Half Time CH2: Hobbit Breaking

By Rutskarn Posted Tuesday Oct 6, 2015

Filed under: Lets Play 39 comments

The pitch is colder than a witch's glare after an inappropriate comparison, and the sky, which is the exact color of death, is the gods’ own smothering pillow. Today is our first match against a high elf team called the Surf Somethings. If the races of the realm were represented on playing cards, high elves would feature on the king of hearts and halflings would headline the instructional card for drunk 52-card-pickup.

At some point while I’m staring at the rippling, glistening muscles of the high elf team as they gambol and stretch merrily, drunk on pre-victory, someone in a striped jacket asks if I want heads or tails. “No thanks,” I say. They decide that means heads, and with this call my luck budget goes towards securing us the kickoff.

The Surf Buddies are watching in fascination as my team assembles on the field. I guess they've never actually seen someone field a halfling team before. So we had that in common, anyway. One way or another, we were both about to discover if it was possible to underestimate these lardbuckets. Pervince Potatoe, way at the back of the field, looks back through the freezing air and throws me a conspiratorial wink.

The crowd is a little quicker on the uptick than you'd expect of Blood Bowl aficionados and have already realized that they are not going to get an entertaining match today. The rioting delays the match a little; we're going to have a shorter first half as a result. This means less time for us to be scored against and less time for us to score, which, all in all, probably works out to our benefit.

And then there’s no more delays or excuses. The whistle blows.

Kickoff bites the air like a cannonballâ€"it could not have flown more directly at Pervince if it had been a meatball sub. He's on the ball in an instantâ€"he scoops it off the pitchâ€"and just like in his How to Play Blood Bowl funnybooks, he winds his arm up and sends that ball flying.

Four feet in the wrong direction.

And then the Surf-a-Durfs, concluding that it is not possible to underestimate these lardbuckets after all, turn off the part of their brain responsible for not killing halflings.

Elves scramble over my boys en masse–vaulting their helmets, or slipping their reach, or dodging clumsy gropes, orâ€"and this was clearly their first instinctâ€"driving cleats and wicked hooks straight at ruddy noses. I know exactly what I expected going in and it looked pretty much like this: six hundred pounds of combined halfling blubber crashing to the snow in five hot seconds. Milo Cotton, bless his ailing little heart, catches one elf's ankle and drags him down. It’s the sole point of contention in an otherwise conciliatory bloodfest. Meanwhile Pervince is clutching the ball with both meaty hands and gaping in horror at the pincer closing in on him–with a squeak I can hear from the sidelines, he rushes to the shelter of the treemen.

One of the Surflings tries to reach under one of said treemen, who seems to wake up and realize he’s playing Blood Bowl. The tree-fist travels in slow motion–everyone, particularly the elf, seems surprised when it connects. The sound I hear is both the best news I've heard all day and the worst thing I'd ever heard in my life.

My boys keep a few of the Surfettes from joining the party on my half of the field, but there's four of the bastards already there and they’re coming for Pervince like a butcher’s collection agent. Pervince shrieks and flings the ball to…I don't know, I guess he just flings the ball. It lands over by the Surfreesbro end zone and within moments an elf throwerâ€"

–hold the fuck up, he has throwers? Like, people who just throw? Can he do that? So how come all I’ve got is these–

Anyway, he’s on it, and he scoops up the ball like it's his job, because holy shit it is.

“Somebody stop him from,” I say, but by the time I say “stop him” he's already passed to a teammate at the center line and by the time I say “uh” the ball is literally in my end zone. The halflings look up as the whistle blows, either realizing dimly that a goal has been scored or respecting the Pavlovian call to the charcuterie tent. It’s the first goal that’s ever been scored against me and it already feels familiar.

“Have we started yet?” bellows a treeman.

Not a lot of time on the clock for the first half, but apparently if you let your opponent score you get to receive the kickoff again. So really, by scoring points he's just playing into my hands. This is an awful start and I have very little time to turn it around, but I’m determined to get my own touchdown in at some point, and I might as well start now. I situate my rabble and the Surf Assholes punt the ball to goddamned Pervince Potatoe again.

Pervince does what worked (did not actually cause his death) last time and runs the ball up the middle of the pitch to hide behind the treemen, who get the basic idea and start punching elves with affable stick-toitiveness. But they've only got the front lines plugged, and this game appears to be at least two-dimensional. The actual halflings nearby are about as snappy on the defense as overfed pandas, and before anybody knows it Pervince is surrounded by pointy-eared friends and admirers. His shrieking game is not up to what happens next. I would have averted my eyes if it was absolutely any of the halflings but Pervince. The ball squeezes through a crack in the tangle of elf-ministered halfling misery and lands in front of Milo Cotton with ten seconds left on the first half. He grasps for the ball, stumbles after it, sends it corkscrewing completely out of reach. It lands in front of an elf, whoâ€"with absolutely no time to score and no compelling strategic reason to do soâ€"picks it up, as if to say, “Look how easy that shit was.”

