Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Welcome to the WaAagh!

Thank you to all the folks who continue to buy the new book. No, I am not dead and your products are in the mail. To everyone else: no, I’m not dead, feel free to send me money.

So does anyone have any doubt I’ve been spending the last few weeks immersed in my favorite pro sport? Please, have no doubts. Three weeks gone and the Seahawks have a 2-1 record, despite just terrible, terrible quarterback play and a practically medieval offensive game plan from the semi-sane Pete Carroll.

What a bunch of orks.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: if the Seattle Seahawks were a Blood Bowl team they’d be orks…no ifs/ands/buts about it. I’ve been watching the ‘Hawks my entire life and it’s the only team that consistently makes sense.

Now non-BB fans will take umbrage may take umbrage with this assessment, especially in light of the Seahawks’ history (well, up until the most recent coaching regime’s policy) of only carrying high character players on their roster. I’ve received comments on more than one occasion that such despicable creatures as orks should not be associated with the upright, generally scandal-free Seahawks. What these folks don’t understand, though, is that the humorous fantasy world of Blood Bowl isn’t built on the standard, “logical” fantasy tropes. We’re talking about a fantasy world that imagines fans of many disparate cultures (Chaos mutants and high elves and orks and hobbits) rubbing shoulders in the stands and waiting in queue together for half-time refreshments. It’s not a RATIONAL fantasy world; it’s a silly and entertaining one. Sure the orkish team might eat any fallen opponents that aren’t carted off the field fast enough…but I don’t think that reflects necessarily on any real life pro-football team associated with the orks. Just as an orkish Blood Bowl team doesn’t really reflect the nature of ork tribes found in “standard” fantasy games and fiction (i.e. bloody awful, genocidal maniacs championing the cause of Chaos and evil by their very nature). In a standard fantasy world, one wouldn’t deal with an ork tribe in any way except at the end of a sword…in the Blood Bowl universe, one might trade them a high draft pick in exchange for a star blocker and a guarantee they won’t snack on the Halfling cheerleaders in the 3rd quarter.

SO, having said that what exactly IS my reasoning for assigning a specific fantasy race to a specific real world NFL team? If not the personalities, what am I looking at? Well, mainly the team’s history and tendencies, compared to the PLAY STYLE of the specific Blood Bowl team. Part of the fun of BB is the way that each team plays a little different (and sometimes a LOT different) from the other team types.

For example, the orks…they’re superficially similar to the human teams (orks and humans are the “standard” types included with the game), except they’re a little slower and a little tougher. Each team has four position players available and three of these (the throwers, blitzers, and linemen) are nearly equal: same skills, same strength and agility, etc. However, the 4th position player (“catchers” for humans and “black ork blockers” for orks) are quite different from each other and being fairly cheap and plentiful they stock their respective teams’ rosters coloring the flavor of the game play for a particular species. Elves are agile and fragile, dwarves are bashy and smashy, etc. Orks are…well, they’re like a human team except a bit worse at the passing game and a bit better at the smashing…and, of course, they have their own “color” or “fluff” associated with their base “orky-ness.” High elves are vain, halflings are hungry little gluttons, orks are loud, thumb-fingered, violent-types. Not as strong/tough as dwarves or chaos or even undead teams with their mummies…but they make up for it with a certain mindless enthusiasm, known in the Warhammer universe as the Waaagh.

That’s that home field advantage everyone talks about.

The Seahawks have had that 12th Man advantage for a long time…since the 80s and the Kingdome. It’s given them a chance to field a fairly good defense (historically, at home) for a long, long time…even in the terrible, terrible years of the 90s. Nothing is worse than watching a mediocre, middle-of-the-road team…you don’t get those wonderful high draft picks with an 8-8 record every year.

[instead you end up trading for or attempting to develop mediocre talent: Stouffer, McGwire, Freize, Gelbaugh, Mirer (a high round pick in an unfortunate year for QBs), Dilfer, Moon (the last two in the twilights of their careers)…typical orks in other words]

This year, our orks have been developed into an extremely vicious mob of nature which, combined with the Waaagh of Century Link Field (known as the “the CLink” by the locals and “Da’ Klink” by our resident orks), makes for some fairly impressive blood bowl…er, football. And it’s allowed Seattle to get past a couple otherwise impressive teams (one dark elf, one human) in a fairly convincing fashion…all ref controversies aside.

Unfortunately, the Seahawks don’t get to play sixteen games at home. And despite a great defense, despite a great running game, despite great special teams play…hell, despite having a 2-and-1 record and no serious injuries through three games…DESPITE all that, I find myself terribly frustrated with the season so far. Because, Carroll is one stubborn ork of a coach (if inconceivable upbeat and smiley) and he is going to stick with that rookie quarterback until we’ve lost enough road games to take us out of the playoff hunt. And every win just convinces him to keep the guy in one more game…despite the terrible, terrible play we’re getting from the position. Against the Packers we went three-n-out again and again due to the inability of the passing game and offensive play-calling that has been dumbed down to an orkish level because of coddling of the rook. Sure, Wilson threw a good TD pass to little Notre Dame goblin, Golden Tate…everyone can hit a 5 or 6 every now and then on a D6 pass attempt. But that’s not something to count on…nor can you count on the special play card “Confused Ref” to come up on the draw in every match. This is a team that is very good, and has a lot of good…championship caliber…pieces in place. And it’s probably going to lose a lot of games due to QB play.

