Blood Bowl Is Coming, and You Need to Play It

Blood Bowl is one of my favorite games. If I’m being honest, I dare say I enjoy a game of Blood Bowl more than 40K, and I love me some 40K. Note I said game though. Warhammer 40K has a history, a story, and life. Warhammer 40K is my favorite hobby though ;)

Anyway, subtle distinctions aside, the re-release of the game is on the horizon. I have yet to see a confirmed date, just a vague 2017. That’s fine though. The fact it’s being re-released, and will live once more, means I can wait until it’s good and ready.

I thought I’d give a brief overview of the game for anyone remotely interested in the game. Seriously, you should play.

Blood Bowl Is so Easy to Learn

The rules, as we have learned, will be based off the rule-set that the community has created. The game has been unsupported by GW for a very long time, so the community stepped up and kept the game running. The fact GW is going to run with those rules, even if not 100%, gets my praise.

When I learned the rules it was around 17 pages of core mechanics. By core mechanics I mean what you need to know to play a game. There’s a lot more covering running a season and such, but the basics of the game are really simple.

There are only 4 stats on a model to deal with: MA (move allowance), ST (strength), AG (agility), and AV (armor value). When you build your first team, there’s not many special rules to learn, what are called skills in Blood Bowl. So, unlike a game of 40K where you have to learn core mechanics, and then handfuls of special rules, it’s much simpler to get going in Blood Bowl.

The game only uses a few charts, which are easy to learn. The dice you’ll use for the game are special D6 dice that represent various effects. No buckets of dice needed to play.

You could learn to play your first game of Blood Bowl in an hour or less.

Speaking of, Games Workshop has recently put up a site for Blood Bowl: http://www.bloodbowl.com/

You can also check out the official Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/Blood-Bowl-219720111727104/

There is not a lot of information on there yet, but definitely check it out.

One thing I was really impressed with on the site is the video they did that teaches you the basics of Blood Bowl. It’s a 4 minute video that will give you a good grasp on how the game plays.

Cheap & Easy to Collect Teams

A team can only have 11 players on the pitch (playing field). The maximum size your team can be is 16 players, so you can bench some guys to cover the inevitable injuries that will occur.

As you can see, you don’t need many models, which keeps the game affordable, and also easy to get painted. It also means you can collect multiple teams easily, seeing as the investment is pretty minimal.

Building a Team

The Skavenblight ScramblersBuilding a team is where the fun begins too. Each team has different options, and they are generally very distinct. You will have to determine your starting roster, choosing from different types of players, and keep in mind how you plan to expand your team in the future. A bad starting roster can make for some frustration early on, so you do want to spend time considering your roster.

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After each game you earn experience. Players will level up, get better stats, learn new skills, and some even get mutations like extra arms and tentacles.

It’s So Much Fun to Play!

Blood Bowl is like Chess in that there’s tile based movement, and each model has varying movement distances. Unlike Chess though, each model can move in any direction.

While the game is easy to learn, it takes a lot of games to get good. It’s one of the most strategic games I have played.

One mistake during your turn and your turn is over. This means you have to thoroughly plan out your turns to minimize risk should you suffer a turnover.

The Gouged Eye- Orcs

The intention of the game is to score points, but most of the game you’re going to be blocking your opponent, trying to cause injuries, or even death. It’s basically gladiatorial American football where you beat your opponent into submission. So, it doesn’t matter if you like American football, it’s more like a backdrop to the fun most of the time!

There is so much absurdity in the game that makes it hilarious. Ogres who can pick up Snotlings carrying the football to throw them downfield. Goblins wielding chainsaws and assorted weapons to attack the opposing team with. Wizards in the stands who cast fireballs on to the field. Vampires who have to feed on their own team. You can’t help but laugh playing a game.

Oh, the games are quick too. With veteran coaches you can knock a game out in about 30 minutes. Like Chess, veterans tend to use turn timers to keep the game moving. Even without a turn timer, and inexperienced coaches playing, an hour long game would be pretty standard.

Seasons

Ideally you will play a season with other coaches (players). Your team will rank up and get better over the course of the season. Eventually you will enter playoffs, and a final winner determined. This is where the real fun is with the game, the progression. You will have to learn to manage your team’s finances, deal with your roster and injuries, and push through the setbacks during the season. It’s like a campaign.

You Gotta Try It

Blood Bowl is seriously an incredibly fun game to play. It’s very unique and well designed. The models we’ve seen so far look amazing as well.

It’s great to see Games Workshop get behind this game again, and I’m really looking forward to the release.

