Good turns, bad turns
You know I've had my share…
Welcome to good turns bad turns, where we will be going over and analysing 2 turns of a big O game a week, highlighting the good moves of one, and the improvements that could be made in another.
But Liam, who gives you the right to judge a turns merit?
I have played in REBBL since before the Big O's creation, with this currently being my 7th season and 5th team. While my record has been pretty good in regular seasons, it noticeably worsens when up against the best of the best. From my 3 playoff runs I am 1-3, and came up just short of notching the Big O clan league triumph over REL. The reason I am aiming to write these articles is to improve myself and potentially help others improve, (if my advice is good, we'll see about that). Hence, I will be using this article to analyse my own matches at first, but coaches can send me a message for a (public) write up of one of their own games, should they so desire my advice. With that disclaimer out of the way, let's get into some gameplay analysis.
In our first piece, we will be going over ideas about ’good’ and ‘bad’ turns
So what constitutes a ‘good’ and ‘bad’ turn?
A good offensive turn does the following, in order of approximate importance.
Protects the ball
Establishes field control.
Minimises the amount of blocks the opponent can make
Maximises the amount of blocks you can make.
The order of these can change a little, particularly with 3 and 4, but it makes a good rough guide. It is also important that a drive where the ball is protected but no field control established is not an effective one.
Defence is often easier for new players to blood bowl, and when we break down turns like this, it is quite clear why. A defensive drive is exactly the same minus the most important point, protecting the ball. Instead, it replaces this point with putting pressure on the ball, which while important, will not come up every turn and relies on good field control in turns leading up to its relevance. After all, an opponent does not need to be turned over for a successful defensive drive, simply stopping the score can be enough. Hence, we put “pressure on the ball” slightly behind field control at point number 2.
But what do these points constitute of?
(Offence)Protecting the ball. The ball can be protected in blood bowl most basically using the cage. The importance and creation of a basic cage has been covered extensively, but it is often easy to mindlessly create one. While protecting the ball extremely well, a basic cage has no field control and if isolated will be cracked. Thinking outside the box makes a great blood bowl player, so when making your cages, think outside of the basic cage. Remember, a cage functions to make dodging into the ball very tough, hence a clever screen can have the same effect, while not giving up on the other points on this list. It's defensive counterpart, putting pressure on the ball, is more varied and harder to define, however it most basically involves basing the ball and sacking it directly
Establishing field control. Field control in blood bowl is extremely important, and can be summed up must simply in tackle zones and blocks. If your opponent can shepherd you into the sideline, you will not score. (See my week 2 game vs Haz end of the first half. Classic example of being too concerned about the ball). Hence ensure you have control of where your opponent can move, not the other way around. This means taking positions on the field and holding them, usually through moving pieces into effective screens and good application of the skill guard, defensively. Doing this means your opponent will have to remove you from said positions in order to advance. Notably, field control is easier for the defence, as they simply have to hold their positions, while the offense needs to break though without being rushed for an early score
There's blood in the name for a reason. Even dorfs die (thankfully) so don't let your opponent get a bunch of free blocks, even if they do not stun prone players exert no field control which will compromise your drive. Points 3 and 4 are more an extension of 2, as more blocks =more CAS = more field control for the beneficiary. Maximising blocks at all costs can be a trap however- look for skaven and Woodies to base aggressively to limit their opponents ability to reposition and control the field, even if it may be at the cost of their own players, with other teams employing the same tactic on a small scale. It is not always best to minmax blocking, however, it is important to try without giving up on positioning.
All of these points are not groundbreaking, (go read 1000 losses) just simply principles you'd usually use in your games even if you ain't consciously thinking of them. Using these points, we can judge turns relatively fairly. Join us, as on Wednesday we go over the gameplay of Rocky and myself from week 6, and remember that should you desire to see your team in the spotlight send liamcoulston a pm in discord.