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I used to play Blood Bowl many moons ago. It's a lot of fun & has many ways of playing it.
The premise of the game is basically American Football on a board game. It is turn based & dice orientated. Roll a 3 or more to pick up the ball for example. It varies however in that it is set the the Warhammer world of games workshop & has all manner of weird & wonderful races who all play Blood Bowl. This include Humans, Orcs, Elfs, Skaven (man size rats!) & others. There are also other additions. Star players with their own attributes. Wizards who can shoot fire balls across the field. Traps can be set. Some players even play with weapons like a chain saw, a ball & chain or even bombs. I had one of each in my team which made for some comedy moments.
I have always enjoyed this game loads. Every race has their own strengths & weaknesses. There is one for everybody. I always prefered strong defence coupled with running the ball up the field as opposed to throwing it. I used to play as the Orcs & had a good record. Not many people could score a touchdown against me due to my defensive mentality. Equally I didn't score that many touchdowns either. The game is also very customizable. You can play with any pieces you want. Design you own team colour scheme. Be very individual.
Over all this is a really good board game. It's more for teenagers & adults due to the violent nature but it it's good fun. Just don't expect it to be over in 10 minutes. Bring on the video game versions!
BloodBowl, so many hours spent playing!
BloodBowl is a great game. It is produced by Games Workshop in the UK who also produce tabletop wargames such as Warhammer Fantasy and 40k. Bloodbowl I believe to be far superior to both of these games.
BloodBowl is a cyberpunk Fantasy Football style game where the aim of the game is to score more touchdowns than your opponent... sounds simple? Right? Add to the mix a huge range of Fantasy races, no rules, meaning that you have things like Bombs, chainsaws, frightening minotaurs, agile elves, magic and a whole host of other things and things start to spice up!
The game itself is turn based. You have a team of up to 16 28mm miniatures (some teams have larger players) of which, 11 may be placed on the field. The miniatures can be painted to create a more visual experience. Your players may run, pass the ball, block (Punch) another player, kick a player who is down all in the name of scoring a Touchdown. The success of these are determined by special dice. There are 2 halves to the game and the winner is the team with the most touchdowns.
There are many styles of play to the game. Some teams are rather good with the ball and are fast so try to score as much as they can. They are also quite weak so they start to drop like flies. These are teams like Elves and Skaven, who are rats that have mutated into humanoid form, and can mutate further as they develop!
Other teams arent so good with the ball but can hit hard, like orcs and dwarves, they beat their way up the pitch, taking out as much as possible!
There are some teams who are jack of all trades, but specialist at none, like humans.
One of the draws to BB is the great background. All races have a rich history and you can create your own history and background for your teams as they develop. Another good thing is that you can take your humble team and develop them with skills as you play games, and create a powerful team.
One downpoint to the game is that the rules are constantly changing, in order to tweak rules. The most annoying thing about the game is that some skills are a lot more powerful than others but other than that the game is well balanced.
A game will take you about 90 minutes to play and is a really enjoyable experience with a friend
Since I have written this review, the rules have been updated and locked down for a number of years, the current ruleset is now Competition rules pack and can be found on the games workshop website. This will be the ruleset used in the upcoming BloodBowl: Legend Edtion PC and XBOX game coming out in October 2010!
Being a Necromancer isn't easy, especially if you're the type of Necromancer that shuns the associated lifestyle and is uninterested in taking over the old world with a reanimated undead horde. Its worse still when the living turn up at your door, or the entrance to your dungeon, wielding pitch-forks and torches to hound you out of the locality, in the mistaken belief that you're one of these nefarious evil-doers. Makes me wonder why I ever did my studies in the black arts - all I use it for is the associated merits of extending my life-force and for Wilson, my skeletal butler, to fetch my slippers of an evening. All I really want is to be left alone so I can get on with reading a good book.
