Thrudball has always been a special tournament for me – it was my third ever BB tournament back in 2007, and a massive step up in size after the 12-man Strongbowl and a one dayer as part of Conflict South. I took Ogres back then, and was very pleased to get the Most Sporting award and a 1/2/3 record, including a 3-0 win over MattWhile’s Orcs in his first tournament (he’s had plenty of revenge since). I had to miss a load due to the unfortunate scheduling of a wedding anniversary and various family holidays, but returned last year and found it bigger and better than ever, with free camping in the grounds of the community centre and all the foolishness intact.
I took Lizards as part of my training for Eurobowl, as I am part of Team Scotland, having last participated in Spain in 2008. I’d played them at Crumbbowl (201), NAF Champs (420), Cakebowl (420) and Gert (312) and was enjoying them immensely after previously going all round the houses and completing the 24 races. This tournament was also special as it was my eldest son Linus’s first tournament at the age of 9. Exciting times!
I took 4 Block Saurus, also with Leader, MB, Tackle and Guard. This left cash for 2 more Saurus, a Krox and 4 Skinks, plus 2RR and an Apo. I used the Apo every game, including on a KO’d Saurus in the 2nd half and 3 first half skinks.
Many fantastic plans were made for Friday night camping, but unfortunately the tail end of Hurricane Bertha (Bigfist) hit and most of these were scuppered, leading to fish and chips in the car. On to the games!
Game 1 v FunnyValentine’s Pact
Slightly put out (not really) to be on bottom table for the first game, I was facing a French coach with 2 dirty players going for the Fouling award (as well as the wins). The game mostly involved his big guys rolling 1s, as they often do, although his ClawJugs Mino was a pain in the backside until it was removed. I managed to turn him over and scored in turn 5, figuring that a 3 turn score with Pact is hard and if I could sneak a second that would give me the game. Went in at 1-0 and made it 2-0 in the second half.
Lunch was some fabulous pies, and the sun had come out, so there were lots of activities like Smite, Zorbing and the ubiquitous ball games.
Game 2 v Rubick’s Skaven
The roll of 1 played another important part in this game. I managed some early pressure on the ball carrier, but the rats would have been away but for an unfortunate snake eyes. My skinks failed to secure the ball, and when he got it back I was worried, but another snake eyes (whoopee!) messed him up completely, and then the rats left the pitch. Quickly. 3-1 in the end.
Game 3 v Mozzerman’s High Elves
In his first tournament Mozzerman had just beaten my son’s Undead, so revenge was due. He had an Ag 5 leaper, but he was left unprotected at a critical point so got a Saurus to the face, which wasn’t fatal but bad enough to mess up the drive for him. My Tackle Saurus had fun against the blodging blitzers, and the game finished 3-0.
Saturday evening was the auction, and I avoided spending crazy cash on silly things, though was very pleased to see that others did, including £80 on some block dice cushions and many £10s on dice. All to a good cause! More excellent food and good gaming action also ensued, and the rain most held off until Sunday morning, which dawned grey and grizzly, but did not dampen anyone’s mood!
Game 4 v Gninocker’s Lizards
At the end of Saturday 4 teams were on 3 wins, and the other two were Woodies and Orcs. As long as I avoided the former I was happy, and so it proved. Having had pretty good dice on Day 1, on Day 2 they really went to town, with an opening Blitz for me putting massive pressure on the ball carrier and his Krox dying in turn 2 (no apo for him). Gninocker had made the trip over from Belgium, and had won most Thrudlike the night before, so was making the most of the experience, including his first time on Table 1. He had played a lot of NAF tournaments but not with Lizards. A massive scrum in the centre put his skink in a lot of trouble, but I didn’t take a both down with a rookie saurus, hoping to keep him contained, and he managed to chain push the skink to freedom and score in his turn 3. A 6-turn and 7-turn drive later, and the result was 2-1.
Game 5 v Basurdi’s Orcs
The Lutece v Lutece game went to the Orcs, but the refs had refused to tell me this, so I didn’t know until the draw came out who I would be facing. +2 fame for me and a pitch invasion later, and Basurdi was heard to mutter “j’ai perdu”. It was difficult to argue with that, as the kick was short and the goblin ball carrier ended up in blitzing range of the Block/Tackle Saurus. An amazing turn 8 sequence of rolls for him (3+,4+,3+,3+,3+,4+,3+,2+) with only 1 dodge reroll to play with made it 1-1 at the half and kept it interesting, as did a mistake by me in turn 16 which kept the TTM play alive, but I held on for another 2-1 win.
Game 6 v Kwek’s Halflings (!)
I was packing up the tent between games 5 and 6, so missed the original draw that would have put me against PeterD’s CDs. I’ve never played Peter, despite being at a few tournaments with him, and would have liked to as he is thoroughly nice chap, but had to rub my eyes when the redraw (due to a data entry error and random matchups between those on the same points) put me against Kwek’s Flings, who were having a great tournament and were on 401 (he’s got the hang of them after 200 NAF Halfling games!). Kwek started very strongly, making me use my apo on a skilled Saurus in turn 1 and then killing my krox in turn 2, but my Block/Tackle Saurus (again) removed a fling a turn, and then when I realised the pressure was getting too much I sacrificed my players against the trees, making the TTM too much of a risk. The flings couldn’t escape the clutches of the surrounding Saurus, and the moot was doomed. Kwek is an amazing guy to play, and one of the highlights was when he set up on defence with all 3 trees together and I marked them all with a skink to avoid the blitz. Turned out I was the only coach all tournament to do that! At 2-0 I did a corner kick for entertainment value which led to a one-turn score, followed by a Blitz result and a nice kick which could have been nasty, but there weren’t enough little guys left, and the game finished 3-1.
I had won the tournament, including most TDs and third (I think) in most Cas. The icing on the cake was Linus winning Dockbowl (BB on a ship, competed for by the bottom 4 coaches at the end of game 5),as well as Most Sporting.
One more tournament to go before Belgium, with a trip to Exebowl in October. Already planning which teams to go next, thinking a return to Stunty for a while, and possibly a Thrud-themed team for next year…
See Lunchmoney’s photos here.