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 Post subject: My first Elfball game seemed endless ... but we got better
 Post Posted: Wed Oct 13, 2010 1:38 pm 
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I bought the game from Impact! a couple of weeks ago, and last night I finally met with a friend and we played a match. After reading some posts about the game I was very curious about it and really considered it an alternative for BB, especially since a match shouldn't take that long. I read the rules in advance and explained everything to my friend, so after a few turns we were getting how the rules work (he played Middle Kingdoms and I played Black Widows).

So we played and played and played and after 4 hours we decided to call it a draw since none of us was able to score a single goal. I guess we were just playing it wrong.
My impression is that it is almost impossible to build up an overall strategy since you're always bound to react to what your opponent does. We both tried to attack the ball carrier and then get the ball ourselves and so it went for hours - I got the ball, then he tackled me, he got the ball, I tackled him and so on. I'm pretty sure that that is the absolute wrong way to play it but I don't really see how you can build up a defense (or offense) with only being able to move one player at a time without letting your opponent walk right through you.

Don't get me wrong, I still think it is a great game and I'm eager to play my next match but I guess I need some advice on how to play it right. Maybe I should add that both me and my friend are used to playing BB, but that isn't helping I guess.


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 Post subject: Re: My first Elfball game seemed endless
 Post Posted: Wed Oct 13, 2010 2:21 pm 
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First I would suggest getting the two miniute warning cards to limit the number of turns to a more reasonable amount...I really like the cards.

Second, Elfball is more about positioning than tackling, you need to setup the play in advance and then go for the ball, as you saw it is easy to tackle/get the ball, but tough to move it. You really need to be thinking many movements in advance. The first few moves I take every test are to position, not tackle, push or anything. Also attrition of the opponent can be useful, and always try to pass/hand off the ball, so that your player with the ball is not a sitting duck for 2 turns while you wait to reactivate him.

And just out of curiousity, were you using the 2nd ed rules or the 5.# rules. The second ed seem to be a little quicker in my opinion. Also, you might want to post this to http://artistsunited.myfreeforum.org/index.php for some more responses if you don't get enough here for your liking. Though I am glad to see people using this forum to promote games other than Grandmas.

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 Post subject: Re: My first Elfball game seemed endless
 Post Posted: Wed Oct 13, 2010 3:11 pm 
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bouncergriim wrote:
First I would suggest getting the two miniute warning cards to limit the number of turns to a more reasonable amount...I really like the cards.

I also thought about that deck or - as mentioned in the optional rules (2nd ed. btw) - to use a regular card deck just to limit the number of turns. But considering the way we played, it would just result in a majority of tied matches and not really fix the problem.

bouncergriim wrote:
Second, Elfball is more about positioning than tackling, you need to setup the play in advance and then go for the ball, as you saw it is easy to tackle/get the ball, but tough to move it. You really need to be thinking many movements in advance. The first few moves I take every test are to position, not tackle, push or anything. Also attrition of the opponent can be useful, and always try to pass/hand off the ball, so that your player with the ball is not a sitting duck for 2 turns while you wait to reactivate him.

Most of the match I had the upper hand because I had my guys positioned but I was unable to protect the ball carrier long enough to make it to the goal. You can't build a cage and move it downfield like in that other game. My opponent was always able to tackle my ball carrier. I had exactly one chance to score a goal, I only had to pick up the ball with my widowmaker (skill 1) but he (or she?) flopped the challenge.
Maybe I just need to play a couple of matches and try out different things to figure out what works and what doesn't.


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 Post subject: Re: My first Elfball game seemed endless
 Post Posted: Wed Oct 13, 2010 3:13 pm 
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The first couple of times you play it does take a little longer, but that's natural. Also, I've been doing lots of demos and it seems that BB players take longer to grasp the game than newbies. It seems strange, but the newbies don't get confused about things like whether the follow-up is free, that you can pass, shove, tackle and much more on a player's turn, that slide tackle doesn't end your turn, etc. They don't have a frame of reference they need to turn off.

To make the game go faster, here are some suggestions:
Have the one page (double-sided) Challenge Reference Sheet at arm's length.
Play the first game or two using only midfielders or thunder hammer dwarves as the stat lines are the same so you get used to them.
Ignore the team extras (zlurpee, cheerleaders, etc.) and play at 120TV (just 8 players).

Also, if you don't have the one-page handout the section on challenges is very helpful for me when I do demos to explain how they work.

Please come back for advice here or on our forums. We love to help new players!

Chris

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 Post subject: Re: My first Elfball game seemed endless
 Post Posted: Wed Oct 13, 2010 4:42 pm 
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One strategy that can be useful is going man to man instead of "caging" (As you know caging doesn't work, but if you can knock down players then stand over them, you slow them greatly and force them to shove, tackle, or disengage to move. If you plan things right you can cover multiple opponents with one player, also shoving opponents out of bounds is a good strategy, the best way to score is to outnumber (powerplay in hockey) the opponent. This can be done through attrition (injuries), shoves out of bounds, or just knocking players down and making sure they don't get up too easily.

