Angband Wolves (Orcs, me) v Davey Jones’s Rum Runners (Human)
After their mauling at the hands of the Amazons last week, a much reduced Wolves team lined up against an unusual catcher-heavy Human side. The Rum Runners, lead by star thrower Davey Jones, had 3 blitzers, 3 catchers (2 blodgers, one side stepper), another thrower, an ogre, and some linemen. The Humans were clearly looking to play a passing game, and the Orcs fancied their chances for a 2-1 grind in the match.
Losing the toss and being asked to receive, the Orcs were surprised by a sudden Human blitz, with all three catchers and a blitzer knocking a hole down one flank and threatening the kick. The Orcs calmly pulled back their blitzers to screen out the Rum Runners, put a tackle zone on the ball, and prior to the pickup decided to put in a couple of LOS blocks to free up more players to come back to the ball. Double both down on a loner lineman, who KO’d himself in the process.
The Rum Runners blitzed through the Wolves’ defensive screen and their catcher rushed forwards, picked up the ball in a tackle zone and dodged away for the score. 0-1 to the Rum Runners on turn 1
The visibly shaken Orcs lined up again, and this time matters went more smoothly – the ball was caged up near the line of scrimmage, and one of the human lineman was KO’d in the melee. The Rum Runners ran 6 players round to the sides and rear of the cage to pressure the ball, and the Orcs were content to eat up time and get blocks in without moving the cage forward.
As the scrum continued over the next few turns it became apparent that the Human centre was weak, and the Orcs planned their trademark “bash through the middle” move, needing only to push away a single Human lineman who had managed to get next to the ball carrier, Gothmogg. Double skulls. Reroll. Double both down. The lineman jumped to his feet and pulled off a 1 dice block to push the ball carrier out of the cage and into the three human catchers. There followed a series of 1 dice and half dice blocks from the catchers who were unable to knock over the burly Orc thrower Gothmogg (but neither did they fail for the humans and no rerolls were used). Completely surrounded, the Orc team saw a way of chain-pushing the catchers away with two of their blitzers, and the left hand side of the pitch was now completely wide open – a score was on for the Orcs. The first Orc blitzer hit a human catcher. Double skulls. Reroll. Knockdown (phew!). The second Orc blitzer went to push away a second catcher. Double skulls.
With the Orc coach visibly weeping at the side of the pitch, the humans finally knocked Gothmogg over, and Davey Jones picked up the ball, passed it to a nearby catcher who ran in the TD. 0-2 to the Rum Runners on turn 6
With two turns to score, the Orcs lined up aggressively. They now had a one man advantage over the humans and were determined to use it to get back in the game. Again, however, the Rum Runners blitzed from the kick off, knocked a hole in the right hand side of the Orc lines and pressured the ball. The Orcs again brought back players to defend, and Gothmogg picked up the ball and moved it away from the marauding human catchers. With such a short time left in the half he realised that something special was required, and he lined up a short pass into a group of players including 2 blitzers and a black orc on the left hand side. If this was caught the Orcs could threaten a turn 8 touchdown as there were very few human players on this side or left at the back as safety. The pass needed a 4+ with a reroll, but 2+ would at least get the ball away from the humans to safety. The dice came up 1. Reroll. 1 again. Fumbled pass.
A nearby human catcher dodged away from his marker, picked up the ball from next to Gothmogg, dodged away and made 2 GFIs to put himself out of range of virtually every Orc player on the pitch. The rest of the Human players on the left dodged away from their markers (unskilled AG3 linemen and blitzers) to move next to the nearby Orcs and prevent them getting back to intervene. Again, no rerolls required for any of this.
The only Orc player with a chance of preventing the TD was the star Orc blitzer Ugluk. The tackle blitzer charged back, made 2 GFIs, and put in a 2D block on the human catcher (55% chance of a knockdown). Pushback only, and the catcher dodged away to score in turn 8. 0 -3 Rum Runners at half time
The Wolves trudged their way back onto the pitch for the second half. Aware they had lost the game and were playing for pride only now they decided to ignore the ball and focus on hurting the Rum Runners as much as possible. The human team, in contrast, lined up with their catchers rather than throwers to receive the kick. The kick landed next to the Human end zone, and the Orcs ignored the ball and concentrated on hitting and fouling. While they had some success in this, there was on permanent damage as the best they could manage throughout the entire game was a KO (I think there were 6 in total). Meanwhile the hapless Rum Runners catcher failed three pickup attempts in a row, which eventually came to the notice of the Orcs who halfheartedly sent a blitzer to mark the ball. This seemed to annoy the catcher who, with the assistance of a colleague, picked up the ball next to the Orc, blitzed him aside, and ran forward to hand the ball off to a colleague. Finally failing a GFI however, the way was clear for the Wolves to finally register a score. The blitzer smashed his marker out of the way to run to the end zone, and the Orcs’ reserve thrower picked up the ball on half way and made a short pass for the TD. 1-3 to the Run Runners on turn 12
The Humans lined up with a more traditional formation with Davey Jones deep, looking for the insult of a fourth touchdown. They ran catchers into space on the sidelines, but the Orcs’ extra numbers told again as they marked up the receivers. Undeterred Davey Jones darted forward towards the half way line and near the side lines to make the pass, trusting to the dice to allow his catchers to receive under pressure and dodge away. It was the Humans’ turn to roll snake eyes however and Jones fumbled the pass. The Orcs caged up around the ball with a blitzer picking it up before pushing forwards at high speed into the Humans’ half. With the Humans unable to get back in time and as the final action of the match the Orc blitzer sprinted into the Humans’ end zone (3 GFIs required over two turns. 2-3 to the Run Runners on turn 16