I was meant to have a game of Blood Bowl this morning, so I got up nice and early, took the kids out for pancakes and then got back for our scheduled start time… And nobody ever turned up. I wondered for about half an hour about what was going on, but never had any replies to any messages, so I went off to be a good father instead for a few hours.
However, I had a second game scheduled for this afternoon, a game of Kill Team. This is a Warhammer 40,000 variation where you only have a few soldiers, obviating the need to spend thousands of dollars on hundreds of plastic toys. (Except now the game has developed such that the best way to win is to have as many models as possible, which rather ruins the idea of a game focussed on a small number of elite soldiers. Oh well.)
I’ve been painting my Plague Marines and I now had a few of them done, so I went to the local Games Workshop shop for a game. I didn’t prepare very well – I had my team roster on my computer but not printed out, so I went to the office to print it (the rules are complicated enough that this is necessary) but failed to remember my pass, so I couldn’t get in. Instead, I had to rush to the shop and work off my computer, which kept freezing at inopportune times.
… Which was all of the time, because my team got wiped out in three turns. That was partly my unfamiliarity with the rules, and partly poor tactical placing, and also dreadful dice rolls throughout. I could hardly hit anyone, and when I did my blows bounced off their armour, whereas every time they hit me, it hurt, and the renowned disgusting resilience (that’s an actual in-game skill) of the Plague Marines never succeeded. By the end I was joking that all I had left was the ability to cough some phlegm on them (I wish I did). Wiped out in three turns, only took down one of my six opponents. But I have a taste for it now. Perhaps a second game I will be luckier.
On the positive side, the game is done in an hour, so it’s an efficient way to smash your self esteem in the face.
I went home, supervised the kids after they came back from the library, and tried to dissaude other children from fighting with sticks. I suppose if their parents are fine with them jabbing long branches at each other’s faces, so be it, but I don’t want one of my girls to inadvertently lose an eye.
The most egreguosuly behaving seven year old, when not jeering at a friend who’d grazed his knee and saying he wanted CPR because he was gay (I’m not even going to try to unpack how you’d get to that) eventually got shoved by another of his friends and spent ten minutes wailing, and I had mixed feeling on this too, because although I hadn’t seen what led up to it, I figured he deserved it, but there was no parent going to give him solace, and maybe this constant aggression is a sign that he needed somebody to show him more kindness. But then again, every minute weeping is a minute not brandishing a cudgel or making homophobic remarks.
I took the kids upstairs (La Serpiente wanted to play “pets and owners hide and seek”, a preferable alternative to “let’s hit each other with sticks” so I let her run around for a while before dragging her upstairs. We had some gin, my wife bathed the girls and I put them to bed, falling asleep myself and then waking just in time for my second scheduled Blood Bowl game.
This one in particular I had not been looking forward to. All season, my team of quite crap goblins have been getting more and more beaten up, and this last game was against a very tough team from a very strong coach. I was expecting to be massacred.
However, when there is a big imbalance, the wesker team gets lots of inducements, like bribes and the ability to hire more players. So I equipped myself with two chainsaws, a religious fanatic with an enormous ball, and lots of in-game booze, and went to work.
Amazingly, things worked. I had one of those serendipitous moments where a short goblin barmaid from a strip bar es St rowing grenades at some mummies, and each time blowing them up. My trolls were violent and somehow I managed to not only sack their ball carrier, but give my star dirty player, Pinkeye Growthspurt, the ball, and have him run away and score, mincing over the touchline as the half time whistle blew.
I can’t remember a time in the history of this team have I been leading a game at the halfway mark. And with the seoncd half starting, I had the initiative. All I needed was to not let the other team score.
Sadly, I failed to get the ball away after it was kicked deep into my half. The second half was just as violent as the first, and by the end of the half there were less than six players mobile on either team, but they smashed my defences and took the win away from me.
But… A 1-1 draw is still the best result we’ve ever had, so I am positively jubilant about that.
I finished the night with one last game, a random pairing, and that went pretty badly, with players dying or being smashed off the pitch. I managed to score and almost held them to a 1-1 draw, but some unlucky dice (or bad strategic choices) meant I gifted him a 2-1 win at the end of the game. Still, I felt I was playing as well as I could, for at least the majority of thr second half.
However, La Serpiente began to cry and wail. She developed an ear infection some time after she went to bed, and has been weeping, ministered to by my wife, for most of the second game. So that, after a weekend of firsts and achievements, made me feel pretty sad. On into the night…