Luckily, I've recently found a way to use my powers of raising the dead for the purposes of good, which has allowed me to actually become an accepted member of the community. You may laugh, but it's all to do with this new found game that those wretched Orcs have recently discovered, which seems to have supplanted their national past-time of bogey flicking. Everyone seems to be jumping on the Blood Bowl bandwagon, be they elf, dwarf, human, vampire, follower of chaos, Amazon - hell, even those disgusting vermin at Skavenblight have knocked out a team of gutter runners. Two teams of 11 trying to run a bloated pig's bladder into an end zone to score a point, with each team trying to stop the other anyway they can? It sounded like malevolent fun, and whilst grave-robbery is a murky business it was a cheap way of building a team. I don't even need to pay my players! More to the point the local villagers have been having a great time supporting the shuffling corpses of the Dastardly Deadites that the township now leave me alone to my book! Bliss! Nuffle bless Blood Bowl...
* * *
It's strange to think that Blood Bowl is now over 25 years old. Developed in the mind of Jervis Johnson way back in the early eighties, the rules have been revised on numerous occasions (the Living Rule Book is now at version 5.0) and as one of Games Workshops specialised games (i.e. one they now only support sparingly) it still has a rather large following of players. It may seem odd that a board game should have such a large interest and support-base, but then this is no Monopoly or Cluedo. The continuing success of Blood Bowl very much rests on the well-known fantasy battle environments of Warhammer, a rule-set that is much more simple and less evasive than its table-top army cousins, the persistence of geeks that they will inherit the Earth to ensure that there's always someone to play and the fact that its just damn good fun when compared to most other board games.
As an idea, Blood Bowl is refreshingly simple. Take American Football, add Warhammer races such as dwarfs, elves, orcs and skaven for the teams, provide racial stats for each (Undead are notoriously slow, but rather powerful, compared to elves who are lightning quick, but more fragile than a Jamie Oliver soufflé) along with certain skills for positional players (those with more ability than the simple lineman), place them on a board that represents the field of play, then attempt to score more touchdowns than your opponent in two half's of eight turns by running a player into the endzone with the ball before he is tackled by some gratuitous uber-violence by the opposition. In some ways it's a more fun variation of chess, although the strategy of how to set your players up when defending and attacking and how to keep a player with the ball protected by team-mates is constantly at the whim and mercy of lady luck.
Yes, as with most table-top or role-playing games, most events in Blood Bowl are dependent on the luck of the dice. Moving is simple in that a player has a certain movement score, meaning he can move that number of squares on the game board. But pretty much all else is dependent on the roll of the dice. A player's agility confers how capable a player might be at passing and catching the ball, sprinting, and dodging out of opponents tackle zones. All of these actions are represented by a dice roll to see whether the action succeeds or not. The higher the roll on a one-sided dice (d6) the better, as too many 1's will leave your players fumbling the ball and tripping over their own feet, and such failure's in making a play result in a turnover. There's been many a time that I've had a player with the ball sprint a little extra distance than his normal movement rate would allow only to roll a one, see him trip over, spill the ball, and end up killing himself as his head collided with the ground. The fact that many random things beyond your control can happen within a match makes things invariably tense and ultimately more enjoyable.
Of course, if you're less inclined to play the fast moving passing game you can always punch your way through the opposition in an attempt to remove opponents from the field of play and to the apocathery's table or, worse still, the morgue. Again, blitzing and blocking an opposing player is done with specialised block dice. One dice blocks are more dangerous as you're opponent is just as likely to knock your player down, resulting in a turnover, so its always best to use your higher strength players to break through an opposing players line. Even then, though, the dreaded "double skull" can still appear on a two block dice and scupper all your plans. Luckily, teams also have re-rolls which ensures one bad dice roll can be re-rolled per turn.
Indeed, the luck of the dice makes playing the game a specific art. Fewer dice rolls combined with an effective strategy gives one a better chance of victory. Ask yourself, do you really need to make that one dice block against an opponent on the wing who is no where near the ball? Is fouling a player necessary before scoring the vital winning touchdown on turn 16? With such knowledge of what not to do in order to incur the wrath of Nuffle (the Blood Bowl God for all non-nerds), there the path of Blood Bowl dominance lies. But then, making an unbelievable dart through an opponent's line to score has an immense feeling - sometimes the dice will be with you!
