After a few years of only going to continental and mainly German tournaments I decided it was time to head over to the island again. By browsing TFF for the next upcoming British tournaments I finally found the Cambridge Double Trouble. This tournament had a few selling points. It has a rather unique rule set (only double skills allowed with 4 tier system and a rather low amount of skills, at least for the tier 1-3 races), it is a team tournament for 2 player teams but you can just sign up and get assigned another random single sign up (so you are bound to meet new people!!) aaaaand it is run by Schmee and Purplegoo.
Especially the latter point was important to me, as both are lovely chaps and the combination promised the best of both worlds. Schmee coming up with the wacky ideas for rules and evening entertainment and Purplegoo running the actual tournament with his routine and calmness. And what can I say, both delivered!
The travel connections where great and my hotel was only 10 minutes walk from the venue and 20 minutes from the train station. So all was set for a smooth trip. On Friday evening we had a get together in a nice pub The Castle Inn closer to the city center so I had a nice evening walk through the living areas of Cambridge to get there. We were only a small group of 6 people in total and only 3 were actually involved in the tournament (Schmee, Pipey and myself), the others being Schmee's lovely significant other Kate and two friends Mike and Matthew. So apart from the traditional Blood Bowl nerd talk we also had "regular" conversations and quite a few entertaining games included "cricket trumps" and "take it away" rounded off by some beers and pub food. A perfect start to the weekend.
Saturday morning started slow due to the land lord not being up in time to let us in but as this was the same as every year (according to everyone involved) no one was either suprised or stressed and with a bit of delay we were able to get started. The first step was to meet my random team mate Wolimorb, a rather new player with a few tournaments under his belt. To our surprise we were both using Humans with a similar roster but different skills. While we both had an Ogre with Block I opted for the lame 4 Guard Linemen variant and he took more fancy skills on his Blitzers like Dodge, Sidestep and even Leap. Especially the Leap Blitzer was used several times to great success and caused some serious head aches for his opponents! Go Woli!!!
In round 1 we were paired against Howlinggriffon (Skaven, vs me) and Mr Frodo (Underworld, vs Wolimorb). The Skaven had a rather crappy start only producing one knock down from roughly 12 block dice against my Linemen. In the end everything was rather tied up and I was able to chain push the screening players away from the ball carrier and take him down. From there it was a few turns of back and forth but finally I was able to secure the ball and score ion Turn 8. In the second half attrition really hit the Skaven and there was not much to be done so I was able to get a safe 2-0 win. Wolimorb drew his game 1-1 so we went straight to the top dogs :-)
Round 2 saw two Underworld vs Human matches where I faced besters while Wolimorb took on VultureSquadron. besters had to kick and the ball landed exactly on LoS one square from the sides which lead to the inevitable Blitz! kick off result. The underworld moved Skitter Stab-Stab under the ball and managed to build a screen around him before he caught the ball. So much for my offense then. Even though I got the ball lose in the next turn the sewer scum managed to recover and retreat. The following turns where dominated by a tight defense from my end forcing lots of rolls on the underworld and trying to maximize damage. Unfortunately it did not pay off at first. Only in the very last turn was I able to regain the ball and score a touchdown after having to do a 3+ dodge, 2 gfi, 3+ pickup, 4+ pass, 4+ catch and 3+ dodge. All after the reroll was gone for taking down Skitter. In the second half the Underworld offense tried to advance but I kept up the pressure as before so it was a tight affair. In the end I was not able to do enough damage/enforce enough turn overs so the game ended in 1-1 draw. My team mate got a whooping 0-0 so, we were still unbeaten.