It's halftime. Time for a rousing motivational speech.


And back out on the pitch.

It's our turn to kick the ball, and to my mild surprise we do that to the minimum required standard. We do such a good job, in fact, that the Surf Dicks have already scooped up the ball and rammed it through my defenders for another touchdown. My boys put up a game effort of trying to block passes, but we just can't seem to get the knack of having the ball or stopping other people from having the ball. Unfortunately, our present strategy kind of hinges on these considerations.

They kick it to us. I ask the gods, if they love me, to show me a sign and let anyone but Pervince get the ball.

“I've got it!”

He's got it. He has trouble actually picking it up, and to be fair, my defenders have trouble actually defending against the elf blitzes. By the time Pervince has wrapped his sweaty mitts on the ball, he looks up to find four elves rushing towards him with no teammates in sight. Pervince proceeds to throw a pass essentially to the charging elves. They snatch it from the air effortlessly and jog past Pervince to score for the third time.

And I think to myself, alright. Enough is enough. This game might be practically over, and we may have lost it, but I could promise myself at least this: this game would not end 3-0.


I can’t believe that went exactly how it was always going to go.

Next week: the unexpected (seriously) rematch (no, seriously).


From The Archives:

39 thoughts on “Half Time CH2: Hobbit Breaking

  1. Rutskarn says:

    No screenshots for the same reason next week is a “rematch”: the match wasn’t actually saved due to a bizarre glitch that I’ll (at least) recognize next time. Basically at the start of the match, I’ll notice something that means I’m not going to be able to save progress for the match.

  2. The Rocketeer says:

    Why am I reading about the Philadelphia Eagles? I thought you were doing a halfling- ooooooh, nevermind, I see it now.

  3. guy says:

    Tactical kibitzing:

    So Rutskarn started off with two mistakes; he made his first action a pass, and he tried to pass the ball with halflings at all. If a pass is incomplete or intercepted, it ends your turn instantly; same with almost any action that knocks one of your players down. Also, halflings are just bad at passing but have a strong waddling game. Then the elves scored, which is what they do. See the ongoing elf LP by GNU”I can score from here”Order on SomethingAwful for further reference.

    1. Mersadeon says:

      I think his first mistake was playing as Halflings.

      1. guy says:

        Arguably also true. But it’s not like he made a team comprised entirely of Khemri skeletons or lost against said team’s passing game.

        1. Grudgeal says:

          Khemri passing game is the best passing game.

          No-one ever expects it. Get Hail Mary on your thrower and diving catch on a few skeletons and WHAM! Instant unforgettable experience.

          1. guy says:

            I don’t think you quite get the scenario: this was 16 skeletons. No throw-ra.

    2. Abnaxis says:

      What do you mean, “halflings bad at passing”? They’re good at passing, as long as they can be the ball…

    3. GloatingSwine says:

      Yeah, one of the important rules of Blood Bowl is that if there are things you can do without rolling a dice, do all of them before you roll the first dice because sometimes Nuffle is going to decide it isn’t your turn really.

  4. Tse says:

    So did Ruts try to use a Treeman to throw a halfling?

    1. Kylroy says:

      Yeah, I thought this was like the halfling team’s one trick – halfling picks up ball, Treeman picks up halfling, throws him, halfling lands half way across the field and runs it in. It requires a bunch of things not go wrong (the pickup, the toss, the landing…), but unless your opponent keeps half his team in the backfield, there’s really no way to defend against it.

      1. guy says:

        That’s their big special play, yeah. Other than that, they’ve got lots of guys who are moderately good at handling the ball and steal all your rerolls.

        1. Grudgeal says:

          If by ‘moderately good at handling the ball’ you mean ‘they have AG 3’, sure. And if ‘handling the ball’ does not include ‘the ability to throw it, or to hold onto it without being flattened into a pancake the next time an enemy blitzer looks at you funny’.

  5. Metal C0Mmander says:

    So right now are you playing turn by turn or real-time. From the 1 touchdown first-half it looks like it turn by turn but I could be wrong.

  6. Christopher says:

    What a game Jim.

    You almost sound happy, Bob. Of Elves!

    I don’t like them Jim, but I gotta admit, watching them surround that walking sandwich and just stomping on him like that, it took me back.

    Feeling a bit nostolgic?

    Yeah. if only it had been an elf on the end of that boot. Beating up halflings, there’s no fun in that! They go down to easy. Personally, I like a little crunch in my bloodbowl.

    Well, Bob, I hate to tell you this, but there’s already rumors that a rematch has to be played due to some sort of technical error

    What!? You mean we have to sit through a team of lily levered wobbling glistening man-children versus a bunch of halflings again!?

    Now now, calm down Bob, I’m sure-

    Table is flipped at the Cabal vision broadcaster, sounds of incoherent punching and trashing of room

    1. evileeyore says:

      I know I play too much Bloodbowl when I can distinctly hear their voices in my head while reading…

      Also, spot on with the personalities!