Saying that though, newcomers to Blood Bowl will not pick up and become an immediately brilliant coach from the off. It has a steep learning curve, especially with regards to the rules on dodging and understanding tackle zones, and getting through a match can take a good couple of hours at first. It certainly requires a fair investment of time for a new coach to learn how to play the game proficiently, and with the addition of player skills, time will certainly benefit those with the patience to learn appropriately. That said the rulebook is delivered in a very readable and easy to understand fashion, so that after a few games one can begin to identify with the more difficult rule-sets of Blood Bowl.
And really, that's where all the real fun is. One off games are great, but rather limited. What Blood Bowl's longevity really depends on is in the essential stakes of team building and league play. Star Players picking up injuries and the decisions the coach has to make in whether to retire them for a fresh unskilled player are the choices that raise Blood Bowl above most other games. The number of skills available for players is vast, and the opportunities to create more varied strategies based on skill choices are virtually unlimited. Having all your elves with the dodge skill so they get out of harms way against a heavy punching Orc squad, can only lead the Orc coach to tearing out his hair as blocks become fewer and far between. Team building is where the real genius of Blood Bowl! Shedding a tear for a much loved blitzer once he is crippled by a mighty Ogre, ensures the emotional interest of the game has a hidden impact - you shouldn't really be upset by the death of a lead miniature, but sometimes you just can't help yourself.
Of course, this implies that you have lots of friends that are equally as interested in Blood Bowl to play against. The reality is this isn't always the case. At £50 for the box set from Games Workshop it really is quite an expensive purchase if you're only going to have infrequent one off matches against friends. The fact that only a plastic human and orc team come with the box-set usually drives this price up, as those players that want to play as a different team fork out another £25 for a team of lead miniatures sold separately by Games Workshop. These miniatures do have benefits. They're more finely detailed and, like all of Games Workshops miniatures, provide an additional hobby in being able to paint the squad in your own personal team colours. Ideal for geeks (i.e. me!) However, there are more gaming clubs than you'd care to think out there, and even specific ones that play Blood Bowl leagues if you're looking for more frequent play. Details of such clubs can be found on the Games Workshop website.
Played with the right attitude and a knowingness that you will role bad dice on occasions, Blood Bowl is a supremely entertaining board-game. It does take a while to appreciate its rules and to get through a match, but after a few games of crunching Skaven underfoot you'll have an unquenching blood-lust for more. As long as you can find league play somewhere, Blood Bowl will have a lifetime of exposure as you fine tune your squad into enviable Blood Bowlers. And if you're new to the whole table-top gaming/role-paying world, Blood Bowl is perhaps one of the simplest games to get into and get something out of with some immediacy. Marvellous, marvellous stuff! Here's to the next 25 years of Blood Bowl's legacy!!
Overall - A pitch perfect board game which will have you jumping for joy and tearing your hair out in equal measure. Just make sure you can find someone that wants to play (add a star if you do find proficient league play - that's what makes Blood Bowl five starts)...
And if anyone wants a game on Fummbl, just look up the coach who goes by the name of clownfoot. See you on the field of play where my Dastardly Deadites will tear you a new one...
***What is Bloodbowl?***
This is most peoples first question. Some of you may be familiar with Games Workshops previous games such as Warhammer a tabletop wargame. Bloodbowl is a table top football (American football) game, based in the fantasy universe.
Two people play different teams, where although a ball is used to score touchdowns, it is largely ignored whilst each team is pummelled into the ground by their opponent.
The whole game is played on a mixture of tactics with the positioning of players, which players to use etc. but also on the luck of the dice. The game is generally best played in a league or tournament format rather than a one of game.
The game itself was produced by games workshop a few years ago, but has had continued support as a specialist game. This has lead to many rules revisions & new models being produced.
***Where & What to Buy?***
You dont have to buy the game but its certainly useful! If you have a friend with all the board pieces etc. then you can just download a free copy of the rules off the internet from www.specialist-games.com
A boxed game is available for £50 from Games Workshop stores, or online. Hunting around may find you a cheaper version on ebay.
Contained within the box is:
The pitch this is where the games take place. This is made from good quality cardboard (similar to that usually found with board games), and folds into quarters for easy transport.