But really playing more, even trying to play against yourself might help your speed and one thing about elfball is that nothing is really assured, I have seen to many BB games were once the ball is caged it is really boring for the opponent waiting for the dwarfs to slowly score. In Elfball there is always pressure and urgency if you have the ball.

Give it a few more games, I found it was very long my first few games as well. It doesn't stay that way once you get some new tactics. Also make sure you learn to use the right player for the right action if your positioning allows for it. *Poor widowmaker, she wants to kill people not carry a ball.

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 Post subject: Re: My first Elfball game seemed endless
 Post Posted: Wed Oct 13, 2010 7:10 pm 
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My biggest piece of advice (as world Elfball champ (tongue firmly in cheek :oops: )) would be to work on positioning. Count the number of hexes away from people, basically. Then take advantage of people who can't move in consecutive turns, build a strategy and then move quickly to put it into action. Little bit amorphous without concrete examples, but at the last tourney 3 out of my 4 games were over in 40-50 minutes, the 4th being a draw. So it's definitely possible to get a result, if a little trickier to score than in some other games :D

Whereabouts are you, btw?

Mike

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 Post subject: Re: My first Elfball game seemed endless
 Post Posted: Thu Oct 14, 2010 10:11 am 
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I had some of the same issues when I first started playing - it took me a long time to start seeing the strategy (I started playing with my bloodbowl colleages too)

When coming from Bloodbowl, I think the temptation is to 'blitz' and always tackle every turn possible. I'd suggest to always try and engineer single success challenges when tackling, as reducing the number of successes needed makes it more likely you'll remain standing and also injure your opponent.

When someone has the ball and doesn't pass it, you know it's going to be there for a couple of your turns, so you can plan ahead. You don't always need to immediately free up the ball. If a high dodge player has it, you can get an assist in place first before hitting with the tackle to improve your success.

If he ever posted here, Dark Lord would tell you to always shove first to get momentum. As well as helping you get enough successes to injure an opponent, you can use spare momentum to force your opponent to re-roll any successes on an injury challenge! This can make Mighty Blow look... well... rubbish! :D

Positioning is key too, you always need to have players able to support other players - try working the team in 3 pairs of 2 or 3 sets of 3, so you always have someone to support each player.

Dice rolls are a lot more risky than Blood Bowl, so don't worry too much about taking posession until you're good and ready, if your opponent is rolling dice, there's normally a 10% chance he'll flop what he's doing. Normally you have several scoring attempts before it actually happens, which makes the game very exciting

Hope this helps! :D

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 Post subject: Re: My first Elfball game seemed endless
 Post Posted: Thu Oct 14, 2010 10:45 am 
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Thanks for all the advice. I can't wait to play my next Elfball match and try out the things you mentioned.

mrinprophet wrote:
that slide tackle doesn't end your turn
It doesn't? :oops: We also treated it as a 'Both Down' result. Is there a list of mistakes commonly made by BB players?

bouncergriim wrote:
Also make sure you learn to use the right player for the right action if your positioning allows for it. *Poor widowmaker, she wants to kill people not carry a ball.
I know, but she was the only one in reach of both the ball and the goal so I just gave it a shot.

sann0638 wrote:
but at the last tourney 3 out of my 4 games were over in 40-50 minutes, the 4th being a draw.
That is what I was hoping for. Anything up to 90 minutes would be fine with me. Did you use any kind of turn limit to determine that draw, like a card deck (or the 2 min. warning deck)?

sann0638 wrote:
Whereabouts are you, btw?
Hamburg, Germany.


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 Post subject: Re: My first Elfball game seemed endless
 Post Posted: Thu Oct 14, 2010 10:52 am 
Kommissar Enthusiasmoff
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TheDoctor wrote:
Did you use any kind of turn limit to determine that draw, like a card deck (or the 2 min. warning deck)?


Yep, we used the two-min deck.

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 Post subject: Re: My first Elfball game seemed endless
 Post Posted: Fri Oct 15, 2010 1:24 pm 
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Some guys play online using the VASSAL mod I made, sann definitely does!

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 Post subject: Re: My first Elfball game seemed endless
 Post Posted: Sun Jan 16, 2011 12:43 pm 
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I finally got to play another match of Elfball. This time we used a Poker deck to limit turns. I played against another guy from our BB league and he immediatly picked up the rules and differences of the game. After a couple of turns he hardly needed to look into the reference sheet anymore, so the game ran quite fluidly.

I played the Black Widows again and he took Orcs to field. I was able to score a goal after half the card deck was through. The next test was brutal, my opponent took the attrition route, sending my players off the field. He would have scored for a draw, but the cards went out before he was able to.

Anyway we both were thrilled by the match and are planning to start a league now. I'll do my best to make Elfball more popular. :wink: Great game!


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 Post subject: Re: My first Elfball game seemed endless
 Post Posted: Sun Jan 16, 2011 3:05 pm 
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Thanks for giving Elfball another chance and reporting back to the community. The game is much quicker with the card deck and several practice games. As you noted, once you learn the base mechanic it goes much quicker.

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