egret who picked it up. Theron went next and Pinned Windle, snaring Harrow and Bushel before advancing round to curtail Windle’s movement by putting an obstacle directly between them.

Harrow Sowed the Seeds, as he was in four inches of Grange. Harrow Tooled up Grange, as he was within four inches of Grange. Then Harrow, for the first time all game, got yelled at by his captain to fuck off and score some points – more precisely, a goal. He Glided to get a charge on Egret and get in range of the goal. David couldn’t counter attack, or didn’t for some reason, and Harrow got the ball of Egret. He shot and scored. David kicked out over Harrow and Egret, far to the left by some cover which Chaska, due to ball scatter, would need a turn to navigate round to get at it.

Grange shoved Seenah away and started on Herne, bringing him pretty low, then advanced so I could bounce Windle next to him. Herne teleported away before I could get him, not quite close enough to the ball to pick it up. Bushel dashed in, grabbed the ball and assumed a defensive position next to cover. Chaska couldn’t reach her that turn but Egret did, and after a short argument about who should have the ball, Bushel maintained control.

At the point, David sent Seenah after my cock. Yup, I wrote that. Peck got charged by the bear and Defensive Stanced. Dave got one success and could either damage or push me. He initially declare one damage but I let him change it after I declared Pain Response, which would have let Peck hop out of Seenah’s threat range and waste two influence. I didn’t have to, and could have got away with not doing it, but currently it was 7-0 and seeing the chicken get munched wouldn’t upset me that much. David then proceeded to only roll one then two successes on his next attacks anyway, choosing the push the chicken into base contact and then knock it down.

Peck stood up, probably the only chicken in existence to have not just surive but also almost completely counter a Seenah charge. Windle flailed at nothing.

Turn Five started with Windle going first to escape Theron’s harpoon, taking a Big Breakfast before charging into…Snow. I was confident I could score, so need one more point. Snow had been knocked down last turn by Jack and some miraculous rolling on a parting blow, so this was massive overkill even without Honest Labour or Tooled Up. Snow was removed from the field. 8-0.

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Just before the turn starts and the forest disappears. Snow realises that the Hunters are not the only team with players who could be called ‘animals’.

Chaska went next, shoving Bushel out of cover and setting her up for a nasty looking turn of being punched by three Hunters and their captain. I would need to ship the ball off asap.

Instead I walked Grange over to Seena and proceed to do about ten damage after Tough Hide. Not a massive benefit, but it seemed to panic David into activating the bear next, even though literally nothing else was going to hit it, and got me a lovely six momentum. Seenah shouted at Grange, shoved Peck away and charged into – Jackstraw, using some very clever trigonometry. The scarecrow Defensive Stance’d and was in cover, so escaped serious damage – and importantly was left standing. He then teleported near to Harrow, and nearer to the violent crime that was about to happen to poor Bushel.

The rest of the turn was seeing how long Bushel could survive, and how long I could keep her in cover for. Egret failed to poison her, thankfully, but Theron and Herne would have killed her if I hadn’t used both Take a Breather and Come on Mate!. At the end of the turn she was still holding the ball.

I took first activation on Turn Six, walking Grange to the bear and getting another six momentum. Theron had to move to get within range but finished off Bushel, who deserved at least two Purple Hearts for surviving as long as she did. The ball scattered away (miraculously) from the Hunter’s so they couldn’t pick it up, and almost landed on one of my harvest markers.

Was it within 4″ of Jack? Yes. Did he teleport to it, grab the ball, teleport back and score? Yes, yes he did. While this was somewhat lucky, Jack could easily have teleported in to tackle one of the Hunter’s, Bonus Timed with all that momentum Grange had reaped in his turn, then teleport out and still score. So I had been confident, hopefully understandably.

Seenah was controlled by Grange nearly all game and David didn’t use Theron as much as I had feared. Coupled with Chaska dying early, he just didn’t have the control I’d feared he would. Sure, I played more football but without a scrum I could only really rely on Grange alone for damage, especially with Windle slouching up against a wall all game.

Final Score: 12-2 (NB: This may be incorrect. I cannot remember all of the details for this game and will happily edit my record if this is not the correct score. But I’m pretty sure it was).

 

Game Four: Barry Nixon (Butchers)

Barry N had previously played Spartan Barry in the tournament, a banterous argument about who the real gamer Barry was leading to them to wager their name on the outcome Spartan Barry had won, but in an unprecedented move called off the wager, instead allowing Barry N to be known as ‘Fun Barry’ because he’d enjoyed the game so much.