Round 3 paired us off against the later winners, Wolimorb had to play Pipey with his Undead, who should later finish the tournament as best individual with an impressive 4/2/0. I got to play peo2223 with an interesting Norse roster, consisting of Wilhelm Chaney, a Block Snow Troll and 11 Linemen containing 2 Guarders and a Leader. And I got the offence and again the kick off was a Blitz!. This time the kick was deep so the Norse broke through and tried to put as much pressure as possible on the ball. I barely managed to recover but the Norse refused to die and started to do some Damage themselves. Especially the Snow Troll was very reliable and caused some major head aches on my side. With some luck I could advance in the opposing half and was finally able to squeeze through the Norse screen and scored in Turn 7. The Norse threw everything they had into the 2 turn drive and Wilhelm went off with the ball. I got him down and tried to secure the ball as good as possible. But it was not enough and Wilhelm did show he is worth his pay check by making a dodge, pickup and 2 gfi to score the 1-1. In the second half the kick went way over to the sidelines and Nuffle struck on the Norse, failed pickup, ball get's thrown in and lands just behind my defense line. I got the ball up and tried to secure it as good as possible. peo on the other hand was determined to get it back and a few turns later my numbers started to crumble. It was massive back and forth around the LoS until I saw a small chance for an opening and advanced. Then in turn 7 when peo decided to go for the draw instead of trying to win (probably the right decision at this point) I was able to make a bold move and sent the ball carrier through the lines. Unfortunately the much needed screening failed due to a dodge and so the ball carrier stood there rather scared awaiting his doom. peo had to do some rolls but managed to get 2 dice on the ball which luckily for me where not enough. So in the last turn I cranked up the boldness some more and scored with a 4+ and 3+ dodge. Pewh... On the other table Pipey was not so cooperative and gave my team mate a rather good whooping, so we ended with a second draw. Still awesome!!
The Saturday evening saw a collective dinner at a nice curry place, Schmee had organized the order before hand and despite some confusion with the order and the bill afterwards everything turned out ok and we enjoyed our meal and some interesting conversations with tournament veterans and newbies. Afterwards we went to a close pub with live music, played some pool (or rather the english played and I tried not to scratch the table too much) before we got schooled by some local semi pros ;-) This was followed by more talking and drinking until the pub closed down and we headed off to our beds.
Sunday morning gave us a new matchup, I got to play Darkson with more Norse, this time with Dodge Blitzers and a Mighty Blow Runner but no stars. Wolimorb had to take on Moodygits Undead. This time I had to play defence from the start but with pouring rain the Norse failed the first pickup. So I tried to swarm the opposing half to put on some pressure, after having a guarder sent to the ko box. In the second turn the Norse got the ball up caused some stuns and a second ko that I apoed. Due to constant hihg AV rolls the Norse managed to advance. After a few turns I was able to put pressure on the ball but the Dodge Blitzer survived a total of 8 block dice and managed to dodge out a few times only to finally fail the very last dodge into the end zone. This caused some understandable distress on the other side of the table ;-) In the second half I tried to punch through the Norse but only had moderate success. At one point I had to take a gamble to move around a Norse bulk. The orginal plan was to use the ball carrier for a chain push into the fans but since the first action resulted in a double skull I had to readjust a bit and so a lino had to perform that blitz which meant that the ball carrier was not completely safe. So Darkson got a 3+ dodge and 2 gfi for 1 die block on the ball carrier which worked. The real problem was that the ball bounced to the fans and was of course thrown way back into my half. From then it was 3-4 turns of knocking the ball loose, failing to pick up, putting tackle zones on the ball etc from both sides. At one point I got the ball back with my catcher but there where two Norse linos that could reach with one dodge each. The others where behind a screen. I figured it would be better if only one of them was standing so there would be no second player to pickup the ball afterwards. That's why I tried to block with my ogre which boneheaded. That way the Lino that should have been blocked was able to open the screen and the Mighty Blow Runner could blitz the ball carrier. At first I thought it was a mistake to try the block but now I am not so sure as a knock down would have been really helpful. But in the end it fired back and so we kept on struggling for the ball. I got it back again, but had to many players out for protection so got knocked down again. In the last turn I then failed the pickup due to the rain. So it ended in a 0-0 draw. Luckily my team mate managed to hold a draw as well, so we did not loose this round either.. wooot wooot!!
