One thing beginners often get into a lot of trouble with is doing one dice blocks. Read here on why and also when to and when not to do them.


One Die Blocks


Lets start off with the more obvious points about whats bad about one die blocks. I often see newcomers to the game making way too many one die blocks. I think its some primal instinct deep down coming out. I can’t be sure how their minds work but I am guessing its along the lines of, “If I hit them and knock them over they might well get injured, that means they can’t hit me back and I also may get some skill points too!” Of course that’s me just guessing, they might not even be thinking that far ahead and just like the thought of hitting someone. That would also go onto explain why some new coaches even get their players to make blocks with two dice in the opposing teams favour when there is little or no strategical advantage.

So what makes one die blocks so bad then? Basically its the risk involved in that you may get knocked down yourself. This in turn means you take the armour roll and possible injury and may give the other team easy skill points. Now on the standard unskilled player there is a 1/3 chance of knocking yourself over. So on average ever 3 one die blocks you make, your player will go down and cause a turnover (or cost you a reroll). Its also the turnover part that is important as well, especially if it happens early in your turn. If a turnover occurs then you have given up the actions on the rest of your team and if its the very first thing you did, then you practically skipped your whole turn. Not to mention that your player is then on the floor, they can no longer assist, deny assist, have a tackle zone to create negative modifiers for ball handling, or create a dodge for the opposing team.

Things improve somewhat when you get the block skill though. Now only 1/6 will get yourself knocked down. When you are hitting an opposing unskilled player, you also increase your chance of getting them down safely from 1/3 to 1/2, before you still had 1/2 to knock them over but you were also knocking yourself down 1/3 of the time you got them down. This still however does not make one die blocks a good practice if you ignore the strategical benefits of staying on your feet instead.

Avoiding One Die Blocks:

Well whats wrong with one die blocks if you have block and only go down 1/6 of the time? The reason why this is bad, is usually because you can get two dice blocks in your favour instead. It’s bascially that simple. You have to use your stronger players, or make better use of assists. The odds of going down on a two dice block if you have block are 1/36, which is as you can see a big swing in your favour over the one die block. Even if you don’t have block its 1/9 to get yourself knocked over and even then 3/4 of those times you will take your opponent down with you (if they don’t have block).

When making your plays you should be thinking a few steps ahead. You want to work out where you want to get too and then also what you think your opponent will do to try and counter that. Very often you will find the start of your turn there might not be any two dice blocks on. If this is the case you should have someone free where you can move them into assist. Now this forward thinking should help you decide where to assist to get the two dice blocks in. Your planning should also account for what happens after the block and if you should follow up or not depending on the result. Planning will also mean you should have noticed where one two dice block frees someone up to assist another team mate into making another two dice block. This could either be the player who just blocked and can now assist, or it may have freed another team mate up who needed a dodge but can now freely move elsewhere to assist.

Good One Die Blocks:

The best time this is useful is against hitting the ball carrier, either in a cage or if they have broken to the open and able to score next turn. The reason why its good in these cases is cause you may well get the player down, or even just push them in a better position, either away from your players, or into more tacklezones or out of scoring range. Knocking a player over isn’t always the main objective of a block, sometimes a push is good enough for your game plan. As the game revolves around the ball, if you can get the ball loose, you can either recover it, make it hard for them to retrieve it, or at the very least make them roll to pick it up again. The risk reward ratio for hitting the ball carrier with one block die is much higher than other times you can attempt it.

When the ball carrier is in a scoring position you do have to weigh up the one die block/blitz and compare with the chance of them failing the dodge away, or blitzing your player away eliminating the need to dodge. Most of the time they will probably have a pretty good chance to score if you just mark them, compared to if you get to knock them over. Usually they will be able to dodge away, or blitz your player and run off, or get a team mate to come in and either assist or do the blitz with them. The skills on the players involved, which teams have rerolls left and the positions of the rest of the team mates are the things to consider in these situations, most of the time though, the block is probably worth doing.

If you have Block or Wrestle and they don’t (or sometimes still even if they do), it’s the end of your turn and the important stuff is out of the way. Again only do it if it doesn’t hurt your position too much if you do roll the skull and go down yourself. You might well get lucky and take them out of action instead. It is important though that this kind of thing is done after everything else has been done that was needed to on your turn.

For the average blockless AG3 player, a dodge is the same odds as the one die block, except the block may injure the opponent. So this means the dodge isn’t as favourable (ignoring strategical placement that may come about from succeeding the dodge), if it’s impossible to get a two dice block instead. The safest thing would be to end your turn here, though if that player doesn’t vitally need to be left standing, you may attempt a cheeky one die block.

