Or, “How to avoid getting steamrollered by a team that’s much bigger than yours”
Even with teams that are evenly matched on Team Value, Blood Bowl wasn’t designed to provide completely balanced play. Take two rookie teams at 1,000,000 TV; if that’s Dwarfs (well armoured, almost every player comes with Block as standard) vs Khorne (lots of flimsy players, almost everyone has Frenzy so there’s far more potential for Things To Go Wrong) then you’d do well to bet on the Dwarfs to beat the Khorne more often than not.
However, the balance problem can be exacerbated once you consider highly developed teams, with lots of extra skills, vs new teams. Put rookie Dwarfs up against Khorne where every Khorne player has Block, and there’s a multitude of Claws, Mighty Blow and Juggernaut, and you’d be less surprised when the followers of the Blood God stomp those short beardy dudes into the pitch.
Hence inducements: a lot of things that the underdog, the team with the lower TV, can use to bridge some of the gap with the other team (the overdog, in Blood Bowl parlance). Some teams (Snotlings and Goblins) thrive best when they have lots of inducements available. Some teams have not-so-good inducements, and other teams are somewhere in between. Here’s my short (and possibly biassed guide) to what inducements you should use when faced with a much stronger team.
Deciding on inducements based on TV gaps
Inducements are all costed, and so their availability varies depending on the gap in TV between the under- and overdog. So I’ll arrange this advice in order of TV differences. It gets more complicated when you think about the availability of different inducements to different teams, but I’ll try to address that in each section.
Gaps of less than 50,000
It … doesn’t really make a difference. If there’s 20k spare somewhere, you should put it on a temp agency assistant coach, and if there’s 40k, buy two. Cheerleaders are pretty pointless.
Gaps of exactly 50,000
Can you induce Bomber Dribblesnot or Cindy Piewhistle? If yes, do that. Pound for pound, the best star players out there, and they’ll terrify a lot of coaches into just targeting your bomb-throwing hireling, allowing you to mess with their plans. Just don’t blow yourself up – restrict yourself to quick passes as much as possible, avoid situations where the bomb could be deflected.
If you can’t get a bombardier, your next best option is probably a Bloodweiser Keg, to improve the chances that your KO’d players can come back. If you’re a Badlands player and you’re up against a bashy team, contemplate the Waaagh Drummer instead, as a way to muck up their offensive drives by pushing players off the line of scrimmage. (Come to think of it, if you want to disrupt fast teams from one-turn-touchdowning you, the Waagh Drummer can also help with that.)
If you’re running Goblins or Snotlings, take a bribe instead. Everyone’s getting injured anyway, you may as well foul with impunity / keep a secret weapon around for a bit longer.
Gaps up to 100,000
Not much different from having 50,000 to spend; if you can’t access a bomber then you buy a keg and any money left over will either go on an assistant coach, or a Weather Mage, which will have variable results. (It can be a match winner if you get pouring rain and your opponent has one turn to pick up the ball and score, and no rerolls…) If you have exactly 100,000:
- Goblins and Snotlings take Bomber and a bribe
- Halflings take the Chef
- Orcs take Bomber and a Waagh Drummer (or Bomber and a Keg)
- Fouly teams take a bribe
- Everyone else takes two Kegs
Gaps up to 200,000
If it’s a team with low armour and lots of blodge, Helmut Wulf can be a godsend here. Chainsaws aren’t so great against Dwarfs or Orcs, but you can happily remove half of an elf team and teach those smarmy so-and-sos a thing or two. The risk is that a fast team will score and get Helmut sent off, but that’s also a good way to force a quick score and then try to grind out a 2-1 win.
If you’re Goblins or Snotlings, this can be your happy place; you have 50k to induce Bomber, plus enough money for 2 or 3 bribes.
Gaps from 200,000 to 375,000
Take Morg. Unless you’re an undead team, in which case you’ve got a biassed ref, a wizard and two bribes, and I expect you to be fouling with impunity for 16 turns. Teach those nasty living people about the grave!