Dugouts you get two of these, one for each player. Both are made from thick card. They are used to keep tracks of the turn, re-rolls and any killed or injured players.
Templates these are used throughout the game for randomising where the ball bounces, or how far a ball can be thrown.
Block Dice These are one of the most valuable components! Games Workshop doesnt sell these separately, but they are often lost and wanted by people who havent bought a boxed copy. They are used when a player issues a block (attack) action against a player of the opposing team.
The rules The last printed copy of the rules is included, however, it may be worth printing a more up top date copy off the internet these are more commonly used and include clarifications which will make game play easier.
Two Teams You get a plastic version of the orc and human teams. This allows you to just open the box and play. Although you do not have to paint them, most people do and paints etc. can be purchased from Games Workshop.
Team Roster Pad A pad of sheets for sorting out what players you have in a team is included. These allow you to keep track of their advancements etc. Excel versions of these are available on the internet and complete a lot of the calculations for you, so you save time.
***Expansion of The Game***
If you purchase the box you dont really need to buy anything else. Rules updates are made available on the internet for free and you have two different teams which you can play with.
The only expansion you may want to look into is a new team to play with. Games Workshop produces a wide range of metal teams available for use all from different races of the fantasy universe. All of the models are available from their online store. You can buy team boxes usually for about £20. These include most of the basics you will need for a new team, but will often need to be expanded by extra models. You can also purchase the models individually, or together in small groups of similar types, saving you a small amount of money.
Being metal they will need some more preparation to be played with as excess metal often needs to be clipped off and mould lines filed off. You can get the tools pretty much anywhere, including the Games Workshop store. If you go into your local Games Workshop, you should find that the staff will be able to help you prepare the models, as well as share some painting tips.
*** The World of Bloodbowl***
Bloodbowl has proven to be one of the more popular specialist games which Games Workshop Supports. There are many players from around the globe who meet up to play each other.
An online community exists at www.bloodbowl.net where coaches swap tactics, painting advice, as well as use it to find events happening in their area. Tournaments are held annually in different countries by both Games Workshop itself, and fans of the game.
***My Opinion on Bloodbowl***
I personally enjoy Bloodbowl in short bursts. Playing a lot of other games workshop wargames, its nice to play it for a change and run a league in which quite a few of us can join in and have fun with. Its also good compared to other games as you dont need huge armies, you have no more than 20 models, meaning you can spend time painting them and personalising them so you can get a team youre really happy with.
If you do play a lot of it in one go, you can find it becomming very repetitive and tedious.
The other great think about it compared to other wargames is that its supported for free with updates online, and if you're already a Warhammer gamer, there's no need to buy anything else as you can just re use models from other armies.
If you've never played a Games Workshop game before, it may also offer a way in for some people by being introduced to one of their simpler games, which can lead into a more advanced one.That's because the rules for this game, although they may seem complicated at first are very repetitive and similar situations always come up, making it easy to learn. it is also very easy toreference charts etc. when things do need to be looked up, making it very easy for a new player to get into. If a group of you start and play together - more the better, but if you have a local Games Workshop near by, they will be more than happy to help and may even be able to find you someone to play against.
Thanks for Reading
I am a really big fan of Blood Bowl.. the most violent football game ever made (Until games workshop make another one) I started playing Blood Bowl because I got bored of table top battle games and I was annoyed by the amount of money I had to spend. With Blood Bowl you can either play the way Games Workshop want you to play, buy all the minitures, paint them with Games Workshop paints, if you can't paint very well, buy a GW painting guide.... etc. etc. etc. After playing a friends version of Blood Bowl I decided you didn't need all of the "gear" to have fun with this game. A group of friends and I collected enough money to buy the game and the "Death Zone" expantion, we then set up our own league but the difference was we had one human team with the plastic models, no-one wanted to be the orcs and there was a group of five of us without models.. so what did we do? We improvised. One person used the orc models for a different race, other people used models from other games. One person even used old lead soldiers with different regiment markings for his team, and for myself, I used my wooden chess set for my halfling team with numbers stuck on the backs to identify the diffent players. We must have looked a right bunch of idiots with that strange collection of models but the main thing is that we had real fun and some of the group actually became quite good (I didn't, my Halfling team had a record of 15 or so losses and 1 win... a treeman did a hail mary pass with a halfling and he managed to land on his feet and run to the endzone for the winning touchdown!!!) Basically what I am trying to say is that this is a great game that can be enjoyed by a great many people and without spending alot of money on models (as much as GW wouldn't like you to think this) Why don't you give it a try?