Exceptions may be made if you are gearing up for a last ditch long shot play, but then you are usually tempting fate to fail the one die block. Again the same applies if its the last turn of the half and you have to just walk in a score, you may fancy a one die block, or even a two dice block but don’t cry when you fail it and end up losing or drawing the match becuase of it. You can’t fail anything that doesn’t require a dice roll!

Following on from this it is also well worth reading up on both the Block and Wrestle skills and their uses as well.

15 Responses to One Die Blocks

  1. Sneezeguard July 7, 2009 at 8:43 pm #

    What do you think about with Big Guys?

    As an example, when someone sticks a Deathroller on the LOS (something I see pretty much everytime a Deathroller is fielded). It seems like most teams aren’t going to be able to keep it from Blitzing every turn and getting 2 or even 3 die blocks against you, so it seems, to me, if you’re playing a non dodging team (say Orcs), and you already had two or three lineman stuck up against it rather than try and dodge both away, or just sit tight and wait on his turn to bring a blocker or two around to negate your assist, your best bet is to just throw the offensive two die he chooses block, since your odds will be better than waiting for him to throw it back at you. (as the last action of your turn of course, considering the high failure rate.)

    My logic here is that a lot of times I have a backup player or two in position to exert tackle zones on the big guy already so it’s still ‘stuck’ if one goes down on the bad block, and on his turn he was just going to knock someone down anyway, so my best bet is to try and knock him down first where I might have a chance to foul, get most of the people away without dodging, or at the very least make him waste a blitz action standing it up and blocking. I consider the same logic with weaker big guys, just substituting the one die block for the inevitable two die they choose they’ll be able to set up on their turn.

  2. Coach July 7, 2009 at 9:10 pm #

    Indeed another good instance, thanks for your input.

  3. Krinos July 13, 2009 at 5:40 am #

    I prefer to leave big guys to their own devices, why would I put myself under the hammer with a suicide block when I can wait for them to do it themselves, and most of the time force them to make a die roll (Wild Animal, Bonehead, Really Stupid) before they can do something, for which they then generally don’t have block, and have defective re-rolls half the time anyway.  This is especially good for Trolls and Ogres because if they fail they lose their tackle zone and I can just walk away anyway.

    The Deathroller is a special case, but in those cases I try to minimise damage for the one drive its on field and let it get penaltied out anyway.

  4. AL13N April 3, 2010 at 3:11 pm #

    Yet another good read coach! I find all of your reads helpful in the 360 game and board game which I am now addicted to both!!! Please I beg of you add a norse section so I can know what skills to add when!!! I just purchased my Norse werewolf 2 games ago and he is due to level up. Last game I go my Snow Troll and I think Mighty Blow should be the first selection but am not sure. Help?

  5. danton April 22, 2010 at 5:54 pm #

    Just thought it was worth mentioning that a two dice defender chooses block is often well worth it if your blocking player has wrestle and strip ball and is blocking the ball-carrier (especially if the defender doesn’t have sure-hands). The odds are in your favour that you will remove the ball. Probably the best 2 dice against case.
    Also, haven’t seen any posts on here for a while Coach – are you planning on adding any more content to this great resource?

  6. Nerva June 14, 2010 at 12:43 pm #

    As a coach of a Lizardman team, my best one-dice blocks have been Skink-blitzes against against ball carriers.  If you can keep your Skinks near the line of scrimmage without being marked, you’ll find that they’re fantastic (MA8, AG3, Dodge, Stunty) for dodging up the field to nail the ball carrier in the backfield of his half of the pitch.
    Two Skinks near the ball carrier is enough to ensure that you at least get a one-dice block on the blitz in turn 2 of the drive (and if you can get a third Skink or Saurus close to the ball carrier, all the better).  Just make sure you use your Kroxigor and Sauruses to lock up, knock down, or knock out anyone who could assist the ball carrier against your Skink mob.
    Skink pairs are also excellent for marking the more fragile guys in an enemy’s backfield, who may not have ST4 or Block.  Not only do they have to risk the one-dice block to deal with the Skinks, but they also have to worry about having 2 tackle zones on them should they choose to try and dodge out of it.  Doesn’t work so well on Nordic or Dwarf teams (who have near-universal Block and easy access to Tackle, respectively), and AG4 teams (any Elves) still have a fairly easy time of hopping out of that situation, but that’s still a die roll they have to worry about (and a situation they have to make an effort to defuse, buying you time to get more formidable players into the fray.)
    Goblins, although slower, can also make use of the same tactic (as can anyone with Dodge and either AG4 or some sort of positive Dodging skill, like Two Heads).  Never underestimate the threat a one-dice block can pose to an enemy who hasn’t had time to prepare for it.

