Answer: Apparently there is.
This 5th Bloodbowl league game for the Ravens can be summed up easily: I got cocky and it cost me the game. But I lost to a worthy opponent.
The game started with the introduction of the Raven's latest purchase, their second assistant coach:
This was followed by much jeering and heckling from the spectators - along the lines of: "get out, just get out now".
But after their recent win the Ravens were on a high and things were finally going our way. We were back up to 4 vampires, 3 Thralls in reserve, we had the crowd advantage and our cheering fans graced us with another re-roll. With the 3 purchased and 1 leader re-roll that took me to a total of 5 and my worry over blood lust abated. But we lost the toss and the Skaven received.
They quickly scurried around, got the ball and handed it off to a gutter runner whom fled for the safety of a cage on the scrimmage line. The hand off wasn't declared but I let Andy off that one as he was a rookie (but more on my sportsmanship later). He made 1 block and KO'd a thrall. 10 men left.
With the ball in the hands of a caged Gutter runner I thought it was time to show Andy just how effective the Vampires are at cage breaking. I moved a thrall into close proximity of the cage (Still weary of blood lust). Then 1 vampire moved in to hypnotise the storm vermin next to the ball barrier. A successful stare meant I had a clear path to the Gutter Runner. The Blitz came but with Dodge, Block and sidestep on the runner I only had a 1 in 6 chance of knocking the vermin down. It ended up being a push back and the gutter runner was pushed deeper into the cage.
This allowed him to dodge out and pelt down my left side. I had forgotten how fast Skaven were. Not to worry, I had left a vampire deep in my half who swung around and blitzed the ball carrier. He was KO'd and although the ball remained on the ground in several tackle zones I had broken his drive in turn 2. This was looking good.
But then it really slowed down. Andy ran most of his Skaven in and through some amazing dice work managed to get a lineman to pick up the ball. Then came the swarm of vampires. All 4 of them decended on the ball it was knocked free again and now I had it surrounded by 4 vampires and a Thrall.
With strength 4 vampires Andy couldn't get near the ball. He was trying all sorts of crazy dodge rolls, blocks in my favour and even trying to pick it up in 5 tackle zones. I finally picked up the ball with a vampire and kept him in the safety of his kindred. With the rats surrounding my team and vulnerable to me hitting back I 'advised' Andy that he should take his time, back off and then come at me again when things were not weighted in my favour (taking on 4 strength 4 vampires is not an easy task for Skaven). See I am sporting!
He did back off and then I got cocky. I ran 1 lone vampire into his half (the one with block). The ball carrying vampire followed and made the short pass. I thought we would be safe. I was wrong and it cost me. A skaven storm vermin ran to the ball carrier declaring a Blitz. When I reminded Andy that the vampire was strength 4 and it would be 2 block dice I choose, he decided that the storm vermin just moved (another rule break I let go for our league Rookie).
Instead he blitzed with a nearby lineman and that storm vermin assist). The 1 dice block paid off and my vampire fell. The dropped ball was picked up by another Gutter Runner and dashed down my right side. Luckily Andy had forgotten to move one of his other Gutter Runners onto the TD line so there was no point in attempting a pass. However, there was now an awful lot of distance between my team and the ball carrier and only my Thralls could reach him.
We tried (and another mistake on my part cost me), running in 2 Thralls and Blitzing with a third. I rolled 2 block dice and as was the story of my game ended up pushing him back, I re-rolled for the same result. With not much else I could do I declared a turnover, then realised my mistake. Gutter Runners are strength 2. I rolled 2 block dice. I was blitzing with a strength 3 Thrall with 2 assists. I should of been rolling 3. With a re-roll that would of increased my chances of knocking him down. But Andy wasn't going to let me have it back (no more Mr nice guy).
He ran the gutter runner down field and tried to pass to the one near the line. He hadn't declared the pass action and this time I wasn't letting him get away with it (he has to learn!). The heckles of lack of sportsmanship again rose from the stands (how much the Skaven paid Kieron I don't know, but I ignored the jeers and sulked that I was close to conceding).
With the ball carrier deep in my half, Andy caged him. So again I moved in the vampires. Every hypnotise roll was coming off (much to Andy's annoyance) and I Blitzed the ball carrier, both down but I had knocked the ball free again. It bounced around and finally landed between a vampire and a Skaven lineman. I had previously run 1 vampire to within striking distance of the Skaven line ready to receive the pass but failed to pick up the ball and the half was over.
0-0. I had successfully broken the drive and now it was my time to strike. I told myself to remember not to send a vampire out alone to score. The Skaven are fast, can swarm around me and get the bock advantage. But I didn't listen. Doh! A lucky touch back at kick-off and a few hypnotise rolls later I ran a Thrall and vampire ball carrier deep into the Skaven half.
Guess what happened. He was surrounded by the skittering scumbags and KO'd. Andy had already broken my drive and now had the ball. I moved in to mark any players that could run around me to receive the ball. I then tried to Blitiz with a vampire but failed bloodlust, with a re-roll. Never mind, hit the rat then run to a Thrall... but no, the vampire face planted and went off for a bite.
2 vampires left. It was looking desperate and surprise surprise Andy scored in turn 4. I had 4 turns to make the equaliser but alas my KO'd vampire was out 'warm' (as they are cold already) leaving me only 3 to score the winner with. The ball was kicked deep into my half so it looked like a passing game was n the cards. But as if the Skaven commanded the weather Gods a Blizzard hit meaning it would be dangerous to 'Go for it' and I was limited to short or quick passes. Great.
I huddled the ball and again failed blood lust when I tried to pick it up. I stunned one of my Thralls. My vampires on the line of scrimmage tried to punch a hole in the defence. Rats put pressure on me running down towards the ball carrier.
I consolidated and ran Count Edvard Cullen down field to accept the hand off from the resurrected Countess Bella Svan II. Count Blockula had to stay semi close as my passing range was limited. I moved Thralls in to protect the Vampires from the nasty fuzzballs.
More rats surrounded me but I manged to hypnotise with the Countess and dodge out with the Count. Count Blockula moved down field for a turn 8 equaliser. This left the ball carrier in the open but with lots of rats on the floor was I going to be safe...
Like hell I was. Again they stood up, kept dodging away and surrounded Edvard Cullen for a 2 dice Blitz. He was down and had lost the ball. Andy had done a great job in covering the ball meaning I really was out of options. I ran the countess and a Thrall to take out some tackle zone and could only Blitz with count Edvard hoping that the ball would bounce kindly and a thrall could attempt the hand-off to count Blockula. With the bounce in mind I purposefully didn't follow up, but guess what? The ball bounced off a few heads before landing in his arms. There was nothing more I could do other than run him to safety to prevent Andy getting a second. The only consolation was that my team finally started hitting back hard and killed a Skaven lineman (who was later resurrected by the apothecary).
Another game lost. Looks like I fighting for the wooden soon this season.
Things I learnt - Andy has now played 4 games and I shouldn't of given him the space I did (especially with that Block, Dodge, Side-Step Gutter runner (who I am sure kept swapping guises throughout the game - and now has another skill). Lesson 2 - Never ever think vampires are indestructible and can run out alone (or supported by 1 Thrall). Fast teams are the bane of that tactic.
Still a great tactical game with lots of drive breaking for both sides. Andy is a great opponent and a worthy winner. I won't be so lenient if we do meet in the knock-out stages.