by Coach Blacknife with Sam Williams (www.blood-bowl.net)
Halflings? You must be kidding! You’re not? Oh all right then… So, you’ve picked out one of the two Blood Bowl comedy teams to play (the other one being Goblins of course!) and you want to know how to get them to win. It’s not going to be easy as these guys gifted with a sense of humour rather than the ability to play Blood Bowl. Never fear though as I will reveal tips to get your team up and running! Well, ‘running’ is probably an exageration; we’ll try ‘waddling’ first.
You have a few choices here, well actually that should be “you have few choices here”; after all, there is only one player type! However Halflings come with the ability to field a rather unique Wizard: The Halfling Chef. This little guy will come in mighty handy, especially in your first few games (I’m assuming you’ll be up against other recently started teams here). Next in their armoury is the Treeman who’s bulk and ability to toss the little guys about the park comes in mighty handy (especially if you need to jump the queue to the Rat-on-a-Stick trolley at Half-Time!).
12 Linemen 360,000
Deeproot Strongbranch 180,000
Halfling Master Chef 150,000
8 Fan Factor 80,000
3 Rerolls 180,000
An Apothecary for a team who’s players cost half a reroll? Not exactly: think of him more as a Tree Surgeon! In all honesty your little guys are going to have to look out for themselves on the Pitch, it’s your Star Player who’s vulnerable (i.e. has a Bullseye on his trunk). Halfling Master Chefs play a great part in the team: they really get up your opponents nose by reducing his rerolls (and increasing your if you’re lucky!). The Fan Factor should keep your players topped up and may even help toward a second Treeman which will lessen the blow if your first returns to his roots…
Playing a Halfling Team
Role playing your team would suggest Random Events and, well, more Random Events, but this need not be the case in-game. Try a Magic Item in there and pick out the Dirty Trick cards – admittedly the Random Event deck is great for money for that second Treeman, but the Dirty Tricks deck is way more fun: and you’re playing a fun team after all!
Keep Deeproot one square back from the Line of Scrimmage (LoS) otherwise the opposing TackleZones (TZs) will add up fast enough to mean you either make the throw or fumble (and I’m sure the little guy would prefer the former – it get’s him closer to the popped corn vendor!). Two options for scoring here:
1. Throw a Halfling (why else do you think their names abbreviate to ‘fling?) downfield and worry about getting the ball to him later. At the outside the little guy will cause your opponent to drop back and cover him, so next turn chuck another one in there too! The ball? well it can be run downfield and lobbed by another Halfling can’t it?
2. Pick up the ball, hand off to a ‘fling who’s standing behind the Treeman, the Treeman lobs the little fella who then gets a move himself (on the proviso that he hasn’t impaled himself into the Pitch or spotted a tasty sticky bun in the Crowd!). Woah! so Halflings are capable of one turn Touchdowns? You betcha!
There are rumours that Dirty Player was introduced to give the lower powered, Agility based teams a chance of fighting back against the attritional Power based teams. Well, think of it this way: nobody takes Halflings seriously, right? I mean those little guys couldn’t hurt a fly really, could they? Well actually they can. Try the following (and remember that having Dodge and Stunty is better than you thought):
Your opponent will get cocky and leave his players in pairs or – better for you – on their own due to the Halflings lack of Strength: one Halfling blocking an Orc is a two-dice he chooses situation after all. But with two assists you make the two dice block and there’s no problems geting to him, remember? Now he’s on the ground a fourth player can foul him with a meager +4 to the armour roll – the blocker didn’t get him, but his pals did! That’s without Dirty Player…
But you don’t want your players sent off; or do you? After all, they’ll be happier in the Sin Bin, chowing down on cakes than lying in the Infirmary wishing they could have something crunchier than soup for the rest of their days! Besides, you’ve got plenty more of the gits spare in the Reserves box: laugh at your opponents glee when tossing the players off-field.
Six Armour, two Strength and Stunty; and you want to talk about damage limitation? tough one. All I can suggest is to use Dodge and Stunty to get your guys out of enemy TZs; alternatively you can run in packs (herds?) – remember the blocking example above? it’s a weight of numbers thing.
Playing an Advanced Halfling Team
You still with us? You’ve got advancements and more Treemen, well it’s actually more of the same really: Halflings are a fun team and as such are not meant to be a long term league proposition, so your tactics remain much the same as before. Just don’t get too attached to any of your players as I believe Gnats have a longer lifespan when it comes to Blood Bowl!
Despite their size (i.e. pitiful Strength), ‘flings are quite resiliant because of Dodge and can go pretty much where they want when combining this with Stunty (of course this means that when they get hit they stay down!). Use these abilities to run as close to your opponents endzone as possible, leaving key opposition players tied with multiple TZs of your own. Note I said multiple TZs, after all players love beating up little guys on two-dice blocks!
Halflings. Assuming they last long enough to aquire six or more Star Player Points (SPPs), what can you do with them? Well if you want them to live longer and be a general pain to your opponents (and who wouldn’t?) then Block and Sidestep are high up on your list of must-haves. After all, they’ll only fall down on a 1-in-6 and for 66% of the time you’ll be choosing where they’re pushed back to!
Having all your guys with the same skills will get a bit mundane and, let’s face it, you collect skills to make sections of your team perfom differently from other sections (and in playing a Halfing team you begin to really want these differences). Skills which allow your guys to make the most of their movement are especially helpful, but perhaps Jump Up is pushing your luck – after all, if a Halfling hits the ground, there’s not really much chance of him getting back up again!
SKILLS: Sprint, Sure (Furry!) Feet and Sidestep
DOUBLES: Pass and Guard!
*#1 Vanilla (Blood Bowl & Death Zone)*
Don’t expect results as wins will be thin on the ground, but do expect to have fun. Halflings are not a serious team and should be approached in a jovial way: take some buns (and drinks and chips and candy…) to the game; Mail Order those Cheerleader miniatures; develop an annoying, yet infuriatingly cute victory dance for use whenever a Halfling doesn’t get injured… you get the idea!
*#2 Jervis Johnson (Blood Bowl, Death Zone, No Stars, Big Guys and Allies)*
Treeman. Of course the reason you buy Treemen is to lob your little guys about, this can’t be done with the Rookie Treemen. You’ll have to work on them first.
SKILLS: Block, Throw Teammate and Mighty Blow
DOUBLES: Get rid of ‘Take Root’ and then worry about a Strength upgrade!