      1. Christopher says:

        I try :) Besides is it really bloodbowl without Bob Bifford and Jim Johnson commenting?

        1. Grudgeal says:

          If by ‘with’ you meant ‘without’, I agree wholeheartedly.

          1. Christopher says:

            Whoopsiedoodle, good catch. Fixed.

          2. Metal C0Mmander says:

            What are you talking about. That was fully intentional. And by that I mean that most people who I watch play blood bowl usually have then muted. They seem to be ok characters but once you’ve heard all their lines enough times I guess you get bored.

            1. Grudgeal says:

              Some of us play the tabletop, you know. Those comments really helped spice up the rulebook, no matter how repetitive they get in the cyanide version.

  7. MichaelGC says:

    At times and amongst other things it’s a little like a little bit of Sir Terry is still with us.

    1. Christopher says:

      You ain’t wrong.

  8. djw says:

    So, if I were thinking of playing Blood Bowl, would I be better off getting Blood Bowl 2, or should I just go get Blood Bowl 1 with expansions. Money isn’t really an object, but I don’t want to waste it needlessly by purchasing more game than I am going to play…

    1. Christopher says:

      Ok. Serious question is RE: DLC.

      In Bloodbowl, you can get all the races, but in Bloodbowl 2 the individual races feel more different. They each get recorded lines, they ALL get custom animations, unlike the first one where a lot of animations were shared.

      Bloodbowl 2, in my opinion, plays better. It’s also got really good multiplayer. I mean in how the multiplayer is set up; you can set up custom leagues, invite people to play within them, and it handles things like how to deal with who the winner is and all that by automation.

      Basically, the only thing I think Bloodbowl has going for it right now is that it has all the teams, but even then Bloodbowl 2 starts with 8 races to pick from, with more on the way. BloodBowl 2 has better UI, better graphics, better animations, etc etc. There has been complaints of bugs, but I can’t personally attest to anything game breaking. The only bug I’ve run into thus far is the occasional floating spectator.

    2. Spammy says:

      If you are completely new to Blood Bowl and money isn’t really an object, you should probably get Blood Bowl 2. And then watch the tutorial videos put out by cKnoor because tutorials have never been Cyanide’s strong suit. The only downsides to the better animations is that you no longer get different body models, everyone is only differentiated from the neck up. And unless Cyanide really burns all their bridges with the fanbase over team pricing then Blood Bowl 2 is going to be the main supported version and what a lot of leagues might end up switching to.

      The main problems with BB2 is that it’s a $45 game with $7 additional teams. Which still feels really exploitative considering that Blood Bowl 1 had more actual expansions with several teams in a package. It’s $45, for eight teams, that probably don’t include your favorite Blood Bowl team or any of the fun mid-tier ones, and then you pay another $7 for one team.

      Also for a serious new player comment after what I skimmed from the forums looking for the team price again: Chaos is not OP. Cyanide’s infinite season matchmaking favors high-armor teams who don’t have to replace people. Blood Bowl is “balanced” around the idea that you’ll be playing in a fixed-length league which evens the playing field out between team types.

      1. djw says:

        So Blood Bowl 2 now to distract me from MMH7 (which I am NOT going to buy no matter how much nostalgia I feel for Heroes III) and then DLC later when it comes down in price (as it always does…).

        1. Christopher says:

          I will say this, considering the cost of playing on the tabletop 45$ + 7$ per team is remarkably cheap :P

          1. djw says:

            I don’t have a big enough table anyway P.

  9. RCN says:

    Ah, the halflings. There’s no problem small enough that throwing the entire team at it will actually do any good.

    At least the goblins lose players for a purpose.

    1. Grudgeal says:

      Rolling 1s on your loonie rolls is not ‘on purpose’.

      Unless you’re referring to how your players tend to get eaten when you throw them.

      1. RCN says:

        I didn’t say it was “on purpose”, I said it HAS a purpose. And that purpose is that you’re cheating your ass off.

        1. Grudgeal says:

          Or that your troll got hungry.

          Hey, most goblins should aspire to a purpose that constructive.

  10. Grudgeal says:

    0-4 against high elves? As halflings?

    …Not bad for a first try.

  11. Steve C says:

    This Let’s Play reminds me of the Breaking Madden Let’s Plays. That’s where one team has all their stats put up to max, making them giant football gods. The other team has all their stats put to minimum, making them midgets that don’t know what a football is. Hilarity ensues.

  12. Daemian Lucifer says:

    The pitch is colder than a witch's glare after an inappropriate comparison

    I didnt know that comparison was known worldwide.I never heard it in english before.

  13. Akuma says:

    10/10 would riot again.

  14. Mersadeon says:

    “Anyway, he's on it, and he scoops up the ball like it's his job, because holy shit it is.”

    This is it. I don’t often laugh out loud when I’m on the PC, but this got me. Rutskarn, I admire your writing and hope to one day write things as good as this.

  15. Aldowyn says:

    I’m hoping that against all odds you turn this team into something that can actually play, because otherwise this is going to be a very, VERY long season.

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