Gaps above 500,000
Oh boy. This is where the underdogs can sometimes thrive, because against a team that’s much bigger, there are some big guns available to take the fight back to them. As long as you’re not an undead team, anyone can take Morg ‘n’ Thorg for the low low price of 380,000, and although Mighty Blow (+2) isn’t a guaranteed death sentence for the opposition, a lot of coaches will react like it is. All those precious, highly developed players that are now getting hit with 3 dice blocks by the hardest-hitting guy in the game? Who’s got the advantage now?
Plus, you can probably now afford a wizard as well. If your opponent thinks it’s fine to cage up with four Guard players protecting the ball carrier, how’s he going to like it when all five of them get blasted from the pitch, and then Morg murders the only other player they had capable of picking up the ball.
Where can it go wrong?
Wizards can be damp squibs that don’t hurt a single player, and that’s 150,000 wasted. But the threat of a wizard can sometimes prevent your opponent caging up, and force them to spread their players wider. Try to avoid the temptation to launch the wizard in the first couple of turns – best time to do may be when they’re in scoring position in turn 7, and then by knocking down their ball carrier, you prevent them recovering and end the half in a draw.
Single big players like Morg can get stuck if your opponent has some worthless chaf to block him with (Morg is no good if he’s stuck hitting the same zombie every single turn) or if they have plenty of Guard and high strength players (like a mature Ogre team) that can outbash Morg, and then foul him out when he’s down.
Deciding on inducements based on team differences
There’s lots of choices; so a way to narrow these down is to think about the problems your team has vs the opposition, and what might mitigate them.
I’m going to get outbashed
You have a team that’s a bit fragile, the other team is packing lots of Mighty Blow or Dirty Players and you’re concerned they’ll smash you to bits. You could invest in extra apothecaries (twice as expensive as a regular one) and kegs, to keep your players alive and conscious, but be aware that Nuffle is a cruel god, and if he wants to have your player die, then the apo is just a second opportunity to roll dead again on the injury dice. However, apos can also turn KOs into Stunneds, and are guaranteed to bring back Badly Hurt players, so they may be a way to keep enough players around to stop you getting outnumbered. Remember, an outnumbered team is going to suffer even more, as it has less players left to defend itself.
However, if you can, I’d take a few hard hitters myself. Chaos teams can often afford Borak, and with Sneaky Git and Dirty Player (+2) he’s one way to compete on the fouling game. A Biassed Ref can also help if you’re worried about getting fouled off the pitch.
Alternatively, you might be getting outbashed because it’s a bunch of pumped up Orcs, and you brought Wood Elves. Makes a bit more sense to take medical staff, but I’d still go for a wizard, try to blow a hole in their line, and then use your superior speed and agility to stay out of trouble. Don’t stoop to their level, in other words!
I’m going to get outscored
You’ve got short legs, poor ball handling skills and you’re up against Skaven or Elves. Secret Weapons aren’t so great if they can dodge away from you, and if they keep scoring, your bribes will run out fast too. This is one of the harder ones to handle, but a combination of a Biased Ref and bribes can allow you to play dirty, and take away the strategic advantage of a fast score for those show-offs.
It’s a trap! Don’t take these!
Some inducements really aren’t worth the money, and instead of making life harder for your opponent, you’re making it easier for them:
Rerolls – 100k a pop, and unless you’re running a team that had no rerolls to begin with, not much benefit. Pretty much every star player is cheaper than building a player with matching skills, so if you buy three or more, you’re giving up on things like Varag Ghoulchewer, Hakflem and other game winners.
Halfling Chef – great for Halflings, a joke choice for anyone else. Note that if you play Blood Bowl 2 against the AI, and have an 800k discrepancy? What does the computer buy? Rerolls and a chef. And then loses every time, because the AI is terrible at playing Blood Bowl! Don’t be terrible!
Prayers to Nuffle If you have a 50,000 gap, you could just not fill it, and get a free Prayer to Nuffle instead. But most of these only last for the first drive of the game (a few are for the entire game, but do you want to risk that?) and some of them are just as bad for you as your opponent (like Moles Under The Pitch)