Spartan Barry Gingell doing something like this is, frankly, a new occurrence where bets are involved. I can only assume that Fun Barry slipped him some mind altering recreational drug during the game to achieve this goal. I have only my suspicions to go on, and I wasn’t offered any of said theoretical substance, but the end result was that Barrybowl 2017 was a very fun game.

High expectations for me to meet being the next Spartan for Fun Barry to play. Butchers were another team I didn’t look forward to. Lots of damage, low defence, no armour. Yum. I expected to be hung, sliced, weighed and sold.

I kicked and slung the ball somewhere on the far left, matching the Butchers’ confident swagger forward for a brawl – mainly for appearances as I had no little actual confidence I would win the brawl. S. Brisket retrieved the ball – just and the butchers passed it along their line to my right of the pitch, finishing on Boiler who moved up that side with Princess. Jack teleported so he could grab the ball next turn, as he was about as useful in a fight as, well, an actual scarecrow. Boiler and Princess got Crop Dusted as a coincidental benefit of laying down teleport hubs for Jack.

Tenderizer, in what I can only call an unorthodox move, charged Windle in Turn Two, Fun Barry having won the roll off. He got a ground pound off that hit Bushel as well. In response Jack teleported, tackled a surprised Boiler, teleported again and scored, teleporting away from a very angry looking Ox. Fun Barry did not like this. Fun Barry advanced Ox, although he wasn’t quite in melee range. It did bring his The Owner aura into range, however. Grange charged Tenderizer, although moved past to arrogantly engage boar as well. After knocking down Tenderizer he wailed on boar as much as he could, knocking him down as well and doing a fair bit of damage.

Harrow sharpened Windle’s wrist-blades and moved to vaguely support Grange. Boar got up momentously and did some damage to my captain but Fun Barry’s dice were not feeling up to it after a day of gaming, so Grange escaped better off than he should have done – he had also Constitution’d himself for Tough Hide. After standing up to Ballista, I was reasonably sure he would be okay with some healing support.

Boiler and Princess moved into Jack, doing a shocking amount of damage off very few successes due to being in range of The Owner. That was a really scary aura. Brisket jogged over, trying to get back to relevance – Fun Barry had kicked the ball out to my right, so it was on Boiler. Windle brought Tenderizer down pretty low.

Turn Three began with Grange knocking down Boar and moving into Ox, who was also fully loaded. Yup, that’s how confident I was about him surviving. Four more attacks, a Constitution and Huge Tracts of Land later, Ox was looking  bloodied & exceptionally angry. Going next he brought Grange down to about half life, Fun Barry’s dice once again letting him down and Constitution doing it’s part.

The only other thing worthy of note for the turn is that Tenderizer took most damage from Windle, brought down to three hit points, and Jack was reanimated, maintaining ball control only because Boiler and Princess were wholly uninterested in the spherical object they weren’t allowed to cut.

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Real men like their influence stacks high and their arms crossed.

Turn Four began with another big Smack Down face off between the two captains, but rather get involved in a damage measuring contest that Grange only had a small chance to win (I needed a perfect roll on all my attacks as Ox had been healed to full) I knocked down Ox and went for points. Grange got into Tenderizer and Boar, killing the former and bringing the other significantly close to dead. I popped Honest Labour and Constitution, healing myself up.

Fun Barry made the sensible decision of killing Jackstraw next, rather than trying to prove Ox had the biggest fist on the field immediate, and Boiler moved off to try and score. The scrum had gone my way, with Grange proving just how hardy he was, and while Ox could probably have finished him off I would have then scored, putting the points at 10-2 with Boar looking very squishy.

This meant I could get another heal on Grange, Harrow also Tooling Up Windle and moving in for the crowd out. This brough Boar down to only five tac, as Grange was in cover, and he couldn’t charge as he was being engaged. Fun Barry moved him round and swung anyway, as it is what Boar does and still managed three damage, reduced to two.

Windle went into Boar. Boar went down, Snack Break bringing me to nine points. Ox went, using his Legendary and bringing Grange down to four hit boxes. The Farmer captain had taken the beating of a lifetime, and Ox had definitely given it – he must have dealt in excess of forty, damage to Grange, possibly even more, in just two turns. Thankfully Grange’s Constitution and some serious healing support was carrying my captain through it, but only just.