What a waste.

We’ve already lost one “winnable” road game this year to the Arizona Cardinals…a team I consider (traditionally) to be a hobbit team. Oh, don’t give me crap about that…since realignment in 2002, only 6 teams have a worse win-loss percentage, and they are much more of a high-flying offense when they’ve been good anyway (two traits…inconsistency and flying…generally associated with halfling teams, although Larry Fitzgerald might well be a wood elf ally).

And I’ve seen good halfling teams plenty times before; there was one that made it all the way to a Spike! Championship match one year after knocking-off the highest scoring (skaven) team in the league in an especially memorable semi-final. Those that have been good have a formula similar to what the Cardinals are using this year: an aggressive, blitzing defense that’s not afraid to put the boot in over-and-over again (usually with a few “dirty player” skills mixed in). They knock people out and then (quite literally) fly down the field.

But a good ork team should be able to beat a halfling team most days of the week…as the Seahawks have managed to do most years against Cardinals since the two landed in the same division ten years ago. And they didn’t in week one…instead, they played like a bunch of orks, throwing wide, dropping passes, being one-dimensional, etc. Ugh. We can beat up every team that comes into Seattle this year…Cowboys, Packers, Patriots, 49ers, etc…and still end up 8-and-8 again because the Waaagh isn’t present on the road to keep them in the game. The defense can still play good on the road…but they can’t play good enough to make up for a deficient offense every single away game. It just won’t work.

But maybe I’m mistaken. Maybe I’m over-reacting to what I’ve seen the last three weeks. Maybe they’ll go on the road to St. Louis next week, and they’ll stomp all over the skaven in their lightless stadium, bottling up Steve Jackson and knocking out Bradford just like they did with halfling Skelton. It SHOULD be a winnable game for the Seahawks…as much as any road game in the NFL can be considered “winnable.” But if Jackson shows up as a rat-ogre instead of a storm vermin (either one is rough, by the way) and Bradford hits one or two of those new gutter runners for touch downs and the ‘Hawks are forced to play catch-up? If those blitzers Seattle has in their secondary go down with injuries of their own?

Ugh. Ugh. Ugh.

ANYway…we’ll see what happens with the rest of the season: that’s why they play the games. I will try to enjoy the ride for as long as it lasts, and I’ll show up for the Waaagh and do my part as much as I can this year (not as much as I’ve been able to afford in prior years, though I WAS at the Cowboys game with my boy, I might add…he loved it). I just hope our orky strategy of play doesn’t get totally derailed by, well, by us playing like a bunch or orks.

It’s a fine line, Blood Bowl fans.


  1. i bet those refs were happy the game was over. the next kickoff would have certainly been "get the ref!". :D

    what a terrible call! :(

  2. It wasn't such a bad call. You have to complete the catch all the way to the ground; Megatron learned that the hard way last year and lost a touchdown in the process.

    On Monday night, both players had two hands on the ball, but the Packer had pulled the pigskin up against his chest; this is why most viewers thought he had a better claim to the ball.

    However, you cannot complete a catch in midair. You have to finish on the ground. Golden Tate got two feet down first, and at that point, he still had two hands on the ball, and he had pulled the ball (and his opponent's elbow) close to his own body.

    After that, both men fell to the turf and wrestled for the ball. Tate won that wrestling match.

    1. "It is not a simultaneous catch if a player gains control first and an opponent subsequently gains joint control."

      the defender clearly had the ball first and then tate got his hands on it. you can't argue that.

      you also seem to forget the pass interference that happened before.

      the seahawks probably deserved to win this game anyway, but they won it in a fashion that leaves a bad aftertaste. it was a close call, i admit that (and one i certainly wouldn't have liked to have to make myself...). but it was wrong. :)

      being used to proper football (thats soccer for you americans :P), where game-deciding bad calls (sadly) happen much more often, i don't have a problem admitting when my team was favoured by the refs. you should try that sometimes. you will still be happy about the win, trust me. ;)

  3. You establish possession 1) with your hands, and 2) by getting your feet or other body part on the ground.

    By those criteria, Tate established possession first.

    Tate's pass interference should have been called, but PI calls are rare on either side of the ball in Hail Mary situations.

    1. i guess we won't be able to agree here. :)

  4. I don't watch the Seahawks. But I've been playing the Orcs ever since the release of third edition Blood Bowl back in the early or mid 90s.

    Not only have you got the Black Orc Blockers, but you can also save a bit more by rounding out your team with a few goblins--weak and very cheap, but they kinda sorta work like disposible receivers--but you can get a nasty Big Guy. Used to be ogres and trolls and a few other options; the latest iteration of the rules limits them to trolls, I think.

    Still, one of the greatest things about Blood Bowl is a big guy like a troll or an ogre tossing a goblin reciever--ball and all--into the endzone. And orcs are one of the few teams that can pull off this classic.