After a tasty breakfast/lunch break round 5 paired Wolimorb against Lycos with his Halflings, he was very successful with them last year but this weekend the little ones had a hard time, so good omens for Woli! For my J_Bone brought some Chaos Pact with fully packed Big Guys, Claw on the Mino and Block on the other two plus a Chainsaw. After losing the coin toss I decided to sacrifice some Linos but Nuffle threw a Blitz! over the fence together with a kick in the middle of the opposing half. So I tried to capitalize on this, blitzed through the screen and tried to push a blitzer forward but failed. So there was not mich benefit. But J_Bones Big Guys and the Chainsaw did have some trouble getting started. A lot of failed nega traits and kickbacks where a dominant factor in this half. In the end I got the ball and managed to score at the end of the half. The second half started with.. another Blitz! This time for the Chaos Pact. J_Bone got quite more out of his Blitz! than I did and so it was pretty tough to get the ball save. After a bit of rolling and praying I managed to advance and finally scored in the middle of the half. So we got our third kick off and of course, the third Blitz! This put the final nail into J_Bones coffin and even though his Big Guys decided that the second half was the time to maim some humans he was not able to score. Had his player removal worked that well in the first half I would probably not have had any chance but the dice were on my side and so I got a lucky 2-0 win. On the other hand Lycos' luck seemed to have come around and he creamed Wolimorb with the little fellas. But still, undefeated!!
Final round!! It feels weird when you are 3/2/0 after five games and THEN get paired with Halflings. But deeferdan2383 was on 3/1/1 with his and so posed a serious threat. Wolimorb faced MrZay's Orcs. The coin toss sent me into defence and I lost 2 rerolls. I decided to put the Ogre on LoS despite the Dirty Player Halfling. The idea was that the Ogre will be the fouling bait with his Thick Skull which gives good odds of staying on the pitch compared to the fouler being sent off. Well, the first block killed the unskilled Lino and the foul also caused a cas on the Ogre. The Dirty Player was sent off and the apo saved my Ogre. After that I killed a Halfling so we were on 9 vs 9 and I started to swarm the Halflings to force dice rolls. Unfortunately the Halflings refused to fail their dodges or die from my blocks while none of the trees (including Deeproot) failed their rolls. So I really struggled to keep them at bay, and it did not help that dan played it very solid ;-) In turn 7 came the inevitable Throw Team Mate attempt, which worked perfectly and so the little ones went up 1-0. So the Humans set up for the two turn touchdown which is quite hard against a LoS full of trees. But the fans decided to create some havoc and so we lost a turn due to a riot. So in the second half the pressure was on. I wanted to take down the two regular trees and surround them so the stand up rolls would be hard enough for at least one to stay down. The problem was, that before I could do all of that I had to get the ball safe but my thrower screwed up. So I was in a rather bad position and the trees AND Halflings took out more and more players. I tried to break through but a successful Throw Team Mate gave dan a chance for a 2 dice wrestle blitz which worked. The ball was thrown in but only 2 squares and so landed next to the halflings. In the end I was not able to recover. The trees and Halflings were on fire not giving me the least of chances in this game. Well done, Dan!! Since the Orcs were also not in the mood to give away points, this sealed our first and only team defeat :-(
Then it came to the awards. As expected from the match results Pipey and peo won the team competition and Pipey was best individual player. deeferdan came second with his Halflings and of course got the "Best Stunty" award. At this point something unexpected happened. Since Pipey and Dan both already got an award, the tropohy for "Best Individual Player" went to the 3rd place, which was me... This took completely by surprise as it seems a bit odd to give that award to someone who had not actually won it. But everyone seemed to be okay with that and so I gratefully accepted the trophy. I was even more surplused when I realized that with the award also came a "real" prize. In my case I got one of the new boxed Dwarf teams from Games Workshop.
As expected the crowd soon departed as everyone was eager to get home in time. So I decided to stay in the pub for dinner trying the traditional sunday roast (when in Rome..) and enjoy the atmosphere.
To sum it all up, this tournament was an awesome experience on and off the pitch. So if you fancy a unique ruleset with great competion, good sportsmen and a well rouned supporting programme you should definitely go to the Double Trouble!! I can only recommend it to everyone. Thanks again Schmee and Purplegoo for organizing this and everyone else for the great inclusion and entertaining conversations.