  7. Mightypeon June 15, 2010 at 12:43 am #

    2 Dice against can also be worth it if the result is surfing your opponent.
    To get a surf, you effecitvly need to get neither Skulls nor Skull down, with a reroll present, this risk can be quite worth it, given that the opposing player is guaranteed to miss the rest of the drive in case of a success.

  8. Phil July 19, 2010 at 3:24 pm #

    Excuse my ignorance, but before speaking about ‘one die blocks’ it would be really helpful if you actually mentioned what a ‘one die block’ actually is, in layman’s terms. Can you please tell me what it actually means?

    • Coach July 19, 2010 at 3:32 pm #

      It is a block that is made where you only roll one block die. So any time that the combined strengths of the players and assists involved in the block are even. If one or more side is stronger than the other than two or even three (if one side is more than double the strength of the other) block dice are rolled.

      So if a ST3 player hits another ST3 player and there are no assists no either side, you will only roll one block die. Make sense?

  9. Phil July 22, 2010 at 2:02 pm #

    Yes! Thanks a lot for the clarification!

  10. Angelus October 6, 2011 at 3:10 pm #

    If playing against weaker teams, performing lots of one-die blocks can result in quite some opposing players off the field or losing time to recover. a 2-die block is safer, but performing 2 1-die blocks vs 1 2-die block can yield advantage in numbers rapidly. if your players have block/tackle, the numbers are on your side so the more you do such blocks the bigger your numbers benefit. But indeed, you should only perform these blocks after the more crucial actions of your turn are done. doing this in the first half can give you a player benefit for the 2nd half if the opposing team no longer can field the full 11 players. dont perform 1-die blocks if you cant afford losing the block.
    in some situations, risking a 1-die block to open a gap in an opposing defense can free a player, who would otherwise need to move to assist, to perform another action instead (picking up the ball, help protect ball carrier, score). also, using assists you might be occupying a crucial space in tight situations, which a follow-up player needs to move through.

    • Coach October 6, 2011 at 3:16 pm #

      They do have their advantages but you need to learn how best to utilise them. You are far better off trying to avoid them and then slowly introduce them into your game. Over doing one die blocks is one of the biggest mistakes of new coaches.

  11. Geoff January 18, 2012 at 6:24 am #

    Even with block I think I roll skulls or 1s more then 1/36. So until the dice treat me better I’ll go for them making dodge rolls, unless I can pull a 3 dicer

  12. Aatu April 16, 2013 at 10:22 pm #

    What do you think about the following scenario:

    You have a player on the LOS or some similar situation where you need to keep the area occupied to stop the opposition from running through (either with the ball or to the ball you control).

    If you just stand there and let the opposition hit you on their turn, they have 1/2 chance to knock you down and only 1/3 to get knocked down themselves (assuming no skills for simplicity). That does force the opposition player standing next to you to use up his turn, but they can follow up with other players through the gap if they manage to create one, thus giving them advantage. Also they can bring in other players to assist and get a 2 die block without using blitz.

    You might also try to dodge away, but as explained in the article, this is often less beneficial than a one die block, especially in the scenario in question, where you anyway need to fill the area and would thus probably only move one square back to avoid the block next turn.

    Therefore I think in this situation it is often the best solution to roll the one die block. 2 times out of 3 you get the opposition either down or pushed away from you, while you are left standing, thus denying them the “free” block on their turn. The remaining 1 time you go down, but this was in any case a likely outcome on the opposition turn, were they allowed to throw the block themselves, especially if they have players available to assist. And half of the times you go down, the opposition player goes down with you. Added to this is of course the possibility of injuring them, which is greater than the risk of injuring your player, given no skills and same AC.

    Obviously the one die block is even more favorable if you have block or other suitable skills (and less so if the opposition has them). Also obviously these actions should be done in the end of your turn to avoid unnecessary turnovers.

    In summary, if I am not mistaken, the best chance to be standing your ground after the opposition has played their turn, is often achieved by throwing a one die block, when a two die block is not possible; rather than dodging back one space or leaving it be (although dodging might be more favorable if you have high agility and/or dodge skill).

    • Coach April 16, 2013 at 10:27 pm #

      There are always going to be situations where it may be a good idea to do a 1 die block. You need to get to a level of understanding where you realise why it makes sense in that situation to do it and that’s more what this article is about, rather than never doing them. Just blindly taking lots of 1 die blocks is a mistake that many coaches make when starting out. Like many things you need to know the ‘rules’ before you can break them.

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