A day after I left Chicago, enough perspective to write it up…
I have a theory that Blood Bowl doesn’t bring out the best in people. It brings out the most, the essential part of you. If you’re a kind and sportsmanlike person, you’re that, but more so. If you have anger management issues, it will make you very much angrier than before. And me – I don’t know. I’m an unhelpful blend of obsessive compulsive competitiveness, combined with mental fragility and a lack of skill. So why do I still play?
There were four matches on Saturday and two more on the Sunday. My final match was against an ex pro football coach, playing orcs and with a profoundly calm demeanour. I took my Skaven and played a blinder of a first half, scoring twice and not losing any players, but he took that in his stride. For the second half, we played it like another game – his attitude was the second half night as well be another match, so if he could get 1-0 that was as good as a win.
He also had some clear goals before the event, like wanting to score in every game and winning at least once. That ws something of an inspiration, because I realised I’d gone there with no goals in particular, and that meant I’d not be able to say if I’d done well or badly. A lesson in itself.
So he marched his orcs down the pitch, and I harried him wherever I could, and he scored in 6 turns, which gave me just enough time to fluke a third score at the end of the match. And this was a guy who viewed this with great equanimity, far more than I would manage.
So that was something to work toward. I was playing better than the first day; I had strategies, clear goals in that game and didn’t run like crazy and forget to score. Perhaps it was better to play without a red wine hangover, or too much coffee, or perhaps the choc ice was what made me play better.
In the previous game, my opponent played fearsomely slowly and although I did my best to smash his players off the pitch and contain him as much as I could, I almost went down 2-1. So I’m an impatient person who let’s himself get rattled. In the last two turns of the match I got the ball away from him, ran it up the pitch and prepared for a score in turn 8…but because we were so far behind on time, the games were called at turn 7, so I would have gone down with a draw if he hadn’t ever so graciously given me the win. So again, people play at different rates but it doesn’t stop them doing the decent thing.
So it’s odd. This is a game that has great potential to infuriate and enrage, but it’s also something where people can be good people. Or I can worry that I’m not good enough. A lot to consider there – how to be magnanimous in defeat, how to not let an early failure spiral out of control, and how to always accept the rocks the crowd throw may kill your star player.
I wonder if when I organise a tournament, I’ll be a better person.