Boiler attacked the chicken for momentum. It almost didn’t happen, as Fun Barry chose a non-momentous damage result when he rolled a below average attack. I reminded him about Pain Response, he swore loudly and I said that since he obviously knew about it, he definitely wouldn’t have chosen the damage result. Fun Barry accepted my offer and push dodged instead, attacked again, got momentum and went for the shot.

One dice goals. My favourite kind. The dice span and skipped out of Fun Barry’s dice box, falling behind a bunch of crap we had left on the side in our excitement to play and apathy towards not-field clutter.

It was a five. The goal was in!

9-6, with Grange looking pretty unwell. I kicked the ball of miles to the right, since Brisket had made it back to threaten the centre field with her goal scoring potential. Screw that, I was going to beat way to way to victory! If Grange could manage it…

I won the roll off for Turn Five, loading up Grange. Other Farmer’s we loaded up to support if need be, but Grange went first as Ox was…er…sharpening his knuckles? Looking fiercely dangerous, at any rate. The other Farmer’s, even including Bushel, had rushed to their captains aid an forced through whatever damage they could on Ox. It was enough that Grange managed to finish him off with three attacks, although I had to bonus time the second two to be sure. 11-6.

Now I had to screw the pooch, who had moved up to support Ox. Under the Owner Princess had turned out to be a veritable power house of damage, so I wanted to end this quickly. To this end, not only did I not heal Grange and instead Bonus Timed the attack, I also didn’t take the knockdown result. Like an idiot, because the Owner left with Ox.

The counter attack, if it hit with everything, could do four damage. Grange, after standing up to the likes of Ballista, Rage, Seenah and Ox all day was now about to be taken out by Princess.

The dice fell, not in slow motion, but with dull thuds like nails in a coffin. One success. A second. A third. A fourth – failed to appear, as Fun Barry’s dice let him down. Even though his roll was on the odds, he’d had so much bad luck up until now he was due something!

Grange finished of Princess and the game ended 12-6. It was a close run thing, and Grange had survived by virtue of poor dice, no support for Ox, and some very tactical play.

Final Score: 12-6

 

I’ve found Grange to be a rock and a hard place, so he demands attention while being able to cope with it, even alone in a lot of cases. That’s why I threw him into Rage, into Seenah and this game into Ox. Because he stalls those very scary players, and if I can do it long enough my team makes up the points and/or comes to support him. Even if he spends two influence/attack setting up Constitution and Honest Labour, he survives well into the scrum and acts as a damage stim for anyone who comes to help him. While I am a massive fan of Thresher, the Cabbage Punt taught me that Grange is still very, very good for his team. Like a Sower captain should, he sets up the turn for his team to reap the benefits.

Overall I finished 7th out of 16, going 2-2 and moving me to 584th on the Longshanks standing (woo!). Dyson, who had also played farmers but gone 1-3, brokered a sporting deal between myself and the other Farmer still in the running for Best Farmer. Dys found out that the other guy only wanted the cabbage ball, and wasn’t interested in the LE Tater. I had zero interest in the cabbage and a much greater than zero interest in Tater, so Dys suggested that whoever one we agree to give the other the part of the prize we wanted. After half a second of thought (Thoughts like: “Who did he play? What was his points difference in games? How does the ranking system even work?” running through my head and probably his) we agreed.

I won Best Farmer and gave up the ball, which seemed to surprise the other guy. Yeah, it’s cool, but we had an agreement and as above, I had zero actual interest in it so wasn’t going to be a selfish twat about it. Also, we had a deal. I’m honest, if not kind, and there was no way I was going to renege on it.

John ended up 2nd, Doran piped me to the post by getting 6th due to Opponent’s Win Ratio scores, Dys came 9th I think and Spartan Barry also came mid-table. I had enormous amounts of fun, and as above have a new found respect for Grange – I also, importantly, still want to play Farmers.

Eight Spartans have already signed up to Ross Tully’s tournament on November 12th so I’ve got to practice for then. My learning points are to use Bushel more aggressively – after happily award Jackstraw MVP for the day (as declared by several of my friends, this award shouldn’t go to captains because they nearly always do the most work) and being pretty confident in getting the janky scarecrow plays, Bushel is the last member of the team I really need to work on. We’ll see how well that training montage goes another time!

I hope you enjoyed the long report at least a fifth as much as I did playing the games, and I also hope you read the one I’ll write up for the Solent Slugfest!

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