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  • Blood Bowl is absolutely one of the best rule sets GW ever made imo. I haven’t played it in a long time but I still love it. It was the game that got me into miniature gaming. Me and a friend saw it in a store, maybe around -93 or -94, and decided that we wanted to get it. In the end we went with 40k instead but I probably wouldn’t have seen the 40k products if I hadn’t seen Blood Bowl.

    I think that it’s a very wise move to re-release it. Its a perfect entry game and now when GW are releasing the small 40k semi-board games, is the right opportunity in my opinion.

    There’s still very big community’s for Blood Bowl, especially down in Australia and the rules are so simple and well balanced. it’s not 100% balanced but most teams are pretty equal I think.

    I do still have my old Halfling team, the Tiny Titans, and I would be more than happy to play some games with them again.

    • Most teams are are balanced against one another, but other teams are intentionally weaker, for those who want more of a challenge. Take Halfings for example, a very tough team to level up and keep on the field. Goblins are another weak team, but they do have some bonuses, like the weapons.

      A few other teams are just hard to play. They are very rewarding when things go well, but have random elements, like Ogres and Vampires.

      It’s by design though. If you want a good solid team then you have Humans, Orcs, Elves (all varieties), Skaven, and more than I can recall. But, if you’re up for a challenge, and something different, then those teams exist too.

      It’s one of the things I love about the game. Unlike 40K where the imbalance isn’t intended, and in turn frustrating, it’s very much a part of Blood Bowl and there’s no illusions about it.

      • I haven’t thought of it as intentional but it makes sense and a very smart plan of GW. I haven’t tried all the teams, just the Halfling, Goblins and Elfs and yea the Halflings and Gobbos are really, really bad but the goblins are a ton of fun.

        • Yeah, it’s hard to look at Halfings with their low armor, slow movement, and low strength, and take them seriously compared to Dwarves with their high armor, and everyone starts with block. Halfings can never catch up to a team like that. So, I’ve always seen it as by design.

          Goblins are a lot of fun to play. They don’t win a lot, but it’s fun regardless, and that’s what I like.

  • I’m saving my pennies for it. Already brainstorming names for my Orc team.

    • I’m really curious how many teams will be available on release. There’s three confirmed at this point: Humans, Orcs, and Skaven. I’d wager that Dwarves make it in for release as well.

      Hopefully it won’t be a long wait on other teams, but you know they’ll trickle them out to soak up the sales. The Norse are probably my favorite team, so I’m sure they’ll be a long wait.

      • I saw on one of the Open Day video streams that they’re releasing the Star Players as single model clam packs as well.
        I’m excited for Orcs, for painting and play style. Was there ever a Beastman team?

        • Ah. The star players don’t interest me any.

          The Chaos team is mostly Beastmen, with up to 4 Chaos Warriors and a Minotaur. Don’t think there’s a team of just Beastmen, at least not that I’ve seen.

  • The Warlock

    I would be down to split a starter or two with someone else and get the orc side. Never played BB, but it looks like a whole load of fun. Plus, Old WHFB names FTW!

    • It’s an awesomely addictive game. The games can be played in 30 minutes with veteran players, something I didn’t mention above.

      The only problem with splitting a box is only one person would get the board, dice, etc. Might still be worth it though for the models, to get some extra bodies for the bench.

      • The Warlock

        If the ‘massive superbowl style launch party’ rumours are true, I’ll be down at the closest GW (1hr away lol) for the launch.

        • That’s awesome. Love to see pics of that.

          That’s a good team name. I should probably start coming up with one soon.

  • Shame there was such a delay in updating the rules and models. I hated them old style models and the rules just seemed too clunky, so I chose other games of the same genre (dreadball, guildhall) to scratch that itch for me. Too late now for me to splash the cash on yet another football game, when I barely have time to paint/play the ones I already have

    • Understandable, but if you do find time for a football game, definitely pick it up. You won’t be disappointed.

  • Blood Bowl remain a perennial favourite. I am looking forward to resurrecting the Crookback Boogers (my goblin team). They were, as mentioned below, a tactically challenging team (sic: total and utter gobshites), but when you can get that Troll to hoike a ball carrying Gobbo towards the end zone? There is little more spectacular in any field of sports.

    • And on top of that, there’s all those new models too. I haven’t played an Orc team ever. Or humans. Or Skaven … oh, my aching trade deficit!

      • They’re all solid teams. Skaven are absolutely amazing in the right hands. They move so fast, and have great agility. One of the few teams who can run the ball for a TD in two turns.

    • I know what you mean. My favorite aggravating team is Ogres. There’s the games where all your Snotlings are gone, and your Ogres fail every stupidity check. Then there’s a shining moment when an Ogre manages to pick up the ball, and bulldoze through player after player into the end zone. That’s what makes those hard to play teams fun, those awesome and rare moments.

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