Games Workshop have been around for 25 years. They changed from being a general games company to designing, producing and selling only their fantasy 'hobby games' in the last 10-15 years. In that time, I don't think they've made anything half as good as Blood Bowl. Blood Bowl's ancestry is the miniature wargame. Move pieces around, fire their guns, roll dice and get tape measures out. Games Workshop have a whole line of fantasy miniature war games, like Warhammer. From the Warhammer world they created Blood Bowl. Blood Bowl is what the fantasy races of the Warhammer world play when they aren't at war. Imagine American Football. Then imagine it being played full-on. Your allowed to block anyone, as hard as you can. Injuries and fatalities are the norm rather than the exception. Then imagine some of the players playing aren't human. Team can consist of highly agile elves, tough orcs, fast skaven or slow but sure Dwarves, among others. Then you've got Blood Bowl. The game is played on board sub-divided into squares. In each square a single miniature can stand. Along each end of the board is the end zone (where to get the ball to score). Also given to you in the box are enough miniatures to make two teams (Humans and Orcs), a range ruler (for passing the ball), a pair of dugouts (to place reserves, Knock out players and injured players) and a scatter template (for when the ball bounces around). Each turn every player on a team can do one action, Block, Pass, Pick the Ball up or Move. Once a turn one player on the team may 'Blitz' and do two actions A player can block the players next to him (females rarely play Blood Bowl, unless they are Elves). Hitting is a simple matter of comparing strengths and rolling the appropriate number of blocking dice. The faces on these 6 sided dice are covered in symbols which tell you the result of the block. Either your down (boo!),
your opponent is down (hurrah!), pushed-back or it's a standoff. When a player goes down, you roll for injuries, and if the injury is severe enough, the player takes no further part in the match. Passing plays require high Agility from both the catcher and the passer. The Range ruler is used to measure the type of pass, a target number is calculated for the pass, and a single die is rolled. If the pass is accurate, the catcher gets a chance to catch it. The last little rule is if ever you fail a roll, your turn is over and the next player gets a turn. This makes making the risky moves all about planning. The game ends after two halves of 8 turns each. the player with the highest number of Touchdowns after this time wins. And thats about it for the basics. The game can be learnt on this level in about 20 minutes. The really interesting part is the extra skills. Extra skills not only add colour to a team, by differentiating the players and giving them set jobs, but add interest to the game. Players can have passing skills and be a thrower. Big hard linemen get offensive skills like Block (harder to put down), Mighty Blow (more chance of getting an injury) and Stand Firm (can't be pushed back). Catcher get skills to make them harder to tackle (Dodge), faster moving (Sprint) and better at catching the Ball (Catch (duh)). The next level of colour is adding the rules for more teams and leagues that come in the expansion 'Death Zone'. With these rules you can create your own style of teams, improve players game after game, add in apothecaries, Wizards, special Play cards, Star Players and Big Guys like Ogres, Troll and Treemen. League play is where Blood Bowl takes off. You nurture and improve your team over a season playing your friends. Rivalries are built. Good players get better, favourites die or have nasty injuries. Freak results occur. Debates come out over who the best team is, who the be
st race is (Jervis Johnson the designer made the teams unequal on purpose). The League and Cup matches can build to a big crescendo at the end as two unfancied teams try to stop the best team winning the trophy again. I love this game, apart from having to purchase and paint the miniatures. I'm not a fan of miniature painting, and certainly not a fan of the prices Games Workshop charge. But with the box you do get two teams, and unlike most GW games where you need 100's miniatures, you only need 16 to play here. The game is fast, interesting, rewards good tactical play (forming good defenses, or go for the best scoring options) and easy to learn. The meta-gaming of league play really brings it through into the top flight of all time favourites. As long as I can keep finding opponents.